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Published Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 176
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The Plaza de la Cultura has no shortage of workmen trying to meet a deadline.
Plaza de la Cultura makeover aims to fix leaks
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The capital’s main meeting spot has been off-limits since February because the concrete expanse also is the roof of the Museos de Banco Central. And the roof has long been a source of leaks.

This is the Plaza de la Cultura, which is just north of the Teatro Nacional. The entire area has been fenced off while workmen put a better roof on the 34-year-old plaza.

The Banco Central said that the job would be
finished in early November, about a month away. The plaza has been the location of Christmas events and other official gatherings. But mostly, it has been a place for residents to relax, feed the many pigeons and watch children run around.

The roofing job is a multi-million-dollar project. Previous fixes were not fully successful, but this time bank officials hope the new layer can withstand the tropical rains.

Among other improvements is a fountain that will be installed, the bank said.

Why expats should pay attention to budget stories
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats can be forgiven for ignoring news stories about the Costa Rican budget and the national deficit. In the long run though, national finances, however boring, have a lot  to do with the quality of life here.

Potholes do not get fixed if there is no money allocated to road care. Waiting times at the Caja clinic do not get shorter unless there is more of an investment in professionals and facilities. Chaotic traffic is not eased and protests by public employees are not avoided without investment.

President Luis Guillermo Solís went on television Sunday night and invited residents to tell him where the budget can be cut. He said he had few options.

The new, 2017 budget proposal is 12 percent higher than this year’s.

Casa Presidential may seem a long way from an expat’s condo on the Pacific coast, but the government has long arms. Expats already have been hit with a so-called luxury home tax, which covers most dwellings a retiree might want to inhabit. Then there is the proposed reinstitution of the tax on corporations. Many expats hold homes and vehicles in corporations. Expats also are taxed when they enter and leave the country. They do so more than the average Costa Rican. And they are easy targets for the taxman.

Solís is in a jam because the Costa Rican Constitution and exiting laws dictate where much of the annual income goes. Only a small part of the budget is discretionary. Few politicians have the will to tackle the root causes.

In his talk, Solís warned of a major financial crisis. Most who study the government proposals for new taxes say that passage of these measures will only delay and not prevent a meltdown.

To some extent the situation today is similar to what the country experienced in the early 1980s. Some long-time expats remember how the high national debt, an increase in petroleum prices, a world recession and a drop in prices of the country’s agricultural products combined to bankrupt the Rodrigo Carazo Odio government.

The impact was felt by everyone. In 1980, the inflation rate was 18.12 percent. In 1981 the rate was 37.06 percent, and in the next year a whopping 90.12 percent.

An observer does not need a math degree to know what such rates do to the value of the local currency and commercial paper.

This may be why some expats are quietly moving their money out of local banks.

Of course, in the early 1980s those with mortgages denominated in colons were big winners. Still economic chaos is something to be avoided.

The budget watchdog, the Contraloría General de la República, warned Thursday that the current budget was not sustainable. The proposed 2017 national budget is nearly 9 trillion colons, $16.5 billion.

The Contraloría said the national deficit was 18.3 trillion colons, about $33.6 billion.

The central government still plans to finance about half of next year’s budget with debt.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 176
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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Police officer checks out the marijuana.

Yet another growing operation uncovered

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Being behind in child support cost a Naranjo man his freedom Monday.

Police said they arrived at the man’s home to give him a notice about back support, called pensión alimentaria. But when the man saw Fuerza Pública officers at the door, he bolted, police said.

Inside they found yet another hydroponics marijuana growing operation, they said, with 34 large plants. The air conditioned area was bathed in red light.

Fishing boat yields 492 kilos of cocaine

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Policía de Control de Drogas said officers found 492 kilos of cocaine hidden among frozen shark carcasses when they intercepted a Costa Rica-flagged boat in the Pacific.

Three Costa Ricans were detained, said the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas.

Officials said that the same boat, the Almirante William, had been detained off Flamingo last year on an illegal fishing allegation.

