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(506) 2223-1327                                  Published Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 228                                  Email us
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Concern focuses on possible lionfish Pacific invasion
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Concern is growing among some researchers and environmentalists that the lionfish in the Caribbean might make their way to the Pacific.

This is the invasive fish that herds prey with its wide fins and eat them. The species, Pterois volitans, has proliferated on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, and small commercial fishing interests hold annual contests to reduce the numbers.

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute is featuring the work of a Canadian researcher who has outlined ways in which the fish could get to the western side of the isthmus. He is Andrew Sellers, a doctoral student at McGill University who did his master's degree on lionfish in Panama's Caribbean, said the institute.

The lionfish has become a plague throughout the coastal Atlantic and Caribbean. A number of countries, including Costa Rica, have launched research efforts and attempts to reduce the number of lionfish.

Several U.S. universities have active lionfish research to find out how the fish spread so quickly.

Lionfish, native to the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans, have dramatic coloring and large, spiny fins, Oregon State University noted in a 2010 news story. It’s believed they were first introduced into marine waters off Florida in the early 1990s from local aquariums or fish hobbyists. They have since spread across much of the Caribbean Sea and north along the U.S. coast as far as Rhode Island.

The Smithsonian said that growing lionfish eat the larvae of game fish such as billfish and jacks as well as the fish that remove algae from the reefs, and they also eat lobsters, octopus, sea horses and crabs, with serious consequences for coastal communities and the ecotourism business.

Sellers presented his research at a Panama City scientific workshop on lionfish this month and said that there are three ways the lionfish could reach and establish a foothold in the Pacific.


There is a lot of concern in Panamá about the environmental impact of the canal and its new, larger lane. However, Sellers was
Lionfish research
A.M. Costa Rica archives/Oregon State University
Researcher takes notes on a lionfish.

 quoted by the Smithsonian as saying that the canal route is the least probable.

He said that the canal water contains less salt than the lionfish may need.

He was more concerned that the fish would be transported from the Caribbean to the Pacific in the ballast water of ships, said the Smithsonian. There is precedence for the transport of invasive species that way.

Sellers also was quoted as expressing concern about the aquarium trade. Lionfish have become popular aquarium dwellers in Panama City, right on the Pacific coast, the Smithsonian said.

The workshop on lionfish brought experts from around the Americas together to share stories on management strategies and to discuss scientific research and economic opportunities that link to the lionfish invasion, said the Smithsonian.

A lionfish population on the Pacific coast would be bad news for the sports fishing industry because of the creature's decimation of game fish larva.

Divers with spears appear to be the most efficient way to reduce the numbers of lionfish, but many live below comfortable diving levels. The fish are good to eat.


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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 228
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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.


Dentistry

Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

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Psychotherapy

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Insurance professionals

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 Accountants

 
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Legal services

Valdivieco header
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colinadelsol022515c.gif
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Police union opposes inmate release

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's public employee umbrella organization says it will bring a case against the justice ministry to prevent the release of some 1,000 prison inmates.

The organization is the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados. Among its member unions is the one that represents the officers in the Fuerza Pública.

The organization said it would bring a case in the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo against the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz to prevent the release.

Mainor Anchía Angulo, president of the Fuerza Pública section, was quoted in a statement saying that releasing the inmates is an irresponsible act, particularly at a time when the country is experiencing insecurity, violence and criminality.

The Justice ministry says that the inmates are non-violence offenders who have completed a percentage of their sentence.  The ministry is under court order to reduce overcrowding.


police
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo          
These are some of the members of the special unit.

Special unit contains 500 officers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministerio de Seguridad Pública said Tuesday that it has created a special unit of  500 officers with the job of sweeping neighborhoods that are high in crime and drugs.

The ministry said that the special unit had confiscated 39 weapons and detained 46 persons since it was created Oct. 1. Nearly 20,000 persons have been stopped and questioned during the same period, said the ministry.

The principal focus are areas where drugs are sold, the ministry said.


Motorcycle toll highest in first 10 months

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

From January through Oct. 31, 55 persons died in automobile accidents, a far fewer number than the 117 who died in motorcycle mishaps.

The traffic police released the statistics Tuesday. There also were 63 pedestrians who died during the same period. In 49 of the pedestrian deaths, police blamed the victim for such acts as crossing a major highway or crossing against a traffic light.

The police agency noted that in many cases, the pedestrian could have used one of the special bridges that have been constructed for that purpose.

Police also said that more than half of the 35 persons who died while traveling on a bicycle had made some blunder, including being drunk.


Grim discovery by murder victim's dad

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A father made a grim discovery when he dug through some disturbed earth at a home where his daughter lived.

