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(506) 2223-1327                                    Published Thursday, Feb. 19, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 35                                    Email us
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Axiom


What the Caja Costarricense has joined together . . .
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A local lawyer said that he orchestrated a marriage ceremony for 73 couples in Atenas on St. Valentine's Day to sidestep a government regulation that many consider burdensome.

The lawyer is Rafael Valverde of Outlier Legal Services in Guachipelín. The rule he is trying to circumvent is by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. The Caja requires a marriage certificate not more than 30 days old for couples trying to sign up for or renew its services.

Expats with legal residency are required to affiliate with the Caja.

A.M. Costa Rica addressed the problem in a news story that called the rule kafkaesque.

The Costa Rican government's Registro Civil keeps close track of who is married to whom. But that is not the case in most foreign countries. Costa Ricans can easily obtain a fresh marriage license with a visit to the Registro.

As Valverde points on out on his Web site, the Caja permits same-sex couples to affiliate and also Costa Ricans who are living in common law relationships. But couples who are married must provide a certificate not more than 30 days old.

That can be a chore for foreigners who have to contact the appropriate agency in the location where they were married.

Valverde said Wednesday that all but one of

Take that,
                        caja

the participants in the Atenas Parque Central
wedding ceremony were expats. This was not a fund-raising enterprise.

His Web site said the fee would be $400 and shared by participating couples.

Presumably the couples who participated in the marriage ceremony will be able to obtain a Costa Rican marriage certificate at the Registro Civil.

However, other lawyers have warned, as A.M. Costa Rica reported, that in order to be married in Costa Rica, the couple must legally swear that they are not married elsewhere, something that is clearly not true. Valverde addressed this point on his Web site and said that this was permitted if the couple were marrying the same person.

As A.M. Costa Rica pointed out there is an irony that many expat couples already have a validated and official marriage certificate on file in the office of Migración y Extranjería from the time they sought legal residency.

Valverde said Wednesday that he is planning to file a Sala IV constitutional appeal over the Caja requirement.



Sala IV stalls evictions of 100 squatter families
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Squatters in southern Costa Rica scored victories Wednesday. The Sala IV constitutional court froze the eviction of some 100 families, and a judge freed six persons who had been involved in scuffles with police at a bridge blockade.

This is the long-running dispute at the Finca Chánguena in Palmar Sur.

Now the Instituto Nacional de Desarrollo Rural also has asked the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública to delay the evictions while the government agency tried to mediate.

The Sala IV only ordered a temporary halt while magistrates study a new appeal against the evictions.

The six individuals who had been jailed were involved in a blockade and demonstration at a bridge over the nearby Rio Térraba. The roadway is the key Interamericana Sur. The six had been held over night, but a judge freed them pending further legal action. They face allegations of resistance and obstructing a highway.

The battle over the land has been going on for years, and some of the squatters are former employees of the finca owner.


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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 34
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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.


Dentistry

Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini has placed and
DR. Cavallini
Dr. Marco A. MuÏoz Cavallini
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Psychotherapy

Dr. Gray
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California Licensed
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US (310) 827-4241
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Insurance professionals

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Residency experts

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 Accountants

U.S. Income Tax Services
Marlene B. Summers, Tax Accountant
Licensed by the I.R.S.
 
Ms. Summers
Marlene B. Summers
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U.S. Tax
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Legal services

Valdivieco header
Lic. Eduardo Valdivieso
your legal adviser for criminal, civil,
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Real estate agents and services

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Eco logo
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colinadelsol022515c.gif
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binoculars
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Someone was not using these binoculars Wednesday when police came calling.

Drug operation provided entertainment

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There are plenty of underground bars and clubs in the Central Valley. But in  Ipis de Goicoechea anti-drug agents found one that not only sold drugs but provided entertainment in the form of two dancers.

Agents called the operation a clandestine discotheque. They said there had been 15 telephone complaints from neighbors. The Ministerio de Seguridad Pública said that they found a quantity of cocaine, marijuana and firearms.

A unique aspect was a pair of binoculars hung in a way that individuals inside the illegal operation could keep an eye on those who approach. Presumably the lookouts were otherwise occupied Wednesday. Two men were arrested.


It's not our fault, Patronato says of murders

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

In the wake of any tragedy, there always is the blame game.

So the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia, the child welfare agency, tried Wednesday to distance itself from any blame in the murder of three children along with their parents in Mata Palo, Santa Cruz.