Time to register to vote

The U.S. Federal government’s overseas voting agency has issued a reminder that Nov. 8 is the presidential election.

“It is time for Americans living, working or traveling abroad to take steps to vote,” said the agency,” the Federal Overseas Voting Program.

Helping overseas Americans is difficult because each state has its own rule, and expats are supposed to vote in the U.S. state where they last were a resident.

Many overseas voters will receive absentee ballots from their registered county of residency. Others may elect to file a federal absentee ballot just for federal offices.

In addition to the federal program, the Overseas Voting Foundation can assist voters. The Web site gives deadlines for each state, plus other information.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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A.M. Costa Rica

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 176
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Some Mora residents tempt fate and decline relocation despite slide
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Officials are close to a panic because some residents in the path of a major landslide will not leave their homes.

This is the situation in the canton of Mora at the Altos de San Juan, also known as Quitirrisí.

Every expert that has looked at the slope says it is ready to go. But the residents have gone so far as to file an unsuccessful Sala IV appeal against a forced evacuation.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención

de Emergencias said that some residents have left the area, but that their homes quickly were occupied by unknown individuals.

There are about 19 families still in the path of a major slide. The emergency commission and the Ministerio de Salud have experience with this type of slide. A Nov. 4, 2010, slide crushed 20 homes in San Antonio de Escazú and killed 21 persons.

That was at Calle Lajas in Barrio El Carmen.

Officials have been trying to get the families to move since June, and there already has been one slide. They say that the heavy rains are likely to cause a major slide.

Radio show seeks to instruct nation on financial matters
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The private consumer education office has taken to the air waves to help Costa Ricans make wise choices in financial matters. They sure need it because personal credit card debt is about $1.7 billion or about $750 for each of 2.3 million cards in circulation. And some of the cardholders are paying 50 percent interest.

The Oficina del Consumidor Financiero said the first show
would be this morning at 6 a.m. on Radio Actual at 107.1 FM. The host is Nielsen Buján, and the show is called “Pulso Empresarial” or business pulse.

The office is sponsored by local private banks to help consumers with banking and financial problems.

Shows are scheduled on Tuesdays every two weeks, the office said. An announcement said the show would feature experts.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 176
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Oaxaca Valley discovery suggests alienation from neighboring state
By The Field Museum news staff

In the 1960s, a team of excavators uncovered the ruins of the ancient city of Lambityeco in what is now Tlacolula de Matamoros, Oaxaca, Mexico. In a recent return to the site, the discovery of a carved stone crocodile by Field Museum archaeologists has provided a key to revising long-held ideas about the site.

During the early excavation, archaeologists unearthed seemingly conflicting evidence. On the one hand, they found a palace with iconic frescoes that indicate the close connections between Lambityeco and nearby Monte Albán, a much larger urban settlement in the region. However, not all of the pieces recovered during this study seemed to fit this narrative.

Some of the artifacts showed marked differences with those from Monte Albán. Because of these differences, the archaeological team attributed Lambityeco to a later time period than Monte Albán, an interpretation that stood for decades. Nevertheless, more recent reanalysis of materials from Lambityeco has shown that the site was actually contemporaneous with Monte Albán, from 500 to 850 A.D. This led to new questions.

Over the last four years, new excavations led by Gary Feinman and Linda Nicholas of The Field Museum in conjunction with Mexico's national institute of anthropology and history have expanded the investigated area at Lambityeco, and their discoveries have yielded a richer history than was originally thought.

When the civic-ceremonial area of Lambityeco was first settled, the public buildings were clearly laid out in a manner closely reflective of that at Monte Albán. Yet, during the occupation, a major reorganization in the use of space occurred in the ceremonial core of Lambityeco. The architecture was remodeled so that it no longer reflected the construction patterns at the larger site. This shift likely reflected a distancing in the relationship between the two Valley of Oaxaca centers.

"During this time period, the relationship between Lambityeco and Monte Albán shifted," said Gary Feinman. "The people of Lambityeco began to remodel their buildings and reorient the use of space in order to differentiate themselves from Monte Albán." He is The Field Museum curator of anthropology.

