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Published Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 159
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Sex harassment campaign aimed at street Romeos
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Street Romeos are the target launched by government and non-profit entities Thursday.

The purpose of the $35,000 campaign is to raise awareness of women to street harassment and to warn off aggressive men. The current campaign will carry an anti-harassment message on the electronic screens carried by 200 buses. A later campaign will put signs on the street, place them on the back of buses and display the message in movie theaters, said a summary released Thursday.

Participating are the Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres, the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes, the Defensoría de los Habitantes and the non-profit Colectivo Peras del Olmo.

Organizers say that six of every 10 women told Universidad de Costa Rica surveyors last October that they had been a victim of sexual harassment. The current campaign does not address other forms of harassment, such as that in the workplace, or sexual harassment of men by women or of men by men.

According to the campaign the frequent types of harassment include wolf whistles, vulgar words, touching, rubbing, exhibitionism, staring at parts of a woman’s body or blocking the path of a woman.

Also listed are piropos, those very Latin and sometimes colorful or creative statements that are uttered to women, usually on the street. The women’s institute in a tweet has said that 79.1 percent of women have faced unwanted comments in public based on a 2010 survey.

The organizers of the campaign suggest that
whistle
A.M. Costa Rica graphic

 
even mild street harassment may lead to serious crimes, such as rape. They also cited cases involving the murder of women. Far from being innocent, harassment continues the various types of violence that women suffer only for being women, said Ariel Calderón of the Colectivo Peras del Olmo in a statement.

The transport ministry is involved because organizers say that a lot of harassment happens on public buses. The campaign announcement also cites parks, the public street, stadiums and shopping centers where harassment takes place.

The organizers say that harassment injures the physical, psychological and sexual integrity of a victim.

There are other organizations with the same goal in Costa Rica that are not part of the current campaign.

The objectives of the campaign are certainly difficult because displaying masculinity is a  Latin characteristic. Some of the women recognize this. Peras del Olmo can be translated as the pear of the elm tree. The elm has no fruit, and the organization said the name reflects something not attainable.


Mom's Day is a public holiday with 3-day weekend
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country is on the brink of another three-day holiday. Monday is El Día de la Madre. The day honoring mothers is just slightly less important than Christmas in the eyes of many Costa Ricans.

Public offices and embassies will be closed, although some stores will be in high gear.

This is a time of solid sales as adult and young children rush to purchase an appropriate gift for Mom.

The economic’s ministry’s consumer division

is expected to report today that prices have crept up due to the demand.

Restaurants are expecting a good business Monday, although taxi drivers have said they will stage one of their blockades that day.

Highway officials expect many in the Central Valley to spend all or part of the weekend at the beaches. They will make Ruta 27, the Caldera highway, one way east from 2 to 7 p.m. Monday to accommodate vacationers. Those headed west will have to use alternate routes. The route will be closed completely an hour before and after as traffic police install and remove appropriate signage and traffic cones.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 159
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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flags
Federación de Surf/Alfredo Barquero
There are plenty of Costa Rican flags in Jacó.

Costa Rica still has five surfers in games

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica and Portugal have more competitors still alive in the World Surfing Games than other countries.

Both Tomás King and Leilani McGonagle were successful in repechage heats, and have moved to heats today. Teammate Emily Gussoni also is scheduled to compete.

Just 15 of the original 26 teams remain in the competition.Only Costa Rica and Portugal have five competitors still alive in the competition. Costa Ricans Carlos Muñoz and Noe Mar McGonagle will be competing in separate main event heats this morning in Jacó.


23 raids directed at drug organization

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents and tactical police conducted 23 raids early Thursday to detain 19 persons, mostly in the Guápiles region. They are accused of being part of a drug gang that also dabbled in murder.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the case began in June 2015 when a man was gunned down at his fruit stand on Ruta 32 in Guápiles.

During the murder investigation, agents reported that they became aware of the drug distribution network based in that town.

Although most of the raids were in Guápiles, there was one arrest in San José, and nine other persons involved in the case already are in prison facing other charges, said agents.

Agents said the confiscated weapons, 10 million colons in cash and a stash of fake currency.


No-bid invoice deal draws complaint

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The finance ministry’s controversial selection of a firm to run the proposed electronic invoicing system has drawn a formal complaint.

