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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Monday, Dec. 16, 2013,  in Vol. 13, No. 248                              Email us
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Jo Stuart
Anti aging

The 'Capitán Adrián' intercepted Friday carried spools of fishing line that would be deployed for miles with hundreds of hooks. The coast guard says the hooks would be baited with live fish, an effective but illegal tactic.

Fishing lne
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
Crackdown targets use of live bait to catch sailfish
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Coast guard patrols are cracking down on illegal fishing, but the effort may be too little and too late.

Sports fishing captains are complaining about an unprofitable seasons in part because their customers are aware that Costa Rica's marine creatures have been ravaged by long-line commercial operations and local illegal crews.

The Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas said over the weekend that it detained four local fishing boats in less than a week for using live bait to catch sailfish.

The coast guard noted that one live sailfish brings in more money to local communities than 100 dead fish because of its value to the sports fishing industry.

Still, locals still seek the sports fish for sale as food. Doing so with live bait is illegal and reserved for sports fishermen, under a 2009 decree by the nation's fishing control agency. The country also prohibited the exportation of sailfish at the same time.

Many sport fishing enthusiasts practice catch and release.

The agency in control of fishing is the Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuicultura.

Commercial fishermen in the Golfito area protested the decree at the time and generally are ignoring it. The existing regulations restricts the time they may fish in the gulf and requires them to be far off shore much of the year. The local commercial fishermen say they feel that the regulations are a major concession to the sports fishing industry.  In fact, the decree was brokered by the non-profit Billfish Foundation.

There have been crackdowns earlier this year, but fishermen find that live bait is highly effective.

The coast guard said that a boat detained Friday was the “Capitán Adrián,” which was located some seven miles off Cabo Matapalo, Golfito. The boat carried a captain and three crew members along with miles of fishing line. The coast guard crew said it found a lot of deficiencies with the boat. Not the least of which were an absence of a license, a certificate of navigability and a registration.

The biggest problem, however, was that the boat was fishing with a long line and live bait.  Martín
live bait
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
Wednesday coast guard crew members found this evidence of the use of live bait.

Arias Araya, director of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas said that this practice damages the environment and sports fishing.

The coast guard crew members said they found 50 dorado and two sailfish on board as well as three live dorado and 75 smaller live jurel ojón.   These are called bigeye trevally in English and have the Latin name Caranx sexfasciatus. These are used as bait.

Wednesday the coast guard based in Golfito boarded three fishing boats off Punta Tigre de Puerto Jiménez, Golfito. They were the “Capitán Bayron,” “Selena Calet” and “Stacy.” The crews all are accused of illegal fishing for sailfish with live bait.

These long line fishing operations put out long lengths of line with baited hooks dangling several meters apart.

Central and south Pacific sports fishing captains are reporting a decline in tourism activity. One said his numbers this year were off 30 percent.

The captains do not like to talk about the situation for fear of turning away even more tourist fishing fans.

In addition to the decline of fish in the Pacific, one captain listed the problems facing tourism all over Costa Rica. That is the higher cost of goods and services and other countries that welcome tourists more enthusiastically.

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
Ataturk bust back at university

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A renovated bust of  Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, has rejoined others in the Garden of the Nations at the University for Peace in Ciudad Colón.

The university held a ceremony to unveil the bust with the presence of Turkish officials and the Costa Rican honorary consult in Turkey,  Serhan Suzer, said the university, a United Nations facility.

The university said that the weather had taken its toll on the figure, and the Escuela de Bellas Artes de la Universidad de Costa Rica did the renovation.

The Garden of Nations contains busts of such figures as Simón Bolívar, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mahatma Ghandi and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia and 2011 Nobel peace Prize winner who visited the university in September.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Dec. 16, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 248

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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Long holiday is planned
for government workers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Most government offices will be closed at the end of business Friday for two weeks. They will reopen Monday, Jan. 6.

The lengthy holiday comes because Christmas and New Year's Day are on Wednesdays.

The judicial will be off the same period, but says that it will close Dec. 23, next Monday, to Jan. 3. Of  course, the announcement does not count the fact that Dec. 21 and 22 make up a weekend and that the same is true from Jan. 4 and 5.

Just because the offices are open this week does not mean that routine work will be accomplished. There are the obligatory office parties and the office parties of the agency across the street.

Vital services will be maintained during the holiday break. Certain courts will be available for cases. Among these are the family courts which will issue temporary restrictions in the case of domestic violence.

Most private businesses will not close until Dec. 23 or 24, and they will reopen Jan. 2. Private employers are not as generous as the government.

Christmas lottery rewards
a few with millions of colons

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country's voluntary tax on Innumeracy reached its climax Sunday when the baskets of the Junta de Protection Social emitted No. 67 of the series 615.

This was the annual Christmas lottery, called the gordo because the payoff is bigger than normal. Four tickets will each earn the colon equivalent of $2.4 million.

Each lottery ticket has 40 parts, and frequently neighbors or relatives chip in because a full lottery ticket cost 60,000 colons or about $120.

There are more than 100 lesser prizes. The top prize represents just 20 percent of what the Junta collected from bettors.

The Junta distributed some ¢5.5 billion colons or about $11 million to some 347 institutions and organizations.

