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(506) 2223-1327                                  POublished Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 233                                   Email us
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Decarbonized global tourism put at $1 billion a year
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

When those in the business talk of sustainable tourism, they mainly mean operations on the ground here. But tourism increasingly is being accused of causing damaging effects worldwide.

A new study by researchers in Europe said that mitigating these effects could be done for as little as $11 a trip.

They proposed a combination of strategic energy saving and renewable energy initiatives within the industry and the purchase carbon offsets from other parts of the global economy where emission reductions can be done at less cost, according to the University of Waterloo.

Daniel Scott, from the University of Waterloo, said that the tourism sector has promised to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2035, according to the university. He estimated the investment to do this at $1 billion a year.

Scott and colleagues just published a report on carbon emissions in tourism in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, a peer-reviewed publication that has been around since 1993. It is a Taylor and Francis title.

It was this report that suggested the $11 cost.
tourism carbon
University of Waterloo graphic
An estimate of tourism's carbon footprint.

Recent estimates conclude that tourism, including transport, accommodation, and leisure activities contributed close to 5 per cent of total human-made emissions of carbon dioxide worldwide, said the researchers.

The United Nations has an international meeting scheduled in Paris next week with the goal of reducing carbon emissions.

The researchers put a lot of reliance on the United Nations recommended targets of reducing carbon emissions and potential involvement of world governments.

“Our analysis shows that the tourism sector can be compatible with a decarbonized global economy, if governments and business leaders show collective leadership to make it happen,” Scott was quoted as saying.

Public school students will get lunch over holidays
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Educators will continue to feed some 41,000 students during the annual vacations from Dec. 10 to Feb. 5, the Ministerio de Educación Pública said Tuesday.

This is an expenditure of some $1.4 million in food, facilities and employee time.

Involved are some 121 school dining areas in 75 priority districts, said the ministry.

Normally these students who are said to be in
vulnerable conditions and poverty are fed
 lunch during the school year. This is a continuation of that program.

In some cases, students secretly take food home to share with their families.

The ministry said that inspectors will keep an eye on each school and make adjustments to the program as needed.

Costa Rican public schools are on a February to December schedule. Some private schools are on the U.S. calendar of August to May. And other private schools will be ending the 2015 year a bit early next week.

Atenas expat would like to have a little chat with hit-and-run biker
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Jim Twomey, an Atenas expat, would like to give a knuckle sandwich to a bike rider.

The bicyclist ran down Twomey's wife Nov. 14 while she was crossing a highway.  And then the person on the bike fled, Twomey said. Other riders stopped to provide help. His wife ended up in the Heredia hospital.

His wife, Bivina Piedra Alfaro, whom he

calls Bibi, suffered a broken hip, the expat said, and she will require post-surgery rehab and therapy.

He said the mishap took place on Route 3 near the La Fiesta de las Pupusas restaurant. "Persons with knowledge of this matter are urged to call Jim Twomey at 2244-7324 or e-mail at," he said.

"My wife will be the first person to forgive him," he said. "It will take me a while!"

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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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University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences photo         
     This is an orange affected by the citrus greening bacterium, which causes
      citrus to become misshaped and retain its immature, green color.

Genetically modified trees resist greening

By the University of Florida news staff

After a decade of battling the highly destructive citrus greening bacterium, researchers with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have developed genetically modified citrus trees that show enhanced resistance to greening and have the potential to resist canker and black spot, as well. However, the commercial availability of those trees is still several years away.

Jude Grosser, a professor of plant cell genetics, and Manjul Dutt, a research assistant scientist, used a gene isolated from the Arabidopsis plant, a member of the mustard family, to create the new trees. Their experiment resulted in trees that exhibited enhanced resistance to greening, reduced disease severity and even several trees that remained disease-free after 36 months of planting in a field with a high number of diseased trees. The journal PLOS ONE recently published a paper on their study.

