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Published Friday, July 29, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 149
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Casa Canada

old photos
Universidad Castro Carazo photos
The Colegio de Señoritas in 1907 and a La Sabana street in 1910.
Photo display shows life in the capital 100 years ago
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Biblioteca Nacional and a local university are displaying old photos of the capital, but the surprise is that life seems to have changed little.

The university is the Universidad Castro Carazo that has archived photos from the early years of the 20th century. To mark its 80th anniversary, the university provided 50 photos for display.

They will be available for viewing through Aug. 12 in the vestibule of the national library opposite Parque Nacional on Paseo de las Damas in San José. Banco Nacional provided
some material, too, said the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

But some of the better photos show that life has not changed that much. The Colegio Superior de Señoritas has changed little. The building still stands on Calle 3 providing education to secondary students.

Another photo shows a trolley moving along a street in la Sabana parallel to a horse and cart. Government officials are trying to bring back the trolley or a light rail equivalent to reduce traffic jams, and those who pass by Parque la Sabana this weekend will see horses there.

Political scientists try to corner the job market
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Another group is trying to corner its labor market.

A legislative committee just voted out a proposal to create a colegio for political scientists. Although the word is the same in Spanish, a professional colegio is not a secondary school. In Latin American countries it is an organization that encompasses certain white-collar work.

Here the lawyers have a colegio, and so do the physicians, surgeons, nurses and even journalists. So do many other job categories. These colegios are created by law and given certain responsibilities.

One attribute sometimes is that to practice the type of work an individual must belong to the colegio. The Colegio de Periodistas de Costa Rica enforced such a requirement until an expat newsman challenged the criminal sanctions before the Interamerican Court of Human Rights and won in 1985.

Still, the proposed law for a political scientist colegio, No. 19.638, also contains a criminal sanction for those who exercise the work without belonging to the colegio, which also covers individuals in international relations.

The bill also permits contracting a person for political science reasons who is not a colegio member for a short period.

In order to belong to the colegio, an applicant must have a bachelor’s or licenciatura from a Costa Rica higher education institution specifically in political science.

Also accepted are those whose foreign degrees are accepted by the Consejo Nacional de Rectores.

In the Middle Ages, five professions were recognized: Law, medicine, engineering, education and religion.  Since then, the urge to be called a professional has mushroomed, but Latin America is a place where membership is obligatory for some job categories.

The proposed law also would allow the political science colegio to fix fees of its members. That is a hot-button issue now because the Colegio de Médicos y Cirujanos, has just set some mandatory fees for its members that some consider disproportional.

The proposed law stops short of identifying exactly what is a political scientist or someone involved in international relations. A good guess certainly would include lobbyists, some staffers at the legislature and others in government agencies.

However, the American Political Science Association has a long list of job titles that it considers appropriate for political science graduates. They range from CIA analyst to Web content editor.

Also lacking in the proposed bill is a description of the professional ethics, although the measure would set up an ethics committee.

The proposed law won approval from the legislature’s Comisión Permanente Especial de Relaciones Internacionales y Comercio Exterior.

The basic definition of a profession is one that has a defined body of knowledge that requires special education to practice. The professional association, or colegio in this case, is responsible for enforcing standards and punishing deviations from them. The sociological definition is much tighter than the definition used in common speech, such as calling an athlete a professional.

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Readers get chance to have their say

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Few readers have expressed their presidential preference this year, and one theory is that expat voters are disgusted with all of the candidates.

One reader said privately that he was just going to hold his nose and vote for his candidate.

Still A.M. Costa Rica will be happy to publish letters about political choices, even though the statements might come back to haunt an expat in three years.

This political season there seems to be little chance of persuasion. Minds seem to be made up. But there is something to be said for standing up and making political views known in a democracy. Plus some readers might like to hear about the candidates from parties other than Republican and Democrat.

The U.S. general election is Nov. 8. As A.M. Costa Rica said in March, editors will publish preference letters through Friday, Oct. 14.  Then the newspaper will publish its opinion as the last word.

Readers can find plenty of information on how to vote absentee online. Ballots from individual counties also contains names for many more offices, and information about the candidates sometimes is mailed to registered voters here. Otherwise, an Internet search is required to make reasoned decision.

Our reader’s opinion
After conventions, writer gives views

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Americans are fed up with Washington.  We are tired of a gridlocked government where insults and ideological posturing substitute for civil debates and careful compromises.  We long for an occupant of the Oval Office who sympathizes with all sides of the issues and maneuvers to find the moderate common ground.

