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(506) 2223-1327                              Published Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, in  Vol. 17, No. 33                             Email us
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Proposal launched to rewrite the nation's Constitution
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Proponents presented a proposal to rewrite the Costa Rican Constitution at the legislature Tuesday.

The measure, which will be handled like any other proposed law, would create a constitutional convention to draw up a new document.

The proposal Tuesday came from Maureen Clarke, a legislator from the Partido Liberación Nacional, who said that the document carries 221 signature. Setting up a constitutional convention would require a two-thirds favorable vote by lawmakers.

An alternative would be to set up a national referendum, but the complexities of the concept might be a barrier for full understanding by the public.

The idea of a new document to replace the one approved in 1949 has been around for a long time. President Óscar Arias Sánchez supported the idea when he was in office in order to enhance what he called the governability of the nation. His brother promoted the idea in 2008.

Every chief executive seems frustrated at the
snail's pace of creating new laws. Some ideas include requiring the legislature to act on a measure promoted by Casa Presidencial in a short time and to restrict the ability of minority party members in making amendments to proposed laws. Sometimes lawmakers have to wade through and vote on hundreds of amendments which may be proposed as a stalling tactic.

Some legal minds also have proposed restricting the powers of the Corte Supreme de Justicia. The Sala IV constitutional court is notorious for making new laws. One proposal is to restrict the magistrates to addressing the constitutionality of issues and eliminate the public's right to appeal issues involving constitutional rights directly to the high court. There are hundreds of such private appeals every year.

Proponents see an election in which delegates are picked from every province. But the process is still fairly fluid. The proposal will be introduced formally and then assigned to a committee for hearings.

The measure is sure to prompt concerns from those who are worried about the erosion of human rights, worker rights and the possibility of unintended consequences.

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Police officer shows some alluring fireworks before consigning them to the flames.
Flames taking nearly a million confiscated fireworks
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The security ministry began the destruction Tuesday of all those fireworks that had been confiscated from trucks, buses, private vehicles and hidden places under sales counters.

The Dirección General de Armamento of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública said the destruction is the largest in a number of years with nearly a million individual fireworks

being burned up. The job is expected to last for a week at Polígono 38 Especial in Los Sitios de Moravia.

Unfortunately ministry workers are torching the fireworks in a steel cage, so no rockets shoot into the air.

Since 2007, the ministry said its employees have destroyed more than 2 million fireworks-type devices.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 33
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Professional Directory
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.


Marco Cavallini & Associates
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Legal services

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Appeal frees lawyer Arcelio Hernández

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Arcelio Hernández Mussio, the lawyer who was convicted of fraud in July and sentenced to 10 years in prison, has been released.

Hernández posted a notice of his successful appeal on his Facebook page and then confirmed his release in an email to A.M. Costa Rica Tuesday night. He said he had experienced five and a half years of a Calvario on the allegations of  U.S. clients. That is a Spanish word taken from the New Testament and means a long, painful journey

The Tribunal de Penal de Puntarenas sentenced the lawyer to 10 years in prison in July and ordered him to pay back more than $1 million to seven investors. The lawyer said that the Tribunal de Apelación de Sentencia de San Ramón annulled that sentence.

Hernández has been held in preventative detention in a Puntarenas facility while the appeal was decided. He has insisted that he is innocent. His email is highly critical of those involved in the judicial process including the three judges who convicted him and a prosecutor.

His email included a copy of the final paragraph of the appeal verdict, and it appears that the panel also ordered that money taken by the state be returned to him.

The trial court identified the presumed victims of fraud as Justin Dean Hamel, Gretchen Hamel, Sherry Lee Meehan, Chistine Larson, Suresh Kumar Krishnan, Ray David Krueger-Koplin and Suzane Therese Krueger-Koplin, according to the decision.

The court said that Hernández took some $626,698.68 that had been entrusted to him for the purchase of the Hotel Rancharlo in Sámara, which was owned through a corporation by Canadian Michael Lefrance. The closing was supposed to be June 1, 2010.