Plate law to be suspended
over the holiday weeks

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Motorists will not have to worry about the final digit on their license plate over the holidays.

The Policía de Tránsito will not be enforcing the plate law from Dec. 21 to Jan. 3. This is the rule that keeps 20 percent of the vehicles out of the central metro area each weekday.

The police agency said that since the central government is on vacation and a lot of city residents are also, that the rule will not be enforced.

Unlike most traffic laws, the police had been vigorous in enforcing this measure.

Over the holidays, the traffic police shift their attention to the beaches where many Central Valley residents vacation.

Serial rape suspect held
after he shoots himself

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents have detained a 35-year-old man who has been evading arrest on the Caribbean coast. The man's flight ended when he accidentally shot himself in the left side with a homemade shotgun, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The man is sought for at least five allegations of forcible rape. Agents said that the man constantly was changing where he lived to avoid arrest and most recently was headed into the mountains.

The crimes of which he is accused took place in the province of Limón. He also faces an allegation of attempted rape and causing injury with a knife in Siquirres, agents said.

After he shot himself, the Cruz Roja responded and took him to Hospital Tony Facio in Limón, where he is under police custody.

Of the five cases, three involve adult women victims and two involve girls, one 12 and one 15, said agents. In some cases the women were confronted in an isolated area. Others were sexually assaulted when they were alone in their home, agents said.

In the Siquirres case, the woman attempted to relieve her assailant of his knife and suffered a cut hand. The attacker fled.

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In recognition of the holidays, the offices of A.M. Costa Rica in Barrio Otoya will be closed from Tuesday, Dec. 24, to Thursday, Jan. 2.

However, the daily newspaper will publish each weekday
except Christmas and New Years.

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page
 Hidden Garden
San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Dec. 16, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 248
Real Estate
About us

World Court decision simply is not something to cheer about
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country's officials have expressed their happiness with a decision Friday by the International Court of Justice. The court said that Nicaragua did not have much of a case to condemn Costa Rica for environmental damage along the south bank of the Rio San Juan.

Newspapers were quick to tout the second court victory over Nicaragua. But each was just a temporary decision.

An analysis on the news

The court in November told Nicaragua to fill in ditches or channels that it dug when no one was supposed to set foot on the disputed section of the Isla Calero. The decision Friday basically had the court knocking down flak that Nicaragua has thrown up as part of the continuing court case.

The real meaning of both cases bodes ill for compliance with a future decision. In both cases, Nicaragua was tweaking the nose of the World Court. The dredging crew opened channels at a time when no work was supposed to be done in the area.
Then when the court told Nicaragua to fill in the channels, the job was done grudgingly and badly.

The claim that Costa Rica was pouring sediment into the river was a flimsy case at best, and, as the court noted Friday, even Nicaragua's expert estimated the sediment at no more than 3 percent of the total load in the river.

What Nicaragua was doing was playing for time so that the river would punch through a new mouth making the San Juan more accessible for boat traffic. The initial 40 winding kilometers of the river are silted heavily. The best hope for Managua is a flooding San Juan making a new mouth at a river bend that is very close to the Caribbean. Never mind that this would take some of Costa Rica's land.

President Laura Chinchilla and her administration have extraordinary respect for international law. The administration fully expects Nicaragua to comply with whatever the World Court says when it renders a final decision.

Meanwhile, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is playing for wide access to the Caribbean and the possibility of millions in new development at the east end of the Río San Juan. Casa Presidential is trying to save some mangroves and some lagoons. Clearly, Ortega has the strongest motives.

Police say they had a successful Festival de la Luz operation
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Festival de la Luz took place under tight security, but even 900 Fuerza Pública officers could not prevent all the lawlessness, particularly on side streets.

Young toughs engaged in street fights, and witnesses said that groups of kids would beat on cars and that combatant gangs and Goth were sparring as usual in small groups.  Marijuana smoke replaced the usual bus smog in the downtown, one said.
Still, Saturday had fewer confrontations than in previous years, pedestrians said. Police said that they checked out 77 persons and detained 64. But only four are going to court on charges. Two face allegations of robbery and two face allegations of threats and resisting authority.

Fuerza Pública officials said that there were no incidents involving firearms or drugs along the parade route this year.
In addition to police on the ground, there were two helicopters flying over the holiday crowd.

Social Security still seeking responses from about 300 here
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

About 100 expats and other recipients of U.S. Social Security benefits here have contacted U.S. Embassy officials to prevent a halt in their payments.

An embassy spokesman said Friday that there still are about 300 persons with Costa Rican addresses who have not responded to a Social Security Administration questionnaire. Without a response the government will stop payments.

The system is in place for, among other reasons, to determine when a recipient dies.

The spokesman said that the anti-fraud measure saved taxpayers about $20,000 a month in 2013.

"Of the 428 who didn’t respond to the questionnaire last year,
 we ultimately heard from 403," said the spokesman.  "So the SSA was able to stop payments in 25 cases, saving over 200,000 dollars this year."

This year, the Social Security Administration sent questionnaires to recipients whose social security number ended in 50 to 99, as well as beneficiaries who have representative payees, that is persons receiving benefits on behalf of a minor or disabled person, said the embassy. These selected beneficiaries received the form with an envelope to the Social Security facility in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.