Evidence collected over the past four years has helped illustrate this change. One key feature that changed at Lambityeco was its ballcourt, an important structure for both ceremony and recreation in prehispanic Mesoamerica. In its original design, the ballcourt at Lambityeco, which was discovered by the museum team in 2015, was laid out in a very similar pattern to the one in Monte Albán.

Both were constructed with the same orientation and were entered from the north side of the court. However, less than 

The Field Museum/ Linda Nicholas
This is the the crocodile stone discovered by archaeologists.

two centuries after the ballcourt was created in Lambityeco, the people sealed its north entrance and created a new stairway on its northeast corner, a major shift from the layout at Monte Albán. At this same time, the frescos in the palaces, excavated in the 1960s, were covered over, and never re-created again.

Another piece of evidence that helps illustrate this change at Lambityeco is a large stone carved on three sides with an image of a crocodile that was discovered during this recent field season. This is the largest carved stone found to date at Lambityeco. Although similar crocodile stones have been found at other sites in the Valley of Oaxaca, this was a unique discovery. Not only was it one of a few carvings of its kind to be discovered still in its prehispanic context, but the Field Museum team also found that the stone was moved from its original location during the long-ago occupation of Lambityeco.

"We believe that this crocodile stone was originally a part of a stairway leading up to a temple at the heart of the civic-ceremonial center of Lambityeco," said Ms. Nicholas, an archaeologist at The Field Museum. "However, when the people reconstructed the core area of the site, the entrance to the temple was blocked and the stairway was dismantled."

The stone was moved so that it leaned against the new façade of the building, where it continued to serve ritual significance, as evidenced by remains of charcoal and ceramics used to hold incense that were deposited right in front of the stone. The stone, when found in this location, was upside down with one of its carved sides completely hidden from view. These observations further indicate that the stone had been repositioned from its original location.

As new evidence continues to accumulate from Lambityeco, questions continue to arise. What caused this political shift between Lambityeco and Monte Albán? What is the full extent of architectural changes made within the city?  Although, anthropologists continue to work on answering these questions, it seems like one fact remains true. In its short-lived history, Lambityeco was a center of significant importance that still holds many clues to understanding the rich prehispanic history of the Valley of Oaxaca.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 176
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Axiom new ad

Voting begins in some states
before first candidate debate

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Election Day in the United States is still two months away. But though U.S. political campaigns at times seem endless, voters in some states can begin casting votes this month, even before the first general-election debate.

More than two-thirds of the country's 50 states allow a voter to cast a ballot in person before the Nov. 8 election. All of them offer a way to vote by mail if a voter cannot make it to the polls that day.

Most of the early voting states begin the process two or three weeks before the election, though some begin earlier. Minnesota and South Dakota are first, allowing voters to hand in their ballots as early as Sept. 23, three days before the first scheduled debate between the Democratic candidate, former U.S. secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

Two other candidates, Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein,are not polling high enough in national political surveys to be invited to the debate.

A lot can happen in the final months of campaigning. Voters will be inundated with advertising and will have the opportunity to watch three debates between the presidential candidates and another featuring those running for vice president.

Both Trump and Mrs. Clinton planned Labor Day rallies Monday, a national U.S. holiday honoring American workers. Both were meeting with workers in Cleveland in the Midwestern battleground election state of Ohio.

Later, the Republican nominee is campaigning at a community fair in Youngstown, Ohio, while Mrs. Clinton is appearing at a Labor Day event in Hampton, in Illinois, a midwestern state where she holds a substantial edge over Trump. Hampton is a village just across the Mississippi River from the closely contested rural state of Iowa.

Trump began his current surge after Mrs. Clinton peaked in early August after the Democratic National Convention. There, she and others lobbed taunts against the Republican nominee for four straight nights.

The latest polls put Mrs. Clinton up by about four points nationally, even as she continues to narrowly lead in several key states that will likely determine who wins in November.

Those same polls continue to show that more than half of registered voters have an unfavorable view of both Mrs. Clinton and Trump.

