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(506) 2223-1327                             Published Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 48                             Email us
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Government seeks to revamp and rename road agency
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The executive branch presented a proposed law Tuesday that would eliminate the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad and replace it with a new road maintenance agency called the Instituto Nacional de Infraestructura.

Eliminating the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad was a campaign promise of President Luis Guillermo Solís.

The proposal as described by Casa Presidencial says that those working for various agencies of the Consejo would be assumed into the new Instituto Nacional.

The Consejo, an agency of the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes, has gotten much

of the blame for deteriorating roads and bridges.

The proposal would take the Instituto Nacional out of the control of the transport ministry, which would be relegated to planning new projects and overseeing their construction. The new institute would manage the roadways once they are built, according to the plan.

The bill also creates a council within the public works ministry for citizens to watch over new highway projects.

The proposal also creates more flexibility for the ministry to set up trust funds to finance transportation projects.  The execution of the bill, if passed by the legislature, will show if this is more than just a change in name.

An A.M. Costa Rica editorial
There are better ideas than a corporate tax slush fund
Lawmakers are expected to consider soon a revised version of the tax on corporations.

The tax would generate $50 to $80 million annually for a security ministry slush fund. This is a dedicated tax that would not be part of the national budget.

The bill is a revision of the tax that was declared unconstitutional for technical reasons more than a year ago. The security ministry and a few other government agencies that would share in the income are pushing hard for passage.

This is a bad idea for a government that is tottering close to bankruptcy. We believe those in the security ministry now are honorable people, but over the course of 10 to 12 years, the tax would generate perhaps as much as $1 billion that would be spent at the whims of those in power. At the least, the money should be applied to the national debt.

The central government wrote a bill that prohibited the use of the funds for such things as travel and overtime. Yet the income from the tax would free other ministry funds for travel, overtime and other luxury investments.

The new bill also reduced the tax on inactive, small and medium-sized corporations.

That is a big selling point.

Would it not be better to drastically reduce  the law enforcement workload and legalize 
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Police officers spend yet another day hacking away at wild marijuana plants in the high Talamancas.

the cultivation and sale of marijuana. Anti-drug agents and the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas spend a lot of effort tracking down marijuana importers, growers and sellers.

But is not the marijuana plant a candidate for a major, legal industry here?

Colorado has legalized recreational use. There is a direct flight from Costa Rica to Denver. Such an enterprise would raise far more money than the proposed tax and open up major sources of governmental revenue.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 48
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Marco Cavallini & Associates
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Legal services

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your legal adviser for criminal, civil,
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Real estate agents and services


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Top officials urge dignity and respect
for women as they walk city streets

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A major theme here for the International Day of the Woman was to protest actions on the street against female passers by.

Latin America is known for piropos, flattering comments by men directed at passing women. But the tradition has degenerated into obscene comments, gestures and even physical contact.

President Luis Guillermo Solís addressed the issue in a meeting in the foreign ministry earlier in the day. He was joined by politicians from all branches of government.

He urged that citizens, men and women, take back the streets so that women can walk with peace and dignity.

Some people did that in the late afternoon on Avenida Central’s pedestrian mall.

The president condemned harassment and violence toward women, particularly that which had been taped and displayed on television last week.

One woman was punched by a man at Hospital Calderón Guardia and later suffered a miscarriage. That video made all the major news shows repeatedly.

Zarela Villanueva, president of the Corte Suprema de Justicia, said that 260 women had been murdered in the last eight years. And that there are 1,500 rapes a year.

The central government also Tuesday announced a plan for gender equality involving the three branches of government and 24 institutions.

The central government said four proposed laws were being sent to the legislature with the goal of reinforcing the reproductive and sexual rights of women and combating all forms of labor discrimination.

One measure would establish equality of gender in the internal nominations of political parties. Another would do the same thing for professional colegios and government independent institutions.

New program seeks to rebuild men

 By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The goal is ambitious. The Poder Judicial has set up a plan to reduce violence against women. The name is Hombres en Construcción.
Police officers almost always believe women when they complain about being roughed up by the man in the house. The officers require the man to leave.

