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(506) 2223-1327                    Published Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013,  in Vol. 13, No. 41                Email us
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scarlet
Ara Project photo 
Where is this bird going? Directors of a program to save and reintroduce the majestic macaws hope it is going to new digs on the Nicoya
peninsula from a long-established location in Alajuela. See our story


Long-time sugar cane practice defies carbon neutrality
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Neighbors of sugar cane fields in central Costa Rica are unhappy again this year with the annual ritual of burning the fields before harvest.

Burning is an age-old procedure meant to reduce the need for labor, but this year, perhaps because tourism is fragile, some residents are angry. So are snowbird tourists.

Said one tourist couple:

"We are enjoying Costa Rica and its people but are concerned about the pollution and damage done by the fires that we see almost daily.  An environmental awareness and concern were priorities to us in choosing this country as our destination and we hope that something will be done in this regard very soon."

Said a tourism operator:

"Our guests were appalled and they said it is even worse in Guanacaste where they have seen fires every night during the month they have been here. She has had a persistent cough the whole time. Is this carbon neutral environmentally friendly Costa Rica? If it is, it's a joke."

The complaints are probably not going to go anywhere or will a petition that some residents of Atenas are circulating. The issue already has gone to the Sala IV constitutional court which merely instructed the health ministry to keep an eye on the burning.

Cane burning is a universal problem. There are consequences in Brazil's Amazon, Australia, the southern United States and just about anywhere cane is grown.

The fires are set by growers to destroy the underbrush and the leaves of the cane so that harvesting is made easier. The blaze also kills or chases away dangerous bugs or snakes. The Atenas and Grecia areas are covered in smoke many times from December to April while the harvest is taking place.
cane
                        fire
A.M. Costa Rica/April ONeill
 This was the scene near Grecia a few nights ago as
 a cane field was burned off.


In addition to smoke there are the charred bits of plant matter that take to the air and rain like black snow kilometers away.

Fire fighters at the Cuerpo de Bomberos told reporters that cane burning is controlled by permits issued by the Ministerio de Agricultura y Gandería. The only time fire fighters are involved is when the fires get out of control, which is possible in this windy season.

There are a number of academic articles available that address the dangers of the pollution products created by the burning. The fires also can cause changes in the weather, particularly when vast stretches of Amazon cane land are ignited, one report said.

One report from University of Florida research said that about 80 percent of the trash and leaves in a cane fields are consumed by the fires. The practice produces about a tenth of the carbon emissions of a forest fire, the report said.

One suggestion in Florida has been to collect the debris and burn it to produce steam for electrical generation. In the meantime, the high season in some parts of the country will continue to be known as the eyes watering, choking season.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 41
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


Psychotherapy

Lucinda Gray, Ph.D.
California Licensed Psychologist
25 years experience
Dr. KLycinda
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Lucinda Gray, Ph.D.
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7795-7/15/13

Real estate agents and services

Clinas
                                                  del Sol
COLINAS DEL SOL
Jim Day, retirement specialist Representing Colinas del Sol del Pacifico, S. A
A fenced and gated project with the ex-pat hortaculturalist in mind. There are 88 clear-title hobby farms with water and electricity.  The layout is designed to provide ample space for your vegetable gardening ands fruit tree projects.
You can see more on our Web site: www.colinasdelsolcr.com
 Libertad, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, 15 minutes to Playa del Coco or Playa Hermosa
and 20 minutes to Liberia airport.
Please contact Jim Day at JimDay50@aol.com   or    Phone:  001 517 484-3675.
7858-8/26/13

Grecia logo
Grecia Real Estate
Here in Costa Rica, Central America , the most beautiful houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
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Cell phone (506) 8538-6186
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Contact Luis G. Jiménez in Spanish:
Cell phone (506) 8707-4016
Send us your request to our email: info@greciarealestate.com
7827-5/4/13


CR Beach

CR Beach Investment Real Estate
reminds you that Costa Rica’s #1 beachtown,“the new Jacó,” invites you to see the recent changes:  clean paved roads; more bilingual police; more trendy & tipico restaurants; new a/c movie 4plex & new theatrical-conference center; new central park with activities; more bargain priced properties for sale, and lower priced rentals…
Our agents have been here a minimum of 10 years:
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Let CR Beach show you why we know this is the best area for you to  invest-retire-enjoy!

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Residency experts

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U.S. and San José offices
Getting and authenticating documents can be a chore —

we know how to do it. Experienced with many nationalities. Up-to-date on
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Tel: (323) 255-6116
7624-3/10/13

Insurance

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INSURANCE

Andres de Camino
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A turnkey home and project completion agency devoted to creative vision and flawless execution. We provide a single, solid and dedicated point of contact for the duration of your real estate project, specializing in:

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Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad. We customize to suit each client’s personal taste, lifestyle and budget.
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Legal services
ONE STOP LAW OFFICES OF
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Mario Valverde
Everything you need to do and stay in business in Costa Rica. We'll incorporate you, take care of your immigration status, get your legal permits and licenses, keep your books and taxes and represent you in any legal process, either civil, commercial, criminal, tax, labor, family and torts.
 
