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Published Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 48
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Crocodylus acutus, or the American crocodile, is commonly found in Costa Rica
Call for crocodile count leaves some frustrated
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

That crocodiles lurk in the shade along the riverbanks, creeks and marshes of Costa Rica is no secret.

The trouble comes when there is an increase in the number of those reptiles and the effect it could have on Costa Rica.

A lawsuit that seeks to oblige the state to determine whether there exists a crocodile overpopulation is expected to be filed Thursday before Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo.

The action is expected to be carried out by Walter Brenes, an environmentalist lawyer who said he believes it is the duty of the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación to provide that information so that the tourism sector may take the proper measures.

In July Brenes was hired by the Cámara de Comercio y Turismo de Tamarindo in order to have authorities remove a crocodile that had previously attacked a tourist from the United States.

The 59-year old tourist had his right leg amputated due to the injuries.

That incident led to millions of dollars lost in cancelations, according to Hernán Imhoff, the president of Cámara de Comercio y Turismo de Tamarindo.

A high population of crocodiles could mean an increase in reported incidents with humans. The more crocs, the more effect it has on the surrounding area where they live.

Tourism is one of those industries that could become affected by the rise in crocodiles. It is also true that many areas in Costa Rica rely on tourism for its major source of business.

“We are not the only beach in the world, and if authorities do nothing to protect the people and relocate the reptiles, visitors will just go somewhere else.” said Imhoff

According to the lawyer, the predators also showed up in the World Surfing Games that took place in Playa Jacó last year and more recently they returned to Tamarindo last November.

“We say that there is an overpopulation, and the environmental authorities assure there's none, but how do they know if there is no formal study to prove who's right and who's wrong.”said Brenes.

The lawyer said that the Contraloría General de la República has already warned the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación that it is its duty to create and keep statistics of that nature.

When asked how this move benefits him, Brenes insists that the lawsuit is a professional matter and he is not looking for any compensation other than doing the right thing.

On the other side, authorities from Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación do not believe an overpopulation actually exists and that there are social and biological reasons for the attack.

“First of all, it is true that we don't have those studies, and it is not our duty to have them, that's what universities and other academic organizations are supposed to do.” said Jose Hern
ández, coordinator of Programa de Vida Silvestre de la Cordillera Volcánica Central.

“I've been working here for 35 years, and I can tell you that most of the time people are negligent and pay no attention to warnings. We know that sometimes hotel owners remove the warning signs we place so that they don't lose customers.” he said.

“What we do know is that right now there are more males than females in the crocodile population, and that causes that males to start looking for partners beyond their habitat. But again, many people watch the animal in uncommon places and continue to go there. That happens a lot with surfers.” explains Hern

According to a 2015 research by Universidad Nacional biologists Iván Sandoval and Alejandro Durán, there are several communities in Costa Rica that could be hotspots for attacks.

Among those are: Palmira, Filadelfia, La Guinea, Belén, Bebedero and Río Cañas.

These communities are in the province of Guanacaste around the area of the Nicoya peninsula in the northwest section of the country.

There's a new policy in waste water treatment
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

For the first time, Costa Rica has a new national policy for the treatment of waste waters, a plan that has been built among citizens, government and environmental non-government organizations. 

Part of the plan, called the Política Nacional de Saneamiento en Aguas Residuales, has already been implemented in certain areas.

For example, there is the water treatment plant Los Tajos in San José and the construction of new sewage pipeline across 11 cities, which should be done by 2021.

The cost of these initial projects is estimated to be $345 million, according to officials.

Some other parts of these projects are still under feasibility studies, and will benefit the villages of  Playas del Coco, Nicoya, Puntarenas, Jacó, Quepos, Golfito, Puerto Viejo, Moín y Centro de Limón.

“Costa Rica should have a clear route for the proper treatment of waste waters, one that will make citizens confident about the institutions in charge of their health,” said Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís.

The plan is scheduled to be concluded by 2045.

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Smart meters greeted with skepticism

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some expats greeted with skepticism the state power company’s plan to install up to 158,000 so-called smart electric meters.

Expat Maxine de Villefranche said that, in her former home in California, meters turned out to give faulty information, inflating power use which cost consumers thousands of dollars of electric power they had never used. 

These machines must be constantly calibrated in order to be effective and efficient and, if they are not, will cause inflated billing by the power company, she said.

Another expat, also responding to a Tuesday news story, said that he thinks the power company,  Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, installed a smart meter at his home and his power consumption nosedived. The company already has installed about 36,500 meters.

The expat concerns are backed up by a Dutch study that said this week that a researcher found that these meters can give false readings that are up to 582 percent higher than actual energy consumption.