Such a chief executive might, for example, be a gun owner who nonetheless understands the need for universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons.  He or she might personally oppose abortion, but understand why women alone must remain empowered to make this agonizing choice, albeit with sufficient state restrictions to ensure that the decisions aren't made frivolously and adequate state support for adoption services as well as the mothers in difficult circumstances who choose to raise an unplanned child themselves.  Indeed, he or she might personally oppose the death penalty, but begrudgingly enforce it for heinous crimes in which the culprits have been  fairly tried and duly convicted.

And the chief executive we want might favor strict regulation of the big banks, while also support relaxed regulations for the community banks that have never been part of the problem and would be unreasonably burdened by excessive regulations.  He or she should be a strong advocate of environmental protections, but simultaneously a proven manager of a vibrant free market economy.  He or she should support a strong military defense, even perhaps have a son or a daughter in uniform, but oppose a military that overreaches by blundering into foreign wars that achieve nobody's objectives and only leave carnage and terrorists in their wake.

Ideally, the desired chief executive will have been raised in the heartland — somewhere say like Missouri — by parents of middling means.  We'd like him or her to have a visceral understanding of the middle and working classes, not to have merely read about us in the newspapers.  It's okay, even admirable, if our preferred chief executive followed a state university education with a Harvard law degree, but let that have been earned by merit, not a birthright bestowed by privileged parents.

Similarly, we'd like it if our chief executive's political career began with election to a local office, say a city council, rather than the top.  Good chief executives understand how federal policies affect local communities — and it doesn't hurt for them to have experience managing local garbage collection (and recycling) too.  Sure, we want a chief executive who has risen beyond the local city council — say to governor and U.S. senator — but experience in local government provides a grounding that most national politicians sorely lack.

In multi-ethnic America, it would be impossible to have a chief executive who is a member of all the ethnic groups.  But suppose our ideal occupant of the Oval Office is a white male.  Wouldn't it be great if he were also a longterm member of a church with a congregation comprised of both blacks and whites, and wonderful if he had enough firsthand experience with both Latinos and in Latin America to speak Spanish?

We have just this candidate this year.  He is Tim Kaine, senator from Virginia — a  super guy, and exactly the kind of chief executive the country needs.

Yeah, I realize that the woman he's running with leaves a lot to be desired.  Then again, in her first executive decision, Hillary Clinton made a good one:  She chose Tim Kaine as her running mate.

America's voters are faced with an awful choice this year.  Three of the four candidates in the two main parties are sorry specimens of our national politics.  These include a billionaire bully whose only political experience has been bribing public officials, his opportunistic milquetoast running mate who learned everything he knows about politics from watching Ronald Reagan's campaign commercials, and a stuck-in-the-1970s' feminist who imagines that the country's only challenge is to foist her through a nebulous glass ceiling.  Voters will have to hold their noses no matter which ticket they choose — either that or throw away their votes in protest support for a third party also-ran.

Fortunately, one of the four candidates — Tim Kaine — is actually a good choice.  Although voting for Tim will only get us half of what we want, half is better than nothing.

Half is also a reasonable compromise — and at the end of the day, politics is about compromising.
Ken Morris
San Pedro

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 29, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 149
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Executive branch lays groundwork for action on tax bills
By the A.M. Costs Rica staff

The executive branch has designated 75 proposed laws to the legislature for possible action during August when the president sets the agenda.

Many are bills that have been in the legislative hopper for long periods. Casa Presidencial said that among the bills those addressing taxes have a priority.

One is the bill against tax fraud. Others are a bill that would establish a value-added tax and one that increases the tax rate on income.

But there also is a bill authorizing telecommuting for government workers and some that would authorize the building of new hospitals in Cartago, Turrialba and Golfito.

The tax bills have been stuck in committee for nearly the entire time that Luis Guillermo Solís has been in office.

The Costa Rica Constitution authorizes the legislature to meet from May 1 to July 31 and from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. At other times the president has the power to call the lawmakers into session. Originally this was for emergencies, but in modern times, lawmaker meet almost all year round with some of the agendas in the hands of Casa Presidencial.

Pilgrimage to Cartago moves into high gear this weekend
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This is a big weekend for the annual romería or pilgrimage to Cartago.

Tuesday is a national holiday in honor of  Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles, who is represented by a small statute in the basilica in Cartago.

