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(506) 2223-1327                              Published Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 39                             Email us
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Tourism groups launch fight against zika in Nicoya
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

Tourism organizations and the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo began a pilot project Wednesday to counter the zika virus in Nicoya.

Two women have been confirmed as having contracted the virus in nearby Sámara on the Pacific coast.

The pilot project involves distribution of information and fumigating in conjunction with the Ministerio de Salud and the various police departments, which might be asked to provide transportation to anti-virus workers, according to the plan.

A commission, headed by the tourism institute, is being set up to include members of the various tourism organizations in the area. These include the Cámara Nacional de Turismo, the Cámara Costarricense de Hoteles, the Red Nacional de Pequeños Hoteleros, the Asociación Pro Imagen, the Asociación Costarricense de Tour Operadores, the Cámara Costarricense de Restaurantes y Afines, the Cámara Guanacasteca de Turismo, the Cámara de Comercio de Guácimo, the Federación de Cámaras de Comercio y Turismo de Limón and the Área de Conservación del Pacífico Central.

The plan calls for touring neighborhoods and handing out information three times a week for a month in the community of Nicoya. Organizers said they also hope to prevail on the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería to distributed information at the arrival points of the nation.

Tourism operators will be encouraged to maintain an effective level of fumigation. The project will be expanded to other areas, organizers said.

The stated goal of the project is to guarantee tourists a pleasant visit.

All of the Pacific coast is reeling under the disclosure that the zika virus is in the country and the various warnings put out by foreign governments and even the health ministry.

The concern comes just weeks before Semana Santa, one of the top tourism periods of the year.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is investigating 14 new reports of zika virus infection in the United States, all suspected to be sexually transmitted.

The Atlanta-based Centers made the announcement Tuesday and said all of the 14 cases are women whose only known risk factor is sexual contact with a male partner who had recently traveled to an area with local zika transmissions.

In its statement, the Centers said the new reports suggest that sexual transmission may be a more likely means of zika transmission than previously thought.

Several of the cases involve pregnant women. Zika virus has been linked to a birth defect known as microcephaly, in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and can suffer developmental delays. Scientists have not yet proven a definite cause-and-effect.

The Centers recommends that men who have recently traveled to regions with local zika transmissions use condoms or refrain from sexual contact with pregnant women or women who could become pregnant.

While sexual transmission of the virus is possible, health authorities note that the primary means of infection by the zika virus is still from mosquito bites, and they urge people to prevent mosquito bites using mosquito repellent, window screens, and long-sleeved shirts.

Police anti-drug sweeps
bring León XIII protest

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Although the children's game of cops and robbers makes clear distinctions between the good guys and the bad guys, life  is more complex.

Not everyone appreciates or approves of the work of the police.

That unhappiness surfaced Wednesday morning when residents of León XIII blocked streets.

The protesters said that they opposed the police presence in their Tibás community. León XIII is mainly low-income dwellings.

The Fuerza Pública said that the protesters included pirate taxi drivers in the area.

Police and the security ministry's anti-drug unit has been conducting extensive operations in the community since the end of January.

Law officers have invaded so-called bunkers in the community, reinforced dwellings used as locations to sell and consume drugs. Anti-drug police have confiscated drugs

Ministerio de Seguridad Públic photo
Protesters mingle in a León XIII street

worth 1.4 billion colons or about $2.6 million, they said.

There was no violence associated with the protest, said police. But the action by the public underscores the disconnect between official anti-drug policy and and local opinion. There would be no drug dealers without consumption.

The open use of marijuana and crack can be seen in many sections of the Central Valley.

Police said they accepted a summary of the reasons for the protest.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 39
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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.


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Cruz Roja goes into the water business

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Cruz Roja, frustrated by delays in increasing taxes that benefit the rescue agency, has gone into the water business.
The Cruz Roja said 
Wednesday that it had reached agreement with Xpinner Water, which produces bottles of spring water for sale.

The amount that the Cruz Roja will profit by the deal was not given. But Xpinner is in charge of distributing the bottles for retail sale at 725 colons each. The Cruz Roja will provide storage space at its local facilities all over the country and allow the water distribution trucks to carry the Cruz Roja symbol, according to an announcement.

The Cruz Roja is a first responder to all sorts of emergencies. The agency received several different forms of income from taxes including the obligatory stamp on public documents. But a bill to raise the amount of the taxes had been stalled in the legislature.

waterBottles bear the Cruz Roja symbol.

