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Published Friday, March 10, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 50
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Bill proposes choosing which last name goes first
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Women would not have to take second fiddle in the names of their children, according to a proposed law.

Traditionally, a child has first the last name of the father and the second last name is that of the mother. A proposal by Patricia Mora Castellanos of Frente Amplio would give the parents a choice of which last name would be first.
It is the initial last name that the child eventually passes to his or her own offspring.
The law says that if the parents cannot agree, the decision of the mother is final, according to a summary provided by the party.

The proposed law is described as a way to create equality between men and women.

The party summary said the issue is one of human rights and a way to break stereotypes such as the term head of the family.

The party said that some European countries have similar laws.

A.M. Costa Rica photo/Conor Golden
Pescadería Dolphin employees, pictured here, may be swamped today with orders
Fridays during Lent are paydays for fishmongers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The period of Lent in Costa Rica could represent a countdown to the festivities known as Semana Santa. Some fishmongers may already be celebrating the profits garnered from devout buyers.

With the arrival of Ash Wednesday, fishmongers in the Mercado Central began offering special discounts and promotions for their fish.

Fridays during Lent are traditionally days of fasting and penitence within some Christian denominations and particularly Catholicism, which constitutes the largest denomination of Christianity in Costa Rica.

Lent, or Cuaresma as it is called in Costa Rica, is a period of forty-six days to match the 40-day wandering in the desert that the Bible says Jesus Christ underwent.

During those 40 days, the Bible says Christ also fasted and on Fridays during Lent, the custom is not to consume any meat excluding one: fish. That is where fishmongers and fishermen come in.

From trout to corvina and all manner of shrimp, special discounts are being offered on Fridays at the different pescaderías within the labyrinth of Mercado Central, said Jose Guitiérez, one of the representatives for the fishmongers in the market.

These promotions will be held every Friday for the traditional Fería del Pescado in Mercado Central. The market opens today at 6:30 a.m.

Guitiérez also explained that the added benefits to a fish diet on Fridays cannot be ignored either. Consuming a healthy diet of fish and seafood is highly recommended by doctors and health organizations alike, he said.

“Seafood contains a range of nutrients, notably the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Eating about 8 ounces per week of a variety of seafood contributes to the prevention of heart disease,” said the website run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

As for Semana Santa, it can either be a holiday or a period of devotion. Many Costa Ricans go to the beaches, mountains or other vacation spots. Thursday and Friday of Semana Santa are legal holidays, and many private businesses close for the entire week. Semana Santa begins April 9.

For the faithful who stay at home, there are a number of processions and evenings of prayer. The biggest and most elaborate processions are in San José, but plenty of rural churches manage to field ranks of Roman soldiers, apostles and other biblical figures for their processions.

In the past, the holiday turned tourists into secret drinkers because there was a nationwide ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages. Some cantons still enforce a ban.

Restaurant operators were successful in reducing the number of cantons that impose restrictions. Today that is mostly symbolic because those in need of beer or harder drinks can find them easily in a neighboring canton where there is no ban.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 10, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 50
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This little guy was surprised the hotel didn't have its reservation.
Another sea lion incident at Jacó hotel

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An unexpected guest arrived Thursday to Terrazas del Pacífico Hotel located in Jacó, in the province of Puntarenas.

Among regular tourists a sea lion showed up at the lobby and stayed there until environmental workers from the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación arrived, put it in a cage and took it into a more appropriate environment. It is equally probable that the animal did not make reservations at the hotel.

It was taken 10 miles into the ocean and released next to some islands, so that the mammal could rest before continuing his trip, according to a report.  This is the second time a sea lion appeared in the pacific coast. Last Wednesday, the same situation happened in Playa Agujas.

That day, police officers helped the animal return to the sea safely. Actually, there still exists the hypothesis that it could be the same one from Wednesday.

Press group rejects Panama's media bill

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Inter American Press Association has expressed its rejection of a legislative draft bill in Panamá that seeks to oblige privately owned news media to circulate educational and cultural messages, saying this is "an interference in content and a violation of news companies' properties rights."

Draft bill number 465, submitted to the National Assembly by Noriel Salerno of the Partido Cambio Democrático, would establish that radio and television media be required to broadcast at least one educational or cultural message or one on electoral teaching "for each five advertisements" in the ad sections of the regular programming.

Daily newspapers of national circulation would have to include as a minimum two such messages in each issue "in spaces located in sections set aside for advertisements in order to ensure that the messages are noticed by a large number of readers." It also contains obligatory requirements for non-daily publications.