In October, the agency mailed a follow-up notice to those who did not respond to the original questionnaire sent in July.

"If you received the questionnaire, please return it to the address on the envelope SSA provided – or bring it to the US Embassy for mailing to the U.S.," said the embassy.


You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Dec. 16, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 248
Real Estate
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Research says coral changes blamed on global warming began 150 years ago
By the University of California, Santa Cruz, news staff               

Long-lived deep-sea corals preserve evidence of a major shift in the open Pacific Ocean ecosystem since around 1850, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The findings, published Thursday in Nature, indicate that changes at the base of the marine food web observed in recent decades in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre may have begun more than 150 years ago at the end of the Little Ice Age.

Deep-sea corals are colonial organisms that can live for thousands of years, feeding on organic matter that rains down from the upper levels of the ocean. The corals' branching, tree-like skeletons are composed of a hard protein material that incorporates chemical signatures from their food sources. As a result, changes in the composition of the growth layers in deep-sea corals reflect changes in the organisms that lived in the surface waters at the time each layer formed.

"They're like living sediment traps, recording long-term changes in the open ocean that we can't see any other way," said coauthor Matthew McCarthy, professor of ocean sciences at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Scientists can study sediment cores taken from the ocean floor for clues to past conditions in the oceans, but that approach is not very useful for the most recent millennia. In the open ocean of the North Pacific, sediment accumulates so slowly that the entire Holocene epoch (the past 12,000 years or so) is represented by less than 10 centimeters (4 inches) of sediment that has been stirred up by organisms living on the sea floor. "Even if there were good sediment records, we would never get the level of detail we can get from the corals," McCarthy said.

To analyze the coral skeletons, the researchers combined carbon dating with a novel technique for analyzing nitrogen isotopes in proteins. They were able to reconstruct records over the past 1,000 years indicating that a shift occurred around 1850 in the source of nitrogen feeding the surface waters of the open ocean. As a result of decreasing nitrogen inputs from subsurface water, the phytoplankton community at the base of the food web became increasingly dominated by nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria, which are able to use the nitrogen gas absorbed by surface waters from the atmosphere.
"In the marine environment, the two major sources of nitrogen are dissolved nitrate, which is more concentrated in the subsurface and deep
University of California, Santa Cruz /Hawaiian Undersea Research Lab
Pisces V submersible takes a sample of a deep sea coral. The submersible is operated by the Hawaiian Undersea Research Lab

water and is brought to the surface by upwelling, and nitrogen fixation by specialized microorganisms that are like the legumes of the sea," explained first author Owen Sherwood, who worked on the study as a postdoctoral researcher at the university and is now at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

The shift revealed in the coral record from an ecosystem supported by nitrate coming up from deeper waters to one supported more by nitrogen-fixing organisms may be a result of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre expanding and becoming warmer, with more stable layering of warm surface water over cooler subsurface water. This increased stratification limits the amount of nutrients delivered to the surface in nutrient-rich subsurface water.

Scientists have observed warming and expansion of the major mid-ocean subtropical gyres in the past few decades and have attributed this trend to global warming. The new study puts these observations in the context of a longer-term trend. "It seems that the change in nitrogen sources, and therefore possibly large-scale shifts in ocean conditions, switched on at the end of the Little Ice Age and it is still continuing today," McCarthy said.

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San Pedro, Lourdes:  Furnished four-bedroom house for  rent near U. Latina.  3 bathrooms.  Two bedrooms have private bath.  TV with cable, wireless Internet, washer, microwave, all linens on beds, phone, garage with electric door opener.  Front yard and back patio.  Minimum 6-month contract.  $800 a month. Call Rick at 2280-3548 or write to  Owner pays cable and internet.

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apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80
stations, water, washer and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:

prime properties
We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Santa Ana

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 or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Dec. 16, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 248
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Frog and eggs
San Francisco State University/Alessandro Catenazzi
A female Bryophryne cophites, one of the frog species used in the study, attending her eggs. The species lives at the very top of the Andes mountains, elevations from 3,200 to 3,800 meters.

Fungus not global warming
blamed for frog epidemic

By the San Francisco State University news service

A deadly fungus and not climate change as is widely believed is the primary culprit behind the rapid decline of frog populations in the Andes mountains, according to a new study published in the journal Conservation Biology.

Frogs living at higher elevations can tolerate increasing temperatures, researchers found, but their habitats fall within the optimal temperature range for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a harmful pathogen they have only encountered relatively recently. The disease, caused by the fungus which has a common name of  chytridiomycosis, has led to the recent decline or extinction of 200 frog species worldwide.

The results have implications both for researchers trying to understand the rapid decline in frog populations across the globe and for conservationists looking to save the animals, said Vance Vredenburg, associate professor of biology at San Francisco State University and co-author of the study.

"Our research shows that we can't just automatically point our finger at climate change," he said. "We need to look carefully at what is causing these outbreaks."

The research was conducted at Wayqecha Biological Station on the eastern slopes of the Andes, located near Manu National Park in southern Perú. To measure frogs' tolerance to the changing climate, researchers placed them in water baths of varying temperatures, then flipped them on their backs. If a frog quickly flipped itself back over, that meant it was able to tolerate the warmer water. If not, researchers knew the frog had become overwhelmed and unable to deal with the change.

