Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thousands protest against CAFTA

Thousands of Costa Ricans protested against the proposed free trade pact between Costa Rica and the U.S., in San Jose September 30, 2007. Costa Ricans will vote on October 7 in a referendum to decide whether to approve the country's participation in the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) with the U.S. All photos by Juan Carlos Ulate for Reuters unless otherwise indicated.



(AP Photo/Kent Gilbert)

Tico Tarzan performs for Costa Rican President

Photo provided by the Presidential Press OfficeBy Uri Ridelman

Gilberto Shedden Graham, also known as "Tico Tarzan," performed yesterday for Costa Rican President Oscar Arias at the touristical center "Las Tilapias" in Siquirres, Limon.

In the show, held every Sunday and known as 'Chito's Show' after Graham's nickname, Graham plays with "Pocho" the crocodile in the water and gives commands that the animal follows.

Oscar Arias was in Siquirres with his staff celebrating the town's 96 anniversary and campaigning for CAFTA's approval. Costa Ricans will hold a referendum on October 7 to vote "yes" or "no" on whether they think Costa Rica should ratify the accord.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Picture of the day

A university student plants a sapling during "Clean Up the World" campaign in Hatillo neighbourhood near San Jose, Costa Rica, September 28, 2007. The government collaborated with environmental organizations to form a team of volunteers to clean and preserve their local environments in the fight against the effects of climatic change. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Georgia pledges to support Costa Rica's U.N bid

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Gela Bezhuashvili, met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica Bruno Stagno on September 26.

The meeting, which took place in New York, focused on the necessity of deepening diplomatic relations between the two states.

The Georgian Foreign Minister pledged full support for Mr. Stagno during the 2008-2009 elections for Costa Rica's non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council.

Source: Georgia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web Site.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Protesting for dolphins

A woman from the World Society for the Protection of Animals holds a placard that says "20,000 dolphins are killed every year in Japan. Stop now", during a protest in front of the Japanese Embassy in San Jose, Costa Rica, September 25, 2007. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate (COSTA RICA)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Doctors to separate Costa Rican adjoined twins

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) - Doctors at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, California, said they would attempt to separate two-year-old twin girls who are conjoined at the chest and abdomen.

Surgery on Yurelia and Fiorella Rocha-Arias of San Jose, Costa Rica, is expected to take place in late November, after their skin has been stretched to cover the large gap where they have been connected.

The survival rate for separation surgery for twins joined primarily at the chest - known as thoraco-omphalopagus twins - is about 50 per cent, doctors said Thursday. But rates vary widely, depending in part on the extent of heart defects.

"We hope to send home two girls who are healthy and happy," lead surgeon Gary Hartman said. "I can envision these girls, a few years from now, flipping through a photo album and calling mama and saying, 'Look mama! This is a picture of us when we were connected."'

Since arriving in San Francisco on July 25, the girls have been receiving weekly injections of sterile saltwater into balloons placed beneath their skin. This procedure should stretch their skin to compensate for the hole that surgeons will cut into their abdomens.

The girls are connected at the right atria of their hearts, the chamber that receives blood from the rest of the body, and they share some blood and a single liver.

At their age, Yurelia and Fiorella may be stronger and quicker to recover than younger twins; before coming to California, they were only hospitalized a few times for colds and respiratory infections.

But, doctors warn, their muscle and skeletons had more time to fuse than younger twins who undergo surgery, possibly complicating the procedure.

Because of their face-to-face positioning, the girls are unable to walk, and their backs are becoming crooked. Although they reach for things together and play peacefully, caregivers say the toddlers are increasingly willful and want to do things by themselves.

Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Frank Hanley said it was impossible to say how long the twins would live if the surgery did not take place.

"It's an unfathomable question," he said. "As they mature, one is probably going to grow faster than the other, and the discrepancies will grow. They can't even walk together now, just stand up. It's more about quality of life."

If the surgery goes well, the girls face more operations to correct heart and lung problems, and psychological care. Costa Rican media have followed the girls, and it's unclear how they would adjust to relative normalcy.