The Ministerio de Hacienda said Thursday that the Cámara de Tecnologías de Información y Comunicación had filed a formal complaint with the  Comisión para Promover la Competencia.

The ministry, which includes the tax collecting agency, picked the Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia to run the proposed invoicing system.  Invoices are called facturas in Costa Rica, and the plan is to have many companies run their bookkeeping through the tax agency, which could then keep an eye on the businesses. The tax collectors are trying to cut down on fraud.

Naturally the concept is controversial in many ways. But the finance ministry did not hold a public bidding process for the selection of the firm that would run the project. Instead, officials used an obscure rule that said they would not have to have a public bidding process as long as the deals were made with other public agencies.

The Heredia firm is the public utility provider and has vast experience in billing and data processing.

The ministry defended the direct contract award Thursday and said the entire process was open to public view. The ministry officials did what they did to expedite the project. However, formal legal action may follow.



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job seekers
Casa Presidencial photo
Here are some of the 1,000 young people who participated in a program Thursday to improve job skills and also the way to seek one. The event, sponsored by the Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social, was at Parque La Libertad.


Unemployment rate only tells a part of the story, officials note
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation’s jobless rate remains stable at 9.4 percent, according to the labor ministry. But like all statistics, this one does not reflect the real situation.

The Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social said that those who were underemployed dropped five points to 8.3 percent, again based on statistics from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos.

The numbers, of course, do not reflect the persons who are laboring off the books in what is called the informal economy.  Also not counted are those who say they have given up looking for work for various reasons.

The ministry said that the institute study reports that informal employment fell three points to 41.8 percent. That’s a large number of people who probably are working without the

protection of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and probably at less than minimum wage.

Nevertheless, the Caja said that from June 2015 to this June the number of persons registered increased 52,000 to about 1.7 million.

The numbers do not take into account the individual situations. About 1,000 young adults showed up Thursday for a training session sponsored by the ministry and Banco Popular.

The young adults were those under 24 who are involved in other government job programs.

Costa Rican officials and the law generally discourage those under 18 from holding a full-time job, so most Costa Rican young men and women are late in entering the labor market. That is one factor that promotes the informal job market and criminality, officials have said.



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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 159
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Judicial official convicted of theft

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The former secretary general of the Judicial Investigating Organization has been convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison for taking public money.

The announcement comes on the same day that a prison guard has been detained on the allegation he provided inmates with  illicit cell telephones.

The former secretary general is Marlon Schloterhaussen Rojas, who had access to a fund used by judicial agents for investigative purposes. The Poder Judicial said Thursday that a tribunal of the II Circuito Judicial de San José had convicted Schloterhaussen Wednesday afternoon. The allegation was that he took money totaling 3 million colons for his own use.

Judicial agents detained the 42-year-old prison guard at his Puntarenas home. He worked in San Rafael de Alajuela, they said. The man served as a conduit for prisoners who wanted to obtain cell telephones, according to the allegation. Frequently such phones are used for illegal purposes.

Mercado Central plans mother’s day event

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Merchants at the Mercado Central de San José said they will have special hours Sunday with bands, mariachis and singers. Normally the historic market is closed on Sundays, but this week the merchants said they would be open to provide places of purchase for those preparing for the Día de la Madre.
fish
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
A police officer shows off one of the fish that was freed from an illegal long line set up in the upper reaches of the Gulf of Nicoya. In all, there were eight fish like this that had been snared, police said.

Vacation, travel and hospitality


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Real estate for rent (paid category)




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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 159
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Axiom new ad

Democrats want more money
for zika fight from Congress

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House of Representatives minority leader, and other House Democrats are calling on Republicans to hold an emergency session of Congress to address the zika virus and other pressing issues.

Ms. Pelosi told reporters at a Thursday news conference on Capitol Hill that the administration of President Barack Obama may shift more money to combat zika within the next day or two. But she called on Republicans to return to Washington to finish working on legislation that would provide funding for the virus.

The Obama administration asked for $1.9 billion in February, but the Republican-led House began discussing a $1.1 billion measure that stalled due to partisan bickering.

