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Published Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 229
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Heavy rains causing major damage in south Pacific
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Posted Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

Relentless rains have provoked evacuations, wrecked roadways and caused slides in the southern zone. One slide smashed into a building housing the director of the Golfito campus of the Universidad de Costa Rica and injured two persons.

Reports said that the Osa peninsula, including Puerto Jiménez, was the most affected.

The national weather institute said today, Saturday, that the heaviest accumulation of rain was in Osa, Golfito, Buenos Aires de Puntarenas and Coto Brus. Weather stations recorded 300 to 480 milliliters over three days. That is from about 12 inches to 18 inches, which represents from 60 to 80 percent of the average November rainfall in just three days, said the institute.

Up to 1.2 inches of rain were recorded in the south Pacific Saturday morning and about .8 of an inch fell on the Caribbean coast, said the Instituto Meteorological Nacional.

Some south Pacific communities had two meters of water in homes, and the residents were taking refuge in shelters.

The national emergency commission said that 1,000 homes in 79 communities were affected in some way by the rains.

The state power company said it restored electricity to 580 customers in Puerto Jiménez, Coto,  Pavones and  Zancudo but that 400

homes in Drake Bay and Alto Conte still were in the dark. The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad said its crews had been working since Wednesday morning to keep the power flowing.

Slides closed many main highways and caused boulders to roll into the right-of-way.


The Interamericana Sur sustained large cracks near Rey Curré and slides blocked the route between  Buenos Aires and Palmar Norte de Osa. Some routes were under water as rivers overflowed.

The weather emergency was the most severe of what had been a mild rainy season

The storms are attributed to a stationary low-pressure zone that has gradually moved north. By Saturday afternoon, the entire country was covered in clouds.

Heavy rains started in the Central Valley Friday night and continued through Saturday afternoon.

The weather institute said Saturday afternoon that rivers on the Caribbean coast were rising, and that at least 20 to 60 millimeters of rain, more than two inches,  still were expected in the south Pacific. The Caribbean and the northern zone were expected to see more rain later Saturday and overnight into Sunday.

The weather institute said that a cold front for the north was increasing the rainfall.

An earlier news story is HERE!


Weekend
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventude graphics
Art City Tour                            storytelling                               dramas in Spanish
Art City Turn merges with a weekend of culture
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The final Art City Tour of the season tonight merges with a three-day program at the Teatro Nacional to give a smorgasbord of culture.

Art City Tour is the one night a month when the capital’s galleries, museums and other attractions are open for free. Tonight, many of the attractions will stay open until midnight.

And in the plaza in front of the Teatro Nacional the musical group Amarillo Cian y Magenta will perform for an hour at 10:30 p.m.

The sponsor of Art City Tour, Gam Cultural, is calling the event tonight Noche en Blanco. The program is HERE! More information is HERE!

The three-day event at the Teatro Nacional, which starts tonight, is designed to showcase the creative process. The event is called the I Festival de la Imaginación. Segments of the Festival de Coreógrafos Graciela Moreno and the Concurso Nacional de Dramaturgia Inédita will be presented.

Then there are performers that stretch the imagination. For example, the group BaRock will combine Baroque with modern rock, as its name implies. Performers will use the violin, viola and cello along with the electric guitar and bass. This will be at 9 p.m. in the vestibule of the theater.

The program continues Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4:30 p.m. Unlike the Art City Tour, the Teatro Nacional is charging admission.
For Spanish speakers there are two dramatic presentations this weekend. The Compañía Nacional de Teatro presents “La Noche Árabe” tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. in the Teatro La Aduana. The performances continue next week.

The Teatro 1887 in the Centro Nacional de la Cultura on Avenida 7 is presenting at 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday “Someone like you.”

Also Sunday the Orquesta por la Vida Sinem-Hospital Nacional de Niños welcomes Christmas with a free concert at 11 a.m. in the Museo de los Niños. The performers are current and past patients in the hospital along with a 20-voice chorus made up of many parents of patients. The museum is north of Avenida 9 on Calle 4.

For really good Spanish speakers, the Fiesta Internacional de Cuenteros is in full swing at multiple locations in Alajuela. A schedule is HERE!