About five separation surgeries are performed annually in the United States, according to Packard data. On Aug. 29, doctors at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia separated one-year-olds Matthew and Andrew Goodman, who shared a liver, pancreas and other organs.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Costa Rica's Second Vice-President resigns

By Gillian Gillers
Tico Times Staff

Kevin Casas stepped down from his posts as Second Vice-President and Planning Minister Saturday

He has come under fire for a memo he wrote to President Oscar Arias recommending questionable and possibly illegal tactics in the government's campaign for the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (DR-CAFTA). The memo was leaked to the University of Costa Rica (UCR) weekly newspaper, which broke the story Sept. 6.

The document, co-written by National Liberation Party (PLN) legislator Fernando Sanchez, suggests that the government manipulate voters, blackmail mayors, and improperly use public resources to boost its CAFTA campaign.

The memo has fallen under a national and political spotlight. The anti-CAFTA Citizen Action Party (PAC) and the pro-CAFTA Libertarian Movement Party have insisted that Casas resign. The Alliance for Yes on CAFTA and the pro-CAFTA Liberation Party have distanced themselves from the memo's authors and rejected their ideas.

Casas decided last week to temporarily leave the Planning Ministry while its Internal Auditing Office investigates whether the state improperly used public money. He had planned to return after the investigation ended. The Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) is also looking into whether Casas violated the Electoral Code by becoming involved in party politics.

Arias said in a statement that he accepts Casas' resignation.

“I regret losing one of my best ministers,” Arias said. “In the government we have lost a capable, efficient and very hard-working person.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Turtles gather at Ostional Beach

Turtles arrived to lay eggs on Ostional Beach in Santa Cruz, Guanacaste, 563 km (350 miles) north of San Jose, September 21, 2007. More than 100 million eggs are laid by turtles on the beach during a five-day period. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate.







Friday, September 21, 2007

Costa Rica dealt wild card in trade pact rift

University students holding sunflowers shout slogans against the Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) with the United States, during a rally in San Jose, Costa Rica (Yuri Cortez / AFP/Getty Images).Government officials' letter urging dirty tricks to sway voters to back an agreement could backfire.

By Marla Dickerson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA - With just over two weeks to go before Costa Ricans head to the polls to vote on a free-trade agreement with the United States and six other countries, Alfredo Volio should be a happy man.

As head of the "yes" campaign championing the pact, known as CAFTA, he has watched public support climb in recent months. The latest opinion polls showed Costa Ricans leaning toward backing the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which would dismantle most trade barriers between the United States and half a dozen Latin countries.

But that was before a memo written by CAFTA advocates was leaked to the public this month, fueling outrage here. The document, dated July 29 and written by two high-level government officials with close ties to Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, outlined a campaign of dirty tricks intended to sway voters.

To read the whole article click here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Botswana, Costa Rica to establish diplomatic relations

Gaborone, Botswana - Botswana and Costa Rica have signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Lt Gen. Mompati Merafhe signed the agreement with his counterpart from Costa Rica, Mr Bruno Stagno in Gaborone this week.

General Merafhe said the agreement symbolised the beginning of a long process of nurturing mutually beneficial relations between the two countries.

"Friendships like these need to be nurtured as they represent platforms upon which opportunities for the prosperity of our people can be explored," he said.

He said the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries demonstrated their commitment to strengthen and deepen relations.

He said Botswana expected to learn from Costa Rica in agriculture and tourism.

Source: Botswana Press Agency.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hemorrhagic dengue has become an epidemic in Costa Rica

San Jose, Costa Rica (La Nacion) - Costa Rican authorities confirmed Saturday that hemorrhagic dengue has become an epidemic in the country, killing two children and affecting 180 persons.

The Costa Rican Health Ministry reported that the quantity is 150 percent bigger that the one reported in 2006 when 72 persons were infected and 1533 percent higher than in 2004, with 11 cases only.

The two children died because of the mortal dengue hemorrhagic variant transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti's mosquito, confirmed Health Ministry Maria Luisa Avila on Saturday.

Nevertheless, the ministry investigate nine other suspicious deaths of dengue, most of them young adults.

