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Published Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 231
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Country prepares for the arrival of a hurricane

Animal protection bill gets initial legislative approval
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

After five years of controversy, lawmakers Monday gave initial approval to a bill to protect animals. The action came after some of the penalties were modified.

The measure, No. 18298, even faced potential challenges of unconstitutionality.

The revised legislation specifies from three months to a year in prison for cruelty to animals and three months to two years for causing a death unjustifiably.

In addition, fines would be authorized for mistreatment of an animal.

The measure seems enough to please animal lovers, who have protested regularly at the

legislature. But judges usually do not confine persons unless the sentence is for three years or more. Those with lesser sentences receive conditional freedom.

The exact text of the bill approved Monday was not available, but previous drafts exempted farms and livestock producers from the law.

The bill also says that cock fights are illegal, but they have been treated that way in the past. Still there are such fights all over the country every weekend. They are a rural tradition.

There was concern that the proposed law would criminalize the Costa Rican bull baiting that takes place at many fairs and festivals. That activity, too, was exempted in drafts. The activity is very lucrative for organizers and cattle ranchers who produce fighting bulls.

A typical beach cleanup produces large quantities of discarded bottles and other types of plastics. This is a file photo of a cleanup on a beach at the  Río Grande de Tarcoles.
Asociación Terra Nostra file photo

Ministries are moving against one-time use of plastic
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There have been efforts to ban single-use plastics since at least 1999 without legislative results. So now the health and environmental ministries are trying to win public cooperation.

The goal is to eliminate the one-time use of plastics. Consequently, plastic items such as bags, straws, fast-food forks, knives and spoons and similar may be on the way out.

The ministries have brought the concept to workshops to gauge the reaction of retailers and municipal officials who use such items. The Cámara Nacional De Comerciantes Detallistas y Afines is supporting the proposal.

The ministry officials said they plan to put the project into effect in the coming months. Fernando Mora, an environmental vice minister, called for the proposals to be implemented more quickly as one-time plastics often wind up in the rivers and oceans.

The ministry workers are expected to include some of the ideas expressed at the workshop in the plan.

According to the U.N. Environmental Programme, plastic waste is not ranked as a high priority for Costa Rica.

The agency also noted that there are no formal regulations on plastic waste despite a growing market for recycled plastics that has led to an establishment of an informal recycling system.

The agency urged the eventual formalization in the currently informal recycling programs.

The proposal itself consists of concepts and recommendations of the national recycling plan, while looking for any alternatives in the use of these one-time plastics.

Lawmakers saw a bill that addressed the use of plastic in 1999, and a committee rejected the plan in 2005. There are other measures pending.

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Big payday coming for public workers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Santa is coming early for public employees. The finance ministry said Monday that central government employees will share 195 billion colons in aguinaldo payments.

The annual Christmas bonus is mandated by law. The mathematics shows that the average central government payment will be about $1,710, enough for a gift-buying spree.

The aguinaldo or Christmas bonus is supposed to be a twelfth of the money earned in the previous 12 months. It generally is considered a 13th month's pay.

Private employers are obligated to pay workers the same bonus, and the Fuerza Pública is beefing up patrols in the capital to safeguard shoppers. The bad news for crooks is that more and more shoppers are using plastic, and the government is making electronic deposits.

About 44.5 percent of the payments will go to those in education, said the Ministerio de Hacienda.

The Ministerio de Trabajo is gearing up for complaints from employees who do not receive their payment by the middle of December.

The finance ministry also noted that there are no deductions for aguinaldos.

Vacation mosquito campaign launched

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Ministerio de Salud along with the Ministerio de Educación, the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization launched a campaign to raise the awareness of the health risks of mosquitoes as transmitters of dangerous diseases.

The campaign called “Little Creatures, Great Threats” was presented Monday as a part of the wider action week against the mosquitoes initiative being carried out in other Latin American nations from El Salvador to Perú.