Tamarindo water-saving fair is March 4

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Tamarindo will be the site for a water-saving fair March 4 when companies can display their products that are in accord with the theme of the event.

The event will be in the Centro Comercial Garden Plaza under the sponsorship of the Cámara de Comercio y Turismo de Tamarindo.

The chamber said it expected importers, visitors from government institutions, some from academic entities, representatives of ministries and officials of the various asociaciones administradoras de acueductos.

The timing is appropriate because all of Guanacaste is suffering through a major drought.

The event is from 2 to 5 p.m. With presentations on such topics as the state of the aquifer in the coastal communities of Santa Cruz, ways to save water and the management and storage of water.

Dance trio to teach in U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Three members of the Compañía Nacional de Danza traveled to the University of Georgia this week to give workshops, master classes and to serve as artists in residence.

They include the director, Adrián Figueroa, and two dancers, Wendy Chinchilla and Mario Vircha. The dancers will perform “Simbiontes,” a creation of  Vircha. The dance composition debuted at the Teatro Nacional last year.


Baroque Spanish music is on the program

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There once was a time when there were no smartphones and not even iTunes. Honest.

So expats who want to step way back into that time can attend a recital of Baroque music Sunday at 7 p.m. in the Iglesia Santa Teresita on Calle 23 in Barrio Escalante. The church is just north of the Antigua Aduana.

The performers will be members of  La Real Cámara under the sponsorship of the Centro Cultural de España and the Escuela de Artes Musicales de la Universidad de Costa Rica.

The group specializes in Spanish music of the 17th and 18th centuries. In past performances the group also played music composed in Costa Rica during the colonial period. They also have been known to perform on replica instruments of the period.

Video shows whale freed from gillnet

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has launched a video of this weekend's rescue of a humpback whale that was entangled in an illegal gillnet. The Sea Shepherd video shows the humpback whale desperately trying to free itself from the net while members of the organization work to save the whale with assistance from the Mexican navy.

Friday the crew of Sea Shepherd's research vessel Martin Sheen spotted a humpback whale entangled in an illegal gillnet within the Vaquita Refuge in the Gulf of California, Baja California, Mexico.

The crew began the rescue operation. The whale was estimated to be 35 feet long and Sea Shepherd divers and those from the Mexican  navy worked to free the whale by cutting the gillnet off the whale's head and torso. The video is HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 39
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Committee created to coordinate prosecution of environmental crimes
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Government officials signed an agreement Wednesday to set up a committee to supervise the detection, investigation and prosecution of environmental crimes. The three-year agreement involves the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía and the Poder Judicial and its Judicial Investigating Organization and prosecutors.

The creation of the committee appears to be an effort to emphasize the prosecution of environmental crimes.

The agreement also will give prosecutors the opportunity to consult with experts and to have access to more resources.

Officials said that the committee would have the resources to address organized crime in the violation of environmental laws.

Police manage to chase down a window-breaking suspect in Hatillo
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The perfect target is a young woman driving alone, but in a pinch a taxi driver will do. That appears to be the policy of those quiebravidrios or window breakers who ply their trade in Hatillo on the Circunvalación highway.

Fuerza Pública officers chased one man Wednesday after he broke the side window of a taxi and took items that were inside.  The suspect who was caught turned out to be a 23-year-old man who has had prior arrests for the same activities. The highway has three stop lights as it passes through the Hatillos.  Traffic frequently is backed up.

Window breakers have been a continual plague in the area, and the Fuerza Pública has officers stationed at key points. However, the crime is not limited to that area. Anywhere there is a traffic jam provides fertile ground for this type of crime.  San Rafael de Escazú has seen its share of such crimes.

Many times these smash-and-grab thefts are not reported. Police have continually warned individuals who drive alone in the area to keep valuables off the passenger seat or the back seat. They also have been told to keep an eye out for spotters who direct the window breakers to a likely target.

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Window breaking suspect is searched by police.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 39
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Ocean experiment shows the impact of carbon dioxide on coral
By the Carnegie Institution news staff

A team of scientists performed the first-ever experiment that manipulated seawater chemistry in a natural coral reef community in order to determine the effect that excess carbon dioxide released by human activity is having on coral reefs. Their results provide evidence that ocean acidification is already slowing coral reef growth. Their work is published in Nature.

The team was headed by Rebecca Albright and Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science.