Mrs. Clinton cites the record
of Trump’s business ventures

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton assailed rival Donald Trump's business record Monday, pointing out his numerous bankruptcies and allegations of poor treatment of his workers.

Her campaign speech at a Labor Day event in Cleveland, Ohio, got off to a rough start. Mrs. Clinton had a coughing fit and appeared to have a hard time breathing. She told the crowd that "every time I think about Trump, I get allergic."

Her voice remained rough after several sips of water and a cough drop, as she spelled out Trump's history of union busting in his Las Vegas hotel, a refusal to pay contractors and small businesses for completed work and bankruptcies that she said put thousands out of work.

Clinton said Trump's bluster and wild claims do not stand up to scrutiny. She said her administration would fight for workers' rights and dignity.

She later told reporters aboard her campaign plane that she is gravely concerned about alleged Russian government interference in the elections

"We are going to have to take those threats and attacks seriously," she said. She also criticized Trump for urging the Russians to hack more, an apparent reference to a Trump joke in which he asked the Russians to find Mrs. Clinton's missing emails.

Russia is suspected of breaking into the computer system of the Democratic National Committee earlier this year, revealing that some DNC officials favored Mrs. Clinton over her chief rival in the primaries, Bernie Sanders.

Trump also was in Ohio on Monday, meeting with union members and blaming President Barack Obama for allowing U.S. corporations to move jobs to México.

"We're going to stop companies from leaving," Trump vowed, saying it would be so easy to do.

Trump's occasionally tough and at other times moderate stance on immigration became even murkier Monday. He told a rowdy audience last week in Arizona that undocumented immigrants seeking legal status in the U.S. will have to go back home first.

But he told reporters Monday that they may not have to return home, saying he is not ruling out anything. He said a final decision would come in the future.

Mrs. Clinton called Trump's talks last week with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, in which immigration was a major topic, an embarrassing international incident.

Trump denied the two discussed who would pay for a wall he wants to build along the U.S. border with Mexico, while Peña Nieto said he told Trump that México will not pay for it.

The Trump and Clinton campaign planes were at the Cleveland airport at the same time Monday, but the two candidates did not cross paths.

"It's kind of interesting to have all the planes here on the same tarmac," Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine said as he walked over to greet Mrs. Clinton. "Just shows you how important Ohio is. We're going to be here a lot."

It was no coincidence that both were campaigning in the Midwestern state on Labor Day. Ohio is both farm country and industrial, dotted by several major cities. It is also a major battleground state that could go either way on Election Day.

The latest polls give Mrs. Clinton a 44-to-41 percent lead in Ohio, and a 4-point lead nationally.

Polls show gap narrowing
between major candidates

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Republican Donald Trump has edged closer to Democrat Hillary Clinton in U.S. presidential election public opinion polls, three weeks ahead of their first face-to-face debate.

Several U.S. polls show Mrs. Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of State, ahead of Trump, a real estate billionaire seeking his first elected office. But he has cut her lead to about four percentage points or less, about half the gap of a few weeks ago, even as she continues to narrowly lead in several battleground election states that likely will determine the outcome of the Nov. 8 election.

Numerous U.S. political analysts are still predicting she will become the country's 45th president and its first female commander in chief, replacing U.S. President Barack Obama when he leaves office next January. But the analysts have narrowed the odds a bit in recent days.

The uncertainty of the race coincides with Monday's Labor Day holiday, the traditional point at which many families end their summer vacations, send their school-age children back to classes, and perhaps give new attention to the quadrennial presidential election. The first of three scheduled presidential debates is set for Sept. 26, with the other two in October.

U.S. voters hold historically high unfavorable views of both candidates, with surveys showing that many of them are more inclined to vote against either Trump or Mrs. Clinton rather than specifically favoring one over the other.

Both candidates have lobbed sharp verbal barbs at each other, hoping to win over undecided voters. Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly said Trump lacks the temperament and knowledge to become president, while he points to what U.S. investigators say was her extremely careless handling of classified material on the unsecured, private email server she used while she was the country's top diplomat during Obama's first term from 2009 to 2013.