“Citrus crop improvement using conventional breeding methods is difficult and time consuming due to the long juvenile phase in citrus, which can vary from four to twelve years, “Grosser said. “Improvement of citrus through genetic engineering remains the fastest method for improvement of existing citrus cultivars and has been a key component in the University of Florida’s genetic improvement strategy.”

Citrus greening threatens to destroy Florida’s $10.7 billion citrus industry. The diseased bacterium first enters the tree via the tiny Asian citrus psyllid, which sucks on leaf sap and leaves behind the greening bacteria. The bacteria then move through the tree via the phloem, the veins of the tree. The disease starves the tree of nutrients, damages its roots and the tree produces fruits that are green and misshapen, unsuitable for sale as fresh fruit or, for the most part, juice. Most infected trees eventually die and the disease has already affected millions of citrus trees in North America.

Greening is present in Costa Rica, too. The Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería has declared an agricultural emergency over the problem.

Citrus greening was first detected in Florida in 2005. Florida has lost approximately 100,000 citrus acres and $3.6 billion in revenues since 2007, according to researchers.

Grosser and Dutt’s research team used sweet orange cultivars Hamlin and Valencia and created plants that defend themselves against pathogens.

Disease resistance to greening, also known as huanglongbing, in this study was evaluated in two ways.

First, in a greenhouse study several hundred trees that were clones from several independent transgenic plant lines were exposed continuously for two years to free-flying, greening-positive psyllids. Trees were routinely pruned and fertilized to stimulate new leaf production. These trees were evaluated every six months for two years for the presence of greening. The insects were also randomly evaluated during this study for the presence of the greening bacterium.

Approximately 45 percent of the trees with the Arabidopsis gene tested negative for greening. In three of the transgenic lines, the greening bacterium was not detected at all. Control trees tested positive for the presence of greening within six months and remained positive for the entire duration of the study.

In the second concurrent study, selected transgenic trees and controls were cloned, grown and planted in fields with a 90-percent infection rate. These trees were similarly evaluated every six months for three years for the presence of the greening bacterium.

In this study, one transgenic line remained greening-free for the duration of the study, except for the 24-month sampling period when it tested positive. A second line tested positive at the 30-month sampling period while a third line tested positive at 30 months, but was greening-free at 36 months.

“In addition to inducing resistance to greening, this transgenic line could potentially protect our trees from other important citrus fungal and bacterial diseases such as citrus canker and black spot,” Dutt said.

The next steps include transferring this gene into additional commercial varieties and rootstocks that are commonly grown in Florida. In addition, researchers must stack this gene with another transgene that provides resistance to the greening bacterium by a completely different mechanism. That will prevent the pathogen from overcoming the resistance in the field. It will still be several years before such trees will be available for commercial use.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 233
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Regional meeting fails to resolve the Cuban migrant situation
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Government officials expressed optimism Tuesday night that a solution is coming for the problem of the Cuban migrants. Still the government of Nicaragua has been characterized as intransigent in its refusal to allow the Cubans to pass through the country.

Foreign minister Manuel González Sanz returned to Costa Rica Tuesday night after a meeting in San Salvador of officials from Cuba, México and other Central American nations.

His ministry said that other countries will make announcements in the next few days and that technicians are working to improve the discussion. In addition, Cuba has offered to accept back any migrants who chose to return, the ministry said.

The meeting was organized by the Comisión de Seguridad del Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana.

Nicaraguan sources called the meeting a failure and noted that the government there has said it will not change its mind.

There are perhaps 2,900 Cuban migrants in Costa Rica. More are expected to arrive. International sources estimate that perhaps as many as 45,000 Cubans will make the long land trip to arrive in the United States in the next year. In addition there are reports of thousands of Cubans trying to reach the United States over water.

The typical migrant here flew from Cuba to Ecuador and then managed to reach Costa Rica by land transportation. However, some have come from other South American and Caribbean countries.

In the past such trips were engineered by human traffickers who sheltered and moved the migrants for a fee. But now the bulk of the travelers are connected with others on social networks and smartphones to find out what is ahead.

