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Published Wednesday, March 29, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 63
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360 view of
                              region
Museo Nacional photo 
Part of the website features this 360-degree view of the region.
Despite website, questions remain on stone spheres
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica’s famous stone spheres now have their own website. The graphics are colorful, and the site is chock full of information about the Diquís region at the mouth of the Río Térraba in the country’s south Pacific coast.

But despite all the glitter, including a 360-degree air tour of the region, the major questions are not answered.

Eleanor Lothrop was the wife of one of the first archaeologists to study the spheres. Mrs. Lothrop said this in her 1955 book  “Pick from the Past: Mystery of the Prehistoric Stone Balls:”

“Why should hundreds of these perfectly formed spheres, whose diameters extend from a few inches to eight feet, be dispersed throughout the . . . jungles of Costa Rica?

The question remains unanswered, although many theories have been advanced.  Lothrop, himself, thought the stone balls had something to do with astronomy.

The Museo Nacional that put up the website begins the account of the area 3,500 years ago. Still, humans have been present in Costa Rica since at least 13,500 years ago. There was evidence of the ancient Clovis culture found in Costa Rica to support this idea.

Most expats know the story. Balls were only discovered toward the end of the 19th century, and their number and significance only became known when banana companies began clearing land there for plantations. Archaeologist Doris Stone published the first academic paper on the topic in 1943.

The museum has set up a satellite site in Palmar Sur and is safeguarding Batambal, El Silencio, Finca 6 and Grijalba-2 where the balls are found. There also are balls on Isla del Caño offshore.

The balls were designated as international human heritage by the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

So far the best archaeologists have come up with is that the balls are emblems of power used to mark the homes of chiefs. There is a pretty good chance the full facts about the balls never will be known.

Probably 2,000 years from now when archaeologists excavate the site of today’s Corte Suprema de Justicia, they will conclude that the stone ball there was made by judicial magistrates. Like many other public and private buildings in Costa Rica, the balls are being used as decorations.

Animation
                            from Museo Nacional
Museo Nacional photo  
Cartoon suggests balls were hand carved.

There probably is no reason to doubt that native populations did not do the same thing.

Archaeologists generally date the balls based on the type of broken ceramics found nearby.

So they have attributed the balls to what they call the Diquís Culture.

Some expats have published material that claim extraterrestrials made the balls, but evidence for that is lacking. Still, the balls are featured in a number of UFO-linked sites.


There are about 300 known balls. Although they are not as perfect as Mrs. Lothrop said, making them was a job that rivaled other ancient monuments.

The leading theory is that native craftsmen, or maybe craftswomen, sat around pecking at chunks of rock until they had the desired shape.

In fact, an animation linked to the new webpage shows several workmen doing that.

Some have advanced the theory that the craft workers used the nearby river in a way that jewelers tumble gemstones, but experts on hydro power have said many of the balls are too big to have been made that way.

Then there is the question of how the balls got to Isla de Cano. The logical response is by boat, but there was a time when humans occupied Costa Rica that the oceans were about 60 feet lower and crews could have carried the balls from what is now the mainland on foot.

Even though there is no definitive answer to the major questions about the balls, the museum has constructed a spectacular and bilingual site, which includes a link to a graphic showing the coastal changes over 48 million years on YouTube.

Viewing the site would be good background for expats who are planning to attend the three-day festival of the spheres in the Diquís region April 28 to 30.


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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 63
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Judiciary arrests six on corruption charge

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents of the Judicial Investigating Organization arrested five men and one woman suspected of embezzling and trafficking money.

Preliminary reports by investigators said that the suspects apparently created an organization or group that was successful in planting people in strategic positions of a public institution. The institution is the Instituto Nacional de Fomento Cooperativo, and agents said that it was in charge of promoting and developing cooperatives at the national level.

One person arrested was the executive secretary of the
Consejo Nacional de Cooperativas. Another was the board president for the institute and as leader of the nation's coffee cooperative.

Investigators said they believe that money for grants was given away to contacts close to the suspected leader of this group. Around 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning, over 160 agents of the Judicial Investigating Organization conducted raids at various houses in Sarapiquí, Grecia, Desamparados, Cartago, Tibás and Moravia. They also raided offices in Quepos , San José, Turrialba and Sarapiquí, according to the judiciary.

Among items seized by agents during the raids where electronic devices and documentation related to the investigation that could allow more determination as to the allegations of grants being used for corrupt purposes.

The central government had taken over control of the institute this month when complaints about corruption emerged.