Matt Sanders expressed alarm at the contents of the bill which he said: "although it could have good intentions it carries with it serious violations with the state meddling in private activities and in the editorial criteria of the media." He is president of the hemispheric press advocacy organization.

"It is an intrusion in media content and a violation of news companies' property rights," declared Sanders, senior editor and general manager of Deseret Digital Media, Salt Lake City, Utah.

The explanation of the reasons for the initiative says that with the inclusion of positive messages that underscore values the media would contribute to making children, youths and adults reflect on the importance of putting into practice citizens' values so that society travels on paths of peace, love, respect and tolerance.

The messages would be produced by media in collaboration with public and private bodies, among them the education ministry.

Roberto Rock called on members of the congress to reject the bill because "regrettably it has characteristics similar to those encouraged and/or approved in other countries that have had as a starting point a concern of the citizens but they have been turned into mechanisms of censorship and confiscations of the media's spaces on the part of governments.

While the media's mission is intimately tied to civic education that cannot be imposed by a governmental body nor be subject to bureaucratic discretion without the risk of turning into a propaganda tool." He is the chairman of the organization’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information.

Rock, editor of the online portal La Silla Rota of Mexico City, Mexico, said that gag laws such as that of Ecuador were full of good intentions but then in their enactment there appeared all the restrictions, prohibitions and fines that made the government of Rafael Correa one of the most censoring of this age.

The Inter American Press Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida.

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A step back in time with Escazú Día de los Boyeros celebration
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats have a chance to turn back the clock Sunday and uniquely experience 19th century life.

They could begin their experience in Escazú Centro in the morning. The road ahead to San Antonio is uphill, a good test of the legs and no invitation is needed.

That is the route where more than 100 teams of oxen will take in the annual Día de los Boyeros celebration. San Antonio is the spiritual home of the oxcart driver and where the barbecues will be Sunday.

Expats should have no trouble accompanying the oxen up the grade. After all, oxen at perhaps 1,200 pounds each far outweigh any human and they seem to have no trouble. And there are refreshments.

Some of those who live along the route set up stands for treats and drinks. This is a once-a-year event, and the neighbors are exceptionally friendly.

The trek is about four kilometers, all uphill. But the oxen do not complain. Nor do those lucky enough to have a seat in one of the oxcarts.

The oxcart driver, however, always is on foot guiding his team or junta.

The uphill hike usually is in the full sun, so the smart participants wear hats like the oxcart drivers and sunscreen. But there is a camaraderie that develops between the oxcart drivers, the cart passengers and the few pedestrians brave enough to tackle the slope.

Most of the oxcart drivers are not those who depend on the animals daily. They are lawyers, architects, public officials and successful business people who have enough money to maintain the hungry oxen and the tradition. They might be neighbors.

The oxen, called bueyes, the cart and the oxcart driver,
Cantón de Escazú photo
Expect some bueyes like these decked out in vivid colors.

the boyero, have been designated by the United Nations as world intangible heritage. They were vital to the country’s development, and strings of oxen and carts would carry the Central Valley coffee harvests to the Caldera port.

The carts are known for their intricate and colorful design, but it was not until the early days of the 20th century that an Italian immigrant in Escazú began that tradition. Until then the carts were more or less drab.

Once the lengthy and photogenic procession arrives in San Antonio, there is a pass in review before the local Catholic church. Some of the priests are on duty dousing the oxen, the boyeros, the carts and the passengers with holy water.

Some expats who live nearby are engaged in the use of another kind of holy water as they inspect the procession from their balconies.

Then there are the cookouts, the displays, the simulations of a boyero camp 100 years in the past. The Escazú oxcart parade is rivaled only by the San José Christmas procession in late November each year. Expats who make the trip will find that the hike downhill is far less challenging then their walk with the bueyes.

Library exhibit and cathedral concert among today's cultural events
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A library holding an art exhibit and a cathedral hosting an orchestra are not often the first combinations of place and event that come to mind, but this weekend has both.

Painting and art is also a way to read. That is the premise, anyway, behind San José’s Biblioteca Nacional offering its new art exhibition entitled “Abriendo espacios.” Around 28 pieces of varying artistic techniques will be displayed including silkscreen and engraving. In a statement from the Ministerio de Cultural y Juventud, the library seeks to bring the public closer to Costa Rican art.

“We have in the Biblioteca Nacional ample information on these artists, their trajectory, prizes, previous exhibitions, among other details. The institution intends to spread that Costa Rican cultural heritage,” said Laura Rodríguez, the library’s director.

The exhibition is open to the public Monday thru Friday from 8 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon, the cultural ministry said. The location will be on the first floor of the Biblioteca Nacional until April 3 free of charge.