Costa Rica finds itself in the human trafficking business. Nearly a dozen shelters have been set up.

Costa Rica began to admit the Cubans when they showed up at the southern border Nov. 12. Government officials did so with the belief that Nicaragua would admit the migrants. But three days later Nicaragua closed its border to the migrants, who have been stuck here since.

There never has been a clear explanation why Nicaragua, a
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto photo
Foreign minister Manuel A. González is bracketed by  Kathya Rodríguez, the director of immigration, and Linyi Baidal, director of foreign policies at the San Salvador meeting.

 close ally of Cuba did that. The speculation is that the border was closed at the request of Cuba which does not want to lose thousands of skilled laborers.

At the very least, the migration is an embarrassment to Cuba with so many citizens voting against socialism with their feet.

Even the region's Catholic officials have called upon Nicaragua to open up a corridor for the migrants.

The United States has a 1966 law that gives immediate refugee status to Cubans under certain conditions. Many Cubans fear the law will be changed and they will not be able to migrate. 

This fear seems to be fanned by postings on social media networks.

The Cold War Cuban Adjustment Act was designed to shelter political refugees from Fidel Castro's Cuba. The migrants in Costa Rica are mainly of the economic variety.

Costa Rica is treating the migrant invasion as a human rights situation.

Others are not so high-minded. Cell telephone companies have moved quickly to find customers among the migrants who can easily call family in Cuba by using the network here.

The migrants also represent as market for food, clothing and other products.

Expats who have vehicle confiscated better bring their wallets
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Note to expats:

Getting a car confiscated is an expensive event.

Traffic police confiscate vehicles when the violation is major, such as driving without a license or without valid license plates.

Some of the fines are draconian, but that is not all. The Consejo de Seguridad Vial notes that the charges keep building.

The cost of having a tow truck take the vehicle is an expense that the driver has to bear.  As of Aug. 19, the cost is  5,347.02 colons for the first six kilometers, about $10, and then  819.17 colons for each subsequent kilometer.

The impound lot charges 3,484.41 per day, about $6.60, even if the vehicle is only there a short time. That is one reason the

Ministerio de Obras Púbica y Tranportes has a surplus of abandoned vehicles.

In order to liberate the vehicle, the owner has to pay the fine and related charges. The driver has to visit what is called a unidad de impugnación, which are open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. There is at least one in every major community.

Under the 2012 traffic law, contesting and paying traffic tickets are no longer handled in the traffic courts.

Since the middle of the month, those who have been given a traffic ticket can appeal it via fax or email, as well as with a personal appearance, the Consejo noted. The email address is recepció

Motorists have 10 days to appeal a traffic ticket, the Consejo noted. If the appeal is denied, the motorist can begin a judicial process and go perhaps as high as the Corte Suprema de Justicia.

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Tarpon Lodge

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Hacienda Baru

Recreo Verde

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
  San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 233
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Exit of megafauna seen as critical to spread of pumpkins and squash
By the Pennsylvania State University news staff

If Pleistocene megafauna, mastodons, mammoths, giant sloths and others, had not become extinct, humans might not be eating pumpkin pie and squash for the holidays, according to an international team of anthropologists.

"It's been suggested before and I think it's a very reasonable hypothesis, that wild species of pumpkin and squash weren't used for food early in the domestication process," said Logan Kistler, of the University of Warwick, and a recent Penn State postdoctoral fellow. "Rather, they might have been useful for a variety of other purposes like the bottle gourd, as containers, tools, fishnet floats, etc. At some point, as a symbiotic relationship developed, palatability evolved, but the details of that process aren't known at the present."

Researchers believe that initially humans did not eat wild pumpkin and squash, members of the cucurbita family, because the wild fruit is not only bitter but also toxic to humans and smaller animals. However, clear evidence exists that very large animals, megafauna, that lived 12,000 years ago did eat these fruit.

