New regulations are coming for gas industry

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía is currently working on new regulations for the commercial exploitation of propane and butane gas.

The new rules seek to improve the security standards during the packaging, storage, transportation and distribution of the product. They also require stronger traceability to properly track down gas cylinders in case of an emergency.

Right now, government is working on a first draft of the new regulations and, along with the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio will take it to a public consultation with consumers and producers of the gas.

The final version of the draft will be presented at the end of June before the Ministerio de Economía for its approval. 

“With the application of this new regulation users will benefit from greater security in the service, based on the new traceability schemes. In addition, consumers will have improved  mechanisms to request a better and availability of the product.

In Costa Rica, butane and propane gas is used mainly by the industrial sector and residential consumers It is also used in hotels, hospitals, and schools. A.M. Costa Rica reported that all aluminum gas tanks tested on safety compliance by the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos did not pass the test, posing a higher risk of leakages and explosions to consumers. The gas industry has been on the spot in the last years because of explosions that have killed users and destroyed businesses.

Last year in March, a potato-themed restaurant located close to Universidad de Costa Rica was destroyed by a gas tank explosion. Another case happened in Jan. 2013, when a small restaurant in San José set on fire after a gas tank was ignited. The cause of that fire was leakage. The owner and cook died two days later in the intensive care unit at Hospital San Juan de Dios.

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Almost 800 detained in Montes de Oca

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Almost 800 people have been arrested in the canton of Montes de Oca, according to recent data provided by the public security ministry. Most of these were for drug offenses.

The Ministerio de Seguridad Pública said that, of the 786 arrested so far this year, 595 were for violations of the anti-drug policy. The rest were rounded up for crimes of theft, destruction of property and disorderly conduct. January 2017 was the most recorded month of apprehensions in this canton, according to officials.

Aside from the usual confiscations of cocaine, crack and illegal firearms, marijuana remained the primary drug in relation to the detentions of these persons.

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Cruz Roja decides to plant some trees

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

All the branches of the Cruz Roja Costarricense joined in on Monday’s celebration of World Environment Day by planting some trees of its own in the hopes of raising awareness of climate change.

Monday saw each auxiliary committee of the Cruz Roja planting at least one tree. The organization said this is why people may have noticed staff in the parks, squares and streets over the weekend. These humanitarian workers were also out handing informative proposals and reforesting the outdoor spaces, a statement from the group said.

The Cruz Roja took the opportunity to promote the creation and launching of even more auxiliary committees and note the organization’s commitment to become a carbon-neutral organization by 2020.

“Recognizing that Costa Rica is one of the countries most vulnerable to risk, we consider it necessary for the Cruz Roja to help facilitate preventive, reconstructive and follow-up processes on issues that include climate change and carbon neutrality,” according to one of the main resolutions implemented by the Congreso Nacional de Cruz Roja on climate change.

“The principle of solidarity must be united through actions reaching everyone and giving meaning to the principle of humanity with a vision of development.”

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Bones found close to Costa Rican border dusted off for new study

By the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
press staff

A new report by Smithsonian archaeologists and colleagues in the International Journal of Paleopathology identifies a bone tumor in the upper right arm of an adolescent who was buried around 1300 CE in a trash heap at a site in western Panamá called Cerro Brujo or Witch Hill. The reason for what appears to be a ritual burial in this abandoned pre-Colombian settlement is unknown.

“Based on the analysis of a tooth from the individual, we think he or she was buried about 150 years after the settlement was abandoned,” said Nicole Smith-Guzmán, post-doctoral fellow in staff scientist Richard Cooke’s lab at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panamá.

“And based on the fact that the body was tightly wrapped in the fetal position and buried face down with two clay pots and a shell trumpet like those still used by indigenous Ngäbe people in this area today, we consider this a ritual burial.”

The institute’s archaeologist Olga Linares (1936–2014) and Anthony Ranere, a professor emeritus at Temple University, discovered the burial in 1970, during a study funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Ms. Linares proposed that the first inhabitants of Cerro Brujo were farmers who had fled to the site, about 3 kilometers from the Caribbean coast, from the nearby Chiriquí highlands when Volcán Barú erupted around 600 CE.

Ms. Linares and Ranere found evidence that the site was inhabited twice, once from about 600 CE and a second time between 780 and 1252 CE.

Cerro Brujo is a part of Bocas del Toro province, a popular tourist destination just across the border with Costa Rica near Sixaola.