Meanwhile, the Catedral Metropolitana will be the stage for the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional tonight at 7 p.m.

The orchestra will be playing a free concert alongside the Puerto Rican oboist Pedro Díaz and Nicaraguan bassoon player José Enrique Castillo, the guest soloists for the performance.

The concert, titled “Concierto Especial de Dobles Cañas,” is emphasizing the woodwind instruments of the soloists, organizers said.

“Orchestras always hold concerts with the violin and piano because it is tradition,” said Gabriel Goñi, the director for the Centro Nacional de la Música.

“However, with this concert, we seek to highlight some
Ministerio de Cultural y Juventud photo
Art piece in the Biblioteca Nacional's new exhibition.

  instruments of the orchestra that are just as important as the violin, but do not receive much artistic highlight, he added.”

The oboe and the bassoon are both part of the double reed group in the woodwind section of instruments. The sound emitted by these players emits a distinct sound different from the other sections of an orchestra, explained Goñi. With this in mind, the program will include works by Carl Maria von Weber, Miguel de Águila and Antonín Dvořák.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 10, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 50
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World conflicts and migrant crises has hit Latin America, study says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

World conflicts are fueling immigration in Costa Rica and the rest of Latin America. These countries now face an increased demand for refugee or political asylum status from peoples mainly from African, Asian and Caribbean countries, according to a report issued Thursday by the Organización de Estados Americanos.

"Irregular Migration Flows to the Americas from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean" is the name of the research that calls for hemispheric action in order to deal with this phenomena. The study was requested by the Costa Rican government in May 2016.

Manuel González, the Costa Rican foreign minister, announced Thursday that the country will host a regional forum in the second half of the year to discuss the complex issue.

The report also concludes that lack of documentation, language barriers, and lack of consular and diplomatic representation make it difficult for national authorities, international organizations and civil society to manage migration.

It also notes that the majority of migrants who arrive from outside the Americas come from: Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia,

Nepal, Bangladesh, China, India, Iraq and Sri Lanka.

Within Latin America, the study shows that there has been a significant flow of Cuban nationals who moved to Ecuador, a country that had withdrawn entry visa requirements for them.

The study then indicates that there was a growth in the flow of Haitians going to Latin America. The main destination is Brazil, especially since the earthquake in 2010 leveled a significant portion of Haiti's infrastructure.

The government of Brazil granted the Haitians migratory stay permits for humanitarian reasons.

By the end of 2015, the Brazilian government authorized the granting of permanent residence visas to 43,871 Haitians who had been admitted and settled in the last four years.

During 2016, Costa Rica struggled to manage the arrival of a tide of Cubans who got stuck in the Peñas Blancas northern border once the Nicaraguan government closed its frontiers.

The second half of 2016 brought a flood of around 18,000 migrants from Africa and Haiti who arrived to Costa Rican soil.
These migrants were granted a special humanitarian visa to continue to their desired final destination: the United States.

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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email:

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 10, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 50
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U.S. Marines have arrived
in Syria to assist in IS fight

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A contingent of U.S. Marines arrived in northeast Syria to provide artillery support for local forces in an upcoming assault on Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State terror group, U.S. officials said.

But there appears to be no final agreement yet between Washington and Ankara on the disposition of the Raqqa attack force, whether U.S.-backed Kurdish militiamen or Turkish-led Syrian rebels will be in the vanguard to oust an estimated 4,000 jihadists entrenched in the city.

As the Marines arrived, Turkey’s foreign minister Thursday warned Turkish-led forces will attack U.S.-backed militiamen from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, if they don’t leave a key town in northern Syria.

Such a move would complicate an assault on Raqqa, one that has been delayed for months because of disputes over who should lead the offensive.

Foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkish forces would strike the Kurds in Manbij, arguing the Kurdish occupation of the town is a hindrance to Turkish efforts to carve out a safe zone in northern Syria. He gave no deadline though for an attack. Ankara views the Kurdish group as a terrorist group linked to Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and has repeatedly urged Washington to drop its support of the Syrian Kurdish militiamen.

Cavusoglu accused Washington of being confused in its planning for an attack on the IS stronghold of Raqqa. According to U.S. officials, a contingent from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit has deployed in northern Syria within 32 kilometer artillery range of Raqqa.

The contingent is equipped with M777 Howitzers, capable of firing 155mm shells. The Syrian deployment mirrors a similar move last year in Iraq when artillery-equipped U.S. Marines arrived ahead of the start of the assault to take Mosul, the Islamic State’s last major urban stronghold in Iraq, in order to provide covering fire for Iraqi security forces.