The fiesta runs through next Friday and features storytellers from México, Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Perú and Costa Rica.

In addition to the Teatro Nacional, Art City Tour tonight will provide free transportation to the Museo de Arte Costarricense, the Museo Nacional, the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo and the Museo Calderón Guardia.

The next edition of Art City Tour is Feb. 9.


bridge
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo
The work continues at the Río Virilla bridge between La Uruca and Heredia Centro
Bridge on the General Cañas to be closed again
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Highway officials again will close the Autopista General Cañas at the Río Virilla bridge at 10 o’clock tonight so workmen can install more steel for a third eastbound lane. The road is expected to reopen about 1 a.m., officials said.

The bridge between La Uruca and Heredia Centro was closed overnight from 10 p.m.


Thursday and was expected to reopen about 4 a.m. today. This is another bridge job with continual periodic closings. The work
overnight was moving parts of an older bridge that has been demolished. This is an  $8.6 million construction job.

On the General Cañas tonight, traffic police will be directing motorists through Heredia or onto Ruta 27, the Caldera toll road.

More closings at the bridge for construction purposes are expected but not yet announced. But the transport minstry said its Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles will be running trains all day from Alajuela to San José starting Monday. The ministry urged communters to use the train.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 229
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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


Dental
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Psychotherapy

Dr. Gray
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Insurance professionals

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Residency experts

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JAVIER ZAVALETA
RESIDENCY IN COSTA RICA
A full service immigration agency
U.S. and San José offices

There are four primary ways to apply for legal residency in Costa Rica:
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    Business/Investor (Inversionista): For those with Costa Rican business or real estate investments.
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U.S. Phone: (323) 255-6116
U.S.  Fax (323) 344-1620
Phone in Costa Rica: ( 506 ) 2226=0755  (En español )

Email:  javier@residencyincostarica.com
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 Accountants

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Licensed by the I.R.S.
 
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File your current or amended returns.

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Real estate agents and services

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Eco
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Colinas del
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Pacific coast hammered by heavy rains

 By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The national emergency commission is increasing its level of alert because of rain generated by a stationary low-pressure system stalled off the coast of Costa Rica and Panamá.

The emergency commission said it based its action on information provided by the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional.

Readers in the southern Pacific coast have said that rain there has continued for at least 36 hours non-stop and that some major highways were flooded.

The emergency commission said that there were at least 29 incidents stemming from the weather in Pavón, Golfito, Puerto Jiménez, Guaycará, Bahía Drake, Sierpe, Piedras Blancas, Corredores and Laurel. There were communities cut off by flooding, ruptures of dikes, rivers running out of their banks and slides, it said.

The emergency commission also included the Caribbean coast in the alert.

The weather institute said that the low-pressure area would continue to affect the south and central Pacific and the Caribbean coast today. Further north there is a cold front making its way south that will increase the intensity of winds and keep the humidity low. That means much of the country will not see rain, although the Central Valley will see cloudiness, it said.



Zimmerman
Brian Zimmerman photo via  Veterans Affairs Research
Brian Zimmerman served with the Army in Operation Desert Storm and participated in Gulf War studies at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

Researchers zero in on Gulf War illness

By the U.S. Veterans Affairs Research Communications news staff

Twenty-five years ago, Brian Zimmerman was a strong 6-foot-1 inch, 185-pound Army infantryman in prime physical condition fighting Iraqi forces in Operation Desert Storm.

He witnessed charred Iraqi bodies on the Highway of Death, including a dead child, took part in a tank battle, and was close to an Iraqi ammunition depot called Khamisiyah that upon detonation is believed to have released nerve agents such as sarin and cyclosarin in the direction of U.S. troops.

Today, Zimmerman, 45, is still entrenched in a battle, but one worlds apart from his military days. He's one of the estimated 300,000 Veterans with Gulf War illness, which affects various organs, most notably the brain. He experiences symptoms common with that disorder: fatigue, rashes, serious body aches and joint swelling, gastrointestinal problems, memory loss, depression, anxiety, and chronic headaches.

He says his body is deteriorating, and that everyday tasks like getting out of bed can be a struggle.

