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Published Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 21
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Iranian woman here was blindsided by Trump's order
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
with wire service reports

Hamaseh Tayari, a United Kingdom resident who holds an Iranian passport, had been on holiday in Costa Rica with her boyfriend for the last week. When she tried to leave, she inadvertently ran afoul of U.S. changes in immigration rules.

She was due to fly back to Glasgow Sunday morning but was denied entry to her flight because the route went through New York.

She remained stuck for a time at Juan Santamaría airport in Alajuela because she had been unaware of the changes in U.S. immigration policy.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order Friday calling for a 90-day halt to arrivals for persons from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

The executive order places an indefinite ban on admission of Syrian refugees and a 120-day ban on all other refugees.

Ms. Tayari and her boyfriend were trying to find an alternative route home, but they faced financial constraints.

Women for Independence, a political organization originally founded in 2012 to encourage Scottish independence from the United Kingdom, put out a GoFundMe page.

GoFund Me, a website that allows internet users to electronically transfer money to aid different causes or persons, has a page dedicated to helping Ms. Tayari acquire the funds she needs for the flights.

As of Sunday night, the page generated 6,175 euros in donations even though just 2,600 euros were requested. Donations are now closed.

Trump and executive
White House photo
Donald Trump signs the executive order.

“Let's stick two fingers up to Trump and help out Hamaseh as a gesture of solidarity,” the GoFundMe page declared. 

Those who posted comments to the page seemed to be opposed to the immigration order. “This action by Donald Trump does not represent the sentiments of the American majority. I apologize on behalf of the American majority for the actions of an illegitimate president,” one said.

Since that time, the page stated that Ms. Tayari has found an alternate flight.

Trump's executive order has led to widespread confusion. Refugees, green card holders, students and workers have been detained at American airports or barred from boarding international flights to the United States. Protests and outrage have defined some reactions to the policy among U.S. and foreign politicians as well as everyday citizens.

A judge in Brooklyn, New York, ordered a stay on the order as it affected foreigners from the seven countries who already were in the United States with valid visas.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 21
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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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Trio of bicyclists cut down on highway

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A black Mustang, reported to be traveling at a high speed, killed three bicyclists and critically injured a fourth, a woman, early Sunday in Curridabat.

This was the accident that took the greatest number of lives, but there were other fatal mishaps.

The driver of the black Mustang fled, but investigators located the car and then the driver later in the afternoon.

The three men died at the site. A Facebook page called El Pilarico Informa, touting itself as the page for the residents of La Unión canton, published a description of the vehicle as well as a photo of the person it believes to be the driver responsible.

The bodies of the three victims were transferred to the judicial morgue, while the woman was brought to Hospital Calderón Guardia. The deceased were in their late 40s and early 50s at the time of the death, according to investigators. The injured woman is 38-years old.

Investigators are still puzzled as to how and why this accident occurred. A few hours later however, the Fuerza Pública confiscated the vehicle that it believes matches the description given of the one whose driver committed the accident. The fender and one of the passenger windshields is smashed.

That vehicle, a late model Ford Mustang, was found at the Colinas de Monte Alegre section of San Juan in Cartago province.

The route in which the accident happened, the so-called old road to Cartago is used frequently by competitive bike riders to avoid being on the four-laned autopista nearby.

The suspect lives less than a mile from the 4 a.m. accident scene.

Another unusual traffic accident occurred between Friday night and early Saturday morning at Utrapez de Volcán in Buenos Aires, Puntarenas. The accident involved a motorcycle driver and a pedestrian, and both were killed.

According to the preliminary report, the motorcyclist was traveling from Pérez Zeledón towards Buenos Aires before he lost control of the motorcycle. The pedestrian, who was walking along the side of the road, was hit by the out-of-control motorcycle and died at the scene.

The motorcycle driver died an hour later at the clinic in Buenos Aires.

