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Police officers load the lower half of the crocodile in a pickup for transporting after they confiscated it.
Crocodile alf

. . . And it has a lot more meat than the local chicken
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Just call it the other white meat. Or perhaps: Croc, it's what's for dinner.

Those U.S.-style ad slogans appear to be the reality in the rural areas of the country. That was brought home when frontier police stopped a man on a motorcycle. The cycle was dragging a makeshift cart on which was half a crocodile. Police confiscated the croc half but there was no word where the front portion of the animal is.

The Policía de Fronteras based in Sarapiquí figured that the man had just captured the crock. The police checkpoint was near the Nicaraguan border. The area is teeming with the large animals. They are vulnerable to nets, firearms and even metal hooks.

Officers estimated that the section of the croc weighed in at about 100 kilos, some 220 pounds. Hunting wild creatures like this is illegal in Costa Rica, although the arrest of the man who had the last names of  Ruiz Rivera shows that such hunting for table meat goes on. The cart, which was made in part by bamboo, appears to have been used more than once.

Crocodiles can be found on the table in other countries, and many of the animals are raised for
slaughter. Internet sources suggest that much smaller crocodiles, perhaps one weighing 16 kilos, is preferred. The lower back and tail are considered the choice cuts.

There is a debate on the quality of such meat. One source says that crocodile meat is low in fat and  cholesterol, but another says that the cholesterol is higher than in most meats.

"It isn't for everyone but people’s opinions can vary dramatically, some say its taste is like chicken, crab or even pork!" said the Web site of Kezie Foods, which supplies exotic meats in the United Kingdom.

"Crocodile meat is an exotic meat delicacy around the world and is one of the health meats of the 21st century," said the South African firm Croc City, which also runs a reptile park. The firm said that crocodile soup is a Chinese  medication for asthma and other respiratory problems.

The firm even has a recipe online for crocodile fillet steaks cooked with lime and lemon grass. It notes that the firm complies with all environmental rules.

The motorcycle driver has even more troubles than losing his dinners. Police said that he lacks a registration for the vehicle and did not have plates on the crude trailer either.

Expotur will open doors to public for two days
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The annual Expotur, the exhibition of tourism operators, will be open to the public May 11 and 12, the sponsors said Monday.

The show will be at the convention center of the Hotel Wyndham San José Herradura.

The exhibition is hoping to generate more interest among Costa Rican public for tourism in their own country. Many of the booths are elaborate.

May 9 and 10 the exhibition will be closed to all but the trade. This is the time for deal making that allows tourism operators to meet with and sell packages to foreign agencies and tourism wholesalers.

Organizers also said at a presentation Monday that 

the show this year will try to promote convention and congresses in anticipation of construction of the  Centro Nacional de Convenciones.  The sponsor is the  Asociación Costarricense de Profesionales en Turismo.

The organization said they expect 250 Costa Rican tourism firms to be showing their products to individuals from 36 different countries.

The tourism market is in its 29th year, according to the organization. The Web site is HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 23, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 79
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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.


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Official English/Spanish translator and interpreter
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With over a decade of experience in the fields of:
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Obama will have low profile
during his visit here in May

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

When John Kennedy visited Costa Rica in 1963, he gave a well-received speech to thousands at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

But times have changed, and U.S. citizens have little chance of even getting a glimpse of their president when he visits May 3 and 4. They might be lucky enough to see the presidential limo in a motorcade. But probably not within four blocks of the Centro Nacional de la Cultura where the bulk of the activities will be hosted.

Costa Rican police and security officials are surveying key areas of the city now and requiring persons who live or have offices near the Centro de la Cultura to identify themselves and also provide the plate numbers of their vehicles. Although they have not said it yet, it appears that there will be a police barricade in a four or five-block radius of the facility when Barack Obama and other heads of state are there. Access will be restricted.

The Centro Nacional de la Cultura is just east of Parque España and south of the towering headquarters of the Instituto Nacional de Seguros on Avenida 7. The bulk of the public employees will be off May 3, and that building will be locked down.

Obama plans no public events while he is here, according to officials here. To say that U.S. Secret Service agents and agents of the Diplomatic Security Service are paranoid would be an understatement. The terrorist activity in Boston did not make matters any better.

When Laura Bush visited Costa Rica in 2006, expats were lucky to get a glimpse of her raincoat as she was ushered from the cultural center to a car in the rain. Her only contacts were those on the official list at official events. She was here for the inauguration of Óscar Arias Sánchez.

Obama most likely will stay at the Costa Rica Marriott in Belén. So the presidential motorcade will be a traffic stopper Friday, May 3 and May 4.  Obama will leave the afternoon of Saturday, May 4.

There also is likely to be delays at Juan Santamaría airport before and during Obama's arrival and when he is leaving. Expats have complained before about being delayed in commercial aviation when high foreign officials are on the ground. That is likely to happen with the Obama visit.

In addition to the presidential jet, there is likely to be an aircraft with U.S. and foreign reporters as well as a baggage craft. The planes will be parked under guard at a secluded spot at the airport.

Although commercial aircraft will fly, officials have announced the general aviation, that is private planes, will be diverted.

The U.S. president is here for a meeting of the Sistema de Integración Centroamericana, and top officials of many other nations will be here, too. The timing is perfect for President Laura Chinchilla, who needs a boost in her popularity after a series of tough situations. The other heads of state will have their own traffic-stopping motorcades.