One problem is that the man sometimes tries to return and get revenge. Murders have been the result, despite legal injunctions against the man.

Last May the judiciary’s victims office started the program that involved group therapy. So far about 80 men have participated in the program.

The 25 group sessions address such aspects as managing anger, jealousy, violence and masculinity, said the Poder Judicial. The sessions are under the direction of psychlogists.

Men enter the program while an investigation is continuing based on the complaint of the woman. There is an interview process and recommendations by judicial officials.

The Poder Judicial said that for many of them men do not return to live with the woman who filed the complaint, but if there are children they learn to be a father from a distance.

Talk about a hot piece of loot

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A crook might have gotten more than he bargained for Monday when he hijacked a strange looking device from a vehicle in Parque del Bosque de San Francisco de Dos Ríos.

The device was designed to measure soil moisture and density by the use of radioactive particles.

The Ministerio de Salud said that there is no general danger to the citizenry but that inexpert hands can make the device dangerous.

Law enforcement doubts that a fellow soil scientist took the bulky device. That’s why they are alerting scrap dealers and pawn shops.

Deadline set for expressing political views

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Readers are invited to express their preferences for party nominations and the elections for U.S. president, national level lawmakers and other officials.

This newspaper will publish these preferences as letters through Friday, Oct. 14. The U.S. general elections are held on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Each letter should be of reasonable length and free standings in that it should not dispute the comments of a previously published letter. The letter should make and support its own arguments. Letters will be published with the name of the writer and the community in which the writer lives.

Sometime in the third week of October, A.M. Costa Rica will publish its election endorsement and have the last word. There will be no further campaign letters published.

Those supporting a candidate are reminded that U.S. voters in Costa Rica need some lead time to cast their ballots and send them in to be counted.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 48
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A hotel thief can really put a crimp into that pura vida feeling
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tamarindo lost some of its pura vida luster for a 70-year-old tourist from Quebec. The woman reported that she lost $6,000, 200,000 colons and gold chains with great sentimental value to a hotel room thief.

The problem all started when the woman, Monica Peloquin, was told to bring cash for dental work. She said she was told that cash transactions are easier in Costa Rica. The real reason for such instructions might be that some medical providers can duck income tax by accepting cash.

In any event, the cash and the three gold chains inherited from her late mother and sister were in a hotel lock box that was burglarized a week before she was to return home. Also missing was a watch and two pair of new sunglasses.

The woman is no newbie. She said she was a journalist and director of special projects for a travel magazine for the agents and the world of service to tourism.

Ms. Peloquin reported that she ran into some Canadian friends who lost $10,000 and a passport from a vehicle in the same community.

From them she also learned that they had to make trips to Santa Cruz to Liberia to file a police report. She said she

Monica Peloquin photo
Monica Peloquin and friend.

made a report to local police for insurance purposes.

“The vida way of some Ticos and Ticas is far from pure,” she said by email.

Now those window-breaking crooks are arming themselves
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Those window-breaking thieves continue to plague motorists in the Hatillo section of the Circunvalación, and the crooks have converted themselves into robbers.

Time was when the worst that could happen to a motorist stuck in traffic was to have someone smash the passenger side window and steal a handbag or briefcase on the passenger seat.

Fuerza Pública officers grabbed two suspects as a crime was taking place against a taxi driver on the four-lane highway early Tuesday. They found that one man had a .38-caliber revolver and the other had a kitchen knife.

So far in the last nine days, police had detained four

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
This is the knife and other evidence confiscated Tuesday.

individuals, including the two held Tuesday, for crimes involving motorists.

Hatillo has three intersections with traffic lights on the Circunvalación, which is the southern bypass route for the capital. Sometimes the traffic is tied up for several hundred yards.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 48
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150 years later Mendel would find genetics a lot more complex
By the National Institute of General Medical Sciences news staff

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Gregor Mendel’s publication that after sitting ignored for a few decades helped launch the field of modern genetics. Mendel didn’t know about DNA. But after painstakingly cross-fertilizing tens of thousands of pea plants over the course of eight years, this Austrian monk came very close to describing genes.