National orchestra goes to Escazú Friday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional will present a special concert Friday in Escazú.

Costa Rica does not have distinctive seasons of the year, just rain and no rain, but composers worldwide have used the season concept to frame their works.

The orchestra will present “The Four Seasons” by the Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi. The work is a set of four violin concertos.

Also on the program is “Las cuatro estaciones porteñas” by the Argentinian Ástor Piazzolla. The title translates to English as “The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.”  Piazzolla is rivaled only by Carlos Gardel as a composer of tango, and he has a distinctive style. The four tango works also reflect the seasons.

The concert will be at the San Miguel Arcángel complex in Escazú Centro at  7 p.m. The invited director is the German Andreas Neufeld.

This is not part of the regular season for the orchestra. The musicians already are in practice for the second concert of the year April 7 and 9, said the Centro Nacional de la Música.

Agents arrest two traffic cops on breach

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents of the Judicial Investigating Organization arrested two traffic police officers Monday on suspicions of breach of duty.

According to a preliminary report, the incident happened on Jan. 29, 2016, when both officers arrived to the scene of a traffic accident in Tibás. It occurred that one of the cars involved did not have an insurance policy and thus required the issuance of a ticket, according to investigators. The report alleges that the suspects allowed the owner to purchase a policy in order to cover the cost of the accident.

Judicial agents received a confidential tip of this incident and arrested the two officers involved near Plaza Vízquez in San José.

Costa Rica-Honduras match ends in tie
 
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Traffic was significantly lighter Tuesday afternoon, and there were not a lot of taxis available.

That was because the Costa Rican national team was playing Honduras in a late afternoon match.

The game ended in a 1-1 tie late enough for another round of drinks at the local bar. Plenty of fans played hooky or watched the event on a smuggled television at the job site.

Soccer approaches being the national religion of Costa Rica, and both major networks had handfuls of employees at the stadium in Honduras.

The 2018 World Cup will be in Russia in June of that year. Costa Rica is in second place in the standings for North and Central America and the Caribbean. The team has a 2-1-1 record. México, which defeated Costa Rica last week. 2-0, is in first place with a 3-1 record. This region with six teams will send at least three teams to Russia. A fourth spot is based on the results of a playoff with a team elsewhere.

Arrests at Panamá border checkpoint

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Border police near Paso Canoas arrested three foreign nationals for attempting to smuggle money into the country by hiding it among the seats of the vehicle.

At the checkpoint for the Panamá-Costa Rica border, colloquially known as kilometer 35, the Policía de Fronteras seized about 6,580,000 colons, or around $12,000, close to dawn on Monday. The driver and passengers, two of whom are Colombian nationals, claimed that the money is going towards a business in Tárcoles, Puntarenas, according to police.

Nevertheless, the Policía de Control Fiscal confiscated both money and other items found for undeclared money, according to a preliminary report. The maximum amount of money that a person can bring in to Costa Rica without declaration is $10,000. Preliminary reports do not explain why the multiple sports drinks pictured as police evidence were also confiscated as well.

In a separate incident, a pickup truck was apparently specially designed to smuggle liquor. The truck, however, was confiscated Monday night by border police in Guaycará de Golfito, in the southern area of the country.

The car was redesigned in its engine and its chassis. It also had a secret compartment, according to a report.

The secret compartment was full of liquor, and the engine was also covered with cartons and bottles. The total amount of bottles was 251 and it is valued at $4,000, according to police.

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A.M.
Costa Rica

Third News Page
U.S. Tax
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 63
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Vehicle watchmen, although informal, will not be disappearing soon
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Wearing phosphorescent green or orange vests and sometimes wielding wooden sticks for self-protection, an army of cuidacarros have taken streets and sidewalks all over San José and claimed possession over it.

They are also called Guachimanes, a very informal translation of the English word watchmen, and have attributed themselves the duty of car surveillance in exchange for spare coins or sometimes a flat fare.

Basically, at one point or another, every single person in Costa Rica has dealt with them whether it was giving them money, ignoring them or in the worst case scenario, suffering damage to their vehicles for not paying their fees.

So, is there a way to reclaim the city and its parking places and give them back to the people? Unlikely.

According to Ministerio de Trabajo, guachimanes are informal workers and as such, they are out of its jurisdiction. If there is no employer, it seems to not be the ministry’s business.

“We have set a special committee to study these cases, but as of now, we are not legally obligated to intervene in the cuidadacarros business.” said Geovany Diaz, spokesperson for Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social.

The same question was asked to Francisco Cordero, regional sub-director of the Fuerza Pública who said it is not a felony to take care of cars and demand money in the public spaces.