"Lee Newsom has recovered many wild gourd/squash seeds from ancient mastodon dung, suggesting that large herbivores may have been an important feature in the natural history of these wild plants," said Kistler. Newsom is Penn State associate professor of anthropology and study co-author.

The researchers looked at varieties of modern domestic cucurbits, modern wild cucurbits and archaeological specimens. They believe that changes in distribution of the wild plants are directly related to the disappearance of the large animals.

"We performed an ancient DNA study of cucurbita including modern wild plants, domesticated plants and archaeological samples from multiple locations," said George Perry, assistant professor of anthropology and biology. "The results suggest, or confirm, that some lineages domesticated by humans are now extinct in the wild."

Without elephant-sized animals to distribute seeds, wild plants will grow only where the fruit drops, as far as the pumpkin rolls. At the same time, the disappearance  of

Pennsylvania State University/ George Perry
The modern varieties of cucurbita.

megafauna altered the landscape from one of a patchwork of
environments to something more uniform. Cucurbita are weedy plants that liked the disturbed landscape created by the megafauna, but fared less well in the new, modern landscape.

The researchers also looked at bitter taste receptors in animals and found that smaller animals with more diverse dietary patterns possess many more bitter taste receptors than large animals that ate only a few things.

"We compared bitter taste receptor genes in about 40 living mammals and found that body sizes and dietary breadth were important," said Perry. "The greater the size, the fewer receptors. The greater the dietary depth, the more receptors."

If humans initially used cucurbita for nonfood applications, they somehow eventually managed to find those plants that mutated and lost their toxicity. According to Kistler, cucurbita may have been domesticated at least six different times in six different places.

"There is a huge amount of diversity in some of the domestic species and between them as well," said Kistler. "Cucurbita pepo is probably the most variable, with jack-o-lantern pumpkins, acorn squash, zucchinis and others. Cucurbita moschata contains the butternut squashes and the kind of pumpkin that goes into the cans that a lot of folks will be baking into pies . . . ."

Vacation, travel and hospitality

HIdden Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
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Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

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

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

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


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for Rent

San Francisco de Dos Ríos, El Bosque, furnished 2-bedroom,1-bath apartment, quiet area, free cable TV WiFi, large patio area, swimming pool, parking, security. Close to San José. $450/month. Retired persons preferred. Call 8375-6838. Email:

Unfurnished 400-sq. ft. apartment, with modern kitchen, located on beautiful Junquillal Beach is waiting for you. Sea Turtles are common to this beach. Great area for surfing one of C.R.'s premier surf spots or boogie boarding. Close to a market, restaurants and more touristy areas - Playa Negra and Tamarindo, if you want shopping, etc. This area is a great community. If you are looking for a nice relaxing area, this is it. $500 month + electric, visit our Web page -  - for more info, photos and to view a video. Or call (506) 5004-3473.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 233
Real Estate
About us

Chicago police release
video of teen's shooting

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Chicago police say they will not tolerate any criminal behavior after the release of a video showing the 2014 police shooting of a black teen by a white officer.

"People have the right to be angry. People have a right to protest. People have a right to free speech. But they do not have the right to . . . criminal acts," Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told a news conference Tuesday. McCarthy said his officers are hoping for the best, but are expecting the worst.

A court ordered the city to release the police car camera video of the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by officer Jason Van Dyke.

Van Dyke turned himself in to authorities Tuesday and has been charged with first degree murder. He also has been fired from the police department.

The officer is accused of shooting McDonald 16 times, with many of those shots coming after McDonald was on the ground.

In the video, McDonald is running down the center of a street toward several police cars, then apparently walks away from police holding what some reports say was a knife. No sound is heard before Van Dyke opens fire and continues firing after McDonald falls to the ground, writhing in pain. An officer approaches McDonald and appears to try to kick whatever he was carrying out of his hand.

The Chicago Tribune newspaper quotes police as saying McDonald was behaving erratically, had drugs in his system and refused police commands to drop a knife he was holding.

