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(506) 2223-1327                        Published Thursday, March 8, 2012, in Vol. 12, No. 49                            Email us
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Tube worm community
Scripps Institution of Oceanography/Greg Rouse
Researchers estimated that there are more than 14,000 tubeworms in this community.
Researchers find a special place in the Jacó Scar
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

When researchers explored the deep ocean off Costa Rica two years ago, they were surprised to find a unique ecosystem and a multitude of unknown species.

The summary of that exploration now has been published in a scientific journal. Involved were researchers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

The unique environment was a mixture of creatures from hot and cold areas of the deep ocean. The area is called the Jacó Scar, and it is where an underwater mountain on the Coco tectonic plate is moving under the lighter Caribbean plate. This is the area that generates many of the earthquakes on the Pacific coast.

Said the university in a news release:

“Among the many intriguing aspects of the deep sea, Earth’s largest ecosystem, exist environments known as hydrothermal vent systems where hot water surges out from the sea floor. On the flipside, the deep sea also features cold areas where methane rises from seeps on the ocean bottom.

“It’s extremely rare to find both habitat types intersecting in one place, but that’s what researchers found and explored during an expedition in 2010 off Costa Rica.”

The Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences) published the findings this week, and the university said that the description of the scientists’ work included a large number of mysterious, undescribed species.  Lisa Levin of Scripps Institution of Oceanography led the expedition, said the university.

The university characterized the location as a hybrid site where aspects of both a hydrothermal vent system and a methane seep exist in unison. The researchers coined the phrase  hydrothermal seep to describe the ecosystem, the university said.

“The most interesting aspects of this site are the presence of vent-like and seep-like features together along with a vast cover of tubeworms over large areas and a wealth of new, undescribed species,” said Ms. Levin in a release by the university.

Co-existing animals ranged from those known to 
another tube worm
Scripps Institution of Oceanography/Greg Rouse
  A closeup of a tubeworm spotted by researchers
  in the deep ocean.

primarily inhabit hot vents or cold seeps, along with foundation species that exist in both settings, said the university. In addition to tube worms, the team documented fish, mussels, clam beds and high densities of crabs, it added.

The unique aspect of the investigation is that researchers used the submersible ALVIN to actually travel to the ocean depths. Said Ms. Levine: “In this instance the human presence, in the submersible ALVIN, was key to our findings. The site had been visited remotely by other researchers, but it was not until human eyes saw shimmering water coming from beneath a large tubeworm bush that we really understood how special Jaco Scar is.” She is director of the Scripps Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation.

Because so little is known about the deep ocean, the researchers say it’s likely that further hybrid or mosaic ecosystems remain undiscovered, possibly featuring marine life specialized to live in such an environment, said the release.

“There are plenty of surprises left in the deep sea,” she was quoted as saying.

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New system to screen
those seeking medical care

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country's 92 public health facilities soon will be online to verify the identification of those who are seeking treatment. The Hospital de Alajuela is the first to institute this system that uses Radiográfica Costarricense S.A. networks to validate an identity with the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social that runs the health system

Hospital officials said that they prevented 60 million colons (about $120,000) in fraud in the last month with the system.

Caja subscribers generally carry identification cards, but these can be passed around to non-subscribers who seek treatment.


Elderly man dies at hands
of morning home invaders


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Robbers burst in on a 75-year-old Desamparados man about 5 a.m. Wednesday, beat him about the head and left him to die.

The Judicial Investigating Organization identified the victim of the home invasion by the last name of Gamboa. They said he opened the door to his home to go exercise in the early morning when the robbers burst in.

Gamboa resisted, said the judicial agency, and he was beaten about the face until his son appeared from inside the home and caused the assailants to flee. He lived in San Jerónimo de Desamparados.


Rush hour traffic snarled
by multiple accidents


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

San José rush hour traffic moved at a snail's pace Wednesday because of multiple accidents. A collision on Paseo Colón just 100 meters from Parque La Sabana was a serious impediment for buses and motorists on their way home.  Elsewhere there were several mishaps, including one in San Pedro between a taxi and a motorcycle.

As is the Costa Rican regulation, vehicles in collisions have to remain in place until the insurance investigation is complete even if the flow of traffic is blocked.

 
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!
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A.M. Costa Rica Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 8, 2012, Vol. 12, No. 49
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Constitutional court rejects appeal over Río San Juan roadway
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala IV constitutional court has thrown out a legal challenge to the new roadway that the central government is building parallel to the Río San Juan in northern Costa Rica.

The appeal was lodged by the Fundación Mundial Déjame Vivir en Paz  against the Consejo de Seguridad Vial, the country's road agency, and President Laura Chinchilla.