“People pay because they want, but they are not forced to.”said Cordero. He believes that there should be more private parking as a way to deal with the issue.

He also considers that organizers of mass events should provide enough parking spaces to their audiences to avoid the arrival of guachimanes.

“Unless there is a threat, there is nothing Fuerza Pública can do about it.” he said. The sub-director did mention that some cuidacarros have a vigilante privado work permit that allows these workers to do their business legally.

However, Marcelo Solano, the director of the Policía Municipal de San José, said those permits only apply to people who watch out for cars inside a private property.

He explains that sometimes people get confused when they see guachimanes wearing a badge, but that doesn't mean they can take ownership of public spaces.

“If you ask me if we can do something about it well, no, we can't stop this. But what we do is to take preventive measures to avoid some cuidacarros from carrying batons, knives and any object which they claim is used to safe-keep the cars but in reality are used to intimidate clients that do not pay,” he adds.

According to Solano, during regular patrolling, the Policía Municipal officers check guachimanes to make sure they don't have weapons, drugs or are under the influence of alcohol, which may constitute a felony.

He also encourages people to call 911 immediately if they get into an argument with cuidacarros, since some of them have problems of substance abuse and therefore, may become aggressive.

Solano provided some statistics and he says there are at least 120 people in San José doing this job. An average of 3 per block.

“It's also our fault. We got so used to pay some stranger to take care of our car that it has become a cultural problem. Look, sometimes a very well-known fast food restaurant and other private companies allow cuidacarros to work in their own parking lots. I would assume that's easier than having a formal security guard watching out for the vehicles.” Solano said.

Oscar Wilson
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Rommel Téllez
Oscar Wilson watches over vehicles and enjoys a chat.

When asked about if the guachimanes are here to stay, he said it is a social issue rather than a police one.

“These people are usually unemployed and uneducated, the market wouldn't take them in. So the solution doesn't come from the police, we can't afford to have one officer per guachiman,” he said.

“Five or six years ago the municipality of Cartago tried to create a cooperative enterprise and provide cuidacarros with a more formal status. However the idea didn't work because there were arguments among them. Again, what we should do is stop giving them money and provide them with jobs,” he added.

Solano's perspective may be right, according to the story of Oscar Wilson, who's been a cuidacarros for 24 years next to Casa Amarilla doing his work behind the looming Institución Nacional de Seguros building.

With nothing else than a minimum pension of  $260 a month, the Puntarenas-born man sits 12 hours Monday through Friday at his wooden table and spends his days watching out for cars and motorcycles.

He makes a living by charging car drivers 1,000 colons for the whole day and 500 colons to motorcycles and scooters. He knows most of his customers because all of them work at Instituto Nacional de Seguros.  He says they are also his friends and that's why he offers his clients the possibility to pay on a weekly or daily basis.

“I would call the police or go to that cafeteria over there or I would ask for help from the security guards of Casa Amarilla. No, I would not engage in a fight if someone tries to break into a car. I'm 72-years old. They would kill me,” he said. Wilson also says that he is able to make up to 25,000 colons per day because that is a good area.

“Just one time two guys tried to steal my place and my job, but the guards at Casa Amarilla came to my help and made it clear that this is my zone. They also said that Casa Amarilla put me here, so the intruders left,” he said while greeting at least three people passing by.

“Well, this is my little job and if people don't like it and don't want to pay I don't care. Some other one will come along and pay. That's how I see it,” he explains as he keeps an eye on his turf where he already knows 21 cars and 19 motorcycles can fit in perfectly.


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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

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Delayed school start times unlikely to reduce sleep loss, study says
By the University of Surrey press staff

Just delaying school start times is unlikely to reduce sleep deprivation in teenagers, research from the University of Surrey and Harvard Medical School has found.

The research, conducted in collaboration between mathematicians and sleep scientists, predicts that turning down the lights in the evening would be much more effective at tackling sleep deprivation.

Teenagers like to sleep late and struggle to get up in time to go to school. The commonly accepted explanation for this is that adolescents’ biological brain clocks are delayed. It has been suggested that to remedy this, school start times should be delayed for older teenagers so that they are again in tune with their biological clock. 

The study, which was published last Friday in “Scientific Reports,” used a mathematical model that takes into account whether people are naturally more of a morning or evening person, the impact of natural and artificial light on the body clock and the typical time of an alarm clock, to predict the effects of delaying school start times.