There was new attention to Mrs. Clinton's handling of the emails Friday as the Federal Bureau of Investigation released an account of its probe and an hours-long interview with Mrs. Clinton in which she could not recall on numerous occasions how she handled specific emails and did not know that a letter "C" designation meant it was classified. The FBI, over the protests of Republicans, in July decided Clinton's actions did not warrant criminal charges being filed against her.

Trump hired new top campaign aides to shape his populist message, but ended his flirtation last week with a softer line on immigration policies to attract more moderate voters opposed to the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. He instead told cheering supporters, "There will be no legal status or becoming a citizen of the United States by illegally entering our country."

Trump, a one-time television reality show host, said that if he is elected, he would immediately deport several million undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes in the United States and start construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border and force Mexico to pay for it. But he left unclear how he plans to deal with millions of other immigrants who have not committed any crimes other than entering the U.S. illegally.

Christie taking on the job
of heading transition team

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Donald Trump is pledging that the government he appoints will bring sweeping change to Washington's culture. So far, that promise comes with a heavy New Jersey accent.

Despite being passed over for the job of Trump's running mate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and an entourage of his closest allies could leave a lasting mark on a Trump administration should he win in November.

As chairman of Trump's transition team, Christie is building a coalition of advisers who will staff key federal government agencies and execute new policy prescriptions if Trump wins the general election. Among them, are two of his longtime aides, Rich Bagger, a lobbyist who helped lead Christie's gubernatorial transition team and Bill Palatucci, a top Christie adviser whose law firm has been showered with government legal work.

"The chairman is the public face, sets the tone and ensures the transition has good connectivity with the candidate," said Clay Johnson, who served as executive director of George W. Bush's transition team in 2000.

The team also includes Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, a New Jersey native, along with some experienced government officials such as Jaime Burke, who was the personnel director for the Romney transition team in 2012 and a White House liaison to Health and Human Services under George W. Bush.

Christie is also hosting a transition team fundraiser in New Jersey later this month, promising to give an inside look at the team for $5,000 a person.

Presidential transition teams lay the groundwork early since the winner is ultimately faced with the daunting task of readying the new administration in the two and a half months between Election Day and the inauguration.

"You have to be proactive," Johnson added. "We didn't know how fast warp speed was but a transition goes faster than that. It's a mind boggling challenge."

As a former presidential contender, Christie has taken some very public swings at his opponent-turned-ally. He's called the New York businessman thin-skinned, and said Trump's proposed Syria policies are painfully naive.

Obama declines to meet man
who called him a bad name

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The White House says President Barack Obama has canceled a planned meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, after the blustery Philippine leader, in comments to reporters, used a vulgarity in referring to the U.S. commander-in-chief.

Obama said earlier that he planned to use an expected meeting with Duterte at a summit in Laos to raise the issue of more than 2,000 extra-judicial killings of suspected Philippine drug dealers and users since Duterte took office in June.

For his part, Duterte has defended his support for the killings, saying he is following the will of those who elected him. Then, before departing Manila on Monday for the Laos capital, Vientiane, warned Obama: "You must be respectful. Do not just throw questions." Using the Tagalog phrase for "son of a bitch," he then said: "Putang ina, I will swear at you in the forum."

Obama initially shrugged off Duterte's comments. But he also said the planned meeting hinged on whether Duterte was prepared for constructive, productive conversations.

Hours later, National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said the Tuesday meeting with Duterte had been canceled and that Obama would instead meet with South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

Duterte, who campaigned for the Philippine presidency on promises to end illegal drug activity in his homeland, has alarmed an array of human rights organizations with his deadly crackdown. He also has vowed to defend police and the Philippine military carrying out his orders, even at the cost of his own possible imprisonment.

Phyllis Schlafly is dead at 92,
after long Republican career

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Phyllis Schlafly, 92, the conservative activist who almost single-handedly helped defeat the proposed Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s and pushed the Republican Party to the right in ensuing decades, has died.