"I get joint pain that's astronomical, to the point where there's nothing that makes it go away," says Zimmerman, who also has post traumatic stress disorder. "My hands are getting disfigured from the swelling that goes on. It's like my knuckles are exploding. Three other members from my squad have identical symptoms in their hands. Our hands will just blow up, and your shoulders, your neck, your hips. You get in such extreme pain, there's no getting rid of it. It's almost like you're burning up from the inside."

At the same time, Zimmerman believes there's a ray of hope due to the extensive research at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System on Gulf War illness. In one endeavor, scientists there are pursuing the theory that his illness stems from abnormal immune responses that lead to neurological-cognitive-mood, pain, and fatigue symptoms.

Three Veterans Affairs-funded studies led by Apostolos Georgopoulos, head of the Brain Sciences Center in Minneapolis, identified brain mechanisms and other areas involved in Gulf War illness and found that certain forms of genes offer protection. A lack of those alleles has made Veterans vulnerable to developing Gulf War illness symptoms. The Minneapolis team further discovered how this protection is manifested in the brain.

The findings could pave the way for immunotherapy for Vets with Gulf War illness, or treating symptoms by providing the missing immune protection, says Brian Engdahl, a psychologist with the Brain Sciences Center who took part in all three studies.

Gulf War Veterans including Zimmerman participated in the studies, published in the past year in EbioMedicine, part of the British Journal Lancet. The first one, which included 66 Vets with  Gulf War illness and 16 without, found differences in gene type, based on blood tests, that distinguished these two groups with 84 percent accuracy. Veterans with Gulf War illness, in other words, had genetic susceptibility to developing their symptoms.

In a follow-up study, published in October, the scientists documented sharp differences in brain function between healthy and ill Gulf War veterans in the cerebellum and frontal cortex.

Forty Vets with Gulf War illness and 46 without underwent a brain imaging scan. It found, with 94 percent accuracy, distinctions between the two groups in communication within the brain.

The third study, also published in October, combines the genetic risk factors and the brain miscommunication patterns to explain Gulf War symptoms.

The Minneapolis researchers said they believe larger groups are needed to better validate the findings from all three studies, and they hope the work will lead to clinical treatments.




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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 229
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Trash bin

Fuerza Pública officers in Alajuela Centro demolished a shack put up by drug users in a lot. The structure was of plastic and cardboard.

Usually such retreats used by drug dealers and users are more solid. They are called bunkers.

With the ending of the rainy season, the drug abusers and vagrants are moving to more outdoor locations.


cleanup
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo


Solis says dry canal projects must respect protected lands of the country
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The president said Thursday that the construction of a so-called dry canal across northern Costa Rica is a strategic necessity that Costa Rica has to decide on in the coming years.

But he said in a statement that any project will have to comply with all the legal requirements and undergo scrutiny by citizens and experts.

Two consortiums have proposed a rail route across the country from Limón to a point on the Pacific coast. The idea is that container ships could unload on one side of the country and the cargo could be placed on a second ship on the other side.

The cost would be less than if the ship sailed through the Panamá Canal, according to the projections. And the dry canal

 could accommodate ships bigger than can fit through even the new lane of the Panamá Canal.

One firm already put an incredible $18 billion price tag on the project. The plan calls for a major highway and twin rail lines from coast to coast.

President Luis Guillermo Solís said that any developer would have to keep in mind environmental concerns so that no damage would be done to national parks or other protected areas.

He said that he reminded the Consejo Nacional de Concesiones of this fact.

The developers seem to be opting for a concession so that they can use the power of the government to condemn land for right-of-way.


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Genetic modifications help plants use more sunlight, study says
By the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
news staff

Plant biologists have bumped up crop productivity by increasing the expression of genes that result in more efficient use of light in photosynthesis, a finding that could be used to help address the world’s future food needs.

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois targeted three genes involved in a process plants use to protect themselves from damage when they get more light than they can safely use. By increasing the expression of those genes, the scientists saw increases of 14 to 20 percent in the productivity of modified tobacco plants in field experiments.

The researchers described their findings in a paper published in the journal Science.

“Tobacco was used as the model crop plant in this study because it is easy to work with, but we’re working to make the same modifications in rice and other food crops,” said co-senior author Krishna Niyogi, a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Division of Molecular Biophysics and Integrative Bioimaging. “The molecular processes we’re modifying are fundamental to plants that carry out photosynthesis, so we hope to see a similar increase in yield in other crops.”

