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(506) 2223-1327                             Published Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 49                            Email us
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Museum now has videos and booklets on spheres
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Museo Nacional has come out with promotional videos and booklets for the stone spheres in the canton of Osa on the south Pacific coast.

The museum said that it has put six short videos about the spheres on YouTube. And  Minor Castro, a museum archaeologist has penned a booklet mainly for children about the stone spheres and the culture that created them. The booklet is called  “Una expedición al delta del Diquís.”

A museum announcement said that the booklet will be distributed to area schools and also provided to students when they visit the stone sphere museum in Palmar Norte.

A more ambitious effort for adults is a 50-page, bilingual description of the sites on which the spheres are now located: Finca 6, Batambal, Grijalba II and El Silencio.

Corrales was in charge of the project that managed successfully to have the spheres added to the World Heritage List of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2014. He also is an archaeologist and former museum director.

Museo Nacional has constructed a satellite museum at Finca 6, but promotion has been minimal.

new book
Museo Nacional photo
This is the booklet for school children.

Scientists believe the round stones were first created about 600 A.D., with most dating to after 1,000 A.D. but before the Spanish conquest. There are about 300 of them and some are household ornaments in the Central valley.

Recent studies suggest the spheres were household ornaments in the pre-Columbian communities where they were made.

The speculation is that the spheres were signs of power placed outside the home of various leaders.

Bill would give another agency tax oversight power
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A bill giving a little-known government agency a tax watchdog role has advanced in the legislature.

The bill is No. 19479, and it has been voted out of the Comisión de Asuntos Municipales.

The bill gives the Instituto de Fomento y Asesoría Municipal the power to supervise and control some of the tax payments being made to
municipalities. These taxes mainly are at
present for the sale of alcohol.

The bill, if passed, would require these taxpayers to open their books and other financial documents to the institute. These are basically the same powers that are now held by the Ministerio de Hacienda and its tax collecting department.

A principal role of the institute is to help transform municipalities into real governmental units. The institute, itself, is a recipient of tax. It receives 10 percent on beer sales.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 10, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 49
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


Marco Cavallini & Associates
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Legal services

Valdivieco header
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highway                                  expansion
Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
This is the new four-lane stretch.

Advance cited in Interamericana job

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation’s road agency said Wednesday that 50 percent of the expanded Interamericana Norte is in service. The four-lane stretch is between Bagaces and the Liberia intersection.

The entire job is to expand the highway to four lanes from Liberia to Cañas. The 50-kilometer job includes rebuilding or fixing up 36 bridges to accommodate the wider lanes.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes noted that 5.4 kilometers of the road already is in service.

The road job is considered a major advance in transportation because this is the route that leads to the Nicaraguan border.

Short or fat shown to be a disadvantage

By the BMJ news staff

Being a short man or an overweight woman is associated with lower chances in life in areas such as education, occupation, and income, concludes a study published by The BMJ Wednesday.

The findings provide the strongest evidence to date that overweight people, especially women, are at a socioeconomic disadvantage and that taller people, especially men, are at a socioeconomic advantage.

It is well known that higher socioeconomic status is associated with better health and longer life. In developed countries, being taller and thinner are associated with higher socioeconomic status, but the directions of these associations are not fully understood.

To better understand these interactions, a team of United Kingdom and United States researchers, led by Timothy Frayling at the University of Exeter, set out to test whether genetic variants influencing height or body mass index play a direct, causal role in socioeconomic status.

They analyzed genetic variants with known effects on height and body mass index from 119,000 individuals aged between 40 and 70 in a database of biological information from half a million British adults.

Using genetic information in this way avoids some of the problems that afflict observational studies, making the results less prone to bias and unmeasured confounding factors, and therefore more likely to be reliable.

Five measures of socioeconomic status were assessed: age completing full time education, degree level education, job class, annual household income, and Townsend deprivation index, a recognized social deprivation score.

Analyses were repeated separately for men and women.

The results show that shorter height, as estimated by genetics, leads to lower levels of education, lower job status, and less income, particularly in men, and that higher body mass index leads to lower income and greater deprivation in women.

