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(506) 2223-1327                             Published Tuesday March 15, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 52                            Email us
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Region reported highly vulnerable to cyber crime
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country is in the beginning stages of planning a national cybersecurity strategy, but unlike many Latin American countries, there does exist criminal penalties.

That is the assessment from experts in the Inter-American Development Bank and the Organization of American States who have just released a report on the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. They called on the countries to step up their efforts on  cybersecurity.

The report, done with assistance from Oxford University, shows the region is highly vulnerable to potentially devastating cyber attacks, said the Organization of American States.

The document is called “Are we ready in Latin America and the Caribbean?” The report shows that four out of every five countries in the region do not have a cybersecurity strategy or plans for protecting critical infrastructure, according to a summary. Two out of three countries do not have a command and control center for cybersecurity, and a large majority of prosecutors lack the capacity to punish cybercrimes and face other problems as well, it said. Costa Rica  criminalized cyber crimes in 2012.

The report analyzes the state of preparedness of 32 countries based on 49 indicators, said the summary. It is the first significant examination of the level of preparedness in Latin America and the Caribbean against the growing threat of cybercrime, said the organizations.

Uruguay, Brazil, México, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Trinidad and Tobago were reported to have achieved an intermediate level of preparedness, but remain far from advanced countries like the United States, Israel, Estonia and the Republic of Korea, said the summary.

“This report is a call to action to protect our citizen and our critical infrastructure for the 21st Century,” said Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the Inter-American Development
Cyber threat

Bank, in a news release. “Our region arrived late to the Industrial Revolution. We cannot miss the opportunity that the Digital Revolution offers us. Because of that, cybersecurity must be a priority.”

The report notes that the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones is the primary authority responsible for handling issues and developing policies related to Costa Rican cybersecurity. An internal ministry agency, the Centro de Respuesta de Incidentes de Seguridad Informática, is the national agency entrusted with the task of not only responding to disruptions to cybersecurity but also of coordinating national command and control functions, said the report.

The agency was credited with detecting a denial of service attack launched against the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad in 2013, said the report.

Sixteen countries in the region have no coordinated capacity to respond to incidents, said the summary. And only six have a structured program of education in cybersecurity, which includes budgetary stability as well as mechanisms for research and the transfer of knowledge, it added.

The full report in Spanish and English is available HERE!


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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 15, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 52
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


Dentistry

Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

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

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

The Garrett Insurance Group
Garrett
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Residency experts

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Tel: (323) 255-6116
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 Accountants

U.S. Income Tax Services
Marlene B. Summers, Tax Accountant
Licensed by the I.R.S.
 
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Marlene B. Summers
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(English spoken). Tamarindo office hours now available.  If you or anyone you know would like an appointment in Tamarindo, please call our San José office at 2288-2201 to make an appointment.
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James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
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Fine art restoration and conservation

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Real estate agents and services

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Century
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colinadelsol022515c.gif
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shoes
Judicial Investigating Organization photo
These are some of the 375 pairs of tennis shoes judicial agents found in a jewelry store in downtown San José Monday. The shoes had been stolen last week from a Pavas outlet. Some 7,000 pairs of shoes were stolen, agents said.


Caja putting health workers on motos

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The national health agency has purchased 176 motorcycles, quadracycles and scooters to bring services to remote areas.

The agency, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, said it spent 439 million colons, about $830,000, for the vehicles.

They are supposed to be energy efficient. Some 159 of the new vehicles are motorcycles and 112 are quadracycles, mainly for the native reserves, said officials. The five scooters will be used in urban areas. Helmets are included in the deal.

Caja health workers make routine house calls.



lifeguard
Cruz Roja Costarricense photo
Cruz Roja lifeguard on duty during a holiday.

Big holiday week is fast approaching

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Many workers are looking toward Friday afternoon when they can begin their Samana Santa holiday. Some with available vacation days already are packing the car for a trip to the beach.

Police agencies and the Cruz Roja have outlined their holiday plans, which are about the same as for other vacations.  About 300 Cruz Roja workers will be manning 139 aid stations starting Saturday.

Some 689 traffic police officers will be on duty along the nation’s highways.  There will be at least 148 speed traps. Traffic officers will be concentrating on the La Fortuna area as well as the metro area, the highway that connects San Vito with Limoncito and the Caribbean coast highway between Limón and Bribri, said officials.