The location was Barrio Camarenos in Santa Cruz. Judicial investigators said that the man found the buried body of his 17-year-old daughter, identified by the last name of  Álvarez.

Agents said that the girl was living in a home near that of the father. She lived with her 18-year-old boyfriend.

She had not been seen since Sunday, so the father went to investigate Tuesday morning. That is when he made the discovery in the patio of the home, they said.


Many are unaware HIV carriers, study says

By the University of London news staff

Academics from Royal Holloway, University of London, have carried out the largest global review of psychological barriers behind HIV testing and the factors that may influence people’s decision to be tested.

The findings, published in the leading journal, AIDS and Behavior, reveal fear about HIV and HIV testing is one of the biggest barriers to testing. More than half of the 35 million people infected with HIV have not been diagnosed.

Michael Evangeli from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, who led the study, said: “Our research shows it is imperative that more is done to reduce the fear of HIV and HIV testing to increase the amount of people being tested. A test for HIV, which can now be done in private at home, is necessary to receive HIV treatment and care. The earlier this can be done helps to reduce the onward transmission of HIV. The fact that HIV is treatable needs to be stressed.”

One quarter of the over 100,000 HIV positive people in the United Kingdom, do not know that they are infected, the researchers said. As well as not having access to the right care and treatment people living with HIV are at risk of spreading the condition further, they added.


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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 228
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1,600 Cubans remain stranded and living in government shelters
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

One reason there are some 1,600 Cubans stranded in Costa Rica is because the United States affords special treatment to migrants from that country.

Rightly or wrongly the Cubans here expect to be able to enter the United States easily if they can reach the border.

The Cuban Adjustment Act, passed at the height of the Cold War, outlines the special treatment and even provides permanent residence for Cuban migrants who end up on public assistance.

At present Costa Rican officials are emphasizing their humanitarian efforts to help the migrants. The country allowed the migrants to enter with the expectation that they would travel into Nicaragua on their trip north. But Nicaragua has closed its border to the Cubans.

There is a lot of speculation why Nicaragua did this because it is a close ally to the Cuban regime.

Some Cubans continue to infiltrate that country through the porous border. Some have been returned by Nicaragua police and military.

The national emergency commission said that 700 persons are in five shelters in La Cruz, Guanacaste.

Meanwhile there is some criticism of the government effort. Some leftist commentators defended the actions by Nicaragua and said that Costa Rica should deport the Cubans back to Panamá. The migrants are following a

Cubans
Emergency commission photo
Another day at a shelter in La Cruz

well-worn trail from Ecuador, which allows Cuban visitors, through Colombia and Panamá.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias is in charge of the shelter efforts. It said that about 650 other Cubans are in other temporary shelters.

Many of the Cubans are young men who might better be characterized as economic migrants who would be seeking jobs in the United States. They are likely to present themselves to U.S. border agents as political refugees.

Some expats have been critical of the Cubans, too, calling them illegal immigrants.

Diplomatic efforts are being continued by Costa Rica officials to figure out some way the Cubans can continue on their way.



Four sports fishing events announced for the Pacific coast next year
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Sports fishing enthusiasts will have the chance to participate in four events next year.

The Los Sueños Triple Crown will once again take place in three editions. The first is Jan. 20 to 23 at the central Pacific location. Others start Feb. 24 and March 30, according to HRG Vacations & Rentals at Los Sueños.

The firm said that in the last two annual tournaments an average of 5,400 fish were released in just nine days each year. There was an average of  39 boats and up to 55 fish per boat, the firm added.
    
The Presidential Challenge Charitable Foundation announced a tournament based at Flamingo July 30 and 31.

“We’re going back to the basics with this tournament,” says foundation founder Joan Vernon in a release. “It’s time we

put the fun and family back into sport fishing, as well as a more focused appeal to the charter boat angler.”

She said the tournament’s mission statement is to publicize Flamingo as the fishing destination that it used to be by helping charter captains book clients to fish this event. It will also create an increased awareness of Flamingo and the northern Pacific region of Costa Rica as a world class fishing destination, she added.

“It’s been very exciting to work with the charter captains as well as the business owners in Flamingo, many of whom have been friends of mine for many many years,” Ms. Vernon says.

This event will offer a minimal entry fee of $600 for a team of up to six anglers, and will have minimal rules, she said.

The proceeds will benefit marine conservation in Costa Rica and the local charity, Abriendo Mentes.  She said sponsorships are being sought.



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Hacienda Baru

Recreo Verde

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 228
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Medical association votes to ban direct drug advertising to consumers
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The country's largest doctors group has voted for a ban on direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs and medical devices.

The American Medical Association said Tuesday at a meeting in Atlanta that such ads on television and radio and in magazines drive a demand for expensive pills and medicines when less costly generic drugs are just as effective.