The numbers of cases have increase because of the high sensitivity of the virus that has been for almost 14 years circulating in the country and those who suffered from classic dengue can be infected with this virus if the mosquito bit them with differently from the first one.

Hemorrhagic dengue is the most severe form that could be fatal if it is not adequately recognized and treated.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Celebrating Costa Rican independence

Yesterday several activities took place all around the country as a prelude to the celebrations of the Costa Rican independence day (September 15, 1821). These images are from the ceremony in Cartago where there was a lantern parade, the lightning of the freedom torch at the Ruins of Cartago, and even a protest against Costa Rican President Oscar Arias and DR-CAFTA. All photos by REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate unless otherwise indicated.

A boy carrying a lantern and his mother walk in front of a ruin during festivities marking Costa Rica's independence day in Cartago, east of San Jose.

Schoolchildren take part in a lantern parade to commemorate Costa Rica's independence day in Cartago, east of San Jose.

A student carrying a freedom torch arrives in Cartago, east of San Jose, to commemorate Costa Rica's independence day.

Jose Miguel Monge, a Costa Rican athlete that will participate in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, lights the Freedom Torch during the festivities marking Costa Rica's independence day in Cartago, east of San Jose. (Photo: Carlos Gonzalez / La Nacion)


Demonstrators protest against a proposed free trade pact between Costa Rica and the U.S. on the sidelines of of festivities marking Costa Rica's independence day in Cartago, east of San Jose.

Demonstrators protest against a proposed free trade pact between Costa Rica and the U.S. on the sidelines of festivities marking Costa Rica's independence day in Cartago, east of San Jose.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Glencairn says cyanide concentrations reduced at Bellavista mine in Costa Rica

TORONTO (Canadian Press) - Glencairn Gold Corp. says company and independent testing shows cyanide concentrations at its Bellavista mine in Costa Rica "are now at acceptable levels" and pose no threat to the environment.

The statement late Thursday comes after the company's shares fell 16 per cent Wednesday on environmental groups' warnings that there could be cyanide seepage and landslides at the mine.

A coalition of environmental and human rights organizations said it wanted Glencairn to disclose information about suspected cyanide and metals pollution from the mine, which the company shut down in July over concerns about the potential impact of ground movements in the area attributed to high levels of rainfall.

CEO Peter Tagliamonte told The Canadian Press in an interview Wednesday there was no risk of cyanide being injected into the environment because "we rinsed it out."

He said the company had been working from the beginning to ensure there would be no damage to the environment and has been keeping the public updated on its problems.

"The company moved proactively to suspend mining operations on July 25 and then implemented environmental protection measures to ensure cyanide used in the heap leach processing on the site was rinsed from the site's leach pads and the cyanide destroyed," Glencairn said in its release after markets closed Thursday.

The company's shares closed unchanged Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange at 16 cents on a volume of 1.6 million shares.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Costa Rica environmentalists warn of potential disaster at Bellavista gold mine

(Photo: Kent Gilbert/AP)SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) - Environmental groups warned on Tuesday that potential cyanide seepage and landslides at a Canadian-owned gold mine in northern Costa Rica could cause serious environmental damage.

The open-pit Bellavista mine, a subsidiary of Canada's Glencairn Gold Corporation, suspended operations in July and said experts would monitor earth movements. The company then said some areas of the mine were sliding half an inch daily.

Environmental groups say nothing has been done since July to stop the mountain from giving way or to prevent ruptures in a liner known as geomembrane used to block cyanide from seeping into the ground.

"The earth movements are threatening with breaking the geomembrane and if it breaks, the pollutants would end up in the aquifers," said Gabriel Rivas of the Costa Rican Federation for the Environment's Preservation.

Rivas said the cyanide, which is used to separate gold from the ore, could also reach the Puntarenas's estuary on Costa Rica's Pacific coast, about nine miles from the mine.

Gaston Araya, the mine's manager, said the company has been submitting monthly reports on the experts' findings. He declined to describe the findings.