There will be ample coverage of Obama and the other leaders by pool camera operators from television. These pool operators will share their video with the commercial stations. There also will be official photographers from the White House and also Casa Presidencial.

There also is a good chance that Obama will be interviewed by several pool print reporters and perhaps have one session on television.

Not much is expected at the summit meeting. Obama is mainly here to show his support for Central America. All the details are handled on a daily basis by staffers. Expats can be sure, however, that their president will be hit up for money by some of the foreign politicians.

A schedule of events has not yet been released. Much of the security arrangements are being handled by Casa Presidencial.

.big fish
State University of New York photo
Donald Stewart examines an Arapaima skeleton

Long-lost fish discovered
in old pages of a monograph

By the State University of New York news service

A professor in Syracuse, New York, has put aside nearly a century and a half of conventional wisdom with the rediscovery of a species of giant Amazonian fish whose existence was first established in a rare 1829 monograph only to be lost to science some 40 years later.

He is Donald Stewart, a fisheries professor at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in the State University of New York. He found evidence in the monograph of a second species belonging to the genus Arapaima, air-breathing giants that live in shallow lakes, flooded forests and connecting channels in the Amazon River basin.

For 145 years, biologists have thought that Arapaima consisted of a single species whose scientific name is A. gigas. But Stewart rediscovered a second species that he describes in the March issue of the journal Copeia, published by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists.

“In a sense, this forgotten fish has been hiding in plain sight in this old monograph but that monograph is so rare that it now resides only in rare book collections of a few large museums,” Stewart said. “I was truly surprised to discover drawings that revealed a fish very different from what we consider a typical Arapaima.”

Part of the apparently rare fish’s story remains a mystery, however, as scientists don't know if it still exists in the wild. “Scientists have had the impression that Arapaima is a single species for such a long time that they have been slow to collect new specimens. Their large size makes them difficult to manage in the field and expensive to store in a museum,” Stewart said.

Arapaima can grow to three meters in length (about 10 feet) and weigh as much as 200 kilograms (440 pounds).

This different species was originally named A. agassizii in 1847 by a French biologist but a catalog published in 1868 considered it to be the same species as A. gigas. That second opinion was widely accepted and, since then, no scientist has questioned that view.

But Stewart has had doctoral students studying the conservation of Arapaima in both Brazil and Guyana. For those studies, it was important to be clear about the taxonomy of the fishes being studied in each country. In an effort to determine if they were really all one species, Stewart began to review taxonomic literature from the early 1800s, including the monograph that was published the year Andrew Jackson was inaugurated as the seventh president of the United States.

“What is remarkable is that this fish was not re-discovered swimming in the Amazon but, rather, on the pages of a rare monograph from 1829 that described its anatomy in great detail,” Stewart said.

The fish described in the monograph had been collected in the Brazilian Amazon about 1819 and carried to Munich, Germany, as a dried skeleton. There the Swiss biologist Louis Agassiz, who was just beginning his career and later became a professor of zoology at Harvard University, supervised a technical illustrator in drawing the complete skeleton in great detail. At that time, however, he applied the name Sudis gigas to the drawings. That rare skeleton was in a museum in Germany until World War II, when it was destroyed by a bomb dropped on the museum.

“To this day, we do not know the precise locality where the fish was collected because the German scientist who collected it died before indicating where he found it, and nobody has found a second specimen,” Stewart said. “So, all that exists to know the status of A. agassizii is the original drawings of its bones.”

Stewart said those drawings reveal numerous distinctive features that leave little doubt it should be considered a valid species. Those features include details related to the fish’s teeth, eyes and fins.

The previously recognized Arapaima species is known by the common names pirarucu in Portuguese and paiche in Spanish. Because they rise to the surface to breathe every 5 to 15 minutes, they are easy to locate and fishermen harpoon them to sell their valuable meat or to feed their families. That combination of high value and vulnerability has led to widespread depletion of their populations and they are now listed as endangered.

The mystery surrounding the recently rediscovered fish’s current status is not surprising, Stewart said, because there are still vast areas of Amazon basin where no specimens of Arapaima have been collected for study.

He expects the diversity of the genus to increase further with additional studies. Two more previously described species — A. arapaima from Guyana and A. mapae from northeastern Brazil but outside the Amazon basin — also should be recognized as valid. He is working on redescriptions of those species. He also has another paper due to be published soon that describes a new species of Arapaima from the central Amazon. That latter paper will bring the total number of arapaima species to five.

He anticipates that more species could be discovered as biologists working in South America begin to make new collections in unstudied areas.

Duo targeted poker players
for effort at sextortion

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Two Silicon Valley men were sentenced today to federal prison terms of three and half years and two years for their roles in a scheme that used naked photographs and other private information stolen from email accounts in an attempt to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from professional players on the World Poker Tour.

Tyler Schrier, 23, of Menlo Park, was sentenced to 42 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy, extortion and unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.

In addition to the sextortion plot, Schrier admitted that he had previously extorted and received more than $26,000 from professional poker players in another plot. He further admitted that while free on bond after being charged in the sextortion case, he illegally accessed two email accounts that allowed him to steal approximately $4,000 from online poker accounts.

The second man sentenced Monday, Keith James Hudson, 39, of San Jose, California, received a two-year prison term after pleading guilty to unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information for purposes of private financial gain. Hudson admitted that he hacked into a poker player’s email account, stole naked photographs from the illegally accessed account, and plotted with Schrier to extort poker players with those naked images.

Schrier and Hudson were sentenced by United States District Judge S. James Otero.