"Today's vote in support of an advertising ban reflects concerns among physicians about the negative impact of commercially driven promotions and the role that marketing costs play in fueling escalating drug prices," said AMA board
chair-elect Patrice Harris. "Direct-to-consumer advertising
also inflates demand for new and more expensive drugs, even when these drugs may not be appropriate."

The AMA said the United States and New Zealand are the only two countries that promote drugs directly to patients.

It said U.S. drug companies spend $4.5 billion a year selling their products. But doctors say the cost of promoting the medicines and treatments can make prescriptions too expensive overall and puts patient health at risk.

The AMA is recommending that the federal government limit what it calls anti-competitive behavior by large pharmaceutical houses that doctors say reduces choice and limits much cheaper but still highly effective generic drugs from reaching the market.

Vacation, travel and hospitality


HIdden Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:
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Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.
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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
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See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!
http://www.vimeo.com/5656822

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

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Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
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Palamres

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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part
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8830-11/20/15

Oganic farm rental
2 bedroom, 1 bath, $700 includes electric, water, cable, Internet & WiFi. Fully furnished. Inside gated property close to town, Santa Bárbara de Heredia. No dogs please.
organicfarmhouserental@gmail.com
8800-10/16/1

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
Timeshare
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email: info@sellmytimesharenow.com
8766-7/30/16

San
                                                Ramon
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 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Direct TV via sling box on Internet.  Rent per month $750 plus utilities with free internet.  Price for Sale $179,000   Contact Mike: mmpeace@hotmail.com  Check out slide show HERE!
8670-6/30/15




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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 228
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European intelligence units
study what they had missed


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In the wake of the Paris attacks, wary and overstretched European intelligence services are asking themselves what more they can do to prevent the kind of terrorism that struck the French capital.

The information emerging about the planning of the attacks and those involved is raising the question of why France's security services missed the plot, why they overlooked militants they had already identified, and why, along with their counterparts in neighboring Belgium, they failed to interdict some of the militants on their return from Syria.

The intelligence services admit that out of a terror network they believe included 24 people, five were returning fighters from Syria.

In Belgium, a parliamentary committee overseeing the country’s security services has launched an inquiry into intelligence failings leading up to the Paris terror rampage.

The Islamic State attackers used Belgium as as their forward staging area, presumably because the intelligence services there are even shorter of resources than those in France.

“It appears the terrorists managed to evade the intelligence radar and the police. The question now is to know what more we can do,” said Stefaan Van Hecke, a lawmaker with Belgium's Green party.

French politicians also are voicing increasing frustration at what some are dubbing France’s Pearl Harbor, likening Friday’s simultaneous attacks to the sneak 1941 Japanese bombing of the U.S. naval base at Hawaii, which was also preceded by intelligence failures. 

Others see Friday’s attacks as France’s 9/11, both in psychological and intelligence terms.

Official inquiries after the attacks in Washington and New York 14 years ago also concluded that overwhelmed security and law enforcement agencies failed to pick up a gathering conspiracy.

“What we know is that most of these people came back from Syria and nobody stopped them,” said Nathalie Goulet, a member of the French Senate foreign and defense committee.

For several months Ms. Goulet, a centrist lawmaker who chaired a commission of inquiry into jihadist networks, has voiced anger at the continued presence in France of foreign fundamentalist Sunni preachers who she says act as recruiters.

She has regularly warned of the rising risks of a catastrophic attack.

Ms. Goulet, however, said she is shocked by the scale of Friday’s shootings and bombings and the high level of sophistication behind them.

She acknowledges the French security services have a huge challenge when it comes to resources and what the laws permit in a liberal democracy, noting that in Normandy alone, more than 300 potentially highly dangerous jihadists have been identified.

“They are reported, tracked, but you cannot put a policeman behind each of them,” she says. “Especially since being reported to be in the process of radicalization does not make you a criminal.”

Ms. Goulet is, however, critical of the temporary nature of the surveillance and how quickly suspected militants can be dropped from the lists of militants.

She argues the French security services should maintain a permanent file of people who had a link with terrorist organizations much as the police do when it comes to sex offenders who are stuck permanently on file.

Several of last Friday’s attackers were known to French intelligence, with dossiers identifying them as security risks.

The man French intelligence has named as the mastermind, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, had already been identified as an accomplice of two jihadists who were killed in a shootout at a jihadist safe house in the eastern Belgian town of Verviers in January.

A Belgian of Moroccan origin, Abaaoud has been on the run ever since, also spending time fighting in Syria.

In a February issue of the online Islamic State magazine Dabiq, Abaaoud, who uses also the nom de guerre Abu Umar al-Baljiki, boasted about how he could operate in plain sight in Belgium and never get caught.

