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Published Thursday, May 11, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 93
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Moving spheres causing uproar among experts
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The displacement of three, centuries-old pre-Columbian stone spheres worries some activists who demand the Museo Nacional put them back in place due to their cultural, historical and archaeological value.

On Apr. 24, an unidentified truck arrived to Finca 4, one of several pre-Columbian settlements located in the Cantón de Osa, Puntarenas province. There a group of workers, sent by Museo Nacional, tried to pick up three spheres with the purpose of transferring them to Finca 6, another archaeological site, in order to perform some restoring work.

However, community members stopped the operation and forced the workers to leave the place. Later, the Museo Nacional confirmed through a press release that, in fact, the entity requested the stones to be transferred.

The incident caught the attention of Nicolás Boeglin, a professor of international law at Universidad de Costa Rica, who claimed it could be illegal for government to unilaterally make these decisions.

“According to the agreement with UNESCO, no unilateral decision should be made in regards to the spheres,” Boeglin said. “All of this is very suspicious. Let's not forget that parts of these sites do not belong to the state, so we all must be very attentive.”

On June 23, 2014, the spheres and the area were declared a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, known by its acronym UNESCO, at a summit in Qatar.

The spheres removed were located in Finca 4, one of the main pre-Columbian settlements in the Osa Peninsula. The other ones are located at: Finca 6, Batambal, Grijalba-2 and El Silencio.

Around the area, there have been interests of further expanding pineapple plantations, as previously reported by A.M. Costa Rica. Former president Laura Chinchilla also pushed for the creation of an international airport close to the nearby heritage site.

“Anytime an archaeological artifact like this is set for maintenance, it should be taken care of on site. Any archaeologist knows that,” Boegling said.

A similar position is held by Ifigenia Quintanilla, a researcher who has studied the stone spheres for the last 25 years and belongs to the International Council of Monuments and Sites.

The expert questions why Museo Nacional would send a worker who is unskilled in archaeology affairs to handle the stone spheres.

Finca 4
Díquis Patrimonio Mundial photo
Some of the spheres at the Finca 4 site

She also questioned why they transferred them to a closed-off Museo Nacional storage center, which is not an archaeological lab to perform restoration works.

“I wonder how long they will be kept in there and for what,” said Ms. Quintanilla.

“There are many interests, even politics involved in this area and it would calm people down to see a specific action plan for our monument.”

Ms. Quintanilla recalled that indigenous artifacts are still subject of international smuggling.

According to the press release sent by Museo Nacional, the stones were moved from its site for maintenance and restoration purposes.

They still have the three spheres, according to Wendy Segura, a spokeswoman of the museum.

The press release also said museum officials apologized to the community for not properly informing the public about this recent occurrence.

The spheres date back as far as year 1500 C.E. They where first discovered in 1939 inside the property of the United Fruit Company when the group was preparing the soil to start new banana plantations.

At first they were ignored by the workers, company representatives and locals alike, who had never seem them before.

Later some of them were cracked open in case jewels and gold were hidden inside.

The first scientific article mentioning the spheres appeared in 1943 in the American Antiquity Magazine.

The spheres are spread all around the Osa area.



Fuerza Pública desperate to find more recruits
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some expats may think that the government is desperately urging people to join the Fuerza Pública to meet its goal of interviewing 30,000 candidates and then hire 1,000 new officers.

According to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, 20,500 people have already been called to start the process before June and all of them registered through the ministry’s website.

From those applicants 638 people have already been accepted for training.

The ministry said that the first batch of trainees started the process on Feb. 16 at the Escuela Nacional de Polícia, located in San José.

The next batch will start on May 16.

However, there is a high degree of absenteeism in the first interviews, since many of the applicants have already found another job or just don't show up.

“About 40 percent of people we call to start the process never come, so that lowers the amount of available offers,” said Ruth López, director of recruitment at the security ministry.

“One of the reasons that keep people from joining the forces is the high risk associated with the job and also the fact they might be assigned anywhere in the country,” she added.

Those who start their training will likely make about $540 net a month. That's the entry level which is called Agente 1.

After the first year the new hire could earn more money depending on their grades or if they continue their police studies at the academy, explained Ms. López.

“That's a good salary taking into consideration that requirements are low: 9 grade approved, no felonies and Costa Rican citizenship,” Ms. López added.

All officers are provided with the uniform, shoes and weapons. Those who are assigned far away from their place of residence get a place to sleep, three meals a day and special compensation.