The province of Chiriquí is just across the Costa Rican border with Panamá. Expats who have traveled by car or bus down to the southern border know that a road from the border crossing at Paso Canoas leads to David and Chiriquí.

Volcán Barú is nearby to Boquete, an area that includes a substantial expat community and property relatively placed in the middle of the isthmus in western Panamá just kilometers away from the Costa Rican border.

The burial in question, in the largest of five ancient trash pits at the site, may have been placed there because it was the site where the individual’s ancestors lived.

A large town site nearby, Sitio Drago near Boca del Drago on Isla Colón, excavated by University of California-Los Angeles archaeologist Tom Wake was occupied from roughly 600 CE until 1410 CE.

Boca del Drago is also located in Bocas del Toro province very close to the border with Costa Rica.

Ms. Smith-Guzmán is a bio-archaeologist who analyzes ancient bones to look for signs of health problems. In looking at the remains from the site 46 years later, she was surprised to find evidence of cancer in the upper right arm of an individual who was probably 14 to 16 years old.

“As far as we know, this is the first case of cancer in ancient human remains reported from Central America,” Ms. Smith-Guzmán said.

“Both osteosarcoma and Ewing sarcoma, the two most likely cancers in this case, are most common in children and adolescents. Most of the published cases of these cancers in the past were from adults, probably due to the poor preservation of non-adult skeletal remains making this find especially rare.”

Most of the other examples of bone cancers are from places in the world with much more extensive collections of archaeological material. This form of cancer typically leaves a very characteristic sunburst pattern in the bone.

The bones also show evidence of anemia that may have been a result of the cancer or of another inflammatory or metabolic disease.

Three dimensional models of the humerus, one from a CT scan and the other from photogrammetry, are available in a program called Sketch Fab and in the supplementary material included in the article for use by other archaeologists and health professionals.

Shell trumpets like the one at the site made from an Atlantic triton shell, or Charonia variegata, are used in the balsería ritual practiced by Ngäbe peoples in this region of Panamá.

The Ngäbe believe that a disruption of the balance between the natural and supernatural worlds can lead to sickness when a malevolent spirit enters the body during a dream to steal the soul.

Traditionally, when a person was sick, a Ngäbe shaman, called a Sukia, would attempt to heal a patient using herbal remedies such as Hoffmannia longipetiolata, a plant still used in Ngäbe communities as an analgesic.

Ms. Smith-Guzmán will use DNA analysis, in collaboration with geneticists at the University of Göttingen, to learn more about the ancestry of the individual and the type of cancer s/he suffered from.

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Mission Blue joins with Costa Rica marine groups off Isla del Coco

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A scientific expedition led by renowned oceanographer, Dr. Sylvia Earle, just returned from Parque Nacional Isla del Coco where they spent over 10 days placing trackers on hammerhead sharks, sea turtles and other marine wildlife.

According to a recent statement by the Asociación CREMA, a non-profit group engaged in marine conservation advocacy, seven acoustic transmitters were placed on sharks and sea turtles to track their movements.

The group also removed abandoned fishing gear near one of their dive sites that had tangled in the coral off the shoreline of the island.

Dr. Earle’s Mission Blue team includes the national park as one of its Mission Blue spots.

Her organization often travels to different marine protected areas and networks with similarly-minded advocacy groups and organizations to create a global effort at raising awareness and establishing marine conservation policy, according to the group’s website.

A documentary called “Mission Blue” was recently released back in 2014 showcasing Dr. Earle’s lifetime of work as a marine biologist and oceanographer.

For its part, Mission Blue has partnered with CREMA-Costa Rica and Fins Attached Marine Research and Conservation groups on this recent expedition.

Alex Antoniou, the president of Fins Attached, cautioned that park rangers at Isla del Coco must be appropriately equipped to deter illegal fishing operations in the area.

Antoniou seeks for the governments of Costa Rica and Ecuador to create the Cocos Galapagos Swimway, a transboundary marine protected area.

“Information is urgently needed to justify the creation of protected swimways for highly migratory species to other islands of the Eastern Tropical Pacific such as the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador and Malpelo Island, Colombia,” said Randall Arauz of Fins Attached.

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Justice ministry heads chosen as marshals for 2017 Diversity Parade

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

For their open support in favor the LGBTIQ community, Cecilia Sánchez and Marco Feoli have been designated marshals of the upcoming Diversity Parade, to be held in San José next June 25.

Ms. Sánchez and Feoli are the current minister and vice-minister of the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz and have been chosen by the organization of the parade for using their political influence to dignify and make visible the needs of vulnerable people.