The mathematical model showed that delaying school start times in the United Kingdom would not help reduce sleep deprivation.  Just as when clocks go back in the autumn, most teenagers’ body clocks would drift even later in response to the later start time, and in a matter of weeks they would find it just as hard to get out of bed.

The results did, however, lend some support to delaying school start in the United States, where many schools start as early as 7 a.m.

The mathematical explanation has its roots in the work of the 17th century Dutch mathematician Huygens.  He saw that clocks can synchronize, but it depends on both the clocks and how they influence each other. 

From research over the last few decades we know that body clocks typically run a little slow, so they need to be regularly ‘corrected’ if they are to remain in sync with the 24-hour day.  Historically, this correcting signal came from our interaction with the environmental light/dark ‘clock’.

The mathematical model shows that the problem for adolescents is that their light consumption behavior interferes with the natural interaction with the environmental clock; getting up late in the morning results in adolescents keeping the lights on until later at night.

Having the lights on late delays the biological clock, making it even harder to get up in the morning. The mathematics also suggests that the biological clocks of adolescents are particularly sensitive to the effects of light consumption.

The model suggests that an alternative remedy to moving school start times in the United Kingdom is exposure to bright light during the day, turning the lights down in the evening and off at night. 

For very early start times, as in some U.S. regions, any benefit gained from delaying school start times could be lost unless it is coupled with strict limits on the amount of evening artificial light consumption.

Lead author Anne Skeldon said:  “It highlights that adolescents are not ‘programmed’ to wake up late and that by increasing exposure to bright light during the day, turning lights down in the evening and off at night should enable most to get up in time for work or school without too much effort and without changing school timetables.”

Co-author Andrew Phillips said: “For evening types, it is critical to keep evening light levels low to derive any of the potential benefits of a delay in morning alarm times, otherwise their bed time is very prone to shifting later.

Understanding these individual differences, and how they are influenced by light consumption, is necessary to maximize the effects of any policy change.”

Co-author Derk-Jan Dijk said: “It shows that modern lifestyles make it hard for body clocks to stay on 24 hours, which shifts our rhythm of sleepiness and alertness to later times – meaning we are sleepy until late in the morning and remain alert until later in the evening.”

The mathematical understanding of biological clocks suggests that adolescents are particularly sensitive to the effects of light consumption.

However, the model can be applied to other age-groups as well. It can be used to design new interventions not only for sleepy teenagers but also for adults who suffer from delayed sleep phase disorders or people who are not synchronized to the 24-hour day at all.

The research draws attention to light, light consumption and darkness as important environmental and behavioral factors influencing health. This has implications for how we design the light environment at work and at home in our modern light-polluted societies.

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Costa Rica MOBILE 011-506-8849-0081
Skype: costarisa - E-mail: christopher@costaricabooks.com

All tours led by Christopher Howard
Costa Rica’s most read relocation author
See www.liveincostarica.com for details and itineraries
9168-3/17/17

HIdden Garden
                              graphic
Put Costa Rica on your walls
The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is the perfect place to find quality Costa Rican and international art for your home or office.  With over 60 artists and 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we have been your source for fine art since 2010.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever. Located just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport (towards the beaches).

Visit our Web site at:  www.HiddenGardenArt.com
Contact us by email: info@HiddenGardenArt.com  
Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
Moon Travel Guides & Frommer's

Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tel.  8386-6872 / 2667-0592; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073
International shipping available.
9140-5/1/17

George Lundquist header

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

 (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!
HERE!

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. lundquistgeorge@gmail.com

George Lundquist

experience Costa Rica
Costa Rica Travel In Paradise Group Tours

Looking for easy booking process for a smooth Costa Rica trip?   We customize wonderful trips to Costa Rica.  We offer you our wealth of knowledge for a great experience . . . a trip of a lifetime!!!

* FAMILY VACATIONS. Our travels take into account the different ages of your family enjoy the most from your Family vacations. Click HERE!

* GROUP TOURS. Whether for a church group, couple of friends, Scout troop or a family group. We provide excellent quality service in your Group Tours. Click HERE!

* EDUCATIONAL TOURS. Tours for universities to schools to elementary schools. We have professionals to help you discover the secrets of Costa Rica in a fun way. Costa Rica Educational Tours. Click HERE!

* GUIDED TOURS. General holiday planning giving you the best value for your investment Costa Rica vacation Packages. Click HERE!

Contact us: 
Dial toll FREE from USA or Canada:  1.800.901.0114
CR local phone:  +506-2274-3231
Cells:  +506-8380-5919  and +506-8302-5877
Email:  info@travelinparadisecr.com
Web:  www.travelinparadisecr.com
8995-4/17/17

Here's reasonable medical care
Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom



Need a book about Costa Rica?