Their schedule will vary but in general terms they get one day off for every 12 hours shift, according to Ms. López.

She also said that police officer jobs pay more to people with college degrees who want to join the Fuerza Pública.

“People become police officers because there is a high rate of unemployment and this job provides stability, but the working conditions are not attractive,” said Minor Anchía, president of the Fuerza Pública branch of the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados, one of the country's biggest unions.

“It's not only difficult to find new police officers. On top of that, there is an increasing desertion rate in our forces because the environment is too risky, not well paid, danger of facing lawsuits and too much media exposure,” he said.

Anchía said many Fueza Pública officers are fleeing to other security forces such as the municipal police, the Judicial Investigating Organization and the prison police.

Not only are officers better paid and face less stress, they also have the chance to work close to home. “For someone interested in pursuing a police career, Fuerza Pública is the least attractive option,” he said.


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Legislature approves joining task force

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

After a last minute rush Wednesday afternoon, legislators definitively approved the bill 19.951 which will allow Costa Rica to become a member of the Financial Action Task Force, an international agency that enforces anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism cash flows among its affiliates.

Legislators had to call for an extraordinary session to positively approve the bill on second discussion. The deadline granted by the agency to comply with the approval of the law was also yesterday.

This will keep the country from entering the organizations black list, which would have implied international financial sanctions and burdens for Costa Rica.

Sergio Alfaro, the minister for the presidency, said an official committee was already in the headquarters of the organization in Florida by the time the legislative assembly approved the bill.

“That's great news for the Costa Rica delegation,” Alfaro said. “The approval will be key before the group of evaluators. It is important to thank the efforts of the Legislative Assembly to support this international process.”

The bill requires not only financial institutions to report suspicious financial activities but also freelance professionals such as accountants, realtors, lawyers and fund managers to report them as well.
 
Casino operators are also included in the list, however, sportsbooks were not included because of the opposition of the Libertarian Party legislator Otto Guevara.

According to Guevara, sportsbooks in Costa Rica run their business like any call center with no money entering the country.

Had Costa Rica not complied with the deadline and put in the list of non-cooperative countries, it would have complicated the country's capacity to sell bonds, make international investment or request international loans.


Water institute receives land for facility

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This past Tuesday the Costa Rican institute of aqueducts and sewage gained some land owned by Scotiabank for the construction of a water storage facility in Guanacaste’s Matapalo.

The bank made the donation under the auspices of its corporate responsibility program called Scotiabank en la comunidad, a statement from Acueductos y Alcantarillados said. The move is intended to strengthen the drinking water supply in parched Guanacaste.

"Water is a fundamental resource whose quality and quantity must be guaranteed, both for human consumption and for production,” said Minor Solís, Scotiabank’s vice president of risk management. “At Scotiabank we are proud to support with this donation to improve the quality of life of the residents of Guanacaste.”

The new facility for Santa Cruz also includes with the donation some improvements in field wells, pumping station, power line, four water storage tanks, distribution lines and an interconnection with the existing systems, the institute said.

Work is expected to begin for the project in the second half of 2017. The institute said that the design has already been created and includes plans for interconnections with the 14 coastal facilities. The group has also established a committee for the management of the coastal zone of the Santa Cruz canton.

The facility is supposed to be complete and ready for the second half of 2018 at a projected cost of 7.1 million colons.


Luis Guillermo Solis
Casa Presidencial photo    
President Luis Guillermo Solís speaking in Amsterdam.

Solís calls for cruise industry growth

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government of Costa Rica is teaming up with port officials at Amsterdam to take advantage of its knowledge of the cruise industry and port management for potential application in Puntarenas and Limón.

This comes within the context of President Luis Guillermo Solís’ tour of Europe. Its objective is to intensify commercial relations, investment and innovation, according to Casa Presidencial.

The government thinks that the International Port of Amsterdam will aid the country in creating a improved angle within the tourism industry: cruises.

The International Port of Amsterdam is interested in promoting best practices and sharing its expertise in port development and cruise terminal management, while Costa Rica has stated its interest in taking advantage of that experience in projects in both Puntarenas and Limón.

"We signed with the authorities a memorandum of understanding that will allow the Dutch port authorities to carry out an analysis of possibilities to promote projects of this type in Limón and Caldera,” Solís said.