A range of factors could link taller stature to higher social position, although this study did not consider which of these factors were involved, explain the authors. However, they say possibilities include complex interactions between self esteem, stigma, positive discrimination, and increased intelligence.

"These data support evidence that height and BMI play an important partial role in determining several aspects of a person's socioeconomic status, especially women's BMI for income and deprivation and men's height for education, income, and job class," they write.

"These findings have important social and health implications, supporting evidence that overweight people, especially women, are at a disadvantage and that taller people, especially men, are at an advantage," they conclude.

Other studies in the U.S. have shown advantages for height,, including that taller individuals are likely to win elections against shorter opponents.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 10, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 49
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Democratic candidates agree with Costa Rica on reducing carbon gases
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Both Democratic candidates for U.S. president supported alternate energy sources as a solution to halt sea level rise Wednesday. They did not suggest government action such as sea walls or dikes.

That was at a debate organized by the Washington Post and Univision in the U.S. State of Florida.

Debate moderator Karen Tumulty asked both Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of State, and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont about sea level rise. The issue is critical in low-lying Florida, and Ms. Tumulty said that a group of local mayors had submitted the question.

Democratic debate story HERE!

In a letter posted online, Cindy Lerner, mayor of the Village of Pinecrest, said she was writing on behalf of 21 Florida mayors. They sent a similar letter to Republican candidates.

The mayors said:

“We, the 21 undersigned mayors from throughout Florida, are concerned about sea level rise and climate change and the  severe impacts it is having on our communities.    We are  equally concerned that so little attention has been paid to these issues in the presidential debates.  It would be unconscionable  for these issues of grave concern for the people of Florida to not be addressed in the upcoming debate . . . .”

Like the U.S., officials have put the country's full weight behind countering greenhouse gases to mitigate sea level rise. The topic is controversial, but the sea is rising regardless of political position.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration says that the oceans have risen 200 millimeters, about 8 inches from 1870 to 2000. More accurate measurements by spacecraft show that the oceans have risen 76.13 millimeters since 1993. That’s about three inches.

Another NASA report said that the dry area of the state of Florida was twice as large at the glacial maximum 26,000 years ago.

“As the glaciers began to melt, sea level rose worldwide, resulting in nearly a 10 percent reduction of the Earth’s entire landmass,” said J. M. Adovasio and C. Andrew Hemmings of Mercyhurst University, authors of the 2012 NASA report that

Exploring the Submerged New World 2012 Expedition, NOAA-OER.
A modern map of Florida shows with a dark line the approximate location of the last glacial maximum coastline.

addressed underwater archaeological excavations off the Florida coast. 

There is no indication that sea level rise is stopping.

Mrs. Clinton and Sanders were critical of Republican candidates and said the Republicans doubt the effects of global warming. Both political parties have primary elections in the state Tuesday.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is one of the candidates, and he is on record saying that the sea will keep rising regardless of what the United States and other countries do, according to the mayors.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional has estimated that half of the peninsula that contains Puntarenas Centro will be under water by 2100. The institute report also predicts loss of land to the ocean all along the Pacific coast as far south as Golfito. Many areas have problems now when the seas are high.

The Costa Rica government’s response to sea level rise has been to set a goal to make the country carbon neutral by 2021, just five years from now. Carbon dioxide is considered a greenhouse gas that increases the temperature of the earth.

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 10, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 49
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Emerging turtles got a break when big-toothed predators vanished
By the Imperial College London news staff

Marine turtles experienced an evolutionary windfall thanks to a mass extinction of crocodyliforms around 145 million years ago, say researchers.

Crocodyliforms comprise modern crocodiles and alligators and their ancient ancestors, which were major predators that thrived on Earth millions of years ago. They evolved into a variety of species including smaller ones that lived on land through to mega-sized sea-swimming species that were up to 12 meters long. However, around 145 million years ago crocodyliforms, along with many other species, experienced a severe decline, an extinction event during a period between two epochs known as the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary.

Crocodyliforms were major predators of marine turtle ancestors.

Now a doctoral student and his colleagues from Imperial College London and University College London have carried out an extensive analysis of 200 species of crocodyliforms from a fossil database. One of the findings of the study is that the timing of the extinction coincided with the origin of modern marine turtles. The team suggests that the ecological pressure may have been lifted from early marine turtle ancestors due to the extinction of many marine crocodyliforms, which were one of their primary predators.