When coal, oil, or gas is burned, the resulting carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere where it acts as a greenhouse gas. Greenhouse gases emitted by human activity don’t just affect the atmosphere. They also have a negative impact on the world’s oceans. Over time, most of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean, where it reacts with seawater to form an acid that is corrosive to coral reefs, shellfish, and other marine life. This process is known as ocean acidification.

Coral reefs are particularly vulnerable to the ocean acidification process, because reef architecture is built by the accretion of calcium carbonate, called calcification, which becomes increasingly difficult as acid concentrations increase and the

surrounding water’s pH decreases. Scientists predict that reefs could switch from carbonate accretion to dissolution within the century due to this acidification process.

Previous studies have demonstrated large-scale declines in coral reefs over recent decades. Work from another team led by Caldeira found that rates of reef calcification were 40 percent lower in 2008 and 2009 than they were during the same season in 1975 and 1976. But it has been hard to pinpoint exactly how much of the decline is due to acidification and how much is caused by warming, pollution, and over-fishing.

The team manipulated the alkalinity of seawater flowing over a reef flat off Australia’s One Tree Island in the southern Great Barrier Reef. They brought the reef’s pH closer to what it would have been in the pre-industrial period based on estimates of atmospheric carbon dioxide from the era. They then measured the reef’s calcification in response to this pH increase.  They found that calcification rates under these manipulated pre-industrial conditions were higher than they are today.

“Our work provides the first strong evidence from experiments on a natural ecosystem that ocean acidification is already slowing coral reef growth,” Albright said. “Ocean acidification is already taking its toll on coral reef communities. This is no longer a fear for the future. It is the reality of today.”

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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Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 39
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European Council president
warns of
British exit impact

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A vote to leave the European Union in the June 23 British referendum will change Europe forever and for the worse, the European Council president warned Wednesday.

The president, Donald Tusk, told the European Parliament in Brussels that there would be no second chance if Britons voted to exit the union.
Tusk said that he fully agreed with the British prime minister that now is not the time to split the West.
"The European Union will respect the decision of the British people. If the majority votes to leave, that is what will happen. It will change Europe forever," he said. "And it will be a change for the worse. Of course, this is my personal opinion.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron said in the House of Commons Monday that now is not the time to split the West, and Tusk said he couldn't agree more.

Tusk said that EU leaders agreed to a settlement that will take effect if the British people vote to stay in the EU.

"The 28 heads of state or government unanimously agreed and adopted a legally binding and irreversible settlement for the United Kingdom in the EU. The decision concerning a new settlement is in conformity with the treaties and cannot be annulled by the European Court of Justice,” he said.

Tusk’s comment followed a statement made by British Justice Secretary Michael Gove that Britain's renegotiated terms for its membership in the EU could be undone by the court of justice, despite support from all member states.

Although a close friend and political ally of Cameron, Grove is a senior figure among British politicians who want Britain to leave the EU. 

Tusk urged the European Parliament to approve the deal.

China's government tightening
it media and online controls

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

China's recent announcement of a stringent new publishing law for online content and a visit by the country’s increasingly powerful leader to several state-run media headquarters is but the latest chilling sign of President Xi Jinping’s efforts to exert increasing control over society, analysts say.

But, it also highlights the limits of that authority as well.

From academia to culture, technology and science, the party is looming large, casting an ever-expanding shadow.

Since rising to power nearly three years ago, Xi Jinping has exerted increasing control over society, cracking down on dissidents and detaining anyone perceived to be a threat to stability in the view of the Communist Party.

Xi wants music and art to reflect Chinese socialist values, and late last year, the party even ordered its own members to not play golf.

When Xi visited the headquarters of party-backed media organizations late last week, flanked by a group of other older men, all donning the same bland wind jacket, the message to editors and reporters was similar: they must pledge absolute loyalty to the party and closely follow its leadership in thought, politics and action.

Some who work for state-run media say the visit highlights just how bad things have become since Xi came to power. “While there used to be some room to maneuver and do our work, now there is little room left at all,” said one source who did not want to be named.

On social media, the visit has sparked a backlash from some, led by prominent commentator and real estate tycoon Ren Zhiqiang, who is also known by his nickname Big Cannon.

In a post that was later taken down, Ren argued that it was the public, not the party leadership, that such media organizations should serve, especially since they get their funding from taxpayers.