“Holland has an extraordinary and historic capacity in port development and we want to take advantage of the good practices and the experience of this country to improve the quality of our ports.”

According to data gathered by Casa Presidencial, the number of tourists entering the country by sea is increasing. The results, however, may seem to some a little underwhelming.

Between 2013 to 2016, the number of tourists traveling by sea and entering Costa Rica jumped from 8,459 people to 10,439 in 2016. The government is still interested in developing the cruise industry as many tourists often frequent the beaches and coastal areas.
 

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English








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Viva el Arte provides platform of exhibition for emerging artists
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

From May 26 to 28, Viva el Arte will commandeer the halls of the Centro Comercial Plaza del Sol with what is among one of the most recognized art fairs in Costa Rica.

For the 12th edition of the fair, over 40 visual artists will display and sell their works from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., according to organizers for the event. Admission if free to go and view.

The group, VIVA ARTE, sponsoring this event said that the aim is to educate the public about art and to provide a professional showcase for emerging artists arriving on the scene.

The selection of the participating artists was done through a public call, said Ana Beatriz Sánchez, the event coordinator.

This selection was also facilitated by an independent historian and curator named María Alejandra Triana.

This year, the featured work will showcase a wide variety of disciplines such as painting, sculpture, engraving, glasswork, ceramics, photography and graphic design.

The selection is intended to reflect the diversity of art throughout Costa Rica, organizers said.

Fuscaldo art
piece
VIVA ARTE photo
Glass piece by Caterina Fuscaldo on display at festival.

The three days will also include workshops held every day of the festival and free of charge as well as special music performances by varying music groups.

There will also be traditional masquerade workshops to go hand-in-hand with a special exhibition of this art form by three of the more prominent craftsmen in the country. It is the artistic design of masquerades which will be this year’s theme, overall, of the festival, according to the group.



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Roar of gas compressors influences number of insects, study says
By the Florida Museum of Natural History press staff

The relentless roar of natural gas compressors influences the numbers of insects and spiders nearby, triggering decreases in many types of arthropods sensitive to sounds and vibrations, a collaborative Florida Museum of Natural History study shows.

Populations of grasshoppers, froghoppers, velvet ants, wolf spiders and cave, camel and spider crickets dropped significantly in areas near gas compressors, while leafhopper numbers rose.

These shifts in arthropod communities could set off a cascade of larger-scale ecological consequences, as insects and spiders play fundamental roles in food webs, pollination, decomposition and overall ecological health, said study co-author Akito Kawahara, assistant professor and curator at the museum’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity at the University of Florida.

“Noise pollution affects all kinds of animals, and insects are no exception,” Kawahara said. “They might be small, but they’re the dominant animals on the planet in terms of numbers. What happens to them affects whole ecosystems.”

The study joins a growing body of research on how artificial noise alters animal behavior and disrupts ecosystems and is the first to examine noise pollution’s effects on arthropod distribution and community diversity.

Gas compressors, which can range from minivan to warehouse-sized, extract and move natural gas along a pipeline, emitting intense, low-frequency noise. Previous studies have shown noise pollution from compressors changes the activity levels and distribution of bats and birds, key predators of insects and spiders.

Kawahara joined a multi-institutional research group, led by the study’s first author Jessie Bunkley and principal investigator Jesse Barber of Boise State University, to test how the landscape-scale noise produced by gas compressors affects arthropod communities, many of which rely on sound and vibrations to find food, meet a mate, communicate and detect predators.

The research team used pitfall traps to take a census of spider and non-flying insect populations at San Juan Basin, New Mexico, the second-largest natural gas field in the U.S. The team tested five sites with compressors and five ecologically similar sites without compressors and compared the relative abundance of specimens.

Compressor sites had 95 percent fewer cave, camel and spider crickets, 52 percent fewer froghoppers and 24 percent fewer grasshoppers than sites without compressors.
For every 10-decibel increase in noise, velvet ant populations dropped 56 percent and wolf spiders decreased by 44 percent.
wolf spider
Florida Museum of Natural History photo
Number of wolf spiders dropped in response to noise.

Unexpectedly, leafhopper numbers surged in response to noise, increasing 44 percent for each additional 10 decibels of sound.

Some arthropods, such as jumping spiders, ground spiders, ants and leaf beetles, showed no significant differences in their numbers between sites.

All arthropod groups that responded to louder background sound levels or compressor noise make or sense sounds or vibrations, suggesting compressor noise could directly interfere with or mask important information they receive or exchange.