The trial court in its decision made a distinction that Hernández was convicted of his activities as an escrow agent and not as a lawyer or notary. The lawyer said Tuesday night on his Facebook page that he would make sure today that the Colegio de Abogados lists him as not being suspended.

Hernández has been an advertiser in A.M. Costa Rica.

Trio held in taxista extortion case

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators said that three men were running a protection racket in Pavas and extorting money for taxi drivers.

Judicial agents detained the three men, 19, 20 and 26 Tuesday when they raided three homes.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the case began in August. The prime targets were the unlicensed taxi drivers of which there are about 100 working in the Pavas area.

The drivers said they had been threatened and received demands to pay 4,000 colons a week to avoid threats. Agents said that one taxi driver was fired upon when he did not pay.

Agents said they confiscated firearms during the Tuesday raids.

Victory claims for 22 marine species

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A local environmental organization said Tuesday that threatened sharks and rays had won a victory because 22 marine species have been included in an agreement.

The agreement is the Memorandum of Understanding of Migratory Sharks. Representatives of the countries that signed the document held their second meeting Tuesday in San José and voted unanimously to include the 22 species under Annex 1 of the agreement, said the organization.

“Now, countries will have to coordinate work in a regional context to stop the negative trend these populations are exhibiting, mainly due to overfishing,” said the organization, the Programa Restauracion de Tortugas Marinas. “In the eastern tropical Pacific, overfishing and the lack of efficient controls by regional fisheries management organizations have been identified as the main threats for the survival of these species.”

The organization said that three shark groups of the 22 species were relevant to Costa Rica, two species of hammerheads, three species of threshers and the silky shark. These species are listed under the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species and are commonly caught by Costa Ricans to commercialize their fins and meat in international and domestic markets, the organization added.

"Better times are coming for sharks" said Randall Arauz, of Programa Restauracion de Tortugas Marinas. "The signatories acknowledged by consensus that these species are in urgent need of conservation actions, its time to act now," urged Arauz.

The organization known as PRETOMA has been at the front of a lengthy battle to protect sharks and other marine species.

Our reader's opinion
State water company slow to respond

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

For weeks, and maybe months, there has been a massive leak on the west side of La Paco.   I visited the office in Escazú a week ago and reported the leak.   Today I tried to call the special number for leaks, 800.REPORTE.  Nobody answered, so I tried the number for the office in Escazú. Again no answer. 

Their motto is “El agua es vida!  Cuidemosla!” 

Perhaps if they see a letter to the editor in A.M. Costa Rica, they will do something about that terrible waste of water.
Win Canavan
Santa Ana

News for the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 33
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Nicoya to host
bike acrobatics

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The bike acrobatic contest is back in Nicoya Sunday with participants expected from Panamá and a number of Costa Rican communities.

This is the eighth annual BMX War Jam, and it is being held at the Escuela de San Martín in Nicoya.

The contest begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m., said the Municipalidad de Nicoya, a major sponsor.

Municipalidad de Nicoya photo
Bikers will fly through the air to impress judges.

Suspect in Mata Palo multiple murders being sought in Nicaragua
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators are blaming extreme domestic violence in the murder of a U.S. expat, his wife and three children. The killings were discovered Tuesday.

The prime suspect, identified as Adrián Salmerón Silva, is believed to have fled to Nicaragua, and investigators are seeking help in that country to find him.

The man was the live-in boyfriend of the woman in the unusual
domestic arrangement in Mata Palo de Santa Cruz.

The dead expat was identified as Dirk Bouchamp, 58. His wife was identified as Jessica Durán. The assailant hacked to death
with a machete the couple and three children and injured one more.

Bouchamp was believed to have been a pensioner living for several years in the community. He is the father of one of the surviving children who is 3 years old. That child was injured seriously, said investigators, and went to the Hospital Nacional de Niños. The suspect is the father of at least one of the survivors, a 3 month old, who was unhurt.

Ms. Durán was reported to have left her husband some months ago but then returned to the home with her new boyfriend in time to have his child.

Bouchamp was reported to have been in ill health.