The appeal was filed in December. The Sala IV gave no reason for its action, although a written decision is likely. The foundation said that there had been no environmental studies or planning for the road and that the needs of the disabled were not taken into account.

The road is a hurry-up job designed to open up the northern area to transport so that residents there can avoid the river, which is Nicaraguan territory.
Casa Presidencial quickly applauded the court action. The route is designated Ruta 1856, Juan Rafael Mora Porras, a name that has political overtones. Mora led the war in 1856 to oust U.S. filibuster William Walker, who wanted to take over Central America.

Costa Rica is engaged in a legal battle at the International Court of Justice in the Hague, Netherlands, over Nicaragua's invasion of its territory near the mouth of the river.

Also Wednesday, the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad said it would begin new work on some 20 kilometers of the highway in two weeks. The project will be to put down more gravel. The section is between La Trocha and Medio Queso.

Nicaragua also has raised the environmental issue, claiming that Costa Rica was causing damage to the river by building the highway.


Phone companies to create blacklist to counter thefts of cells
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The typical booty in a street robbery is a cell telephone. Sometimes the robbery escalates to murder when a victim resists.

For this effort, the robber or murderer is likely to get 5,000 colons for the telephone from a dealer in stolen goods. Some of these businesses that purchase stolen cell phones are open 24 hours a day for the convenience of robbers.

With the increase in value of the cell telephones, users have become bigger targets.

The fencing operations can resell the devices for a handsome
profit, and communications officials have been hard pressed to eliminate the practice. Frequently the only item of value carried by a robbery victim is the cell telephone.

Today telecom companies will announce plans to make the stolen phones less valuable. The companies are creating a blacklist of stolen telephone devices that will be circulated throughout the country and the world to prevent the reactivation and use.

The companies involved are Claro, Telefónica, Tuyo Móvil y Fullmóvil and the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

The companies will be signing an agreement under the auspices of the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones.


Female prison inmates have a special place to raise their kids
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The president will be inaugurating today a special section of the El Buen Pastor women's prison for inmates who are caring for their children.

The section is called Casa Cuna or cradle house and consists of 38 living spaces for mothers who are inmates and are
accompanied by children 3 years old and under, said Casa Presidencial. Most of the woman in the Desamparados prison are there for drug offenses.

Today is the International Women's Day, and the prison is the first stop on the list of activities for President Laura Chinchilla Miranda.

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Regulator finds some contamination in Heredia's water
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The agency that regulates utilities said bacteria has been found in tow surface water sources used by the Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia. These are water sources in San Rafael and San Isidro, the agency said.

In San Rafael only 43.5 percent of the samples tested were negative to fecal contamination. At San Isidro only 28.2 percent of the samples were negative, said the agency, the  Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos.

Despite the contamination, the agency said that water treatment procedures kept the fecal matter from reaching the public.

The agency did an extensive study of the Heredia utility agency for the period of 2009-2010. It urged the water provider to
 take steps to safeguard the water sources from animals and humans.

The agency said that water piped from underground sources was of excellent quality.

The agency said that it noticed an increase in water that was not accounted for and suggested that there may be more leaks. At the same time water use fell about 5 percent, perhaps because of higher rates and the economic situation during those years, it said.

The water utility has five treatment plants.

The agency noted that the utility did not have any support from the state and that it continues to face the demands of urban growth.


Caja says it  will make major improvements at Golfito hospital
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social says it is making a major investment to improve conditions in the Hospital de Golfito.

The health agency said it would spend 230 million colons or
about $450,000. Part of the work will be to protect the
hospital, its staff and patients against fire, floods and other disasters.

The project is a big one and includes the ceilings, floors, walls and rebuilding certain sections. The hospital has about 400 staffers and serves a population of about 36,000, the Caja said.

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Our readers' opinions
U.S. drug culture spawns
life-threatening problem


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
 
I see once again that the U.S. government is making the rounds in a effort to guarantee the Western Hemisphere that the continued drug battle will continue.  I've watched this battle from the sidelines for many many years. 

I lived in Florida back in the '70s where the wars were out of control.  I worked in Jamaica in the '80s, and I watched idly while the drug trade dominated everything, the currency and the everyday discussions among neighbors. 

Now that my interests have been in Costa Rica for a few years I once again watch and listen to the never-ending subject of drugs.  Now I am in Missouri helping my elderly father deal with his rental problems, which are taking a beating from the meth culture. 

I see the Midwest now in a different light.  Its a nightmare out of control throughout the Midwest.  Interdiction to me has proven a waste of billions of dollars.  I see the government has all the latest equipment such as planes and boats and radar.  The real problem is the people here in the States who want to buy this stuff.  Why is the U.S.A. saturated with people who hunger for drugs?  I don't get it. 