By picking a species with a handful of visible characteristics that occur in two easily identifiable forms, Mendel was able to pinpoint what he called factors. These factors determine traits like a pea’s shape or color, for instance, and are passed down from parents to offspring. He also observed that factors can be dominant or recessive.

Today, scientists know that inheritance is far more complex than what Mendel saw in his pea plants. Here are some of the things scientists have learned about how traits are passed from one generation to the next:

• Some of a human’s genes come only from Mom.

Mendel believed that parents contribute equal numbers of factors to their offspring. If the focus is on DNA in the nucleus, it would appear that he was right. In each cell, nuclear DNA is bundled into two sets of chromosomes, one from Mom and one from Dad. But mitochondria that generate the cell’s energy supply, have their own DNA that comes only from Mom. That means that a person’s mitochondrial DNA is likely the same as the mother’s, grandmother’s, great grandmother’s and so on.

Mitochondrial DNA carries far fewer genes than DNA in the nucleus does, but changes in mitochondrial DNA sequence can have a major impact on health. Scientists are studying how variations in mitochondrial genes may lead to disorders of the brain, eye, and skeletal and cardiac muscles.

• The environment may have the potential to trigger molecular changes that pass from generation to generation.

Mendel used math to predict how factors that control a pea’s appearance would pass from parent plants to offspring. Environmental conditions experienced by the plants didn’t enter into his equations. New research in a tiny worm called C. elegans, which is commonly used in genetic studies, suggests that it may be possible for environmental stress to trigger small RNA molecules that reduce the activity of specific genes.

Scientists think that this gene silencing process, known as RNA interference, might help the worms adapt to changing conditions. One study revealed that gene silencing triggered by mild heat stress continued in future generations of these worms, even after the initial heat stress was gone.


• One trait can be controlled by hundreds of genes.

The traits that Mendel studied in peas, such as pod shape, pea shape and pea color, were each associated with a single gene. Though this is true for some traits, scientists now know that many traits are controlled by tens or even hundreds of genes spread throughout our genomes. Scientists are finding that some conditions, like preeclampsia, diabetes and asthma, likely involve changes in many genes working in concert.

• Genes can tag along for generations.

Mendel believed that the factors for different traits are passed down independently of each other. He thought that whether a pea plant passes down a gene for yellow peas, for example, should be unrelated to whether it also passes down a gene that makes the peas wrinkled. For many genes, this rule holds true.

However, some genes are close enough together on the same chromosome that they frequently do get passed along together.

Genes on completely different chromosomes can also get passed down in groups if they work together in some way to increase an individual’s chances of surviving.

The genetic toolkit has expanded greatly since Mendel made his groundbreaking observations.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

                        Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

Click photo for another video

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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Real estate rental services (paid category)

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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 
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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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 CR house telephone number 2654- 4145  We will be in our house in Flamingo,  March 11 thru April 30.

                                              Valley view

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Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
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Real Estate
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 48
Real Estate
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Axiom 890 pixels

Rampage by Palestinian
causes death of U.S. citizen

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Tuesday was a bloody day in Tel Aviv when a Palestinian stabbed an American tourist to death and wounded 12 Israelis while U.S. Vice President Joe Biden held talks just a few kilometers away.

Witnesses say the Palestinian ran down the boardwalk in the port of Jaffa, a popular tourist site, and started stabbing people before police shot him dead.

The State Department identified the dead American as Taylor Allen Force and called the attack that killed him senseless. The attacker was said to be from the occupied West Bank.

Just a short distance away, Biden was meeting with former Israeli president Shimon Peres, who condemned Tuesday's violence and said successful peace talks are the only answer.

"Terror leads to nowhere, neither to Arabs nor to us," Peres said. "The majority of the people know there is no alternative to the two-state solution . . . and we shall follow with our strength and dedication to make from it a new reality."

U.S. President Barack Obama has said there will be no comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement before he leaves office next January. The White House also has said Biden is not bringing any new peace initiatives during his talks in Israel.