According to court documents, the sextortion scheme took place in the fall of 2010, after members of the conspiracy illegally accessed an email account belonging to Joe Sebok. Armed with intimate e-mails and photographs of the victim, Schrier threatened to post those intimate photographs and e-mails on the Internet unless Sebok and other victims paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in extortion payments. Sebok and the other victims in this sextortion case did not make any payments.

As part of the scheme, in November 2010, Schrier sent an e-mail with a nude photograph of Sebok to approximately 100 individuals.

During today’s sentencing hearing, Sebok addressed the court and said the victims of the plot had “their lives altered and shattered in irreparable ways.”

Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
Click a story for the summary

Costa Rican news summaries are disbled
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 23, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 79
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President says she is dumping road concession to preserve peace
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Laura Chinchilla said Monday night that she was terminating the concession with the contractor who was supposed to build a modern highway to San Ramón.

The president said she was doing this to guarantee the social peace of the country.

"I recognize that in the current environment it is not possible nor convenient to carry forward a project that has received the rejection of diverse sections of the population, among them communities, social organizations and even business chambers," said the president. She was speaking on television.

This is the project with the Brazilian firm OAS that has generated so much opposition along the route. The main reason is the 2,000-colon toll the company planned to impose once the route was constructed from San José to San Ramón.

Ms. Chinchilla reminded viewers that the concession received approval in 2004 in the Abel Pacheo administration and that she was faced with the option of pushing the project forward or starting over when she took office.

She said the project was one of three that her administration had as priorities. She named the northern route, the Chilamate Vueta de Kooper highway that connects the northern zone with the Caribbean. She also cited the widening of the Interamericana Norte from Liberia to the Nicaraguan border. She did not mention the roadway along the Río San Juan that is involved in scandal over corruption and poor workmanship.

The president said that by terminating the contract, she was exposing the country to possible financial penalties from the contractor and also imposing a delay on the eventual construction of the route. She estimated the delay to be at least two years.

Despite giving a summary of the history of the proposed highway, Ms. Chinchilla failed to mention that the government
of Taiwan was bankrolling the job but stopped in 2007 when former president Óscar Arias Sánchez dumped Taiwan in favor of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. Ms. Chinchilla was vice president then.

There was no indication how much the country will have to spend to pay off the contractor. There also is the chance of renegotiating the deal, as Ms. Chinchilla noted.

The president said that the concession project was always out in the open and that those who now oppose it never sought to discuss it.

She also said that she was concerned with the firm in which some sectors due to narrow interests decided to attack the project and increase the opposition. She said the government should confront those who for economic or political interests frequently slow projects simply to agitate or because their firm did not get the job. She was referring to local companies that did not win the concession and also to the political football that the concession had become. This was the reason citizens protested last April 11 when Ms. Chinchilla spoke at the Juan Santamaría day ceremonies in Alajuela.  There was a heavy police presence.

She criticized cowardly rumors and defended public employees and officials who have been involved in the project.

She did not mention by name Pedro Castro, the minister of public works, who has been a frequent target.

The political opposition has leveled allegations of corruption and illegalities. José María Villalta, of the leftist Partido Frente Amplio made a point to say on the Internet that OAS had a headquarters in the British Virgin Islands, which is a tax haven, he said. He suggested without any evidence that the firm was engaged in tax fraud and money laundering.

Although she did not say it, Ms. Chinchilla might have acted to reduce any public protests in the first days of May when heads of state, including U.S. President Barack Obama, will be in the country for a summit.

State phone company will compensate customers for outage
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad will be compensating customers who experienced an outage of service last Aug. 29.

Affected at that time were cell telephone service and the Internet.

The Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones approved the
compensation which is 434 million colons, about $890,000.

But the customers will not see the money.

The small amount each received will be deducted from their bill.   Those with pre-paid cellular will have the amount added in the terms of minutes to their account, said the company.
The firm also said that it had taken steps so that the outage would not be repeated.

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 23, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 79
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New study tracks temperatures for the previous 2,000 years
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A team of 78 researchers from around the world published a study on Monday detailing what they call the most comprehensive reconstruction of temperature changes on every continent for the last two millennia.

The research, outlined in the online edition of the journal Nature Geoscience, said there had been an overall cooling trend across nearly all the world’s continents during the last 1,000 to 2,000 years. But that trend came to a halt in much of the world near the end of the 19th century, the study concluded, adding that the period between 1971 and 2000 was the warmest in 1,400 years.

The researchers, coordinated by the Past Global Changes project based in Switzerland, were able to make their conclusions by combining data from records that were taken from sources such as tree rings, pollen, corals, lake and marine sediments, ice cores, stalagmites and assorted historical documents taken from 511 locations throughout Earth’s seven continents.

The researchers said they expect their expansive new dataset will be used in future studies, including comparisons with the output of climate models used to help project future climate change.
Noting that climate records from Africa remain sparse, lead study author Darrell Kaufman, a professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, said, “There were too few records to accurately determine long-term temperature changes for that continent.”

The scientists noted that variations in temperatures across the continents were much more alike within their own hemispheres than between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere.

"Distinctive periods, such as the Medieval Warm Period or the Little Ice Age stand out, but do not show a globally uniform pattern on multi-decadal time scales," says co-author Heinz Wanner of the University of Bern.

The cooling trend was felt throughout the world by approximately 1500 AD when temperatures fell below the long-term mean nearly everywhere.  However, the researchers noted, this drop in mean temperature took place centuries earlier in the Arctic, Europe and Asia than it did in North America and the Southern Hemisphere.