A quote from former Communist Party leader Deng Xiaoping was also making the rounds on Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, as many voiced concerns about recent moves even as the party is seeking to tighten its chokehold on speech.

“The one thing a revolutionary party does not need to worry about is its inability to hear the voice of the people. The thing to be feared the most is silence," a tweet of the Deng quote read.

In response, one user wrote: “I feel like our country is heading in a bad direction and that if we go any further there may be no turning back. I hope I am wrong.”

The new publishing law, the details of which that were revealed just days before Xi’s visit to the media outlets, goes into effect March 10. The law requires digital publishers of everything from scientific to cultural content and online games to seek approval before they can operate online.

One hurdle includes permission from a total of 32 propaganda departments in all of China’s provinces, municipalities and special administrative regions.​

And that is just one of a lengthy list of requirements, in addition to information about the publishing companies financial records, professional experience of its managers and a place of business.

Publishers who violate the lengthy regulations could be banned from the sector for up to 10 years, and that’s a huge career incentive for self-censorship.

Obama considers Republican
for Supreme Court opening

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The White House is vetting Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican,  for the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of justice Antonin Scalia, sources familiar with the process said Wednesday.

Sandoval met with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid Monday while the governor was in Washington for the National Governors Association meeting.

A 52-year-old Mexican-American, Sandoval was appointed a judge by President Barack Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, before being elected governor in 2010.

While he is a Republican, Sandoval supports the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision of last year and backs abortion rights.

Senate Republican leaders have said they will ignore Obama's choice, holding no traditional hearings on the nominee or votes. The Republican lawmakers said they would leave the appointment for the lifetime position up to the country's next president, whoever is elected in November and takes office in January as Obama's eight-year tenure ends.

Obama has filled two vacancies on the court with liberal nominees, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, and some Republicans say they are determined to not allow Obama to fill a third seat that would alter the court's ideological balance. But no one knows who a new president might name.

In the meantime, if the court divides 4-4 on a given decision, the lower-court ruling in the case would stand.

Bipartisan plan announced
to study security-privacy gap

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Leaders of two key U.S. Congressional committees involved in national security joined together Wednesday to propose the creation of a national commission to explore the sometimes conflicting issues of privacy and security in the digital era.

Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, chairs the House Homeland Security Committee and Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, is a leading member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee. Together, they’re calling for the creation of the bi-partisan McCaul-Warner Digital Security Commission that would bring together experts who understand the complexity and the stakes to develop viable recommendations on how to balance competing digital security priorities.

“This is a 9/11 style commission to address the biggest challenge to federal law enforcement I’ve ever seen in my lifetime,” said McCaul during a discussion at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. “If you can’t see what the terrorists are saying, you have a very urgent security issue.”

The proposal was months in the making, but comes just as digital privacy and national security have moved front and center in the legal standoff between Apple Computer and the FBI.

Apple and the FBI have been at loggerheads since a U.S. district judge issued an order forcing Apple to help the FBI break into a locked iPhone allegedly used by one of the two killers in last December’s San Bernardino terror attacks. Apple CEO Tim Cook has so far refused to comply with the order.

Since 2014 the FBI has repeatedly expressed concern about the spread of encryption on digital devices, with FBI Director James Comey warning that “encryption threatens to lead all of us to a very dark place.”

“This isn’t a commission on encryption,” said Warner. “Encryption is here to stay, and it protects America’s personal and financial information and intellectual capital. Digital security is the purpose.  This is not a battle between privacy and security.”

Apple said that FBI request
is not the first such demand

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Apple says the FBI has asked it to unlock more than a dozen iPhones in the last five months, reinforcing the tech giant's argument that the FBI's request in the San Bernardino massacre case will lead to further demands.

In recently unsealed court documents, Apple's lawyers revealed the company has received demands to unlock iPhones in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio and New York for devices ranging from an iPhone 3s to an iPhone 6 Plus, which has increased security and privacy measures.

The Department of Justice and Apple have been locked in a heated dispute since last week, when a California judge ordered the technology giant to help the FBI access Syed Rizwan Farook’s work-issued cellphone to aid in the investigation of the case.

Farook, along with his wife Tafsheen Malik, killed 14 people in December in San Bernardino, California.

Apple has refused, saying the FBI is asking for what amounts to a backdoor around the company's security measures, and that, in the wrong hands, would make countless Apple users vulnerable to searches of their phones.

The company says the Obama administration should seek congressional approval of a new law to deal with the issue. But U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch insisted Wednesday that there is a precedent to back the government's request.