Naturally one of the priorities will be drunk drivers.

Traffic officers will begin their holiday efforts Saturday, too.  Last year during the Easter holidays they handed out nearly 8,000 traffic tickets and handled 1,644 accidents. Eight persons lost their lives in traffic mishaps during Semana Santa, the agency reported.


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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 15, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 52
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Taxes often are overlooked when discussing the rights of consumers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican officials will be celebrating World Consumer Rights Day through Friday.

Today there is a ceremony organized by the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio in the Colegio de Abogados in Zapote. A series of roundtables will last through Thursday.

Friday there will be displays at the various malls.

The day came to be after then-U.S. president John F. Kennedy enumerated the rights of consumers in 1962, according to the Consumer International organization.

Despite the efforts of the consumer agency that is part of the economics ministry, consumers have an uphill fight for rights in Costa Rica. A number of news stories have outlined the high interest rates that some credit card providers charge. In some cases the rates are in the 60 percent range.

The economics ministry does surveys and reports the rates periodically. Workers there also report that the number of credit cards and the credit debt of Costa Ricans continues to rise.

There have been no successful efforts in the legislature to cap credit card interest rates.

Consumers, when they make most purchases, face a 13 percent sales tax. The government seeks to make this a 15 percent value-added tax with promises of rebates to officially designated poor people.

An argument could be made that the government has a major interest in retail sales.

Gasoline prices, for example, are half taxes.

taxes
Some expats have been blindsided by a big jump in the marchamo or road tax that is levied annually on motor vehicles, boats and aircraft. Then there is the luxury home tax that has a still-undefined impact on home sales.

When a motor vehicle is imported into Costa Rica, the Ministerio de Hacienda usually assesses an amount that might be 80 percent of the vehicle’s value. That is why cars are so expensive here.

The import duty then becomes part of the vehicle’s value, so when the marchamo comes around, the government really is charging taxes on the import duty it already charged.

The same is true of all imports. Most are hit with a 14 percent import tax that is then incorporated into the retail price on which a 13 percent tax is levied.

Not much of this will be discussed by officials this week.



Lawmakers expect to begin construction of their tower later this year
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The legislature is about to give the go-ahead to a new tower for that branch of government.

The project is on the current legislative complex. Legislative leaders said that construction would begin in the middle of the year.

The price is estimated to be 52 billion colons or about $100 million. The structure will be 17 floors with offices for the 57 lawmakers and their staffs. Completion is expected by the end of 2018, lawmakers said.

Rafael Ortiz Fábrega, president of the Asamblea Legislativa, said that now legislative staffers are housed in 14 different buildings in various parts of the downtown. Many are rented.

Efforts to build a new home for lawmakers has been on a rocky road.   First officials hoped to rent a large office building in Zapote. Then officials at the Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio of the Ministerio de Cultura rejected plans that included demolishing some buildings on the legislative complex.

Lawmakers have been under a Ministerio de Salud order to vacate some of their buildings due to the condition.


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Guanacaste Lodge

Palermo Hotel

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Recreo
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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Obama promises Ladies in White to raise rights issues with Castro
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama promised in a letter to the prominent Cuban dissident group Ladies in White that he would raise human rights issues with Cuban President Raúl Castro during his visit to the island nation later this month.

Obama said he understood the struggles of the Ladies in White, but defended his policy of seeking to normalize relations with Cuba.

Ladies in White, a group made up of wives and children of Cuban political prisoners, has strongly criticized the president's policy change.

The group said the Castro regime continues to suppress anti-government dissent and maintains a monopoly on the media. They also said authorities have cracked down more since the two countries announced plans to normalize relations in December 2014.

"We take seriously the concerns you have raised," Obama wrote in English.

"I will raise these issues directly with President Castro," he said, praising the Ladies as "an inspiration to human rights movements around the world."

"I fully understand the obstacles that ordinary Cubans face in exercising their rights," Obama wrote. "The U.S. believes that no one in Cuba or anywhere else should face harassment, arrest, or physical assault just because they are exercising a universal right to have their voices heard."

The White House confirmed the letter.