This is the case discovered Tuesday that involved a U.S. expat and his Costa Rican wife.

The Patronato said that case agents visited the home twice in the last year but did not find problems. In February 2015 an investigator followed up on a neighborhood complaint of abandonment and neglect, but found that the father, Dirk Bouchamp, was caring for them.

The case worker reported that the mother, Jessica Durán, had been detained for failing to provide funds for yet another child that was in the care of a grandparent. The report said that Bouchamp was filling a very positive role, said the Patronato.

In November, a non-government agency filed a complaint about the actions of the mother. A Patronato checkup again found that the children were under the care of the father, the agency said.

Despite the positive reports of the Patronato, there are claims now by neighbors of violence and aggression, mostly blaming the mother and her live-in boyfriend, Adrián Salmerón Silva, who is the prime suspect in the case. He fled.

Bouchamp is the father of a 3 year old who survived with serious injuries including a knife wound to the head. The assailant spared his own 3 month old child, who also survives.

Three other children, girls 13 and 6 and a boy 8, died.


Uber is object of official warning

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's regulatory agency is moving closer to a crackdown on the Internet taxi service Uber.

The agency, the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos, restated the law in a news release. The law provides for fines from 2 to 8 million colons for those who transport for hire without authorization. The agency said that the fines apply even if there is technology involved, like a smartphone app.

Clearly the statement was aimed at Uber. The agency said that it would handle the cases administratively. It also warned that the police would impound the offending vehicle.

Taxi drivers are expected to protest again today about the lack of government action against the U.S. firm.


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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 34
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New housing for prison inmates suffers a major setback
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Any expat who ends up in the nation's prison system is quick to wish he or she had not. The facilities are seriously overcrowded and decrepit in some places.

Efforts to create more space for prisoners suffered a setback Wednesday when the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz announced that a contractor had walked off a job at the La Reforma prison complex in Alajuela.

The contractor is Constructora Mavacón S. A., and the firm was supposed to build 400 spaces for prisoners for 1.7 million colons or about $3.4 million.

Employees said they had not been paid for 15 to 22 days, and the ministry said that inspectors from the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social, the Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social, the Colegio Federado de Ingenieros y Arquitectos and the Instituto Nacional de Seguros were at the site.

The ministry said that the job was awarded in October and was supposed to be completed this month. Officials estimated that the job was about 50 to 60 percent completed and that the firm had received about 40 percent of the contract amount.

The ministry said it would approach Mavacón about the job and noted that the firm faces fines for failing to complete the job on time.

Meanwhile, a California professor visited the San Sebastian lockups in San José Tuesday in his capacity as an inspector for the Interamerican Human Rights Commission.

Costa Rican officials sought such an inspection a year and a half ago.

The summary of the visit could be used in seeking more funds internationally.

The visitor was James Cavallaro, a lawyer who is a professor at Stanford University. The facility holds 1,254 persons, and many of them are there before trial as preventative detention or after trial but before the sentence is confirmed.

Costa Rica has been struggling to relieve the overcrowding of the prison facilities.

work stalled
Ministerio de Justicia y Paz
There is no activity at this La Reforma work site

visitor
Ministerio de Justicia y Paz
James Cavallaro discusses prison accommodations.


Hotel header

Guanacaste Lodge

Palermo Hotel

Croc's Valentine

Vista Ballena

La
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Hacienda
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Recreo
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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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New DNA analysis injects uncertainty into history of human race
By the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory news staff

Using several different methods of DNA analysis, an international research team has found what they consider to be strong evidence of an interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans that occurred tens of thousands of years earlier than any other such event previously documented.

The team publishes evidence of interbreeding that occurred an estimated 100,000 years ago. More specifically the scientists provide the first genetic evidence of a scenario in which early modern humans left the African continent and mixed with now-extinct members of the human family.

“It’s been known for several years, following the first sequencing of the Neanderthal genome in 2010, that Neanderthals and humans must have interbred,” says Adam Siepel, a co-team leader and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory quantitative biologist.  “But the data so far refers to an event dating to around 47,000-65,000 years ago, around the time that human populations emigrated from Africa. The event we found appears considerably older than that event.”

“One very interesting thing about our finding is that it shows a signal of breeding in the opposite direction from that already known,” Siepel notes. “That is, we show human DNA in a Neanderthal genome, rather than Neanderthal DNA in human genomes.”