For some this will be a four-day weekend with Monday being considered part of the holiday.

Various police agencies are swinging into action full force today. The Fuerza Pública even plans to put 125 students from the Escuela Nacional de Policía along the major roadways.
Officials also are praying that the Turrialba volcano does not rain ash on the pilgrims. If it does, the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias has a plan. But the best advice from the emergency commission is to put a wet cloth across the mouth and nose. In addition to ash, the volcano produces acidic gas.

More than 270 traffic officers will be on duty, too, mostly along the Florencio del Castillo highway between San José and Cartago and other main roads leading to the basilica.

Expats would be wise to avoid that area for the next four day. At the very least, the main highways will have one lane reserved for pedestrians, and Sunday vehicles might be detoured away from routes leading to Cartago altogether.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 29, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 149
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Mrs. Clinton accepts formally the Democratic nomination for president
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic Party's nomination for president Thursday night with a message stressing the need to unite in order to confront the nation's challenges.

"It truly is up to us. We have to decide whether we will all work together so we can all rise together," Mrs. Clinton said in an address on the final night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

The 68-year-old Clinton is the first woman ever nominated for president by a major U.S. political party. She won the nomination after defeating her principal rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, in the state-by-state process of primary and caucus votes.

Despite Sanders giving his endorsement in his own speech at the convention this week, one of her challenges ahead of the November election is to appeal to the group of his supporters who say they will not support her. She praised Sanders for his campaign on Thursday, highlighting its appeal to young people and efforts to promote economic and social justice.

"I want you to know I've heard you," Mrs. Clinton said."Your cause is our cause."

She pledged to work to create more jobs with higher wages, saying the country does well when the middle class thrives. Mrs. Clinton also said she has no interest in taking away people's guns, but wants to enact reforms to prevent people from being shot by those who should not have access to them. 

"We have to heal the divides in our country, not just on guns, but on race, immigration and more," she said." And that starts with listening, listening to each other, trying as best we can to walk in each other’s shoes.”

Mrs. Clinton's principal challenger in the general election is Republican nominee Donald Trump. Both candidates suffer from negative perceptions among voters, as revealed by multiple polls during the past year.

Those same polls show about 30 percent of voters view Mrs. Clinton as trustworthy, even as one from Gallup showed her as the country's most admired woman.

One source of that distrust is her use of a private email system during her time as secretary of State, which was the subject of a congressional investigation and a probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The FBI concluded Mrs. Clinton's actions were extremely careless, but did not warrant criminal charges.

Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics said the issue is a lingering question for voters and one she might have been wise to mention in her speech Thursday.

"I did not hear any kind of contrition or acknowledgment of the questions about her email server," Kondik said.  "I personally thought that it would have been a worthwhile thing to sort of make at least an oblique acknowledgment of that issue.  Obviously she and her advisers decided not to do that."

Mrs. Clinton said Thursday that Trump wants Americans to fear the future and each other, and she took aim at some of the proposals he has put forth during his campaign, including building a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and banning Muslims from entering the country.

“We will not build a wall. Instead, we will build an economy where everyone who wants a good job can get one," she said."And we’ll build a path to citizenship for millions of immigrants who are already contributing to our economy. We

Voice of America/A. Shaker
Hillary Clinton formally accepts the Democratic Party's nomination for president.

will not ban a religion. We will work with all Americans and our allies to fight and defeat terrorism.”

She further criticized what she called the bigotry and the bombast of the Trump campaign and cast his temperament has unfit for the presidency.

"A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons," Mrs. Clinton said.

Throughout the campaign, Trump has portrayed himself as the candidate best able to deal with national security threats and who will put the interests of Americans first when it comes to the economy and international affairs.

After Mrs. Clinton's speech, Trump posted a flurry of Twitter messages, including saying she was unfit to be president because of what he called her refusal to mention Radical Islam as she advocates allowing more refugees into the United States.

"No one has worse judgment than Hillary Clinton - corruption and devastation follows her wherever she goes," he said in another tweet.

The convention in Philadelphia brought together the biggest names in the Democratic Party to put forth why they think Americans can trust Mrs. Clinton and why they believe she is the superior choice to lead the country when President Barack Obama's term ends in January.

Trump and his campaign have described the Democratic convention speakers as painting too rosy a picture of the state of the nation.

Kondik said the presidential campaign could go into a lull in the month of August following the months of primary votes and this month's conventions.