Ladies in White leader Berta Soler, who read the letter to about two dozen members and other supporters in Havana, told the Latin Post, Obama's missive was positive feedback and the group greatly appreciated it.

Obama will visit the Caribbean nation Sunday through next Tuesday. It will be the first visit by a U.S. president since Fidel Castro's rebels overthrew a pro-American government in 1959.

On Monday, Obama told U.S. diplomats at the State Department that his upcoming trip to Cuba would begin a new era in relations with the country.

President Calvin Coolidge, in January 1928, was the last U.S. president to visit Cuba.

The Ladies in White hold weekly anti-government protests during Sunday Mass at the Santa Rita Church in Havana.

In a well-practiced choreography, officers stand by until the women shout “Freedom!” and try to sit on the street outside the church. The protesters are then whisked off to police stations and empty schools, held for hours, released and driven home. They return the following week.

They plan to protest when Obama visits on March 20.

Last week, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, one of the architects of Obama's Cuba policy, traveled to Miami as part of a listening tour ahead of the president’s historic trip.

Rhodes spent Friday meeting with Cuban-American students, activists, members of Cuba's civil society, exiled Cubans and journalists.

He said he told the groups the White House goal isn’t to topple the Castro government, but to open up society through diplomatic and trade relations.

"The fact of the matter is we don't have any expectation that Cuba is going to transform its political system in the near term," Rhodes said Friday. "Even if we got 10 dissidents out of prison, so what? What's going to bring change is having Cubans have more control over their own lives."

Vacation, travel and hospitality


HIdden
                        Garden 2016
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
or contact us by email:
HiddenGarden@TheVanStoneGroup.com.   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.
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Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
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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!
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Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

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

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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COSTA RICA SOLAR
Solr
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SOON with the coming of new power company regulations, we'll be installing PV (photo voltaic) for solar electricity. Yes, at last!
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Real estate rental services (paid category)

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Beautiful house for rent
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Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
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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
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Real estate for rent (paid category)

Puriscal rental
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Property is a small house on a 16-acre farm in Desamparaditos, a small village located 5K NW of Santiago de Puriscal. 15 minutes to Puriscal, 1 hour to San José and the airport, all paved roads. House has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, large  open kitchen/dining/living area. Nice veranda with great views. Many fruit trees. Private but not isolated with all utilities. Rent $550/month long term, short term negotiable. Tenant pays for electricity and phone. Landlord pays water. Absolutely no pets. In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 7187-8577, in the USA call Pete Todd at 970-221-1457 or 720-951-7928.
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CARIARI.
Two bedrooms plus additional on loft, furnished condo with garage, half block walking distance to Costa Rica international Academy. Gated compound on Country Club grounds across Fairway Five. USD $850 plus utilities. Info: US 925 755-4645 or sfyarina@att.net  Note:

 CR house telephone number 2654- 4145  We will be in our house in Flamingo,  March 11 thru April 30.
8956-4/4/16

Central
                                              Valley view

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

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




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A.M. Costa Rica's  
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 15, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 52
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Axiom 890 pixels

Parents in Virginia shocked
that son was with jihadists


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Mohamed Khweis’s parents were awakened Monday morning by a reporter and cameraman at the family’s townhouse in Alexandria, Virginia.

The newspeople told them something they never expected to hear: their son was a member of the Islamic State and he had surrendered to Kurdish forces in Iraq.

"We thought he was in Canada lately,” said a woman who identified herself as Khweis's mother. “We also know he has been traveling to Turkey.” 

But the parents had not been in contact with the son for a long time. They had no idea he was in Iraq or had ties with any extremist groups.

The parents said they are of Palestinian background. The father said he came to the U.S. in 1988.

When shown a published photo of Khweis in Kurdish custody, the family said they were not certain it was him.

“The guy in the picture is not my brother,” insisted Tamer Khweis, a college student and a younger brother of Mohammed Khweis.

“There are similarities, but I can’t confirm because the picture isn’t clear,” his mother said.

Khweis' personal belongings might have been stolen and have ended up in Iraq, the family suggested.

Sarbaz Hama Amin, a Kurdish Peshmerga commander in Iraq, said his forces noticed an odd figure while on patrol Monday in northern Iraq, near the town of Sinjar.