Researchers also measured the temperatures at which conditions are optimal for the growth and spread of chytridiomycosis and found that the highland frogs' habitats lay right within that range.

"This really suggests that the fungus is driving a lot of the declines in this place," said Alessandro Catenazzi, assistant professor of zoology at Southern Illinois University and the lead author of the study.

Climate change, however, isn't let completely off the hook. Although chytridiomycosis poses less of a threat to frogs in the lowlands, this study suggests that species at lower elevations are more susceptible to climate changes, putting them at risk if they are unable to adapt or move to higher altitudes.

"It's terrible news," Vredenburg said. "The frogs at the top of the mountain are in trouble because they are experiencing a novel pathogen. The guys at the lower elevations are not in trouble from the fungus, but they're really susceptible to changes in climate."

Vredenburg said chytridiomycosis was likely introduced into this area of the Andes by human activity, and the results of the study indicate research and conservation efforts should focus on understanding and stopping the spread of the disease. Methods of doing so could include stopping the transport of live amphibians across borders, he said. But understanding the disease also has important implications for human health.

"This pathogen is like no other in the history of the world. Bd outbreaks make bubonic plague look like a slight cough," he said. "We need to understand the basic biology that's driving this terrible pathogen because it's the same biology that drives diseases that affect humans."       

Vredenburg has studied the impact of Bd for more than a decade. His research has tracked the spread of the disease through the Sierra Nevada and beyond and shown that some species of frogs are relatively immune to its effects while others are highly susceptible. Future research will focus on those species to learn how they are able to escape Bd's harmful effects and see how that knowledge can be used to save other amphibians.

"Thermal Phsyiology, Disease and Amphibian Declines on the Eastern Slopes of the Andes" was published online in Conservation Biology on Dec. 13. Vredenburg co-authored the study with Catenazzi and Illinois Wesleyan University Assistant Professor of Biology Edgar Lehr. The research was funded by the Amazon Conservation Association, the Rufford Small Grants Foundation and a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Vance T. Vredenburg is an associate professor of biology at San Francisco State University. He is also a Research Associate at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley and California Academy of Sciences. Vredenburg is the co-founder of, an online bioinformatics project promoting science and conservation of the world's amphibians.

French law on face veils
now faces two challenges

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Two years after becoming law in France, a ban on face-covering Muslim veils is challenged by a pair of high-profile legal cases.  The decisions in French and European courts may force Paris to roll back the legislation and have ramifications elsewhere in Europe. 

In 2011, France became the first European country to ban face-covering Muslim veils in public places.  The legislation was generally to include items like ski masks as well as veils, but many felt it singled out France's five-million-strong Muslim community, the largest in Europe.  The debate also spread across the region.  Belgium followed France in adopting the ban.  In September, so did a canton in southern Switzerland.

France argues the ban is needed for security reasons and to protect its secular traditions.

But today, France's ban faces legal challenges, one at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and another at a trial that opened last week in the Paris suburb of Versailles.

The plaintiff, a 20-year-old convert to Islam called Cassandra Belin, did not appear at the opening of the Versaille trial.  But her lawyer, Philippe Bataille, questions the constitutionality of the ban, which was passed under the previous conservative government. 

At the time, France's Constitutional Council, the highest legal body, had no objections to the legislation.  But Bataille argues it should reexamine the ban, looking specifically at whether it violates personal freedoms and human dignity enshrined by French and European laws. 

Bataille says the legislation is only acceptable in narrow circumstances like airport checks when a covered face could pose a security risk.

For some Muslims like M'Hammed Henniche, general secretary of the Union of Muslim Associations of the Seine-Saint-Denis region outside Paris, the legislation makes no sense. 

Henniche notes only a small minority of Muslim women in France wear the face veil.  It's unlikely to change their habits, but it has succeeded in riling the larger Muslim community and giving France a bad name. 

Henniche also lists a series of other debates in recent years against minarets in mosques, street prayers on Fridays, halal meat and whether foreigners should vote.  All have cemented a belief among French Muslims that they are being singled out.

French authorities estimate only a few hundred women have been stopped or fined for wearing veils since the ban came into effect.  Many are repeat offenders.  But the ban continues to spark deep divisions.  In November, the European rights court in Strasbourg agreed to examine it. 

Nicolas Cadene, of the government's Observatory on Secularism, says if the European Court decides the law goes against Europe's human rights convention, France may need to draft new legislation.

Verdicts for both the French and European court challenges will be delivered next year.  And like the veil ban, they are likely to resonate far beyond France's borders.