He recounted how on one occasion he had been stopped by police, but they failed to recognize him and let him go.

One of the attackers last Friday at the Stade de France, Ismael Omar Mostefai, was suspected of having become a radical in 2010. He went to Syria in 2013 and returned to France in early 2014.

While Turkish authorities said they warned Paris about Mostefai in December 2014 and this past June, no action was taken.

“We did not, however, hear back from France on the matter. It was only after the Paris attacks that the Turkish authorities received a request for information" on Mostefai, a Turkish official told Al Jazeera.

Samy Amimour, another of the gunmen, was detained in October 2012 on suspicion of terrorist links but jumped parole, traveled to Syria, and returned unobserved to France in mid-October of last year.

Turkey is not the only country that said it sent warnings to France about a possible big attack being planned.

Senior Iraqi officials told The Associated Press they had also warned of an imminent attack. However, French officials insist these warnings lacked detail.

French and Belgian intelligence officials say the plotters were especially careful in how they communicated electronically to avoid eavesdropping, using Sony PlayStation 4 among other devices to exchange messages.

Even so, Belgium Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said European intelligence agencies collectively missed connecting the dots, adding that they must start sharing and exchanging information on known suspects more efficiently.

In a rare speech Monday to both houses of the French parliament, President Francois Hollande focused on border controls, saying he will ask his European Union counterparts Friday for a suspension of the Schengen agreement, the EU treaty that abolished  border checks among most European countries.

For months now, activists, who run their own informal intelligence networks, have spoken about how difficult it is to pass information to Western intelligence services.

Ahmad Abdulkader, who runs the activist network Eye on the Homeland, said in May that Western intelligence services, including those of French and the United States, have done little to exploit valuable intelligence from more than 100 Islamic State defectors, whom activists helped flee Raqqa.

Abdulkader said that among the defectors were two security operatives and the bodyguard of a significant player in the terror group.

The activists have debriefed them, securing what their leader describes as very important information.


U.S. Congress rejects plan
for boosting green power


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Republican-led U.S. Senate rejected the centerpieces of President Barack Obama’s environmental agenda less than two weeks before the start of a U.N. climate change conference in Paris.

The Senate passed a resolution disapproving the president’s Clean Power Plan, and another disapproving limits on carbon emissions from U.S. power plants.  Neither is likely to have much practical effect.

“The Obama administration is trying to impose deeply regressive energy regulations that would eliminate good paying jobs,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents coal-rich Kentucky.
 
“If the administration’s Clean Power Plan moves forward, hardship will be felt all across the country,” said Republican Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, another coal producing state. “Fewer job opportunities, higher power bills and less reliable electricity will result.”
 
Democrats countered that the health and well-being of Americans and humanity as a whole are at stake.
 
“We’re here to protect lives. We’re here to protect the planet,” said Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, a Democrat.
 
The Clean Power Plan aims to dramatically boost U.S. energy production from wind, solar and other green sources and, over time, reduce the nation’s reliance on carbon-based power.
 
Backers say nixing the plan could torpedo hopes for a global commitment to fight climate change at the Paris conference.
 
“We are one of the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide on the planet,” said Democrat Tom Carper of Delaware. “We need to lead by our example. It’s not ‘do what we say’ but rather ‘do what we do.’”
 
The issue is not strictly partisan. Several Democrats from coal and natural gas producing states have joined Republicans in opposing the Obama administration’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
 
With bipartisan backing, the resolutions of disapproval had ample support to clear the Senate with simple majority votes. The House of Representatives is expected to approve identical measures, meaning the resolutions are all but certain to reach Obama’s desk.
 
But presidential vetoes also are a foregone conclusion, and neither chamber has the two-thirds backing that would be required to override them.
 
Given that reality, some Democrats questioned the rationale and the timing of the resolutions.
 
The annual U.N. climate conference begins Nov. 30 in Paris and will bring together representatives of nearly 200 nations. The gathering aims to produce a universal and legally binding accord to reduce global carbon emissions and slow the warming of the planet.


Minnesota protesters face
charges in shooting case

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Forty-two people were arrested in Minnesota during a second day of protests over the shooting of an unarmed black man by police.

Hundreds of demonstrators shut down a major highway for several hours Monday night to protest the shooting of Jamar Clark, 24, in north Minneapolis.

Local media said the protesters faced misdemeanor charges of unlawful assembly and being pedestrians on a freeway.

A spokesperson for Black Lives Matter reported that everyone had been booked and released.

Clark was shot during an altercation with police after a domestic dispute at a party. He died a day later at a hospital.

Authorities have released few details about the Sunday night incident, angering many who say he was handcuffed at the time of the shooting. Police said preliminary information showed that he was not handcuffed.