“Our Peshmergas who were patrolling the frontline said they saw something unusual and started firing at it. That thing disappeared after we fired at it but our Peshmergas started looking for it. After it became light after 5 a.m., he screamed at us and told us in English, ‘Who can talk to me? I want to come to you.’

But our Peshmergas didn’t understand English,” Amin continued.  “He spoke a very limited Arabic and asked if anyone spoke English. After Peshmergas made sure he had no explosives on, we arrested him and took him to the camp where he said he wanted to surrender.”

Amin added that the suspect told them his father was Palestinian.

A picture of the suspect’s Virginia state driver’s license, sent to VOA, identifies him as Mohamed Jamal Khweis. 

“The fighter might possibly have come from the Talafar town controlled by IS because that place is the closest frontline to us,” Amin said. “He had Turkish money and some dollars. He also had a visa card and an American driver’s license.”

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga Gen. Hashem Sitayi said the man traveled through Turkey to Syria to join the Islamic State.

“It looks like it's still far too easy to get into Syria from Turkey,” Patrick Skinner said. Skinner is an intelligence officer now with The Soufan Group, a strategic security intelligence consultancy. “It shows how hard it is to control or detect movement in places where so many people are moving both in terms of fleeing but also in terms of normal life.”

Skinner added it will be important to get his information on his points of contacts before he traveled and on other American citizens he might have seen.

Later in the morning the father, Jamal Khweis, in an interview, said he tried to get more information from U.S. authorities.

“I went to the State Department to inquire about my son. They didn’t help. I heading home now,” he said. “My wife said there are cameras and many reporters outside of my house. I won’t talk to reporters until the U.S. government confirms my son’s capture.”

A U.S. State Department official said “We are aware of reports that a U.S. citizen that was allegedly fighting for Da’esh has been captured by Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq.  We are in touch with Iraqi and Kurdish authorities to determine the veracity of these reports.”

Spokesman John Kirby said Monday that over the past several weeks, there have been reports of increasing defections from the Islamic State. "Fighters are becoming disenfranchised, certainly disenchanted with the effort that they claimed they signed up for and are, in increasing numbers, deciding to leave the group."

Kirby added that reports indicate the Islamic State is increasingly relying on child soldiers. Originally, he said, child soldiers were used as suicide attackers, and "now we get more reports about them using children . . . in actual engagements, you know, side by side with adult fighters."


Obama aides soon to decide
on genocide designation


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Pressure is growing for the Obama administration to formally determine whether the Islamic State group is committing genocide against Christians, Yazidi and other religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East.

The U.S. State Department faces a Thursday deadline set last year by Congress, whose lower House of Representatives on Monday will vote on a Republican-led resolution on the violence in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Secretary of State John Kerry is said to be leaning toward the rare determination, but likely will miss that deadline while awaiting the results of a legal review. Such a designation, which the United States previously has invoked just once during an ongoing conflict, carries unclear political and legal implications.

"A genocide designation will raise international consciousness and compel the international community of responsible nations to act, setting the preconditions for the reintegration of ancient ethnic groups and faith traditions into their ancestral homelands," Nebraska Republican Jeff Fortenberry said in a statement last week. He had introduced the House legislation in September.

A 1948 United Nations treaty on genocide requires signatories, including the United States, to undertake to prevent and to punish acts intended “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group . . . ."

In 2004, then-secretary of State Colin Powell determined that the mass rape and slaughter in Sudan’s Darfur region was genocide. He reached that finding after State Department lawyers determined the United States was not legally compelled to prevent genocide occurring outside its own boundaries. Powell urged the U.N. Security Council to create a commission to investigate whether the crimes constituted genocide and to act accordingly.

With a genocide determination against the Islamic State, Kerry also probably would refer the matter to the Security Council for possible prosecution by an international tribunal.

Kerry last month testified before Congress that the atrocities must meet the legal standard of genocide and that he’d asked State Department lawyers to evaluate and re-evaluate evidence. He promised a response soon.

Last week, the international Catholic fraternal group Knights of Columbus and the U.S.-based nonprofit In Defense of Christians released a report citing witness accounts of atrocities such as beheadings, crucifixions, rapes and sexual enslavement.