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Guanacaste Lodge

Palermo Hotel

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 33
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Professor rejects complacency by victims of rampant cybertheft
By the Michigan State University news staff

Cyber thieves who steal credit and debit card numbers are making millions of dollars in profits, fueling a global criminal enterprise marked by the high-profile data breaches of major companies such as Target and Home Depot.

Thomas J. Holt, Michigan State University criminologist and lead investigator of one of the first scientific studies to estimate cybercrime profits, said the findings should be a wakeup call for consumers and law enforcement officials alike.

The study, published online in the journal Deviant Behavior, was funded by the National Institute of Justice.

“In the past two years there have been hundreds of data breaches involving customer information, some very serious like the Target breach in 2013,” said Holt, an associate professor of criminal justice. “It’s happening so often that average consumers are just getting into this mindset of, ‘Well, my bank will just re-issue the card, it’s not a problem.’ But this is more than a hassle or inconvenience. It’s a real economic phenomenon that has real economic impact and consequences.”

Holt and fellow researchers analyzed online forums in English and Russian where criminals sold stolen financial and personal

information, often in batches of 50 or 100. The buyers then attempt to access the victims’ bank accounts or buy goods or services with the stolen cards.

On average, a batch of 50 stolen credit or debit cards can make a seller between about $250,000 and $1 million.

Buyers, in turn, assume more risk (since they could get caught trying to use the cards), but also stand to gain more. On average, a batch of 50 stolen credit or debit cards could make the buyer between $2 million (if only 25 percent of the cards worked) and nearly $8 million (if all cards worked).

In a 2014 report for the National Institute of Justice, Holt called for a more intensive, coordinated approach by law enforcement agencies around the world to attack cybercrime.

Ultimately, Holt said he hopes to help protect consumers from the potentially disastrous effects of identity theft and credit fraud.

“My goal is make people cognizant of just how much their personal information means, how much value there is,” Holt said. “If we don’t understand the scope of this problem, if we just treat it as a nuisance, then we’re going to enable and embolden this as a form of crime that won’t stop.”

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
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Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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Real estate-related services (paid category)
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Real Estate
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 33
Real Estate
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Axiom 890 pixels

Obama firm about naming
a Supreme Court nominee

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama says the U.S. Constitution is pretty clear that when there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court, the Senate is to consider whomever the president nominates.

Obama told reporters in Rancho Mirage, California, Tuesday that he challenged anyone to give him a plausible rationale why the Senate would refuse to hold hearings on his choice to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

He said there was no unwritten law saying a president who is about to leave office because his term is expiring cannot nominate a justice.

Obama said the Supreme Court was the one part of the federal government where Americans would expect elected officials to rise above politics. He said he would do his job until the end of his term and that senators should also.

When asked whether he planned to nominate a moderate who would be more acceptable to Republicans, Obama said no. He said whoever he named would have an outstanding legal mind and would be indisputably qualified to sit on the highest court in the land.

Obama again sent his condolences to the family of Scalia, who died Saturday at age 79, leaving a vacancy on the nine-member court at a crucial time. The court is scheduled to hear several major cases involving abortion rights, voting rights, immigration and Obama's signature health care act.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who decides the Senate's agenda, has said he will refuse to hold hearings on a new Supreme Court nominee. He said the next president, who takes office in January 2017, should make that appointment.

Superdelegates may call shots
for Democratic nomination

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As the race for the Democratic presidential nomination heats up between Sen. Bernie Sanders and former secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the close contest is drawing attention to the nomination process and the people called superdelegates who could have enormous influence over its outcome.

The two major American political parties begin the process of selecting their presidential nominees by holding elections in each state. These contests, known as primaries or caucuses, determine most of the support that candidates will receive from delegates at the party convention later this year. Winning the state contests means more delegates backing a candidate in the party convention.

However, this does not account for all of the delegates who can vote at the convention.

The Democratic nomination will be determined by 4,763 total delegates, 4,051 chosen by the voters and 712 superdelegates.

The superdelegates include all of the party's governors, the president and vice president, all of its members in Congress, and also all members of the Democratic National Committee. That includes elected representatives, like mayors and county executives, as well as presidents of various Democratic organizations.