The smart meters electronically report power consumption and eliminate the need for an individual to check the device at each customer location.

The Dutch study was carried out by the University of Twente in collaboration with the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. Researcher Frank Leferink estimated that potentially inaccurate meters have been installed in the meter cabinets of at least 750,000 Dutch households, the University of Twente said. The institution then elaborated:

“In the experiments, five of the nine meters gave readings that were much higher than the actual amount of power consumed. Indeed, in some setups, these were up to 582 percent higher. Conversely, two of the meters gave readings that were 30 percent lower than the actual amount of power consumed.”

Where's evidence of Russian hacking?

By Jay Brodell
Editor of A.M. Costa Rica

A skeptic might wonder just where is the evidence that the Russian government hacked email accounts at the Democratic National Committee.

In the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into this allegation as are committees in both houses of Congress.

Expats in Costa Rica can be assured that the U.S. government does not need to hack their email accounts. Every message, and probably every keystroke on the internet is being recorded by the National Security Administration.

John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute goes even further.  “According to the Wikileaks Vault 7 data dump, government agencies such as the CIA and the NSA have been spying on the citizenry through our smart TVs, listening in on our phone calls, hacking into our computerized devices (including our cars), and compromising our security systems through the use of Trojan horses, spyware and malware.”

The institute rails against what it sees as unconstitutional government actions at every level. Wire services reported Tuesday that the online whistleblower organization WikiLeaks just published thousands of pages of what it says are confidential documents by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency that expose the massive hacking program employed by the CIA.

That appears to mean that U.S. government data snoops did not have to hack anyone to obtain emails from Democratic Party leaders. They already had them. It was Wikileaks that exposed the emails of the former chairman for the Hillary Clinton campaign John Podesta. A lot of the emails contained statements Democratic officials preferred had not been made public.

The allegations about the Russian government have been around for more than a year. But, as one reader pointed out, if the Russian hackers really did get damaging emails from the Democratic National Committee, it should be congratulated for exposing the duplicity there.

Some Democrats, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, go so far as to say that the Donald Trump campaign may have conspired with the Russian government to attack the campaign of Mrs. Clinton.

In addition, there are suspicions that U.S. government agents were those who did their own hacking to leak reports of meetings by Trump nominees with a Russian ambassador.

Several cybersecurity firms have blamed a Russian hacking group on getting the information from Podesta. But the culprit could have been a sixth grader. It seems Podesta responded to a fake email that pretended to be from Google and provided someone with his gmail account password.

Expats can be forgiven by all the uproar over alleged Russian hacking. Most news reports accept the hacking as a fact, even though Jullian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, has said his organization did not receive the emails from the Russian government.

Also overlooked is the announcement in December by Craig Murray, a former British ambassador and Assange associate, that he traveled to Washington and obtained copies of the emails from a disaffected Clinton campaign staffer.

Assange, Murray and certainly not Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, are not on the witness list for the first congressional committee hearing March 20.

But for a conclusive finding that the Russian government was involved in the hacking, a statement by Putin would seem to be required.

In addition, congressional committees have to answer why a sophisticated computer hacking operation associated with the Russian security services left any clues at all.
News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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Art City Tour offers an eclectic array of culture and design today
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Festival Internacional del Diseño is being featured as part of the Art City Tour Thursday. This is in addition to open house at a number of museums, galleries and cultural sites.

The design festival is in the Casa de Cuño at the Antigua Aduana on Calle 23. Organizers are promising 60 exhibits promoting local products and businesses.

The design fair is being opened Thursday specifically for Art City Tour. It reopened Friday from 1 to 8 p.m., Saturday during the same hours and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Products on display are expected to be jewelry, glass works, clothing, ceramics, leather goods and similar.

For those seeking more design exhibitions, the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo also will be open for the tour, as will the Museo Nacional, the Museo del Jade y la Cultura Precolombina, the Museo Calderón Guardia, the Museos del Banco Central and the Galería Nacional at the Museo de los Niños.

The Centro Nacional de la Cultura, which is the culture
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
Participants could see the new Museo Nacional exhibit.

ministry, is putting on a historical show at 5 p.m. in the adjacent Parque España on Avenida 7. The Centro Nacional used to be the Fábrica Nacional de Licores, and plenty of the impressive old machinery still is on display.

All the museums and cultural sites in the tour are free from 5 to 9 p.m., and the sponsor, GAM Cultural, even provides free bus transportation among the locations.

Seguridad Pública attempts to appease police force with new policy
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The public security ministry has yielded to some demands from the police union and officers with the elimination of its most recently enacted work cycle. The replacement one that the ministry is offering, it says, is more favorable to the officers in its ranks.