This finding, the result of several kinds of advanced computer modeling algorithms comparing complete genomes of hundreds of contemporary humans with complete and partial genomes of four archaic humans, has implications for knowledge of human migration patterns.

People living today who are of European, Eurasian and Asian descent have well-identified Neanderthal-derived segments in their genome. These fragments are traces of interbreeding that followed the out of Africa human migration dating to about 60,000 years ago. They imply that children born of

cave
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory/Bence Viola
The Neanderthal remains were found in this cave in the Altai Mountains near the Russia-Mongolia border.

Neanderthal-modern human pairings outside of Africa were raised among the modern humans and ultimately bred with other humans, explaining how bits of Neanderthal DNA remain in human genomes.

Contemporary Africans, however, do not have detectable traces of Neanderthal DNA in their genomes. This indicates that whatever sexual contact occurred between modern humans and Neanderthals occurred among humans who left the African continent. “Ancestors of present-day African populations likely didn’t have the opportunity to interbreed with Neanderthals, who lived largely outside of Africa,” explained co-author Ilan Gronau.

The team’s evidence of gene flow from descendants of modern humans into the Neanderthal genome applies to one specific Neanderthal, whose remains were found some years ago in a cave in southwestern Siberia, in the Altai Mountains, near the Russia-Mongolia border. The modern human ancestor who contributed genes to this particular Neanderthal individual, known from a tiny toe bone fragment, must have migrated out of Africa long before the migration that led Africans into Europe and Asia 60,000 years ago, the scientists say.



Vacation, travel and hospitality


HIdden
                        Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

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
or contact us by email:
HiddenGarden@TheVanStoneGroup.com.   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.
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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
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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.
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Real estate-related services (paid category)
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Solr
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Real estate for rent (paid category)
Central
                                              Valley view

Boutique quality mountain homes for rent located on a small horse ranch on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes have stunning views of Costa Rica's Central Valley. Located at 7,300-foot altitude, our ranch borders the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the homes are hiking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. We offer various rental options for our 1- and 2-bedroom homes. Contact us at Ajsanch783@AOL.COM for more details.
8921-3/25/16

Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry. $650 per month plus electricity. ½ month security deposit. No lease.  The larger apartments are $650 per month. They have larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be best for the prospective tenants to visit
Barrio Amon
the building to see the apartments.   For more information contact: edificiomorazan@gmail.com  or call Hilda at 2221-7161.
8909-4/17/15




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A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 34
Sports
Calendar
Opinion
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Real Estate
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About us

Axiom 890 pixels

Apple declines to be a hacker
for U.S. law enforcement

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The CEO of Apple on Wednesday rejected an order by a U.S. judge to help the FBI access an iPhone used by one of the attackers who last year killed 14 people in California. The decision has set the stage for a high-stakes legal fight between the technology industry and the United States government.

The FBI wants Apple to help it access an encrypted iPhone used by Syed Farook, who along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, carried out the mass shooting in San Bernardino in December.

Investigators say they don’t know whether anything relevant is on the phone but that they are unable to access the information because they don’t know the password. They want Apple to create software that would bypass a self-destruct feature that erases the phone’s data after too many unsuccessful attempts to guess the password. Investigators want to be able to try different combinations in rapid sequence until they find the right one.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said Wednesday the company was being asked to take an unprecedented step that would threaten the security of Apple’s customers.

He said building the software to defeat Apple's own security measures is too dangerous to create.  He cited the need to protect information from hackers and criminals.

Cook said the company has no sympathy for terrorists and has provided the FBI with data it has in its possession and engineers with ideas on other options investigators could use.

"While we believe the FBI's intentions are good, it would be wrong for the government to force us to build a backdoor into our products,” Cook said. “And, ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the very freedoms and liberty our government is meant to protect."

Apple is most worried that if it complies with the FBI request, it will set a precedent for future requests from the U.S. government or from other countries, like China. There are few earlier rulings courts can use for guidance, and Apple does not want to pave the road for similar requests to itself and other tech companies.

Apple boosted encryption on its phones in 2014 after increased scrutiny on digital privacy. The government has complained that the higher security measures make criminal and national security investigations, such as the California shootings, more difficult.

Apple will most likely file an appeal with the court in the coming days. The legal fight is expected to drag on for a long time.