The report listed 1,131 Christians killed in Iraq and 125 churches attacked there from 2003 to 2014, according to the Religion News Service. The report noted support for the findings from groups such as Genocide Watch and the Hudson Institute.

An unnamed State Department official was quoted by Religion News Service as saying that, "regardless of whether Da'esh’s conduct satisfies certain legal definitions, including genocide and crimes against humanity, the United States has been clear that our interest in accountability for perpetrators remains undiminished."

 
Front runners are favorites
in U.S. primaries today


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. political surveys show the two presidential front-runners, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, are poised to move closer today to winning their parties' presidential nominations as voters head to the polls for nominating contests in five more states.

Two new polls Monday showed Trump, a real estate billionaire who has never held elective office, with a commanding lead in the battleground southeastern state of Florida. He easily tops his nearest home state challenger there, Sen. Marco Rubio, and holds even bigger leads over Texas Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

One poll, by Quinnipiac University, showed Republican voters favoring Trump by a 46-to-22 percent margin over Rubio, while a Monmouth University poll pegged Trump's lead at 44 to 27 percent. Florida's winner-take-all primary is the biggest prize in Tuesday's Republican voting, with the victor collecting 99 delegates to the party's national nominating convention in July.

Polls show Trump with smaller leads in North Carolina, Missouri and Illinois, with Cruz his closest competitor in these states, where national convention delegates will be apportioned according to the vote counts.

Trump, a one-time television reality show host, is locked in a close race in another winner-take-all contest with Kasich in Ohio, the Midwestern state he governs. 

Trump boasted at one rally Sunday, "If we can win Ohio, we're going to run the table, folks."

The party's losing 2012 presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, joined Kasich at campaign stops in Ohio in an effort to keep Trump from winning the 66 convention delegates at stake in the state.

Mrs. Clinton has a commanding lead in the race to secure the Democratic presidential nomination over her lone challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a democratic socialist who has focused his campaign on growing income inequality and the clout of Wall Street financial chieftains.

Polling shows Mrs. Clinton with big leads among Democratic voters over Sanders in Florida and North Carolina, with closer contests possible in Illinois, Ohio and Missouri. None of Tuesday's Democratic contests are winner-take-all.

Tuesday's voting is coming after days of acrimony at Trump campaign stops, where some of his supporters and those opposed to his candidacy have engaged in heated name-calling, pushing, shoving and an occasional hand-to-hand fight.

Trump at times has called for his supporters to physically engage demonstrators and regularly tells security officials to "get them out" when protesters shout at him when he is speaking. But he said he wants peace, not trouble at his campaign events.

Trump's political foes have blamed his rhetoric for the confrontations, while he claims the Sanders campaign has dispatched supporters to Trump's rallies to disrupt them.

Sanders has denied that contention and called Trump a pathological liar. Mrs. Clinton has called Trump a political arsonist.

One unknown in the Democratic race is the the federal government’s investigation of Mrs. Clinton for use of a private email server and allegations that she used her State Department position to generate massive amounts of money for the foundation she and her husband run.


WhatsApp faces challenge
to its encryption system

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Popular messaging app WhatsApp is reportedly in a battle over encryption with the U.S. government similar to the one involving Apple.

According to The New York Times, a federal judge has approved the monitoring of messages made via the Facebook-owned app in a criminal investigation, but end-to-end encryption makes it difficult.

Some officials want to see the company decrypt information related to the case, but it’s unclear if that is even possible.

Apple has been asked to allow investigators access to the encrypted iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino Islamic killers.

WhatsApp is believed to have nearly one billion monthly active users, but the Times says WhatsApp founder, Jan Koum is strongly against surveillance due to his background in the Soviet-controlled Ukraine.

The specifics of the case are not known, but it has been reported that it is not terrorism-related.

Earlier this month in Brazil, an executive with Facebook was jailed over a similar dispute in which Brazilian authorities wanted access to messages in a drug-trafficking case.

Twitter, Facebook and Google have also said they are standing by Apple and against creating so-called back doors to their devices.

In polling, Americans have been split on what Apple should do.


Americans are hard workers,
international surveys report


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

No matter who you ask, it’s pretty clear that Americans work more than just about anyone else in moderately rich countries. Americans are also 400 percent more productive today than in 1950, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The percentage of full-time workers has dwindled in the United States since 2007, but the number of hours worked each week has held steady at about 47, according to Gallup.