We've been helping people like you since 1986.
 
Contact us at: (506) 2215-0001; (506) 8312-3087
Email: mario.valverde@ice.co.cr
7841-8/11/13


Translations and legal services

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Accountants

U.S. Tax International

Plus Costa Rican taxes, accounting, and legal services
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7640-3/4/12

U.S. Income Tax
David G. Housman Attorney & C.P.A
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E mail: papahound@comcast.net
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Uncle Sam's
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Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620
E-mail jrtb_1999@yahoo.com
7410-4/1/13


Dentistry

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From USA    1-866-7060-248
Please visit: www.cit-team.com
7838-4/11/13

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6822-5/8/12
Three lawmakers investigated
over transfers made to party


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's chief prosecutor announced Tuesday morning that he was bringing criminal charges against three sitting lawmakers of the Partido Liberación Nacional.

But a later explanation showed that the allegations involved the use of property that had passed through a corporation in the last campaign. Donations from corporations are not legal, but many properties are held in corporations for convenience.

The prosecutor or fiscal general, Jorge Chavarría Guzmán, is pressing the case over a building provided the political party in San José during the last presidential campaign and also for the use of Balcon Verde, the long-time party headquarters in Sabana Oeste. The ownership of Balcon Verde passed though a corporation to the political party.

The lawmakers who were named by the Poder Judicial are Óscar Alfaro and Antonio Calderón, who are involved with the exchange of the San José building, and Alicia Fournier and Calderón, who were involved with the transfer of Balcon Verde from one corporation to the political party. Because of their legislative jobs, they are immune to prosecution unless the Asamblea Legislativa lifts the immunity.


Gasoline prices scheduled
to increase again soon

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There is no surprise that motor fuel prices are increasing again.

The Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos said Tuesday that super gasoline would go up 17 colons and that plus gasoline and diesel would go up 15 colons per liter.

The agency computes the price of fuels each month based on the world petroleum price and other factors. The prices take effect when they are published in the la Gaceta official newspaper in about a week.

The increases mean that motorists who use super will pay an additional 12 U.S. cents for fuel with the new price of $5.59 a gallon. Plus users will pay an additional 11 U.S. cents for gasoline priced at $5.27 a gallon. Diesel also will be 11 cents a gallon higher at $4.99 a gallon.

Most other petroleum products also are going up, except that liquid gas is going down 4 colons a liter. That product is used extensively for cooking.


Our reader's opinion
Separate lawyers from notaries
to make the system work well


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I read lawyer Valverde Brenes's advice about the do's and don'ts to protect there property. Wow, he sugarcoats the issues and it seems to be an add for himself.
 
First major issue is the fact that Lawyers are also notaries! That is the 800-pound gorilla of the problem. Costa Rica must end that system ASAP or else !
 
As has been reported by A.M. Costa Rica over the many years, the Registro Nacional is willing to and does just collect fees and many properties have multiple owners. The former director had publicly stated that it is the court's job to settle all the property problems not the registry's.
 
I, myself, have two properties that have other owners even though my so-called lawyers followed the proper procedures. The two properties have stamped, notarized, registered planos, but one overlaps and one has others registered on the same lot. How is that possible with titled lots?  Truth be told, as A.M. Costa Rica just published the article on the Puntarenas land folks just claim property and viola. The possibility of a Gringo trying to regain his land is highly dubious at best. Costa Rica is still the wild wild West, and the major problem is/are the lawyers and a broken system.
 
The lawyers are basically a bad bunch and it isn't just a few bad apples. Sadly the court system is broken, too. Panamá went away allowing lawyers to be notaries, and that cut down 80 percent of the fraud. The best way to buy land anywhere in the world is to use a title company! If there is no title insurance, don't buy! Funny, that is the way normal Americans buy property, and banks demand it, but they come to Costa Rica, and most don't even press there lawyers.
 
Sampson Valverde
San Isidro de El General and
David, Panamá

 
Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him
 HERE!
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
Click a story for the summary









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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 41
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Macaw rescue project struggles to make a mandatory move
By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

After more than three decades of service, the Costa Rican macaw conservation program, The Ara Project, is being sent from its Alajuela home, and is under threat to be shut down unless the group can raise enough to relocate, according to directors.

“We tried to buy it for two years, but at the price they wanted it was impossible,” said Chris Castles, co-director.  “They have given us to the end of the year to be gone.”

This is an extension from the original April deadline, he said.

The Ara Project began in the 1980s by Margot and Richard Frisius as a licensed zoological park in Rio Segundo of Alajuela for macaws confiscated by the government or abandoned by owners.

Through the implementation of a breeding program in 1992 and the creation of a non-profit organization, Amigos de las Aves, the Frisius's efforts grew the site into the largest collection of great green macaws in captivity in the world, said the organization's Web site.  The conservation program also received notice for a successful scarlet macaw reintroduction program.

The green bird, known by the Latin name ara ambiguus, and scarlet bird, ara macao, are in danger of extinction.