The Chicago shooting is another in a series of highly publicized police shootings and deadly assaults of young black men by officers, mostly white, some black.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appealed to both sides Tuesday for understanding and learning. He said young men have to see police officers as partners and mentors, and not just someone with a badge.

He also said police must look at young men as individuals worthy of their protection and see students, athletes and artists.

Meanwhile in Minneapolis, police arrested three white men for allegedly shooting five people near a Black Lives Matter protest outside a police station.

One man was arrested Tuesday morning and two others turned themselves in later in the day.

The three allegedly opened fire at protesters who had told them to leave the protest, thinking they looked suspicious. None of the wounds are life-threatening. Police are searching for others who may have been involved.

The demonstrators have been camped out in front of the police precinct for more than a week, protesting the police shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark earlier this month.

Witnesses say Clark was handcuffed when he was shot. Police deny the charge and say Clark was interfering with an ambulance crew helping a crime victim.

Canada extends its deadline
for screening Syrian refugees

 By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Canada is extending its deadline for taking in 25,000 Syrian refugees to allow more time for screening and medical examinations.

The end of November deadline has now been pushed back to the end of February, although Canadian officials still expect to allow 10,000 Syrians to enter the country by the end of the year.

"We have a responsibility to significantly expand our refugee targets and give more victims a safe haven in Canada," the newly elected prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said Tuesday.

Humanitarian workers across the Middle East have been gearing up for the massive airlift of Syrian refugees to Canada. It would be the biggest airlift operation since the start of the four-and-a-half year Syrian civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions.

Canada says it is giving priority to complete families, gay men and women who face persecution in Syria, and those it calls women at risk.

Air Canada has offered up its planes to aid in the airlift.

Chartered private planes will fly the refugees out of camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey with the military helping with flights as needed. More than 30 Canadian cities have been designated as destination cities.

Canada expects to spend $678 million over the next six years flying out and resettling Syrian refugees.

Canadians appear to be divided on Trudeau’s offer. A Forum Research Poll conducted in Canada on Tuesday showed that just over half of those surveyed disapproved of the government plan. Forty-one percent approved of the project.

Claudia Blume, a married mother of two, said she was getting ready to welcome one young Syrian man next week, the first of an extended family of eight that she and a private group of Canadians were sponsoring.

“My husband and I were really fed up of seeing all these images of refugees sitting in camps,” Ms. Blume said from her home in Toronto. “We asked our friends to join us, and now we are 17.”

Ms. Blume’s sponsorship comes under the Blended Visa Office-Referred Program that matches refugees identified for resettlement by the U.N. refugees agency with private sponsors in Canada.

The entire refugee family of two grandparents and three adult sons, one of whom is married with two young children, is expected to arrive by the December holidays.

“We plan to have a Christmas party with the whole family,” Ms. Blume said.

It is unclear how many of the 25,000 Syrian refugees expected to arrive in Canada will be privately or government-sponsored.

The Canadian airlift comes in stark contrast to Thursday’s vote by the U.S. House of Representatives on a bill to suspend a program allowing 10,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the country until national security agencies certify they don’t pose a security risk.

The vote came after reports that at least one of the attackers responsible for the killings of 130 people in Paris had arrived in Europe on a Syrian passport pretending to be a refugee.

The bill passed the House with a wide margin, 289-137, but its fate in the Senate is uncertain. President Barack Obama has vowed to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

At the same time, various countries in Europe are tightening their borders and reconsidering their refugee programs in the wake of the Paris massacre.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Friday criticized what he said were the misplaced suspicions about migrants and refugees, especially those who are Muslim.

“We must uphold the human rights of migrants and refugees, especially in the face of rising xenophobia and discrimination,” Ban told a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

He said that any fears about terrorists hiding among refugees only supported the argument for a better managed approach to the crisis.

To date, Syria’s neighbors, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, have supported millions of refugees from the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts. “Having such few countries bear the responsibility is simply not a sustainable solution,” Ban said.