"The conventions were early this year, you've got the Olympics coming in August," Kondik said.  "It's just kind of a month where there's not a whole lot of news typically.   So maybe we've got kind of a high point of the campaign now and then it will taper off just a bit between now and Labor Day and then get going again."

Kondik also said the majority of voters have already made up their minds and that the conventions help solidify those choices.

"That's not to say things can't change between the end of the convention bounce and election day," he said.  "There aren't a whole lot of persuadable people out there still.  But there are also a higher number of undecided voters than there usually are, so we'll just have to see how it shakes out."

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 29, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 149
Real Estate
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La Niña expected to cool
world but only temporarily

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Meteorological Organization says a La Niña event may develop later this year, but this weather phenomenon, which ushers in cooler temperatures, will have no long-lasting impact on climate change.

The El Niño/La Niña weather phenomenon has worldwide regional impacts on rainfall and temperature on a seasonal scale.  El Niño causes a warming of the tropical eastern and central sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean and is characterized by warmer temperatures.

Indeed, the strong 2015-16 El Niño that ended in May broke all temperature records for the first six months of the year, putting 2016 on track to be the hottest year on record. 

La Niña has the opposite effect.  The World Meteorological Organization says La Niña causes large-scale cooling of the ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific, which tends to cool the atmosphere slightly.

Maxx Dilley is the agency’s Climate Prediction and Adaptation Branch chief.  He said next year is unlikely to set any heat records if a La Niña does occur later this year.

“This does not mean global warming is not happening anymore if it is not the hottest year on record.  These are just slight adjustments to the global temperature that occur due to this oscillation between El Niño and La Niña," he said.  "So, if a La Niña occurs, we might see just a little bit of attenuation of what we have been seeing, which is record temperatures year after year after year globally.” 

The agency says the world now is in a neutral phase, but there is a 50 to 65 percent probability that La Niña will develop in the third quarter of 2016 and last through the end of the year.

Meteorologists say La Niña, which brings above average rain, is likely to offer relief to drought stricken areas including South Asia, eastern Australia, southern and eastern Africa.

E-cigarettes prompt warning
about toxic fumes, chemicals

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

While less harmful than regular cigarettes, the electronic substitutes, the so-called e-cigarettes, contain toxic chemicals whose levels vary with temperature, type and age of the device.

According to a new study done at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, smoking e-cigarettes exposes the smoker’s lungs to a number of respiratory irritants and carcinogens, such as acrolein and formaldehyde.

Researchers also found the level of toxic chemicals emitted by an e-cigarette rises with the use of the device as well as with its internal temperature.

Variations in toxicity were also related to types of e-cigarettes, voltage of their batteries and whether they had one or two heating coils.

E-cigarettes were introduced in 2004, touted as an almost harmless replacement to regular tobacco. As such, they quickly gained wide popularity, especially among the younger generation.

Many long-time tobacco users claim e-cigarettes helped them quit smoking, but according to researchers users only switched to a less potent mixture of nicotine, propylene glycol and glycerine contained in the e-cigarette’s fluid.

The study was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

In August the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will start regulating the content of e-cigarettes, cigars, nicotine gels and other tobacco-based products sold in the United States.

Superfast vacuum tube car
being constructed in Vegas

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Ground transportation that's much faster than modern planes made another major step forward with the announcement that a U.S. Company, Hyperloop One, opened its first factory this week outside Las Vegas.

Its 170 engineers, technicians and highly skilled workers are expected to build a working prototype of a superfast vacuum tube transportation device by 2017.

The name Hyperloop was introduced in 2012 by the U.S.-based South African billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla Motors and SpaceX Corp.

According to his idea, passengers sitting in a closed capsule would travel at high speed through a near-vacuum tube with very low air resistance, while magnetic levitation would keep the pod friction-free. The underground or above ground travel would be immune to weather changes and collisions and would require little energy.

The projected top speed is set to be 1,220 kilometers per hour (750 miles per hour).

A pre-feasibility study envisages a Hyperloop tube built between Stockholm and Helsinki, cutting the travel between the two cities from 3½ hours to about 30 minutes.

Brisk hour of exercise said
to offset sedentary lifestyle

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new study recommends that people who work in a sedentary, office situation should get an hour of brisk exercise every day to offset the risk of early death.

The recommendations were published in the journal Lancet, which also reported that heart disease, diabetes and some cancers caused by a sedentary lifestyle cost the global economy $67.5 billion every year.