U.S. residents worked about 1,789 hours in 2014, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. That’s about 100 hours more than many European counterparts like England, France and Germany.

In 2014, full-time U.S. workers reported logging an average of 47 hours per week. The traditional American work week is eight hours a day, five days a week for a total of 40 hours. Just 8 percent of full-time workers say they work less than 40 hours weekly.

Only one in five Americans actually takes a lunch break. Most opt to eat at their desks. And 28 percent say they don’t take any kind of break at all. All of which means Americans are working longer, taking fewer vacations and retiring later.

Having a strong work ethic is a proud American tradition. American parents often try to instill it in their children by discussing the value of money and hard work.

All of this work also leaves less time for play.

A recent report from two Stanford University researchers observed, “Leisure was higher in France . . . the average person in France works less than two-thirds as much as the average person in the U.S.”

WalletHub decided to break down the data in the 116 largest U.S. cities in order to identify where the hardest-working Americans live. The personal finance site found the hardest-working major American city is Anchorage, Alaska, where people work an average of 40.1 hours per week and workforce participation is almost 79 percent.

The lowest-ranked cities include Burlington, Vermont (average hours worked: 33.1, workforce participation: 70.67 percent), Detroit, Michigan (average hours worked: 36, workforce participation: 61.36 percent) and Providence, Rhode Island (average hours worked: 35.6, workforce participation: 70.12 percent).


February temperature seen
as new record by NASA


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Global surface temperatures in February were 1.35 degrees C warmer than average, according to new data released by the NationalAeronautics and Space Administration.

The rise, which is compared against the baseline average from 1951 to 1980, beats the old record, which was 1.15 degrees C above average in January.

According to Bob Henson and Jeff Masters of the site Weather Underground, the data was “a true shocker, and yet another reminder of the incessant long-term rise in global temperature resulting from human-produced greenhouse gases.”

One explanation for the rise is El Niño in the Pacific Ocean, but according to The Guardian newspaper, the February temperature broke the record set during the last El Niño in 1998.

Chip Knappenberger, the assistant director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, says, “Global temperatures were especially warm in February, largely as a result of a strong, ongoing, and all-natural El Niño event.”

He added that after El Niño events, there are often La Niña events, which “can lead to cooler than normal conditions.”

“Natural variability is acting on top of a slow warming pressure that is being added by emissions of greenhouse gases from human-activities,” he said in a statement. “The result is a slow background rise in temperatures punctuated by shorter-term rises and falls.”

The Guardian cites Stefan Rahmstorf from Germany's Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research and a visiting professorial fellow at the University of New South Wales, as saying the data represents “a kind of climate emergency now.”

Knappenberger says he disagrees with that assessment. He says instead that the rise is “a temporary blip superimposed on a slow, modest rate of warming.”

Real estate-related services (paid category)

COSTA RICA SOLAR
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SOON with the coming of new power company regulations, we'll be installing PV (photo voltaic) for solar electricity. Yes, at last!
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Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090
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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


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

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Email: michael@costarica-realestate.com

8935-2/7/17

Remax logo
Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

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 sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at: info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com
8927-1/28/17

Axiom one

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

Click
HERE!
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:

AXIOM DEVELOPMENT GROUP SRL
Costa Rica Office: +506.4001-2343
Mobile: +506.8367-2466
USA Office: +1.786233-1579
sales@axiomcostarica.com
www.axiomcostarica.com
8906-2/21/16

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

Rich Coast Realty is a full-service real estate company with property listings in Escazú, Santa Ana, Jacó, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Manuel Antonio, and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. We work hard to find you the property of your dreams, and assist with legal advice, residency, starting corporations, opening bank accounts, etc. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in, and relocating to Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate, we look forward to hearing from you.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
www.RichCoastRealty.com
8790-2/28/15

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


Special Offer

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

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

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

* Enjoy the view,  CLICK HERE
Mafi Real Estate: Houses, lots and farms in Costa Rica
If you do not find, what are you looking for, contact us
WE HAVE A NETWORK OF OVER 500 brokers across the country to get what you are looking for.
English Calls: Miguel Fiatt Sauma or Paule Ortiz
Phone/Fax.+506 2238-5029
Cel. +506 8399-7000
Email: mfiatt@mafirealestate.com 
Web Page: www.mafirealestate.com
8609-2/20/16