Another cyclist died in a Sunday afternoon traffic accident in Siquirres. The victim was 19 years old.

According to the preliminary report, the young man was apparently leaving Betania de Siquirres via Ruta 32. Investigators said he apparently rode onto the opposite lane and was hit by a minibus.

Another car accident happened at Mora de Turrialba around 2 a.m. Sunday. The car carried three women and two men.

The car apparently skidded and gave several wild turns before slamming into the side of a house. The driver of the vehicle was arrested after he tested positive for alcohol.

One of the male passengers died in the wreck. Investigators said he was 30-years old. Another woman was injured and transferred to Hospital Max Peralta in Cartago. The remaining two female passengers were unharmed.

Study approved for improving Ruta 27

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ruta 27 concessionaire was given the go-ahead to carry out studies considering the possibility of improving the route between San José and Caldera.

The Autopista del Sol, the firm that holds the concession, is looking at options of widening the route itself. The company is also including some of the overpasses and minor bridges along the route.

The Consejo Nacional de Concesiones said that the expansion of bridges is necessary and fundamental to improving traffic conditions on the highway. As part of the contract, investments in improving the highway can be made when the route reaches a certain capacity limit. The study proved that, in some sections, that limit has been reached.

The government agency submitted a preliminary proposal verifying the saturation of traffic last November. The corroborated results could lead to more infrastructure projects in the coming summer along the Caldera highway, one of Costa Rica’s main routes.

Adult and two minors held in theft

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tourist police in Puerto Viejo caught an adult and minor who are suspected of stealing from tourists.

The two suspects were accused of trying to steal several belongings out of a vehicle near Limón province’s Coles Beach Saturday, according to a report. The vehicle belonged to a group of Costa Rican tourists. The police were alerted of the activity by several people who witnessed it.

The police apprehended the suspects on the beach. They were remanded to the prosecutor’s office in Bribri. The stolen belongings were recovered by police and returned to the owners, police said.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 21
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Suspicion centers on two young men in the Parque Nacional at dusk
By Conor Golden
the A.M. Costa Rica staff

While sitting on a green bench lining the charming paths through Parque Nacional, the only thing I expected was maybe to get hassled for a minute by someone asking for money.

A few people were sitting down. A couple shared a kiss, and a pair of policemen were walking by. I continue chatting with my Costa Rican friend.

The police strode across the lawn behind us. I paid no attention. As they got closer, I made eye contact with one of the officers. Apparently, that was the only invitation necessary.

“Could you all please stand up?” one of the officers asked.

We stood up. The police asked us for identification. No big deal. I had a copy of my passport and showed it to him. My friend pulls out a cédula, the card used to identify someone as a Costa Rican national.

Looking at the piece of printer paper with the passport copy, the policeman said,  “It is better to have the original with you.”

Not really wanting to be smart, I simply answer back that I do not want it stolen.

Foreigners who go out on the streets and don't carry their passports may have to ask someone to come bring their paperwork if arrested, according to government authorities.

Hotels and tourism businesses often inform their guests about the country's requirements and tell foreigners to carry at least a copy of their passports. Every year the U.S. State Department actively encourages its citizens to carry copies out on the streets and leave the original passport in a safe place.

The officer behind me moves closer and asks if I could turn out my pockets and submit to a search. I have nothing to hide.

While I fumble around, innocent of any wrongdoing but still nervous of police checking me, the other cop moved around the bench where we were sitting to also search the area. He still held the copy of the passport.

One pat down on the one leg, the other pat down on the other leg and still the policeman doesn’t find anything. I just stand there looking at the officer scouring the ground around the bench with my stuff held loosely out in an attempt to be as non-threatening as a skinny, white kid from the suburbs of Ohio can be.

Checking the back pockets, the officer found a comb stashed there. It keeps my hair pretty. Good thing it was not a knife.
Miniserio de Seguridad Pública photo
This is how police treat real criminals. The men are suspected robbers detained over the weekend in Los Guidos, Desamparados.