Caffeine found in nectar
reported as lure for bees


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Researchers in Britain have discovered that certain plants actually produce caffeine to attract bees and help in pollination.

Scientists at the University of Sussex said they thought the plants produce the caffeine in their nectar to fool bees into thinking it contains more sugar than it actually does. The insects will repeatedly visit those flowers, helping the plants maximize pollination.

Francis Ratnieks, a professor of apiculture at the university, said bees communicate by moving their abdomens a certain way — or, as he calls it, dancing.  He said the caffeine increases that dancing.

In their experiments, Ratnieks and his colleagues used two artificial flowers that contained sucrose and water, and one contained caffeine as well. "The one with caffeine attracted more bees," he said, and "the bees who were foraging made more dances, about four times as many dances."

Identification numbers were glued to those bees exposed to caffeine, and the bees were then sent back to the hive. Those bees' dances then influenced the behavior of others in the hive, and many bees were directed to revisit sites where caffeinated nectar had been found, even after the feeder ran dry.

The scientists theorized that plants use caffeine to manipulate bees in a way that is good for the plant, but not so good for the bees. The caffeine, they said, tricks bees into thinking that the nectar is of a higher quality and has more sugar than it really does.

The scientists said the research has been a reminder that although plants and pollinators depend on one another, their interests can conflict.


Texan wrongly convicted
now campaigns for change


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Anthony Graves was convicted in 1994 in Texas of murdering a woman, her daughter and her four grandchildren. Later proven to be innocent, Graves spent many years in prison, including 12 years on death row waiting to be executed for a crime he did not commit.

“You took 18 years of my life,” he said, referring to the Texas criminal justice system. “You tried to murder me and I want to stay in your face every day to remind you that we need to do better.”

Graves has used some of the $1.5 million he was awarded by the state of Texas for his wrongful imprisonment to further the cause of reforming the criminal justice system.

There have been 1,700 people exonerated in the United States since 1989, according to the registry kept by Michigan State University Law School.

The Innocence Project, a non-profit group that helps investigate cases in which wrongful conviction is suspected, cites 333 cases since 1989 in which DNA tests resulted in exoneration. The racial breakdown from that figure was 206 African Americans, 101 Caucasians, 24 Latinos and two Asian Americans.

The former Texas death row inmate says many of the problems in the criminal justice system across the United States affect people of all races, especially if they are poor. Graves, who is black, spent more than 18 years in the Texas prison system.

The 49-year-old said inequality is the biggest problem. Poor people, regardless of color, cannot afford the best defense attorneys, he noted, and often are pressured by police and prosecutors to take a plea bargain for a lower sentence rather than face many years in prison.

While this practice reduces the need for full jury trials and is seen by prosecutors as more efficient, it also can result in innocent people with inadequate representation and little knowledge of the legal system pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit.

Graves wants citizens to use their power in the democratic system to seek criminal justice reform.
 
“We can do it. We have the power to do it,” he said.

Graves travels the country using his own personal story to illustrate what he calls the injustice of the justice system.

“I use my story to educate people,” said Graves, “but more importantly, keep it on people’s minds about the injustice that is going on in our criminal justice system.”

The court in Burleson County, Texas, convicted Graves in 1994. Six years later, the chief witness against him recanted his testimony. Graves was still in prison, though, when law professor David Dow brought the case to Nicole Casarez, an attorney and professor of journalism at the University of St. Thomas.

“He came into class one day and said, ‘Who wants to work on a case that is a death row case, and it has a lot of investigation and a short time fuse,” said the professor. “And my students and I put up our hands and volunteered and it turned out to be Anthony’s case.”

In 2010, the work done by Ms. Casarez, her students and others paid off with the release of Graves from prison and a declaration of his innocence. In June, the State Bar of Texas disbarred the district attorney who prosecuted Graves after its investigation of the case uncovered misconduct.

The problems Graves sees are the same ones cited by many criminal justice experts and law enforcement leaders, including disparities in sentencing between blacks and whites, the imprisonment of people with mental illness or drug addictions, an increase in the number of infractions that can result in someone being jailed and mandatory minimum sentences for some crimes.

Both Graves and Ms. Casarez are encouraged by the interest in criminal justice system reform on college campuses and by what appears now to be largely a bipartisan effort. The two major political parties agree on little else these days.

“I think stories like Anthony’s make a big impression on students and it inspires them to go out and vote and try to make a difference,” said Ms. Casarez.

For his part, Graves expresses little bitterness about his lost years, saying he is more concerned with the future than the past. Although he came close to being executed for a crime he did not commit, he has not made the death penalty the main focus of his call for reforms.