Before Ms. Frisius died in 2008, she created a trust fund called The Ara Project to ensure that the project would continue.

Shortly after her death, the Frisius's oldest daughter came and moved her father back home and sold the breeding the site, said Castles.  This place is where all the captive birds are raised and rehabilitated until they can be released.

“One hundred percent of the birds that we breed are released,” he said.

The new owners have a desire to urbanize the four hectares of land, leaving no space for the Alajuela location to continue to exist and the 150 birds there homeless, he said. 

Castles and his partner in leadership, Fernanda Hong Beirute, have acquired a land donation in Punta Islita in the Nicoya.  This area is also the location of one of the scarlet macaw release sites, which was founded in 2011.  Birds are soft-released, meaning they are allowed to get acclimated to their new environment then let out into the wild.  At this time they are still given supplementary feeding until the birds can sustain themselves through foraging.

Before the release of 11 birds into this area, macaws were a distant memory to the locals, Castles said, recalling the memory of a letter he received from a 80-year-old who wrote of how she would see the bird as a child.

“Macaws haven't existed on that side of the Nicoya for over 70 years,” Castles said.  “Mainly it was people's grandparents
green macaw
Ara Project photo
This green macaw even has a name, Geraldine.

and great grandparents who last saw them.”

There are other release sites in Manzanillo, Tiskita Biological reserve, Curú Wildlife Refuge, and Palo Verde, although the latter two places have been discontinued in use.

The program has an 85 percent success rate, and now the birds are breeding and sustaining themselves, said Castles.

Although the directors have the land, they must build roads, drains and aviaries for the facility.  The estimated cost for the entire center is $250,000, but Castles said at the moment they are trying to build only the minimum.

To start, the British Embassy has committed $14,000 to education and building a house for the volunteer biologist at the new location.

They also have an online fundraiser HERE!

“We're hoping other embassies, businesses and people who are in position to help will get on board,” Castles said.

Although the process will be long, he still remains confident in the work to get to the new location.

“Once it is finished and is relocated, it's going to be a paradise,” said Castles.  “It's very peaceful, very safe and we can breed and release the birds on site.”


Foreigners swell ranks of those who would be transplant donors
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats who agreed to donate organs when they obtained residency might have a long wait.

The immigration department said that some 77,000 persons, all foreigners, have agreed to organ donation when they received their cédulas of residency. But the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social said that there were only 454 transplants in public hospitals in 2012.
More than half were cornea transplants. But there also were 115 kidney transplants, five liver transplants and 18 bone and 55 bone marrow transplants.

Some 60 percent of the transplants are done at Hospital México in La Uruca. The Caja said that such an operation is a major undertaking with as many as six surgeons and sometimes two operating rooms if the donor is a living person. The Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería said that it maintains a data base of possible donors. The data base is shared with the Caja.

Del Rey Hotel

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
SSan José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 41
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leatherback
University of Alabama at Birmingham photo
Photo gives an indication of the size of an adult leatherback, which can weigh a ton. The turtles also have nesting sites in Costa Rica and are similarly endangered here.

Pacific study shows decline
of endangered leatherbacks

By the University of Alabama news service

An international team led by the University of Alabama at Birmingham has documented a 78 percent decline in the number of nests of the critically endangered leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) at the turtle’s last stronghold in the Pacific Ocean.

The study, published online Tuesday in the Ecological Society of America’s scientific online journal Ecosphere, reveals leatherback nests at Jamursba Medi Beach in Papua Barat, Indonesia, which accounts for 75 percent of the total leatherback nesting in the western Pacific, have fallen from a peak of 14,455 in 1984 to a low of 1,532 in 2011. Less than 500 leatherbacks now nest at this site annually.

Thane Wibbels, a professor of reproductive biology at the university and member of a research team that includes scientists from State University of Papua, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service and the World Wildlife Fund Indonesia, says the largest marine turtle in the world could soon vanish.

“If the decline continues, within 20 years it will be difficult if not impossible for the leatherback to avoid extinction,” said Wibbels, who has studied marine turtles since 1980. “That means the number of turtles would be so low that the species could not make a comeback.

“The leatherback is one of the most intriguing animals in nature, and we are watching it head towards extinction in front of our eyes,” added Wibbels.

Leatherback turtles can grow to six feet long and weigh as much as 2,000 pounds. They are able to dive to depths of nearly 4,000 feet and can make trans-Pacific migrations from Indonesia to the Americas Pacific coast and back again.

While it is hard to imagine that a turtle so large and so durable can be on the verge of extinction, Ricardo Tapilatu, the research team’s lead scientist who is a doctoral student in the university's Department of Biology, points to the leatherback’s trans-Pacific migration, where they face the prevalent danger of being caught and killed in fisheries.

“They can migrate more than 7,000 miles and travel through the territory of at least 20 countries, so this is a complex international problem,” Tapilatu said. “It is extremely difficult to comprehensively enforce fishing regulations throughout the Pacific.”

The team, along with paper co-author Peter Dutton, discovered thousands of nests laid during the boreal winter just a few kilometers away from the known nesting sites, but their excitement was short-lived.