This initiative is being run through Friday in recognition of the end of the school year as well as the commencement of the holiday season.

As people take trips to the beach, the rivers, and other recreation sites that could also be the location of mosquito breeding grounds, the organizers of the campaign wanted to remind people of properly maintaining and cleaning their houses, courtyards and other surroundings of breeding sites.

As expats and visitors know, mosquitoes transmit diseases such as dengue, zika, and chikungunya. All can cause seriously damaging and long-lasting complications to people’s health despite an alarmingly widespread public perception that the diseases are only temporary, said campaign organizers.

"The day to act is today. There is no better time. Help us to eliminate the breeding sites of the mosquito transmitter," said the minister of health, Fernando Llorca Castro at the Biblioteca of the Liceo Luis Dobles Segreda in San José where the event took place.

The campaign launched in Costa Rica was particularly aimed towards young people. Most of the materials produced for the event were especially made to share on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp. Organizers also said they considered that young people could be especially helpful in communicating the message to friends and family as much as the wider community.

Finding police officers is not easy

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The security ministry said that of 570 persons who have been offered interviews as potential police officers, only 240 showed up for a psychological evaluation.  And many of them did not bring the required paperwork, such as a school diploma.

The ministry said that it appears many of the applicants do not check their emails or did not remember electronic passwords.

The ministry is seeking to hire 1,000 new police officers, and recruitment officials urged potential candidates to keep track of their electronic messages.

U.S. national soccer team coach sacked

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Soccer has fired men's head coach and technical director Jurgen Klinsmann, one week after back-to-back losses to México and Costa Rica to begin the final round of regional qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

“We want to thank Jurgen for his hard work and commitment during these last five years,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a news release announcing the decision. “He took pride in having the responsibility of steering the program, and there were considerable achievements along the way. . . . While we remain confident that we have quality players to help us advance to Russia 2018, the form and growth of the team up to this point left us convinced that we need to go in a different direction.”

Recent results no doubt played a part in Klinsmann's dismissal, which critics had been urging.

Klinsmann guided the U.S. team to the round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and was given a contract through the 2018 World Cup. But the defending champion Americans lost to Jamaica, then to Panamá to finish fourth at the 2015 Gold Cup, and later that year lost at home to rival México for the first time in five years in a match to determine a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup.

The U.S. men lost again to visiting México on Nov. 11 in World Cup qualifying, and then were embarrassed against host Costa Rica four days later, 4-0, leaving them in last place after two matches in the six-team group that also includes Honduras, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Klinsmann denied his players gave up during the Costa Rica game.

"There was nobody giving up at that time," Klinsmann told The New York Times on Sunday. "That was a normal emotional situation when things go wrong. When they get the second goal there, it was like a knock in your neck."

He said he understands the criticism, but is not afraid of losing his job and is confident the team will get enough points in the eight remaining matches to qualify for the next World Cup.

“The fact is, we lost two games. There is a lot of talk from people who don't understand soccer or the team,” he said.

Our reader's opinion
Reader says thanks for medical help

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Last week I was sitting in a San José coffee shop. I experienced a stroke. The restaurant staff notified the Red Cross. An ambulance rushed me to the hospital. When I was discharged from the hospital my money and personal belongings were returned to me.

Most important the staff at Hospital Calderón probably saved my life. I do not know your names but from the bottom of my heart, God Bless you and thank you. You are wonderful people.

Robert Trzcinski
Bario Amón, San José

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 231
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Police brave flooded streets while Guardacostas pick up individual stranded by high water
Country prepares for the possiblity of an unusual hurricane landfall
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country has taken a heavy, late rainy season hit with more than 1,000 homes affected in some way, but the worst may be yet to come. That low-pressure system in the Caribbean has turned into a tropical storm with a high probability of becoming a hurricane by tonight. And the expected track of the storm goes right through northern Costa Rica.

Typically, hurricanes do not make landfall here. They tend to swerve to the north. But now a cold front from the north is amplifying the low-pressure area and also causing it to move in erratically. The storm actually was moving slightly to the south Monday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.