The conflict stems from a change enacted on Feb. 20 that affected the work schedules for the police forces under the direction of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública. Some of its members were allegedly calling for a golpe del estado due to this controversial schedule change. Meanwhile, the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos that represents the police became involved in the fight.

The work schedule, colloquially known as 4x2, called for police officers to work 12-hour shifts for four days out of the week and then have two full days off work. Some members opposed to this new rule were pressing for a schedule that would allow officers to work six 12-hour days and then have six days off.

Tuesday, the security ministry announced that it would change the work schedule in an apparent concession to opposition among both members of its ranks and the union.

The new work schedule allows for 12-hour shifts of three days with three days off, otherwise called 3x3. Ministry officials said the adoption of this measure came following visits to the delegations and interviews with officers regarding the work schedule change.
The new schedule will cover around 2300 police officers who were working in the 4x2 schedule, according to Juan José Andrade who is commissioner of the Fuerza Pública.

Andrade also announced that the 6x6 schedule requested by some members of the force would be given to officers who have a long commute of at least three hours and public transport is not readily available. The commissioner added that family emergencies would also be considered for that type of scheduling.

The new schedule will be implemented no later than March 17, officials said. The ministry emphasized that for those officers who have a rotating schedule of five days of work and two days off will be maintained.

Seguridad Pública also engaged the Sindicato Independiente de Trabajadores Estatales Costarricenses for the implementation of vacations days granted to police officers for reasons of health recovery. These come in addition to existing measures and will be taken on case-by-case, officials said.

The ministry has about 10,000 officers within its ranks with more recruits in training set to join the ranks of the force. These include: the street patrolmen in blue, frontier police, members of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas and the Servicio de Vigilancia Áerea.

Other police agencies, such as prison guards, traffic police and municipal police officers are under the jurisdiction of other entities. These were not affected by the changes.

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Bird spider detectives solve 200-year old classification mystery
By the Pensoft press staff

Three species and three genera of bird-eater spiders are now described as new to science in a paper recently published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

In their study, the Brazilian spider experts, Caroline Fukushima and Rogério Bertani, Laboratory of Ecology and Evolution, Instituto Butantan, report the diversity of the oldest tarantula genus Avicularia, whose name derives from a famous 18th-century illustration depicting a bird caught by a spider.

Even though these harmless tarantulas have long been a favorite exotic pet around the world, their identity has remained problematic ever since the first species was described back in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus, considered by many scientists to be the father of modern taxonomy.

“He described the species based on a hodgepodge of spiders,” explain the authors. “Over the next centuries, other species with completely different characteristics were called Avicularia creating a huge mess.” As a result, basic questions, such as the characteristic traits of the genus, the number of its species and their localities, have been left unanswered.

To address the confusion, the team studied both newly collected specimens and also specimens from around the world which had previously been deposited in museum collections. Thus, they concluded that, instead of the 49 species previously assigned to the problematic genus, there are in fact only 12, including three new to science.

One of the new species, Avicularia merianae, is named after Maria Sybilla Merian, a pioneering scientist and a remarkable artist who made a famous illustration of a spider eating a bird. It was her work that gave birth to the popular name used for the arachnid group known as bird-eaters or bird spiders.

Meanwhile, the name of the new genus Ybyrapora, which occurs in the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest,
Pensoft press photo
This furry critter is among the tarantula species now identified.

translates “to those that live in trees” from the indigenous local language Tupi. It refers to the arboreal habitat of these species. The other two tarantula genera live exclusively on the Caribbean Islands.

“People think all biologists are like Indiana Jones, with their daily lives full of adventures in the wild. But most of the time, they are much more like Sherlock Holmes: sitting on a chair, collecting and analyzing clues and then using logical reasoning to solve Nature’s mysteries,” said Ms. Fukushima.

“We taxonomists, are ‘wildlife detectives’ who play an essential role not only in biology and conservation. Our work can also become the grounds for new technologies, medicines and ideas that could solve a variety of problems,” she adds.

The authors triumphantly conclude that they have finally closed one of the oldest unsolved cases. The original study can be found HERE!
In addition to being a common pet, these tarantulas are native to the tropical regions of South America.

The range of some species of tarantula covers Costa Rican territory too. Some expats may recall seeing some of these arachnids while hiking through the jungle or maybe finding one in their own home!

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.

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Poas chalet
What a chalet!
We offer for rent a boutique quality 2-bedroom (BR)/1-bath mountain chalet, and a 2-BR/2-bath mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude within the limits of a small horse ranch.  Located just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance, our homes sit on the strategic high ground of Costa Rica’s Central Valley, and are contiguous with the park’s 47,000 hectares of primary cloud rainforest. The chalet and mountain home include a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace, and covered parking.  All utilities and wifi internet included. Please contact Allan or Cristina at for photos, pricing and contract details.