“These new findings will certainly stimulate vibrant discussions within the research community,” said Wanner.
The researchers said the most common feature they found throughout the regions of the world was a long-term cooling trend.  The study suggests that a combination of factors such as an increased global volcanic activity, decreased solar activity, changes in land cover, and slow changes to Earth’s orbit all contributed to the cooling trend.

The warming that began in the late 19th to early 20th century was twice as much, on average, in the northern regions of the world as it was in the Southern Hemisphere.

Antarctica has been the only continent so far to buck the warming trend. 

The researchers analyzed the average temperatures over 30-year periods and found that the period from 1971 to 2000 was most likely warmer overall than any other 30-year period over the last 1,400 years.
But looking back further, the researchers found that there were some areas that experienced even warmer 30-year intervals than the 1971 to 2000 period.  Europe during the Roman Empire, for example, was most likely warmer between 21 and 80 AD.
Weaker solar activity and an increase in tropical volcanic eruptions, on the other hand, may have produced some intensely cooler 30-year periods between 830 and 1910 AD. 

The researchers noted that both weakened solar activity and increased volcanic activity often took place at the same time which they say led to a drop in the average temperature during five distinct 30 to 90-year intervals between 1251 and 1820.

“Previous attempts to reconstruct temperature changes focused on hemispheric or global-scale averages, which are important, but overlook the pronounced regional-scale differences that occur along with global changes,” said Professor Kaufman.  "A key aspect of the consortium effort was to engage regional experts who are intimately familiar with the evidence for past climate changes within their regions," he added.

"Several mathematical procedures were applied to reconstruct the continental temperature time series and they were compared to assess the extent to which the main conclusions of the study stood up to the different analytical approaches."

This study along with other work performed by the project is paid for primarily by Swiss and U.S. national science foundations.

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Heredia rental
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We have furnished one-bedroom apartments in Sabanilla, Montes de Oca, for rent short or long term. Sabanilla is 10 minutes by bus from the University of Costa Rica with direct service downtown. The apartments have bedroom and bath upstairs and kitchen and living-dining areas downstairs. Grounds enclosed by a security wall have many trees and flower beds. Parking, laundry area with machines. Cable TV, Internet and maid service available. Monthly rents are from $425 to $500.
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Manuel Antonio long term apartment for rent
This modern two-bedroom apartment with a breathtaking view of the Quepos town and the Pacific Ocean is situated near Manuel Antonio National Park and beaches. The location offers a unique experience in the edge of the jungle, where you can observe wildlife. The apartment has two separate bedrooms and sleeps three guests maximum. The bathroom has a walk-in shower and a toilette. The living room is furnished with very comfortable furniture. The kitchen is fully equipped. Public transports like taxis, bus station, port as well as shops, groceries, restaurants, cafes, bars, and nightlife are within a very short distance. Fully furnished, all bills included (water, electricity, cable tv, wireless internet), $575 per month, 6-month minimum. Contact us now!!! 8853-8245. or see our
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We offer for rent three furnished, 2-bedroom mountain homes located on the slopes of Barva Volcano, Sacramento, Heredia. The cabin-style homes are adjacent to the Braulio Carillo National Park and walking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and garage. Take in breathtaking views of the Irazú Volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of bird species, to include the occasional Resplendent Quetzal, and a pristine cloud forest. We can also offer you an occasional ride on one of our beautiful mares. Contact Allan or Cristina at, or or for more information HERE! $850 USD/month. We can also offer a weekend or short-stay package.

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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Lovely cottage on private coffee farm
One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed DSL internet, fully equipped kitchen, phone line,
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Palacio condo
Beautiful 2-bedroom, 2-bath modern condo for rent.
(Only 6 years old).
Great Secure Area, Next to 5-Star Hotel Palacio (La Uruca). Gated community, 24-hour security, 5 minutes to San José. Swimming Pool, washer/dryer, covered parking, high-speed Internet, cable TV, home phone! $900 per month, fully furnished, 6-Month minimum! Please Call: 001-954-782-0200 or email

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 23, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 79
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Two in Canada arrested
to face terrorism charges

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Authorities in Canada say they have arrested and charged two residents with conspiring to carry out an al-Qaida-supported terrorist attack against passenger trains.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced Monday that, with the help of U.S. authorities, they were able to arrest Chiheb Esseghaier of Montreal and Raed Jaser from Toronto.
The police said in a statement that while they believe the suspects had the capacity and intent to carry out an attack, there was no imminent threat to the general public, train employees, passengers or railway infrastructure.
Investigators also said that the two suspects allegedly were focusing on passenger trains in Toronto and that the plot was not linked to last week's bombing attack at the Boston Marathon in the United States.