The storm is about 440 kilometers or 275 miles off the coast of the province of Limón. The hurricane center said early today that little movement was expected overnight but that the storm would begin to move to the west today.

Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph (95 kmh) with higher gusts, it said, adding that strengthening is expected during the next 48 hours, and Otto is forecast to become a hurricane later today or tonight.

Otto is a small tropical cyclone, the center said.  Tropical-storm-force winds only extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center, it added.

The government moved Monday to take precautions. Residents in lower areas of Limón province were urged to evacuation. The Ministerio de Educación Pública closed 107 schools in the province for today.

The effects from the storm as it makes landfall or brushes this country are expected to be felt the most in the northern zone and in the south Pacific coast. These are two areas still assessing damage from heavy rains.

The national emergency commission upgraded its alert to yellow and said the population must prepare for flooding and landslides.

swtorm map
National Hurricane Center graphic
Map shows the expected track of Otto.

The emergency commission said that so far the effects have been concentrated in the south Pacific but that there were 237 storm-related incidents already reported in northern Limón and Heredia provinces. These included flooding by rivers, slides, strong winds and similar.

Some communities are cut off, and even the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas have been brought in with small boats to ferry persons to shelter.

There were 370 persons in shelters at midday Monday and 18 in the central Valley. The commission said 1,183 homes have suffered some type of storm problem.

The hurricane center gave this assessment:

Outer rain bands from Otto are expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 3 to 6 inches over San Andres and Providencia Islands, and portions of central and western Panamá and southeastern Costa Rica through Wednesday, with isolated totals upwards of 10 to 15 inches across the higher terrain of Central America.  These rains could result in life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.  Additional heavy rainfall may move into portions of Costa Rica Wednesday night into Thursday as the system approaches the coast.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 231
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Studies of ancient coral show that some species can survive changes
By the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute news staff

Half of all coral species in the Caribbean went extinct between 1 and 2 million years ago, probably due to drastic environmental changes. Which ones survived? Scientists working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute think one group of survivors, corals in the genus Orbicella, will continue to adapt to future climate changes because of their high genetic diversity.

“Having a lot of genetic variants is like buying a lot of lottery tickets,” said Carlos Prada, lead author of the study and a post-doctoral Fellow at the research institute. “We discovered that even small numbers of individuals in three different species of the reef-building coral genus Orbicella have quite a bit of genetic variation, and therefore, are likely to adapt to big changes in their environment.”

“The implications of these findings go beyond basic science,” said Monica Medina, an institute research and associate professor at Pennsylvania State University. “We can look forward to using similar approaches to predict demographic models to better manage the climate change-threatened Orbicella reefs of today.”

To look back in time, the team of researchers working at the Smithsonian’s Bocas del Toro Research Station and Naos Molecular and Marine Laboratories collected fossils from ancient coral reefs and used high-resolution geologic dating methods to determine their ages. They compared the numbers of fossilized coral species at different time points. One of the best-represented groups in the fossil collections were species in the genus Orbicella. In addition to the fossil collections, they also used whole genome sequencing to estimate current and past numbers of several Orbicella species.

Within a single individual there are two copies of their genetic material, and in some instances, one copy is different than the other and is called a genetic variant. The authors first assembled the full genomic sequence of an individual from Florida and then, using it as an anchor, reconstructed the genetic variation contained within single individuals. Depending on the amount of the genetic variation at certain intervals across the genome, the authors were able to recover the population sizes of each species at different times in the past.

Between 3.5 to 2.5 million years ago, numbers of all coral species increased in the Caribbean. But from 2 to 1.5 million years ago, a time when glaciers moved down to cover much of the northern hemisphere and sea surface temperatures plunged, the number of coral species in the Caribbean also took a nosedive. Sea levels fell, eliminating much of the original shallow, near-shore habitat.