₡355.000 (colones) / 2-bedroom penthouse fully furnished
 including electricity (Central San José)

Full Furniture.  Laundry in bldg. apartment. Downtown Central San José 2-bedroom with king-sized bed in the master bedroom and large closets and desk. It is fully furnished. It has 2 bathrooms, large kitchen and separate large living room. The apartment is on the top floor of the building with a commanding view of San José. It is a fully furnished American-style apartment with elevator in a very secure building in Barrio Amón. Total eastern wall is windows for commanding view of area. The fully equipped kitchen has all the amenities included. All linen, towels, bedding are included. Three televisions, cable television, high-speed internet, WiFi. It includes plenty of hot water AND all your electricity is also included in the rent. Shared free laundries on four floors of the building. Convenient to Parque Morazán, 100 mts. north of downtown Holiday Inn, Del Rey and other downtown hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, National Registry. $650 per month which includes everything in this unit. 1/2 mo. security deposit. No lease required. For personal inspection and more information call Hilda or Frank at (506) -7279-0252, 7148-1518, 7256-8378   Not calling for deals not related.

Tropical Homes logo
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 of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email:

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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 48
Real Estate
About us

Axiom new ad
State Department meeting
raises questions about funding

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. State Department held its first, much-anticipated briefing Tuesday since President Donald Trump's inauguration in January, and faced a lot of reporters' pent-up questions about the forging of American foreign policy in the new administration.

Journalists and other long-time observers of the State Department have been asking when daily news briefings would resume, why they have heard so little from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and why so many senior positions, including Tillerson's deputy, have not been filled in the department.

Acting Spokesman Mark Toner rejected suggestions that the State Department has been marginalized in the new Trump administration:

"Secretary Tillerson is very engaged with the White House, very engaged with the president, speaks to him frequently, was over there just yesterday for a meeting. And I can assure everyone that the secretary's voice, the State Department's voice, is heard loud and clear in policy discussions at the National Security Council level."

Toner is a career State Department officer. His replacement, Tillerson's own new spokesperson, has not been announced. Toner rejected criticism that the new secretary has been keeping a low profile, minimizing contact with reporters and ignoring their questions. Rights groups criticized Tillerson for not presenting the State Department's annual human-rights report last week, instead having it announced through a telephone conference call.

Toner pointed to the former ExxonMobil CEO's trips last month to Bonn, Germany, where he met with his Russian counterpart, and to U.S. neighbor Mexico. The spokesman said Tillerson is cultivating the relationships he needs to represent the U.S. successfully.

Even more worrisome to some analysts are documents circulating that indicate Trump's proposed budget would cut State Department spending and U.S. foreign aid by up to 37 percent, while at the same time dramatically boosting military spending. The official budget has not been released, but is expected this month.

Asked about budget cuts, Toner said nothing is final yet, but that Tillerson is consulting with senior staff members about the department's priorities.

Some former State Department officials and analysts have expressed concern about the impact steep budget cuts would have on foreign service officers in consulates and embassies around the world. Tom Malinowski, assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor during the Obama administration, said the proposed cuts, if implemented, would be devastating.

Malinowski said such drastic cuts would not pass in Congress.

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat, agreed that such cuts would and should not pass, saying a strong U.S. diplomatic presence is more essential today than ever.

Facebook launches tool
to flag so-called fake news

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Facebook has launched a tool it says will help flag so-called fake news.

The tool adds a disputed news flag on stories that have been deemed fake by what Facebook says are third parties including: Snopes, Politifact and

Facebook announced the disputed news flag in December, but it appears it only has gone live in the past day or so, according to news reports.

If a story is flagged by some of Facebook’s 1.86 billion users, the company will determine which to send to the third parties. If the story is fake, it will still be on Facebook, but will carry a notice that it was disputed along with an explanation about why.

Disputed stories can still be shared, but users will be warned they are sharing fake news.

According to USA Today, one fake news story about how President Trump’s Android phone was the source of White House leaks came from a fake news site called “The Seattle Tribune.” The story now appears with a disputed flag as well as links to third party explanations as to why.

A May 2016 survey from the Nieman Lab said 44 percent of Americans get their news from Facebook.

Blueberry juice improves
brain function, study says

By the University of Exeter press staff

Drinking concentrated blueberry juice improves brain function in older people, according to research by the University of Exeter.