The Republican Party nomination will be determined by 2,472 total delegates, of whom 168 are superdelegates.

There are, however, big differences in how much power each party allows its superdelegates.

The Democratic superdelegates can vote for whomever they want at the convention with no obligation to voters’ preferences.

In contrast, the Republican Party requires its superdelegates to support the candidate their state supports, just like regular delegates.

Sanders beat Mrs. Clinton by a 15-to-9 margin in the New Hampshire primary this month. But six of New Hampshire’s eight superdelegates support Clinton, pushing her total from New Hampshire up to at least 15.

The other two superdelegates remain uncommitted. So Clinton could theoretically get more delegates from a state that she lost by a wide margin of the popular vote.

In fact, Clinton had a large national lead over Sanders before the race even started, because at least 360 of the 712 Democratic superdelegates had already pledged their support to her.

That in itself does not assure the former first lady of a win because there’s nothing binding them to her candidacy.

In 2008, many superdelegates shifted their announced support from Mrs. Clinton to Barack Obama as it became clear that the then-senator from Illinois was winning the popular vote.

State Department is unhappy
with renaming D.C. plaza

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama would veto a law proposed by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to rename the plaza in front of the Chinese Embassy to honor jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, a State Department official said Tuesday.

Deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said that while the administration continues to press China to respect human rights and to release Liu, the bill complicates such efforts.

 "We do not believe Senator Cruz's tactic to rename a street in Washington, D.C., is a very effective way to achieve either goal,” Toner said. “We view this kind of legislative action as something that really complicates our efforts. So we oppose this approach."

Toner added that the administration shared the same goal with Congress to improve human rights in China.

The U.S. Senate last week passed a measure to name the plaza after Liu, which would potentially change the Chinese embassy's address in Washington to 1 Liu Xiaobo Plaza.

Earlier, China's foreign ministry warned the United States there will be serious consequences if the plaza is renamed after the pro-democracy dissident.

The move violated the basic norms of international relations, China's foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters.

China views Liu as a criminal. He was jailed for 11 years in 2009 on subversion charges for organizing a petition urging an end to one-party rule.

His Nobel award the following year outraged Beijing.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali dies
in a Cairo hospital at 93

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali has died at the age of 93.

Boutros-Ghali, a veteran Egyptian diplomat who helped forge his country's peace agreement with Israel, was the U.N.'s sixth secretary-general, serving from 1992 to 1996.

His U.N. tenure was marked by several climactic world events, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War, the emergence of the United States as the single global military power and violent humanitarian crises in Africa and the Balkans.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid tribute to his predecessor, recalling that Boutros-Ghali had led the world body during one of the most tumultuous and challenging periods in its history and presided over a dramatic rise in U.N. peace-keeping missions around the globe.

But Boutros-Ghali's five years at the helm of the U.N. remain controversial, remembered for his clashes with the United States, which ultimately blocked a second term for him as secretary-general, making him the only single-term U.N. chief. He was replaced by Ghanian Kofi Annan in 1997.

Critics of Boutros-Ghali blamed him for his role in failing to prevent the 1994 massacre in Rwanda, in which a half million Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in 100 days.

Indeed, years later, Boutros-Ghali called the massacre "my worst failure at the United Nations."

But he blamed the United States, Britain, France and Belgium for paralyzing U.N. action by setting impossible conditions for intervention. The U.S. president at the time, Bill Clinton, and other world leaders opposed sending U.N. peacekeepers to the tiny Central African nation or intervening to stop the massacres, although Clinton later acknowledged that he regretted the lack of intervention.

After leaving the U.N., Boutros-Ghali, in his writings, accused Washington of using the U.N. for its own purposes.

In his 1999 book, “Unvanquished,” Boutros-Ghali wrote that he "mistakenly assumed that the great powers, especially the United States, also trained their representatives in diplomacy and accepted the value of it. But the Roman Empire had no need for diplomacy. Neither does the United States."

Boutros-Ghali died in a Cairo hospital where he had been admitted several days ago after suffering a broken pelvis.