“We were optimistic for this population when year round nesting was discovered in Wermon Beach, but we now have found out that nesting on that beach appears to be declining at a similar rate as Jamursba Medi,” said Dutton, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s Marine Turtle Genetics Program.

The study has used year-round surveys of leatherback turtle nesting areas since 2005, and it is the most extensive research on the species to date. The team identified four major problems facing leatherback turtles: nesting beach predators, such as pigs and dogs that were introduced to the island and eat the turtle eggs; rising sand temperatures that can kill the eggs or prevent the production of male hatchlings; the danger of being caught by fisheries during migrations; and harvesting of adults and eggs for food by islanders.

Tapilatu, a native of western Papua, Indonesia, has studied leatherback turtles and worked on their conservation since 2004. He will head the leatherback conservation program in Indonesia once he earns his doctorate and returns to Papua.

He has worked to educate locals and limit the harvesting of adults and eggs. His primary focus today is protecting the nesting females, eggs and hatchlings. A leatherback lays up to 10 nests each season, more than any other turtle species. Tapilatu is designing ways to optimize egg survival and hatchling production by limiting their exposure to predators and heat through an extensive beach management program.

“If we relocate the nests from the warmest portion of the beach to our egg hatcheries, and build shades for nests in other warm areas, then we will increase hatching success to 80 percent or more,” said Tapilatu.

“The international effort has attempted to develop a science-based nesting beach management plan by evaluating and addressing the factors that affect hatching success such as high sand temperatures, erosion, feral pig predation and relocating nests to maximize hatchling output,” said Manjula Tiwari, a researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, Calif.

Wibbels, who is also the thesis adviser for Tapilatu, says that optimizing hatchling production is a key component to leatherback survival, especially considering the limited number of hatchlings who survive to adulthood.

“Only one hatchling out of 1,000 makes it to adulthood, so taking out an adult makes a significant difference on the population,” Wibbels said. “It is essentially the same as killing 1,000 hatchlings.”

The research team believes that beach management will help to decrease the annual decline in the number of leatherback nests, but protection of the leatherbacks in waters throughout the Pacific is a prerequisite for their survival and recovery. Despite their prediction for leatherback extinction, the scientists are hopeful this species could begin rebounding over the next 20 years if effective management strategies are implemented.

 
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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part 
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apartment. Fast Internet, cable TV, hot water. Large American appliances including washer and dryer. Convenient location in downtown, San José. All bills paid except electric. $600 per month. Contact: rentnowcr@gmail.com or call 8555-9819.
7843-3/12/13

prime
                                    properties
ATTENTION EXPATS:
 
We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Rohrmoser
Escazú
Santa Ana
 

  rentals.sanjose@gmail.com
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Beautiful Golfito house for rent
in Costa Rica: $300/month

Available now and please see the video!
New construction includes some wooden stairs to the main gate and a small pavilion above the house overlooking the village. The distance to Golfito harbor/downtown is 7 kms and you can get there by car, taxi or bus. The rent is $300/month, which is very reasonable for those who want to live near sea and Panamá in an inexpensive lifestyle. It was so nice to live near Panamá where people can shop for much lower prices including for groceries. Please contact me at berosyyourlife@hotmail.com for more details. Thank you.
7800-2/22/13

Palacio condo
Beautiful 2-bedroom, 2-bath modern condo for rent.
(Only 6 years old).
Great Secure Area, Next to 5-Star Hotel Palacio (La Uruca). Gated community, 24-hour security, 5 minutes to San José. Swimming Pool, washer/dryer, covered parking, high-speed Internet, cable TV, home phone! $900 per month, fully furnished, 6-Month minimum! Please Call: 001-954-782-0200 or email jas21358@comcast.net
7780-2/21/13

Volcano View!
Santo Domingo de Heredia, gated community
Fully furnished, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, cable, internet, hot water tank. 300 meters from Mas x Menos supermarket. 700 meters from farmers' market. Bus stop at gate. $600 all utilities paid. Available Jan. 1. cinclus@ice.co.cr
7680-12/28/12

ALAJUELA – SERENE LIVING – MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200
Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

7857-5/4/13





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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 41
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Despite unhappy Republicans,
Hagel gets the job at Defense


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Senate has confirmed President Barack Obama’s pick for Defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, after a bruising nomination battle that saw widespread Republican opposition to the former Republican senator by a vote of 58 to 41. Hagel will lead the Pentagon as America’s war in Afghanistan is winding down and at a time of U.S. fiscal austerity.
 
The Senate confirmed Hagel Tuesday, just days before the start of automatic spending cuts, half of which will affect national security.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

“In three days, across-the-board cuts to defense spending are scheduled to take effect," said Reid. "The Pentagon needs a seasoned leader to implement these cuts.”

Two weeks ago, Republicans blocked a final vote on Hagel, saying they needed more time to consider the nomination.  On Tuesday, more than a dozen Republicans joined with Democrats to end debate.  But bipartisanship virtually disappeared four hours later, when all but four Republicans voted against confirmation in the Democrat-controlled chamber.