The other patrolman picked up something off the ground, a rusted out piece of metal or something. I guess it could be a drug pipette. But then again it could also be a piece of garbage.

Either way, it is too old for us to have been using it.

The policeman handed back the passport copy and started a lecture with his partner chiming in about how unsafe it is in the park at dusk. Everything is in order. We took the hints and thanked them for their cordiality.

Fuerza Pública officers have the right to ask anyone for identification. Frequently the encounter also becomes a search of backpacks and pockets.

Most expats in San José have seen two or more police causing a young man to empty his pockets for inspection.

There usually does not seem to be any probable cause for the searches except that the individual stopped by police officers is young, male and dressed informally.

These stops are not to be confused with efforts by police to shake down individuals. In the past, police officers, mostly in the evening hours, would stop expats and search them with the goal of either taking money or exacting a bribe.

These clearly illegal practices appear to have been ended by a number of arrests of San José-based police officers, including some of the higher ups.

It is also no longer limited to Costa Rica. With the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Utah v. Strieff in June 2016, justices voted 5-3 to reverse a state supreme court decision that originally invalidated a police officer’s random and, what defense lawyers said was an unjustified, search of a pedestrian named Edward Streiff.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 21
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Law enforcement continues its sweep against cutting downed trees
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Law enforcement and environmental agents continued their efforts against those who are logging trees downed by Hurricane Otto. Fuerza Pública officers in Pital said they have confiscated 1,200 planks from three different types of trees.

Police, agents from the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía and judicial agents are visiting properties in the area to uncover who may be lumbering downed trees.

The three tree species that contributed planks are gavilán (Simaruba glauca DC), cativo (Prioria Copaifera Griceb) and cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa), the Fuerza Pública said.

Casa Presidencial has issued a decree prohibiting landowners from harvesting more than 15 downed trees without a permit. Even then, the use of mechanized power is discouraged due to possible damage to the soil, the decree said.

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Here are some of the confiscated boards.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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Put Costa Rica on your walls
The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is the perfect place to find quality Costa Rican and international art for your home or office.  With over 60 artists and 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we have been your source for fine art since 2010.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever. Located just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport (towards the beaches).

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Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
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Georgre Lundquist header

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.

George Lundquist

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Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 21
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colorful cran
Pensoft publishers photo
This colorful hermit crab is a new species found off the Caribbean island of Bonaire by underwater photographer Ellen Muller. The crab has just been reported in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Scientists find the cause
for severe dengue fever

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The cause of a severe form of dengue fever has been identified. The finding offers the possibility of earlier lifesaving care and the development of drugs to treat the tropical illness.

Experts say one third of the world’s population lives in countries where dengue fever is endemic. It is caused by the bite of a mosquito that harbors the dengue virus.

There are four varieties of the virus. The symptoms include fever, body aches and malaise. These can be relatively mild the first time a person is infected. A second infection, however, can be life-threatening. It can cause a hemorrhagic form of the disease, leading to severe bleeding and death. The question for scientists is, why?

An international team led by Jeffrey Ravetch, head of the molecular genetics and immunology lab at Rockefeller University in New York, found that it has to do with protective antibodies that are produced by the body’s immune system when exposed to dengue a second time.

“If they are not able to neutralize the viral strains, but not seeing the right structures on the virus or if they are not in a high enough concentration called a titer, then instead of protecting, they actually enhance disease," said Ravetch.

"They can do that because the antibodies actually will bind to the virus instead of eliminating the virus," he explained. "They actually aid the virus in infecting cells.”

The phenomenon is called antibody-dependent enhancement, or ADE.

Ravetch and an international team of scientists identified a sign or signature of the misdirected antibodies that can lead to hemorrhagic dengue. The finding was published in the journal Science.