He and Ms. Casarez also spoke of problems with the alternative sentence of life in prison, which excludes any legal representation after it is imposed. They say it also is possible that some innocent people are serving life sentences and have no access to attorneys who could help them appeal their convictions.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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8725-12/23/15

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


Rich Coast Rollover
Thinking of Buying a Vacation or Retirement Home
in Costa Rica?

Rich Coast Realty is a full-service real estate company with property listings in Escazú, Santa Ana, Jacó, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Manuel Antonio, and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. We work hard to find you the property of your dreams, and assist with legal advice, residency, starting corporations, opening bank accounts, etc. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in, and relocating to Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate, we look forward to hearing from you.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
www.RichCoastRealty.com
8790-2/28/15

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo
Photo montage of penthouse
Are you  tired of wasting time searching your home….. with no results?
If so, you should not miss this deal !!!


Special Offer

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

* Located on 6th floor.
* Elevator.
* Security 24/7.
* Pool, BBQ area.
* 2 underground
        parking,  cellar.

* 3 bedrooms.
* 2 bathrooms.
* 2 terraces.
* Luxuriously
           furnished.
* Negotiable price.

* Enjoy the view,  CLICK HERE
Mafi Real Estate: Houses, lots and farms in Costa Rica
If you do not find, what are you looking for, contact us
WE HAVE A NETWORK OF OVER 500 brokers across the country to get what you are looking for.
English Calls: Miguel Fiatt Sauma or Paule Ortiz
Phone/Fax.+506 2238-5029
Cel. +506 8399-7000
Email: mfiatt@mafirealestate.com 
Web Page: www.mafirealestate.com
8609-2/20/16

Remax logo
Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at: info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com
8583-1/27/16

Real estate for sale (paid category)


volcano

There are many good reasons for moving to or investing in Costa Rica

Are you worried about the safety of the money in your 401k?  Do you think your government has painted a bullseye on all of your assets?  Do you believe it might be time to consider moving some money overseas just in case?  This property, at a distress sales price of only $140,000, should gross a 7-10% return this year and the bookings for this season aren’t all in yet.  The best part from a buyer’s standpoint is that it is utilizing only a fraction of its potential.  What’s wrong here?  Divorce, and a lack of funds needed to make the necessary value-added improvements.  Rental manager says rents could double with moderate invesement, but the current owners are unable to resolve those problems, so selling is their only way out.  This extra-large lot with its modern 2-bedroom home was intended to service a dozen or more apartments to be built on the rear, a really great plan, but that was before the wheels came off of the marriage.  It is a really good investment property in a very desirable location, earning a much better safe return than stocks and bonds, but it is also perfect for buyers who only want to follow the original plan and live in the existing home while building out the rest for a comfortable retirement.  Perfect, too, for the person who intends to move to Costa Rica in the future and wants to buy at today’s prices, but needs a property which will carry itself until that time comes.  To find out more about this opportunity contact:
lafortunaguy@gmail.com or phone 506-8377-8402.
8851-12/17/15

Lantz
A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq ft of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out.  The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the back yard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden.  This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town.  Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small.  The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate.  Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José.    Just reduced to $199,000.  Call  Jeff: 8824-8113 or 8725-8176.  Email:  angelsdad@me.com
8850-12/26/15

Fonseca two
Lovely east coast property for sale
This is a huge property surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens. The house is about 85% built, but I will give you the property completely finished.  The whole land includes 7,886 m2 or 84,884 ft2 of forest and gardens in a mountain area of Cimarrones, Limón, east coast. Full house with large master bedroom plus bathroom. One extra guest bedroom. Large dining room. Large kitchen area. Another extra bathroom for guests. Large laundry room and two cellars (storage areas). The house has wide corridors where you will see a breathtaking view of large gardens and forest.  I am open to hear your offer. The full property and land price is $125,000. Call Harold Fonseca, Phone number (506) 8702-4217, Email: hfonseca24@gmail.com
8847-112/10/15

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:   djake888@yahoo.com
8846-4/10/16

puriscal photo
Costa Rica home for sale $163,500 / 2bedroom - 1,984 ft2

Central Valley view home: 10 minutes from Santiago de Puriscal and shopping, hospital services, and soon Maxi Pali. Only one hour to San José or Pacific beaches.
- On .55-acre lot with river on one boundary
- Area under roof, 1,984 sq. ft., Area inside walls, 925 sq. ft. Steel, recycled
      Styrofoam, and concrete construction.
- 2 ½ years old with central living room and kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths,
       ceramic tile throughout.
- Central Valley volcano and SJO airport views from every room.
- Vaulted ceilings give bright open feeling.
- Entrance from concrete road to large graveled parking area
- VERY energy efficient with VERY low property taxes.
- Covered attached carport with entrance to front door or laundry-guest bath
       door.
- 2 carport storage bodegas.
- 12 foot x 14 foot storage bodega
- Security lights, And Amcrest day & night video recorder system.
- Producing banana trees, and mango, bread fruit, and guanabana trees
     planted.