Jon Tennant, lead author of the study from the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial, said: “This major extinction of crocodyliforms was literally a case of out with the old and in with the new for many species. Marine turtles, the gentle, graceful creatures of the sea, may have been one of the major winners from this changing of the old guard. They began to thrive in oceans around the world when their ferocious arch-predators went into terminal decline.”

In the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the researchers point to evidence in the records of a dramatic extinction of crocodyliforms during the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary. Up to 80 per cent of species on

turtle face
Imperial College London photo
Thank heavens the crocodyliforms are gone!

land and in marine environments were wiped out. This decline was primarily due to a drop in sea levels, which led to a
closing off of shallow marine environments such as lagoons and coastal swamps. These were the homes and primary hunting grounds for many crocodyliforms.

The decimation of many marine crocodyliforms may also have laid the way for their ecological replacement by other large predatory groups such as modern shark species and new types of plesiosaurs. Plesiosaurs were long-necked, fat-bodied and small-headed ocean-going creatures with fins, which later went extinct around 66 million years ago.

Other factors that contributed to the decline of marine crocodyliforms included a change in the chemistry of ocean water with increased sulfur toxicity and a depletion of oxygen.

Scientists have known since the early 1970s about the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary extinction from fossil records. However, researchers have focused on other extinction events and as a consequence less has been done to understand in detail the effects of Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary extinction on species like crocodyliforms.

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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When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

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Real estate-related services (paid category)
SOON with the coming of new power company regulations, we'll be installing PV (photo voltaic) for solar electricity. Yes, at last!
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Real estate rental services (paid category)

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Beautiful house for rent
Will be Available March 15, 2-bedroom, 2-bath fully-furnished house inside gated property, Internet, Wifi, cable TV. $700 + utilities. Located in Santa Barbara de Heredia. More information to my email:

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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Real estate for rent (paid category)

Puriscal rental
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Property is a small house on a 16-acre farm in Desamparaditos, a small village located 5K NW of Santiago de Puriscal. 15 minutes to Puriscal, 1 hour to San José and the airport, all paved roads. House has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, large  open kitchen/dining/living area. Nice veranda with great views. Many fruit trees. Private but not isolated with all utilities. Rent $550/month long term, short term negotiable. Tenant pays for electricity and phone. Landlord pays water. Absolutely no pets. In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 7187-8577, in the USA call Pete Todd at 970-221-1457 or 720-951-7928.

Two bedrooms plus additional on loft, furnished condo with garage, half block walking distance to Costa Rica international Academy. Gated compound on Country Club grounds across Fairway Five. USD $850 plus utilities. Info: US 925 755-4645 or  Note:

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

                                              Valley view

Boutique quality mountain homes for rent located on a small horse ranch on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes have stunning views of Costa Rica's Central Valley. Located at 7,300-foot altitude, our ranch borders the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the homes are hiking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. We offer various rental options for our 1- and 2-bedroom homes. Contact us at Ajsanch783@AOL.COM for more details.

Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
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the building to see the apartments.   For more information contact:  or call Hilda at 2221-7161.

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, Thursday, March 10, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 49
Real Estate
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Axiom 890 pixels

U.N. agency says 34 nations
cannot feed their residents

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A report released Wednesday by the U.N. agriculture agency said 34 countries around the world, nearly all of them in Africa, do not have enough food to feed their people and need help.

The number has risen since December's report with the addition of Swaziland.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization report blamed the food shortages on drought caused by the weather phenomenon known as El Niño, along with floods in other places and wars.

The report said the El Niño drought had sharply reduced crop production expectations this year in southern Africa, Central America and the Caribbean.

Fighting in such places as Syria, Yemen and Somalia is making bad growing conditions even worse. Poor crop conditions in North Korea are adding to the already desperate conditions in that dictatorship, where the U.N. report said "most households were already estimated to have borderline or poor food consumption."

The report said crop conditions for 2016 have been generally favorable in the Northern Hemisphere, and it forecast large wheat crops for most Asian countries.