Compressor noise could negatively affect wolf spiders, for example, because they are hunters that depend on vibrations to detect prey. Conversely, noise could act as a predator shield for leafhoppers, hiding their sounds and movements from their natural enemies.

But parsing out why a particular group of arthropods increased or decreased in response to compressor noise is difficult, Kawahara said.

While the number of crickets in the Rhaphidophoridae family plunged in response to compressor noise, crickets in the Gryllidae family did not seem to be affected.

“The range of changes in arthropod abundance sheds light on the fact that we’re dealing with a very complicated network of animal interactions,” Kawahara said.

He pointed to the value of museum collections as archives of past biodiversity that can record changes to the environment over time.

“Unless we have historical documentation of what was in an area at a particular time, it’s hard to detect these changes at a fine scale. Museum specimens document biodiversity over hundreds of years, offering those snapshots of time.”

The study was published in “Ecology and Evolution.”



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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 logo

HERE!

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

Real estate rentals (paid category)

San Jose Penthouse

Beautiful Penthouse Fully Furnished for Rent
Central San José downtown 

Including electricity, rate ₡355.000 (colones) or $650 per month.  2-bedroom / Laundry in bldg /  apartment. with king-sized bed in the master bedroom and large closets and desk.  It has 2 bathrooms, large kitchen and separate large living room. The apartment is on the top floor of the building with a commanding view of San José.  American-style apartment with elevator in a very secure building in Barrio Amón. Total eastern wall is windows for commanding view of area. The fully equipped kitchen has all the amenities included. All linen, towels, bedding are included. Three televisions, cable television, high-speed internet, WiFi. It includes plenty of hot water and all your electricity is also included in the rent. Shared free laundries on four floors of the building. Convenient to Parque Morazán, 100 mts. north of downtown Holiday Inn, Del Rey and other downtown hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, National Registry.  1/2 mo. security deposit. No lease required.

For personal inspection and more information call Hilda or Frank at (506) -7279-0252, 7148-1518, 7256-8378. Not calling for deals not related.
9217-5/11/17


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


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

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

    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
    SEE our new PACKAGE DEALS.
Solar logo
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







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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
Published Thursday, May 11, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 93
Calendar
Opinion
Classifieds
Real Estate
Lifestyle
Food
About us
 
Streets of Caracas continue
to have violent clashes


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The streets of Venezuela’s capital were scenes of violent clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces once again Wednesday.

One person was killed and dozens were injured as national guardsmen tear-gassed protesters in Caracas as they tried to march to the Supreme Court.

Protesters lobbed bottles filled with feces at government troops armed with tear gas and water cannons. Local politician Ramon Muchacho said 84 people have been hospitalized.

At least 39 people have been killed since the protests began last month. Wednesday’s victim was Miguel Castillo, a 27-year-old recent graduate of Santa Maria University.

Another man also died Wednesday, two days after being shot in the head in a protest in the western city of Merida.

Tensions have heightened since President Nicolas Maduro began a push last week to hold a special assembly to rewrite the constitution. Opposition leaders charge the move is a ploy to keep the president and his allies in power.

Maduro has blamed the country’s opposition for stoking violence to remove him from power with the help of the United States.

The oil-rich South American nation has been facing an economic crisis since world oil prices dropped, leaving the population plagued by rising crime, vast shortages of food and medical supplies, and triple-digit inflation.



Coral reefs
California academy of sciences photo    
Healthy reef in the Philippines.

Fertilization could aid
restoring of coral reefs


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It's no secret that the world's coral reefs are at risk. Pollution, dredging, overfishing and, especially, acidic, warming waters are pushing these complex ecosystems to the brink of destruction, and marine scientists and researchers have been stymied in attempts to restore their health.

Saving them isn't just the right thing to do, it's a necessity if we want to keep our oceans healthy and viable. Coral reefs provide nurseries for nearly a quarter of the ocean's fisheries, help protect shorelines from storms, and offer underwater wonders for snorkelers and divers.

Now, a project at San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences offers hope for what marine biologist Bart Shepherd calls one of the most magical and beautiful places on Earth.

Shepherd is director of the Academy’s Steinhart Aquarium, and, with the Academy’s curator of ichthyology, Luiz Rocha, directs the appropriately-named Hope for Reefs initiative.