According to Javier Umaña, one of the organizers, both officials have shown hard work in the defense, promotion and recognition in human rights of historically-discriminated populations, such as inmates and sexually diverse people.

Some of the initiatives Ms. Sánchez and Muñoz have supported in the past are the declaration of the justice and peace ministry facilities as a space free of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

They have also pushed for a reform in the internal regulations of the ministry, in order to extend the benefits of public officers to their same-sex partners.

That way sexually diverse workers are granted days off for marriage, mourning of a significant other  or the use of medical services.

Ms. Sánchez and Feoli also entitled prisoners to enjoy a weekly visitation from their same-sex partners and granted the inmates the right to dress according to the gender they feel identified with.

“I am honored that the efforts we have made in the penitentiary system are acknowledged,” said Ms. Sánchez. “As a country, we move forward when we renounce stigma and prejudice.”

“Let us be clear that our main responsibility is to build a more just society, in which there are no citizens of different categories.” said Feoli.

The Diversity Parade has taken place for the last eight years. It starts at the Leon Cortés statue in La Sabana and crosses all Paseo Colón and part of the Avenida Segunda. During the parade, shows, concerts, food sales, disguise contests and dancing take place.

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Costa Rica jumps in convention index

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica jumped more than ten places in its ranking as a conventions and meetings destination, according to the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

The ranking is developed by the International Congress and Convention Association and according to it, the country has moved forward ten positions in the scale since last year, going from place 63 to 53.

This is the result of a two year aggressive strategy aimed at promoting the country as a destination and as a powerhouse in the tourist industry. The association organizes 120,000 congresses which, in turn, moves 120 million business tourists all around the world each year. The conventions and meetings industry generates $11.5 billion in revenue worldwide each year, according to Mauricio Ventura, the minister of Tourism.

“The convention and meetings industry attracts a type of visitor who spends more money during his stay,” said Ventura. “It allows us to generate fresh incomes all year long and it help us break apart the low and high season cycle,” said Ventura.

To improve Costa Rica’s presence in the international conventions arena, the institute will be part of the International Fair for Travel and Meetings Markets In Latin America and the Caribbean, which is taking place in Chile this week.

“This fair is an opportunity for countries that want to show their potential in this market. It has a high quality of buyers, who look for new destinations for their events,” said Tatiana Orozco, head of the Conventions and Meetings Division at the tourism institute.

The institute also confirmed that Ventura has been granted an award by the Foro Latinoamericano, a private organizations who encourages the contributions of political authorities, ministers and other influencer in this specific market.

“It is truly an honor to be the first representative of Costa Rica to receive this important recognition, which is extensive to the great team at the Instituto,” said Ventura.

According to a statement released by Casa Presidencial, since 2015, the institute has started an aggressive strategy to compete in the world of conventions and meetings industry.

The strategy includes the participation in specialized tourist fairs, strategic alliances, development of a specialized marketing plan and the hiring of world class advisors, says the document.

In addition, the institute has created the Convention and Meetings Tourism Division, which includes  specialized professionals to address this specific niche. It has also launched the Ambassadors Program, which trains professionals from different areas on how to sell Costa Rica as a destination when they attend their own trainings, conferences or seminars.

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Alerta Verde issued for entire country

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Heavy downpours will continue for the rest of week in the north, central and south Pacific areas of the country, according to the forecast issued by Instituto Meteorológico Nacional.

However, a slight reduction in rain will be perceived Wednesday and Thursday where isolated downpours will take place specially in the afternoon. Wednesday morning will be a sunny one in the Central Valley.

As of Friday, heavy rains are expected to come back and remain the whole weekend, as a tropical wave is passing through the country, the Instituto explains in its forecast.

Due to the strong rain expected, the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias has declared a green alert for the whole country, meaning emergency bodies in municipalities, rescue organizations and citizens should be alert for any possible floods or landslides.

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Ruta 32 closing again starting Thursday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Ruta 32 will be closing again this week Thursday and Friday as the public works ministry continues with its line painting.

The road, which connects the capital to Limón, will repeat the same requirements as conducted last week with a total closure of a certain sector of the road. According to a statement from the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes, Ruta 32 will be closed between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. for both days

The closure will occur between the crossing at Río Frío and the toll station in the area of Heredia, officials said. The demarcation work apparently requires the full closure of the road as the route is notorious for poor visibility due to weather conditions and the nature of the landscape.

This painting will also allow work to continue filling the deep potholes in the area with an investment of around 700 million colons, or around $1.2 million, according to Mauricio Sojo, a representative with the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad.