Immigration was a key issue
in Democratic Florida debate

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debated again Wednesday night, one day after Mrs. Clinton won the Mississippi primary and Sanders scored a stunning upset in Michigan.

Wednesday's debate was in Florida, one of five major states holding Democratic primaries next Tuesday.

Mrs. Clinton, a former secretary of State, is looking to add to her already high delegate count so that she can secure the nomination.

Sanders, a senator from Vermont, is counting on young people to come to the polls and keep his campaign going.

Immigration was a major topic at the debate in Miami, with its large Hispanic population.

Clinton said comprehensive immigration reform will be a priority in the first 100 days of her presidency. She accused Sanders of standing with Republicans in voting against a 2007 immigration bill.

Sanders said many Hispanic groups also opposed the bill, calling its guest worker provision akin to modern slavery.

In advance of the debate, airing on Univision and CNN, the two campaigns held rival conference calls, with each side arguing that its candidate is strongest on Latino issues.

During the debate, Clinton again defended using a personal email account for official business when she was secretary of state, repeating her assertion that she did nothing illegal. When asked if she will pull out of the presidential race if she faces criminal charges, an exasperated Mrs. Clinton said she would not even respond.

Sanders said he is the strongest candidate to beat Republican front-runner Donald Trump in a head-to-head match.

Referring to the top Republican, Sanders said the American people are never going to elect a president who insults Mexicans, Muslims, women and blacks.

While Clinton declined to outright call Trump a racist, she turned his campaign slogan against him by saying: "You don't make America great by getting rid of everything that made America great."

Ex-Air Force member guilty
of seeking to wage jihad

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A federal jury in New York Wednesday found a former member of the U.S. Air Force guilty of trying to enter Syria and join Islamic State.

Forty-eight year-old Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh faces up to 35 years in federal prison when he is sentenced later this year.

This is the first time a jury has convicted a suspect for trying to join the Islamic State terrorist group. Others have entered plea bargains to avoid trial.

U.S. Attorney Robert L. Capers said Wednesday "the evidence presented at trial and the jury's verdict instill confidence that our law enforcement agencies and their many important partners at home and abroad work effectively to disrupt and defeat the deadly siren's call of terrorist groups around the globe."

Pugh was an Air Force technician who specialized in installing and maintaining engines and navigation and weapons systems. He worked as an airplane mechanic in the U.S. and Middle East after leaving the service.

Prosecutors say Pugh traveled from Egypt to Turkey in January 2015 to try to cross the border with Syria and join up with Islamic State to wage jihad. Turkish authorities sent him back to Egypt, and he was deported back to the United States within days.

With the help of an undercover agent, the FBI arrested Pugh less than a week after he returned to New York.

Investigators found evidence on Pugh's laptop computer, including gruesome Islamic State videos of executions, terrorist propaganda videos, and a letter Pugh wrote before heading to Egypt. He declared himself an Islamic warrior who intended to defend Islamic State.

"There are only two possible outcomes for me," he wrote. "Victory or martyr."

New treatment makes cells
replace damaged eye lens

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Congenital cataracts are estimated to be responsible for between 5 and 20 percent of all cases of blindness in children worldwide.

Now scientists and doctors have discovered a new technique that not only removes the cataracts, but also stimulates a child's own stem cells to regrow a functioning lens, restoring vision more completely than ever before.

The results are reported in the online journal Nature.

The research was done by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Shiley Eye Institute, with colleagues in China, and has been tested on animals and in a small human trial that showed impressive results.

Congenital cataracts occur at birth or soon after, and cause the lens of the eye to become cloudy. This keeps light from passing through the eye to the retina, and beyond to the brain.

Current treatment depends on the age of the patient and a host of other related complications. Surgery is often required, and almost all patients require corrective eyewear after cataract surgery.

The researchers tried a less invasive approach. The goal, they said, was not only to get rid of the cloudy lens, but to coax the body to use leftover stem cells to heal itself.

"An ultimate goal of stem cell research is to turn on the regenerative potential of one's own stem cells for tissue and organ repair and disease therapy," said Kang Zhang, founding director of the Institute for Genomic Medicine.

From birth, a person's eyes have a number of what scientists call lens epithelial stem cells or LECs. They live in the eye and generate replacement lens cells throughout a person's life, though production declines with age.