Jose Castro, director of Geology and Mines for Costa Rica's Environment Department, said his office has been monitoring the mine, located in Miramar, about 62 miles north of San Jose.

He said there are "little problems in some parts of the mine, but not in the whole mine."

Glencairn estimates there are about 365,500 ounces of mineable gold in Bellavista, according to the company's Web site.

Costa Rican gold mine suspended due to pollution risks

Cyanide, other chemicals may have already leaked into environment

By EARTHWORKS

A multinational coalition of environmental and human rights organizations are calling on Canadian mining company Glencairn Gold Corporation to disclose information about suspected cyanide and metals pollution from the Bellavista gold mine in Costa Rica.

Glencairn shut down the mine in late July, following heavy rains that caused substantial earth movements, and has reported in financial statements that the mine "may remain closed indefinitely," but has not made available any information about the extent of current or potential damage. The groups also demand proper cleanup and remediation of any current or future contamination.

To read the whole article click here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Baltimore Sun to move local jobs to Costa Rica, India and Chicago

By Aaron Cahall,
The Examiner

BALTIMORE - The Baltimore Sun newspaper plans to outsource about a dozen jobs in its finance department to Costa Rica and India, as well as Tribune’s Chicago headquarters, by next spring.

A total of 14 positions will be eliminated, said The Sun’s vice president of marketing, Tim Thomas. However, the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild put the number of jobs at 11, guild president and Sun reporter Bill Salganik said.

The move would affect the advertising credit and collections section of the department, and it would take place next spring, Thomas said. The company would move a number of jobs to Tribune’s finance service center in Chicago, while others would be contracted to Hewlett-Packard facilities in Costa Rica and India, he said.

Details, including exactly which jobs would be eliminated, are not yet clear, but Salganik said the losses would comprise most of the department. The guild plans to meet with The Sun about the situation, Salganik said, but a date for that meeting has not been set.

Salganik and Thomas both said they expected options for those employees to stay with The Sun, or possibly accept a buyout.

“Under our contract, people can’t be laid off because of outsourcing,” Salganik said. “So they might be offered buyouts, might be retrained or moved elsewhere.”

Salganik said employees were informed of the move in a Wednesday letter, which did not give a specific reason for the decision. Thomas called the move “an effort to improve service to advertisers and reduce costs.” The Tribune Co. is in the midst of a private buyout, and Salganik said he was not aware of any further impending job cuts.

Last year, Tribune announced plans to eliminate 250 jobs at circulation call centers company-wide and to outsource the operation to the Philippines.

While newsroom buyouts and job eliminations have been studied by industry experts, the effect of those same trends on the business side of news organizations is less clear, said Amy Mitchell, deputy director for the Project for Excellence in Journalism.

“The kind of impact buyouts and reallocation will have on the business side, that’s something we’ll have to look at closer,” she said. “There is a question about your ad people knowing the product that they’re representing and selling.”

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Landslides close roads around Costa Rica

(Tico Times) - National Emergency Commission (CNE) workers yesterday headed to Heredia, north of San Jose, and other parts of Costa Rica to assess damage done by recent landslides brought on by heavy rains, according to a statement from the commission. They also met with municipal leaders to see how these accidents can be prevented.

In Heredia, CNE president Daniel Gallardo met with the mayors of Barva, Santa Barbara, Heredia Central, Flores and San Rafael.

"The saturation of the ground, the enormous quantity of trash in rivers and ravines and a tropical storm that's passing over the national territory have come together to provoke a large quantity of incidents characterized by floods and landslides," Sunday and yesterday, when heavy rains hit the Central Valley, Pacific coast and Northern Zone, Gallardo said.

CNE engineers, geologists and other specialists yesterday assessed damage in Heredia. In the canton of Flores, 17 homes were flooded, and five of the families living in them lost everything.

Damage was also reported in the Tilaran area of the northwestern Guanacaste province; in Grecia, northwest of San Jose; and in the central Pacific Quepos area, along the road between San Miguel and Dos Bocas. The canton of Mora, southwest of San Jose, also experienced flooding.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Danny De Vito almost drowns while vacationing in Costa Rica

(www.wenn.com) - Actor Danny DeVito nearly drowned and then inadvertently flashed an entire beach while vacationing with his family in Costa Rica earlier this year.