Check out our special selections available at Amazon
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HERE!

A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
Business
wanted
Real estate wanted

Real estate-related services (paid category)

COSTA RICA SOLAR
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
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NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
Solar
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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     
    SEE our new PACKAGE DEALS.
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CALL TODAY!
Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398
OUR EMAIL:
 andrefurlong@gmail.com
Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
VISIT OUR WEB:
www.crsolar.net 
9118-6/26/17

Real estate rentals (paid category)

rental home
Beautiful Home for Rent
San Isidro Del General, Perez Zeledon. The beautiful southern zone. By week or month.  Only 10 minutes to town. Fabulous, artistic, one Bedroom, elegantly furnished home, overlooking river,  and near to attractions at the beach or mountain. Comes completely furnished with custom queen bed, orthopaedic mattress, all linens, large kitchen, all pans, dishes, silverware, blender new refrigerator, stove with oven, washing machine, glove leather couches, breakfast nook, patio with hammock.  Has also large bodega, with extra full sized bed, can sleep 4. Comes with satellite TV & WIFI. Located next to small river, with access to river pools, and over 60 varieties of rare, tropical birds. Only 45 minutes to beach, Playa Dominical and 40 minutes to National Park Chirripo. Perfect weather. Not hot like the beach. No car needed, bus take 15 minutes to town, costs 30 cents. Gated private and secure, near bus, mini markets. This is a complete home, artistic, beautiful surroundings, with convenience and privacy, yet near to it all. Nice folks.  For more photos and information: james43michael@gmail.com  Costa Rica phone: (506) 2771-4339
9178-4/7/17

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 barvavolcano@gmail.com for photos, pricing and contract details.
9163-3/10/17


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 www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442
9055-2/23/17

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
Timeshare
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: info@sellmytimesharenow.com
9049-7/31/17





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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 63
Calendar
Opinion
Classifieds
Real Estate
Lifestyle
Food
About us
 
U.S. wants cooperation
from Venezuela within OAS


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As the Organization of American States weighs how to address a political and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, the United States on Tuesday said it was seeking the South American country's cooperation rather than its immediate suspension from the hemispheric group.

Representatives of the organization’s Permanent Council gathered at its Washington headquarters, near the White House, to consider how to deal with Venezuela. Its socialist president, Nicolas Maduro, has jailed political opponents, ignored the results of regional elections and commandeered the judiciary branch as the country has spiraled into poverty and chaos.

Secretary General Luis Almagro released a report this month detailing the violations and urging Venezuela's suspension from the group unless its government acted quickly to improve conditions there.

The Permanent Council's most extreme corrective measure would be to suspend Venezuela's membership, requiring a two-thirds vote, meaning support of 22 of the body's 34 member states. The measure would trigger monitoring by observers from around the region.

Anticipating a possible vote, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio on Monday said Haiti, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador should be prepared to cast ballots for suspension to protect Venezuela's democracy and their own U.S. aid.

The senator told the newspaper he had been surprised that the three countries, dependent on U.S. foreign aid but also benefiting from discounted oil from Venezuela, were undecided about how they might vote. In the interview, Rubio said he thought the U.S. government would support Almagro's proposal.

Last week, 14 member states, including the United States and Brazil, signed a declaration demanding that Venezuela promptly schedule elections, release political prisoners and recognize its constitution's separation of powers, among other measures.

The United States already has imposed sanctions against Venezuela. In 2015, the Obama administration ordered sanctions against seven officials on the ground that they threatened U.S. national security.

Last month, the Trump administration imposed sanctions against Venezuela's new vice president, Tareck El Aissami, accusing him of involvement in sending large drug shipments to the United States while serving as Venezuela's interior minister.

Almagro proposed possible suspension for Venezuela in mid-March, accusing its government of violating the standards of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, to which it is a signatory.

Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research, sees the organization’s leader's mediating strategy as purely political.

"Both the USA and Almagro are playing a very destructive role, because they seek the overthrow of the government rather than dialogue and negotiation, which is really the only way out of this crisis," Weisbrot said. He was speaking early in the day, before the State Department's recommendation for Venezuela to engage in talks to improve conditions there.

In December, the South American regional economic bloc Mercosur suspended Venezuela for failing to address human rights and trade standards.


Largest radio telescope stops
Wifi and internet for town


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Broadband access in the United States is not universal, with a longtime digital divide between urban and rural areas.