Biden will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday. They plan to discuss a new 10-year U.S. defense assistance package for Israel and the ongoing fight against Islamic State.
Biden arrived in the Middle East Monday, meeting with U.S. airmen stationed at the Al-Dhafra Air Base. He pledged the United States would squeeze the heart out of Islamic State and destroy it.

He also plans to hold talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday in the West Bank and Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman on Thursday.

Israel has blamed Abbas and other Palestinian leaders for inciting the six-month wave of violence that has killed 28 Israelis, two Americans and an Eritrean along with at least 177 Palestinians.

Police and bystanders killed most of the Palestinians while they tried to stab Israelis or run them over with cars.

Rumors that Israel was planning to take over an East Jerusalem holy site revered by both Jews and Muslims sparked the violence.

But Palestinians say they are fed up with Israeli settlements in lands they want for a future state, few economic opportunities, weak leadership, and a dim outlook for peace.

Bringing back bison, wolves
raises environmental concerns

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Many scientists say the Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The soaring rate of species loss is blamed largely on humans, with climate change, pollution and human encroachment on animal habitat playing roles.

In response, some conservationists say introducing new plants and animals or reintroducing old ones will slow the trend.

Now, a new study in the journal Cell Biology warns that such rewilding efforts may harm the environment in unintended ways. 

But that hasn't stopped conservationists from trying. European bison imported from Poland now roam Denmark's Baltic island of Bornholm in places where the animals haven't lived for thousands of years.

Rewilding is also playing out on a nature preserve in a remote part of Siberia at Pleistocene Park, established in 1989. Wild horses, oxen and reindeer are living there for the first time since the last ice age.

Russian scientist Sergey Zimov runs the nearby Northeast Science Station and is one of the park's founders. "A few years ago there were no animals here," he said. "Today they are here, and there will be more and more each year." 

The experiment aims to re-create an ecosystem that disappeared 10,000 years ago. Zimov said the animals would turn the tundra into a grassland.  "Horse, musk ox, reindeer will break the bushes. They will eat them. They will fertilize the soil. The grass will begin to grow. Then most of the trees will dry up, and there will be meadowlands of steppe vegetation."

But that's a long way off. Currently, the park supports fewer than 200 animals.

University of Copenhagen ecologist David Nogues said such projects might have dangerous consequences.  "We cannot predict the consequences of this new conservation approach," he said.

One of the main concerns is that some of the animals in these environments have adapted to their new conditions.  Throwing long-gone animals back into the mix could further disrupt an already stressed ecosystem.

Writing in Cell Biology, Nogues urges using extreme caution in rewilding to save wild places, "to understand in which way the ecosystem works, how it might react when you introduce a new species, what are the economic costs of rewilding compared to other more classic conservation approaches."

The recovery of wolves in America's Yellowstone National Park is often hailed as a rewilding success story. 

In the mid-1990s, 91 Canadian wolves were released in the park, seven decades after they had been systematically exterminated. The population has multiplied fivefold.  Project manager Doug Smith said the wolves are triggering an unexpected ecological chain reaction. 

"Weary of wolves, elk no longer linger here," he said. "That allows the willows to grow and sets other changes in motion. Songbirds, moose, muskrat, mink, all these animals benefit when the willows come back."

While wolves are closely monitored in Yellowstone, their expansion outside the park has ranchers up in arms. They say cattle losses have increased with the wolf population. 

Rancher Richard Kinkie said that because wolves are federally protected, he has few options, "Certainly I would like to see the controls loosened up on us, so we can deal with wolves," he said.

Nogues said politicians and the public must consider the best science before implementing any rewilding program.

He argues that protecting biodiversity and reducing deforestation, climate change and invasive species are better initial steps to avoid the potential impact of mass extinctions.

Sanders manages a victory
in Michigan’s primary

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont scored a surprise victory Tuesday in the northern state of Michigan, defeating former secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the state's Democratic presidential primary.

Many polls showed Mrs. Clinton heavily favored to win the state, but Sanders got enough votes for a narrow win.  Mrs. Clinton did easily win the other Democratic primary held Tuesday in the southern state of Mississippi.