Real estate for sale (paid category)


Lantz
                                      home
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 backyard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden. This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town. Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small. The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate. Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José. Just reduced to $199,000. Call Jeff: 8725-8176. Email: angelsdad@me.com

8972-6/15/16

San Rmon
                                  rollover
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: mmpeace@hotmail.com 
Check out slide show HERE!
8962-6/3/16

Ocean View Property for Sale in San Ramón
1.5-acre lot with spectacular ocean views. Ready to build. Mild climate year round with an average temperature a cool 74 degrees. Spectacular panoramic views of
land
                                for sale
the ocean and port of Puntarenas during the day, breathtaking views of Esparza at night. Fully titled and owned under a Costa Rican corporation. $50,000. Short-term owner financing available. For more info: www.condojaco.com Contact: Frank condojaco1@gmail.com
8942-9/1/

updated
                                  photo
Jacó beach unique home. First time offered
This house has never been listed.  It is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home approx. 100 feet above sea level on the only hill in Jacó one mile to the beach.  Totally remodeled to a Gringo house.Has great fenced yard for dogs and a huge screened porch with  great views all around, including a small ocean view.  New in the last two years includes: new kitchen with granite counter, cedar cabinets, all new windows, tile, water system, updated electric & plumbing, superb new AC units (low electric bill), This is half of a duplex with a platted yard.  Other side is the chief of police.  Secure & private.  $169.900. Call Glenn at 506-6214-0056 or goodbuyflorida@yahoo.com.
8933-5/2/16

La Uruca condo
FURNISHED  APARTMENT for SALE.
CONDOMINIO SATURNO, LA URUCA,
OUTSKIRTS of SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA,
Situated three miles west of the capital, eight miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, six restaurants,  next to two bus line stops. Car ownership is not needed. January-March air temperatures are 72 to 80 degrees F. Apartment 1,200 sq. ft (100 sq. meters), on ground floor, indoor  patio. Large windows without bars, parquet floors. Spacious living room-dining area, two bedrooms, maid's room, two bathrooms, four closets  (including walk-in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine, small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools).  Many amenities, (pictures, indoor plants, sewing machine, books, keyboard, dishes, glassware, silverware). Annual cost of maintenance about $1,350 includes water, landscaping service, garbage disposal, 24-7 security and property taxes. Price $120,000. Available for viewing:  Mid-January to beginning of April. Contact:  USA :  585 544-4296. Costa Rica : 506 2231-0410
Email:  BORISKOPIT@YAHOO.COM
8914-2/13/16

Cohen
For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
www.hotel4salecostarica.com
www.hotelsescazu.com
hotelescazu@aol.com
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
410-975-6703
In Costa Rica 8307-0164
8916-7/22/16

Goetl in Palo Seco

Charming small oceanfront hotel for sale in Playa Palo Seco
Ideal oceanfront location with back up to a mangrove estuary. The
charming small hotel has a fully equipped kitchen, bar and restaurant and is exceptionnally well maintained. Located on a very private beach of the central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica 35 minutes north of Quepos-Manuel Antonio and 45 minutes south of  Playa Jacó. The main building is a two-storey house with 12 bedrooms. The lot measures 3,054 M2. Beautiful gardens around the large pool and exceptional flora and fauna. Well mentioned in tourist guides like Lonely Planet and Guide Ulysse. Offered at $999,000. USD
e-mail:  marietta234@yahoo.es 
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408
Web   http://mariettedaignault.point2agent.com
8902-3/4/16

Blakesmore one

Blakemoret two

Costa Rica tropical paradise beach house for sale

Tropical five-acre forested beachfront property with custom house and guest casita on the Osa Península, south Pacific Coast. Abundant wildlife, exotic plants and fruits, secluded beach.  Located 8 kms. south of Puerto Jiménez on the way to Matapalo and Corcovado National Park. Great Price $750,000. Contact Roger. Phone number  (506) 6142-7228   Email:  osaroger@gmail.com. Watch this video for full details.
8965-7/5/16

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: mmpeace@hotmail.com 
Check out slide show HERE!
8897-3/2/15

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:   djake888@yahoo.com
8846-4/10/16

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

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

Includes: Refrigerator, gas stove & oven with electric grill element, microwave, electric washer-gas dryer stacked style, gas on demand whole house water heater. Other furnishings are negotiable. ICE electric service and land line phone. Bajo Burgos Water district. Metro-wireless WiFi is available. Tigo Star Satellite T.V. House is in a Costa Rican corporation, will transfer shares. Contract indyj5vw@yahoo.com or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album
8844-5/11/16

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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: manager@crbusiness.biz.