In the study, healthy people aged 65 to 77 who drank concentrated blueberry juice every day showed improvements in cognitive function, blood flow to the brain and activation of the brain while carrying out cognitive tests. There was also evidence suggesting improvement in working memory.

Blueberries are rich in flavonoids, which possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Joanna Bowtell, head of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter, said: “Our cognitive function tends to decline as we get older, but previous research has shown that cognitive function is better preserved in healthy older adults with a diet rich in plant-based foods.

“In this study we have shown that with just 12 weeks of consuming 30ml of concentrated blueberry juice every day, brain blood flow, brain activation and some aspects of working memory were improved in this group of healthy older adults.”

Of the 26 healthy adults in the study, 12 were given concentrated blueberry juice, providing the equivalent of 230g of blueberries, once a day, while 14 received a placebo.

Before and after the 12-week period, participants took a range of cognitive tests while an MRI scanner monitored their brain function and resting brain blood flow was measured. Compared to the placebo group, those who took the blueberry supplement showed significant increases in brain activity in brain areas related to the tests.

The study excluded anyone who said they consumed more than five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, and all participants were told to stick to their normal diet throughout.

Previous research has shown that risk of dementia is reduced by higher fruit and vegetable intake, and cognitive function is better preserved in healthy older adults with a diet rich in plant-based foods. Flavonoids, which are abundant in plants, are likely to be an important component in causing these effects.

The new paper, “Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation”, is published in the journal “Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.”

The research was carried out in association with the University of the West of England, and the concentrated blueberry juice brand BlueberryActive and some funding for the study was provided by CherryActive Ltd, which produces cherry, beetroot and blueberry products in concentrate and capsule form.

The study was also supported by the charity BRACE, which raises funds to support dementia research.

Vigilante uses drones
to catch illegal immigrants

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Fifteen years ago, Glenn Spencer left behind his California life and eventually his marriage in pursuit of an obsession: “I came out to Arizona to help secure the border.”

On his Cochise County, Arizona ranch, roughly a football field’s distance from the rust metal barrier that separates the United States and Mexico, Spencer lays a drone flat on the dust and puts his seismograph-based detection system to test.

Within seconds, it disappears, humming quietly into an unforgiving sky. But Spencer never loses sight of his drone on a monitor. Underneath a mesh shade, he maneuvers a joystick like a young boy with his new toy.

It may seem like a game, but Spencer’s man-hunting mission carries dire consequences for those who have risked it all crossing the Sonoran Desert.

“The computer is looking at five miles of information, and then when something happens, the algorithm says, ‘Hey, there’s people out there,’” he explains, pointing to visual aids that he has set up in his warehouse for the curious. Once a migrant is detected, a sensor relays the coordinates, which Spencer promptly calls in.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has not asked for Spencer’s help or that of any vigilante or private militia group, and the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the organization Spencer founded, American Border Patrol, a hate group. But he reports his findings anyway, hoping to shed light on the number of crossings that he says goes undetected, while fiercely denying allegations of racism as demonizing tactics on the part of the opposition.

Over the years, Spencer boasts that he has caught hundreds of border crossers without ever approaching them. He devoutly, but without evidence, believes most of them are drug-smugglers, due to the size of their packs. “America’s Eyes on the Border: Drug smugglers/addicts don’t like us” reads the sign at the entrance to his ranch.

According to the United States Sentencing Commission, nearly 20,000 drug trafficking cases were reported in fiscal year 2015, and approximately 75 percent of offenders were U.S. citizens.

Whether any of the border crossers might be fleeing their country due to economic hardship, gang violence or fear of persecution, Spencer finds it difficult to know, due to his hands-off approach. Still, his principles remain steadfast.

When asked if he has sympathy for those who may be trying to escape a difficult or even dangerous life, he's silent for a long while.

“Look at it this way,” he finally replies. "They have a situation where they’re trying to escape. I believe by us allowing them to escape, they run away from their problems.

“I have to trade off compassion for national survival.”

“Talking to people who have those sorts of views on the U.S.-Mexico border, they are coming from a place of scarcity,” says Juanita Molina, executive director of Border Action Network, a human rights organization that strives for community reconciliation.

Mo Goldman, a first-generation immigration lawyer based in Tucson, Arizona, says there is a huge rejection of vigilantes in Arizona, whose actions he considers a waste of resources and existence.

Spencer’s platform is far removed even from mainstream conservatism. He says organizations like the Heritage Foundation are cautious not to associate themselves with him, which has become a normal, bothersome aspect of his life. But his views on immigration range from extreme-right to conspiratorial.

During the afternoon, he repeats often his belief that Mexicans are deliberately voting in the United States in the interests of Mexico in order to revert the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which granted more than 1.3 million square kilometers of territory to the U.S. in 1848.