A senior U.S. defense official says the detachment includes a couple hundred Marines, but the Pentagon has declined formally to confirm the deployment or to detail any location for the Marines or the numbers on the ground.

The deployment marks an escalation of U.S. military involvement in Syria. Several hundred Special Operations troops have been advising the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. Last weekend, some of those Special Forces, around a hundred U.S. Rangers, deployed in Manbij in a bid to deter clashes between Kurdish fighters and Turkish-led rebels.

The deployment comes as the Trump administration debates a Raqqa plan drafted by Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the U.S. commander overseeing the campaign against the Islamic State. On March 1 in a briefing for reporters, Townsend declined to go into any details about the plan but he emphasized the coalition strategy of working with local partners in the battle against Islamic State would continue.

He confirmed recently as well that a small number of American conventional soldiers have been assisting Special Operations troops in Syria with a truck-mounted High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and with medical and other logistical support.

U.S. military officials said that there is skepticism at the Pentagon about the capability of Turkish-led Syrian rebel forces and they question whether they are up to the task. They point to the drawn-out assault mounted by the Turkish forces to recently retake the town of al-Bab, northeast of Aleppo.

There are also Pentagon concerns that if Turkish-led forces move east of the Euphrates River to attack Raqqa, there will inevitably be clashes with Kurdish militiamen, who will see the arrival of the Turkish-led forces as a move aimed as much at them as Islamic State.

Turkey has been determined to prevent Syrian Kurds from linking Kurdish-majority cantons along the Turkish-Syrian border, fearing the Kurds are determined to set up their own mini-state in northern Syria.

Earlier this week, in an unusual three-way meeting in southern Turkey, the top commanders of the U.S., Russian and Turkish armed forces discussed how Islamic State could be ousted from Raqqa. Turkish officials after the meeting indicated there had been no resolution over who should spearhead the Raqqa assault. Russian commanders insisted that whoever takes Raqqa, the city must be handed over to the Syrian army afterwards, said Turkish officials.

Guatemalans mourn deaths
of 34 teenagers killed in fire

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Guatemala is in mourning after the horrific fire Wednesday that killed 34 teenage girls at a shelter for troubled young people near Guatemala City.

Nineteen of the girls died at the scene with their charred bodies covered with blankets outside the building. Fifteen victims later died from their burns at the hospital. Others are fighting for their lives.

Police and witnesses say mattresses were deliberately set on fire in a part of the shelter where the girls were locked down after trying to escape.

The state-run Virgin of the Assumption Safe Home was built to hold 500, but as many as 800 boys and girls were being housed there frequently complaining of bad food, shabby facilities, fights and sex abuse.

Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales has called for three days of mourning. He blames the disaster on officials who he says ignored orders to move many of the residents to other facilities.

"The government regrets the fact that those authorities did not heed that request in an opportune way, something which could have prevented the tragedy," Morales said Thursday.

The "safe home" was built to shelter teenagers who were living on the streets because of violence at home or drug addiction. A former employee of the home called it "a ticking time bomb."

Senior citizens receive
their own TV channel

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Senior citizens who move to Charlestown Retirement Community in Catonsville, Maryland, have a chance to start new careers in television. No matter what they did before retiring, they’re encouraged to participate in creating a range of programs broadcast on channel 972, a closed circuit 24-hour TV station. Their active participation benefits them and their community.

Retired physician Stephen Schimpff is one of the residents-turned-TV-stars at Charlestown. He hosts two shows, “Megatrends in Medicine” and “Aging Gracefully.” Both deal with nutrition and lifestyle.

Schimpff says the biggest issue about aging for most people is accepting it.

“If I go look in a mirror, I see a person who is older than I think I am. I say, ‘Gosh, when did he get older?’ because I don’t feel old. It is a thing about accepting, but not in a negative way, in a very positive way. We’re all getting older, everyone does. How can we make the best use of that time?”

Community TV manager Tom Moore says viewers like Schimpff’s shows because they see themselves in it. That’s also the case with the other shows hosted by residents.

“When I have residents involved in TV production,” he said, “it truly becomes public TV because they can voice things from their perspective, which myself and the staff may not be able to adequately do.”

Residents participate in reading announcements and the daily newscasts. They are creating shows that cover a wide variety of topics, from history and careers to fitness and hobbies.

The environment at Charlestown invites new show ideas.

“We’re open to almost everything,” Moore said. “So if a resident comes to me and says, ‘You should do a program about something,’ I will often say, ‘Will you help me with that?’”

That’s what happened when Eugenia High, a former social worker, moved to the community a couple of years ago.