Support grows for Britain
to stay in European Union

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Senior European Union leaders are expressing their commitment to help Britain remain in the bloc.
Before a two-day summit that opens Thursday, British Prime Minister David Cameron won a commitment from European Parliament President Martin Schulz that the legislative body will do its utmost to back any fair deal on the EU reform Cameron is seeking.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also said Tuesday the bloc was not planning for any British departure.

"I am not entering into the details of a plan B, because we do not have a plan B, we have a plan A. Britain will stay in the European Union as a constructive and active member,'' he said.

Under pressure from his Conservative Party that has pledged to hold a national referendum by the end of 2017 on the nation's continued membership in the European Union, Cameron presented four proposals last month for reforming Britain's relations with the European Union.

Speaking from Athens, EU Council President Donald Tusk pointed at still fragile negotiations with Britain, but expressed support for a deal to keep the country in the bloc.

Cameron's reform proposals include building competitiveness into EU practices, making sure that non-euro countries, including Britain, are not discriminated against, clarifying that Britain is not formally obligated to work toward closer union with its European partners and instituting curbs on migration and benefits.
Earlier this month, Tusk circulated counter proposals in a letter to leaders of EU member states. The plan aims to address Britain's concerns, including what many Britons see as a loss of sovereignty to Brussels.

Schulz indicated the proposals will be thoroughly explored.
"I think that there will be a very constructive debate in the European Parliament. But to be quite clear, no government can go to a parliament and say, 'This is our proposal, can you give a guarantee about the result?' This is not possible in democracy, therefore my answer is the European Parliament will do the utmost to support a compromise and a fair deal, but I can not pre-empt the result in the European Parliament, but once more, or once the institutions agree our experience is it goes in a good direction," he said.

Pope denounces resignation
as Devil's favorite weapon

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Pope Francis has urged Mexico's clergy not to resign themselves to a society dominated by drug-fueled violence and corruption but to continue the fight against injustice.

"What temptation can come to us from places often dominated by violence, corruption, drug trafficking, disregard for human dignity, and indifference in the face of suffering and vulnerability?" the pope asked during a Mass for priests, nuns and seminarians in Michoacan state, the heart of Mexico's drug-trafficking country.

"Faced with this reality, the Devil can overcome us with one of his favorite weapons: resignation," he said.

"A resignation which paralyzes us and prevents us not only from walking, but also from making the journey; a resignation which not only terrifies us, but also entrenches us in our sacristies and false securities."

Michoacan state has endured some of the most gruesome episodes of Mexico's drug war, which has left 100,000 people dead or missing in the past decade.

Organized crime groups in the area have battled for control of methamphetamine production, which is prevalent there.

Pope Francis began his five-day visit to Mexico on Saturday, meeting with officials in a call for them to provide true justice and security in the country after years of endemic drug violence, official corruption and poverty.

Sunday, he spoke before members of Mexico's native populations and asked for forgiveness for the exclusion they have suffered by society.

Francis caps his visit today in the U.S.-Mexico border town of Ciudad Juárez, where he is expected to address issues of crime, trafficking and migration.

World Health recommends
genetically modified tactic

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Countries dealing with zika outbreaks should consider using controversial methods to fight its spread, such as using genetically modified mosquitoes and biological agents that stop mosquito larva from hatching, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

Given the magnitude of the zika crisis, World Health encourages affected countries and their partners to boost the use of both old and new approaches to mosquito control as the most immediate line of defense,' the agency said.

The U.N. Agency said its advisory board recommended trials using sterile irradiated male mosquitoes, a technique used to fight dengue in the Cayman Islands. It says other U.N. agencies have deployed sterilized mosquitoes to control other agricultural pests.

But environmentalists have cautioned against the use of genetically modified mosquitoes, saying the long-term effects of killing off an entire insect population is unknown.

The zika virus is transmitted primarily by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

Also Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended people who have had potential exposure to zika to put off donating blood for at least four weeks.

They include people who show any symptoms of zika, anyone who has traveled to a zika-stricken area, and those who have had sex with someone who lived in or traveled to one of those countries in the last three months.