It's projected that in less than 30 years, more than half of all Americans will be members of a minority group, making the U.S. a majority-minority nation. Spencer says that change of demographics is not natural.

Ms. Molina, who mentions she would welcome a dialogue with Spencer, says the border region in Arizona has become a convening point for others who share his views.

“It becomes the place where like-minded people believe in this level of polarization and othering of migrants,” Molina said. “And that becomes a core value for them.”

At almost 80, the only health issue Spencer admits to is high blood pressure, which has a dizzying effect; he attributes it to stress. He is his own bookkeeper too.

Beside a rock garden pond, three aged companions wag their greetings, fur spewing in every direction. Spencer promptly turns off Fox News and cranks the volume of his stereo to mellow classical tunes for the dogs.

“This is retirement,” he says with satisfaction. “Some people golf, some have missions.”

The mission transcends even his once more-enthusiastic support for President Donald Trump.

As the interview ends, Spencer offers a final summation of what he sees at stake here at the border, flexing his jaw with every syllable. “America can't start over again. That won't happen again. If we lose that, that's it. We have got to keep it. We've got to hold it. We've got to defend it. And that's what I do.”

Mars mineral deposit reveals
new life signs, scientists say

By the Dept. of Energy press staff

An impact crater on Mars, named Melas Dorsa, and its surroundings show a rich geologic history. The image was created by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express. Studies of the transformation of a synthetic version of a mineral known as whitlockite suggest that Mars had a more water-rich past than previously thought.

Mars may have been a wetter place than previously thought, according to research on simulated Martian meteorites conducted, in part, at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

In a study published today in the journal “Nature Communications,” researchers found evidence that a mineral found in Martian meteorites, which had been considered as proof of an ancient dry environment on Mars, may have originally been a hydrogen-containing mineral that could indicate a more water-rich history for the Red Planet.

Scientists at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who led an international research team in the study, created a synthetic version of a hydrogen-containing mineral known as whitlockite.

The X-ray experiments showed that whitlockite can become dehydrated from such shocks, forming merrillite, a mineral that is commonly found in Martian meteorites but does not occur naturally on Earth.

“This is important for deducing how much water could have been on Mars, and whether the water was from Mars itself rather than comets or meteorites,” said Martin Kunz, a staff scientist at Berkeley Lab’s ALS who participated in X-ray studies of the shocked whitlockite samples.

And because whitlockite can be dissolved in water and contains phosphorous, an essential element for life on Earth, and merrillite appears to be common to many Martian meteorites, the study could also have implications for the possibility of life on Mars.

The pressures and temperatures generated in the shock experiments, while comparable to those of a meteorite impact, lasted for only about 100 billionths of a second, or about one-tenth to one-hundredth as long as an actual meteorite impact.

The fact that experiments showed even partial conversion to merrillite in these lab-created conditions, a longer duration impact would likely have produced almost full conversion to merrillite.

This latest study appears to be one of the first of its kind to detail the shock effects on synthetic whitlockite, which is rare on Earth.

Researchers blasted the synthetic whitlockite samples with metal plates fired from a gas-pressurized gun at speeds of up to about half a mile per second, or about 1,678 miles per hour, and at pressures of up to about 363,000 times greater than the air pressure in a basketball.

At Berkeley Lab, researchers used an X-ray beam to study the microscopic structure of shocked whitlockite samples in a technique known as X-ray diffraction. The technique allowed researchers to differentiate between merrillite and whitlockite in the shocked samples.

Separate X-ray experiments carried out at Argonne Lab’s APS showed that up to 36 percent of whitlockite was transformed to merrillite at the site of the metal plate’s impact with the mineral, and that shock-generated heating rather than compression may play the biggest role in whitlockite’s transformation into merrillite.

There is also evidence that liquid water flows on Mars today, though there has not yet been scientific proof that life has ever existed on Mars. In 2013, planetary scientists reported that darkish streaks that appear on Martian slopes are likely related to periodic flows of water resulting from changing temperatures. They based their analysis on data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

And in November 2016, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists reported that a large underground body of water ice in one region of Mars contains the equivalent of all of the water in Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes. Rover explorations have also found evidence of the former abundance of water based on analysis of surface rocks.

Adcock and Tschauner are pursuing another round of studies using infrared light at the ALS to study actual Martian meteorite samples, and are also planning X-ray studies of these actual samples this year.

Many Martian meteorites found on Earth seem to come from a period of about 150 million to 586 million years ago, and most are likely from the same region of Mars. These meteorites are essentially excavated from a depth of about a kilometer below the surface by the initial impact that sent them out into space, so they aren’t representative of the more recent geology at the surface of Mars, Tschauner explained.