The diminutive star was on the beach with his wife Rhea Perlman and children when he decided to go into the sea so he could urinate.

The 62-year-old recalls, "I go out (into the sea) and I look back at the shore and there's people setting up their blankets and stuff and a smile comes over my face and everything's good.

"And then I start to come in, and a wave comes at me, and then another wave comes from the back of me and I'm a strong swimmer but really struggling now. It's like what they call rip tide.

"I'm pushing as hard as I can and now my arms are starting to feel like (Sylvester Stallone's boxing character) Rocky Balboa in the last round. I'm getting churned like in a washing machine.

"I start choking on water (and think), 'I'm drowning, this is what it's like to drown!' So I yell, 'Help!' and my son sees it and so does the guy who was bringing the surfboards with him.

"Rhea jumps up, the guys come down, give me the surfboard and I grab onto it like a cod fish. And I'm churning and I can't touch (the ground) because I'm in five foot of water. They're OK, so they pull me out and I finally get my footing and I'm choking and I'm coughing.

"And Rhea's running at me with a towel. And I say, 'Rhea, I'm choking, I don't need a towel.' She says, "Yes, you do. You don't have a bathing suit on.'"

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dengue outbreak forces Costa Rica to declare state of emergency

(Xinhua News) - The Costa Rican government declared a state of emergency on Wednesday as dengue fever cases spread nationwide and took the life of an eight-month baby.

Reported dengue fever cases topped 10,000 by August this year, while there were only 11,000 cases during 2006, according to statistics released by the Costa Rican health ministry.

Meanwhile, cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), a more virulent form of the dengue virus infection, had reached 169 by August, compared with the 72 cases recorded throughout 2006.

A special fund of 480,000 U.S. dollars has been set aside for preventive efforts against the disease, including garbage and urban wasteland treatment, as well as work to spray insecticide in residential areas to fight mosquitoes and clean up sewers to prevent seepage, said Health Minister Maria Luisa Avila.

More medical staffs will join health checkups in residential areas, and experts will be sent to Limon, a province bordering the Caribbean Sea that has 35 percent of the dengue fever cases, she said.

This year's carnival in Limon will also be canceled due to the situation, she added.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Costa Rica escapes hurricane Felix's fury

By Uri Ridelman

Although the impact of hurricane Felix in Costa Rica was not as strong as expected, and no lives were lost, many floods and landslides were reported across the country.

On Tuesday Diario Extra newspaper reported that the Central Valley, where 56 rain-related incidents were reported, was the most affected area in the country. The Pacific coast, the northern zone and the Caribbean zone were also affected.

According to La Nacion newspaper what were probably the most dramatic moments took place in Bella Vista neighborhood in Golfito, where due to several landslides, 11 people had to be evacuted from their homes and taken to a shelter. Other cities around the area were also on alert due to the heavy rainfall.

The Red Cross reported that in the central Pacific zone, strong showers caused the Parrita river to grow and was threatening to flood the city of the same name.

In case any more evacuations were needed the National Emergency Comission (CNE) had over 200 shelters in the Pacific coast ready to be used.

According to CNE information damages to the Aguja river bridge interrupted the traffic between the towns of Rincon de Osa and Puerto Jimenez, Golfito.

Diario Extra reported that two landslides took place on Monday. One happened on the road between Limon and San Jose, and the other on the road between Turrialba and Siquirres. Landslides were also reported in Alajuela and Heredia.

The National Meteorological Institute (IMN) said that the indirect effects of the hurricane will be felt until Thursday.

"The rain activity will fluctuate, but moderate to heavy rains can be expected all across the country," said to La Nacion newspaper Juan Carlos Fallas, sub-director of the IMN.

The CNE said that the yellow alert for all the national territory still is in effect, and the shelters and emergency response teams will remain vigilant in case there are more floods or landslides.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Hurricane Felix effects will be felt in Costa Rica

By Uri Ridelman

Late Monday Felix rapidly approached Central America and although the category four hurricane will affect mainly Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Belize, Costa Rica will undoubtedly feel its effects indirectly.