Niyogi teamed up with Stephen Long, a plant biology and crop sciences professor at the University of Illinois, for the study.

In photosynthesis, plants use the energy in sunlight to take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into biomass, which is used for food, fuel, and fiber. When there is too much sunlight, the photosynthetic machinery in chloroplasts can be damaged, so plants need photoprotection. Inside chloroplasts, plants have a system called NPQ, or nonphotochemical quenching, for this purpose.

Niyogi compared NPQ to a pressure relief valve in a steam engine.

“When there is too much sunlight, it’s like pressure building up,” said Niyogi. “NPQ turns on and gets rid of the excess

energy safely. In the shade, the pressure in the engine decreases. NPQ turns off, but not quickly enough. It’s like having a leak in the system with the valve left open. The photosynthetic engine can’t work as efficiently.”

The highly variable levels of light plants receive, particularly in densely planted crop fields, presents a challenge to the efficient use of solar energy. Plants must adapt to intermittent shading from leaves that are higher in the canopy, or from passing clouds.

Niyogi and his postdoctoral research associates figured out a way to speed up recovery from photoprotection and demonstrated a proof of this concept in the laboratory. They used a new method to rapidly test gene expression in tobacco leaves. By boosting the expression of three genes involved in NPQ, they showed that NPQ turned off more quickly, and the efficiency of photosynthesis in the shade was higher.

Half of crop photosynthesis occurs in the shade, so any improvement in speeding up recovery from photoprotection could have a big benefit, the researchers said.

Illinois postdoctoral researchers Johannes Kromdijk and Katarzyna Glowacka took the trio of genes studied at Berkeley and put them into tobacco plants for further testing in greenhouse and field experiments.

The work to boost crop productivity comes as concerns about food shortages rise with the world’s population. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that food production will need to nearly double by 2050 to meet increasing demand. Yields of the world’s major staple crops have not been increasing fast enough to meet this projected need.

“My attitude is that it is very important to have these new technologies on the shelf now because it can take 20 years before such inventions can reach farmer’s fields,” said Long. “If we don’t do it now, we won’t have this solution when we need it.”

Any new technology licensed from this work will be made freely available to farmers in poor countries in Africa and South Asia, Berkeley Labs said.


Vacation, travel and hospitality


HIdden Garden graphic
Put Costa Rica on your walls
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Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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International shipping available.
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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

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Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!
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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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Looking for easy booking process for a smooth Costa Rica trip?   We customize wonderful trips to Costa Rica.  We offer you our wealth of knowledge for a great experience . . . a trip of a lifetime!!!

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* GROUP TOURS. Whether for a church group, couple of friends, Scout troop or a family group. We provide excellent quality service in your Group Tours. Click HERE!

* EDUCATIONAL TOURS. Tours for universities to schools to elementary schools. We have professionals to help you discover the secrets of Costa Rica in a fun way. Costa Rica Educational Tours. Click HERE!

* GUIDED TOURS. General holiday planning giving you the best value for your investment Costa Rica vacation Packages. Click HERE!

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Web:  www.travelinparadisecr.com
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Want to live in Costa Rica?
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Howard
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Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
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   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
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Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom



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Real estate-related services (paid category)
COSTA RICA SOLAR
Solr Costa Rica
NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!

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

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

    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
    SEE our new PACKAGE DEALS.
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CALL TODAY!
Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398
OUR EMAIL:
 andrefurlong@gmail.com
Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
VISIT OUR WEB:
www.crsolar.net 
9027-12/17/16

Real estate rentals (paid category)

Tropical Homes

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442
9055-2/23/17

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
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Real estate for rent (paid category)

Edificio Morazan
Fully furnished, American style apartments for rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amón. Cable, internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,  hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry.   Rate  $650 per month plus electricity. 1/2 month security deposit. No lease.  Larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be the best for the prospective tenants to visit the building to see the apartment.  For more information contact  edificiomorazan@gmail.com
Or call Hilda at 506-2221-7161.
9094-11/26/16




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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 229
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Lifestyle
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Axiom new ad

Climate confab participants
reaffirm their goal from Paris


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services
 
Nearly 200 nations are calling on the world to make the highest political commitment to fight climate change after U.S. president-elect Donald Trump threatened to toss out the Paris Agreement.