Human activity and increasingly warm and acidic ocean water are taking a heavy toll on the world’s coral reefs. A recent aerial survey found more than two-thirds of the coral in Australia's Great Barrier Reef is experiencing shocking amounts of bleaching, and Rocha says human-induced climate change is devastating other reefs as well.

“When coral gets stressed, in most cases because of warm water, it expels the algae,” he explains. Algae have a symbiotic relationship with the coral polyps. The coral provides a protective environment for the algae, which provide corals with essential nutrients and their incredible colors. That bleaching can lead to the coral’s death.

Various methods have been tried to bring back reefs. The most successful so far has been artificially accelerating a natural process called fragmentation. Researchers purposefully break off coral branches, allow the pieces to recover and grow, and then plant them back onto the reef.

But Shepherd points to a long-term problem with that approach. “You are producing thousands of identical genetic clones of the same coral from one parent colony. So, you’re really reducing the genetic diversity that’s out there on the reef and the ability of the coral to respond, perhaps, to things we don’t even know are going to happen.”

So, the Hope for Reefs crew turned to a unique method pioneered by the coral conservation group Secore International. In 2011, it began using in vitro fertilization to restore the health of dying coral reefs. Endangered elkhorn coral off the coast of its field station in Curaçao was the test case.

Corals only spawn once a year, at night around a full moon. During those couple of nights, millions of the corals’ sex cells float to the surface, but, Shepherd explains, more than 99 percent don’t make it.

Hope for Reefs doesn’t stop with restoration. Shepherd says educating local governments and community stakeholders to save their coral reefs is key to the success of the project and time is crucial.

Hope for Reefs has just finished the first year of its five-year project and everyone involved is optimistic. The challenge is to scale up in vitro fertilization to restore endangered coral reefs worldwide before they are lost. The project hopes to seed one million global corals by 2021.

With a commitment of nearly $13-million from the California Academy of Sciences, and a new partnership with The Nature Conservancy, twenty new expeditions are planned. First up, the degraded reef at Secore International’s field station in Curaçao and, then, on to the Yucatan Peninsula and the Great Maya Reef.


Students jeer Betsy DeVos during grad ceremony

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Students at a university in Florida booed and jeered Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as she tried to speak during their graduation ceremony Wednesday.

Bethune-Cookman University President Edison Jackson warned students to be quiet, to little effect.

Bethune-Cookman traces its history to 1904 and is one of the oldest institutions among U.S. historically black colleges and universities, or schools where African-American students make up a large proportion of the student body.

Boos rang out before Ms. DeVos stepped to a podium to speak Wednesday, but she began by telling the hundreds of students she hoped they could disagree respectfully.

"Let's choose to hear one another out,'' Ms. DeVos said, reading her prepared text in a measured tone despite continuing waves of boos, catcalls and scattered applause.

Protests continued even after Jackson demanded an end to the demonstration. Many of the graduates stood and turned their backs to Ms. DeVos as she spoke, about half of the nearly 400 people receiving degrees this term, according to reports from the scene.

Ms. DeVos' conservative Republican background and strong views on educational policy attracted strong opposition when President Donald Trump named her to his Cabinet this year.

Many African-Americans objected to her comment during Senate confirmation hearings that historically black colleges were the real pioneers when it comes to school choice in reference to her belief that parents and students in the American system of public education should be able to choose between state-run elementary and secondary schools and alternative schools sponsored by churches or other nonpublic groups supported by public funds.

African-American educators and students said Ms. DeVos' views were misdirected because historically black colleges and universities became established as a response to systems of racial segregation widely practiced in the United States during the first half of the 20th century and earlier.

These schools, protesters said, were born not out of mere choice, but out of necessity, in the face of racism.



Kurdish militia says arms
will hasten assault on IS


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Commanders in the Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG, and the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State say Washington's decision to send more arms to the YPG will accelerate their advance into Islamic State's de facto capital, Raqqa.

"We need all types of weapons to complete our war against IS and to capture Raqqa," Nasir Hacimansur, a senior adviser of Syrian Democratic Forces general command, said.

The YPG is a Kurdish militia that leads the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab forces that has driven Islamic State militants from large swaths of land in northern Syria over the past two years with the backing of the U.S.-led coalition.

The defense forces said Wednesday it has ousted Islamic State from the strategically important town of Tabqa, 40 kilometers west of Raqqa, using its assault there to move toward the group’s stronghold.