So she learned to use a video camera. On each trip, Ms. High explores a certain theme. On her recent trip to Iceland, for example, she focused on nature, while in Mongolia, she was attracted to culture and traditions. Ms. High is now preparing to host another show that’s also about traveling.

Shortly after the Charlestown Retirement Community was founded in 1983, the directors launched the closed circuit TV station, hoping to connect residents. The television channel has evolved over the years and became more popular when residents started to volunteer to help with its programming. The community’s executive director, Clara Parker, says Channel 972 reflects what active retirement can be.

That’s how Channel 972 keeps the community connected and helps the residents stay active and creative.

Direction of droughts is
predictable, new study says

By the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Droughts can travel hundreds to thousands of kilometers from where they started, like a slow-moving hurricane. A new study sheds light on how these droughts evolve in space and time, bringing vital new insight for water managers.

A small subset of the most intense droughts move across continents in predictable patterns, according to a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters by researchers in Austria and the United States. The study could help improve projections of future drought, allowing for more effective planning.

While most droughts tend to stay put near where they started, approximately 10% travel between 1,400 to 3,100 kilometers (depending on the continent), the study found. These traveling droughts also tend to be the largest and most severe ones, with the highest potential for damage to the agriculture, energy, water, and humanitarian aid sectors.

“Most people think of a drought as a local or regional problem, but some intense droughts actually migrate, like a slow-motion hurricane on a timescale of months to years instead of days to weeks," says Julio Herrera-Estrada, a graduate student in civil and environmental engineering at Princeton, who led the study.

The researchers analyzed drought data from 1979 to 2009, identifying 1,420 droughts worldwide. They found hotspots on each continent where a number of droughts had followed similar tracks.

What causes some droughts to travel remains unclear, but the data suggest that feedback between precipitation and evaporation in the atmosphere and land may play a role.

"This study also suggests that there might be specific tipping points in how large and how intense a drought is, beyond which it will carry on growing and intensifying," said Justin Sheffield, a professor of hydrology and remote sensing at the University of Southampton. Sheffield was Herrera-Estrada's advisor while serving as research scholar at Princeton.

While the initial onset of a drought remains difficult to predict, the new model could allow researchers to better predict how droughts will evolve and persist.

The study also raises the importance of regional cooperation and of sharing information across borders, whether state or national. One example is the North American Drought Monitor, which brings together measurements and other information from Mexico, the US, and Canada, creating a comprehensive real-time monitoring system.

The researchers said the next step for the work is to examine why and how droughts travel by studying the feedback between evaporation and precipitation in greater detail. Herrera-Estrada also said he would like to analyze how drought behavior might be affected by climate change.  

South Korean court upholds
impeachment of president

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The South Korean Constitutional Court has voted unanimously to uphold the impeachment of President Park Guen-hye.

Acting Chief Justice Lee Jung-mi’s reading of the ruling from the Constitutional Court in Seoul Friday was broadcast live by national media outlets.

“We believe that there are greater benefits by expelling the respondent from the office. Therefore with a unanimous vote of the justices we announced upholding. The respondent President Park Guen-hye is expelled.”

All eight of the Constitutional Court justices endorsed the National Assembly motion, passed in December with more than the two-thirds majority support needed, to remove Ms. Park from office on charges of corruption, misconduct and negligence.

The court cited as grave violations of the constitution the allegations that Ms. Park colluded with her long-time friend Choi Soon-sil to extort Korean conglomerates to donate more than $69 million to two dubious foundations. Ms. Choi was alleged to have a cult-like influence over Ms. Park and control over her staff, even though she had no official government role.

“These violations undermine the rule law and a representative democracy,” Lee said.

Ms. Park was also reprimanded for being uncooperative and evasive in the investigations, and attempting to prevent the legislature from acting as a check and balance on executive power.

Other charges the justices found troubling but did not constitute grave violations of the constitution include allegations of negligence related to Ms. Park’s extended absence during the 2014 Sewol Ferry disaster.

The Constitutional Court also clarified that its ruling was focused on the legitimacy of the National Assembly action to oust the president, and not on criminal guilt or innocence.

The 64-year-old now becomes the first democratically elected president of South Korea to be removed from office. She is the second president to go through the impeachment process. In 2004 President Roh Moo-hyun was ousted by the legislature but was reinstated by the court two month later.

In Myung-jin, interim head of Ms. Park’s conservative Liberty Korea Party said his party will respect the grave value of constitutional law and democracy and will humbly accept the decision of the court.

Choo Mi-ae, leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Korea, hailed the court ruling as a historic triumph of people power and democracy over an entrenched government and corporate monopoly.

“The world will record the great fight and victory of our people as new history of democracy,” Choo said.