"Our climate is warming at an alarming and unprecedented rate, and we have an urgent duty to respond," delegates meeting at a U.N. climate conference in Marrakech, Morocco, said Thursday.

They called the move away from carbon-emitting fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources irreversible, according to a statement. "It is being driven not only by governments, but by science, business, and global action of all types at all levels."

The delegates stood up and cheered, holding their hands above their heads in a gesture of victory after the statement was read.

The Marrakech talks were aimed at setting out a timetable for carrying out the Paris climate change agreement. The deal signed in April aims to cut carbon emissions and limit the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius over the Industrial Revolution levels of the 19th century.

But success of the deal hinges on the cooperation and contributions of some of the world's biggest polluters and consumers of fossil fuels, including the United States.

Trump's longtime insistence that global warming is a Chinese-created hoax has many world leaders worried he will carry out his threat to pull out of the Paris deal.

"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," Trump first tweeted in 2012.

He has also championed more gas and oil exploration, and promised to revive the moribund U.S. coal industry.

Neither Trump nor anyone from his transition team have talked publicly about global warming since his election.

But China's Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said in Morocco that former U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush began talks on global warming more than 30 years ago and China was not part of those early meetings. He said it is impossible the Chinese invented the concept.

If you look at the history of climate change negotiations, actually it was initiated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change with the support of the Republicans during the Reagan and senior Bush administration during the late 1980s, Liu said.

Between 2012 and 2014, Trump tweeted several more times with some variation on the idea that climate change is a hoax. He often said cold weather as a reason why he doesn't believe in the concept.

"The weather has been so cold for so long that the global warming HOAXSTERS were forced to change the name to climate change to keep $ flow!" Trump tweeted in 2014.

Trump has since denied making the claims.

During the first presidential debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton, Clinton said: "Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it's real. I think science is real."

To which Trump responded, "I did not, I did not. I do not say that."

Meanwhile, U.S. government experts said Thursday that 2016 is on track to be the hottest year in recorded history, with a global temperature so far nearly 1 degree C above normal.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said this October was the third-hottest October on record.


U.S. intelligence director says
he will leave office in January


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The top U.S. intelligence official will not stay on to work with President-elect Donald Trump, telling lawmakers he has already submitted his resignation.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper surprised some onlookers by making his departure official at the start of a U.S. congressional intelligence committee hearing Thursday.

"I submitted my letter of resignation last night, which felt pretty good," Clapper told lawmakers.

"I've got 64 days left, and I think I'd have a hard time with my wife with anything past that," he added.

The announcement immediately led to speculation that Clapper may have been trying to send a message to the incoming Trump administration. But a spokesperson quickly tried to downplay such concerns.

"DNI Clapper signed his letter as required by all appointed administration officials but is finishing out his term," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added, for emphasis, that Clapper's resignation would become effective at noon on Jan. 20, 2017, the same day President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

Clapper has long hinted he would be stepping down at the end of the Obama administration.

He often would begin any remarks with a count of how many days he had left on the job. And during an intelligence forum in September, he joked, "About the only thing we'll be rolling out the door in the next four months is me."

Clapper's announcement that he would be stepping down as the nation's spy-master came as little surprise to those in contact with the Trump transition team.

Some suggested that, after six years, the time had come for a change and it would be good to infuse the office with some new energy.

There also appears to be some hard feelings between those on the transition team who are supporters of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency who has been advising Trump on national security.

A senior Trump official said Flynn had been offered the job of national security adviser, but a formal announcement has not yet been made.

Flynn retired from the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014. The Washington Post reported that his departure came a year earlier than expected, and he may have been forced out after clashing with Clapper.

Clapper has served as the director of national intelligence since August 2010. He began his career at the U.S. Air Force and has served the U.S. for more than six decades.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, said that Clapper "always exhibited sober judgment and put the fate of the nation first."

Despite such praise, Clapper's tenure as the top U.S. intelligence official has not been without controversy.