Sen. John Cornyn was among those who cast a no vote, citing Hagel’s statements at his confirmation hearing earlier this month.

“Senator Hagel described the murderous, terrorist-sponsoring Iranian theocracy as an elected legitimate government.  That comment is a slap in the face to all the courageous Iranian democracy activists who have risked their lives, and in many cases given their lives, to oppose the dictatorship and promote freedom.  There is no way to sugarcoat it: Senator Hagel’s performance before the Senate Armed Services Committee was remarkably inept.  And we should not be installing a Defense secretary who is obviously not qualified for the job," said Cornyn.

Cornyn and other Republicans also criticized Hagel’s comments on Iran’s nuclear program and Israel’s perceived clout in U.S. politics.

Democrats said many of Hagel’s comments have been mischaracterized or taken out of context.  Sen. Carl Levin noted Hagel’s unique military background.

“Senator Hagel would be the first former enlisted man and the first veteran of the Vietnam War to serve as secretary of Defense," said Levin. "This background gives Senator Hagel an invaluable perspective.”

Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat, cautioned his Republican colleagues against setting a damaging precedent of partisan obstruction to presidential cabinet picks.

“Some day we will have a Republican president again," said Carper. "Someday we will have a Republican majority here.  Just be careful. I say this with respect. Be careful of the bed that we make.  Because someday our friends on the other side will get to lie in it.”

Republicans countered that President Obama should have put forth a less-divisive nominee who would have attracted bipartisan support.

Senator Roger Wicker:

“If a Republican president in the future brings a nomination for Defense secretary to this Senate who cannot get as many as 60 votes, I will ask that Republican president to withdraw that nomination, and wish this president would do the same," said Wicker.

​​Has the contentious confirmation process left Hagel a weakened Defense secretary?  Analyst Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute says no, and predicts Hagel’s relationship with Republican lawmakers will improve.

“A lot of those wounds will, if not be healed, at least be ameliorated. Once he is there, they will not want to undermine his ability to manage the Defense Department, unless he does something that they think is shockingly bad," said Ornstein.

Hagel succeeds Leon Panetta, who served as defense secretary beginning in 2011.


International broadcasters say
their signals are being jammed

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Voice of America is protesting new jamming of its English broadcasts in China.

VOA Director David Ensor condemned the new interference and said the U.S. government broadcaster is working with experts to determine the precise origin of the jamming. He said "the free flow of information is a universal right and VOA will continue to provide accurate and balanced information on platforms that can reach audiences in areas subject to censorship."

The U.S.-funded VOA is not the only victim of jamming. The British Broadcasting Corporation said this week its shortwave English radio broadcasts also are being jammed in China.

The BBC said that while it is not possible to know who is doing the jamming, "the extensive and co-ordinated efforts are indicative of a well-resourced country such as China."

VOA broadcast engineers say Radio Australia also is being jammed.

At VOA headquarters in Washington, engineers say that while the agency's Chinese-language broadcasts are routinely jammed in China, its English broadcasts usually are not. They noticed the jamming of the English programs about a month ago and say it appears to use a new technology.

Many countries have used various methods to jam VOA broadcasts for decades, especially during the Cold War when VOA broadcast heavily into the former Soviet Union and other countries under Communist control. Now, its Persian satellite television broadcasts into Iran are frequently jammed, as are VOA Horn of Africa broadcasts to Ethiopia.


Scientists express concern
about value of wind power


By the Harvard University news staff

Harvard research suggests real-world generating capacity of wind farms at large scales has been overestimated

“People have often thought there’s no upper bound for wind power—that it’s one of the most scalable power sources,” says Harvard applied physicist David Keith. After all, gusts and breezes don’t seem likely to run out on a global scale in the way oil wells might run dry.

Yet the latest research in mesoscale atmospheric modeling, published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, suggests that the generating capacity of large-scale wind farms has been overestimated.

Each wind turbine creates behind it a wind shadow in which the air has been slowed down by drag on the turbine's blades. The ideal wind farm strikes a balance, packing as many turbines onto the land as possible, while also spacing them enough to reduce the impact of these wind shadows. But as wind farms grow larger, they start to interact, and the regional-scale wind patterns matter more.

Keith’s research has shown that the generating capacity of very large wind power installations may peak at between 0.5 and 1 watts per square meter. Previous estimates, which ignored the turbines' slowing effect on the wind, had put that figure at between 2 and 7 watts per square meter.

In short, wind generating firms may not have access to as much wind power as scientists thought.

Keith  is an internationally renowned expert on climate science and technology policy. Coauthor Amanda S. Adams was formerly a postdoctoral fellow with Keith and is now assistant professor of geography and earth sciences at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

"One of the inherent challenges of wind energy is that as soon as you start to develop wind farms and harvest the resource, you change the resource, making it difficult to assess what's really available," said Ms. Adams.

But having a truly accurate estimate matters, of course, in the pursuit of carbon-neutral energy sources. Solar, wind, and hydro power, for example, could all play roles in fulfilling energy needs that are currently met by coal or oil.