Apple has until Friday to file its opposition to the government's motion, and a hearing in the case is scheduled for March 22. 

Trump faces challenges
with many more primaries

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Donald Trump won his third victory in four contests with a commanding lead in the Nevada caucus Tuesday, securing his status as the Republican front-runner heading into next week's crucial Super Tuesday votes in more than a dozen states.

The win follows his first-place finishes in New Hampshire and South Carolina, two states no candidate has won without going on to become the Republican nominee.

Trump's seemingly inevitable path to the Republican nomination, however, is fueled by a fractured, five-candidate field.

"Donald Trump still has to prove that in a one-on-one or three-man race, he can consistently get to 35, 40, 45 percent of the vote, or 50 percent. Right now that's still unclear," said analyst Stuart Rothenberg, founder of the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report.

The billionaire businessman beat opponents Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio in the Nevada Republican caucus Tuesday with almost 46 percent of the vote. Rubio won second place, but with a lead of less than 2,000 votes over Cruz.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich and retired surgeon Ben Carson placed fourth and fifth.

The win in Nevada garnered Trump his first congressional endorsements Wednesday, from a New York Republican, Rep. Chris Collins, and Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican from California.

Recent public opinion polls show Trump leading in the majority of Super Tuesday states.

Bolivia's Morales admits
defeat in referendum bid

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Bolivian President Evo Morales acknowledged defeat in a referendum aimed at allowing him to run for a fourth term in 2019.

In a speech Wednesday, Morales said he would respect the will of the people.

"We lost a democratic battle but not the war," the leftist leader said, blaming the loss on discrimination and a smear campaign or dirty war by the right-wing opposition.

A final tally of Sunday's referendum gave the no side 51.3 percent of the vote and the yes side's 48.7 percent.

Under Bolivia's constitution, the president gets a five-year mandate renewable just once.

Morales, however, had the constitution changed three years after taking power in 2006.

Under that revised constitution he was again elected president in 2009, then won again in 2014. His current term ends in 2020.

In recent weeks, Morales, traditionally supported by native groups and grassroots organizations, has seen his popularity wane over a series of scandals.

He was accused of using his influence after his former girlfriend was employed by a Chinese company that received lucrative state contracts. Morales denied any impropriety and said he had not seen her since 2007. However, photos emerged online of the two taken last year.

Opponents have also accused his government of corruption and wasteful spending.

Gang members now guides
in Panama City's tourist area

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Gang graffiti still defaces some of the walls in Panama City's once-impoverished neighborhood of San Felipe, but many of the beautiful old homes have been refurbished.

The area now attracts tourists who want to learn firsthand about the violence in San Felipe's not-so-distant past.

When city officials decided a decade ago to open up the old town for revitalization, some gangsters realized their past experience could be marketable. Now, they are tour guides.

“It's not just anybody that can stand on a corner and say he was a crook,” said tour guide Jafet Glissant. “‘Look, I did this. Look, I was in jail for so many years. I stole. What's more, I robbed a lot of tourists.' They are going to say, 'Wow, they are going to rob me, too!' It's not easy. Am I clear? That's what really impresses them."

The American Trade Hotel in Plaza Herrera was once a gang hangout. Panama's Ministry of Public Safety persuaded the new owners to employ some of the former gang members.

Revitalization, however, came with a price. Many residents had to either adapt to the new life, or move out. But for some, tourism brought jobs and income. And tourists love it.

"I thought it was very interesting, to see the process these people have gone through,” said tourist Julio Santamaria. They “used to be part of a gang, and they have now found a way to be productive for society, and to accept the change taking place in their community, and to choose to be part of it."

Skin patch for painkiller
touted as first of many

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A clear skin patch called TEPI delivers the painkiller ibuprofen right where it hurts. While pills can cause stomach upset, the patch does not.

Scientists at the University of Warwick in England, led by chemist David Haddleton, developed the five-centimeter square bandage that contains a special polymer adhesive infused with the painkiller.

"What we do is dissolve the active ibuprofen, for example, into the adhesive so we can have quite a high loading — so up to 30 percent of the adhesive will be the ibuprofen,” Haddleton said. When that's placed on the skin just like an adhesive bandage, the drug will diffuse across the skin into the body at the site of the pain, and then relieve the pain the same way as current gels and creams, he said.