Republicans have said the Obama administration is sitting on unspent money that can be reallocated to fight the virus.

The zika virus initially was detected in Brazil last year, and has since spread rapidly in the Americas. Twenty-one cases recently were discovered in the southeastern state of Florida, prompting the Obama administration to allocate almost $600 million to fight it.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro said additional money is needed because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will exhaust its zika funding by the end of September. Two other federal agencies, she said, will run out of money by the end of August.

"The money is running out and our public health officials cannot combat this virus without additional funding," Ms. Delauro said. Speaker Paul Ryan should call the House of Representatives back into session, she said

Congress is not scheduled to return to Washington until after the Labor Day holiday Sept. 5.

Although the virus is relatively mild in most cases, pregnant women who are infected with zika risk giving birth to babies with a congenital defect called microcephaly, which causes an abnormally small head.


Trump has new surprise
by linking Obama to IS


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Donald Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama founded the Islamic State may be just the latest controversy in a volatile election season, but those comments could have far-reaching consequences on perceptions of the U.S. internationally and on the continual media dilemma over how to cover remarks by the unconventional candidate.

In a campaign rally Thursday, Trump called Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton the MVPs of ISIS, reiterating claims from a day earlier when he told a crowd of supporters at a campaign stop in Florida that Obama is “the founder of ISIS. He's the founder of ISIS. He's the founder. He founded ISIS.” ISIS is an acronym for the militant group.

Trump then said the co-founder of Islamic State was "crooked Hillary Clinton."

The Republican presidential nominee has already claimed the former secretary of State’s policies while in office encouraged the growth of the terror group, but his comments Wednesday and doubling-down of those statements escalated his claims regarding the Obama administration’s role in the region and the growth of the Islamic State.

​The White House declined to comment on Trump's claim, while Clinton's campaign called the remarks false.

Islamic State, a group of hard-line jihadists that once dominated large areas of Iraq and Syria, is infamous for its sheer brutality, including beheadings, drownings, burning people alive, rape and the promotion of slavery.

Initially a largely Sunni Arab group, the Islamic State grew out of the terrorist organization known as al-Qaida in Iraq led by Jordanian Abu Musab al Zarqawi in 2004. That group fed off the deep sense of Sunni disenfranchisement after the United States decided to disband the Iraqi army and Saddam Hussein's powerful Ba'ath party.

“It’s inflammatory, but it’s more than that,” said David Rothkopf, CEO and editor of the Foreign Policy Group, of Trump’s latest statements. “It’s encouraging tropes that Obama is a Muslim, that Obama isn’t American, that Obama doesn’t have the same goals and values."

Some Republicans have criticized Obama and Clinton for not being aggressive enough in attacking the Islamic State group as it was seizing territory in Iraq and Syria two years ago. But no top Republican has gone so far as to accuse the president of founding the group.

Rothkopf said criticism of Obama’s foreign policy is entirely fair game this presidential campaign season.

“Is Barack Obama’s foreign policy above reproach? Absolutely not. Has Barack Obama made some serious errors in his handling of the issues in the Middle East? If you’re a credible candidate and you’re running against Barack Obama, by all means take him to task for inaction in Syria, take him to task for his actions in Libya," he said.

But, Rothkopf added, the claim that Obama created the Islamic State was outrageous, insupportable, and inflammatory, creating a troubling moment not only in the campaign but also for worldwide perceptions of democracy in the United States.

In addition, Trump’s claims about the Obama administration and Islamic State may give new life to conspiracy theories in the U.S. among members of the far-right and about its origins floating around the Middle East and South Asia, he said.

“It doesn’t just stir up Trump supporters, it makes America look terrible in the world. The reality is that every time these days that Donald Trump opens his mouth, America is diminished in the eyes of the world," Rothkopf said.


Mrs. Clinton’s economic plan
seeks $10 billion for jobs


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton unveiled her economic plans Thursday, contending that her proposals would help a vast swath of U.S. workers while she said Republican Donald Trump is offering tax cuts for the wealthiest of people.

Mrs. Clinton told factory workers at a defense manufacturing plant in Michigan, "There's a myth out there that he'll stick it to the rich. Don't believe it."