Washington sees arming the Kurdish fighters as the easiest way to bring about Raqqa's downfall. And Kurdish officials have continuously told Washington that the assault on the Islamic State capital could be long and costly for their forces if they are not provided with heavier weapons.

U.S. Air Force Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, said on Wednesday that the YPG will receive the arms in short order. The weapons will include small arms, ammunitions, heavy machine guns, and mortars.

"Some of the equipment and the resources are already in theater, and some of those may have begun being dispersed very quickly. Some will be metered out as it's needed," Dorrian told reporters in a weekly televised briefing from Baghdad. He added that the arms shipments are directly tied to speeding up the Raqqa operation against Islamic State.

Islamic State is showing fierce resistance on the northern outskirts of Raqqa, detonating suicide car bombs and using civilians as human shields.

Washington has previously supplied light weapons and armored vehicles to the Arab element of the defense forces. The U.S. has avoided that supply to the YPG because of opposition from North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally Turkey, which sees the YPG as an extension of the Turkish-Kurdish separatist PKK.

Turkey expressed outrage Wednesday at the U.S. decision to further arm the YPG.

"Every weapon obtained by the People's Protection Units constitutes a threat to Turkey," said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

But the coalition spokesman said the coalition will carefully monitor what is given and what it's being used for.

Fawza al-Yusuf, a political leader of Kurdish self-proclaimed Democratic Federal System, said that if the decision had been made earlier, there would have been a lot more advances against Islamic State.


Pakistan says border dispute
with Afghanistan being fixed


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Pakistan says a border dispute that triggered recent deadly clashes with Afghanistan is likely to be settled later this week, paving the way for Islamabad to fully reopen a busy crossing with the landlocked neighboring country.

The Pakistani military reiterated on Wednesday that clashes erupted after Afghan forces fired at government enumerators trying to conduct a census-related activity on the Pakistani side of two divided villages in the southwestern town of Chaman.

The skirmishes left casualties on both sides, and heavy gunfire continued for hours until the two sides agreed to conduct a joint geological survey of the border villages to remove discrepancies.

"Now surveyor generals from the two sides have sat down together and examined the maps, and I think the dispute will be settled in a day or two. Obviously, we have no such desire to have access over Afghanistan's territory. So, hopefully this issue will be resolved," said Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan's foreign policy adviser.

Afghan authorities insist they opened fire to prevent Pakistani forces from occupying their land and had alerted the other side against conducting any activity in the disputed area.

Speaking to reporters in Islamabad on Wednesday, Aziz maintained that the border line passes through the two villages and it was difficult to determine its exact location, which created mutual misunderstandings and prompted last week's unfortunate clashes.

Pakistan also swiftly closed the Chaman border crossing, stranding thousands of travelers as well as trade and transit convoys headed to landlocked Afghanistan.

However, Aziz said Pakistani authorities have made an exception for ailing Afghans and those visiting the country on valid visas, allowing them to leave and return home through the Chaman crossing. He went on to say Islamabad will consider reopening the crossing for all traffic once differences over the two border villages are resolved.

Earlier, Aziz told a conference of Pakistani and Afghan officials, as well as regional experts, that Pakistani forces have successfully eliminated terrorism infrastructure in traditionally militant-dominated tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan's counter-terrorism operations and border security measures along a nearly 2,600-kilometer frontier between the two countries are part of efforts Islamabad is making to help stabilize Afghanistan.

Aziz reiterated that a negotiated settlement between the Afghan government and Taliban can only bring peace to the war-ravaged nation.

Afghanistan and Pakistan accuse each other of harboring militants involved in terrorist attacks in both countries. Aziz insisted that once in place, Islamabad's border security plans will address mutual concerns and ease tensions in bilateral ties.

Afghan officials oppose Pakistani border security plans because Kabul has traditionally disputed portions of the frontier that were demarcated by former British rulers of the Indian subcontinent.

Islamabad dismisses those objections and maintains it inherited the international border when Pakistan gained independence from Britain in 1947.


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)

Santiago de Puriscal
A little piece of paradise near Santiago de Puriscal,
Costa Rica.
    

16 acres (approximately).  Price: $425,000 USD

We are selling our beautiful finca that has been in the family for 37 years. It is located 3 miles (5 km.) northwest of Santiago de Puriscal in the village of Desamparaditos. We are looking for a discriminating buyer who would appreciate the location, views, flora and fauna. Excellent for artists, writers and nature lovers. Fantastic birding. Very private but not isolated. Have surveyed plans for possible subdividing.