Lack of activity is also linked to some 5.3 million deaths each year, even more than smoking.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week in addition to two hours of muscle strengthening per week.

"For many people who commute to work and have office-based jobs, there is no way to escape sitting for prolonged periods of time,” said lead author Ulf Ekelund of the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, Norway and the University of Cambridge. “For these people in particular, we cannot stress enough the importance of getting exercise, whether it's getting out for a walk at lunchtime, going for a run in the morning or cycling to work. An hour of physical activity per day is the ideal, but if this is unmanageable, then at least doing some exercise each day can help reduce the risk."

For the study, researchers looked at 13 previous studies on the impact of inactivity. Study subjects were classified according to the amount of activity they reported, with some reporting less than five minutes a day to from 60 to 75 minutes a day.

They found that those who sat for eight hours a day, but got the recommended amount of exercise reduced their chances of a premature death compared even to those who sat less but were not active.

"There has been a lot of concern about the health risks associated with today's more sedentary lifestyles," says Ekelund. "Our message is a positive one: it is possible to reduce or even eliminate these risks if we are active enough, even without having to take up sports or go to the gym."

U.N. expert reports racism
affecting U.S. aspirations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Racism and social and economic inequality are keeping the United States from living up to its ideals, including the right to freedom of assembly and association, a U.N. human rights expert says.

Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai reported on his 17-day trip to the U.S. Thursday, where he visited several large cities including Baltimore, Washington, New York and Philadelphia.

"People have a good reason to be angry and frustrated at the moment," Kiai said.

He said that while his fact-finding missions are not supposed to include issues of race, it was impossible to carry out his tour of the U.S. without racism coming up in the discussions.

Kiai said understanding racism means looking back on 400 years of U.S. history which included slavery and legal segregation that marginalized African-Americans, subjecting millions to lives of "misery, poverty, and persecution."

While slavery is long-since dead and segregation illegal, Kiai says discrimination in the U.S. is now cloaked in different language such as the war on drugs and three strikes sentencing policies that include long jail terms for even minor crimes.

He says it makes finding good jobs and quality housing difficult for many African-Americans.

Kiai said the justifiable and palpable anger in the black community over these injustices gave birth to the Black Lives Matter movement that has grown after a series of deadly police shootings of young black men.

He also criticized the situation of migrant workers in the U.S., saying they are exploited and fearful of taking action to improve working conditions because of possible retaliation.

But Kiai said the U.S. is a nation of struggle and resilience and that its civil society is one of the country's greatest strengths.

The Obama administration has not yet commented on Kiai's report, which will be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council in June.

Logos Technologies photo  
 This the Simera, a new exportable wide-area
 sensor featuring 13 cameras.

Rio will have eyes in sky
keeping track of crowds

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

When this year’s Rio Olympics begin next week, more than 130,000 police, soldiers and security guards will be working to keep the games safe, with the help of eye-in-the-sky monitors using cutting-edge, high-tech cameras.

Developed for the U.S. military and tested in Iraq and Afghanistan, a high-resolution imaging system called Simera will provide real-time video surveillance of an area of about 40 square kilometers.

From balloons anchored 200 meters above the ground, 13 high-resolution, 120-megapixel cameras will monitor the activity below. Operators will be able to aim the cameras in all directions and zoom in on vehicles and individuals. All video footage will be recorded, so any suspicious activity can be traced to its origin.

Simera’s manufacturer, U.S. company Logos Technologies, expects four of its systems to be deployed over four Olympic venues. A Brazilian aerospace company specializing in lighter-than-air aerostats, such as balloons or blimps, holds an $8 million contract to supply the cameras and associated equipment.

The opening ceremony for the 2016 Olympics will take place a week from today in Rio de Janeiro.

Second-hand pot smoke
found to affect blood flow

By the American Heart Association news staff

Rats’ blood vessels took at least three times longer to recover function after only a minute of breathing second-hand marijuana smoke, compared to recovery after a minute of breathing second-hand tobacco smoke, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

When rats inhaled second-hand marijuana smoke for one minute, their arteries carried blood less efficiently for at least 90 minutes, whereas similar exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke caused blood vessel impairment that recovered within 30 minutes, said the research report.

“While the effect is temporary for both cigarette and marijuana smoke, these temporary problems can turn into long-term problems if exposures occur often enough and may increase the chances of developing hardened and clogged arteries,” said Matthew Springer, study senior author and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Blood vessel function was examined in rats before and after exposure to second-hand marijuana smoke at levels similar to real-world second-hand tobacco smoke.