The Meteorological National Institute (IMN) warned yesterday in a press release that today it would rain most of the day, with precipitations reaching their peak intensity during the night.

Although early on the rainfall wasn't as strong as expected, at least not in downtown San Jose and its surroundings, the forecast was right on target. At approximately 12:30 p.m. it started to rain in some areas of the Central Valley and as of 5 p.m. the rain had not stopped.

According to the press release the rain would start in the South Pacific zone of Costa Rica and it would gradually reach the Central Pacific zone and the Central Valley. The Caribbean coast will be also be affected and floods in some of its areas are expected.

The Costa Rican government declared a yellow alert in all Costa Rica and the National Emergency Comission activated all its response units around the country in order to meet any natural disasters in the next few hours.

The Costa Rican Red Cross has also taken some preventive measures in some cities that tend to suffer floods during the rainy season.

According to a press release on the Costa Rican Red Cross Web site the institution has already sent teams to Ciudad Neilly, Perez Zeledon, Quepos and Parrita. Specially-equipped all-terrain vehicles were also sent to these zones in case they are needed for evacuations and food distribution.

Red Cross stations all around the country were told to monitor vulnerable towns and cities and to be prepared to respond quickly and coordinate activities with other Costa Rican institutions in case an emergency does occur.

The IMN said that the effects of the hurricane will also be felt Tuesday, however the intensity of the rainfall could increase or abate depending of the path that Felix follows during the next few hours.

For more information on Felix's path, strengh and advisories please visit the National Hurricane Center Web site.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Invasive algae killing Costa Rican coral reef

The algae Caulerpa sertularioides engulfs a reef in Costa Rica's Culebra Bay on the country's Pacific coast, in this picture taken August 26, 2007. The tropical algae thriving on fertilizers from hotel golf courses and badly treated sewage is killing one of Costa Rica's most important coastal reefs, scientists say. REUTERS/Cindy Fernandez (COSTA RICA).By John McPhaul

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, (Reuters) - A tropical algae thriving on fertilizers from hotel golf courses and badly treated sewage is killing one of Costa Rica's most important coastal reefs, scientists say.

The green, feather-like algae is spreading along the reefs of Culebra Bay in Costa Rica's northwestern Gulf of Papagayo, a popular scuba diving spot and home to a rare species of coral. The algae blocks the sunlight and suffocates the reefs.

A tourism and construction boom along the palm tree-lined beaches is creating nitrogen- and phosphate-rich waste that feeds the algae, known as Caulerpa sertularioides, and Costa Rica is only just becoming aware of the problem.

"It's an ecological disaster," said Cindy Fernandez, a marine biologist with the nonprofit MarViva Association, who alerted the Costa Rican government to the threat, which is now being taken on by the state-run University of Costa Rica.

Scientists say about 80 percent of the reef area, which stretches for about a mile and a half (2.4 km) along the coast line, is covered in the algae.

The aggressive algae spreads when even the smallest sliver comes loose, from the likes of strong currents or dive boats dropping anchor, to root itself in another part of the reef.

Even the sweep of a diver's hand or the kick of a diver's fin can send a fragment swirling away to start another patch.

That means experts cannot pull it up like weeds.

"If you pull it up it will reproduce faster," said Jenny Asch, coordinator of the government's marine conservation program, who is leading efforts to find a way to eradicate the algae.

If left unchecked, the algae could also severely damage the ecosystem of the bay, allowing non-native species of fish to come in and displace the native species.

The highly invasive Mediterranean strain of the algae, Caulerpa taxifolia, was discovered in Southern California in June 2000, where scientists have used solid chlorine blocks to eradicate the pest.

Costa Rican scientists do not yet know if similar eradication techniques will work on Caulerpa sertularioides.

The algae is the latest challenge facing Costa Rican authorities as the Central American country struggles with conserving its unique tropical biodiversity while attracting tourists and marketing itself as an ecotourism paradise.

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