"The FDA has critical responsibilities in outbreak situations and has been working rapidly to take important steps to respond to the emerging zika virus outbreak," acting chief scientist Luciana Borio said Tuesday. "We are using this guidance for immediate implementation in order to better protect the U.S. blood supply."

While there are no cases of zika virus entering the U.S. blood supply, the FDA says the latest scientific evidence shows the risk of blood transmission is likely.

There is currently no treatment for zika, and much remains unknown about the disease.

Experts suspect zika could cause microcephaly, a condition in which babies are born with unusually small heads because the brain has not developed properly or has stopped growing.

The zika virus is becoming a major problem in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, which reports more than 4,300 suspected cases of microcephaly.

Prison band
Voice of America/L. Masina
 Members of the Prison Reform Band outside their
 makeshift recording studio at the Zomba
 maximum-security prison in eastern Malawi.

African prison performers
unbowed by Grammy miss

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Malawian prison band whose album was nominated for a 2016 Grammy Award in the Best World Music category did not win, but members hope they can make another run at a trophy in the future.

Members of the Zomba Prison Project Band spoke Tuesday at the maximum-security Zomba Central Prison, hours after the winners were announced, and no one seemed depressed about the failure to win the Grammy. The local and international fame they gained for just being nominated compensated for that, they said.

Band leader Thomas Binamo said the nomination showed the world that there is talent in Malawi prisons. And inmate Chikondi Salanje said the talent the band demonstrated should make Malawi's president consider giving the musicians pardons so they can practice outside the prison.

Acting Chief Commissioner of Prisons Little Dinizulu Mtengano, who founded the band in 2008, said he supported this idea. “At least we have put Malawi on the world map, and the best reward to them is an amnesty to go home and enjoy with the family.”

But Mtengano noted that only the Malawian president has the power to pardon prisoners.

The prison band’s 20-song album, "I Have No Everything Here," was recorded in 2013 by American Grammy-winning producer Ian Brenner, who later gave it international exposure.

Many foreign journalists visited the band after it received its nomination.

The album was competing with works from four international music stars for the Grammy: Ladysmith Black Mambazo of South Africa, Angelique Kidjo from Benin, Gilberto Gil of Brazil and Anoushka Shankar from India.

Kidjo won the award for her album "Sings."

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

If you are looking for information on condos, homes, lots, commercial real estate or development properties our award-winning team of professional agents are ready to help you buying property in Costa Rica. We have over 18 years of experience to educate our buyers in all aspects of purchasing property. Call us or email us today for more information on how to purchase that perfect piece of Costa Rica Real Estate.

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Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
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The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
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Rich Coast Realty is a full-service real estate company with property listings in Escazú, Santa Ana, Jacó, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Manuel Antonio, and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. We work hard to find you the property of your dreams, and assist with legal advice, residency, starting corporations, opening bank accounts, etc. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in, and relocating to Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate, we look forward to hearing from you.
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Jacó beach unique home. First time offered
This house has never been listed.  It is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home approx. 100 feet above sea level on the only hill in Jacó one mile to the beach.  Totally remodeled to a Gringo house.Has great fenced yard for dogs and a huge screened porch with  great views all around, including a small ocean view.  New in the last two years includes: new kitchen with granite counter, cedar cabinets, all new windows, tile, water system, updated electric & plumbing, superb new AC units (low electric bill), This is half of a duplex with a platted yard.  Other side is the chief of police.  Secure & private.  $169.900. Call Glenn at 506-6214-0056 or

Lee Lot
Panoramic Home Site.
Panoramic, rural mountain lot in Rosario, outside of Grecia in Central Valley. 25 minutes from San José and international airport. One hour from coast. Includes paved roads, electrical and water. In a development of 28 hectares, most planted in coffee. Lot is 7,300 square meters. Located adjacent to High Dreams Club, Hotel & Spa (Adults/couples Excellent climate. Lot size large enough for home, garage & guesthouse/casita. Home site cleared & includes 10 maturing palm trees, with coffee trees at the base of the lot. Views to San José and include canyons. $24,900 USD. Contact: 506 8311-5336 or U.S. 719-821-2210.