“Arteries of rats and humans are similar in how they respond to second-hand tobacco smoke, so the response of rat arteries to second-hand marijuana smoke is likely to reflect how human arteries might respond,” Springer said.

Researchers also found the mere burning of the plant material appears responsible for the impaired blood vessels, not chemicals like nicotine and tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, or rolling paper.

“There is widespread belief that, unlike tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke is benign,” Springer said.  “We in public health have been telling the public to avoid second-hand tobacco smoke for years, but we don't tell them to avoid second-hand marijuana smoke, because until now we haven’t had evidence that it can be harmful.”

Springer also noted that the increasing number of states legalizing medicinal and recreational marijuana, along with increasing potential for corporate expansion within the cannabis industry, makes it important to understand the health consequences of second-hand marijuana smoke exposure.

The inhalation of smoke should be avoided, regardless of whether it comes from tobacco, marijuana, or other sources. Inhaling smoke is bad for you, researchers said.

Challenges speed process
of evolution, new study says

By the University of British Columbia news staff

New research suggests that evolution is a driving mechanism behind plant migration, and that scientists may be underestimating how quickly species can move.

The study, published in the journal Science, builds on previous research that has shown some plants and animals are moving farther north or to higher altitudes in an effort to escape rising global average temperatures due to climate change.

"We know from previous research that evolution might play a role in how fast a species can move across a region or continent," said Jennifer Williams, the study's lead author and an assistant professor in the University of British Columbia. "But what our study suggests is that evolution is not only a factor in movement, but that it can, in fact, accelerate the spread and can do so predictably."

For the study, researchers used a small flowering plant (Arabidopsis thaliana), a common model organism in plant biology, to test the role of evolution in plant migration. Individual plants with different traits were cultivated together to create two sets of populations, one in which evolution was acting and another in which evolution was stopped.

They found that, after six generations, evolving plant populations dispersed seeds and migrated 11 per cent farther than non-evolving populations in landscapes with favorable conditions. Meanwhile, in landscapes where conditions were more challenging for the plants to disperse seeds, the evolving plant populations spread 200 per cent farther.

The findings suggest that evolution accelerates the speed of migration, said Williams.

However, more research is needed to determine why the researchers saw a larger effect of evolution under the more challenging conditions, which in this case increased the speed of movement.

"We know, for example, that there are some species of butterflies and plants that are expanding their ranges with climate change and moving north or up in elevation," she said. "What our results suggest is that, with evolution, the species can move faster and faster because the traits that make them better at moving are becoming more common at the front of the invasion. In the case of our plants, in the evolving populations, their seeds can disperse a bit further."

Williams said the findings underscore the importance for scientists to account for evolutionary change when predicting how quickly native species will be able to move as the Earth's climate continues to warm.

Legacy of deforestation
lingers for years, study says

By the Cell Press news staff

Even if people completely stopped converting tropical forests into farmland, the impacts of tropical deforestation would continue to be felt for many years to come. That's the conclusion of researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology. They used historical rates and patterns of tropical deforestation around the globe to estimate the resulting carbon emissions and species losses over time.

The findings highlight the importance of accounting for the time lag between deforestation and its environmental impacts in meeting conservation goals.

"We show that even if deforestation had completely halted in 2010, time lags ensured there would still be a carbon emissions debt equivalent to five to 10 years of global deforestation and an extinction debt of more than 140 bird, mammal, and amphibian forest-specific species, which, if paid, would increase the number of 20th century extinctions in these groups by 120 percent," says Isabel Rosa of the Imperial College of London. "Given the magnitude of these debts, commitments to reduce emissions and biodiversity loss are unlikely to be realized without specific actions that directly address this damaging environmental legacy."

It takes time after trees are cut down before the wood and other plant matter left at the site fully decay, releasing carbon into the atmosphere. The resulting loss of habitat also leads to species losses, but those effects also tend to occur gradually.

In the new study, Ms. Rosa and her colleagues used a spatially explicit land cover change model to reconstruct the annual rates and spatial patterns of tropical deforestation from 1950 to 2009 in the Amazon, Congo Basin, and Southeast Asia. Using those patterns, they estimated the resulting gross vegetation carbon emissions and species losses.