Includes: Refrigerator, gas stove & oven with electric grill element, microwave, electric washer-gas dryer stacked style, gas on demand whole house water heater. Other furnishings are negotiable. ICE electric service and land line phone. Bajo Burgos Water district. Metro-wireless WiFi is available. Tigo Star Satellite T.V. House is in a Costa Rican corporation, will transfer shares. Contract indyj5vw@yahoo.com or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album
8844-5/11/16


Goetl in Palo Seco

Charming small oceanfront hotel for sale in Playa Palo Seco
Ideal oceanfront location with back up to a mangrove estuary. The
charming small hotel has a fully equipped kitchen, bar and restaurant and is exceptionnally well maintained. Located on a very private beach of the central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica 35 minutes north of Quepos-Manuel Antonio and 45 minutes south of  Playa Jacó. The main building is a two-storey house with 12 bedrooms. The lot measures 3,054 M2. Beautiful gardens around the large pool and exceptional flora and fauna. Well mentioned in tourist guides like Lonely Planet and Guide Ulysse. Offered at $999,000. USD
e-mail:  marietta234@yahoo.es 
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408
Web   http://mariettedaignault.point2agent.com
8843-1/2/16

Cohen
For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
www.hotel4salecostarica.com
www.hotelsescazu.com
hotelescazu@aol.com
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
410-975-6703
In Costa Rica 8307-0164
8828-12/19/15

Pacific Sur montagee

These 2 lots are in the Pacific southern zone,
Tres Rio/Coronado de Osa. 

Will give a great deal on one of these lots, only $29,990.  Both of these lots have water, phone lines, Internet accessibility, electricity, easy 3 kms. access to the Costanera.  2-wheel drive accessible.  Close to new hospital, beautiful beaches and county services.  Financing available.   Lote 234, This corner lote is excellently located in lower Tres Rios.  Has 2 well-sculptured lots for 2 houses or one for multiunit cabins.  Lote 236,  1 1/2 hectare.  Big lote for building a grand house, with a smaller plantel for a cabin.  Small ocean view with great sunsets.  Watch the videos for more information, Planos,  and details.   Email: escapetyranny2cr@gmail.com. CR phone   2786-5555. USA call  760-536-4717 YouTube link for more real estate deals. 
8827-11/19/15

Escazu villa
Escazú villa. spectacular 360 degree city and mountain views.
Enjoy the sunsets along with the sunrise

There are special properties, which are more than mere houses. Where you can appreciate moments where you build memories. Relaxing reading in the garden of 5000 sq. m. Places to enjoy moments with family or friends with large heated pool. Beautiful city views of San José with mountain view. Places, where you can enjoy the comforting warmth of the sun throughout the day with cool nights of living 1,300 meters up on your own Mountain Noel. You are away from all the noise of San José, yet you are only 15 minutes drive there. Costa Rica largest mall is also only 15-minutes drive away.
The main house four bedrooms with four bathrooms, large office with built-in wood cabinets, and beautiful hardwood ceilings throughout the whole house. The main house is 330 sq. m. For your guest, there is a self-contained apartment of 100 sq. m. consisting of two bedrooms and two baths. Nice layout with a living room and dining room and kitchen all have views. For being so near to the city and to have that much land is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The selling price is land value will throw in the house and the apartment. Price is $690,000. Contact jamescorreo@gmail.com.
8824-11/15/15

Osa home
Costa Rica Tropical Paradise Beach House For Sale
Tropical 5-acre forested beachfront property with custom house and guest casita on the Osa Península, South Pacific Coast. Abundant wildlife, exotic plants and fruits, secluded beach.

Located 8 km south of Puerto Jiménez on the way to Matapalo and Corcovado National Park. Great Price $775,000. Contact: osaroger@gmail.com
Watch this video for full details.
8816-1/2/16

montage
Big House for Sale in Playa Grande,
Santa Cruz, Guanacaste
834.62 square meters property with 326 square meters construction. Two-storey house with front porch, entry lobby, living room, dinning room, large kitchen, breakfast room, large cupboard, 3 ½ bathrooms, 3 large bedrooms, the main bedroom includes jacuzzi and balcony. Playground, office, laundry area, garage for two cars, own and municipal potable water supply, electricity service, cable TV system, A/C. Located 700 meters from Las Colinas Golf Course, near the airport, Tamarindo Beach and the best beaches of the country. Excellent construction and great details. Price $349,000. 2,866.33 square meters building lot with three terraces. Price $75,000. For more information, please contact us:
Email stanleystephendorn@yahoo.com Phone (506) 2653-6417.
Cell (506) 8825-8942 / (506) 8916-0734.
8789-11/27/15