But in one small town just four hours from Washington, D.C., there's no internet service at all.

The town of Green Bank, West Virginia, is the site of the largest fully steerable radio telescope in the world, so internet connections and anything else that can create electromagnetic waves, such as microwave ovens, are banned.

It becomes apparent in Green Bank that visitors have to navigate the old-fashioned way: by reading road signs. That's because GPS comes to a screeching halt as you approach this West Virginia town, which has two churches, an elementary school, a library and the world's largest radio telescope.

Ms. Sherry, who manages the largest store in Green Bank, was born here so the lack of internet access is normal for her.

"Yes, we are different. Many would say that we live the old-fashioned way, in the past. But for us, it's just the way of life that we have always lived," Ms. Sherry said.

On her store wall, an artifact from the past, which is a phone attached to a wall jack, is the only way to call someone in Green Bank.

No modern wireless conveniences, such as smartphones, are usable here.

Green Bank is frozen in time, somewhere in the 1950s, because there's a 33,000-square-kilometer zone of silence due to the telescope. Cellphone towers are forbidden.

But that's OK for residents because there are several pay phones.

The closer you get to the telescope, the greater the restrictions. There's a 16-kilometer radius around the Green Bank Observatory where radio-controlled items, even toys, cannot be used. Compliance with these conditions is strictly enforced.

Radio frequency technician Jonah Bauserman acts as the observatory's technical policeman. If he suspects there's an unauthorized signal, he drives to the house and inspects it for prohibited devices.

"This equipment allows me to catch even the weakest signals that could affect the telescope," Bauserman said.

The job of these scientists is to minimize the impact of outside interference on the radio telescope.

Only once a week, when there's regularly scheduled maintenance, some prohibited devices are allowed near the telescope, Holstein said.

The size of a football field, the telescope is so sensitive it could pick up signals sent from an alien world. And scientists can't wait for that to happen.

"All the signals that we now receive with the help of telescopes are signals that come from cosmic objects -- stars, galaxies. We have not yet received anything from intelligent civilizations," scientist Richard Lynch said.

Trump rolls back completely
Obama's environment orders


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Donald Trump signed a sweeping executive order Tuesday that would effectively dismantle Obama-era environmental regulations, rekindling the highly charged partisan debate about how human activity affects the earth's climate, and deepening concern that decades of work on global climate treaties may be unraveling.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump believes he can balance twin goals of protecting the environment while promoting energy production in the U.S.

Trump's order will seek to suspend, rescind or identify for review more than a half-dozen rules, in an attempt to increase domestic energy production in the form of fossil fuels. It directs federal agencies to identify rules the administration says impede domestic energy production, as a first step in a 6-month process to create a blueprint for the administration's future energy policy. Included in the review will be the Clean Power Plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants.

The rollback also scraps many of former President Barack Obama's environmental initiatives and removes the requirement that federal officials weigh the impact of climate change when making decisions.

The executive orders he signed Tuesday direct the Environmental Protection Agency to thoroughly revise regulations outlined in the Clean Power Plan.

Trump's 2018 budget proposal slashes EPA funding by 31 percent, including an almost total cut of climate research funds.

Less clear is the president's commitment to international agreements such as the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, signed by Obama. Trump has an aversion to treaties that cede U.S. authority to global bodies, and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, speaking Sunday on ABC's “This Week,” called the Paris treaty a bad deal.

Leaked details of the executive orders ignited a firestorm among climate scientists.

Tim Barnett, emeritus research geophysicist at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in California, says even he, a Trump supporter, would find it unconscionable to roll back regulations contained in the Clean Power Plan.

In Washington, views on climate change generally split along party lines. With Republicans controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress, the views of climate skeptics, largely marginalized during the Obama years, are finding fresh voice.

The House Science Committee has scheduled hearings this week to look into the methods of climate scientists, as Chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, pushes forward a bill to require the EPA to make public the data it uses to justify environmental regulations.

The hearing will feature three prominent academics who question the scientific consensus, alongside Michael E. Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University and author of the hockey stick graph that suggests a steep rise in the earth's temperature since fossil fuels came into wide use.

Mann said the rising profile of climate change doubters in Washington is part of a well-funded campaign by big energy industry interests, mainly Charles and David Koch, who are major contributors to conservative political and policy groups.

Climate skeptics agree money has corrupted the scientific debate, but they differ on its effect. The dissenters argue that fierce competition for the billions of dollars in government research grants has forced academics to exaggerate the danger of climate chance.