"He wants to give trillions in tax breaks to people like himself," Mrs. Clinton said of the real estate billionaire making his first run for elected office. "He wants America to work for himself and all his friends."

Mrs. Clinton called for establishment of a $25 billion government funded infrastructure bank to create jobs for 10 million workers to carry out a massive public works program to repair crumbling roads, bridges and airports.

She described it as "the biggest investment since World War II" and said the country is "way overdue for this." Mrs. Clinton said Trump's economic proposals, laid out earlier this week in nearby Detroit, would cost the country's labor market more than 3 million jobs and push the American economy, the world's largest, "back into recession."

Mrs. Clinton derided Trump's treatment of small businesses he has dealt with while building New York skyscrapers and casinos along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline, saying that "he's made a career out of stiffing small businesses. It wasn't because he couldn't pay them, it's because he wouldn't."

She rebuked him for manufacturing his Trump-branded products, ties, shirts, suits and furniture, at manufacturing plants overseas.

"Let's remember where Trump makes many of his products and it's not America," she said.

Ahead of her speech, Trump also called for new infrastructure spending, although he did not lay out a specific proposal.

He told CNBC that the United States should add to its $19 trillion long-term debt to strengthen its military and rebuild infrastructure. Even though he has often derided President Barack Obama for the burgeoning debt, Trump said that because interest rates are currently low, "You'd be paying so little interest right now. This is the time to borrow."

Later, he told a home builders group, "She's going to raise taxes; I'm going to cut them." Mrs. Clinton called for higher taxes on the country's wealthiest taxpayers, a proposal that the politically fractious U.S. Congress has rejected in recent years.

Numerous U.S. political surveys show Mrs. Clinton pulling to a steady polling advantage of about seven points over Trump and gaining ground in key states that will decide the Nov. 8 election to replace President Barack Obama.

But polls indicate voters rate Trump and Clinton about even on who can best inject new life into the U.S. economy. It is often the envy of other countries where growth has stalled, but the United States has not hit 3 percent annual growth in more than a decade, a figure economists often view as a sign of a robust advance.

As part of her plan, Mrs. Clinton vowed to roll back tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, increase the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour for low-paid workers and boost government support for small businesses.

Her campaign said Thursday she would soon release her 2015 federal income tax returns she filed with her husband, former President Bill Clinton. She mocked Trump for not releasing his returns, which is at odds with a decades-long tradition for U.S. presidential candidates, but is not a legal requirement.

Trump said he will not release his returns while government auditors are reviewing them.


Canadian blows himself up
on way to murder others


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Canadian man previously held on suspicion of terrorist ties was killed in a taxicab in Ontario while on his way to detonate an explosive in a public place, police said Thursday.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commander Jennifer Strachan told reporters that Aaron Driver, 24, set off the device in the taxicab Wednesday while surrounded by police. The confrontation took place in the southern Ontario town of Strathroy.

It is unclear whether the explosion or a police bullet killed Driver. The taxi driver suffered minor injuries in the blast.

Strachan said Driver had uploaded a so-called martyrdom video pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group and vowing to commit acts of violence against what he called enemies of Islam. He also had spoken openly on national media about his support for the Islamic militants, saying if a country supported the fight against the militants, its citizens who fell victim to terrorist attacks deserved their fate.

Driver was arrested in June 2015 because of concerns that he posed a threat to public safety. He was released under court supervision. In February, Driver's lawyer agreed to a deal known as a peace bond, acknowledging that the government had reasonable grounds to think Driver might participate directly or indirectly in terrorist activity.

The peace bond barred him from associating with terrorist groups or even using a computer or cellphone. Until earlier this month, he had been compelled to wear a bracelet with a GPS tracking device. The peace bond was scheduled to expire at the end of August.

Transit agencies in Toronto said they had gotten warnings from police of a security threat before the suspect was confronted. A spokesman for Toronto Transit said the warning was a vigilance notice that contained little detail about what to expect.

Canadian officials said they were tipped off to Driver's planned attack by members of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Driver's estranged father, Wayne Driver, told Canadian media he was satisfied that police did what they had to do after his son refused to surrender. The ex-soldier called his son "a good kid who went down a dark path and couldn't find the light again."