The findings show that current emissions and species extinctions are mostly tied to past actions. As a result, the researchers explain, changes in annual deforestation rates will initially have a smaller than expected effect on annual carbon emissions. For example, they write, a 30 percent reduction in deforestation rates as seen in the Brazilian Amazon between 2005 and 2010 only cut carbon emissions over the same time period by 10 percent.

The researchers also show that modern deforestation has left an estimated extinction debt of 144 vertebrate species found only in tropical forests. That's 20 percent more than the number of extinctions known to have occurred in vertebrate groups in more than a century.

"I expected an increase in both carbon emissions and species extinctions debts, but the magnitude of these debts was surprising," Ms. Rosa says.

The findings show that reaching national and global emissions targets will be even more challenging than anticipated.

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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Pavo onr
FOR SALE - $270,000
Exceptional 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom, fully furnished luxury apartment for sale at the exclusive Terrazas de Escazú highrise complex in Escazú near La Paco Commerical Center.  Situated on the third floor, this apartment has an exceptional layout with stunning views of the Central Valley. 140 m2 bright and spacious floor plan with open sky terrace with 180-degree unobstructed view of the Escazú mountains and Central Valley.  One covered parking spot with additional guest parking available. HOA fee:  $250/month. Held in Costa Rica corporation for easy property transfer. Building features: 12-meter atrium with controlled access entrance to the building, surrounding landscaping, lower level pool, communal rooftop terrace and small rooftop gym. 24-hour security. Contact: José Granados in Costa Rica, phone 506- 6051-5249  email:
paco two

San Rmon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: 
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Jacó Beach - Super Views - Priced Right
This is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home located at about 100-foot elevation one mile from the beach.  Remodeled 2 years ago. Everything is new including total new kitchen, windows, floors, AC units, electric, plumbing, etc.  Super fenced yard for dogs.  Very low electric bill even with the AC.  This is a zero lot line property but with room to expand up and out.  Very secure & private.  Police chief next door. $149,900.  Call Glenn at 506 6214-0056.

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 $895K U.S.  Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

House for Sale in Escazu Downtown
Condo near downtown Escazú Centro, Country Day School and Paco Shopping Center. 2 floors, 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. Maid's quarters, patio, 24-hour guard,   clubhouse and pool  Price $170,000 or best offer Call Lewis at 506 2288-2250 or 506 8828-6749.
Email: or

horse ranch
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
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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.  More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:


Luxury condominium apartments for sale in Escazú
The property located in Trejos Montealegre, has three apartments for sale. Excellent location, 400 meters east of Avenida Escazú, next to Village (new commercial and office project), Plaza Tempo, Wal-Mart, CIMA Hospital. To enter and exit Trejos Montealegre no need to pay toll. The condominium is few minutes from San José

♦ Apartment No. 1: 180 square meters, 3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, TV room, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar and island kitchen furniture, garage, electric gate.
♦ Apartment No. 2: 180. square meters,  3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, TV room, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar and island kitchen furniture, garage, electric gate.
♦ Apartment No. 3: This is the largest one. 250. square meters,  3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar  island kitchen furniture, 2 garages, electric gate. Total property measures 529 square meters.  Unique opportunity to buy it for $ 750,000 (Seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars).  For more information contact Adrian, cell phone  506-8598-9898  Email:

first image
B&B for sale in Costa Rica $650,000

I believe this is the finest area of Costa Rica in which to live and, with a lock on 80percent of all tourists visiting Costa Rica, to invest. There are birds and flowers of every description, terrific neighbors, incredible views, wonderful weather with a healthy climate, visits by sloth, deer, monkeys, a very good business that can expand and grow, if desired, or simply a beautiful place to live. Please look at my Web site and the guest reviews, the people's reaction to the property, and you'll see just what a wonderful opportunity this is

There is about 7,000 square meters of land included (over 1 3/4 acres) as well as another smaller home and an apartment above the carport, designed as maid's quarters but usually rented out to tourists. The rear of the property is bordered by a small and very clean spring-fed creek/river. Across the river there is jungle, which makes for a great deal of all around privacy and which will never be developed. Restaurants, a supermarket, services, and many natural attractions are just a short distance away. The property was appraised at over $1.7 million (US) a few years ago, which might indicate what an incredible bargain this is.

It can also include a franchise for Best Western Hotel, if interested in growing with the tourism business, and a small hobby farm bordering Arenal National Park with spectacular views of Lake Arenal, is also available. All is available at an excellent price for the right person (people) and a package price can certainly be arranged. Email me at: For more photos and info click HERE!