Richard Lindzen, professor emeritus of meteorology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, represents the small minority of scientists who find fault with the overwhelming consensus on climate change.

He argues universities have given in to the temptation to exaggerate climate change as they have become increasingly dependent on billions of dollars in government research funding, effectively making bureaucrats the real judges of science.

New blood test developed
to identify TB, research says


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Researchers have developed a blood test that can rapidly tell whether someone is suffering from tuberculosis. Investigators hope the test can lead to quicker treatment, making a dent in the worldwide tuberculosis epidemic.

One-third of the world's population is infected with a silent form of tuberculosis, according to the World Health Organization. A person can live for years infected with latent tuberculosis and show no symptoms.

But each year, 10 million people develop active tuberculosis, which causes severe symptoms such as coughing, weight loss, fever and night sweats and kills about 2 million of those people. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is critical for containing the highly contagious disease and saving lives.

The new blood test promises to provide that speedy diagnosis. Investigators say it can tell within hours whether someone is infected with mycobacterium, the pathogen that causes tuberculosis.

Currently, tuberculosis diagnosis is done with a sputum test. The objective is to grow the bacterium in culture from expelled mucus.

Arizona State University bioengineering professor Tony Hu, who helped develop the new test, said the sputum test takes too long.

"That technology needs four to eight weeks to get the final result," he said. But for the blood test, it's only 2 and a half hours.

Called Nanodisk-MS, the rapid test takes advantage of nanotechnology to detect minute levels of peptides in the blood. Peptides are amino acid fragments of proteins that the disease’s bacteria release only during active infections.

The highly sensitive blood test, described in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,” can also measure the severity of the infection.

Hu said the test needed further validation in clinical trials, but that he hoped it would become part of the arsenal in the global war on tuberculosis.

Scottish Parliament approves
new independence vote


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scotland's Parliament voted Tuesday to seek a new referendum on independence from Britain, clearing the way for the country's first minister, its top lawmaker, to ask the British government to approve such a vote.

The legislature in Edinburgh voted 69 to 59 to seek Britain's parliamentary endorsement, which is required, for a referendum that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wants to hold within two years, before Britain has completed its departure from the 28-nation European Union.

British voters narrowly approved a departure from the EU last year, and London will begin the formal process leading to Britain's exit from the union on Wednesday.

Despite the overall vote last year in favor of leaving the EU, based on ballots cast in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, nearly two-thirds of Scottish voters elected to remain in the bloc. Since then, Ms. Sturgeon has insisted that independence is the only way for Scotland to maintain its formal EU relationship.

Scottish voters chose not to declare independence from London in a referendum three years ago, but that was months before discussions began about Britain's possible departure from the Brussels-based EU.

Ms. Sturgeon has argued that last year's Brexit vote necessitates a new independence referendum. On Tuesday, she said it would be democratically indefensible and utterly unsustainable for London to block a new Scottish vote.

For her part, British Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will not support a new Scottish vote until Britain has formally departed the EU, a process of negotiations that experts say could take take several years.


More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

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


Plantation Acres
PLANTATION ACRES
This exiting new project offers spectacular home sites with breathtaking ocean and forest views stated on 100 acres of tropical forest.

* On-site Welcome Center
* Located between Punta Leona and Playa Agujas
* At just an hour from San José, the capital city.
* 5 minutes from Los Sueños Marina and 18 Hole Ted Robinson Golf Course
* 10 minutes from Jacó Beach, Costa Rica’s lives beach town

Contact:
Johnny Lopez
Phone: (506) 8945-5820 / (506) 2643-3356
Email: johnny@c21jaco.com
9141-3/23/18
9141-3/23/189173-9/1/17

Puriscal home
GORGEOUS MOUNTAIN & OCEAN VIEW HOME
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
HEALTH CONDITIONS REQUIRES QUICK SALE
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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUEAmahIU9A
Community Web Site: http://www.altigua.com
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email gary_one@msn.com
9173-9/1/17

colinasdelsol
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

Contact:
In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:  jsandimurray@colinasdelsolcr.com
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: jimday50@aol.com or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here: www.colinasdelsolcr.com
9056-2/28/17

Etlinger
                                      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 www.etlingerafarms.com and photo album can be found at www.ticorico.com
9196-4/25/17

horse
                                      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. The price of our listing Rancho Ricco is $799,000. More information
go to www.ranchforsalecostarica.com  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:  darin_ricco@hotmail.com
9183-6/13/17

Kkpit
                                      rollover

FURNISHED  APARTMENT for SALE.
CONDOMINIO SATURNO, LA URUCA, OUTSKIRTS
of SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA
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: boriskopit@yahoo.com
9143-4/17/17

rollover
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  www.whynotcostarica.com. 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 tim@whynotcostarica.com 
9143-2/3/17

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 www.ThePenthouseCostaRica.com  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email crstratton@ymail.com
9132-6/1/17

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: manager@crbusiness.biz.