Mars is likely to have formed about 4.6 billion years ago, about the same time as Earth and the rest of our solar system.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Puriscal home
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
This is a gorgeous, new, 3-bedroom luxury home on 2.2 flat acres in a secure, gated community, high in the hills of Puriscal, with stunning, 180-degree views of the ocean, city and mountains of the Central Valley in Costa Rica. Centrally located in the heart of Costa Rica, you are never more than an hour from the Pacific beaches while being much less than that to the culture, shopping, services and night life of the San José, Escazú, Santa Ana and the whole Central Valley. The Altos de Antigua gated community sits at an altitude of 2,800 feet with mild temperatures year round. Features wide paved roads and cement culverts throughout, a large community pool & spa with changing rooms & showers. The community association fees are $42 a month ($500 annually).
This property is currently being offered for $355,000.00 U.S.
Purchase adjoining 2.2 acre investment lot with the home sale for $35,000.00 U.S. or separately for $55,000.00 U.S.
    Summary of House Features:

       * Completed 2012 to North American standards
       * 3 large bedrooms, 2 full baths
       * Custom designed kitchen w/granite countertops
       * Frigidaire Professional appliance package
       * State-of-the-art solar hot water
       * Eco-friendly Toshiba LED lighting
       * LG Multi-Split air conditioning system
       * House & perimeter security alarm system
       * 2-car closed garage w/large paved driveway
Video Tour:
Community Web Site:
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email

COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit trees.
* Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.
* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $40,000 USD
* Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
* 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches
* 10 minutes to Medical Facilities
* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
* 5 minutes to Vista Ridge Golf Club

In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here:

                                      Farm rollover
Beautiful farm in excellent location
At only an hour's drive from San José, minutes from Guápiles, and boardering Braulio Carrillo National Park, Etlingera Farms is one heck of an amazing farm. We purchased this 77-acre farm 10 years ago after many trips, and an exhaustive search. It has a little bit of everything we were looking for and a whole lot of beauty. Our average elevation of 600 meters helps to keep Bella Vista cool year round. This farm is nearly level with a semi-modern 2-bedroom house. A fairly rustic 2-bedroom caretaker's home. And, a comfortable, 1-bedroom cabin where we stay. We have 2 large barns, a chicken coop, and a 3-stall pig pen. There are two tilapia ponds and 2 hectarias, (approximately 5 acres) of different species of bananas. The property boarders Rio Blanco in the rear and has 300 meters of public road frontage. Water, electricity, and telephone are all serviced by public utility. Etlingera Farms was reforested with several thousand wood trees of different tropical varieties. We truly believe this farm is spectacular. Our neighbors are selling for as much as $20 per meter. We are negotiable, motivated and open to offers. Our location can be found by searching Etlingera Farms on Google Maps. Our webpage is and photo album can be found at

                                      ranch rollover
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need.  More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:


Situated 3 miles west of the capital, 8 miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, 6 restaurants,  next to 2 bus line stops. Car ownership is not needed. January-March air temperatures are 72 to 80 degrees F.  Apartment 1,200 sq. ft (100 sq. meters), on ground floor, indoor  patio. Large windows without bars, parquet floors.  Spacious living room-dining area, 2 bedrooms, maid's room, 2 bathrooms, 4 closets  (including walk in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine,small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools). Close covered parking space in guarded area.  Many amenities, (pictures, indoor plants, sewing machine, books, keyboard, dishes, glassware,silverware). Annual cost of maintenance about $1,350 includes water, landscaping service, garbage disposal, 24-7 security and property taxes.
PRICE $120,000
 Available for viewing:   CONTACT:  USA :  (585) 969-3413 or (585) 266-7418 or in COSTA RICA : (506) 2231-0410.   email:

Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call # 509-570-1928 or email 

San Rmon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: 
Check out slide show HERE!

Penthouse rollover
Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

Business for sale or lease (paid category)

Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

                                        Tamarindo The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices. For more information, please contact our local phones: 506-2653-0073 Tamarindo / 506-2201-9056 Flamingo ~ Toll Free: 1-866-976-8898 or email:  or click here

ReMax Playas del Coco
We are an award-winning Team of Professional Agents working with Costa Rica’s #1 Selling Real Estate Agency RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties. Get to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST us and let us help you find YOUR Pura Vida! We have over 30 years of experience to educate our buyers and sellers in all aspects of Real Estate.  For Information on condos, homes, lots, farms, ranches, commercial or development property

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

Playa Matapalo Click Here!
Toll Free 1-877-293-1456


Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
Pacific Coast. 
For more i

Axiom two
The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
For more information
Click HERE!