If weather conditions are poor then the work will stop and passage be opened immediately to drivers, Sojo said. Public works advises drivers to use alternate routes such as Vara Blanca or Ruta 10 to Turrialba.

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Fireworks destroyed so far surpasses other years

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Boom, crack and pop went the first of over 229,000 pieces of fireworks captured by the security ministry for 2017 on Tuesday.

Specialists attached to the Dirección General de Armamento who handle explosives gathered up the seized goods in one big pile at Los Sitios de Moravia in the province of San José, according to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

William Hidalgo, the head of the armament section, was the one who pressed the button that blew up the firework pile.

The ministry was quick to note, however, that this was carried out under the strictest supervision of the public security ministry, the Bomberos de Costa Rica and the Cruz Roja.

This represents the first incineration of fireworks by the government this year, officials said.

According to data provided by the armament section, more almost three million pieces of fireworks have been destroyed since 2007.

This includes the stash destroyed Tuesday.

The seized articles are both legal and illegal fireworks seized by police officers attached to the Fuerza Pública and Fronteras.

A substantial amount of fireworks, at almost half of the total destroyed, were done between 2015 and 2016.

They included interesting names such as espanta suegras, Spanish for frighten mother-in-law, and curatos de dinamita, or dynamite rooms.

It was not reported if officials had fun blowing up the captured gods.

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Fieldwork finds a frog originally believed extinct

By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

After 30 years hidden from human eyes and 13 years after it was officially declared as extinct by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the red-belly frog has reappeared thanks to the field inspections carried out by School of Biology at Universidad de Costa Rica.

The frog’s comeback was officially announced last Tuesday morning during the celebration of the Environment Week at the university’s main campus in San Pedro de Montes de Oca, San José.

However, it was first found on Sept 19, 2016 in the Parque Nacional Juan Castro Blanco, located in the city of Ciudad Quesada, in the province of Alajuela.

That day, researchers Gilberth Alvarado and Randall Jiménez were performing a routine amphibians sampling when they came across a specimen.

The frog is an adult female, brown and about six centimeters long.

Right away, scientists noticed the red mark on the belly and knew they stumbled upon a huge discovery.

The finding occurred at an altitude of 1,820 meters. Biologists concluded there must be a population around the area. Little is known about the species, as it has been hardly studied.

“It was a completely clear night, without rain, stars and a full moon, all the required conditions for not seeing frogs,” Alvarado said.

The scientists decided to keep the specimen alive, and start an Amphibian Conservation Program at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

For that purpose, a special site has been designed in order to keep the frog in captivity and encourage their reproduction with the right temperature, humidity and asepsy.

This space is under construction and will be located at the Experimental Station Alfredo Volio Mata in Ochomogo, province of Cartago.

“Each animal is a product of evolution and is a design that has taken millions of years to reach the genetic material that forms that species,” said Alvarado.  “When you lose one, not only an empty niche remains  but it also loses the function it  fulfills as well as its biological design.”

In 2004, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature declared three species of amphibians that existed only in Costa Rica as extinct.

However two of them have reappeared, according to the School of Biology. One is the the red-bellied frog and the other the deaf toad or toad of Holdridge, which inhabited Cerro Chompipe in Heredia.

The third one, the golden toad or Monteverde toad, which became a symbol of amphibian decline has not yet resurfaced and it is considered the first victim of global warming.

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Costa Rican companies make visit to México

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Last week, four Costa Rican design and construction companies visited México to promote their services to large corporations in the country, according to a Monday statement by the Promotora de Comercio Exterior.

Representatives from the companies visited the Mexican cities of San Luis Potosí and Mérida to exchange experiences and identify areas where Costa Rican knowledge and talent can contribute to sustainable and efficient construction management. The firms that visited were: G3 Arquitectura y Desarrollo, Victor Montero Arquitectos, DBJ arquitectura and Technoconsult.

All of these companies are members of the Asociación Costa Rica Natural Design Advisers, Procomer said. The visit allowed the Costa Rican representatives visit their counterparts in México who were from the real estate, construction and architectural sectors. These also included local city governments and chambers of realtors among other entities.

“Costa Rica has positioned itself in México as a nation of peace, with outstanding indices in health, education and natural resource care,” Álvaro Piedra, the director of exports at Procomer, said.

“Since 2015, different Mexican representatives from the public and private sectors have been interested in activating work spaces with our country under the objective of knowing and understanding the management of environmentally friendly construction practices.”