He was criticized for testimony he gave to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in March 2013. In response to a question, he said the U.S. had not wittingly collected data on millions of U.S. citizens. Several months later, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked evidence showing the U.S. had indeed collected bulk data on private citizens.

More recently, the U.S. Intelligence Community, under the direction of Clapper, took the rare step of issuing a statement blaming Russia for directing the email hacks of several Americans and U.S. organizations, including the Democratic Party.

Trump openly challenged that assertion in the weeks leading up to the election.


Senate Republicans reject plan
to limit filibusters in debates

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Senate Republicans are eager to flex their party's newfound political muscle next year, but say they have no plans to weaken rules enabling Democrats to block major legislation and, potentially, any Supreme Court nomination put forth by soon-to-be President Donald Trump.

Whether Republicans adhere to their promise of restraint will determine the fate of the filibuster, which checks the power of the majority by making some degree of minority support necessary for most bills to pass the Senate and for high court nominees to be confirmed.

For now, Republicans are defending the filibuster as they plan a busy legislative agenda for the first 100 days of the Trump administration, an agenda they know will prompt fierce Democratic resistance on some items.

"We have not changed the rules in the Senate, should not change the rules in the Senate," Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina said. "There's a reason why we're a distinct institution."

"I would not like to turn this Senate into the House any more than we have done," said South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, referring to the fact that, in the House of Representatives, all legislation is passed by simple majority votes.

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said the filibuster "is what makes the Senate the Senate. And I know a number of my colleagues feel the same way."

The filibuster requires at least 60 of the Senate's 100 members to vote affirmatively for the chamber to take up a bill or nomination, and similar three-fifths backing to end debate and hold a final vote. It can be sidestepped if senators grant unanimous consent to advance a bill, or if a party has at least a 60-vote majority in the chamber, a rarity in modern times.

Senators of both parties have long understood the filibuster's importance in America's system of checks and balances on political power.

In 2012, then-minority leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, described the filibuster as "the last legislative check against the kind of raw exercise of power majority parties always have been tempted to wield."

Filibusters were never used more than 10 times a year prior to the 1970s. They regularly have exceeded 100 per year during the Obama administration, sometimes to block legislation with significant public support, like stiffer gun laws, but most often to block presidential nominations of judges and members of his administration.

In 2013, frustrated by persistent Republican filibustering of Obama's nominees, then-majority Democrats changed Senate rules so that only Supreme Court nominations could be blocked. Republicans were outraged.

John Cornyn of Texas warned of setting "a new precedent in the Senate — one that says it's permissible to break the rules of the Senate at any point to get your own way if the majority has the gumption to do it."

Democrats made a similar point years earlier, when then-majority Republicans threatened to rein in the filibuster during the George W. Bush administration.

The fury could be fiercest when Trump makes a Supreme Court nomination to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February. The filibuster remains in order for high court picks, and Democrats continue to seethe over the Republicans' refusal to consider Obama's choice, Judge Merrick Garland.

"They stole that Supreme Court seat," Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown said. "They owe an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland. To me, it's first about that."

Brown and other Democrats refuse to say whether they intend to retaliate against Trump's eventual pick for the high court vacancy. Republicans who fiercely defend the filibuster, however, say all bets are off if Democrats block a qualified nominee next year.


Twitter chief says he’s sorry
about running White Power ad


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey apologized Thursday after the microblogging service let through an ad promoting a white supremacist group.

“We made a mistake here and we apologize. Our automated system allowed an ad promoting hate. Against our policy. We did a retro and fixed," Dorsey tweeted.

The ad promoted an article titled "The United States Was Founded as a White People's Republic." It showed eight white children in a field.

It was tweeted from an account with the handle "@NEW_ORDER_1488."

Twitter has suspended several accounts linked to the alt-right movement, USA Today reported Wednesday.

The company, which has also been under criticism for not doing enough to thwart cyberbullying, said Tuesday that it would upgrade some features to curb abusive behavior.

Twitter's advertising policy prevents advertisers from promoting certain sensitive topics, including hate speech or discrimination against race, ethnicity, color, religion or sexual orientation.


Labor activists say China
in home to toy sweat shops


 By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

“The world of toys is a heaven for children, but may be a world of misery for toy factory workers.”

