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Costa Rica Is Warning Everyone To Stop Drinking Alcohol As 19 People Have Died Due To Tainted Alcohol

Costa Ricans are on edge after 19 people have been died because of tainted alcochol. According to authorities, each of the victims died after drinking alcohol with toxic levels of methanol.

So far 14 men and five women, in several cities across the country, have died.

As of now, there have been 19 deaths across Costa Rica related to tainted alcohol.

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At least 19 people have died in Costa Rica after consuming alcohol contaminated with toxic levels of methanol, officials said.

The victims, who ranged from 32 to 72 in age, consumed the tainted alcohol in various cities across the country dating back to early last month, the country’s Ministry of Health revealed over the weekend.

They each died from what appeared to be methanol poisoning. The fatalities occurred in San José, Cartago, Limón, Guanacaste and Heredia.

“It is important to emphasize that this information is preliminary since the investigations continue,” the statement said. “The Ministry of Health continues to carry out operations throughout the national territory in order to reduce the exposure of consumers to adulterated products.”

The government is so concerned they’ve started confiscating huge amounts of alcohol from restaurants, bars, and clubs.

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Government officials confiscated more than 30,000 bottles of alcohol suspected to be tainted, the ministry said in a statement on Friday, warning residents to avoid several brands that tested positive for contamination.

They’re also telling people to avoid consuming alcohol from a number of specific brands until they’re sure it’s safe.

Until authorities can figure out exactly what is going on and which brands or types of alcohol are affected, the government is urging all people in Costa Rica to hold off from consuming alcohol for now.

Though the government did release a list of suspected brands (which you should definitely avoid) and they include Molotov, Timbuka, and Aguardiente.

Alcohol poisoning, particularly from methanol, can make people feel really drunk really fast, not giving them time to realize something might be wrong.

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Adulterated liquor often contains methanol, which can make people feel inebriated. Adding methanol to distilled spirits enables sellers to increase the amount of liquid and its potential potency, according to SafeProof, a group that lobbies against counterfeit alcohol.

Methanol poisoning can cause confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and the inability to coordinate muscle movements. Even small amounts can be toxic. According to the World Health Organization, outbreaks of methanol poisoning are usually linked to “adulterated counterfeit or informally-produced spirit drinks.”

Costa Rica isn’t alone Outbreaks have happened around the world.

Outbreaks have hit countries around the world in recent years, each ranging in size from 20 to over 800 victims, WHO reports. This year, at least 154 people died and more than 200 others were hospitalized after drinking tainted alcohol in India. The victims consumed unregulated moonshine, known as “country-made liquor” in the northeast state of Assam.

Twitter was quick to start jumping to conclusions.

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Many on Twitter started linking the news out of Costa Rica to the recent string of suspicious deaths in the Dominican Republic. Although some victims families (of those who have died in the DR) have speculated that their deaths were caused by alcohol poisoning, authorities haven’t yet confirmed that. So it’s definitely too soon to connect the dots here.

So how do you stay safe when you’re traveling but want to enjoy that tasty tropical cocktail or the local specialty?

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So how do you stay safe when you’re drinking abroad and living out that vacation fantasy? First, pay attention to what you’re buying. Look at the price (is it too cheap?) and packaging (is it sealed?) of the product. If it tastes bad, don’t drink it. Additionally, according to the U.S. Overseas Security Advisory Council, follow these guidelines:

  1. Don’t drink homemade or counterfeit “booze.”
  2. Don’t overdo it.
  3. Don’t compete with locals and their brew.
  4. Don’t let your drink out of sight.

FBI Agrees With Dominican Authorities That Deaths Of American Tourists Were All Of Natural Causes

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FBI Agrees With Dominican Authorities That Deaths Of American Tourists Were All Of Natural Causes

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The Dominican Republic is known to attract vacationers from all over the world. The Caribbean nation has beautiful beaches, stunning resorts, and the most chill ambiance. All of that sort of came to a halt during the summer when people began to steer clear of visiting after several tourists died while vacationing there. While the deaths occurred within several months and were all mostly unrelated to each other, the similarities were undeniable. It appeared that the tourists — 11 Americans that died in the Dominican Republic — passed away all of sudden or soon after consuming the beverages at their resorts. At least those were the claims. Now, after a thorough investigation, we’re getting the facts to these unfortunate events. 