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A plastic-free zone remains the goal

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Turning Costa Rica into a one-use plastic free zone continues to be the ideal goal for several government ministries and non-government organizations.

This is expected to be incorporated as a part of the Estrategia Nacional, according to a recent statement by the Ministerio de Salud. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans, the health ministry said. The strategy seeks, through collective or voluntary action, that different sectors promote and require the replacement of single-use plastics.

“Solid waste is a threat to the development of societies,” Fernando Mora, the deputy minister of water and seas at the environmental ministry. “The lack of adequate disposal for them and their integral management have endangered our aquatic resources.”

The ministry said that single-use plastics represent an example that is used for a very small amount of time but last hundreds of years in degrading. The strategy attempts to promote the substitution of non-petroleum renewable materials and marine composites so that it can biodegrade in the oceans within six months.

“We have a responsibility to reduce the amount of waste we generate,” María Ester Anchía, deputy minister of Salud, said. “Four thousand tons of waste are made in the country with 11 percent being plastic. This is a figure we could reduce with this initiative of substitution.”

Non-government institutions are joining in on the strategy’s commitments. These include: the Cámara Nacional de Comerciantes Detallistas y Afines, the MarViva Foundation, varying chambers of retailers in some municipalities and Fundación CRUSA. Interested organizations or the general public can join the strategy and tell of their commitments by contacting the ministry.

Costa Rica announced it would join the “#cleanseas” effort by the United Nations Environment Programme back in February. The country has pledged to take steps to drastically reduce single-use plastic items through better waste management and education.

There have been efforts to ban single-use plastics since at least 1999 without legislative results.

The health and environmental ministries are trying to win the public as much as legislative cooperation in the endeavor. This latest move represents a continuation of that trend.

Lawmakers saw a bill that addressed the use of plastic in 1999, and a committee rejected the plan back in 2005. A new bill has been proposed since 2014 but it remains locked in the legislative assembly’s to-do list without much movement.

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Child sustains scalding burns on back

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The air surveillance unit of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública completed a medical evacuation for a five-year-old child who sustained severe burns on his body.

The ambulance flight occurred Monday morning when a call came in requesting immediate assistance from the Bribri people in Talamanca de Limón, according to officials with the security ministry. The child was transferred to San José’s Hospital Nacional de Niños.

According to a report provided by the Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea, the patient had severe burns on his back and glutes as a result of getting scalded with boiling water at his home. The child was apparently sent to a local doctor prior to being put in the police helicopter.

Once in the capital, the child and his mother were met by the trauma unit attached to the hospital and the Unidad de soporte de Bomberos, the ministry said. He remains in treatment and apparently stable.

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FARC accuses Colombia of repeatedly violating deal

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, more well-known as FARC, accused the Colombian government Sunday of repeatedly breaking various terms of their peace deal, and threatened to delay the Marxist rebels’ demobilization.

“In face of government’s repeated failure to comply with the Peace Agreement, the FARC is going to seek international monitoring,” rebel leader Rodrigo Londoño, also known as Timochenko, warned on Twitter.

The statement does not make immediately clear what Londoño meant about international oversight, which is already part of the UN-monitored peace process even after demobilization of FARC forces.

Timochenko earlier said he was considering postponing demobilization.

Earlier, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said the government would stick to its calendar. “That is our commitment and we will fulfill it,” Santos said. He has called the peace process irreversible.

The government and the FARC reached a deal after four years of negotiations in the Cuban capital last November.

The accord also takes foreign magistrates off special peace tribunals, although there will be foreign observers, and stipulates FARC must turn in exhaustive and detailed information about its involvement in the drugs trade.

The deal is bringing to an end 52 years of armed conflict in Colombia that has claimed at least 260,000 lives.

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Costa Rican sport fishing group monitoring progress on dragnet law

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Costa Rican sports fishing association is investing over $100,000 in an ongoing project partnered with the country’s fishing regulator.

According to a statement by the Federación Costarricense de Pesca, the group is working with the Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Agricultura, or INCOPESCA, to teach local fishermen a fishing method known as green sticks, which allows for no bycatch. Bycatch is a fishing term used to describe the excess marine life or objects found in nets or traps.

Moreover, the group’s director of science, Moises Mug, has been monitoring the results of a 2014 measure signed by Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís prohibiting tuna purse sein operations within 45 miles of the country’s coastline. Billfish bycatch in Costa Rica by purse seiners was reduced by over 70 percent, Mug said.