Two Democratic senators join
call for High Court hearings

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Two U.S. Democratic senators are joining a petition effort to force the Republican-controlled Senate to consider whoever President Barack Obama nominates to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, expected to be the Senate Democratic leader in a year, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut called Wednesday for confirmation hearings on Obama's eventual choice and then a Senate vote on whether to confirm the nominee for the lifetime position on the nine-member court.

They joined a liberal lobbying group called Progressive Change Campaign Committee that says it has already collected half a million signatures of people calling for hearings and a vote on whoever Obama nominates.

Several Republican senators, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, say the Senate should not consider any Obama Supreme Court nominee and should leave the choice to Obama's successor, whoever wins the national presidential election in November, and thus give American voters a say in the court selection.

But Schumer predicted, "Senator McConnell will have to back off. I believe we'll get hearings and a vote."

He added, "I am amazed at how upset people" are about Republican calls to not consider any Obama nominee.

Obama's Republican opponents say a new court nomination should not be considered so close to the next presidential election, with Obama set to leave office near the end of next January. Some have said hearings should not even be held on a nominee, while others have hinted they would be open to the hearings and perhaps a vote on Obama's candidate. The Republican presidential frontrunner, billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump, said at last Saturday's debate that Republicans should delay efforts to approve any Obama choice.

Obama says he will make his choice known in due time, and is scoffing at critics calling for him to forego making a nomination. He noted Tuesday that the U.S. Constitution calls for presidents to nominate Supreme Court justices and for the Senate to advise and consent on a nomination, with nothing saying nominations should not be considered in a presidential election year.

Obama said he will offer an indisputably qualified candidate.

Wednesday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama regrets that he played a role, when he served in the Senate in 2006 before winning the presidency two years later, in using legislative procedural rules to try to defeat the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito, a conservative judge appointed by former President George W. Bush who now sits on the court. 

Earnest said Obama believes Democrats should have made a better public case against Alito's confirmation on substantive grounds rather than try to thwart it through legislative maneuvering.

The Washington sparring over the nomination has been intense since the 79-year-old Scalia, a conservative stalwart on the court for 30 years, died last Saturday.

His replacement, whoever Obama nominates, could tip the ideological balance on the court, since Scalia was often the most vocal justice in the court's five-member conservative majority that held the upper hand in numerous 5-to-4 decisions over four reliably liberal justices.


New poll positions Ted Cruz
ahead of Donald Trump

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Real estate billionaire Donald Trump is lagging behind Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll of Republican voters.

In the survey, which contrasts sharply with other national polls, Cruz received 28 percent of the vote, narrowly leading Trump at 26 percent. Trailing behind were Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 17 percent, Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 11 percent, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 10 percent and former Florida governor Jeb Bush at 4 percent.

The poll, taken after Trump's New Hampshire primary win, diverged sharply from last month's NBC/WSJ survey in which Trump led Cruz by 33 percent to 20 percent.

It also diverged from an earlier Quinnipiac University national poll that showed Trump with 39 percent support, followed by 19 percent for Rubio, 18 percent for Cruz and other Republicans even further back.

Despite the signs of weakening support for Trump, he appears to still enjoy a strong lead in South Carolina. Tuesday's CNN/ORC poll showed Trump with 38 percent support ahead of Republican voting in the Southeastern U.S. state, a 16-percentage-point advantage over Cruz and wider leads over the other four remaining candidates.

In the Democratic presidential race, a CNN poll showed former secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont's Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, locked in a tight race ahead of Saturday's party caucuses in the Western state of Nevada, best known as the U.S. gambling hub.

The survey showed Clinton edging Sanders, 48 percent to 47 percent, in a state where the country's onetime top diplomat once held a commanding lead.

Quinnipiac said Mrs. Clinton was also narrowly ahead nationally over Sanders, by a 44-42 margin, as both parties head to a large number of state-by-state party nominating contests in the next month.

Meanwhile, a CNN survey in South Carolina, where Democrats are holding a primary election Feb. 27, showed Mrs. Clinton with a large lead over Sanders, 56 percent to 38 percent.

A Quinnipiac polling official, Tim Malloy, said, "Reports of Donald Trump's imminent demise as a candidate are clearly and greatly exaggerated. Like a freight train barreling through signals with his horn on full blast, Trump heads down the track towards a possible nomination."