Currently, there is no treatment for severe dengue, only supportive care. By identifying the mechanism that causes the hemorrhagic form of the disease, Ravetch said it is possible to develop treatments that interrupt the infection. Thousands of Costa Ricans contract the disease each year.

There is a vaccine against dengue virus called Dengvaxia, but it is only about 60 percent effective in protecting people against infection with the disease.

In some cases, the vaccine has produced a severe form of dengue in people who are vaccinated. It is as if the inoculation acts as a first infection producing the life- threatening hemorrhagic form in the event someone actually contracts the illness from an infected mosquito.

Ravetch said he is interested in seeing whether there's an antibody signature in those who become sick after being vaccinated against dengue.

Ravetch notes that dengue is in the same family of viruses as zika. Experts say a past infection with dengue makes it more likely that someone will develop a form of zika that causes birth defects and other severe complications. A treatment for dengue virus might also inform scientists trying to develop a cure for Zika.

Trump’s new trade war
with México complicated

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by phone with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, a conversation Trump described as very friendly almost a day after Peña Nieto canceled a planned trip to Washington.

Trump said his talk with Peña Nieto Friday lasted for about an hour and that the two of them will be working on a fair and new relationship. However, Trump also said the two countries would be renegotiating their trade deals and said he would make sure the United States does not lose on trade.

Trump did not mention the wall he wants to build along the U.S.-Mexico border, the issue that led to Peña Nieto's cancellation of next week's meeting with Trump in Washington. Trump insists that México pay for the wall, while Peña Nieto says México will not.

A White House statement said, “With respect to payment for the border wall, both presidents recognize their clear and very public differences of positions on this issue but have agreed to work these differences out as part of a comprehensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship.”

A statement from Peña Nieto's office echoed the U.S. one, saying that the countries agreed to resolve their differences as part of ongoing discussions about the relationship, but added the president also agreed for now not to talk publicly about this controversial issue.

Thursday, the White House said Trump had a buffet of options on how to get México to pay for the wall.

The White House initially said Thursday that Trump wanted to slap a 20 percent tax on all imports from México. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters the new tax would raise $10 billion a year and easily pay for the wall. He also said the president discussed the idea with congressional leaders and wanted to include the measure in a comprehensive tax reform package that Congress would have to approve.

Later, the White House said the idea was just one of several options on the table for paying for a wall along the southern border. Trump had yet to decide how the U.S. would recoup the costs of his proposed border wall.

U.S. taxpayers initially would foot the bill for the wall, which is expected to cost as much as $15 billion.

It is unclear what retaliatory steps México could take if the border tax is approved, because exports to the U.S. are essential to the Mexican economy.

The wall along the U.S.-México border would be primarily aimed at stopping illegal immigration into the United States. But many Mexicans regard it as an insult, and the rough terrain and stretches of private property along the border could make building the wall a long and complicated project.

Trade with México may not be as lopsided as Trump would have Americans believe. Bilateral trade in goods and services between the two countries was indeed massive, estimated at $583 billion in 2015. Of that, the office of the United States Trade Representative, or USTR, reported that total U.S. exports to México amounted to $267 billion, while Mexican imports to the United States were $316 billion. That leaves the U.S. with a $49.2 billion trade deficit.

On closer examination, that's not the entire story. In the category of professional services, the U.S. may actually have the upper hand. Total trade in services between the two countries was $52.4 billion in 2015, with the U.S. exporting $30.8 billion in services and taking in $21.6 billion from México. That means the U.S. actually enjoyed a service trade surplus of $9.2 billion. The top service categories include travel, transportation and computer software.

México is the third-largest supplier of goods bound for the U.S., but it's also the United States' second largest export market, supporting an estimated 1.1 million jobs in the U.S. since signing the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994. U.S. exports to México have risen 468 percent, accounting for nearly 16 percent of overall U.S. exports.