Artists in Florence portray
immigrants as cultural sparks

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Italian city of Florence is known for its art and beauty. Its immigrant community is less well known. But following a series of attacks on African migrants in Florence, a group of artists is highlighting the contribution of foreigners to Florentine culture, past and present.
With its stunning architecture and countless galleries, Florence has long been at the heart of Western art.  It is the birthplace of the Renaissance, the flowering of Western artistic endeavor that began in the 14th century.
Now a group of artists is reflecting on what it means to be Florentine in the 21st century. They're re-creating Renaissance paintings using photographs of the city’s immigrants complete with costumes, props and period hairstyles.
American-Lebanese photographer Mark Abouzeid, who lives in Florence, is one of the curators of the exhibition, titled "The New New World."
He says the project took a dramatic turn when a far-right gunman opened fire on Senegalese immigrants in December 2011, killing two people.
“We decided instead of being angry and saying everything that’s wrong, why don’t we for once just show everything that’s right, from the Renaissance when we reached out to culture, to create something so beautiful the world has never forgotten, to today when thanks to the immigrant community we have a cultural renaissance taking place again," he said.
Florence resident Elhadji Sall from Senegal sits patiently as a team of hair stylists, costume designers and lighting engineers prepare the final shoot.
Sall explains that in Senegal he had worked for the public water utility.  He says he had everything: a job, a wife, two children, a home. While on vacation, he met another Senegalese who lived in Florence and insisted he visit, and he says he found the most beautiful city he has ever seen.
The curators say they were not looking simply for physical resemblance to the Renaissance portraits but also similarities in their roles in society. Sall was chosen as the model for the Botticelli painting "Portrait of a Youth With a Medal." Like the boy in the painting, Elhadji is little known but, as a handyman, his work is felt everywhere.
The exhibition received the backing of Cristina Giacchi, Florence’s minister of universities and culture.
Ms. Giacchi says a city like Florence attracts many people and, as a result can experience problems of integration. She says the most complex aspect has been to get Florentines comfortable with diversity.
At the height of the Arab Spring, thousands of Africans came to Italy in boats. Latest figures show many migrants are now leaving Italy to return to their home countries because of Italy’s economic crisis.
Sall is considering a return to Senegal. “Everything is changed‚ it is truly hard,” says Sall. “I have lost my job two or three times recently. As I speak to you, I do not have any work," he said.
The exhibition has been on display at Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio. The curators plan to take it on tour across Italy.

Leahy defends immigration bill
against shadow of bombing

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An influential U.S. senator says the Boston bombing must not be used as an excuse to block or delay overhauling America’s immigration system. The emergence of a bipartisan immigration reform proposal has been overshadowed by the nation’s preoccupation with events in Boston.
Both Boston bombing suspects came to the United States legally from faraway lands, but some Republican lawmakers have cited their alleged actions as an example of what can happen if Congress carries immigration reform too far.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, says the Boston bombings should not be exploited for political purposes.

“Let no one be so cruel as to try to use the heinous acts of these two young men last week to derail the dreams and futures of millions of hard-working people," said Leahy.

Leahy is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which met Monday to examine a bipartisan proposal that would provide a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants in the nation. The bill also mandates tougher border security and seeks to crack down on employers who hire non-legal workers.

Leahy argued that, if anything, immigration reform is a way to improve U.S. public safety.

“The bill before us would serve to strengthen our national security by allowing us to focus our border security and enforcement efforts against those who do us harm," he said. "A nation as strong as ours can welcome the oppressed and persecuted without making compromises to our security.”

The committee's top Republican, Charles Grassley, objected to Leahy’s suggestion that the immigration plan's opponents are exploiting the Boston bombings. Grassley noted that many Democrats have linked tragedy to politics by citing recent mass shootings in the United States as a reason to support tougher gun restrictions. Grassley said what is needed is careful and reasoned debate on immigration policy.

“I think we are taking advantage of an opportunity, when once in 25 years we deal with immigration, to make sure that every base is covered," said Grassley.

The Republican senator noted that immigration reform undertaken in the 1980s failed to stem the flow of illegal border-crossers. He said lawmakers have a duty to prevent a repeat, necessitating careful consideration and full debate of the proposed reform bill.

“There are 92 other senators that must get their chance to improve this bill in a deliberative process," he said.

Polls show a majority of Americans favor an immigration system overhaul, including a path to citizenship for those living illegally in the country.  Whether the bipartisan bill will win enough votes to pass both houses of a politically divided Congress remains to be seen.

New scholarships will send
western scholars to China

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Supporters of a new scholarship for international students at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University say they are backing the program in the hope that it will produce future world leaders with a better understanding of China.

American billionaire investor Stephen Schwarzman announced the scholarship bearing his name at a ceremony Sunday in Beijing's Great Hall of the People. The Tsinghua program will pay for a one-year master's degrees for 200 students, almost half of them Americans, beginning in 2016. The scholars will take immersion classes in Chinese culture and language before enrolling in public policy and international relations courses.

International energy giant BP is donating $25 million of the $300 million cost of the scholarship program. As the lead sponsor, it said the program will enable future leaders to interact with prominent political, business and academic figures "with the vision of fostering greater understanding and more meaningful dialogue between China and the world."

Schwarzman is donating $100 million of his own wealth to the program, which is modeled on the century-old Rhodes scholarship that brings international students to Britain's Oxford University.

Speaking to U.S. television network CBS, he said the goal of his scholarship is to ease international tensions that may arise as China's economic growth outpaces those of Western powers in the coming years.

"The center of the world's economy is moving to Asia much more than it used to be in 1902, when it was more in the U.S. and Europe, when the Rhodes was established," said Schwarzman. "And I think that bringing students to China is an essential part of their education. China is no longer an elective course, it is really core curriculum."

Two-thirds of the funding will come from private donations, including those made by U.S. corporate giants Bank of America, Boeing, Caterpillar and JPMorgan Chase. All of the major corporate donors have significant investments in China.

Caterpillar said it has contributed $1 million to the scholarship. It said the program will highlight the importance of China's economy to the rest of the world, and create links between Caterpillar and alumni who could someday be an employee or a customer.