Oxford given major collection
of Chinese paintings and art

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Chinese paintings and art considered to form one of the best collections outside China have been bequeathed to the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford University by an art historian, the museum announced on Friday.
The Canadian-born historian and collector Michael Sullivan, who died in October at the age of 96, had amassed the collection with his late Chinese wife, Khoan, and many of the artists were the couple's close friends, the statement said.
The collection includes works by Qi Baishi, Zhang Daqian and Fu Baoshi, with more recent acquisitions including "Landscript" by Xu Bing, the museum said.
“Michael Sullivan was a longstanding friend and supporter of the Ashmolean,” Christopher Brown, director of the Ashmolean, said, describing the collection as outstanding.
“Scholars from around the world will have the opportunity to use the works in their study, teaching, and research. We hope this is a fitting testament to a great art historian and collector.”
Sullivan, whose family moved to Britain from Toronto when he was 3 years old, was a pacifist who first visited China in 1940 after he'd heard the Quakers were recruiting a team to drive trucks for the International Committee of the Red Cross.
He developed a lifelong fascination with China, southeast Asia and the Pacific region and in 1959 published “Chinese Art in the Twentieth Century,” the first of several works on China and Chinese art.
He was appointed lecturer in Asian art at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, in 1960, and was professor of Asian art at Stanford University in California from 1966 to 1984.
He combined academic work with his passion for bringing eastern art to a wider audience, producing articles for BBC publications and broadcasting on the radio.

Air crews seek clarification
on abusive passenger behavior

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Fighting soccer fans, fashion models screaming obscenities and a French film star relieving himself in the gangway are just a few well publicized examples of what airlines say is a growing trend of abusive passenger behavior on planes.
Briefing journalists this week, the International Air Transport Association said it aims to use a conference in Montreal next March to seek agreement on the rights of crews and captains to do whatever is necessary to subdue offenders.
“Unruly passenger on the increase,” Tim Colehan of the Geneva-based grouping told reporters. “ It is a problem which our crews and other travelers face every day.”
He cited as typical a woman passenger who fought cabin crew after throwing liquor at them, and then shouted abuse at stewards and fellow passengers throughout an overnight flight from Europe to Thailand.
Since 2007, when it began recording data, well over 15,000 incidents have been reported to the Air Transport Association, Colehan said. “But there are almost certainly many more which we never hear about.”
The problem for the airlines and the crews, said Colehan, is that international law has not caught up with the new world of global air travel.
Often offenders, like the violent woman passenger on the Bangkok flight, go scot free because police in countries where planes land say they have no jurisdiction.

Worse, the Air Transport Association says, the lack of clarity in the current 1963 Tokyo Convention that governs such cases leaves cabin crew and pilots uncertain on how to respond.
“There is always the fear that they could be sued for assault if they restrain a violent passenger,” Colehan said.
Other incidents in the skies this year include a violent attack on a stewardess in China, an American viewing pornography on his computer, and a South African couple having First Class sex, according to credible media reports.
A Russian woman on a flight from Los Angeles to London drank liquid soap when refused alcohol, and tried to bite a steward. On another plane a man seized wine from a trolley and locked himself in the toilet to drink it.
Several years ago, the Air Transport Association told its 240-odd members, which include almost all the world's scheduled carriers, that they should back their crews and try to ensure that badly behaved passengers are taken to court.
But the absence of well-defined legislation means that this often leads nowhere. The Tokyo convention was originally drawn up to deal with hijacks.
The Air Transport Association wants governments to agree at the March conference, convened by the International Civil Aviation Organization, on a new convention that will spell out the right of an airliner's captain to do what he feels necessary to control misbehaving passengers.
But the airlines are not sure of the outcome. “We are confident there will be a new convention, but - with so many governments having to agree - we have to wait to see how it turns out,” Colehan said.

Iranian foreign minister
denies info on ex-FBI agent

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

There are no traces in Iran of the former FBI agent who disappeared there six years ago, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on CBS's Face The Nation on Sunday.

Robert Levinson, who became a private detective after retiring from the FBI in 1998, disappeared during a trip to an Iranian island in 2007. The White House says he was not a government employee at the time.

The fate of Levinson is unclear, and Zarif told CBS the Iranian government has no idea about his whereabouts.

“What we know is that he is not incarcerated in Iran,” Zarif said, adding, “If he is, he's not incarcerated by the government, and I believe the government runs the, pretty much, good control of the country.”

The Associated Press and The Washington Post on Thursday reported that Levinson was not a private citizen on a business trip to Iran, as the U.S. government has said, but was working for a rogue CIA operation when he disappeared.

Levinson's lawyer, David McGee, said Friday that Levinson was investigating allegations of corruption by well-connected people in Iran.

The FBI has offered a $1 million reward for information about Levinson, but his family believes the U.S. government has not acted to its full capacities in trying to free him, McGee said.

Asked whether Iran would return Levinson to the United States, Zarif said: “If we can trace him and find him, we will certainly discuss this. ... Everything's possible, but I'm saying that we have no traces of him in Iran.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States has not abandoned Levinson and that he personally has raised the issue, according to an interview with ABC's This Week aired on Sunday.

Japanese diplomat stabbed
in attack in Yemen's capital

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A security official in Yemen says attackers repeatedly stabbed a Japanese diplomat in the capital of Sanaa in an apparent failed kidnapping attempt.

The official said that the kidnappers attacked the diplomat on Sunday not far from the Japanese Embassy and stabbed him when he resisted them.

The official did not provide the diplomat's name but said he is in a hospital and is expected to recover.

Kidnappings are common in Yemen, where armed tribesmen and Islamic militants take hostages to trade them for prisoners or cash.