Current cataract surgeries remove almost all of these LECs, so they regenerate lens cells in a disorganized way that doesn't help heal or reconstruct the actual lens.

So researchers combined a new surgical technique that is much less invasive and retains the shape of the lens, with a therapy that stimulates the LECs to grow.

They tried the technique on animals, and then in a small human trial of 12 infants.

The results were impressive: All 12 patients had fewer complications post-surgery. They healed faster, and after three months, the LECs had rebuilt a clear, regenerated biconvex lens in the eyes of every patient.

"The success of this work represents a new approach in how new human tissue or organ can be regenerated and human disease can be treated, and may have a broad impact on regenerative therapies by harnessing the regenerative power of our own body," Zhang said.

With this success under their belt, the researchers are shifting their focus to older patients with age-related cataracts, which are the leading cause of blindness in the world.

Research on zika virus said
to be moving vigorously

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

International scientists and experts meeting at the World Health Organization agree on the urgency of developing vaccines and diagnostic tools to combat the zika virus, which is being linked to microcephaly, a brain disorder in newborn babies. 

The three-day consultation is the first time experts in the fields of virology, immunology and related fields have come together to take stock of the state of zika research and development and to see how product development can be accelerated.

The zika virus is a generally mild, harmless infection.  But its possible association with microcephaly, as seen in an upsurge of thousands of cases in Brazil, is making the need to develop diagnostic and preventive tools a matter of urgency. 

Marie-Paule Kieny is the World Health assistant director-general in charge of zika research. She said researchers are responding vigorously to this need.  She says more than 60 groups are working on diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics, and vector control.

She says vaccine development is still at an early stage and months from human clinical trials. 

“It is therefore possible that vaccines may come late for the current Latin American outbreak, but the development of a vaccine remains an imperative, and in particular vaccines suitable for pregnant women and women of child bearing age," said Dr. Kieny.

On the other hand, Dr. Kieny says zika diagnostic development is at a more advanced stage.  She adds the experts agree on the value of producing a multiplex test that can diagnose several infections that are spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, including dengue, chikungunya and zika viruses.

New malaria therapy protects
pregnant women in trials

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new strategy to prevent malaria, a disease that puts newborns at risk of death, offers hope that expectant mothers in malaria-endemic countries in Africa will be able to deliver healthy babies.

The risk of pregnant women becoming infected with malaria is very high in developing African countries. Researchers say 60 percent of women who showed up to be recruited for a prevention study had evidence of the parasite.

Malaria is responsible for more than 100,000 newborns death in sub-Saharan Africa each year. The disease can also cause infants to be born prematurely or at low birth weight, both of which are risk factors for newborn mortality.

So pregnant women in malaria-endemic regions are urged to sleep under insecticide-treated bed nets. Many also receive the inexpensive drug combination sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine, recommended by the World Health Organization to protect them against malaria.

That was once the standard treatment for the disease, but the malaria parasite has become largely resistant to those drugs, according to Grant Dorsey, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of California-San Francisco.

“We abandoned it over a decade ago for treatment because of resistance," Dorsey said. "However, we are still using it to prevent malaria in pregnant women. So that was the kind of rationale behind our study — this drug currently being recommended to prevent malaria in pregnancy may not be working.”

Researchers have been experimenting with an artemisinin-based therapy, called dihydroartemisinin–piperaquine. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dorsey and colleagues reported that treatment with the drug combination dramatically reduced the risk of malaria in a group of 300 Ugandan women, none of whom was infected when the study began.

Some women were given three doses over the course of their pregnancies, others received it monthly, and a third group got the standard treatment. In the first group, Dorsey said, the risk of being infected with malaria was reduced to 17 percent, and for those who got the drug each month, the risk fell to 5 percent. These figures contrasted with the risk for women in the third group, which was 40 percent.

Voice of America photo  
Sen. John McCain

McCain cites Syria, migrants
as biggest crisis in 70 years

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

One of the U.S. Republican Party's leading voices on foreign affairs says the civil war in Syria and the flow of migrants into Europe constitute one of the most serious crises the West has faced in the last 70 years.

Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who was the party's presidential nominee in 2008 and is now chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told an interviewer that Europe's migrant crisis is a direct result of what he called the failure of U.S. policy in the Middle East.

"The United States' failure in Syria and Iraq has had a significant impact on the cause of the flow of refugees," he said. "If the United States had gotten rid of Bashar al-Assad and kept Iraq under control, we wouldn't be experiencing the refugee crisis that we are today." He was referring to the Syrian president.

The U.S. began pulling its military forces out of  Iraq in December 2007, completing the withdrawal by December 2011. Since August 2014, the U.S. has carried out more than 8,000 airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

McCain said he agreed with NATO's supreme military commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove, who told the Armed Services Committee this month that Russia and the Assad government were "deliberately weaponizing migration in an attempt to overwhelm European structures and break European resolve." Russia's air force began bombing Syrian rebels last September on behalf of the Assad government.

"The United States of America, by our failure to lead, allowed Russia into a position of influence, at least for the first time since 1973, when Anwar Sadat threw the Russians out of Egypt," McCain said. "So the predominant influence now in Syria is Russia, Hezbollah, Iran and various other factions that are now dominating and establishing themselves in a way that it is very unlikely that Bashar Assad will leave anytime soon. This is one of the most serious crises that Europe and the United States have seen since the end of World War II."

Sadat was the Egyptian president.
While 250,000 people have been killed and millions of civilians have been displaced in Syria's five-year civil war, the violence there has diminished since a partial cessation of hostilities went into effect late last month. In addition, the United Nations is hosting talks between the Syrian government and the opposition, with the aim of achieving a political transition.

Asked about the crisis in Ukraine, McCain said the Ukrainian government had not taken sufficient steps to crack down on endemic corruption and that this was contributing to political instability.

"There has not been the elimination or even strong efforts to eliminate corruption, which is making the people very dissatisfied," the senator said.

Still, McCain said it was shameful that the United States has not given Ukrainians "even weapons with which to defend themselves," while Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to ratchet up pressure on eastern Ukraine.

According to the U.N., more than 9,000 people have been killed and more than 20,000 wounded since Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine began fighting the central government in early 2014.

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Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
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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.
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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!
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

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!

Ocean View Property for Sale in San Ramón
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
                                for sale
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

Jacó beach unique home. First time offered
This house has never been listed.  It is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home approx. 100 feet above sea level on the only hill in Jacó one mile to the beach.  Totally remodeled to a Gringo house.Has great fenced yard for dogs and a huge screened porch with  great views all around, including a small ocean view.  New in the last two years includes: new kitchen with granite counter, cedar cabinets, all new windows, tile, water system, updated electric & plumbing, superb new AC units (low electric bill), This is half of a duplex with a platted yard.  Other side is the chief of police.  Secure & private.  $169.900. Call Glenn at 506-6214-0056 or

La Uruca condo
Situated three miles west of the capital, eight miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, six restaurants,  next to two 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, two bedrooms, maid's room, two bathrooms, four closets  (including walk-in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine, small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools).  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:  Mid-January to beginning of April. Contact:  USA :  585 544-4296. Costa Rica : 506 2231-0410

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

Goetl in Palo Seco

Charming small oceanfront hotel for sale in Playa Palo Seco
Ideal oceanfront location with back up to a mangrove estuary. The
charming small hotel has a fully equipped kitchen, bar and restaurant and is exceptionnally well maintained. Located on a very private beach of the central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica 35 minutes north of Quepos-Manuel Antonio and 45 minutes south of  Playa Jacó. The main building is a two-storey house with 12 bedrooms. The lot measures 3,054 M2. Beautiful gardens around the large pool and exceptional flora and fauna. Well mentioned in tourist guides like Lonely Planet and Guide Ulysse. Offered at $999,000. USD
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408

Blakesmore one

Blakemoret two

Costa Rica tropical paradise beach house for sale

Tropical five-acre forested beachfront property with custom house and guest casita on the Osa Península, south Pacific Coast. Abundant wildlife, exotic plants and fruits, secluded beach.  Located 8 kms. south of Puerto Jiménez on the way to Matapalo and Corcovado National Park. Great Price $750,000. Contact Roger. Phone number  (506) 6142-7228   Email: Watch this video for full details.