Axiom three
Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
We will be happy to give all the information you need. Contact:

Costa Rica Office: +506.4001-2343
Mobile: +506.8367-2466
USA Office: +1.786233-1579

Rich Coast Realty
REDUCED by $30k! Three-bedroom furnished house in gated beach community, walk to the beach, $235k.
Ocean View Property, can be subdivided into four view lots, 10 minutes from the beach. Only $40,000!!
Panoramic Ocean View three-bedroom house on 4.7 acres, $398k, Ultimate in privacy!
Three-bedroom house and pool near the beach in Herradura, $199k.
Contact us with any questions you have about buying property in Costa Rica, Residency, etc. 12 years’ experience in Costa Rica real estate.
Have a property for sale in the Central or South Pacific, or in Guanacaste? We want to hear from you. We get results.

USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Real estate-related services (paid category)

SMALL and LARGER jobs welcome !!!. We can build from any plan you bring us all work done by USA codes master electric and plumbing Better quality and lower prices than USA. We do it all Right  + Reasonable.
Call us: Toll Free 877-778-8515   
     Text from US: 804-313-6382 
     CR phone: 506-8307-0164
     For more info also see our sites: 

Container graphic
Shipping Container Homes For Sale!
We sell new shipping containers and modified container homes. Call us at 8307-8666
Stop by our workshop and walk through our model homes in San Ramón.
Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Buy, sell or rent a timeshare at 

solar one

solar two
NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!

Solar device
NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
Solar collector
BUY NOW! Your solar hot water system, so in three months, we can calculate a lower install price for your PV system.  Perfect for homes and hotels. Save up to 40% of your electric bill.
More Watts per Panel, Smarter and more Capable Enphase Micro Inverters mean Less Cost and more Flexibility for You.

    We aren't Cheap...Neither are our Products. Call to Compare.
    More Flexible, Reliable-and Fully Guaranteed!

    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
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Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 48
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La Cartonera to be closed three weeks

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Cartonera road in Santa Ana canton will be closed for three weeks beginning today, according to the public works ministry.

The closure will run about three blocks east from Calle Marín to where the road intersects with Ruta Nacional 310. The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes announced the closing Tuesday saying that the reason was for improvements to the roads drainage system.

Ministry officials explained that passage of the road will be limited to emergency vehicles, residents, and trucks bringing goods for the commercial stores.

During the three week closing, about five sanitary manholes will be constructed as well as the replacement for the water pipes by Instituto de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, a ministry announcement said.

The closure is expected to be lifted by March 30.

Foreign minister calls La Extra to court

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The foreign minister wants to have the Sala IV constitutional court force El Diario Extra to publish its point of view.

The minister, Manuel A. González Sanz, has filed an appeal to the court after executives of the Spanish-language daily newspaper declined to respond to his demand to be allowed to publish a rebuttal to news stories.

The case involves what the minster calls incorrect and offensive news stories, including some that are opinion pieces and one that is an editorial.

Named in the appeal are: Iary Gómez Quesada, general manager of Grupo Extra, and Paola Hernández Chavarría, director of Diario Extra.

The allegations stem from eight articles published in February that question the way diplomatic staff members are selected or were critical of individual diplomats overseas.

One Feb. 21 article said in a headline that the foreign ministry needed an exorcism.

Much of the minister’s appeal is a defense of the Comisión Calificadora del Servicio Exterior, the ministry’s committee that picks foreign diplomats.

González is basing his appeal, in part, on the American Covention on Human Rights that provides for a right of reply for persons who are the subject of incorrect or offensive news stories.

The right of reply is controversial in worldwide journalism circles, but it is supported by law here. The measure was designed to give access to the news media for persons who otherwise would not be able to get across their point of view. Politicians like González usually do not go this route. They simply call a press conference and vent their criticism of the media.

In fact, the foreign minster sent out the court filing as an email to the news media Tuesday. He did not include what he would want to say in the newspaper if his appeal is successful.

Diario Extra is an old hand at this type of constitutional court appeal. Frequently the appeal is denied for some legal reason.
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From Page 7:

Small businesses will share $4.5 million in loans

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Banco Nacional and Municipalidad de San José have set up a financial program for small businesses with a proposed investment of 2.5 billion colons, about $4.5 million.

The bulk of the money will go to financing devices for the generation of electricity. These loans have a term of 10 years.

The rest of the money will be allocated to projects to modernize bookkeeping and keeping track of inventory as well as financing sales outlets, said the bank.

Small businesses are called pymes, meaning pequeñas y medianas empresas or small and medium enterprises. The Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio maintains a registry for these companies.