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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A.M. Panama
A.M. Colombia
A.M. Guatemala
A.M. Honduras
A.M. Cuba
A.M. Nicaragua
A.M. Venezuela
A.M. Central America
A.M.
Dominican Republic

A.M. Ecuador A.M. El Salvador
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Youngsters write, illustrate new book

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Biblioteca Nacional has published a book that was written and illustrated by children from the nearby Escuela Buenaventura Corrales Bermúdez.

The book is an anthology called “El libro de la paz.” The writing and illustrating was done in workshops set up by the national library.

Peace was selected as the theme of the works. During a presentation of the anthology, the youngsters were able to read their literary efforts aloud to an audience.



chidren's book
Biblioteca Nacional graphic
This is the book cover.


Courts warned on fining, jailing the poor

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Justice Department warned state court systems in the country Monday against imposing punitive fines on impoverished people and jailing them if they can not pay, saying the practice is unconstitutional and also erodes trust in local communities.

The top U.S. law enforcement agency said local court systems should not operate as for-profit ventures, using a raft of fines against people living in their communities to fund government operations and then issuing arrest warrants for some people who are too poor to make the payments for relatively minor offenses.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, the warning sent to courts across the United States is aimed at ensuring that "our legal system serves every American faithfully and fairly, regardless of their economic status."

Ms. Lynch, the country's top law enforcement official, said, "The consequences of poverty are not only harmful, they are far-reaching. They not only affect an individual's ability to support their family, but also contribute to an erosion of our faith in government."

Vanita Gupta, the head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, and Lisa Foster, who directs the department's Office for Access to Justice, said in the letter that "to the extent that these practices are geared not toward addressing public safety, but rather toward raising revenue, they can cast doubt on the impartiality of the tribunal and erode trust between local governments and their constituents."

The Justice Department warning came after a Washington conference in December showed some communities rely heavily on the imposition of fines as a source of government revenue.  The government had found the practice particularly prevalent in Ferguson, Missouri, a small community in the central part of the United States where there were days of street protests after a white policeman shot an unarmed black teenaged assailant to death in 2014.


Highway lanes being closed at night

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The highway agency says that it is closing the eastbound lanes of the Autopista General Cañas from the vicinity of Juan Santamaría airport to from 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday. The highway also is Ruta 1, the Interamericana.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad  said the closing is necessary while crews cut trees in danger of falling along the highway shoulder.

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From Page 7:

Reversal sought for cruise ship decline

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican tourism officials are trying to reverse a trend that has cut cruise ship arrivals by nearly 45 percent since 2009-2010.

The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo reports that in the 2009-2010 season 270 cruise ships docked in Costa Rican ports. In 2014-2015 the number was 150.

The tourism institute said that its staffers are displaying at a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, show this week in an effort to attract cruise customers and cruise line commitments.

Mauricio Ventura, the minister of Turismo, has pointed out the need to improve the facilities in ports on both coasts.

The possibility of crime and costs are among the reasons cruise chips might skip Costa Rica. And for a time there was labor unrest in Limón.

There is another factor, and that is Cuba. Major cruise ship lines are anxious to dock at Cuban ports. They are reported awaiting approval from the Cuban government. Some lines already have approval. The Communist island will be a major competitor with Costa Rica in the future.

Costa Rica usually is considered an intermediate stop for cruise captains after transiting the Panamá Canal. The arrival of cruise ships means more business for hundreds of merchants and land tour operators in Puntarenas and Limón.

Costa Rican officials said they are being joined by representatives from the national firms Asuaire Travel, Swiss Travel Costa Rica and Transocean Expeditions in Florida.