That's how a team of researchers from New York-based China Labor Watch summarized findings of a recently released report that outlines working conditions at four toy factories in China's Guangdong Province.

Faced with long shifts and monthly wages of about $300 for 174 hours of work, the Chinese laborers, investigators say, assemble popular brand name products such as Barbie, Thomas the Tank Engine, Hot Wheels and other toys for Mattel, Hasbro, Disney, McDonald's, Wal-Mart and other American companies, often in dangerous working conditions and without workplace training.

“We found that the average working hours in these four factories are 11 hours a day, with more than 50 overtime hours a month, and at half of the factories, overtime hours had reached 100 hours, with the highest at above 130 hours,” the report said, based on accounts of investigators who worked undercover on assembly lines in what the report called relatively well managed factories.

According to Chinese labor law, laborers may not work more than 8 hours a day, although hours may be extended under certain circumstances with provisions for the workers' physical well-being.

“During the 11 hours that workers put in within a day, all they had was a 40- to 60-minutes lunch break,” it said. “This is an obvious violation of the right of workers to have adequate rest.”

Toy factory managers described in the report routinely asked workers to sign voluntary overtime agreements, which allowed the factory to violate labor laws and regulations with relative impunity.

However, the vast majority of workers request overtime in order to supplement their basic earnings.

Although Chinese laws require foreign-invested enterprises to pay social security for workers, the Watch report said just one of the factories followed the provisions strictly.

The report accused the four factories of negligence in pre-job safety training, and for failure to provide workers with masks, gloves and other safety products.

In the packaging plant of Mattel's Chang'an manufacturing facility, a commonly used toxic solvent, thought to be isoamyl acetate because of its distinctive bananalike odor, was distributed in unlabeled plastic drinking bottles. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says isoamyl acetate is considered dangerous to life after five hours of exposure at certain concentration levels.

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    More Flexible, Reliable-and Fully Guaranteed!

    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
    SEE our new PACKAGE DEALS.
Solar logo
CALL TODAY!
Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398
OUR EMAIL:
 andrefurlong@gmail.com
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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


Sotheby logo

Costa Rica Sotheby's International Realty is a boutique residential property brokerage firm in San Jose Costa Rica dedicated to creating long-term value for its customers and assist you to reach your property goals in Costa Rica. Whether purchasing or selling, our guarantee is an amazing experience for you and your family. You can rely on bespoke advertising and discretion, independent guidance interchangeable with the brand of the Sotheby since 1744. To those who value the exceptional, Sotheby's International Realty® is identifying properties throughout Costa Rica and local Real Estate service providers that offer unrivaled access to qualified individuals. We encourage you to meet with our representatives and preview our on-line portfolio of outstanding properties in Costa Rica.
Click the link to find the finest Costa Rica Real Estate (www.sircostarica.com)

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Phone: 506.8343.2662
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If you are looking for information on condos, homes, lots, commercial real estate or development properties our award-winning team of professional agents are ready to help you buying property in Costa Rica. We have over 18 years of experience to educate our buyers in all aspects of purchasing property. Call us or email us today for more information on how to purchase that perfect piece of Costa Rica Real Estate.

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Rich Coast
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REDUCED by $30k! Three-bedroom furnished house in gated beach community, walk to the beach, $235k.
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Real estate for sale (paid category)


Ocean view
                                  rollover

Vote San Ramon, New Construction, and Ocean View
Possible Owner Financing on this brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 bath all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is late November.  See the Virtual Tour:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R03ImsxN0wc   
or click here www.whynotcostarica.com If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at
8755-6743 or if calling from the States call 509-570-1928
or email tim@whynotcostarica.com
9098-12/1/16

San Rmon
                                  rollover
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!
9110-3/6/16

New graphic
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. Up to 40% financing / get residency through investor status / includes a corporation that is 27 years old and offshore banking account with  Banco National / possible 50/50 partnership. Super location in front of the Bosques de Escazú  Condos  / Monthly rentals available
www.hotel4salecostarica.com
www.hotelsescazu.com
hotelescazu@aol.com
Call for more info:
Free US phone 877-778-8515  or 410-975-6703
In Costa Rica 506- 8307-0164
Bruce Cohen