Economists say trade between the two countries also is complicated. That is one of the reasons why some trade analysts say it makes no sense to punish one of America's closest trading partners. William Galston at the Brookings Institution in Washington says Trump needs to be careful not to hurt American businesses when renegotiating established trade deals.

Galston added that disrupting that conveyor belt of trade is unlikely to bring back American jobs.

Mexican goods bound for the U.S. include agricultural products, such as vegetables, fruit and beer. Creating a border adjustment tax for Mexican goods, as Trump has proposed, could hurt Mexican producers, but it would also have a direct effect on American consumers, by raising prices of the Mexican products they buy.

survival capsul
Voice of America photo  
Jeanne Johnson plans to ride out a tsunami with her dog, Trixie, in Survival Capsule's tsunami pod.

Capsule created to survive
typhoons and hurricanes

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A small company in the northwestern U.S. is drawing global interest in a high tech way to survive a tsunami.

The company has created an escape pod, called a survival capsule that could also protect residents on vulnerable coastlines in the event of a hurricane or typhoon. In either case, survival involves climbing into a spherical aluminum pod, and buckling in for what is sure to be a wild ride.

Jeanne Johnson is the first U.S. buyer of this technology. She just recently moved from the Seattle area to what she calls her dream home at the beach. It is about midway up the sandy, flat Long Beach Peninsula in southwest Washington state, and, she recognized, in a tsunami zone.

Geologic records show the Cascadia earthquake fault offshore is capable of and has a history of generating massive tsunamis. In an effort to protect its residents, the city of Long Beach is using grant money to design an armored, man-made hill that could be used as a tsunami evacuation platform for at least 850 people.

But Ms. Johnson does not think that would work for her. While she could make a run for high ground, the Microsoft executive doubts she could reach safety in the short time between the end of the shaking of a great earthquake and incoming tsunami waves.

"When I decided to move to the ocean into a tsunami zone I felt like I should prepare. People panic and I don't want to be caught in the panic," she explained.

So she did a bit of Internet research and discovered a different option: a bright orange, high-strength floating metal ball that looks like something the National Aeronautics and Space Administration had designed for astronauts. She has taken delivery and is now deciding whether to tether her capsule in her herb garden or keep it in the garage.

The aircraft-grade aluminum sphere is about one and a third meters in diameter. It has a round marine door and two tiny portholes. Inside, air supply tanks and about six to seven days' worth of drinking water come standard. A small portable toilet is an optional feature.

"My model is big enough for two people to be buckled in like a pilot's seat," she said, adding that she wants her dog Trixie to join. "I have friends who say, 'Oh my God, wouldn't it be claustrophobic? How can you stand it?' All I can think is, what's my option? To drown? I would rather be in that ball for the ride of my life and maintain my life."

That ball is the creation of a startup called Survival Capsule, based near Seattle. Company president Julian Sharpe is an aerospace engineer. He got the idea for the product lying awake one night while spending the weekend at a beach town in Oregon.

"I thought, 'Well, what happens now if a tsunami comes?'" he recalled. "I just thought it's going to be a disaster because I've got four sleeping kids. If it comes at night, the lights are going to be out. You don't necessarily know where you're going. You can't see the wave, how far it is. So I thought it would be great if I could design something to throw the family in and ride it out. That's where it all started."

While the inspiration for the product was tsunami survival, Sharpe said his company's capsules are now drawing additional interest from people worried about hurricanes or typhoons.

"Rather than evacuate from hurricanes and be 200 miles away while the hurricane decides it wants to go in a different direction, leaving their home vulnerable - or business vulnerable - to looting, they want to stay at home and have a tsunami capsule as a last line of defense."