He cautioned, however, "There is a but. Trump's raw numbers are formidable, but he trails the pack on some from the gut character measurements," such as the finding that Bush leads the Republican field as the top choice among party voters who value government experience as the most important characteristic.

"Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Clinton are neck and neck," Malloy said. "But while Bernie has the trust, Hillary has the experience. Two different measurements of two dissimilar candidates."

A previous Quinnipiac poll earlier this month had Trump leading with 31 percent.  Since then, he easily won last week's New Hampshire primary and three of his opponents dropped out of the race.


Jeb Bush tweet of firearm
generates mixed responses

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush got a lot of attention for tweeting a picture of a gun engraved with his name, but it was likely not the kind of attention he wanted.

The former Florida governor tweeted a picture of a semi-automatic pistol Tuesday, captioned America.

The instant response on social media ranged from outrage to mockery.

People outside the U.S. posted pictures of things their countries are known for.

Bush has yet to explain exactly why he posted the picture, although in his campaign appearances he has frequently stressed his strong support for the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment guarantees Americans' right to own firearms, and it figures in the political debate over whether laws regulating gun ownership should be changed.

“The Second Amendment is under attack by Washington liberals like President  Obama and   Clinton,” Bush's "jeb2016" Web site declared. “The current administration seems only to care about restricting the rights of law-abiding Americans.”


World Health is seeking funds
for an action plan against zika

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization is appealing for $56 million to fund a global plan to combat the zika virus, which is spreading across Latin America.  The virus is suspected of causing microcephaly, or brain damage in babies and Guillain Barre, a neurological disorder. 

The World Health Organization strategy focuses on mobilizing and coordinating the abilities and expertise of the agency’s many partners to help countries tackle the zika virus. 

This includes increasing surveillance of the zika virus and the disorders that could be linked to it, controlling the spread of the mosquito that carries the virus and providing information to communities so they can take measures to protect themselves.

The strategy also calls for ensuring medical care to those who are infected and to fast-track research and development of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.

World Health Organization spokesman Christian Lindmeier said the new emergency plan is an important part of the international response to control the spread of the zika virus.

“This is a very important tool we have to respond very flexibly and quickly and to bring us all the partners on board and combine expertise as quick as necessary,” he said.

The zika virus was discovered in Uganda in 1947 and has spread from Africa to other regions.  The infection is mild and is not life threatening. 

But Lindmeier says the possible association of the virus with microcephaly and Guillain Barre is very worrisome.  He says it is the suspected linkage that has prompted the World Health Organization to declare zika a public health emergency of international concern.

“This is something we see in larger numbers now and a few more countries, up to eight, have been reporting Guillain Barre.  Now one has been reporting microcephaly, that is Brazil.  And, here, of course, we need to fully establish what the possible links are between zika and these diseases and anomalies and how we can break into those links,” he said.

World Health says it expects to know within the next few weeks if the zika virus and microcephaly are linked.  It said a zika vaccine will not be available for at least 18 months. 

Tuesday the organization said countries dealing with zika outbreaks should consider unorthodox tools, such as genetically modified mosquitos, to halt the spread of the virus.

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

Both the Cayman Islands and Panamá have had some success in releasing genetically altered male mosquitos that cannot produce viable offspring.

But environmentalists caution against using altered mosquitos, saying the long-term effects of killing off an entire insect population is unknown.


Indonesia targeting porno
in banning Tumblr site

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Less than a week after banning same-sex emojis, the Indonesian government has banned the popular blogging site Tumblr, saying it distributes pornography.

According to the BBC, the Indonesian Information Ministry did not notify the New York-based company before announcing the ban.

Tumblr is just one of about 500 sites the Indonesian government is banning for hosting pornographic content, according to reports.

According to a 2015 report from Freedom House, Indonesia’s Internet is considered partly free, with the government having blocked various sites.

In addition to the ban on gay emojis, Indonesia has blocked Netflix and the video site Vimeo and expressed concern about the appropriateness of the content found on those sites. Reddit and Imgur have also faced pressure from the Indonesian government to remove pornographic content.

The government has also asked Twitter to develop filters to block pornographic content.

Twitter is extremely popular in Indonesia, and in 2012, Jakarta was named the most actively tweeting city in the world.

Companies not complying with the requests could be charged or forced out of the Indonesian market.

One popular messaging platform, LINE, announced it had removed gay emojis in compliance with government requests. Tumblr has not commented.