The prisons here are full. The court systems are full, and the long term scenario is not a positive one.  We have a life-threatening problem that has become a national threat to our very own existence.  I'm seeing three generations of druggies here in the Midwest.  We have had to evict family where the grandfather, father and son were dealing in meth.  It's a total breakdown of moral ethics and responsibility. 

I don't have the answers, but I feel that more fastboats isn't the answer.  The problem is right here in the States with millions of citizens who just don't give a dam or are brain dead and who'd rather get high than work and raise their families with morals and responsibilities.  Just how long and how far can this problem deteriorate to?  We are in serious trouble.
Bruce Simpson
Miami


He must forgive himself
for enforcing the law

Dear A.M. Costa Rica;

RE: John Pennisi.

I don't know you and have not eaten at your wonderful restaurant that has nothing but stellar TripAdvisor reviews. My heart just felt like reaching out to you and your family.  I live with my husband in Esparza, and we have lived in Costa Rica for over eight years.  We have witnessed the increase in crime.  We were even robbed, but we weren't at home at the time.

One of the biggest problems is the lack of criminal courts, penal and prosecution systems. This fellow you accidentally killed had a criminal record, the system failed YOU and the rest of us who suffer from this type of man and others like him who are on the streets when they should be in jail.  The circumstances were present for you to bring this man to justice, and you did, and you need to forgive yourself.  The courts would not do anything to stop him, nor the police, and there would likely be numerous more crimes and suffering he would bestow on innocents.  You, in essence, have saved others by what you did.

I feel very strongly about this. It was HIS Karma playing out. Please put this behind you as soon as possible, I know many who read this news article are sending you supportive love and healing.  You can overcome this, and you can move back to that lovely peacefulness you embody.  Trust the universe was not abandoning you in that moment of crisis.  It played out the way it needed to.  Do not suffer.

Until the government gets real about crime and puts the lawbreakers behind bars for very long harsh punishments, the Wild West mentality and we, the people, must enforce the laws.
Deb Klipper
Esparza

Apple unveils iPad upgrade
and improved TV device


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Apple computer company introduced a new version of its popular iPad Wednesday. The device has a sharper screen, an improved camera, and the ability to use Verizon's 4G LTE wireless service, a faster method to access the Internet over cellular networks. 

The iPad is a mobile computer and the new version has a nearly 25-centimeter screen.  Apple's iPad is the best-selling of the so-called tablet computers, and the improvements are apparently designed to help it keep its market share.

The Bloomberg financial news service says Apple will probably account for about two-thirds of the more than 100 million tablet computers that will be sold this year.

Apple also unveiled an upgraded version of its Apple TV box that allows users to take high quality video and audio programs from the Internet and elsewhere and play them wirelessly on high definition televisions and other devices.

The device is more powerful than the previous version and is about the size of a paperback book.
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Latin America news
Voice of America marks
70 years of broadcasting


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama and other prominent world figures have joined in the year-long celebration of Voice of America's 70th anniversary with messages of congratulations.

The president credited VOA with providing accurate and objective news in the face of foreign governments that censor, and regimes that deny universal rights. In a video message released at an anniversary event Wednesday, Obama said the United States is stronger and the world more just because of VOA's efforts.

Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi said VOA's 70th anniversary is like the birthday of a friend, saying VOA and other broadcasting stations were the friends who kept her company during her long years of house arrest.

Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said VOA's Tibetan service has played a vital role for Tibetans by broadcasting unbiased news, and said he believes news organizations like VOA are critically important.

Created by the U.S. government during World War II to broadcast news into territory occupied by Nazi Germany, the Voice of America has evolved into a global multimedia organization, broadcasting in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of more than 140 million.

VOA's first shortwave radio transmission, spoken in German on Feb. 1, 1942, began with the words, "Here speaks a voice from America." The broadcast went on to promise, "The news may be good. The news may be bad. We shall tell you the truth."

VOA's 70th anniversary comes as the agency faces budget cuts, along with much of the rest of the federal government. Some language services face sharp staffing cuts or possible elimination.

VOA programs are delivered on television, radio, Internet and mobile platforms, with a network of about 1,200 affiliate stations around the world. In addition to more than 1,100 employees in Washington, VOA works with journalists in trouble spots around the world. Earlier this year, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the murder of a reporter working for VOA in Pakistan.


Trout farmers plan fair

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Trout farmers plan the Primera Expoferia Nacional de la Trucha March 24 and 25 in La Trinidad de Dota on the Interamericana highway. The location is near Cerro de la Muerte.

There are about 300 trout producers in the country, according to government figures, and they produce 550 tons of trout a year. The trout has begun to be exported to the United States. Much of it is canned.

The fair is being sponsored by a number of government agencies including the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.








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