Canada experienced two lone wolf attacks in 2014 that sparked Driver's comments of support for Islamic State. On Oct. 20, a 25-year-old Muslim convert ran down two members of the military in a Quebec parking lot, killing one, before police shot the attacker to death.

Two days later, a 32-year-old Muslim convert killed a guard at the headquarters of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, just a short distance from a room where top officials, including the prime minister, were meeting. Security guards fatally shot him.


More leading Republicans
decline to support Trump


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For the second time this week, a group of prominent Republicans says it will not support Donald Trump for president.

More than 70 party members, including former congressmen and senior members of the Reagan administration and both President Bushes, have drafted a letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

They want the national committee to stop using Republican money, time, staff and advertising to support Trump, and instead use those resources for House and Senate candidates. They say Trump's chances of winning in November are evaporating by the day.

Among other reasons, they cite his verbal duel with the parents of a Muslim-American soldier killed in Iraq, hints that gun-rights backers should shoot Hillary Clinton, and "lying about scores of issues, large and small."

Republican communications operative Andrew Weinstein said "if the RNC doesn't immediately shift its focus, the Trump train wreck in November could destroy our congressional majorities as well. We can't afford to wait any longer to focus our resources on the races we can win, rather than burning more money on an unelectable presidential candidate."

There has been no response from the Trump campaign.


New York terrorist admits
New Year’s Eve attack plot

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An accused terrorist arrested last year in New York state has admitted plotting to kill Americans last New Year's Eve with knives and machetes in an attack coordinated with the Islamic State group.

The accused, Emanuel Lutchman, pleaded guilty Thursday in a federal court in Rochester, New York, and admitted his involvement in the plot, which never was carried out, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Lutchman thought he had recruited three fellow admirers of Islamic State's extremist policies to join him in the attack and bought weapons and other supplies. However, all three of his accomplices were cooperating with the FBI, and their information led to the 26-year-old man's arrest Dec. 30, just hours before he planned to attack a club or bar, seize hostages and kill them.

Lutchman pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to the outlawed terrorist group, a charge punishable by up to 20 years in prison  followed by lifetime supervision by U.S. authorities and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is set for a later date.

As part of his guilty plea, Lutchman admitted he conspired with a now-dead member of Islamic State in Syria, Abu Issa Al-Amriki, in planning the attack. U.S. officials described the plot to kill civilians as a step toward Lutchman's declared ambition of joining the Islamic State in Syria.

Lutchman posted messages of support for Islamic State on social media, including images, videos and documents related to violent jihad. Court documents also showed he downloaded and viewed videos related to Islamic State and terrorism.

The defendant admitted he contacted Al-Amriki in December to discuss potential targets. Lutchman said the Islamic State member told him to find the most populated area and kill as many people as possible, and said he would then help the American become part of Islamic State.

One of the FBI informants and Lutchman went shopping in Rochester on Dec. 29 and purchased supplies for their intended attack, including black ski masks, knives, a machete, duct tape and latex gloves. Lutchman made a video pledging allegiance to the Islamic State the next day, apparently intended to be issued after carrying out his attack.

Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's terrorism task force in Rochester then raided Lutchman's home, arrested him and seized his supplies.

Previously published accounts describe Lutchman as "a self-professed Muslim convert with a criminal history," including a prison sentence for robbery. He also had been detained several times for mental-health issues.

The U.S. attorney for western New York State, William Hochul, said Thursday, "Residents of this community can now sleep better knowing that a person who wanted to kill in the name of an infamous terrorist group right on the streets of our city will no longer be a threat."
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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


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Real estate for sale (paid category)


Pavo onr
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Kennedy
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9023-9/13/16

Condo
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Ocean View Property for Sale in San Ramón
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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.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 159
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
greenland shark
American Association for the Advancement of Science/Julius Nielsen
A Greenland shark slowly swims in Uummannaq Fjord in northwestern Greenland.

This shark lives for centuries, study says

By the American Association for the Advancement of Science
news staff

Greenland sharks live at least as long as 400 years, and they reach sexual maturity at the age of about 150, a new study reports.

The results place Greenland sharks as the longest-lived vertebrates on Earth. The Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) is widely distributed across the North Atlantic, with adults reaching 13 to 16 feet.