The impeached president has repeatedly denied the charges against her, maintaining that the actions she took were in the national interest and insisting she never personally benefited during her 18 years of public service. She also offered a number of public apologies for not being aware that some of her close associates may have been involved in some wrongdoings.

Ms. Park is the daughter of a military ruler who led the country for 18 years before being assassinated in 1979.

U.S. State Department Spokesman Mark Toner issued a statement, saying “We will continue to work with Prime Minister Hwang for the remainder of his tenure as acting president, and we look forward to a productive relationship with whomever the people of South Korea elect to be their next president.”

Toner emphasized that the South Korean impeachment decision is a domestic issue on which the United States takes no position, and that the U.S. will continue to be a steadfast ally, friend, and partner to South Korea, especially with respect to defending against the threat from North Korea.

Ms. Park was suspended from her duties following the impeachment vote in December but continued to reside in the Blue House presidential residence. She must now move out as soon as possible.

Under the constitution, Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn must schedule a presidential election within 60 days.

While in office, the president was immune to prosecution, but Ms. Park could now face criminal charges. Earlier this week a special prosecutor, appointed to investigate this corruption scandal, accused Ms. Park of wrongdoing on several charges, including a bribery conspiracy implicating the Samsung Group.

Samsung Group Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong and other company officials were indicted for donating $37.19 million to the Choi-run foundations in exchange for government help on an important merger for the company, and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Ms. Choi and a number of presidential aides are facing similar charges and prison terms for their roles in the influence peddling scandal.

Because she was impeached, Ms. Park will also lose most post presidency benefits and privileges including a generous pension, health care and administrative support.

Outside the court, thousands of Park supporters and opponents held rival demonstrations. More than 21,000 police have been dispatched to prevent violent clashes between these groups. Traffic near the court has been shut down.

The anti-Park protesters celebrated the impeachment ruling. Since October there have been weekly massive, peaceful protests across the country demanding the president step down over the corruption scandal. The demonstrations, along with Ms. Park’s approval rating of less than 10 percent, helped pressure the National Assembly to act.

The presidents’ supporters reacted with outrage and there were incidents of protesters scuffling with police.

In the last month, increasing numbers of conservative supporters of President Park have been organizing counter demonstrations to denounce the impeachment as tyranny of the mob and an illegal reversal of a democratically held election.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

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Puriscal home
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
This is a gorgeous, new, 3-bedroom luxury home on 2.2 flat acres in a secure, gated community, high in the hills of Puriscal, with stunning, 180-degree views of the ocean, city and mountains of the Central Valley in Costa Rica. Centrally located in the heart of Costa Rica, you are never more than an hour from the Pacific beaches while being much less than that to the culture, shopping, services and night life of the San José, Escazú, Santa Ana and the whole Central Valley. The Altos de Antigua gated community sits at an altitude of 2,800 feet with mild temperatures year round. Features wide paved roads and cement culverts throughout, a large community pool & spa with changing rooms & showers. The community association fees are $42 a month ($500 annually).
This property is currently being offered for $355,000.00 U.S.
Purchase adjoining 2.2 acre investment lot with the home sale for $35,000.00 U.S. or separately for $55,000.00 U.S.
    Summary of House Features:

       * Completed 2012 to North American standards
       * 3 large bedrooms, 2 full baths
       * Custom designed kitchen w/granite countertops
       * Frigidaire Professional appliance package
       * State-of-the-art solar hot water
       * Eco-friendly Toshiba LED lighting
       * LG Multi-Split air conditioning system
       * House & perimeter security alarm system
       * 2-car closed garage w/large paved driveway
Video Tour:
Community Web Site:
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email

COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit trees.
* Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.
* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $40,000 USD
* Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
* 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches
* 10 minutes to Medical Facilities
* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
* 5 minutes to Vista Ridge Golf Club

In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here:

                                      Farm rollover
Beautiful farm in excellent location
At only an hour's drive from San José, minutes from Guápiles, and boardering Braulio Carrillo National Park, Etlingera Farms is one heck of an amazing farm. We purchased this 77-acre farm 10 years ago after many trips, and an exhaustive search. It has a little bit of everything we were looking for and a whole lot of beauty. Our average elevation of 600 meters helps to keep Bella Vista cool year round. This farm is nearly level with a semi-modern 2-bedroom house. A fairly rustic 2-bedroom caretaker's home. And, a comfortable, 1-bedroom cabin where we stay. We have 2 large barns, a chicken coop, and a 3-stall pig pen. There are two tilapia ponds and 2 hectarias, (approximately 5 acres) of different species of bananas. The property boarders Rio Blanco in the rear and has 300 meters of public road frontage. Water, electricity, and telephone are all serviced by public utility. Etlingera Farms was reforested with several thousand wood trees of different tropical varieties. We truly believe this farm is spectacular. Our neighbors are selling for as much as $20 per meter. We are negotiable, motivated and open to offers. Our location can be found by searching Etlingera Farms on Google Maps. Our webpage is and photo album can be found at