Public domain photo via Wikipedia
Orbicella annularis off Florida, one of the three surviving species

“Apart from the species that exist today, all species of Orbicella that survived until 2 million years ago suddenly went extinct,” write the authors. When huge numbers of species die out, it makes room for other species to move in and for new species to develop to occupy the space the others held.

Two species that grow best in shallow water doubled in number at about the same time that their sister species and competitor, the organ pipe Orbicella disappeared.

When a species declines during an extinction event, it loses more and more genetic variation and sometimes does not have much to work with during the recovery period. Scientists call this a genetic bottleneck. Orbicella was able to recover after the bottleneck.

“It’s incredible how predictions from genetic data correlated so well with observations from the fossil and environmental record,” said Michael DeGiorgio, assistant professor of biology at Pennsylvania State University.

“We see hope in our results that Orbicella species survived a dramatic environmental variation event,” said Prada. “It is likely that surviving such difficult times made these coral populations more robust and able to persist under future climatic change.”

“The in-depth analysis of population size in a now ESA-threatened coral, as well as the release of its genome and that of its close relatives would be of great interest to coral reef researchers addressing conservation issues,” said Nancy Knowlton, senior scientist emeritus at the institute and currently at the National Museum of Natural History.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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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.

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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:

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
Or call Hilda at 506-2221-7161.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 231
Real Estate
About us

Axiom new ad

Critics are not very happy
with Trump's plan on assets

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Weeks before president-elect Donald Trump even takes office, critics are warning that his vast financial interests threaten to embroil him in conflicts of interest that could cast doubt on the motives for his decisions and have the potential to undermine his presidency.

The real estate billionaire, soon to be the wealthiest U.S. president ever, is not required by law to divest his financial holdings and has shown no interest in doing so. But numerous past U.S. presidents have done just that, while others, none of them as wealthy as Trump, have placed their holdings in blind trusts while they were in the White House.

The 70-year-old Trump says he plans to turn control of his business empire over to three of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, all in their 30s, and other Trump organization executives. Trump says he would let this group independently manage his vast array of real estate ventures, golf courses, and other Trump-branded businesses as he heads to the White House to run the country.

Trump has called this arrangement a blind trust, but that is sharply at odds with the normal understanding of the financial mechanism, one in which independent managers control a wealthy individual’s holdings, with the right to sell and buy properties without the individual knowing what transactions are being made.

As president, Trump's decisions on trade deals with foreign governments could affect the value of his overseas holdings, as could U.S. military action. Within the U.S., interpretations of anti-discrimination and labor laws could affect how he treats workers at his resorts, while tax code changes would determine how much tax he pays on his business deals.

Major U.S. media outlets have written extensively in recent days about the potential conflicts Trump faces. And government watchdogs in the U.S. are crying foul at his planned arrangement, especially since Trump named all three children, along with Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, to his transition team, which is now weighing the appointment of key officials in the new government that takes over Jan. 20. U.S. media reports say Kushner could join his father-in-law's administration as a White House assistant.

Richard Painter, the ethics adviser for former president George W. Bush, said that without putting his assets in a blind trust, Trump will face continual conflicts between his official acts as president and the impact on his personal wealth.

He said that if Trump loosens banking regulations, as he has announced he plans to, “it could increase his real estate values, at least in the short term.”

Painter said that Trump also faces a legal issue. U.S. law prohibits foreign governments from making any payments to top government officials as they might if national banks had made loans to Trump businesses. “Every single payment would be viewed as a gift,” Painter said.

Trump has substantial business holdings in at least 18 countries, including China, South Korea, Azerbaijan, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, the Philippines, Turkey and India. Much of his line of commercial products, including furniture and clothing, is manufactured overseas, and all of these activities could be affected or influenced by his policies on trade, U.S. military intervention or other global disputes.

Whatever the possible conflicts, Trump has shown no inclination to create a blind trust that does not include the three adult children from the first of his three marriages.