The biology of the Greenland shark is poorly understood, yet their extremely slow growth rates, at about one centimeter per year, hint that these fish benefit from exceptional longevity.

Traditional methods for determining the age of a species involve analyzing calcified tissue, a feature that's sparse in Greenland sharks. Therefore, to determine the average age of this species, Julius Nielsen and fellow researchers applied radiocarbon dating techniques to the eye lenses of 28 females caught as by-catch.

Their analysis suggests an average lifespan of at least 272 years. The two largest sharks in this study, at 4.93 and 5.02 meters in length, were estimated to be roughly 335 and 392 years old.

What's more, since previous reports suggest that females of this species reach sexual maturity at lengths greater than 400 cm, the corresponding age would be at least 156 years old, the authors say. Based on these results, the Greenland shark is now the oldest-known vertebrate on Earth.


False document land scam leads to arrest

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents said Thursday they had detained a man who sold a piece of property to two different people even though he did not own the land.

The arrest was at the 45-year-old man’s home in Desamparados de Alajuela.

The property was in the La Fortuna area. The would-be buyers paid 8 million and 9 million colons for the land. They discovered they had been scammed when they found someone else living on the land as the owner, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

This happened last November and December, agents said. The allegation is the use of false documents.

Agents said the man created false documents to falsely show he was the owner of the property.

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From Page 7:


Macy’s closing some stores to promote online

 By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Macy's said Thursday that it planned to close about 100 stores next year and boost its online investments as the nation's largest department store chain tries to become more nimble in an increasingly fierce market.

The closures represent close to 14 percent of its stores under the Macy's brand.

The company, which operates the upscale Bloomingdale's stores as well, said it would increase its exclusive products and would prioritize its investments in the stores that offer the highest growth potential.

Macy's also reported Thursday that second-quarter profits and sales fell. The results, however, beat Wall Street estimates, and its shares rose about 17 percent for the day.

"The announcements we are making today represent an advancement in our thinking on the role of the stores, the quality of the shopping experience we will deliver, and how and where we reinvest in our business for growth,'' said Macy's President Jeff Gennette, who will succeed Terry J. Lundgren as CEO in the first quarter of 2017.

Macy's had been a stellar performer since the recession, but in the past year and a half, the company has seen slowing sales as it battles competition on all fronts and changing shopping patterns. People are spending more of their money on home improvement as well as experiences like travel or spas. And when they do buy clothing, they're going to T.J. Maxx or fast-fashion chains like H&M.

They're also increasingly researching and buying online, and gravitating toward Amazon.com, which is bolstering its store private label fashion brands. Amazon.com is by some forecasts expected to surpass Macy's as the largest online seller of clothing next year.

Under Lundgren, Macy's hasn't been sitting still and has been looking for opportunities to boost sales, from buying upscale beauty brand Bluemercury to launching its own off-price stores called Macy's Backstage. But since this past May, it has sought to accelerate its efforts to get shoppers excited. It planned to look for new ways to cut expenses and use that money for more sales help at the stores and online. And it's expanding its offerings on exclusive launches, including one backed by Sir Elton John and Lady Gaga.

With the closures, Macy's will have 666 stores, including 38 Bloomingdale's locations. That's down about 23 percent from a peak in January 2007 of 868 stores including Bloomingdale's. Annual net sales at the stores Macy's plans to shutter were estimated at $1 billion. Many of the stores will close in early 2017, with the balance closing as leases or other agreements expire or are amended.

Macy's said it earned $11 million, or 3 cents per share, in the quarter ended July 30. That compares with $217 million, or 64 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Excluding charges that are related to store closings, the company earned 51 cents, which is above the 48-cent estimate from FactSet.

While Macy's earnings beat Wall Street expectations, it still has a long way to go to see business perk up. Revenue fell 3.9 percent to $5.87 billion. That topped the $5.77 billion estimate from FactSet. Revenue at stores open at least a year were down 2 percent in the second quarter. Excluding licensed departments, sales were down 2.6 percent. That's the sixth straight decline for that measure.

The company said it was sticking to its outlook. Macy's had said in May that it expected revenue at stores open at least a year to be down 3 percent to 4 percent. Macy's also said it still expects earnings to be in the range of $3.15 to $3.40 for the year.