private ranch home
Small private ranch for sale
This exceptional private ranch sits on a 9+ hectare lot and supports 15-20 horses. Only 2 hours south of San José, on the road to Puriscal. Roomy stalls all with drains, water hookup, lights and fans, grooming and shoeing área. Two-story house all furnished and cowboy house. Don't miss your chance on that turnkey operation.  Offered at $749,000.
E-mail:  marietta234@yahoo.es  or call (506) 8707-1037 
(506) 2778-8408 Web:   http://mariettedaignault.point2agent.com
8823-11/23/15

San Ramon
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: mmpeace@hotmail.com   Check out slide show HERE!
8736-1/1/16

Pavones
Aerial Ocean and Volcano Views with Boutique Coffee! 33 Acres $380,000. Click HERE!
8822-11/12/15

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)
Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact: manager@crbusiness.biz.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page


San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 228
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Ciudad Colon library to mark 30 years

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Conceived as a place to present lectures, foster creativity and meet people, the Public Library of Ciudad Colón will celebrate its 30th anniversary next Saturday with a full series of activities and contests for children, teenagers and adults.

The birthday party will start at 9 a.m. and run until 3 p.m. at the Library.

The Library serves 1,400 users per month, and presents 30 activities per month from classes in computers, English, Portuguese and Italian, and workshops for writers, artists, a club of lectures, among other activities.

“The Public Library of Ciudad Colon is a place to learn, read, write, train. This is a library open to the public. And all of the services offered are free of charge supported by the community,” said the director, Jenny Diaz D.

The celebration will be opened by the municipal mayor, Gilbert Monge, and then the library is scheduled to recognize Flor Zumbado Monge,  who was the first professional librarian contracted by the government and who later assumed the directorship of the institution.

Also library workers will present 25 senior citizens who participated in the writing of the “Huellas de Oro” (Footprints of Gold) recalling their memories of Canton de Mora.

At 10 a.m. the Casa de la Cultura will present a dance from its Artistic Department and the rest of the day there will be many activities  such as a painting contest, a workshop of and a contest of masks, story telling, exhibit and Sale of Crafts, a photo exhibit, an exhibit of classic and antique books and book trade-offs, face painting, food and natural drinks.   The contestants will receive awards.

The activities will close with a recital of poetry by invited local poets.



Sea Shepherd figures in whaling case

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

An affidavit provided by a Sea Shepherd captain, Peter Hammarstedt, was submitted as evidence in a contempt case against a Japanese whaling company.  The evidence has helped the court to issue a $1 million fine to the whalers.

The firm is Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd. which was in the Australian Federal Court in Sydney, Australia.

In 2008, Humane Society International successfully obtained a declaration in the federal court that the firm was breaking Australian law by killing whales in Antarctica under the guise of scientific research. The society also obtained an injunction ordering the company to stop killing whales in the Australian whale sanctuary.

Despite the injunction, the Japanese whaling fleet has continued to slaughter whales in the protected waters of the Southern Ocean, the court found.

In his statement, Hammarstedt recounted an incident that occurred during Sea Shepherd’s 2013-14 Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign, Operation Zero Tolerance.

Hammarstedt, who was captain of the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker at the time, said he witnessed the slaughter of a protected Minke whale by the Japanese whaling fleet inside the Australian whale sanctuary, 60 nautical miles from the Australian managed Davis Base.



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From Page 7:


Higher U.S. inflation may bring rate rise

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A key measure of U.S. inflation rose slightly in October, boosting the chances the central bank will raise interest rates soon.

A government report says prices gained two-tenths of 1 percent in September. Apart from energy and food, sectors with volatile price changes, U.S. consumer prices rose 1.9 percent over the past year, close to the Federal Reserve's target of 2 percent.

Experts say a modest and consistent rate of inflation allows families and companies to better plan purchases of homes and equipment, which facilitates economic growth.

Fed officials have said they want to see inflation rise a little before they boost interest rates. They are widely expected to raise the key rate in mid-December from the record low level where it has been since the financial crisis.

The idea behind lowering interest rates that reduced borrowing costs would bolster economic growth. Now that unemployment has fallen from 10 percent to 5, some economists say the emergency stimulus measure is no longer needed. They say raising the rate will give the Fed room to stimulate the economy again when the next downturn hits.

A separate report said the U.S. manufacturing sector rose a brisk four-tenths of a percent in October, after falling the prior month. Manufacturing has been hampered by slowing demand in foreign markets. The strong dollar also hurts U.S. exports, including manufactured goods, by making them more expensive and less competitive on global markets