Roughly a quarter million Syrians have died in the conflict, which started off as anti-government protests but quickly dissolved into a civil war which then further spiraled into a chaos of multiple conflicts.

Pakistani receives 40 years
for planning subway attack

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. court has sentenced a Pakistani man to 40 years in prison for plotting to bomb a British shopping center.

Abid Naseer, 29, was convicted earlier this year of providing support to al-Qaida, conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaida and conspiring to use a destructive device.

"You are not a typical criminal," Judge Raymond Dearie told Naseer in the U.S. federal court in Brooklyn Tuesday. "You are a terrorist."

Naseer was first arrested in Britain in 2009 where he led an al-Qaida cell that was planning the attack on a Manchester mall. The planned bombing was part of a coordinated plot which also included attacks on the New York City subway and a Danish newspaper.

Although he was never charged in Britain, he was extradited to the United States in 2013 to face charges related to the subway plot.

Two men, Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, have already pleaded guilty in the U.S. to charges stemming from the New York subway plot.

Naseer, who represented himself at his trial,was raised in Peshawar, Pakistan, and called himself a semi-professional cricket player. He says he plans to file an appeal.

Women approach males
in consumption of alcohol

 By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Women are getting close to drinking the same amount of alcohol as men in the United States, according to a new study.

Writing in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, say women appear to be closing the gap on men.

“We found that over that period of time, differences in measures such as current drinking, number of drinking days per month, reaching criteria for an alcohol use disorder, and driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year, all narrowed for females and males,” said Aaron White, the institute's senior scientific adviser. “Males still consume more alcohol, but the differences between men and women are diminishing.”

For the study, White looked at data from yearly national surveys conducted between 2002 and 2012.

He found that the percentage of people who had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days had increased for women from 44.9 percent to 48.3 percent.

Meanwhile, the figures for men declined from 57.4 percent to 56.1 percent.

The number of drinking days for women was up from 6.8 per month to 7.3 per month. The number for men declined from 9.9 days to 9.5 days, according to the study.

Institute Director George F. Koob said the findings are concerning, adding that women are at greater risk than men of a variety of alcohol-related health effects, including liver inflammation, cardiovascular disease, neurotoxicity and cancer.

The study showed a significant increase in binge drinking by 18- to 25-year-old women not in college, but a significant decrease among males. For those in college, there was no increase in binge drinking for men or women.

Researchers said they still can’t identify the reasons women are narrowing the gap, but that employment, pregnancy, or marital status do not seem to be factors.

Study surprises researchers
with rampant malnutrition

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An analysis conducted by Canadian researchers has found that more than 18 million women in low- and middle-income countries are severely underweight.

The study looked at data from 60 countries, a representative sample of more than a half-million women in all. Some 1.8 percent of women,  about one in 55, had a body mass index of less than 16.

Body mass index is a standard measure of weight relative to height. A reading in the range of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy, according to U.S. health agencies, and a rating below 16 is considered a danger flag. Women with a score below 16 are more likely to have a variety of health problems and have higher death rates.

Fahad Razak of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto was the lead author of the new study, which analyzed surveys going back to 1993. "What we found was that over 18 million women currently are affected," he said. "So there’s over 18 million severely underweight women in these countries, and there’s more than 14 million in India alone.”

That meant more than 6 percent of women in India were in the severely underweight category. Ranking behind India in severity were Bangladesh, Madagascar, East Timor and Senegal.

Albania, Bolivia, Egypt, Peru, Swaziland and Turkey had notably low rates of women with body mass indexes under 16.

While the surveys covered 60 countries, there were notable gaps. Among the nations not included were China, Indonesia and Mexico.

Razak said he was not surprised to see how many women suffered from severe undernutrition. It was when he looked at the history of the problem that he found an unexpected trend going back 20 years.

“The fact that levels haven’t improved in the majority of countries is quite shocking," he said. "And when we’ve shown this work to other scientists, everyone’s been very surprised. No one, no one really expected this.”