                                      ranch rollover
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need. The price of our listing Rancho Ricco is $799,000. More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:


Situated 3 miles west of the capital, 8 miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, 6 restaurants,  next to 2 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, 2 bedrooms, maid's room, 2 bathrooms, 4 closets  (including walk in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine,small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools). Close covered parking space in guarded area.  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:   CONTACT:  USA :  (585) 969-3413 or (585) 266-7418 or in COSTA RICA : (506) 2231-0410.   email:

Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call # 509-570-1928 or email 

San Rmon
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!

Penthouse rollover
Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

Business for sale or lease (paid category)

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

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

                                        Tamarindo The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices. For more information, please contact our local phones: 506-2653-0073 Tamarindo / 506-2201-9056 Flamingo ~ Toll Free: 1-866-976-8898 or email:  or click here

ReMax Playas del Coco
We are an award-winning Team of Professional Agents working with Costa Rica’s #1 Selling Real Estate Agency RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties. Get to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST us and let us help you find YOUR Pura Vida! We have over 30 years of experience to educate our buyers and sellers in all aspects of Real Estate.  For Information on condos, homes, lots, farms, ranches, commercial or development property

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

Playa Matapalo Click Here!
Toll Free 1-877-293-1456


Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
Pacific Coast. 
For more i

Axiom two
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.
For more information
Click HERE!

Axiom three
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!
We will be happy to give all the information you need. Contact:

Costa Rica Office: +506.4001-2343
Mobile: +506.8367-2466
USA Office: +1.786233-1579

Rich Coast Realty
REDUCED by $30k! Three-bedroom furnished house in gated beach community, walk to the beach, $235k.
Ocean View Property, can be subdivided into four view lots, 10 minutes from the beach. Only $40,000!!
Panoramic Ocean View three-bedroom house on 4.7 acres, $398k, Ultimate in privacy!
Three-bedroom house and pool near the beach in Herradura, $199k.
Contact us with any questions you have about buying property in Costa Rica, Residency, etc. 12 years’ experience in Costa Rica real estate.
Have a property for sale in the Central or South Pacific, or in Guanacaste? We want to hear from you. We get results.

USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Real estate-related services (paid category)

SMALL and LARGER jobs welcome !!!. We can build from any plan you bring us all work done by USA codes master electric and plumbing Better quality and lower prices than USA. We do it all Right  + Reasonable.
Call us: Toll Free 877-778-8515   
     Text from US: 804-313-6382 
     CR phone: 506-8307-0164
     For more info also see our sites: 

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Shipping Container Homes For Sale!
We sell new shipping containers and modified container homes. Call us at 8307-8666
Stop by our workshop and walk through our model homes in San Ramón.
Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Buy, sell or rent a timeshare at 

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NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!

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NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
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BUY NOW! Your solar hot water system, so in three months, we can calculate a lower install price for your PV system.  Perfect for homes and hotels. Save up to 40% of your electric bill.
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 10, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 50
Real estate
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages
Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Health officials move to stop outbreak

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The health ministry has moved quickly to prevent an outbreak of bacterial meningitis on the Caribbean coast.

One hospitality employee, a food worker, came down with the serious ailment and was confined to Hospital Calderón Guardia. A woman experienced similar symptoms, but she had not been diagnosed with the disease. The man still suffers from problems with his left leg.

An official at the Ministerio de Salud said Thursday that he had no knowledge of the situation. However, sources in Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast where the man worked said that a team of medical workers had vaccinated a number of persons in the area.

Bacterial meningitis is far more serious than viral meningitis, and there can be long-term consequences. Some humans carry the bacteria in their body without developing symptoms. But when the bacteria reaches the tissues of the brain and spinal cord, the result can be serious. Costa Rica sees from four to five such cases a year.

Court ruling leaves some land in limbo

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Thousands of Costa Ricans and some expats are again in limbo because the Sala IV constitutional court is rejecting a law that was designed to give them title to the land they occupy.

The area involved includes the Parque Nacional Tortuguero, the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre de Barra del Colorado, the Zona Protectora de Tortuguero, the Humedal Nacional Cariari and the Refugio de Vida Silvestre Dr. Archie Carr. All are in northeast Costa Rica along the Caribbean coast.