The two-person survival capsule starts at $13,500. A four-person model lists for $17,500. The company's initial sales have been to Japanese customers - eight capsule kits so far. Sharpe anticipates local governments in Japan could become a major customer base, although the company has two competitors in that market who are offering similar-looking survival pods. Survival Capsule has also held initial talks to license its design for fabrication in Indonesia, which might produce a lower cost for customers in developing nations.

colorful map
Carnegie University photo
Colorful map created by the Carnegie Airborne Observatory shows forest canopies in the Peruvian Andes

Laser-guided imagery sheds
light on rainforest diversity

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Rainforests, it turns out, are not created equal.

Take the Amazon rainforest, an area that covers about 7 million square kilometers. It lies within the borders of nine South American countries: Brazil, with 60 percent of the rainforest, Perú, Colómbia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.

But within that huge expanse are all kinds of ecological zones, and some of these zones, says Greg Asner, the principal investigator at the Carnegie Airborne Observatory are a lot more crowded than others.

"Some forests have many species of trees," he said, "others have few. Many forests are unique from others in terms of their overall species composition"

All of these different small areas of forest exist within the giant space that is the Amazon Rainforest. So Asner, using the observatory's signature technique called airborne laser-guided imaging spectroscopy, began to map these different zones from the air.

"By mapping the traits of tropical forests from above," he explains, "we are, for the first time, able to understand how forest composition varies geographically."

The results show up in crazy-looking multicolored maps, with each color representing different kinds of species, different kinds of trees, the different kinds of chemicals they are producing and using, and even the amount of biodiversity, the animal and plant species that live within each zone.

Armed with this information, Asner says decision-makers now have "a first-time way to decide whether any given forest geography is protected well enough or not. If not, then new protections can be put in place to save a given forest from destruction."

The Carnegie team joined with the Peruvian Ministry of Environment on this project. Working together, they were able to find about 121 million square kilometers of biologically unique lowland Amazonian forest. They also discovered around 28 thousand square kilometers of peatland forest in northern Perú that could be conserved, as well as 6,000 square meters of distinct foothills and high Andean forests that are highly threatened.

Asner said the information is a great way for decision-makers to develop a cost-benefit ratio type analysis. Conservation efforts can be expensive, so armed with this information, government leaders can ensure they are making the most of their conservation dollars by focusing on areas that are the most biologically diverse or unique.

The next step, Asner said, is to take his project global, and to put his eyes even higher in the sky, on orbital satellites.

"The technique we developed and applied to map Peru is ready to go global," Asner said. "We want to put the required instrumentation on an Earth-orbiting satellite, to map the planet every month, which will give the best possible view of how the world's biodiversity is changing, and where to put much needed protections."

It's an ambitious project but the technology, Asner said, is ready. If and when it gets put up in space, it will give conservationists a way to track not just the rainforest, but the world's changing biodiversity.

Climate change could add
to oceanic mercury levels

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Climate change is never as simple as the world is getting warmer. It is a complicated string of cause and effect.

And a new study suggests one of those strings could have a huge impact on some seafood. The new research is a collaboration between researchers at Umeå University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and is being published today in the journal Science Advances.

It points to a link between extreme weather, increased water runoff and potentially massive increases in the levels of dangerous mercury in coastal zones, coastal seas and lakes. Basically, any areas, lead author Erik Björn said that receive large input from runoff.

The study comes to its conclusions based on evidence that predicts global warming is expected to increase runoff and input of organic matter to aquatic ecosystems in large regions of the Northern hemisphere.

That 15 to 30 percent increase in water off of farms and lawns and roads, the study says, will cloud ocean water, resulting in reductions in the production of phytoplankton via photosynthesis. Phytoplankton serves as the primary bottom rung of the food chain throughout the world’s oceans and lakes.

With less sunlight and a lot of organic material, the environment begins to favor bacteria called zooplankton, which feed on all the junk washed into the water.

That is bad for two reasons: the first is that the runoff carries a greater discharge of mercury and organic carbon to coastal ecosystems, which leads to higher levels of mercury in the small animals living there. The study estimates the amount of mercury in zooplankton could jump by 200 to 700 percent.