“If wind power’s going to make a contribution to global energy requirements that’s serious, 10 or 20 percent or more, then it really has to contribute on the scale of terawatts in the next half-century or less,” said Keith.

If we were to cover the entire Earth with wind farms, he notes, “the system could potentially generate enormous amounts of power, well in excess of 100 terawatts, but at that point my guess, based on our climate modeling, is that the effect of that on global winds, and therefore on climate, would be severe — perhaps bigger than the impact of doubling CO2.”

“Our findings don't mean that we shouldn’t pursue wind power. Wind is much better for the environment than conventional coal. But these geophysical limits may be meaningful if we really want to scale wind power up to supply a third, let’s say, of our primary energy,” Keith added.

And the climatic effect of turbine drag is not the only constraint; geography and economics matter too.

“It’s clear the theoretical upper limit to wind power is huge, if you don't care about the impacts of covering the whole world with wind turbines," says Keith. "What’s not clear — and this is a topic for future research — is what the practical limit to wind power would be if you consider all of the real-world constraints. You'd have to assume that wind turbines need to be located relatively close to where people actually live and where there's a fairly constant wind supply, and that they have to deal with environmental constraints. You can’t just put them everywhere.”

“The real punch line," he adds, "is that if you can’t get much more than half a watt out, and you accept that you can’t put them everywhere, then you may start to reach a limit that matters.”

In order to stabilize the earth's climate, Keith estimates, the world will need to identify sources for several tens of terawatts of carbon-free power within a human lifetime. In the meantime, policymakers must also decide how to allocate resources to develop new technologies to harness that energy.

In doing so, Keith says, “It’s worth asking about the scalability of each potential energy source, whether it can supply, say, 3 terawatts, which would be 10 percent of our global energy need, or whether it’s more like 0.3 terawatts and 1 percent.”

“Wind power is in a middle ground,” he says. "It is still one of the most scalable renewables, but our research suggests that we will need to pay attention to its limits and climatic impacts if we try to scale it beyond a few terawatts."


Benedict is making final
public appearance today


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Pope Benedict makes his last public appearance today, a day before becoming the first pontiff to resign in nearly six centuries. The change comes at a time of daunting challenges for the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict is bidding farewell and preparing for the time when he will no longer lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

But Vatican officials say that as "pope emeritus" he will still wear a pontifical robe.

"He will wear a simple white cassock without the mozzeta, I think it is called, the little cape on top, a simple white cassock," Rosica said.

Benedict leaves his successor with contentious issues, corruption and clerical sex scandals, and declining church attendance in developed countries.

To deal with these challenges, the Vatican needs to shed its doctrinaire approach, says the Rev. Thomas Reese of Georgetown University's Woodstock Theological Center.

"Pope Benedict said it very well when he said that Christianity should be presented not as a series of  'nos' like a nagging mother, but as a series of 'yeses.'  A yes to Jesus, a yes to love, to peace to justice," Reese said.

Over the next few weeks, 115 cardinals from around the world will choose the next pontiff at a conclave in Rome.

Benedict and his predecessor John Paul II were selected on the basis of their superior intelligence, says the Jesuit priest.

"Should we repeat that? Should they look around and say, 'Okay, who's the smartest man in the room? We're going to elect him.' Or, should they look around and say, 'Let's find the man who will listen to all the other smart people in the church,'" Reese said.

Some Catholics say the next pope should hail from Africa where Catholicism is growing rapidly, while others believe he should come from Europe or America, where the church faces its most serious challenges.

 
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Real estate for sale (paid category)


ALAJUELA – PRIVATE COMPOUND OF 4 HOMES - $850,000 TURNKEY
Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:
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Morazan building for sale
Building for sale by owner
near Parque Morazán San José center on the street running down
the west side of the Hotel Holiday Inn. Perfect for club, bar etc,
Larger than it appears from outside. Call. (506) 8847-1822
or email: diamondchels@yahoo.com
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For Sale By Owner
1 lot (1.5 acres)  at SIBU (8 lots total) amongst 50 acres of protected jungle gardens with sunset ocean views of Playa Nosara. Underground electric and water.13 minutes from Playa Guiones. Gated. In house financing available. Home of SIBU Sanctuary. jungalow@gmail.com.
7845-8/18/13

Montemar montage
Gated community near the beach
SALE on our last 4 lots! Starting at just $20k with financing available.
Deep discounts for cash sales!
Reserve today with just $5,000 down
Great retirement, vacation, or investment option!
Lots of wildlife on the property. Gated front entrance, caretakers house.
Water and power on site.
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CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
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Rich Coast Montage
RichCoastRealty.com
Central Pacific Coast Real Estate
- 2-bedroom house in gated community, $92,500.
- Lots in gated community from $20k w/financing available.
- 3-bedroom house in gated community, furnished, walk to the beach, $125k
- 3-bedroom oceanview house on 5 acres subdividable, $270k
- 58-acre oceanview property subdividable, $169k
Oceanfront residential Lot $58k
and much more....
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Ocean view home
Georgeous House For Sale In Costa Rica
Gorgeous house built 5 years ago to U.S. standards on 37,000 sq. ft TITLED property. This is a very special and rare property because of the INCREDIBLE OCEAN VIEW and excellent location. This one of a kind home and property is truly a must see. Ocean view Only $345 000.00 US More details: http://www.monalbum.fr/Album=E3GLBJQX
Jack 506-2778-8172    Email: quadtours@yahoo.ca
7789-2/14/13