La Uruca condo
Situated three miles west of the capital, eight miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, six restaurants,  next to two 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, two bedrooms, maid's room, two bathrooms, four closets  (including walk-in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine, small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools).  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:  Mid-January to beginning of April. Contact:  USA :  585 544-4296. Costa Rica : 506 2231-0410

ocean-view home
Property size: 3,405.14 sq. mts. or 37,000 sq. ft.   Gorgeous house built 5 years ago to U.S. standards on 37,000 sq. ft. titled property. This home (240 sq. mtrs or 2,600 sq. ft) has 360-degree ocean and mountain views and electric gated private road access. The large open style home has soaring teak ceillings, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, custom cabinetry and ceramic tiles throughout and a double-car electric garage door. Their is also a beautiful, large swimming pool surrounded by exotic garden, laundry room and bodega. This is a very special and rare property because of the incredible view and excellent location. This one of a kind home and property is truly a must to see. all custom built furnitures included. Photo gallery:  CLICK HERE!  Please contact Jack, Cell phone number  (506) 8812-1789.  Contact email:

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

Goetl in Palo Seco

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

Blakesmore one

Blakemoret two

Costa Rica tropical paradise beach house for sale

Tropical five-acre forested beachfront property with custom house and guest casita on the Osa Península, south Pacific Coast. Abundant wildlife, exotic plants and fruits, secluded beach.  Located 8 kms. south of Puerto Jiménez on the way to Matapalo and Corcovado National Park. Great Price $750,000. Contact Roger. Phone number  (506) 6142-7228   Email: Watch this video for full details.

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

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

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

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

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

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

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

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Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 33
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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
T-cell cancer treatment called successful

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An experimental therapy that harnesses the power of the immune system is showing remarkable success in the fight against some of the mostly deadly blood cancers.

The work, headed up by Stanley Riddell, a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in the U.S. state of Washington, involves engineering the patient's immune system T-cells and has shown considerable promise in small clinical trials.

In one study of 35 patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, 94 percent experienced a complete remission. Fifty to 80 percent of patients with other blood cancers, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, also saw a reduction in symptoms.

"So, this is encouraging because these are all patients who have failed all conventional therapies, including many kinds of bone marrow and stem cell transplants,” Riddell said. “So these patients really do not have any other treatment options that are likely to put them into remission. So, getting these very high rates of remission is obviously very exciting for us."

Immune system T-cells, which usually fight invading viruses and bacteria, can also mount a response to cancer, but they are soon overwhelmed by the disease.

The work by Hutchinson researchers enhances this natural cancer-fighting ability.

Riddell and his colleagues tagged patients' T-cells with cancer-specific receptor molecules that recognize and attack malignant cells.

In this case, the T-cells were targeted at a series of blood cancers caused by a malfunction of B-cells, another immune system cell.

Once the T-cells were modified, Riddell said, they were infused back into the patient, where they multiplied and continued to fight cancer.

"So, that's the one interesting thing about this. It doesn't require repeated treatments or repetitive cycles of chemotherapy,” Riddell said. “That's what I think in the future may be most important for patients, that it's a single treatment instead of many months of treatment."

Manipulating the immune system has already shown promise against melanoma, a lethal form of skin cancer, and some lung cancers. But currently, immunotherapy is considered a treatment of last resort for other cancer patients.

Riddell thinks that may change.

"You know, we still have a lot of work to do to establish exactly where the place of immunotherapy would be in cancer therapy,” he said, “but there's no question now that it is becoming a very useful modality and, in some cases, is a replacement for, or just superior to, chemotherapy."

Riddell and his colleagues presented details of their cancer therapy at the recent annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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From Page 7:

Government promotes bank accounts for all

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government is moving to provide bank accounts for an estimated 1.6 million persons, mostly low-income, who do not have them.

The Consejo Presidencial Social announced this Tuesday and said that one estimate is that 35 percent of the population does not have a bank account.

The special accounts will be available at state banks for those 15 and older who can demonstrate that they are low-income. The state will use the accounts to make the various social benefit payments. The accounts open the way for savings, loans, electronic transfers and debit cards for the low-income residents, said the government.