Sanders said the Michigan victory means his political revolution is strong across the country, and that he believes the areas where his campaign is strongest are the ones that have not yet voted.  He highlighted his message against corrupt campaign financing, an unfair economy and broken criminal justice system.

Mrs. Clinton told voters in Cleveland in Ohio, one of the five states holding a Democratic primary next week, that she is proud of the campaign she and Sanders are running. She compared it to the Republican campaign, where she said the candidates are tearing each other down.

In the Republican race, businessman Donald Trump won by large margins in both Michigan and Mississippi, while Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida finished a distant fourth place in each race.  Republicans also competed in Idaho and Hawaii. Cruz was reported leading in Idaho.

The usually plain-speaking and often harsh Trump was uncharacteristically subdued in thanking voters for their support, but he mocked Cruz, who has called himself the only candidate who can beat Trump.

Republican leaders have launched an intense effort to try to stop Trump, saying he is too unpredictable and would lose in November if Clinton is the Democratic nominee. Trump dismissed efforts to stop his campaign, saying: "It shows you how brilliant the public is."

Several anti-Trump organizations plan to spend at least $10 million in the next week on television advertisements, primarily in Florida and Illinois, two big states where Republicans are holding primaries March 15.

Rather than respond to the ad campaign against him with television ads of his own, Trump said he would continue attacking his opponents through Twitter.

"We cannot let the failing Republican establishment, who could not stop Obama, ruin the movement with millions of dollars in false ads!" Trump said Monday.

For the Democrats, Mrs. Clinton has a large lead in the delegate count.

Sanders enjoys wide support among young voters and has appealed to them not to stay home on election day.

Some 150 Republican delegates are up for grabs in all four states Tuesday. The Democrats have 189 delegates at stake.

The delegates and their pledges of support are the key to securing the party's nomination at this July's conventions.

Brokered GOP convention
considered to eliminate Trump

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It's something that has not happened in decades. If it does happen this year, one leading presidential candidate, Sen. Rafael Cruz of Texas, predicted voters would respond with a revolt. But most analysts now agree: A contested political convention may be the only way to stop Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump from winning the party's nomination.

A contested convention occurs when no presidential candidate wins a majority of delegates during the primaries and caucuses that take place in each state. Instead, delegates attending the party's national convention cast ballots for whomever they want, and continue to vote until a candidate wins a majority.

For weeks, it appeared the outspoken billionaire Trump was on the path toward securing the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination outright. As a result, Republican Party leaders who were repulsed by the idea of Trump as their nominee urged low-polling candidates to drop out of the race so the party could coalesce around a single non-Trump candidate.

But after Trump did worse than expected recently in several states, and no clear alternative to him emerged, that strategy changed. Many are now calling for the remaining candidates to stay in the race, hopeful that dividing the vote will deny Trump a delegate majority and force a convention battle from which a more establishment candidate can emerge.

The strategy is risky, and it is rare.

The last time a major national party convention opened without a clear winner was 1976, when Gerald Ford had a lead, but had not captured a majority of the delegates. It is also controversial, since the outcome likely will not reflect the decision of voters and is vulnerable to backroom deals between party leaders.

A contested convention could either define or destroy the Republican Party, according to James Russell Muirhead, a professor of government at Dartmouth University. By choosing a candidate who does not have the most support from voters, delegates risk "imposing a definition on the party independent of what the people who participated in the nomination process decided," he said.

"They could also destroy the Republican Party by alienating a large number, a third to a half of people who participated in the primaries and caucuses," Muirhead added.

The candidate who stands to lose the most in such a scenario is Trump, who despite recent setbacks still has a commanding delegate lead. On Tuesday, Trump said it would be "pretty unfair" to have a contested convention.

"I think that whoever's leading at the end should sort of get it,” Trump told Fox News. “I would think so. That's the way democracy works. I don't know that that's going to happen, but I'll tell you there will be a lot of people that will be very upset if that doesn't happen."

Trump's rivals are mixed on whether a contested convention, also known as a brokered convention, is the best way forward.