Luxurious new beach home for sale
Top of the line construction!
This titled property is located on a dead end road only 300 meters from the beach at Esterillos Este. It's a ''one of a kind'' construction with natural diamond Brite pool!
Top of Line construction
1st master bedroom with full bath and loft area. 2nd master bedroom with full bath and outdoor shower. Sells completely furnished with front-loading washer-dryer, commercial refri/freezer and deluxe furniture. Storage area and carport. $289,000.00 USD Call 2778-8408 or 8707-1037 or email marietta234@yahoo.es
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7788-3/14/13

just reduced
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58-acre oceanview and mountainview property

Segregated into 9 lots, Excellent Development Potential!
20 minutes from the beach Central Pacific Coast, between Jacó and Quepos.
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ALAZAN Eco-Friendly Community

- Ocean, mountain, and river views, built in harmony with nature
- 70% sold out, 1.25 acre + lots available from $75,000
- All lots held in separate corporations
- Functioning HOA with 24-hour security and gated front entrance
- 100% custom homes, turnkey construction
- Community homes have been featured in Su Casa Architectural Magazine
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- Organic Permaculture farm coming soon
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Home sites for sale
5,000 square meters, 1.25 acres, 20 minutes to the International Airport, 5 minutes from 5-star RIU Hotel Casino. 20 minutes from 20 different  beaches! Artola Estates
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is a private gated community, with only 56 lots remaining! Home packages starting at $199,000. Financing with great terms available! www.artolaestates.com 
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Retirement/vacation/hobby farm lots for sale
Libertad, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, 15 minutes to Playa del Coco or Playa Hermosa,
Colinas
20 minutes to Liberia airport. Project is Colinas del Sol del Pacifico, S. A. 125-acre project with beautiful mountain and valley views. 70 clear-titled lots remaining for sale with water and electric to each lot. Lots are 5,000 sq. meters and larger. Fenced and gated project. Ready to build. Lots start at $30,000.    Guanacaste tree
See www.colinasdelsolcr.com. Prices listed have been reduced from those shown on the Web site.  For all general inquiries please contact Jim Day at JimDay50@aol.com or 001 517 484-3675.
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beachfronttwo
beachfront three
Price slashed for quick sale.
Beautiful, completely remodeled beachfront home for sale.

Great location in between Quepos and Parrita. Please visit this Web site for complete details: www.tomstewartinsurance.com/CostaRica. Price recently reduced for quick sale. Email  tomstewart0001@gmail.com or call 713-775-9283.
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Costa Azul view
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Properties in Osa near the ocean.
50% discount from the valuation price, starting at $30.000.
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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 41
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vidrio
One of the pieces in the show

Sculpture uses recyclables
to critique contemporary life

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The work of Costa Rican artist Victoria Montero will fill the exhibition room as the new showcase at Museo Dr. Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia. 

Ms. Montero has more than 20 years of experience and received the national prize for sculpture in 1996.  She is currently based in New York.

Her 16 pieces were designed using various techniques and reused materials. They are presented as sculptures and painting under the theme "Vidrio de la Tormenta," "Glass of the storm".  Ms. Montero's intent was to reinvent the postwar lifestyle when reusing material, said a release.

“In addition to the utilitarian nature of this way of life, Montero believes that circumstances led her to understand that things are not only what they seem, but that you can manipulate and recreate from even the small things,” the release said.  “Her work gives priority to the value of all material resources, unlike in the consumer society.”

In addition to this, the artist described the work as an ability to use an unlimited imagination and to have creative freedom.

"Flirting with the utility of this work does not limit your senses, it expands them,” said Ms. Montero.  “Everyday objects have applications and specific senses. Art objects have unlimited applications and uses.”

"Vidrio de la Tormenta" opens Thursday at 7 p.m. and will be available until Mar. 23.

The Calderon Guardia Museum is located in Barrio Escalante, 100 meters east and 100 meters north of the Iglesia Santa Teresita.


U.S. ships snag two boats
and 1,007 kilos of cocaine


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

U.S. warships have snagged two boats loaded with cocaine, security officials said.

The "USS Gary," a Navy vessel, detained a Costa Rican boat named the "Anzuelo" 150 miles north of Ecuador and confiscated 506 kilos of cocaine. The occupants of the boat were two Mexicans and a Costa Rican.

Also in the Pacific, the " USCG Midgett," a U.S. Coast Guard craft, detained a boat called the "Capitán Allan" Monday afternoon and encountered three Costa Ricans, a Colombian and 501 kilos of cocaine.

Under a continuing agreement with Costa Rica, the crews of the Costa Rican boat will be sent here for trial as well as a sample of the confiscated drugs.