U.N. expresses its concern
over growing electronic waste

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United Nations predicts that the amount of electronic waste disposed of annually worldwide will surge 33 percent by 2017.

The U.N.'s "Solving the E-Waste Problem" initiative issued a report Sunday saying that the weight of electronic goods discarded every year worldwide would rise to 65.4 million metric tons by 2017, with most of the growth coming from developing nations.

The alliance of U.N. organizations, grassroots groups and industry said China had the highest volume of electrical goods put on the market last year, with the U.S. ranking second. Taken together developing and emerging countries already produce as much e-waste as the developed world.

E-waste,  defined as anything with a battery or electrical cord, often contains materials that are toxic to humans and the environment.

The study called for better monitoring of e-waste exports, saying a lack of consistent reporting makes it difficult to formulate effective rules of the treatment of electrical junk.

Latin economies expected
to grow 3.2 percent in 2014

Special to A.M. Newspapers

The economies of Latin America and the Caribbean will expand by 3.2 percent in 2014, which is higher than the 2.6 percent from the end of 2013, according to a new report presented in Santiago, Chile.

In its annual report "Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2013," the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean points out that less buoyant external demand, greater international financial volatility and falling consumption were the factors determining the more modest economic performance of countries in 2013. These factors brought down the 3.0 percent estimate put forward by the Commission in July.

The report said that next year is expected to see a moderately more favorable external environment help boost external demand, and in turn the region's exports. Private consumption will also continue to grow, although more slowly than in previous periods. In the meantime, increasing investment in the region remains a challenge, it said.

"The world economic situation in 2014 provides opportunities and threats for Latin America and the Caribbean," said Alicia Bárcena, executive secretary of the commission, as she presented the report.

According to Ms. Bárcena "Opportunities include increased international trade and the possibility of harnessing currency depreciations to ensure sustained changes in relative prices. This along with industrial policies to support growth, boost regional integration and help small and medium-sized enterprises could help to increase investment in diversifying production in tradable goods and to reduce the region's structural heterogeneity".

The threats facing the region include ongoing volatility in the global economy and higher external financing costs, as well as a smaller contribution by consumption to GDP growth and a worsening regional current account.

According to the report, regional growth in 2014 will be led by Panama (with 7 percent), followed by Bolivia (5.5 percent), Peru (5.5 percent), Nicaragua (5 percent), Dominican Republic (5 percent), and Colombia, Haiti, Ecuador and Paraguay (all four with 4.5 percent). Growth is predicted to be 2.6 percent in  Argentina and Brazil, 4 percent in Chile and Costa Rica, 3.5 percent in Guatemala, Mexico and Uruguay, and 1 percent in Venezuela.

Next year, the Caribbean will experience a recovery and post a figure of 2.1 percent (following just 1.3 percent growth in 2013), the report estimated.

The report said that the main challenge facing Latin American and Caribbean governments is to drive through social covenants for investment to boost productivity and growth with equality. These social covenants must have an institutional framework that provides certainty and clear rules, short-term policies to provide nominal and real stability and long-term policies that encourage more diverse investment in tradable goods sectors.

In 2013 consumption made a smaller contribution to regional growth owing to a slowdown in the wage bill and credit, the report said. The slightly higher contribution by investment and the smaller negative impact of net exports failed to offset reduced consumer buoyancy, it added.

This year, regional growth was led by Paraguay (13 percent), followed by Panama (7.5 percent), Bolivia (6.4 percent), Peru (5.2 percent), Nicaragua (4.6 percent), Uruguay (4.5 percent), Argentina (4.5 percent) and Chile (4.2 percent).

In terms of the labor market, the unemployment rate remained more or less stable, going from 6.4 percent in 2012 to 6.3 percent in 2013. This dip was caused by a lower overall labor participation rate. Inflation remained below 5 percent in most of the region's countries, said the report.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

Project completion specialists
Casa del pacifico logo
Pacifica living
A turnkey home and project completion agency devoted to creative vision and flawless execution. We provide a single, solid and dedicated point of contact for the duration of your real estate project, specializing in:

                      • Building completion services
                      • Interior design & decoration
                      • Custom furniture design & manufacturing.

Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad. We customize to suit each client’s personal taste, lifestyle and budget.
Serving region for 10 years.
We regularly exceed client expectations. We guarantee it.
Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Swimming pool at night
A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.

For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 2228-5961 or 8339-2112.

Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert
Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.

Moran Arenal
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
Great lake front, river front land, farms, homes, condos and commercial property. Some with owner financing
This is far and away the most beautiful place in all Central America — cool climate. Try our two-day, all-inclusive discovery tour for $299.

Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
Moran logo

Costa Rica,

Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.