Thousands of homes and businesses are in jeopardy of being demolished. The decision has not yet been released, but Federación Conservacionista de Costa Rica announced the results. The organization along with the Sindicato de Trabajadores de Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía brought the action.  They accuse the state of trying to give away protected lands.

Former president Laura Chinchilla signed the law in December 2013. The situation exists because in many placed property declared protected already had been inhabited for decades and even centuries by people who have their homes, farms and business establishments there.

The legislature passed the law that would have given these residents the right to seek title to their properties. These are not just a few homes. All of the communities of Tortugero and Barra del Colorado are affected, and some residents there are left wondering what will happen now.

To some extent the law created a dispute between two state agencies, the environmental ministry and the  Junta de Administración Portuaria y de Desarrollo Económico de la Vertiente Atlántica, which now seems to remain in control of the entire coastline.

The law instructed the environmental ministry to use prior studies to identify protected areas and lands that could be titled to residents.

No immediate action is expected against the residents living on government land because another law postponed demolitions for two years. However, without a title a home or business owner cannot contract normal activities, borrow money with mortgages or even participate fully in government programs.

Tortuguero is a major tourism draw located on a narrow strip between the Caribbean and the Tortuguero canal. There are many hotels there, and the beaches are famed for watching turtles lay their eggs. Barra del Colorado is the location of tarpon fishing operations that attract tourist from all over the world.

The environmental organization estimated that the decision affects thousands of families in six cantons between Moín and Cureña de San Carlos in Alajuela.

Not involved in the decision are residents of the coastal areas south of Limón Centro. They face the same problems with untitled property, but they were not involved the the law that was just annulled.
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From Page 7:

Trademark lawsuits plague Trump presidency

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

China has given preliminary approval to a raft of trademark requests from President Donald Trump's business empire, renewing concerns of ethics watchdogs that the president's private dealings conflict with his role as U.S. leader, and therefore violate the U.S. Constitution.

Trump attorneys filed the 38 trademark applications last April, while Trump was still a contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. China's trademark office signaled its tentative approval over the past two weeks.

If there is no objection, the trademarks will be officially registered in 90 days. They cover a wide variety of Trump interests, including hotels, restaurants, golf clubs, bars, real estate, finance, and escort and concierge services.

The Trump Organization also received a single trademark approval in February for Trump-branded construction services. That approval came after a 10-year legal battle.

Presidential ethics experts say China's favorable consideration of Trump requests buttresses their argument that foreign governments seeking to curry favor with the president would be inclined to show preferential treatment to the president's business interests.

Representatives of the Trump Organization, however, say securing trademarks is a natural part of doing business in countries around the globe in keeping with international law.

The Trump ethics question is already the subject of a federal lawsuit filed in January by the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The complaint was filed in federal court in New York days after the president was inaugurated. The suit claims Trump’s business dealings create “countless conflicts of interest, as well as unprecedented influence by foreign governments.”

Attorneys for the plaintiff include Norman Eisen, who served as ethics adviser to former president Barack Obama, and Richard Painter who held the same position under former president George W. Bush. They argue that Trump’s competing interests violate the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clause, which prohibits public servants from accepting anything of value from a foreign government.

"This new large group of 38 trademarks granted to Trump while he occupies the Oval Office raises similar concerns because of their unprecedented scope and scale," Eisen said. The lawyer expected to add the latest trademark issue to the January lawsuit, asking, "How can we be sure he will advance U.S. interests in his engagements with that country, for example by staunching the flow of American jobs out from the U.S. to China?"

The lawsuit also notes that Trump collects royalties from his TV shows, some of which are broadcast on stations owned or controlled by foreign governments. It points to other examples of Trump properties in Scotland, Indonesia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

The White House declined to comment on the issue, but Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller said the group had been actively enforcing its intellectual property rights in China for over a decade.

Before he was elected, candidate Trump argued that the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution did not apply to the president.

Infant accidentally injured in shootout

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 5-month-old baby girl was injured by gunshots when unknown attackers shot and killed the 27-year old man who was taking care of her. The incident took place in the Zapote neighborhood Wednesday night.

The girl was taken to the intensive care unit at Hospital de Niños. A bullet was lodged close to her shoulder, according to a report. She is currently in stable condition, according to medical attendants.

The murdered victim died on his way to the hospital as he couldn't survive the eight shots he received in his chest and ribs. ¨It all leads us to believe that this is a revenge motivated murder,¨ said Alberto Gonzáles, head of the judiciary's homicide unit.

The victim had a criminal record for violence and illegal gun ownership between 2005 and 2015. The body was taken to Morgue Judicial for further examination.