Ocean View Property for Sale in San Ramón
1.5-acre lot with spectacular ocean views. Ready to build. Mild climate year round with an average temperature a cool 74 degrees. Spectacular panoramic views of
                                for sale
the ocean and port of Puntarenas during the day, breathtaking views of Esparza at night. Fully titled and owned under a Costa Rican corporation. Price reduced to $45,000. Short-term owner financing available. For more info: Contact: Frank

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Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
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In Costa Rica 8307-0164

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)

Great opportunity for investor
Amount  $250,000, 100% ROI. Trucking company parts manufacturing and sales in Florida, proof of funds required. Call Jack Budd at La Habra, Calif., U.S.A. Phones 714-871-5821, 714-930-5265. Email:

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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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, July 29, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 149
Real Estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
confiscated ship
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Law officers check out the packages of cocaine on the deck of the captured ship.

Security crews probably have back pains

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anyone who joins the anti-drug police better be prepared to do some heavy lifting.  The Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas stopped another small boat filled with drugs early Thursday, and somebody has to move those 164 packages.

Earlier this week there was more than a ton of marijuana confiscated in the Caribbean. Again, Ministerio de Seguridad Pública personnel has to do the moving. In fact, the Guardacostas or the anti-drug police have confiscated about 10 tons of cocaine already this year. There were eight boats with cocaine and four with marijuana, the ministry said.

The latest arrests took place off  Cabo Blanco and involved four persons. The cocaine, of course, was headed north.

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
This is a bunker, a fortified structure used by drug dealers and users.  A handful of police and health agencies brought in heavy machinery Thursday to rip out this building in Barrio Curime de Liberia, much to the delight of neighbors. What was left was dirt.

Sanction sought for producing flies

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmaker Edgardo Araya Sibaja has proposed to fill a hole in the health laws by providing administrative penalties for food processors who do not handle vegetable waste effectively.

The bill is directed at large pineapple operations that leave piles of chopped fruit in the open where flies by the millions breed and then swarm into the adjacent neighborhoods and ranches.

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From Page 7:

Music makes beer tastier, experiment shows

By the Frontiers in Psychology news staff

Music can influence how much a drinker likes the taste of beer, according to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology.

Their findings suggest that a range of multisensory information, such as sound, sensation, shape and color, can influence the way taste is perceived

The Brussels Beer Project collaborated with band The Editors to produce a porter-style beer that took inspiration from the musical and visual identity of the band.

The ale had a medium body and used an Earl Grey infusion that produced citrus notes, contrasting with the malty, chocolate flavors from the mix of grains used in production. This taste profile was designed to broadly correspond to The Editors latest album “In Dreams.”

Then, a team of researchers led by Felipe Reinoso Cavalho from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and KU Leuven, designed an experiment to see if the influence of music and packaging design would result in a more positive tasting experience.

They invited 231 drinkers to experience the beer in three different conditions.

The first served as a control group and drank the beer along with a bottle without a label. In this case, they didn’t listen to any specific song.

The second group, testing the influence of packaging, tasted the beer after seeing the bottle with the label.

The third group drank the beer presented with the label while listening to “Oceans of Light,” one of the songs on the band’s latest album which the beer was created to reflect.

Before the test the participants rated how tasty they thought the beer might be. Then after tasting they rated how much they had actually enjoyed the drink.

The results showed that those presented with the label and track reported both greater enjoyment than those presented with the beer and label alone.

Filipe said: “We have been able to see that people tend to feel more pleasure when experiencing beverages along with sounds that are part of the beverage’s identity.

“In this case, we have shown that people that previously knew the song that was used in the experiment, not only liked the multisensory experience of drinking beer more while listening to it, but they also liked the beer itself more.

“It seems that the added pleasure that the song brought into the experience was transferred into the beer’s flavor.”

Speaking about the next steps for this research Felipe said: “We want to keep assessing how sounds can modulate perceived flavor attributes of food and beverages, such as bitterness, sweetness, sourness and creaminess.

“We also want to understand how sounds can influence our decision making process, in order to see if different sounds could, for example, lead people towards healthier food choices.”

Research into the interaction of different sensory information on taste has opened up the way for food and beverage retailers to create a range of novel eating and drinking experiences.

“We believe that this is just the beginning;” said Felipe, “Next we will be able to work with other food and beverage types and progressively include other senses in this pairing process, such as vision, smells, touch.”