Visit our Web Site:

English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia 792
300 square meters of land, 195 square meters of construction HERE
Grecia 807
  18,000 square meters of land and 300 square meters of construction. HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Gorgeous Survival Farm located between San Ramón and Arenal Volcano bordering the huge Arenal Monteverde Nature Reserve. 30 acres of virgin rain forest with no neighbors, river, spring waters, rich soil, giant trees, homesite, no electricity, year-round 4WD access. 59,000 USD

Gulf road

Beachfront pristine five-hectare (13-acre) property

includes a common open air lodge with kitchen, three cabins, a caretaker's house, a garage and a secure storeroom. The property is maritime and has a current and valid maritime user's permit, all up to date and clear. In addition to the immaculately landscaped portion of the property that is already developed with bungalows, there are an additional three hectares that are ready for expansion and are cleared and planted in grass. The sales offer includes furnishings, appliances, catamaran, kayaks, and a whole series of extras. This property has about 300 meters of beach front in a docile portion of the gulf about 15 minutes north of Puerto Jimeenez, ideal for mooring boats just off the property shoreline. Has municipal water and power. Offered at $970,000. All reasonable offers will be considered. See photos and maps and more at Contact us at: or +1-866-514-7435.

For Sale By Owner
1 lot (1.5 acres)  at SIBU (8 lots total) amongst 50 acres of protected jungle gardens with sunset ocean views of Playa Nosara. Underground electric and water.13 minutes from Playa Guiones. Gated. In house financing available. Home of SIBU Sanctuary.

long view

200 miles of panoramic views over the Gulf of Nicoya and from Nicaragua along the volcanoes of the Cordillera de Guanacaste down to Jacó and around the southern Nicoya Peninsula to the open Pacific. 55 acres located at an altitude of about 2,800 feet in a fresh eternal spring climate, forest and pasture plus an old avocado forest. Many home sites, hidden entrance, property roads, spring waters.  195,000 USD

Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

Five bedroom home
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Price reduced $100,000 for quick sale. Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach. The home is completely furnished with U.S. products. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances.  To see more, go to YouTube
Asking  $250,000.    Call Gary 8784-2945 or email

Becker montage
Beach property on the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste.

House and guest house on adjacent half acre lots. Each with separate electric,  private septic and well. Each can be sold stand alone or packaged. Modern kitchen, granite counters, Viking stove, large separate frig and freezer. Private commercial grade septic and well. No water shortages even in dry season. High speed internet and U.S. standard electric. Center of the beach -- NEVER floods. Estuary at each end of the beach with excellent kayaking and bird watching through the mangroves. Excellent fishing right off the shore. Great surfing, horseback riding, bicycling or Turtle watching. Groceries three miles away. Mentioned in "The Lonely Planet" Page 301. "Two of the most beautiful and least visited beaches in Costa Rica. Wilderness beaches of fine silver-grey sand." Despite opportunities for great surfing, kayaking and just about anything else you want to do on a sandy strip of paradise, the beaches are nearly always abandoned. $500K Will finance.  More pictures available at:  Contact information:,  US: 001-612-599-0205 or Costa Rica 011-506-2655-1202.


ULatina, UCR, & U Fidelitas San Pedro, San Jose. $185,000.
Quietly located behind The Foundation Costa Rica Canada, 500 meters north of Iglesia Lourdes, San Pedro. ULatina, UCR, U. Fidelitas, bus & new train station are within five minutes Four-bedroom, three and half-bath unit within a secure complex of 40 condos with high cement outside walls with secure entrance manned by an armed guard 24 hours per day. Security fencing with electric wire, and a CCTV recorded security camera system is monitored within the guard house.  For additional peace of mind, this residence equipped with an independently wired security system, iron bars on windows and patio doors, a telephone communication system to contact the guard house and secure parking at your front door.   Beautiful mountain view from roof covered 3rd floor terraza. A green park area inside the complex for your children to safely play and an outside parking area in from of guard house for visitors. Cable TV/Internet lines and 220-volt service for hot water heater, stove and dryer. Water storage tank with pump maintains high pressure to bathrooms on all three floors. American style washer and electric dryer, refrigerator, glass top stove, and kitchen cabinets included. Other furniture items may be available. Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987   or  U.S. Phone:  (630) 886-4458  or   (305) 848-5577. C.R. Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799-4041  or  (506) 8363-9898.  Email:

Med house
Mediterranean inspired home overlooking the Bay of Nicoya and Pacific Ocean. This design allows for barrier free living, yet maximizes views from every room in the house . Vaulted ceiling over the living area and kitchen give the great room it’s spacious, open feeling with a natural stone fireplace and imported Spanish tile floors. $365,000.   Property: 22,000 m2 or 5.5 acres. Construction: 4,500 sq. ft. including porches and garage. 3 nedrooms, 2 baths, full dining room, separate office. Custom wrought iron gates, custom exotic wood cabinets, high-end stainless steel appliances, Granite countertops.    Slide show at   
For more information contact:

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West,, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603

For sale is a beautiful 50-acre property located in Los Alpes, just 15 minutes outside of San Ramon. At about 4,000 feet above sea level, this finca provides gorgeous views of the Central Valley as well as the Pacific Ocean in the distance while also offering a wonderful climate year around. The main house is two stories with three bedrooms and two full baths. High quality construction using exotic hardwoods such as almond, which covers the ceilings throughout the entire house. There are also two corrals and a small casita on the property. This location is perfect for a farm-style home or for beginning an agricultural business. This truly is a rare piece of property and is available for $399,999. Price is somewhat negotiable and we will be happy to work with the buyer to make it work! Please call 8816-2478 or e-mail for more information ¡y se habla español!