Second, all that runoff means animals that were eating primarily phytoplankton have to eat more zooplankton, and that means even more mercury gets into their systems, and up and up through the food chain.

It is hard to overestimate the negative effects that mercury has on humans, especially children. Björn laid out just how dangerous the chemical is: “Mercury is considered one of the top ten chemicals of public health concern by the World Health Organization.”

In the European Union, he noted 1.8 million children are born each year with prenatal exposure levels of methyl-mercury considered unsafe and the adverse effects of mercury poisoning in the EU are estimated to cost 90 million euros each year.

Those numbers are current, he said, and if climate change leads to increased erosion, the health effects will get worse and the associated price tag, higher.

One quick note, the climate change model the team used assumes we keep pumping carbon into the atmosphere at the same rate we do today. If we cut back on emissions, it could lower the amount of mercury that ends up on our dinner table.

Björn also pointed to global efforts like the 2013 Minamata Convention on Mercury, signed by 128 countries and ratified by 36 with a sense of optimism. It deeply restricts mercury mining, its use and its disposal.

The link between climate change, erosion and ultimately more mercury in our systems is long, involved and complicated, just like the climate. But by following the mercury, these researchers present a fascinating cautionary tale of how seemingly unrelated events can lead to unexpected, unintended and dangerous outcomes.

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                                  Tamarindo 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 Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices. For more information, please contact our local phones: 506-2653-0073 Tamarindo / 506-2201-9056 Flamingo ~ Toll Free: 1-866-976-8898 or email:  or click here

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                                  Farm rollover
Beautiful farm in excellent location
At only an hour's drive from San José, minutes from Guápiles, and boardering Braulio Carrillo National Park, Etlingera Farms is one heck of an amazing farm. We purchased this 77-acre farm 10 years ago after many trips, and an exhaustive search. It has a little bit of everything we were looking for and a whole lot of beauty. Our average elevation of 600 meters helps to keep Bella Vista cool year round. This farm is nearly level with a semi-modern 2-bedroom house. A fairly rustic 2-bedroom caretaker's home. And, a comfortable, 1-bedroom cabin where we stay. We have 2 large barns, a chicken coop, and a 3-stall pig pen. There are two tilapia ponds and 2 hectarias, (approximately 5 acres) of different species of bananas. The property boarders Rio Blanco in the rear and has 300 meters of public road frontage. Water, electricity, and telephone are all serviced by public utility. Etlingera Farms was reforested with several thousand wood trees of different tropical varieties. We truly believe this farm is spectacular. Our neighbors are selling for as much as $20 per meter. We are negotiable, motivated and open to offers. Our location can be found by searching Etlingera Farms on Google Maps. Our webpage is and photo album can be found at

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

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


Situated 3 miles west of the capital, 8 miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, 6 restaurants,  next to 2 bus line stops. Car ownership is not needed. January-March air temperatures are 72 to 80 degrees F.  Apartment 1,200 sq. ft (100 sq. meters), on ground floor, indoor  patio. Large windows without bars, parquet floors.  Spacious living room-dining area, 2 bedrooms, maid's room, 2 bathrooms, 4 closets  (including walk in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine,small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools). Close covered parking space in guarded area.  Many amenities, (pictures, indoor plants, sewing machine, books, keyboard, dishes, glassware,silverware). Annual cost of maintenance about $1,350 includes water, landscaping service, garbage disposal, 24-7 security and property taxes.
PRICE $120,000
 Available for viewing:   CONTACT:  USA :  (585) 969-3413 or (585) 266-7418 or in COSTA RICA : (506) 2231-0410.   email:

Sámara titled land for sale by owner
5.7 acres. Only 150 meters to beach: $275,000
Less than $12 a meter

Fully titled, held by corporation. 150 meters to beach! Paved road frontage. Electric, phone and broadband internet at the road. Year-round water on property for well. 3 -minute drive to Sámara center and a 3-minute walk to Playa Sámara. 23,561 square meters / 5.7 acres. Property was purchased on 2005 with plans to develop 21 villas on the property. Project was halted due to real estate market collapse in 2007.  We are no longer interested in developing due to age, health and motivation!  Priced well below market value for quick sale.  More info click HERE! Email:    Phone: 506-4033-6695.

Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call # 509-570-1928 or email 

San Rmon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: 
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Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 21
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
How about a nice fungicide bath?

Do you know what you get when you mix water and vinegar, garlic, marigold, and tobacco from two packs of cigarettes? You get a home brew of fungicide! And then? Then you let it sit in the sun for 7 to 10 days,

Victoria Torley
covered of course so it is not diluted by rainwater.

What’s next? Well, having just finished spraying my fruit trees with this delightful combination, I would suggest kissing your loved ones goodbye, getting into the oldest most ragged clothes you own, donning your boots, and, if 
possible, sealing your hair into an old bathing cap, the kind they wear in the Olympics, then grabbing your sprayer. You will have to strain the mix into the sprayer in order to filter out particles of, well just about everything, so get your strainer out as well. All set? Then you are ready to head down to the fruit trees.

A word of caution, try to do the spraying on a day with very little wind. Not that it matters too much because you are going to get some of this mixture just about everywhere. It’s just inevitable.

Sprayer in hand I trudged down to the fruit trees where some of the leaves are yellow with fungus. I had thought that I would spray lightly and move on to the next tree, but the specialist who helped me make this noxious mixture said,” Oh no, you have to drench the leaves.” Evidently, this means that this mixture must drip from the leaves as if they had been rained upon.

The next thing I knew, I was nearly at the top step of a ladder drenching the top of the tree with a noxious compound. Wind blew the mix back at me. I sneezed and the ladder rocked. Down off the ladder, I sprayed leaves and branches top and bottom until they were drenched with moisture. Periodically, a gust of wind sprayed the mix back in my face. My clothes and everything around me smelled of vinegar and garlic. My laughing gardener said I smelled like salad. Had he been a few steps closer, he would have smelled like salad as well (I can get mean with a sprayer).

Somewhere around the third tree, the sprayer began to act up, gushing liquid from around the seal and onto my hand and clothes. I’m a persistent kind of person but I have to say that this was just too much for me. I trudged back up the hill and headed directly for the shower. Since I have never been an Olympic swimmer I had to wash my hair twice.

If this stuff works, I’ll be happy to use it again. But next time, I’m going to find and wear an old hazmat suit.

A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley
Plant for the Week

Few things say sunshine like a bright yellow-orange cosmos flower (Cosmos sulphureus), although the genus comes in many different colors. Plant them in full sun and well-drained soil and they will produce a multitude of blossoms then self-seed. Collect seeds for planting in new areas or just let them pop up where they will and enjoy the sunshine.

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit HERE!
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From Page 7:

Tourism chamber pleased by Solís on taxes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The tourism chamber is expressing pleasure that President Luis Guillermo Solís said he does not agree with officials who want to tax the industry.

Solís made his comments Friday at the 19th Congreso Nacional de Turismo.

The issue stems from a 2014 decision by the Dirección General de Tributación to expand the interpretation of the sales tax law. Tourism operators were astonished when tax inspectors demanded five years of back sales taxes because of a new reading on the law.

The tax officials reinterpreted the law which taxes income at what are called recreational centers or similar. The tax agency considered most tourism operators that charge admission to be centers. That included such activities as rainforest hikes and bungee jumping.

Eventually the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo rejected the interpretation by  Tributación, and tourism operators thought that ended the dispute.

But in October Tributación came out with yet another decree saying basically the same thing.

Despite the president’s opposition, the issue is likely to be settled in the legal and not the political arena. Tourism operators who oppose the new decree probably will have to present their cases to an internal tax panel and pay up front what Tributación says they owe.