One of Trump’s staunchest advocates during the election campaign, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, said he sees no problem in letting Trump’s children oversee their father’s business ventures rather than pushing all of his financial interests into an independent blind trust.

Giuliani told CNN recently that if the three children were removed from control, Trump “would basically put his children out of work, and they’d have to go start a whole new business, and that would set up new problems.”

Giuliani, under consideration as Trump’s secretary of State, the government’s top diplomat, or another key job in Washington, said that once Trump assumes power, he would erect a wall between himself and his children’s business oversight “with regard to government matters. You have to have some confidence in the integrity of the president."

Reince Priebus, Trump’s choice as White House chief of staff, dismissed concerns about a conflict between Trump's assets and the government he is about to take over.

High level Trump selections
defended by his key aides

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff-to-be defended the president-elect’s most recent picks for top administration posts.

“They will do everything they can to protect and secure our country here and abroad every single day that they wake up in the morning,” Reince Priebus said on ABC’s “This Week” program.

Trump announced Friday he had chosen Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican, for attorney general, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn for national security adviser, and Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas for CIA director.

A onetime military intelligence specialist, Flynn became a top Trump surrogate on international security matters, often raising eyebrows in the process, tweeting that “fear of Muslims is rational.”

“Islam is a political ideology. It is a political ideology. It definitely hides behind this idea, this notion of it being a religion,” Flynn said in a speech during the campaign.

Trump has spoken approvingly of torture to gather intelligence, and his pick for CIA director, Pompeo, criticized the Obama administration’s reining in of interrogation techniques on terror suspects.

Meanwhile, one of the first senators to endorse Trump has been tapped to be America’s next attorney general. Like Trump, Jeff Sessions is wary of Muslim refugees.

“If you are not able to do a background check sufficiently, vet the applicants, if you are not able to do that, then you are going to be admitting a certain number of people who have terrorist tendencies,” Sessions told reporters at the Capitol earlier this year.

And, Sessions has long been a hardliner on illegal immigration.

“Who has more right to a job in this country? A lawful immigrant, a green-card holder or a citizen, or a person who entered the country unlawfully?” he asked at a committee hearing.

Like every president-elect, Trump is surrounding himself with people who share his viewpoint. Groups that oppose Trump are blasting his choices. The Southern Poverty Law Center accuses Sessions of aligning himself with xenophobic, racist groups.

Democrats, meanwhile, question Flynn’s temperament.

“This is not someone who is prone to thoughtful consideration of issues,” said California Rep. Adam Schiff. “This is someone who often flies off at the handle and makes snap judgments on things that he may not fully understand.”

Priebus rejected all criticism, saying Trump is assembling a team Americans can rally around.

Venezuela's Maduro in search
of better relations with U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuela’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro says he hopes for improved relations with the United States under president-elect Donald Trump.

While on the campaign trail, Trump said in July the United States would end up being Venezuela if his rival Hillary Clinton were to win the White House.

Speaking on his weekly program “In Contact With Maduro” Sunday, the Venezuelan president said his country will have better relations with the U.S., despite last year calling the real estate mogul a bandit and thief.

"I aspire, hope and will work so that hopefully during the next presidency of the United States, with Donald Trump, Venezuela, our Bolivarian, independent, sovereign, peaceful, revolutionary Venezuela, will have better relations of respect with the United States of America," said Maduro.

Since he came to power in 2013, succeeding Hugo Chávez, Maduro has used a confrontational rhetoric against the U.S. and President Barack Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush, blaming them for being behind an economic war that has left the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in crisis with triple-digit inflation and major shortages, threatening Venezuela’s peace.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Maduro in Colombia in September about Venezuela's economic and political challenges, urging him to work with the country's opposition.

The two countries have had tense relations since Chávez became president in 1999.
Mass street protests erupted after authorities last month blocked the opposition's bid to hold a referendum on removing Maduro from office.

Maduro said blocking the referendum was an independent decision by judicial and electoral authorities based on fraud allegations. He has distanced himself from the issue.