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Remax
                                        Tamarindo
www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com 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:  info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com  or click here www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com
9145-1/2918

ReMax Playas del Coco
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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 63
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A.M. Costa Rica news analysis
Embassy must prepare a daunting report

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff


Somewhere inside the sprawling U.S. embassy complex in Pavas, there are one or two persons struggling to provide the data for this year’s human trafficking report.

Usually the report is boiler plated with ample sections simply copied from the previous year’s report. The report comes out each June and is based on information for the year ending this month.

This year is different. Basing the analysis on the strictest definition of the term, some could believe that the government of Costa Rica and some Central American countries have been the biggest human traffickers. Costa Rica helped about 8,000 Cubans early last year and countless Haitians and Africans later to migrate toward the United States.

Technically, this was not a legal action because Costa Rica’s trafficking laws make no provision to legalize government actions. No one complained, but the embassy workers will have to figure out a way to justify these actions.

There also was widespread informal trafficking for a fee. Many migrants had to pay to enter the country, to travel through it and to leave it. There were no official government actions, but there were plenty of unofficial ones by officials.

The U.S. State Department that issues the report declines to recognize that adult prostitution is not criminalized here. That goes along with the department’s rule that forbids grants to organizations that encourage the legalization of prostitution.

Consequently, each year the report contains a glaring omission for Costa Rica as well as a handful of other countries. U.S. Embassy staffers decline to acknowledge the error that distorts understanding of the report. But they do obtain a lot of information from organizations that benefit from grants to rehabilitate failed prostitutes.

The report correctly notes that of nearly 1,000 prostitutes, agents of the embassy have failed to find one that has been trafficked, but the report blames the methodology and the interview process. The numbers of willing prostitutes would seem to make forced prostitution unnecessary here.

The Asociación La Sala eventually seeks to have prostitution recognized as a legitimate service enterprise where employees receive all the benefits given other members of the workforce. But this organization certainly will not receive U.S. funding.

What embassy staffers fail to report are the thousands of cases of incest, exploitation of the young or child marriages. Health officials report thousands of births to underage mothers each year.

Costa Rica just past what appears to be an unenforceable law that forbids marriage of those younger than 18. And there are criminal penalties based on the age differences of romantically involved couples.

The Spanish-language media seems to be reporting more on some of these situations, including the murder near Guápiles of a 16-year-old female companion by a man in his 40s over the weekend. The police report said that the girl had been living with the man for three years. 

There also are several unresolved cases of long-term incest that rate news coverage in the newspapers and on television.

The trafficking report mostly is based on statements from government officials, news reports, and the input from those who benefit from the U.S. government’s grants. A clearer picture of the situation could be obtained by first-person research, but embassy staffers do not like to visit downtown San José.

Sex trafficking is the topic that draws the most interest in the State Department report. And in some countries there is forced prostitution or worse. But generally overlooked is the labor exploitation of domestic workers and others who are trafficking victims.

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From Page 7:

30K minors currently employed in Costa Rica

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The central government estimates that there are 30,000 youngsters between 5 and 17 years that are working after the Costa Rican national household survey for 2016 showed 12,000 minors were not officially working. The number represents only around a single percentage decrease.

According to the Módulo de Trabajo Infantil, the employment rate dropped with these new numbers from 4.3 percent to around 3.1 percent of the total workforce, according to the government’s data.

The government believes that this represents a success for the administration of Luis Guillermo Solís whose strategic plan to reduce and eventually eliminate child labor is making some progress. On the flip side, the Encuesta Nacional de Hogares which is the name of the government census showed enrollment in schools increased to around 86 percent as well. That is a 4.3 percent increase from five years ago, according to the data provided.

The Región Central of the country constitutes the location where more than half of all working minors in the country are. Around 60 percent of those minors work in agriculture and livestock.

Among other programs the government gives money to poor families whose children had been working if the youngsters go to school instead.

The central government and the International Labour Organization, a U.N. agency, frown on children working before they turn 18. However, some sources suggest that reasonable work provides financial and social benefits for children.

Many of the jobs here are not reasonable. Some parents put very young children out in the street to beg for money. In addition, more than 50 percent of rural children have a job before they become adults.