That said, Razak noted that in India and Bangladesh, the countries with the most women in this category, the percentage of women affected has been going down.

The research paper by Razak and his colleagues was published in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Experts study the evidence
in Malaysian jet disaster

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A team of international investigators is meeting in the Netherlands to examine evidence from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down over eastern Ukraine last year, Dutch prosecutors said Tuesday.

The three-week meeting of investigators, including some from the Netherlands and Ukraine, brings together experts in ballistics, weapons systems, explosives and other fields related to the probe to conduct an in-depth study of the available evidence, prosecutors said in a statement.

The meeting should lead to a significant step forward in the criminal investigation and towards legal and convincing evidence in particular, the statement said.

The Dutch Safety Board last month concluded that the Boeing 777 was hit on July 17, 2014, by a Russian-made Buk missile, causing the plane to explode in midair. All 298 people on board, two-thirds of them Dutch, were killed.  Russia has disputed that a Buk may have been used.

Pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces were engulfed in fighting each other in eastern Ukraine when the plane crashed. Western experts and governments, including Ukraine officials, immediately blamed the rebels.

The Netherlands has proposed establishing an international tribunal to prosecute the perpetrators, but no suspects have been named so far.

Private rocket manages
to land in Texas flight test

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Space transportation company, Blue Origin, successfully launched and landed a suborbital rocket Tuesday in an important step toward making reusable rockets.

The company, which is owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is competing with Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk’s SpaceX, among others, to enter the commercial rocket business.

“Rockets have always been expendable. Not anymore. Now safely tucked away at our launch site in West Texas is the rarest of beasts, a used rocket,”said Bezos in a Blue Origin blog post.

The New Shepard rocket was launched Monday from the company’s launch site in West Texas and climbed to an altitude of 100 kilometers before landing eight minutes later, according to the company. The top speed reached by New Shepard was over three times the speed of sound, the company said.

The test flight was unmanned, but the rocket is topped with a capsule designed to carry six.

Musk took to Twitter to congratulate Bezos. SpaceX has not succeeded in landing a rocket, but the company has had success launching its spacecraft to higher altitudes at higher speeds.

Blue Origin hopes to offer suborbital flights aboard New Shepard, but also wants to build and launch rockets capable of reaching orbit carrying crew and cargo.

"The vision for Blue is pretty simple," Bezos said at a media event in September. "We want to see millions of people living and working in space, and that’s going to take a long time. It’s a worthwhile goal."

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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

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

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

Special Offer

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

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

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

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

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Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

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

Real estate for sale (paid category)


Caribbean paradise: CAHUITA

New home, beautiful well-built house 200 meters from a lovely beach. Very private, fully titled, excellent water well.  2 large bedrooms, 2 full baths, tub, large open floor plan 26-foot sliding glass doors open to covered porch. Encircling back yard are coral rocks 10 feet tall and behind jungle reserve. Lots of birds and wildlife. House 240 mts. sq, 2,400 sq ft. Lot 1,850 mts. or 19,000 sq. ft. Price $179,000. Very nice neighborhood. Contact 2755-0014 or   More photos HERE!

New Arenal

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

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

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

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

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

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:

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

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

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

Goetl in Palo Seco

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

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.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

Pacific Sur montagee

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

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

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

Located 8 km south of Puerto Jiménez on the way to Matapalo and Corcovado National Park. Great Price $775,000. Contact:
Watch this video for full details.

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

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

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike:   Check out slide show HERE!

Aerial Ocean and Volcano Views with Boutique Coffee! 33 Acres $380,000. Click HERE!

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 233
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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
Gene switch blocks malaria transmission

By the University of California at Irvine news staff

Using a groundbreaking gene editing technique, University of California scientists have created a strain of mosquitoes capable of rapidly introducing malaria-blocking genes into a mosquito population through its progeny, ultimately eliminating the insects’ ability to transmit the disease to humans.