Samara church and lot
Commercial lot with great visibility in heart of Playa Sámara commercial district. Located alongside town's largest church, bank, hardware store/lumber yard, mini shopping plaza, and Pali (Sámara's largest supermarket). This lot has a large elevated building platform shaded with mature treees. All this makes for many commercial options.  One block from stunning "blue flag" beach. This is a perfect location for a eco/boutique hotel, restaurant/catering, apartments, or condominium. All utilities to this property. Lot size 1,414m2. Price 325K. Email:

humming bird nest

Bed & Breakfast for sale and personal home with 2 houses on property of 3/4 acre (3,030 m2) and buildings w/verandas & carport approximately 350 m2. One house at entrance is central to village w/gated parking lot and a 3-bedroom house for rental or employees/family w/carport/yard/gardens. A 50-meter sendero winds to the top among lush gardens where the main house is situated w/2 buildings attached by verandas & stairway to second floor.  There are 2 bedrooms, sala, 4 baths, large kitchen, laundry rooms, work bodega, storage bodega and hot tub on veranda w/tiled shower room.  Home is surrounded by tropical gardens, views of Arenal Volcano, panoramic views of Lake Arenal, private w/school owned property on one side, pasture land on back side and connecting entry gate on other side to Cabinas El Castillo & Fusion Restaurant.  A bird watcher's paradise w/hummingbirds, Montezuma, toucans, butterflies and visits from howler monkeys.  The B&B is listed four consecutive editions of Lonely Planet and the first established B&B in this area.  Photos can be viewed on the Web site:  Make your dream come true with a slice of paradise in a quiet, private setting. Call Ellen Neely at  8835-8711.  Email:

Guiones retreat
Approximately half acre on the beach with private path to the surf. Very private three-home complex with pool, spacious patios with two wet bars, barbeque and yoga area. Featuring a three-bedroom ranch style home plus a two story Mexican villa style home with two master suites, large kitchen and living area with ocean views and breezes upstairs and a garden apartment downstairs with separate entrance. A caretaker's or teenager's cottage and lots of space for expansion. PRICED FOR QUICK SALE: $899,000.  Call 506 8867-8883 or

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Jaco station
Gas Station/Auto Plaza
Located on the Pan American Highway, Jacó Beach, Costa Rica, Central America. This property is  45,000  square feet or  18,000  meters.  Liquor and convenience store is operational. Room to add an automotive service, car wash, restaurant, pharmacy, lotto sales, tour sales, ATM's,  etc, for a real money maker. Also future plans for a 80-unit  auto motel and casino. See on Youtube at: Asking price  $3.9 million. Email or call: 8899-9870.

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West,, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603

In the nine years of operation, DIGITS Resource Guide has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San Jose, Jacó, Manuel Antonio, and Osa Peninsula areas.  DIGITS is the only one of its kind with no comparable competition. With the extensive groundwork that has already been achieved, the business is now poised to expand into an even greater level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner is retiring to another Latin American country. For a preview of the magazine, go to, or simply go to a local Distributor for a copy. Details on the business, its history, a strategic analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a Pro-Forma Income Statement from 2008 through to 2013 are available upon request to aha_jm@yahoo.

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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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday,  Dec. 16, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 248
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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
Michelle Bachelet easily
wins a second term in Chile

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Chileans have handed the moderate socialist and former president Michelle Bachelet a new four-year term with a landslide victory in a runoff election.
Center-right opponent Evelyn Matthei conceded defeat after Sunday's results showed Ms. Bachelet received an unbeatable 62 percent of the vote.  Ms. Matthei had 38 percent.
In the first round of voting last month, Ms. Bachelet, a 62-year-old pediatrician, won nearly twice as many votes as Ms. Matthei, a 60-year-old economist and former labor minister.
But Ms. Bachelet fell just short of the 50 percent needed to win outright, pushing the vote into a runoff.
Ms. Bachelet has promised to raise corporate taxes to pay for wide-ranging education reform, shred the dictatorship-era constitution and legalize abortion under certain circumstances.
She will take over in March from outgoing conservative President Sebastian Pinera.

Actor Peter O'Toole dies
in a London hospital at 81

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Actor Peter O'Toole, 81, who shot to instant stardom as "Lawrence of Arabia" and was nominated eight times for an Academy Award, has died. 
O'Toole's agent said the actor died Saturday at a London hospital following a long illness.
O'Toole, son of an Irish bookmaker, got his first Oscar nomination for David Lean's 1962 epic "Lawrence of Arabia," his last for "Venus" in 2006.  With that he set the record for most nominations without ever winning, though he had accepted an honorary Oscar in 2003.
One of his Oscar nominations was for the film "Beckett" with fellow British star Richard Burton, who was also nominated.  Both men confessed to having been drunk throughout the filming.

Costa Rican News
Retire NOW in Costa Rica

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From Page 7:

Tests planned for fuel system in Liberia

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The national petroleum refinery is beginning a series of tests of its new distribution facility at Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia.

The Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo said that this is the final stage in construction of the $17 million project.

The facility will supply jet fuel and aviation gasoline.

A consortium, EDICA-Hatch Mott Mc Donald Cape Safe Fuelley S.R.L, built the facility. The refinery said that the job also includes training of those who will use the facility as well as delivery of full documentation.