Maduro’s political opponents have accused him of staging a coup d’etat by stopping the effort to hold a vote to remove him.

Haitian voting results face
a delay of up to a week

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Haitians are awaiting preliminary results from Sunday's long-delayed presidential election, which took place after balloting in October of last year was annulled due to allegations of fraud.

Six million people were eligible to vote for one of 27 presidential candidates, as well as for some members of both houses of parliament.

Reports have suggested that businessman Jovenel Moise, chosen by the ruling PHTK, took the lead in the early voting tallies. The party of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristid said its candidate, Maryse Narcisse, was ahead. In response to these comments, electoral authorities urged candidates not to make premature announcements. Ms. Narcisse is one of two women seeking the presidency.

Haitians are hoping their new national leader will end a year of uncertainty and struggles, while uniting the country and creating jobs. Many Haitians are still suffering from the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew, which struck the country last month.

Monday, the U.S. State Department called Sunday's vote "an important step toward returning Haiti to full constitutional rule and addressing the serious challenges the country faces." Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

In a statement, State Department spokesman John Kirby also noted isolated incidents of violence and intimidation during the vote, and urged authorities to bring those responsible to justice under Haitian law.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was quoted as saying the electoral process is crucial to ending the current governance vacuum in Haiti and urged all parties to show statesmanship at this critical time for the country.

Final results are expected in about a week. Unless one candidate wins more than half the vote, a runoff between the top two contenders is scheduled for Jan. 29.

U.N. sex orientation expert
survives committee challenge

By the A.M. Costa Rica Wire Services

An attempt to block creation of an independent expert to challenge violence and discrimination directed at homosexuals and other persons based on gender identity failed Monday in the U.N. General Assembly Human Rights Committee.

African states, led by Botswana, retroactively sought to block the work of Vitit Muntarbhorn, whose mandate came into effect Nov. 1 as the first U.N. Independent Expert on the Protection against Violence and Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. The position was created by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council last June.

“No nation or group of nations should pretend to hold a monopoly over cultural norms and therefore seek to impose those values on others,” Botswana’s U.N. ambassador, Charles Thembani Ntwaagae, told the committee.

The issue of gay and lesbian rights is a divisive one among the organization’s 193 member states. The U.N. says homosexuality is still a crime in more than 70 nations. Some countries oppose homosexuality based on religious or cultural grounds.

Botswana proposed a resolution to delay Muntarbhorn’s appointment until at least next September, so member states could confer further on whether there is basis in international law for establishing the position. The amendment had support from Russia, as well as many Muslim countries.

“It’s outrageous of parts of the African group to try to overturn the decision by the Human Rights Council,” British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters.

Latin American states, supported by many Western countries, submitted an amendment to the resolution deleting the request for the postponement. That amendment was adopted, as was the revised resolution, allowing the appointment to go forward.

Nearly 800 civil society groups signed an open letter calling on states not to block the appointment.

“The establishment of the independent expert does not seek to create new standards, but simply to address within the existing framework provided by established international human rights law a protection gap for individuals facing violence and discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity,” the letter reads in part.

Several states said Monday that they would not recognize or cooperate with the special rapporteur.

AIDS report finds treatment
are saving more people

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In advance of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, a new report finds that more people with HIV than ever before are receiving life-saving treatment, leading to fewer deaths from AIDS-related illnesses around the world.

The report says just over 1 million people died from AIDS-related causes last year, compared to twice that number a decade ago. Comparatively 37 million people are living with HIV and, worldwide, 2.1 million people became newly infected last year.

UNAIDS says this is because of the large number of people with HIV, 18.2 million, who now have access to antiretroviral treatment. The agency also says the world is on track to reach the target of 30 million people with treatment by 2020.

The disease can be conquered if the necessary investment is made in scaling up HIV treatment and prevention programs, according to Peter Ghys, director of the UNAIDS Strategic Information and Evaluation Department.