This new model represents a notable advance in the effort to establish an anti-malarial mosquito population, which with further development could help eradicate a disease that sickens millions worldwide each year.

To create this breed, researchers at the Irvine and San Diego campuses inserted a DNA element into the germ line of Anopheles stephensi mosquitoes that resulted in the gene preventing malaria transmission being passed on to an astonishing 99.5 percent of offspring. A. stephensi is a leading malaria vector in Asia.

The study underlines the growing utility of the Crispr method, a powerful gene editing tool that allows access to a cell’s nucleus to snip DNA to either replace mutated genes or insert new ones. Results appear this week in the early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“This opens up the real promise that this technique can be adapted for eliminating malaria,” said Anthony James, professor of molecular biology genetics at the university.

For nearly 20 years, the James lab has focused on engineering anti-disease mosquitoes. His anti-dengue fever models have been tested in cage trials in Mexico, and in 2012, he helped show that antibodies that impair the parasite’s biology adapted from the immune systems of mice can be introduced into mosquitoes. This trait, though, could only be inherited by about half of the progeny.

Earlier this year, University of California at San Diego biologists Ethan Bier and Valentino Gantz working with fruit flies announced the development of a new method for generating mutations in both copies of a gene. This mutagenic chain reaction involved using the Crispr-associated Cas9 nuclease enzyme and allowed for transmission of mutations through the germ line with an inheritance rate of 95 percent.

The two groups collaborated to fuse Bier and Gantz’s method with James’ mosquitoes. Gantz packaged anti-malaria genes with a Cas9 enzyme (which can cut DNA) and a guide RNA to create a genetic cassette that, when injected into a mosquito embryo, targeted a highly specific spot on the germ line DNA to insert the anti-malaria antibody genes.

To ensure that the element carrying the malaria-blocking antibodies had reached the desired DNA site, the researchers included in the cassette a protein that gave the progeny red fluorescence in the eyes. Almost 100 percent of offspring, 99.5 percent, to be exact, exhibited this trait, which James said is an amazing result for such a system that can change inheritable traits.

He added that further testing will be needed to confirm the efficacy of the antibodies and that this could eventually lead to field studies. “This is a significant first step,” said James. “We know the gene works. The mosquitoes we created are not the final brand, but we know this technology allows us to efficiently create large populations.”

Malaria is one of the world’s leading health problems. More than 40 percent of the world’s population live in areas where there is a risk of contracting the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 300 million to 500 million cases of malaria occur each year, and nearly 1 million people die of the disease annually, largely infants,  children and pregnant women, most of them in Africa

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From Page 7:

Per head
From the Web site

Another sports betting site faces charges

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Another Costa Rican betting operation is in legal trouble because investigators in  Massachusetts say the operation worked as a wire room for bookies there.

The state's Attorney General's Office engineered the indictment of and its operator, Travis Prescott, with a litany of charges associated with its betting activities. Among them are money laundering and illegal betting.

The leading figure in the investigation was a Massachusetts man,  John Woodman, 43, who is accused of running a network of  30 agents who took illegal bets from some 700 persons.

As with other Costa Rican operations that functioned as wire rooms, the bettors utilized PerHead and its system to register their bets on professional and college football, basketball, baseball and hockey, according to the indictments.  The Web site registered the bets and tracked them, but the money exchanged hands in person, the indictments added. 

Prescott was not a shrinking violet. He gave an interview in 2012 to The New York Times in which he described his operation and said he had 100 persons working here. The Web site still functions.

Experts said in The Times article that sites like PerHead work in a gray area that might not be considered gambling.

Prescott, if he is not Costa Rican, could be extradited but that might be complicated because gambling is not illegal here. One of the basics of extradition is that the activity must be illegal before a judge will order a suspect sent to another country.

Other Costa Rican sportsbook operators were nabbed as they passed through the United States on trips, and the various law enforcement agencies avoided lengthy extradition proceedings.