Penthouse
                                  rollover
Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to www.ThePenthouseCostaRica.com  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email crstratton@ymail.com
9017-12/1/16

horse ranch
                                  rollover
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need.  More information
go to www.ranchforsalecostarica.com  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:  darin_ricco@hotmail.com

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Some of our other titles:
A.M. Panama
A.M. Colombia
A.M. Guatemala
A.M. Honduras
A.M. Cuba
A.M. Nicaragua
A.M. Venezuela
A.M. Central America
A.M.
Dominican Republic

A.M. Ecuador A.M. El Salvador
A.M. Bolivia

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A.M.
Costa
Rica
sixth
news page


San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 229
Calendar
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Colombia to get more help clearing mines

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States is doubling down on aid programs for de-mining efforts in Colombia, a country that has the second most unexploded ordnance next to Afghanistan since 1990, as its government is making peace with the largest guerrilla rebel group after a decades-long conflict.

According to the latest "To Walk the Earth in Safety" report, which chronicles the U.S. government's efforts to rid the world of land mines, the U.S. has provided more than $2.6 billion in assistance in more than 95 countries for conventional weapons destruction programs.

Among the most notable of global de-mining initiatives is in Colombia, where the government reached a peace deal with the Marxist Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias rebel group in September. The deal was rejected in a plebiscite last month, but the two sides agreed upon a revised deal last weekend.

Washington has pledged an additional $46 million since September to support efforts to rid Colombia of land mines. That amount is more than what had been invested over the past five years.

From 2001 through 2015, the U.S. invested more than $43.2 million to support conventional weapons destruction in Colombia, including clearance, risk education and survivor assistance programs.

But critics said Washington could do more to clean up land mines, cluster munitions and other highly explosive ordnance in many countries where its military inflicted damage.

While the United States' contribution to clearing minefields is world-leading and very valuable, said Jeff Abramson from Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, the pace of mine clearance is not sufficient to meet the global goal of a mine-free world by 2025, a goal declared by the Mine Ban Treaty members.

The U.S. is not a state party of the Mine Ban Treaty but has been participating as an observer in meetings for years.

A senior U.S. official said Thursday that Washington would attend the 15th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty in Santiago, Chile, from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1. The meeting is set to reaffirm commitment for completion of mine clearance and other treaty obligations by 2025.


California parental kidnapper sentenced

Special to A.M. Costa Rica
 
A Los Angeles-area woman who brought her two children to Mexico to keep them from their father was sentenced Thursday to 13 months in prison in a federal kidnapping case.

The woman, Faye Hsin-I Ku, 42, of Lakewood, was sentenced by U. S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt.

Ms. Ku pleaded guilty in September to two counts of international parental kidnapping.

When she pleaded guilty, Ms. Ku admitted that on Aug. 29, 2015, she took her two children who were 15 and 9 at the time into Mexico through the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

After bringing the children to Mexico, Ku brought the children to Sinaloa. The FBI’s legal attaché in Mexico City pursued a series of leads to identify their location and passed information to Mexican officials, who took action. The children were reunited with their father on Feb. 12.

“This defendant sought to deprive her children’s father of his court-sanctioned parental rights by fleeing the United States,” said U. S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “She abducted her children, abused their emotional attachment to her, brought them to a dangerous part of Mexico and had a destructive impact on the entire family.”

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From Page 7:


trade agreement
Ministerio de Comercio Exterior photo
Country representatives display signed copies of the agreement.

Costa Rica reaches trade pact with South Korea

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Cámara de Comercio de Costa Rica is applauding the free trade treaty with South Korea. Both countries have signed the document Thursday after months of negotiations. The agreement is complex because all the countries of Central America are parties.

The signing was in Managua, Nicaragua.

The chamber noted that trade with Korea has increased 123 percent over the last 10 years and that the country is the largest Asian economy after China and Japan. South Korea has a population of 50.6 million.

Trade between both countries was up 12.6 percent in 2015 at $442 million, the chamber said.

The treaty needs approval by the legislature in Costa Rica. There does not seem to be any organized resistance to the agreement. South Korea, of course, is a source of electronics gear and machinery, and Costa Rica’s agricultural producers see it as a growing market.