The FBI investigated what led to the deaths of three people (out of 11 that died under suspicious circumstances) and report that they died of natural causes as local officials had concluded before.

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BuzzFeed reports that “17 people died while traveling to the Caribbean nation in 2017. In 2018, there were 13 deaths reported in the country. Between January to June of this year, ten people have died so far.” 

However, the deaths that the FBI investigated were that of three people — a couple from Maryland and a woman from Pennsylvania — who all died within days of each other. The FBI had previously said during the summer that they would look into the possibilities of tainted alcohol, and initial results showed that was not the case. 

“The results of the additional, extensive toxicology testing completed to date have been consistent with the findings of local authorities,” a State Department spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “Our condolences and sympathy go out to the families during this difficult time.”

While the initial results of the FBI investigation have been completed, the FBI still needs to test two more toxins found.

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“In the interest of providing as thorough an investigation as possible in this challenging case, the FBI is testing for two additional toxins and will provide Dominican authorities with results when tests are complete,” FBI officials said, according to BuzzFeed News. 

An attorney that is representing the family of the Maryland couple — Nathaniel E. Holmes and Cynthia A. Day — told ABC News that they are not satisfied with the results. Lawyer Steven E. Bullock said the coincidences are too high to rule their death a result of natural causes. 

“You had a couple that died of the same ailment at the same time, and they want to say that it’s natural causes,” Bullock told ABC News. “I think there’s something for us to continue to look into.”

From the very start of these strange occurrences, it seemed as if a curse descended upon the Dominican Republic because people were either dying in DR or getting sick.

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In June, 47 people traveling with a group in the Dominican Republic got “violently sick” after staying at a resort. 

“We went [to Hotel Riu Palace Macao] for the week — some longer, some shorter,” Dana Flowers, a member of the Central Oklahoma Parrothead Association who was in charge of the trip told People magazine. “We were enjoying the beach and the pool, and about 3 or 4 days into the trip, we started hearing about people getting sick. They were getting diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches.”

Tourist officials in the Dominican Republic maintained there was nothing out of the ordinary going on. The State Department agrees that despite people dying while on vacation, the occurrence of that is quite common.

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Officials say people die on vacation all the time, and the deaths that happened in the Dominican Republic is no different from any other year. 

“We can see that many international media outlets are just going for it as news, just to get the headline, and they are not really getting into what’s going on…The caricatures have been made, and some in media have done a lot of damage,” Luis José Chávez, president of the Dominican Tourism Press Association, told The Washington Post earlier this summer. “The whole country is trying to get over this and gain back the image of what we really are.”

During the summer, even Cardi B chimed in to support the Dominican Republic and the bad press they were receiving over the tourist deaths.

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“What is it that’s happening? I don’t know,” Cardi B said in Spanish on her Instagram. “If it’s you know, bad press I don’t know what’s happening, but something is happening. What I do know is that the Dominican Republic is the most beautiful country, and everyone has fun there. Even poor people have fun. So it hurts me a lot when people say ‘that country is bad. That country is this and that. What is happening?”

READ: Dominicans Are Taking To Social Media To Make Sure That People Stop Trying To Cancel The Dominican Republic

The United Nations Gave Costa Rica The Highest Award Possible For Their Work Saving The Environment

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The United Nations Gave Costa Rica The Highest Award Possible For Their Work Saving The Environment

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Costa Rica is a global example of cutting carbon emission and using renewable and sustainable energy to power a nation. The Central American country has been striving to be carbon-zero ahead of the rest of the world. The country recently powered itself using only renewable and clean energy for part of a year showing that it is indeed possible. As such, the United Nation gave the country the highest award for being the environmental example it is.

Costa Rica was recognized by the UN for leading the way to a zero-carbon future.

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The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) recognized Costa Rica with its highest environmental honor. The Central American country was celebrated for its role in the protection of nature and its commitment to combat climate change with strong policies. 

“Costa Rica has been a pioneer in the protection of peace and nature and sets an example for the region and for the world,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment program. “Climate change demands urgent and transformative action from all of us. With its ambitious plan to decarbonize the economy, Costa Rica is rising to that challenge,” she added. “Global emissions are reaching record levels and we must act now to move to cleaner, more resilient economies.”