Schwarzman's private equity company Blackstone Group also invests in China's real estate market and is part-owned by Chinese state-run wealth fund China Investment Corp. Foreign investors in China traditionally have won favor with Chinese leaders by donating to schools, disaster relief and clean energy projects.

The scholarship's board includes prominent international figures such as former prime ministers Tony Blair of Britain and Kevin Rudd of Australia, former French president Nicholas Sarkozy, and former U.S. secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.

Kissinger said the scholarship can promote a peaceful world and a healthy global economy by fostering close relationships, understanding and communication.

"The Schwarzman Scholars Program is designed to broaden cultural understanding between China and the rest of the world," said Kissinger. "Only through first-hand experience can one really understand China, its culture, people, influences and motivations. Schwarzman scholars will inform a new class of leaders that are better prepared to face global challenges."

Kissinger helped to open U.S. relations with China in the early 1970s as a senior member of the Richard Nixon administration.

Mushroom promoted as source
of nutrition and diet help

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The humble mushroom can pack a powerful nutritional punch, according to two new studies released Monday. The edible fungus can help dieters reduce their intake of red meat and still feel full, and can provide as much vitamin D as a nutritional supplement.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health gave one group of obese adults about one-quarter of a liter of white button mushrooms per day in place of meat. A second group was placed on a standard weight reduction diet.

At the end of a year-long trial, the mushroom group lost more pounds and maintained their weight loss better than the control group. The findings show the benefit of substituting low-energy-density foods, like mushrooms, for high-energy-density foods, like lean ground beef, for reducing energy and fat intake.

In a separate study, at Boston University School of Medicine, researchers randomly gave a small group of healthy adults supplements of either vitamin D2, vitamin D3 or mushroom powder containing vitamin D2 for 12 weeks during the winter. The vitamin, which is crucial for bone health, muscle strength and immune system function, is produced naturally in the skin when exposed to the sun.

At the end of the trial, there was no difference in levels of vitamin D among the three groups. The investigators say their results show that mushrooms are a good natural food source for this important nutrient.

Both studies received funding from The Mushroom Council, a group of U.S. mushroom producers and importers.

California marijuana stores
face a question on ballot

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In Oakland, California, the nation's largest dispensary of medical marijuana, Harborside Health Center, dispenses prepackaged marijuana and potted marijuana plants to a steady stream of users. Each has a doctor's recommendation for marijuana use and belongs to the members-only cooperative.

Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996 under state law, but the drug remains illegal under U.S. federal law.

The marijuana dispensary, called the largest pot shop on the planet, pays millions of dollars each year in state and local taxes and has the backing of city officials. It also has paid millions in legal fees to fight efforts by federal officials to close it down. But co-founder Steve DeAngelo said the move has started toward nationwide legalization of marijuana.

“The real question is, how is it going to be legalized? What is this new industry going to look like? How are we going to regulate it?” he asked.

In Los Angeles, marijuana dispensaries have proliferated, and even supporters say things are out of control. A simple headache or insomnia can get a doctor's recommendation for medical marijuana, and the city has 1,000 or more unregulated dispensaries. 

Los Angeles City Council member Bill Rosendahl credits marijuana with helping him cope with debilitating cancer. 

He backs a proposal called Proposition D, one of three competing measures on the local election ballot in May. He said it would reduce Los Angeles dispensaries to 135, closing hundreds of others and imposing needed regulations on an industry that has helped him.

“I feel strong. I feel I have got a long life ahead of me, and I want to thank medicinal marijuana for making it happen,” said Rosendahl.

Polls show that 70 percent of Californians support medical marijuana. A narrow majority supports full legalization, which is now in place in Washington State and Colorado, but not in California. It is all illegal under federal law. 

Today's marijuana is potent, with more of the psychoactive agent THC, said psychologist Steve Freng, who works in Seattle with treatment programs for the federal government.

“Marijuana these days is not the marijuana that was out there when I was in high school and college. That was essentially Mexican ditch weed that, if you were lucky, was a 3 to 5 percent THC type of marijuana," he said.

Some of today's marijuana is 15 to 20 percent THC, and as with alcohol, there are problems with abuse and underage users.

Federal authorities continue to crack down on some dispensaries. Four were raided recently in Los Angeles. Marijuana fetches higher prices in states where it is illegal, and critics say the lack of regulation in Los Angeles has led to illegal shipments to other states from some dispensaries.

The debate among Californians is no longer about prohibition, though, said marijuana dispensary founder DeAngelo. He sees marijuana as a burgeoning industry, and has set up an investment network called Arcview Group to help finance it.

“It is no longer a question of whether or not cannabis is going to be legalized. It is not even a question of when, because we are in that moment right now,” he said.

DeAngelo said it is a question of how it will be legalized. The country is waiting to see how federal officials respond to that question.

Woodstock opener Havens
dies of heart attack in Jersey

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

American folk musician Richie Havens, who was the first performer at the Woodstock music festival, has died.
His family said Havens died of a heart attack in New Jersey Monday. He was 72.

Havens opened the three-day 1969 Woodstock Festival with the song "Freedom," and performed for three hours.  The concert was the turning point of his career.

He also performed at Bill Clinton's presidential Inauguration in 1993.

Havens released his debut album "Mixed Bag" in 1967 and went on to release more than 25 albums. Havens' last album was 2008's "Nobody Left to Crown."

His Web site said he had kidney surgery in 2010 and that he never recovered enough to perform concerts the way he used to.