For more information:  In the U.S.A. call the owners: Pete & Debbie Todd: 970 -221-1457 or 970-581-4826 or email toddscolorado@gmail.com. In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 506-7187-8577.
CODE: 9216-8/11/17


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

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
We are an award-winning Team of Professional Agents working with Costa Rica’s #1 Selling Real Estate Agency RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties. Get to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST us and let us help you find YOUR Pura Vida! We have over 30 years of experience to educate our buyers and sellers in all aspects of Real Estate.  For Information on condos, homes, lots, farms, ranches, commercial or development property
CONTACT US TODAY with NO OBLIGATION whatsoever.

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

Playa Matapalo Click Here!
Toll Free 1-877-293-1456
Email: michael@costarica-realestate.com

9174-2/7/18

Real estate-related services (paid category)

A-1 graphic
A1 MASTER BUILDERS COSTA RICA
SMALL and LARGER jobs welcome !!!. We can build from any plan you bring us all work done by USA codes master electric and plumbing Better quality and lower prices than USA. We do it all Right  + Reasonable.
Call us: Toll Free 877-778-8515   
     Text from US: 804-313-6382 
     CR phone: 506-8307-0164
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These little guys were caught on the tracking cameras at night.

Rare endangered species spotted

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff


The environmental section of the Costa Rican electricity institute is tracking various endangered wildlife species at their work sites using trap cameras.

According to the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, the sighting of a herd of chanchos de monte, or Tayassu pecari, that are in danger of extinction was first documented at the Las Pailas II geothermal site in Liberia.

The observers saw, through the lens of the track cameras, that the herd had both males and females as well as offspring. Previously in that area, only the saíno had been identified. There was also a time when the species caught on camera roamed throughout the country.

The institute said, however, that their habitat has decreased by at least 89 percent over the years and is restricted to a few of the country’s nature preserves.

This has been mainly due to issues of poaching, deforestation and the loss of their habitat. The trap cameras are an ideal method for studying these species, according to the institute.

Currently, the animals are spread out in the national parks such as Corcovado, Guanacaste, Tortuguero and internacional La Amistad, the institute noted. They are primarily seed dispersers and are usually the food of choice for jaguars and other large cats.



Men sentenced to 50 years in prison

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two men were sentenced to 50 years in prison each on one count of homicide and two other counts of attempted homicide, according to the deputy prosecutor of Santa Cruz.

The sentence was issued Wednesday by the criminal court of Santa Cruz for events that occurred back in May 2016. In this case, prosecutors said, the maximum penalty was applied. As a result of the investigation, three defendants traveled from San José to the neighborhood of Guayabal in Santa Cruz. They arrived at a house with an intent to murder one of the people within at the time, investigators said. The defendants were apparently using a sicario method in their assassination attempt.

They fired into the house several times wounding three men inside, one of whom later died of his wounds. The other two victims were a brother and a friend of the deceased, the Ministerio Público said.

At the beginning of April, the third defendant in the case plead guilty to the charges in exhange for a lighter sentence of only 42 years. All three were remanded to jail for six months to await the finalization of the sentence.


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From page 7:

Bladex closes $120 million loan for group

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior, commonly known as Bladex, announced the closing of $120 million loan of three years to go to the Costa Rican-based Grupo Monge retailer giant.

Grupo Monge was established back in 1974 and represents one of the two largest integrated durable goods retailers and consumer finance providers in Central America, according to a statement from the bank. The retailer has over 518 stores throughout Central and South America and is completely owned by the Monge family.

Bladex said that the money within the loan is going to be used to refinance Grupo Monge’s exsting debts and extending its debt maturity profile. Apparently, this transaction attracted the interest of 15 financial institutions including in Costa Rica, Panamá and the United States, the bank said.

Bladex itself is a multinational bank created in 1979 by various Latin American and Caribbean central banks to promote foreign trade finance and economic integration of the region. It is headquartered in Panamá and listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

“We are very satisfied to have closed an extremely successful transaction, which will allow us to  continue growing and consolidating into the markets in which we operate,” said Gaston Monge, the group’s CEO.

“Having worked hand-in-hand with the Bladex team reaffirms our commitment to excellence. This deal constitutes the second international  syndicated  transaction of over $100 million for Grupo Monge, highlighting the international and regional banks’ trust in our Group.”