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: 
Check out slide show HERE!

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:

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

Central Valley view home: 10 minutes from Santiago de Puriscal and shopping, hospital services, and soon Maxi Pali. Only one hour to San José or Pacific beaches.
- On .55-acre lot with river on one boundary
- Area under roof, 1,984 sq. ft., Area inside walls, 925 sq. ft. Steel, recycled
      Styrofoam, and concrete construction.
- 2 ½ years old with central living room and kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths,
       ceramic tile throughout.
- Central Valley volcano and SJO airport views from every room.
- Vaulted ceilings give bright open feeling.
- Entrance from concrete road to large graveled parking area
- VERY energy efficient with VERY low property taxes.
- Covered attached carport with entrance to front door or laundry-guest bath
- 2 carport storage bodegas.
- 12 foot x 14 foot storage bodega
- Security lights, And Amcrest day & night video recorder system.
- Producing banana trees, and mango, bread fruit, and guanabana trees

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, Thursday, March 10, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 49
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
U.S. unconcerned by Cuba’s warning

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The White House said it is not particularly concerned about an editorial published in Cuba’s state newspaper warning the United States against meddling in its internal affairs. The editorial comes as President Barack Obama prepares for a historic visit to Havana March 21-22.
The editorial published Wednesday in the Communist Party’s official newspaper, Granma, said while Barack Obama will be warmly welcomed, the Communist government has no plans to change its political system as the two nations normalize relations after more than 50 years.
The article noted there should be no doubt about the Cuban government’s commitment to its revolutionary and anti-imperialist ideals.  It also criticized U.S. support for the rights of political dissidents, saying Washington “should abandon the pretense of fabricating an internal political opposition, paid for with money from U.S. taxpayers.”
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Wednesday the White House is not worried about the opinion piece and reiterated the president's intention of meeting with “political opponents of the Cuban government and standing up for, in a very tangible way, the universal human rights of the Cuban people.”
There are reports the two countries have been at odds about which dissidents Obama will meet.  According to reports, Havana is proposing that he meet only with government-approved members of civil society.

The White House has insisted it solely will determine the list of Cuban citizens, including anti-government activists, with whom the president will visit during the trip.
“This is an opportunity to use the moral influence of the United States to advocate for greater freedoms for the Cuban people,” Earnest said.  “That’s something that the United States does around the world and it certainly makes sense that we would be doing that in a country just 90 miles off our shores.”
U.S. critics of Obama’s policy to normalize relations argue the U.S. leader gave too many concessions in the policy shift, particularly when it comes to rights, such as freedom of association, freedom of speech and the ability to engage in politics.

Venezuela recalls its top diplomat

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuela's president has recalled the country's top diplomat from the United States to protest a U.S. decree imposing sanctions on several top officials and calling Venezuela a security threat.

President Nicolas Maduro made the announcement Wednesday at a ceremony organized to condemn the decree, which was made initially last year and renewed last week.

"Enough of the arrogance," Maduro said, complaining also that the United States displayed condescension and double standards.

The decree classifies Venezuela as an unusual and extraordinary threat to U.S. national security.

The U.S. and Venezuela have not had ambassador-level diplomatic relations since 2010. Venezuela approved charge d'affaires Maximilien Arvelaiz as ambassador to Washington last year, but the U.S. Department of State has not approved him.

Relations between the U.S. and Venezuela have been tense for some time over Caracas' accusations that the United States meddles in Latin American affairs.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan government is facing political turmoil at home, where the opposition alliance has launched a campaign to oust President Maduro. Government figures have painted the opposition’s plans as an effort to carry out a coup d'etat backed by the United States.
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From Page 7:

Android app can check on security guards

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The security ministry has produced a mobile app that can be used to check up on security guards.

The app is called Agente Privado CRC., and it runs on Android devices.

The idea is that a homeowner or business operator can quickly check the status of  a security guard and if the guard’s permission and firearm permits are in order.

The ministry also asked that anyone who finds that a guard is working without the proper permissions to report that fact. Security guards who are approved by the  Ministerio de Seguridad Pública have an ID card to that effect.

The requirements to be an armed security guard are rigorous and frequently permissions lapse.