Determining breed of dog
is elusive task, study shows

By the University of Florida news staff

DNA results show that shelter workers are often mistaken when they label a dog as a pit bull with potentially devastating consequences for the dogs, a new University of Florida study has found.

“Animal shelter staff and veterinarians are frequently expected to guess the breed of dogs based on appearance alone,” said Julie Levy, a professor at the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine and the lead author of a study published in The Veterinary Journal.

“Unlike many other things people can’t quite define but know when they see it, identification of dogs as pit bulls can trigger an array of negative consequences, from the loss of housing, to being seized by animal control, to the taking of the dog’s life,” she said. “In the high-stakes world of animal shelters, a dog’s life might depend on a potential adopter’s momentary glimpse and assumptions about its suitability as a pet. If the shelter staff has labeled the dog as a pit bull, its chances for adoption automatically go down in many shelters.”

The past few decades have brought an increase in ownership restrictions on breeds including pit bulls and dogs that resemble them. The restrictions are based on assumptions that certain breeds are inherently dangerous, that such dogs can be reliably identified and that the restrictions will improve public safety, the study states.

The study focused on how accurately shelter staff identified dogs believed to be pit bulls. Pit bull is not a recognized breed, but a term applied to dogs derived from the heritage breeds American Staffordshire terrier or Staffordshire bull terrier. The purebred American pit bull terrier is also derived from these breeds and is often included in the loose definition of pit bull.

The research team evaluated breed assessments of 120 dogs made by 16 shelter staff members, including four veterinarians, at four shelters. These staff members all had at least three years of experience working in a shelter environment. The researchers then took blood samples from the dogs, developed DNA profiles for each animal and compared the DNA findings against the staff’s initial assessments.

“We found that different shelter staffers who evaluated the same dogs at the same time had only a moderate level of agreement among themselves,” Dr. Levy said. Results of the study also showed that while limitations in available DNA profiles make absolute breed identification problematic, when visual identification was compared with DNA test results, the assessors in the study fared even worse.

Dogs with pit bull heritage breed DNA were identified only 33 to 75 percent of the time, depending on which of the staff members was judging them. Conversely, dogs lacking any genetic evidence of relevant breeds were labeled as pit bull-type dogs from 0 to 48 percent of the time, the researchers reported.

“Essentially we found that the marked lack of agreement observed among shelter staff members in categorizing the breeds of shelter dogs illustrates that reliable inclusion or exclusion of dogs as pit bulls is not possible, even by experts,” Dr. Levy said. “These results raise difficult questions because shelter workers and veterinarians are expected to determine the breeds of dogs in their facilities on a daily basis.



Toyota issues another recall
citing faulty RAV4 seat belts


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Japanese-based Toyota Motor Corp. has issued a worldwide recall of 2.87 million sport utility vehicles due to faulty rear seat belts.

The recall involves Toyota's popular RAV4 and RAV4 electric models produced between 2005 and 2014, and its Vanguard SUV model, made between 2005 and 2016.  A spokesman for the world's number one automaker says it has learned the seat belts came apart in two separate crashes in the United States and Canada.  The company has not determined if any injuries or fatalities were linked to the problem.

Toyota will add a cover to the metal seat cushion frame to prevent it from cutting through the belt.  The majority of the recalled vehicles, 1.3 million, are in North America.

Toyota is already involved in a number of safety recalls, including the recall of millions of vehicles sold by many automakers that were installed with defective airbags made by Japanese manufacturer Takata Corp.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


Re-Max
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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8935-2/7/17

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8927-1/28/17

Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
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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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Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
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8906-2/21/16

Rich Coast Rollover
Thinking of Buying a Vacation or Retirement Home
in Costa Rica?

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.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
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8790-2/28/15

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo
Photo montage of penthouse
Are you tired of wasting time searching for your home…..with no results?
If so, you should not miss this deal !!!


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Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

* Located on 6th floor.
* Elevator.
* Security 24/7.
* Pool, BBQ area.
* 2 underground
        parking,  cellar.

* 3 bedrooms.
* 2 bathrooms.
* 2 terraces.
* Luxuriously
           furnished.
* Negotiable price.