Man on FBI's most-wanted list
captured in Nicaraguan town

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Police in Nicaragua say they have detained a U.S. man on the FBI's most-wanted list who is accused of producing child pornography.

Police say they arrested former school teacher Eric Toth in the northern city of Esteli, near Nicaragua's border with Honduras.

Toth taught elementary students at a private school in Washington, D.C., when he was accused in 2008 of possessing and producing pornography. He disappeared shortly afterwards.

The FBI added Toth to its most-wanted list in 2012, offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

The agency's most wanted list is usually reserved for those suspected of involvement in violent crimes or terrorism. However, the FBI said it put Toth on the list because his Internet skills and his alleged ability to prey on children made him very dangerous.

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San Lis home
Incredible view of the Central Valley from San Luis $282,000 Click HERE!
 Great deals for you!
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Arenal Colonial
Property for sale, great potential income
Turnkey business $350K. Rental $1,250/month This luxury home (4,000 square feet and two story private home) is a botanical paradise overlooking beautiful Lake Arenal. Only one block from the lake park and boat ramp. Close to Tabacón hot springs and Monteverde cloud forest. Caño Negro national park and many beautiful beaches along the Pacific are only a short drive away. Costa Rica bird watching, wind surfing, fishing, water sports, ecotourism adventures, hiking, tennis and mountain biking are out your front door. Also has a wonderful view of the Arenal Volcano, a safe 25 miles away. Electric gated entrance. Safe private home and entire property. To see more pictures and info, click here:

Jacó compound
Located at Barrio Ricos y Famosos in Calle Europa, Casa Shangri La.
Main house: 3 bedrooms, 3 bath 270 square meters, 2 condominiums 2 bedrooms, one bath, 110 square meters, plus one small apartment. one bedroom, one bath. Huge pool, carport for five cars. plus double garage, rancho with pool bathroom,  gymnasium, laundry room, pool plumbing room, huge dog house in separate 500 square-meter garden with aviary for Guacamayas (we have three birds) 60 meters of river front of Río Copey with a 4 meter-high protective and retention stone wall. Eight surveillance camera CCTV system with Internet access from anywhere. Over 2 meter-high brick wall all around the property with two layers of razor wires on top, the safest place to be! Electronic entrance gate, door phone, five telephone lines, high-speed Internet wireless access everywhere. Beautiful gardens with many fruit trees. Price $ 1,350.000 negotiable. All fittings and furniture, included even a car. German-built, excellent quality and well maintained. More photos on request.

Monte Mar
Hacienda Monte Mar
Gated Community near the beach
SALE on our last 4 lots! Starting at just $17,500 with financing available.
Reserve today with just $5,000 down
Great Retirement Home, Vacation Home, or investment option!
Lots of wildlife on the property. Gated front entrance, caretakers house.
Water and power on site.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Casa de Eden
For sale by owner Playa Conchal home. Reduced $329,000

Casa de Eden is an ocean view three-bedroom, 2.5-bath, with outdoor shower, private pool located only minutes from Playa Conchal.  The home is in a private, secure community surrounded by nature but still only 20 minutes to the resort towns of Flamingo & Tamarindo and less than an hour from the Liberia airport. There is 2,600 square feet under the roof, which includes a large outdoor terrace and has phone, Internet & satellite TV. The home boasts luxury finishings: AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire professional series stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, ceramic tile.  Contact  U.S. 1-800-939-2617 or CR (506) 8349-2025.

Pirate beach
For sale by owner: Ocean view condominium. Reduced $175,000

Gorgeous two- bedroom, two-bath with private terrace offering spectacular ocean views and built-in energy efficiently. This condo is located in a gated community with low HOA dues and offers amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to a beautiful white sandy Pirates Beach. Only 20 minutes to the resort towns of Flamingo & Tamarindo and less than an hour from the Liberia airport.  Luxury finishings: Pella double panel windows, AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, porcelain tile. Contact  U.S. 1-800-939-2617 or CR (506) 8349-2025.

This is a well distributed condo, very spacious and meticulously maintained. It sells furnished with quality furnishings and appliances. 3 bedrooms, 3 baths and lots of storage place. It's a 2,200-sq. foot condo with double garage. Ideally located 20 minutes south of Jacó. It comes with a free beach club membership at Monterey Hotel in Esterillos. Call 2778-8408 or 8707-1037. Email or
Las Escadas
Welcome to our Paradise
Las Escadas – Condomimium & Club
San Juan del Sur – Nicaragua

1 and 2 bedroom condos from $ 39,900.
Las Escadas Condominiums & Club is the best Investment opportunity for those who want to live surrounded on all sides with nature and very closes to many beautiful beaches, amazing places with rich history and culture.
Security entrance – Administrative office – Swimming pool – Children's playground – Reserved parking available – Basketball court – pathways – Underground utilities.
Only $ 99 to reserve your Unit. Limited time offer
Cell English +505 8588-9827 – Cell Spanish/English 8551-4391

Nicoya views
Property with ocean and gulf view for sale
Tranquil million dollar view, 5,000-sq.meter property with 3/2 home built to American standards, artistically designed and decorated, 16-foot ceilings of mango and tamarindo, appliances, plunge pool, rancho, caretaker apartment, workshop, covered parking, views of Gulf of Nicoya and ocean, in countryside near San José to Caldera highway. Near the lovely town of Esparza. Can provide extra income from bed and breakfast room rental and stellar Tripadvisor reviews. $180,000 506-8869-9274.