"We estimate that if, indeed, the funding is there and the coverage targets that are set out to be achieved by the year 2020, then that will lead to ending the HIV epidemic by 2030,” Ghys said. “If the money is not there, then it is almost impossible to achieve that end."

Currently, the agency has $19 billion to spend on HIV-AIDS annually. UNAIDS estimates it will need $26 billion for each of the next seven years to achieve its goal of ending the epidemic by 2030.

As in previous years, sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the highest prevalence of HIV-AIDS. There have been no declines in new HIV infections among adults since 2010 but, the report notes, new HIV infections among children have decreased by 50 percent since 2010, to 150,000 last year.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

Shipping Containers and homes for sale.
New 20-foot containers and 40-foot available. Call us at 8307-8666 or visit  Stop by our workshop and walk through our model home in San Ramón.
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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.
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Sotheby's International Realty
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Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
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Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
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Costa Rica Office: +506.4001-2343
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Ocean view

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:   
or click here If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at
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or email

San Rmon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: 
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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
Call for more info:
Free US phone 877-778-8515  or 410-975-6703
In Costa Rica 506- 8307-0164
Bruce Cohen

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  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

horse ranch
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  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:

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

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news page

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 231
Real Estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
juice study
Tecnológico de Costa Rica photo
Researchers Andrea Ulloa and María Inés Chaves are involved in a laboratory procedure.

Blackberry juice benefits studied

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Plenty of online alternative health sites tout the use of juices, including blackberry, to fight cancer. One site even says that the juice kills cancer cells.

Two researchers at Tecnológico de Costa Rica have determined that the blackberry juice does have the potential to prevent skin damage from the sun's ultra violet radiation.

They also want to find out if there is an effect against other forms of cancer.

The researchers are Andrea Ulloa and María Inés Chaves. They are with the Cartago University's Centro de Investigación en Biotecnología.

The university said that the research involved the tropical plant grown at high altitudes.

The research involves lab testing of the juice rather than using it as a lotion.

Dates sent for Festival de las Artes
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The 2017 Festival Internacional de las Artes will be from June 29 to July 9 in San José.

That means the festival will be returning to the Central Valley from the southern zone this year.

The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud made the announcement Monday and said that performers can apply in January. Even though a number of international performers are expected at the festival, the greater number come from Costa Rica.

The ministry said that individuals and groups are sought for theater, street theater, puppets, dance, urban dance, circus acts, clowns, storytellers, magicians and musicians, among others.

Costa Rican News
Retire NOW in Costa Rica
Fine Dining in Costa Rica
The CAFTA Report
Fish fabulous Costa Rica

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From Page 7:

China may be getting world's camera data

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Imagine a world where almost everyone can be tracked, and everything can be seen by cameras linked directly to the Chinese government.

The rapid growth of a little known Chinese manufacturer of high-powered surveillance technology has some people concerned that it's no longer a theory.

Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, a company controlled by the Chinese government, is now the world's largest supplier of video surveillance equipment, with internet-enabled cameras installed in more than 100 countries.

Capable of capturing sharp images even in fog, rain or darkness, Hikvision claims its most advanced technologies can recognize license plates and tell if a driver is texting while behind the wheel. They can also track individuals with unrivaled face-tracking technology and by identifiers such as body metrics, hair color and clothing.

In the United States alone, the company's surveillance systems can be found everywhere from prisons to airports to private homes and public schools, and even in places with sensitive national security concerns, such as Fort Leonard Wood military base in Missouri. Abroad, its cameras were installed in the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

It is not known whether other Hikvision products have ever been installed in other U.S. embassies.

Edward Long, a former employee of a video surveillance equipment company in Florida, recently petitioned the U.S. government with a letter warning that Hikvision cameras are sending information back to China.

“Over the past year, ... flooded the United States with their equipment,” he wrote. “Every time one of their machines is plugged into the internet, it sends all your data to three servers in China. With that information, the Chinese government can log in to any camera system, anytime they want.”