* Enjoy the view,  CLICK HERE
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If you do not find, what are you looking for, contact us
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Phone/Fax.+506 2238-5029
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Email: mfiatt@mafirealestate.com 
Web Page: www.mafirealestate.com
8609-2/20/16

Real estate for sale (paid category)


updated
                                  photo
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 goodbuyflorida@yahoo.com.
8933-5/2/16

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 www.highdreamscr.com). 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: brooke@godutchrealty.com. 506 8311-5336 or U.S. 719-821-2210.
8923-2/26/16

La Uruca condo
FURNISHED  APARTMENT for SALE.
CONDOMINIO SATURNO, LA URUCA,
OUTSKIRTS of SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA,
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
Email:  BORISKOPIT@YAHOO.COM
8914-2/13/16

ocean-view home
GREAT DEAL $250,000. NICE OCEAN VIEW
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: quadtours@yahoo.ca
8910-1/28/15

Cohen
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.
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hotelescazu@aol.com
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
410-975-6703
In Costa Rica 8307-0164
8916-7/22/16

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
e-mail:  marietta234@yahoo.es 
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408
Web   http://mariettedaignault.point2agent.com
8902-3/4/16

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:  osaroger@gmail.com. Watch this video for full details.
8898-xxxx

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: mmpeace@hotmail.com 
Check out slide show HERE!
8897-3/2/15

Lantz
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:  angelsdad@me.com
8883-2/26/16

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:   djake888@yahoo.com
8846-4/10/16

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
       door.
- 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
     planted.

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 indyj5vw@yahoo.com or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album
8844-5/11/16

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 34
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Obama reported planning Cuba visit

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

White House officials say President Barack Obama will visit Cuba next month, a major, symbolic step in the warming of ties between the two Cold War enemies.

The Obama administration will formally announce the trip Thursday, according to a senior administration official, who said the visit will be a part of the president's travels to Latin America.

CNN reported the visit is planned for March 21 to 22, before the president flies to Argentina.

The trip had long been expected as part of Obama's effort to make as much progress as possible in improving ties with Cuba before he leaves office in January 2017.

Late last year Obama said he would like to visit Cuba by the end of 2016, but only if the Communist-led country makes enough human rights reforms and he can meet with political dissidents.

Cuban officials have not commented on the reported Obama visit. After the president's comments in December, Havana said they welcome Obama, but warned him against meddling in the country's internal affairs.

Neither Cuban nor U.S. officials have said whether the apparent disagreement has since been resolved.

Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro in December 2014 announced the nations were restoring formal diplomatic relations that were severed shortly after communist leader Fidel Castro overthrew the island's longtime dictator in 1959.

Obama will be the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba since President Calvin Coolidge went to Havana in 1928.



Cuban minister urges end to embargo

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Cuba’s foreign trade minister called for an end to the decades-old U.S. embargo Tuesday, saying his country welcomed the return of American business interests.

“The blockade doesn’t allow American companies to come freely to Cuba to make business. That’s a problem,” the minister, Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, said in a news conference at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington.

The visit marked the first time in decades that a senior level Cuban official had spoken at the business federation.

The United States and Cuba advanced a number of business deals this week, including signing an agreement that would allow U.S. commercial airlines to significantly increase the number of flights to Cuba and granting permission for a U.S. company to build a tractor factory on the island.

Malmierca said American businesses are welcome in Cuba and would be treated as any other company around the world.  He called the U.S. Treasury Department authorization of the factory license a very interesting possibility, but said it is only the first step in a series of negotiations between the American company and Cuban enterprises.  The factory is expected to employ local Cuban workers.

“I hope it is not going to be a single decision,” Malmierca said, noting that many other American companies have visited Cuba and are waiting on licenses from the Treasury Department.

The two governments are doing their best working with a very complicated sanctions regime, said Jodi Bond, vice president for the Americas at the Chamber of Commerce, who joined Malmierca at the news conference.

Bond said that until sanctions are ended, the United States will “continue to see our foreign competitors access the market, while we’re not.”


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State telecom firm reports fewer workers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, the state telecom and power company, says it has reduced its employees even though a lawmaker claims otherwise.

The firm said Wednesday that its workers have decreased 14.4 percent since 2011 on its institutional payroll. These are the jobs that are fixed in contrast to a construction payroll that varies depending on the contracts being undertaken.

The institutional payroll went from 16,757 in 2011 to the current  14,353, the firm said.

The construction payroll that listed 6,612 workers in December has declined, too, it added. The payroll for the Reventazón hydro generating project declined 951 persons as the work wound down, the firm said.