View from Orosi home

Majestically situated overlooking the Orosi Valley and the tropical rain forest, this 2-bedroom, 2½-bath home with a separate office is offered at $550,000.  From the extensive use of glass windows visitors are easily captivated by the unbelievably 7 acres of pure, natural Costa Rican landscape.   The property is located 15 minutes from the Cartago metropolitan area, an hour from San José, 1¼ hours to the Juan Santamaria International Airport, 2 hours to the beaches of the Pacific West Coast, or 3 ½  hours to the beaches of the southern Caribbean coast.
USA 678-799-8803
CR Cell 011-506-8-910-2904

You can purchase property in Costa Rica legally without paying Land Transfer Tax; this plus the usual real estate commission of 5% will reduce your purchase price by approximately 11%. Save over $50,000.00 on the purchase of this $465,000.00 property. Large 5000+ sq.ft. House. Ideal for business executive, B & B or large family. E-mail for photos and more information to

Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

For Sale By Owner
1 lot (1.5 acres)  at SIBU (8 lots total) amongst 50 acres of protected jungle gardens with sunset ocean views of Playa Nosara. Underground electric and water.13 minutes from Playa Guiones. Gated. In house financing available. Home of SIBU Sanctuary.

Rich Coast Montage
Central Pacific Coast Real Estate
- 2-bedroom house in gated community, $92,500.
- Lots in gated community from $20k w/financing available.
- 3-bedroom house in gated community, furnished, walk to the beach, $125k
- 3-bedroom oceanview house on 5 acres subdividable, $270k
- 58-acre oceanview property subdividable, $169k
Oceanfront residential Lot $58k
and much more....
USA Toll Free 1 866 833 4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718 9891

Ocean view home
Georgeous House For Sale In Costa Rica
Gorgeous house built 5 years ago to U.S. standards on 37,000 sq. ft TITLED property. This is a very special and rare property because of the INCREDIBLE OCEAN VIEW and excellent location. This one of a kind home and property is truly a must see. Ocean view Only $345 000.00 US More details:
Jack 506-2778-8172    Email:

just reduced
Just Reduced to $169,000!!!
58-acre oceanview and mountainview property

Segregated into 9 lots, Excellent Development Potential!
20 minutes from the beach Central Pacific Coast, between Jacó and Quepos.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005  CR Cell 8718-9891

montage ofr photos
ALAZAN Eco-Friendly Community

- Ocean, mountain, and river views, built in harmony with nature
- 70% sold out, 1.25 acre + lots available from $75,000
- All lots held in separate corporations
- Functioning HOA with 24-hour security and gated front entrance
- 100% custom homes, turnkey construction
- Community homes have been featured in Su Casa Architectural Magazine
- Abundant wildlife on the property, access to 45-acre nature preserve
- Organic Permaculture farm coming soon
- Build your custom dream home and join our community of friends in paradise!
Brokers Welcome
USA Toll Free 1 866 833 4005
CR Cell 011 (506) 8718-9891

Costa Azul view
costa azul ocean
Properties in Osa near the ocean.
50% discount from the valuation price, starting at $30.000.
Financing available. Contact us at +506 2233-7778 or +506 8815-6476.
Grupo Costa Azul – A property waiting for you!

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)7115-12/16/11

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:

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Real estate for sale
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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, April 23, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 79
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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

Guantanamo prisoners
involved in hunger strike

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

More than half of the men held at the Guantanamo detention camp have joined an escalating hunger strike to protest their open-ended detention, a camp spokesman said Monday.

The U.S. military counted 84 of the 166 prisoners as hunger strikers and was force-feeding 16 of them liquid meals through tubes inserted in their noses and down into their stomachs.

Six were hospitalized for observation, said Lt. Col. Samuel House, a spokesman for the detention operation at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in southeastern Cuba.

Asked if there were enough doctors and nurses to keep up with the twice-daily tube-feedings, House said, "We currently have enough medical personnel on site, and have identified additional medical personnel, should they become necessary in the future."

Hunger strikes have occurred at Guantanamo since shortly after the United States began detaining suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban captives there in January 2002.

The current hunger strike began in early February, after guards seized photos and other belongings during a cell search. Prisoners said the guards had also mistreated their Korans during the search, which the U.S. military denies.

The military has declined to say what prompted the cell searches but similar searches have been conducted in the past.

Though the cell search was the immediate trigger, military officials and lawyers for the prisoners have said the protest generally reflects frustration with the failure to resolve the prisoners' fate. Most have been held for more than a decade without charge or trial and Congress has blocked Obama administration efforts to close the camp.

"It's escalated because the men are desperate and they've hit a breaking point," said Carlos Warner, a federal public defender from Ohio who is part of a team representing 11 Guantanamo prisoners.

"Really what is behind all this is the president abandoned his promise to close Guantanamo. The men know that, they're desperate."

Forty-three prisoners had joined the hunger strike by April 13, when guards in riot gear swept through a communal prison and forced the detainees into one-man cells where they could be better monitored. Camp officials said the detainees had covered the security cameras and windows, blocking guards' view.

The number refusing meals has grown steadily since then, and two prisoners tried to kill themselves by making nooses with their clothing, House said.

Lawyers for the prisoners have said the hunger strike is more widespread than the military acknowledges, with between 100 and 130 detainees taking part.

More than half of Guantanamo's prisoners have been cleared for release but Congress has put stringent restrictions on transfers. About two-thirds of those cleared for release are Yemenis and the Obama administration has halted repatriations to their homeland because of instability there.

Costa Rican News
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Real Estate
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2013 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details