Cruz, who now appears to be an option, last week flatly rejected the idea, saying instead that he intends to beat the New York businessman at the ballot box.

Last week, Cruz even went so far as to predict that voters would respond to a brokered convention by revolting.

"(If) we go to a brokered convention ... the D.C. power brokers will drop someone in who is exactly to the liking of the Washington establishment. If that were to happen, we will have a manifest revolt on our hands all across this country," Cruz told an annual gathering of conservatives outside Washington.

Ohio Governor John Kasich, who is in a distant fourth place both in the delegate count and in most opinion polls, has acknowledged that a contested convention is the only possible way for him to win the nomination. Sen. Marco Rubio's campaign has also been reportedly planning for a brokered convention.

Both Kasich and Rubio typify the more moderate, establishment-type candidate that has traditionally dominated the Republican Party. If there is a contested convention, many analysts predict that someone like this will emerge as the nominee.

But Steffen Schmidt, political science professor at Iowa State University, isn't so sure, saying Republican delegates could be just as divided as Republican voters.

"There are at least three, maybe even four or five, different currents within the stream of the Republican Party," Schmidt said. "And if it were a brokered convention, it isn't clear which piece of the party could actually wrangle a majority out of this."

Another intriguing option: Delegates could choose to nominate someone not even currently in the race. Mitt Romney, the party's last presidential candidate, who lost to President Barack Obama in 2012, recently refused to rule out becoming the nominee at a brokered convention.

Whoever emerges as the nominee, he or she will likely be severely damaged and will face a tough challenge in defeating the Democratic nominee, according to Muirhead, the Dartmouth professor.

"This is a formula for nominating someone who's going to be very, very weak in the general election, who is going to lack the support of a very large part of the party," he said.

Natural gas prices reach
lowest level since 1998

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Natural gas prices reached the lowest levels since 1998 March 1, with spot Henry Hub prices falling to $1.57. The Henry Hub is a gas distribution facility which is widely quoted for U.S. prices because it connects nine interstate and four intrastate pipelines.

Crude oil prices are dominating media coverage, but history is being made in the natural gas sector. For some context, natural gas markets are regional, so not every country experiences low prices in the way that oil-producing countries do. While natural gas may be trading in the $1 range in the U.S., Europe sees an average of $4.90 and Japan trades at about $9.

Data is available at the U.S. Energy Information Administration website. Just like crude oil, natural gas production is historically high, which means storage levels are elevated since there is not enough demand to take some of the product out of the system. Natural gas suffered the same fate as the retail sector this past winter due to abnormally warm weather in the U.S. as a result of the El Niño phenomenon.

Baltimore cop is ordered
to testify against colleagues

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Maryland’s highest court ruled Tuesday that Baltimore police officer William Porter, who was charged in the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody, must testify against colleagues while awaiting a retrial.

The Court of Appeals gave no reason for the decision but said a statement would be made later. A judge ruled that Porter would be required to testify against some, but not all, of the officers charged in the Freddie Gray case.

The 25-year-old Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury while handcuffed and shackled in the back of a police van last April, without being secured by a seatbelt. He died one week later.

Large protests, both peaceful and destructive, broke out after Gray’s death. While some claimed that his being black contributed to his mistreatment, three of the six officers charged in the case are black.

Porter is awaiting retrial after the end of his initial trial met with a hung jury in December. He testified that he had done nothing wrong, as it was the driver’s responsibility to secure Gray in a seatbelt.

The six police involved in the case, one of whom is a woman, face an array of charges, from reckless endangerment to second-degree murder.

Porter was the first officer to stand. The question of whether he could be made to testify against others prevented their trials from moving forward.

The appeals court heard arguments concerning the issue last week. When questioned on why Porter should not testify at multiple trials, his attorney said that the officer could be charged with perjury each time he took the stand.

Tuesday’s rulings mean that said cases will be sent back to a lower court, and the court may move forward with the trials.