The ibuprofen patch could deliver uninterrupted pain relief for up to 24 hours.

The patch is being manufactured by Medherant, a bioadhesive company affiliated with the University of Warwick, co-founded by Haddleton and Andrew Lee.

"We've been in the lab about 12 months,” Lee said, “but in the 12 months, we've essentially assessed about 90 percent of the drugs that are currently available as either creams or patches. We've tested them in our polymers with very good results."

Almost two dozen painkilling patches are now on the market, but Lee notes they provide soothing warmth to relieve discomfort, rather than delivering any active painkiller.

Researchers have identified about 20 drugs that could be made into a TEPI patch, but Lee says there are thousands more compounds that could potentially be delivered through the technology.

The clear skin patch containing ibuprofen, used to treat pulled muscles, arthritis and sports injuries, could hit the market in about three years.

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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

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
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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
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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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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 39
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
U.S. closes slave labor loophole in law

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For the past 84 years, an exemption in U.S. law allowed the import of goods produced by slaves and others forced into labor, including children, as long as demand exceeded supply. In two weeks, that will be illegal.

President Barack Obama signed a trade bill Wednesday that includes a provision closing a loophole in a law that went into effect in 1932.

That measure, the Tariff Act of 1930, did prohibit slave labor imports, but said the ban did not apply to any goods that were not otherwise produced in large enough quantities to "meet the consumptive demands of the United States."

The new bill was introduced last year as rights groups called attention to abusive labor practices, particularly in the fishing industry in southeast Asia.

The U.N.'s International Labor Organization estimates 21 million people are victims of forced labor worldwide, more than half of them in the Asia-Pacific region.  That labor brings companies more than $150 billion in illegal profits, according to the U.N.

Human Rights Watch, which reported last year on men from Cambodia and Myanmar being forced to work on Thai fishing boats, has called closing the U.S. import loophole a no-brainer.

The new law goes into effect in 15 days.  It calls for Congress to receive a yearly report with the number of times merchandise was denied entry because of the forced labor prohibitions, as well as a description of what kind of goods were rejected.

Environmentalist wins Pew fellowship

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Randall Arauz of the Programa Restauracion de Tortugas Marinas has been awarded a Pew fellowship in marine conservation that provides $150,000 a year for three years.

The grant is designed to address ocean conservation challenges, said Pew from Washington, D.C.

Arauz is well known as a defender of shark, sea turtles and other marine species. He was at the forefront of the battle over shark finning.

In his marine fellowship, Arauz will work on policies and interventions to better enforce no-take areas that have been established in Costa Rica, said Pew. His efforts also will help ensure that Costa Rica’s shark conservation policies are based on the best available science and that the public continues to be educated about the importance of rebuilding shark populations, Pew added.

Since 1996, Pew said the program has recognized 145 marine experts in 32 countries.

St. Patrick's Day celebration planned in San Ramón

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Community ActionAlliance in San Ramón plans a St. Patrick's Day celebration March 19 in the Magallanes Community Center.

The organization said that reservations must be made by March 8 at

The menu, of course includes corned beef and cabbage with a murder mystery theme.

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From Page 7:

MasterCard going ahead with biometrics

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Credit card company MasterCard says its customers could soon use selfie photos and a fingerprint instead of passwords to make payments online.

The company thinks a biometric system that could read a photo of a customer's face would be more secure and could drive sales. The system is similar to that announced this week by Banco Nacional de Costa Rica for mobil access to accounts.

Speaking with CNBC at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the company said biometric security has been used on a trial basis in the United States and the Netherlands.

MasterCard said that 53 percent of shoppers forget their passwords at least once a week, causing them to waste more than 10 minutes resetting them. This, the company said, leads to people giving up on potential purchases.

"I think the whole biometric space is a great way of protecting yourself when you are doing payments,"said Ann Cairns, head of international markets for MasterCard. "There are a whole range of biometrics that say 'I'm me, I'm making a payment' and it just makes the whole thing more secure."

"People shop on all sorts of devices, and they expect technology to simplify and secure the transaction," said Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard. "This is exactly what Identity Check delivers."

Another potential benefit of a biometric system would be to help those in the developing world who might not have government issued identification.

"If you think about some of the things we've rolled out in some emerging markets, in places like Africa, where people don't have identities because they don't maybe have passports or driving licenses, then biometric authentication is a way of saying 'I'm me," said Ms. Cairns.

MasterCard first announced the system last October.