Mrs. Schlafly died Monday of cancer at her home in St. Louis, her son John Schlafly said.

Known as the first lady of anti-feminism, Mrs. Schlafly rose to national attention in 1964 with her self-published book, “A Choice Not an Echo,” that became a manifesto for the  right. The book, which sold 3 million copies, chronicled the history of the Republican National Convention and is credited with helping conservative sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona win the 1964 GOP nomination.

She later helped lead opposition to the ERA, a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee equal rights under the law regardless of gender. Mrs. Schlafly argued that the measure would mean the end of the traditional family.

Supporters of the measure argued it would require that laws determining child support and job opportunities be designed without regard to gender.

Mrs. Schlafly told the Associated Press in 2007 that perhaps her greatest legacy was the Eagle Forum, which she founded in 1972. The conservative group has chapters in several states and claims 80,000 members. "I've taught literally millions of people how to participate in self-government,'' Mrs. Schlafly said.

The Eagle Forum pushes for low taxes, a strong military and English-only education. The group is against efforts it says are pushed by radical feminists or encroach on U.S. sovereignty, such as guest worker visas. The group's Web site describes the Equal Rights Amendment as having had a hidden agenda of tax-funded abortions and same-sex marriages.

A Saint Louis University history professor, Donald Critchlow, who profiled Mrs. Schlafly in his 2005 book, “Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman's Crusade,” said the defeat of the amendment helped revive conservatism and pave the way for Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980.

Mrs. Schlafly remained active in conservative politics well into her 80s, when she was still writing a column that appeared in 100 newspapers, doing radio commentaries on more than 460 stations and publishing a monthly newsletter.
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 176
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The Policía Montada in parade formation

Mounted police get some help from afar

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

They are not the 7th Cavalry, and John Wayne is nowhere to be seen, but Costa Rica does have its horse patrol.

The Policía Montada are the officers that patrol the country’s parks.

Members of the battle-tested Carabineros y Seguridad Rural of Colombia were in Costa Rica last week to provide some training with an emphasis on the sprawling Parque Metropolitano La Sabana that has seen a rise in crime. There also was training in the control of crowds with mounted police.

The Colombian officers will be here through early November to impart more information.

Warmer ocean woes cited in report

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Global warming is shaking up life in the world's oceans, spreading disease, destroying coral reefs and threatening to wipe out global food security, according to a new report.

Eighty scientists from 12 countries released their findings Monday at the International Union for Conservation of Nature meeting in Honolulu.

"We all know that the oceans sustain this planet. We all know the oceans provide every second breath we take. And yet we are making the oceans sick," International Union Director Inger Anderssen said.

The experts say oceans have absorbed more than 90 percent of all the extra heat caused by global warming over the last 40 years, causing a drastic change in the rhythm of the seas.

Some ocean mammals and birds are being forced to feed far from their traditional food sources and nesting sites, while other sea life is being driven away from warmer waters toward the cooler seas around the poles, the report said.

Warmer oceans also cause more disease in sea plants and animals, posing a clear threat to human health, it added.

The number of severe hurricanes has increased at a rate of around 25 to 30 percent per degree of global warming, the report states.

The experts say there is no way out except to cut man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are causing the Earth to get unnaturally warmer, the report said.

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From Page 7:

Tax year for most coming to an end Sept. 30.

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The traditional tax year in Costa Rica ends Sept. 30, and most of those in business are in a rush getting their paperwork in order.

This is the time of year for frantic telephone calls in order to obtain the cédula juridica number for major vendors and customers. That report is due Nov. 30, two weeks before the final tax return for the fiscal year, the D-101.

There is no shortage of help. Most firms have an accountant on call. Some even have one that prepares a monthly income and outgo report.

Expats who have to file a tax return will find that the document has to be sent electronically to the Ministerio de Hacienda.  So an accountant will be needed to do this because the ministry's software is complex.

Accounting firms are announcing seminars to help those in business prepare for tax day.

Of course, some firms, due to business reasons, are on a different fiscal year. That just means their responsibilities to file are shifted to other months.