Around 70 percent of all buses and taxis are also expected to be electric by 2030, with full electrification expected by 2050.

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Ninety-eight percent of Costa Rica’s energy is renewable and forest cover stands at more than 50 percent after decades of work to reverse deforestation. In 2017 the entire country ran a record 300 days solely on renewable power. The plan is to run on 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030. Costa Rica has plans to switch 70 percent of all carbon-emitting buses and taxis to electric by 2030, with full electrification of vehicles projected for 2050.

“Receiving the Champions of the Earth award on behalf of Costa Rica, its entire population, the past generations who protected the environment, and future generations fills me with pride and emotion for what Costa Rica has achieved and for what we can continue to do because we can achieve even more. I feel very proud to be Costa Rican,” said President Carlos Alvarado Quesada.

“About 50 years ago, the country began to advance a series of innovative environmental policies because the paradigm of sustainable development is very much in Costa Ricans’ DNA. The decarbonization plan consists of maintaining an upward curve in terms of economic employment growth, and at the same time generating a downward curve in the use of fossil fuels in order to stop polluting. How are we going to achieve that? Through clean public transport; smart and resilient cities; sound waste management; sustainable agriculture and improved logistics,” he said. 

Costa Rica revealed its plan of action to abide by the Paris Agreement’s target to achieve zero emissions by 2050.

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Costa Rica’s Decarbonization Plan was unveiled in February and the target of the plan is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, by reforming transport, energy, waste and land use. This would mean that the country will produce no more emissions than it can offset through actions such as maintaining and growing its forests. 

Already, Costa Rica’s groundbreaking role in promoting clean technologies and sustainability has earned the country of around 5 million people a global emissions rate of only 0.4 percent. China’s global emissions in 2011 were over 10 percent, and the US was emitting over 6 percent

UN Secretary-General urged world leaders to come together to discuss sustainability in New York during the Climate Action Summit.

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The Champions of the Earth is the UN’s flagship global environment award. It recognizes Costa Rica’s sustainability efforts and highlights the urgent need to find solutions against climate change. The need for radical global action on this subject was highlighted by the UN earlier this week at UN’s Secretary-General António Guterres’ Climate Action Summit in New York.

For the summit, the Secretary-General urged world leaders and businesses to come together with concrete ideas on how they intend to cut emissions by 45 percent in the next decade and achieve net-zero emissions globally by 2050 as per the Paris Agreement of 2016. 

The urgency of the problem was highlighted by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg’s emotional speech.

By the end of the day, 65 countries announced efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, several asset fund managers offered to aim to a net-zero portfolio of investments by the same year. Dozens of businesses said they would abide by the Paris Agreement too. The urgency of the problem was highlighted by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who chastised world leaders for their approach. “The eyes of all future generations are upon you,” she said, “if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.”

The ‘Champions of the Earth’ award was established to celebrate outstanding figures whose efforts have transformed the environment and the world.

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The award Champions of the Earth, bestowed upon Costa Rica this year, was established by the UNEP (UN Environmental Program) in 2005 to celebrate outstanding figures whose actions have been transformative to this earth and the environment.     From world leaders to environmental activists and technology innovators, the award recognizes trailblazing efforts to protect the planet for generations to come. 

Costa Rica is one of five Champions of the Earth this year. The other categories rewarded are entrepreneurial vision, inspiration and action; and science and innovation. All 2019 champions will be honored today at a gala ceremony in New York during the 74th UN General Assembly. Also honoured at the event will be seven young environmental activists between the ages of 18 and 30, who will take home the ‘Young Champions of the Earth’ prize.

Previous laureates from Latin America include Michelle Bachelet, former president of Chile, for her efforts in creating marine protected areas and for boosting renewable energy (2017); former Brazilian environment minister Izabella Teixeira for her leadership and key role in reversing deforestation of the Amazon (2013); and Mexican ecologist José Sarukhán Kermez for a lifetime of leadership and innovation in the conservation of biodiversity in Mexico and the world (2016).

READ: Costa Rica Is Warning Everyone To Stop Drinking Alcohol As 19 People Have Died Due To Tainted Alcohol