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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 41
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U.S. debt
Feds release illegal immigrants
purportedly due to budget crunch


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency says it has released hundreds of detained immigrants in an effort to save money ahead of potential government budget cuts.

Agency spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said Tuesday the agency ordered field officers to examine the number of immigrants in detention facilities to make sure it’s in line with available funding.

"Over the last week, ICE has reviewed several hundred cases and placed these individuals on methods of supervision less costly than detention,” she said. “All of these individuals remain in removal proceedings. Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety.”

The agency is not providing specifics about the number of detainees being released from prisons, or why, where or how long they have been held.

​Immigration advocacy groups say they are getting calls from contacts in Texas, Arizona and California, states with large Hispanic populations along the border with Mexico.

Our opinion: HERE

Andrea Black, executive director of the Detention Watch Network, said she is encouraged by the news.

“We feel like ICE actually needed to release these people a long time ago,” she said. “We think this is a good opportunity for the government to review its priorities and stop using a political calculus to release detainees.”

Reforming U.S. immigration policy and balancing the budget are two of the most controversial issues facing President Barack Obama, who is under pressure to please both conservative and liberal lawmakers and voters. The two issues collided this week with the the immigration agency's decision to review its detainees.

Bob Goodlatte, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee, called the review an abhorrent political maneuver by President Obama to promote his economic agenda.

​​“By releasing criminal immigrants onto the streets, the administration is needlessly endangering American lives. It also undermines our efforts to come together with the administration and reform our nation’s immigration laws,” Goodlatte said in a statement.

The immigration agency is continuing to prosecute the cases in immigration court and, when ordered, will seek the defendants’ deportation from the United States, according to Ms. Christensen.

Ms. Black of Detention Watch Network acknowledged the review might be a political stunt, but she dismissed the prospect it will endanger the public.

“It can sound really scary, ‘release to the streets,’ but that’s not the case,” she said, adding that many of the detainees are returning to their families or working with community organizations to reintegrate into society.

Carolina Canizales, coordinator of United We Dream’s national END our Pain initiative, said the newly released immigrants should not be feared.

“Low-priority individuals, people who pose absolutely no risk or danger to society, but rather are upstanding members of their communities and families, should not have been locked up to begin with,” she said.

A University of Texas graduate and an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, Ms. Canizales said it should not take a manufactured crisis in Washington to prompt U.S. immigration agencies to “take steps towards using government resources wisely or keeping families together,” adding that now is the time for real immigration reform.

Members of Congress are cobbling together an immigration reform bill they hope to present for consideration next month. Until then, the federal budget crunch is a more immediate concern.

Friday, spending cuts known as sequestration will take effect unless U.S. lawmakers achieve a breakthrough in talks on how to reduce the $16 trillion national debt. The automatic spending cuts will affect government agencies and programs across the country, amounting to $1.2 trillion in savings over a decade.

Ms. Christensen did not say how much money the agency may be saving by releasing detainees, but National Immigration Forum officials say detaining an immigrant costs between $122 and $164 per day.

The group says alternative forms of detention, like telephonic and in-person reporting, curfews, and home visits, could cost between 30 cents and $14 per day per detainee.


Fed chief says cuts to hurt recovery

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Some $85 billion in automatic spending cuts will kick in Friday unless Congress and the Obama administration can agree on an alternate plan to reduce the deficit.  Sequestration, as it's called, was initially agreed upon as a threat to force lawmakers to reach a compromise.  But U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Tuesday that without a deal soon, the massive spending cuts pose a significant threat to the U.S. recovery.

With no progress in Washington to avoid looming spending cuts, Bernanke warned lawmakers that inaction would sharply slow U.S. economic growth.
 
"Moreover, besides having adverse effects on jobs and incomes, a slower recovery would lead to less actual deficit reduction in the short run," said Bernanke.

Despite the high stakes, the action from Washington has been mostly finger pointing.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner says it's time for the president and the Democratically controlled Senate to take the lead.

"The House has acted twice. We shouldn't have to act a third time before the Senate begins to do their work," said Boehner.

The automatic spending cuts, roughly 3 percent of the federal budget, would slash defense spending and affect government services from border security to meat inspections.
 
The White House wants a more balanced approach that includes cuts and higher taxes.
 
But as it stands, President Barack Obama calls the sequester arbitrary and irresponsible.

"These cuts do not have to happen," said Obama. "Congress can turn them off anytime with just a little bit of compromise.'

Republicans say the president is grandstanding.
 
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal accused Obama of fear-mongering.

"The president needs to stop trying to scare the American people that, absolutely, you can cut less than 3 percent without all these awful consequences, without people losing access to critical vaccines, without people, without us jeopardizing food inspections," said Jindal.

But economist William Gale says Republicans' insistence on across the board spending cuts ignores economic reality.

"We should be talking about boosting the economy, boosting spending, not cutting spending right now," said Gale.

Reports suggest Republicans may be willing to modify the sequester to give the administration discretion in deciding which programs to cut. Analysts say such a move would give Republicans political cover but place responsibility for the economic impact squarely on the president.
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