“This measure will reduce the bycatch impact tuna purse sein fisheries have on marine mammals, billfish and sharks,” Mug said.

This type of fishing uses a dragnet hanging vertically in the water with its bottom edges held down by weights and the top held up by floats. It is often a preferred technique when attempting to catch schools of tuna or salmon. The group claims that there are no Costa Rican flagged purse sein boats.

The federation claimed that, prior to the agreement, over 44 foreign tuna boats were operating off the shores of Costa Rica catching around 25,000 metric tons of tuna.

At the same time, only 36 percent of that catch was going to local port, the group said.

Perhaps in response to this, INCOPESCA issued a temporary halt on issuing new licenses for foreign vessels until the end of this year. A new proposal is being formed allowing only seven to nine licenses granted annually and a quota of around 9,000 metric tons allotted.

The group seeks all the fish captured going to local ports.

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Teatro Espressivo promises quality performances during new series

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

After an abrupt announcement that the opening shows were being canceled, the Teatro Espressivo is continuing on with its series of performances through early July.

The series, titled “Espressivo Invita,” is open to the public beginning this Friday with “Deluvios…recuerdos de un migrante.”

For several weekends, the public can enjoy a wide variety of shows including: contemporary theater, dance, cabaret and a magic show all run by professionals, organizers said.

The series is a first for the theater and the groups of professionals consist of independent artists and companies with the aim of providing a higher-quality array of theatrical options, according to a statement issued by the theater.

The opening show this Friday is performed in chapters based off the collection of historical record and anecdotes regarding deportation, exile and displacement among others.

“This work aims to amalgamate experiences that are a human vision of this situation and only a small reflection of a force that is more powerful than any wall. The instinct to migrate,” a description provided by the theater said.

“We believe that theater in Costa Rica is of a very good level and that is why we decided to welcome new productions in our theater or that have been successfully presented in other venues that deserve to be seen by many more people,” said Natalia Rodríguez, the executive director for Teatro Espressivo.

Tickets for these shows cost 8,000 colons for general seating and 10,000 for VIP placements. The shows will be performed Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m.

Tickers can be purchased every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the ticket box or online at the theater’s website.

A full schedule and description of Teatro Espressivo’s shows can also be found on its website as well.

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Piza scores big victory in the primary to clinch party’s nomination

By Rommel Téllez of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As of Sunday night, Rodolfo Piza has become the third ratified candidate for the 2018 presidential elections.

The son of well-known lawyer with whom he shares first and last name, Piza is running for president a second time under the banner of Partido Unidad Social Cristiana.

He beat his opponent in the primaries by obtaining 69 percent of the votes from the party’s grassroots members. Once ratified, He hopes for better results than the dismal six percent of votes obtained during the last time he ran in the 2014 campaign.

Member of what he calls a non-religious Christian party, Piza is also a lawyer who loves to explain things by using popular lingo and appealing to the the image of a simple rural man where local campesinos rush to hug him.

This time, Piza will be better prepared to confront the other political forces. Last time, he assumed the presidential candidacy for his party only after the abrupt resignation of Rodolfo Hernández, a former doctor at Hospital Nacional de Niños.

“I don’t believe in tax packages,” Piza told A.M. Costa Rica.

“I do believe that we may stop the government expenditure rate without sacrificing any of the rights of the working class. It just a matter of keeping control of public expenses and also improving collection methods.”

Piza is also a former president of the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social from 1998 to 2002, under the administration of Miguel Angel Rodríguez.

The same Caja that’s now struggling to find a way to keep its finances in shape and thus, be able to provide for the pension of future retirees.

“I have explained many times this subject and I will explain it again: we can strengthen our social security system by more gradual increases in the contributions,” he said. “I don’t think we need to raise them 1 or 0.5 percent all at once as they are doing now.”

In terms of economic growth, Piza believes the State is full of nonsense bureaucracy that kills the very spirit of entrepreneurship.

To face this problem, the candidate envisions a system where any one interested in creating a company will go to a unique place where all the requirements can be fulfilled.

“I also look for national private investment to increase, and to achieve that goal we need to run all processes as smooth as possible,” added Piza.

Piza also talked about creating the first metro line in San José, cleaning up the most polluted rivers in Costa Rica, providing a “1,000 doctors per neighborhood” policy and establishing themed-oriented high schools to respect the differing levels of intelligence among the student body.

Aside from all of that, he plans to push a reform to the constitution, eliminating the Catholic faith as the country’s official state religion but leaving the word God on it “as many other countries in the world do,” he said.

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