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Ocean View Property for Sale in Jacó
1.5-acre lot with spectacular ocean views. Ready to build. Mild climate year round with an average temperature a cool 74 degrees. Spectacular panoramic views of the ocean and port of Puntarenas during the day, breathtaking views of Esparza at night. Fully titled and owned under a Costa Rican corporation. $50,000. Short-term owner financing available. For more info: Contact: Frank

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Blakesmore one

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San Ramon
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: 
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puriscal photo
Costa Rica home for sale $163,500 / 2bedroom - 1,984 ft2

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Includes: Refrigerator, gas stove & oven with electric grill element, microwave, electric washer-gas dryer stacked style, gas on demand whole house water heater. Other furnishings are negotiable. ICE electric service and land line phone. Bajo Burgos Water district. Metro-wireless WiFi is available. Tigo Star Satellite T.V. House is in a Costa Rican corporation, will transfer shares. Contract or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 9, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 48
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

New fish does not honor masked man

By the Pensoft Publishers news staff

Unidentified since its discovery in 2007, a large fish species from Amazonia has failed to give out enough information about itself, leaving only insufficient hints about its genus.

Nevertheless, three scientists have now recovered the missing pieces to puzzle out its mysterious identity. In their study, published in the open-access journal ZooKeys, they describe the fish as a new species.

The new fish, called Myloplus zorroi, is commonly known among the Brazilians as pacu and is a relative to the piranha. The research team, led by Marcelo C. Andrade, Universidade Federal do Para, Brazil, recognized in a fish, collected by sport fishermen from Rio Madeira basin, Brazil, a previously found, yet undescribed species. Following their analysis, it turned out that its discoverers had assumed an incorrect genus for it.

Among the distinctive features of the new fish, which helped its rightful placement, are its characteristic teeth, specialized to crush seeds.

The new pacu species is quite large, growing up to 47.5 centimeters, nearly 19 inches. It dwells in moderately to rapidly flowing clear rivers, running over rocky or sandy bottoms, and ranging from about 2 to 8 meters in depth. Its base color is reddish silver with darker markings running along the upper side of the body. The head is dark and the belly is pale yellow.

The name of the new fish is chosen as a tribute to Mauricio Camargo-Zorro, a researcher at the Instituto Federal de Educacao, Ciencia e Tecnologia, in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the fish fauna inventory from the Marmelos Conservation Area. Zorroi is also a playful reference to the Latin American fictional character Don Diego de la Vega and his secret identity hidden behind the mask of Zorro.

Local charity to benefit from tourney

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Sport fishing enthusiasts are expected to converge on Flamingo for a family-friendly contest July 30 and 31.

The event is the Flamingo Fishing Rodeo. The sponsor, the Presidential Challenge Charitable Foundation, said Tuesday that the local charity,   Abriendo Mentes in nearby Playa Potrero, will benefit from the proceeds.

Abreindo Mentes, Spanish for opening minds, was founded in 2009 to provide additional educational services for the struggling Guanacaste economy and educational system.

“What started as a series of tutoring sessions has since grown into a thriving non-profit organization, providing area youth and adults with thousands of hours of English, technology and vocational classes each year, as well as diverse and engaging community enrichment and social programs,” said Presidential Challenge announcement Tuesday.

The foundation said that the tournament’s mission statement is to publicize Flamingo as the fishing destination that it used to be by helping charter captains book clients to fish this event. It will also create an increased awareness of Flamingo and the northern Pacific region of Costa Rica as a world class fishing destination, the foundation said.
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From Page 7:

Firms with aerospace ties unite to seek work

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A host of government agencies and some 25 firms in the electronics, metal working and specialized services businesses have joined to form an aerospace entity.

The entity, called the Costa Rica Aerospace Cluster, is designed to put the country on the map for industrial work related to space projects.

Among the firms, of course, is Ad Astra Rocket, the research company headed by Franklin Chang Díaz, the Costa Rica-U.S. astronaut.

The promotional organization, the Promotora del Comercio Exterior de Costa Rica, estimates that Costa Rica exported nearly $1.6 million in products associated with aerospace in 2015.

The idea grew out of a meeting two years ago, officials said.