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Published Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 53
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Battle rages over capping customer's internet usage
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A young man sits at a bench at Parque Nacional and, like everybody else, his attention is easily hooked up by his smartphone.

“I think at some point I´ll just have to cancel my data plan” said Francisco León. He is referring to a subject that has been stirring public opinion in the last two weeks: the cap on mobile internet usage set up by Kölbi, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad's commercial name for mobile services. 

That means bad news for León’s access to his music library. It is on Spotify, which is a popular digital music service that uses either someone’s internet connection or data plan.

The step taken by this telecom provider hit the headlines as soon as it went into effect last March.

The telecom giant’s closest competitors, Claro and Movistar had been limiting mobile internet usage since 2014, but there was not much ado about it.

Probably the reason why is that Kölbi has more than four million subscribers, while Claro and Movistar average about one and a half million clients each, according to Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, the state authority in charge of regulating the market.

In fact, it is the Superintendencia that has allowed companies to include fair use policies in their contracts, stating that's one way to assure the quality of mobile internet and discourage its excessive usage.

The state regulator took that decision based on a prior memorandum, which is based on a study that was declared confidential by the same entity. This confidential status has been challenged before the Sala Constitucional, which is studying the case.

The fair use concept has raised many questions by several lawmakers and the Defensoría de los Habitantes, the country's ombudsman, which called for a halt to these policies back on Feb. 27.

In its request, the Defensoría posed many questions as of what fair usage really means and if it hurts human rights.

The United Nations declared internet access as a human right in 2011.

According to the document, the mobile internet cap was approved as a temporary measure back in 2014 as one way to avoid excessive use of data networks.

“There is no evidence that Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones has ordered the internet providers to increase the capacity of their networks, as it was determined in 2014, and there's also a lack of evidence that the temporary measure still works.” the document reads.

Francisco Leon
Francisco León.
A.M. Costa Rica /Rommel Téllez
Jocsan García.

The ombudsman also begged the question as to why is it necessary to punish all customers when those who abuse the service can easily be traced and stopped. It also considers that a three year old measure cannot be considered temporary and that maybe, providers are just offering a service that they cannot comply with.

“In Costa Rica, 4.8 million subscribers access the Internet through mobile devices, that's 10 times more than any other fixed alternative, so we cannot really say that there is abuse with the mobile internet, since it is the way most people exercise their right to access the web.” Defensoría de los Habitantes adds.

Finally, Defensoría said it is uncommon to approve a policy based on figures that most people haven't seen.

In the past, Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones has explained that, in order to calculate what amount of data should be considered fair, companies have studied the consumption of the 5 percent of subscribers that account for 35 percent of internet usage.

However, there is no response as whether this methodology was chosen.

The latest response from Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones was sent to Defensoría de los Habitantes one week ago. In its response, the entity emphasized that the fair use policy is in the benefit of most customers and avoids most of the direct questions that Defensoría de los Habitantes asked in its first request.

It also challenges the legal authority of the Defensoría to request a halt to the fair internet use policy and implies that Defensoría de los Habitantes has, above all, a moral role rather than a legal one.

Internet providers should have a profitable activity which can be attained by regulating the use of mobile internet, the telecom entity said. It also considers that it is up to the ombudsman to show evidence that the fair use policy should be halted.

A meeting between the two entities has been requested by the telecom group regarding this.

In the meantime, subscribers complain but seem to accept the decision or just move to the company that offers a better deal.

Such is the case of Jocsan García, a Movistar customer who complains that sometimes his 4 GB quota do not suffice, specially when he plays Pokemon Go.

Some craic from our Irish-American editor
By James Joseph Brodle Kelly
editor of A.M. Costa Rica

Well, here it is nearing St. Patrick’s Day again, and all over the free world people are about to denigrate the Irish as pugnacious drunks.

American Indians have fought successfully the misappropriation of their identity.  More than 115 civil rights, educational and other organizations have pilloried the National Football League team for its ethnic stereotyping and prejudice against Native Americans.

But there is nary a word about the Fighting Irish, a term adopted by some Indiana college that even uses, egad, a leprechaun as a mascot.

Now most folks know that the average person of Irish heritage hardly ever sees a  leprechaun. And some of them do not spend their time fighting.

So what is with the ethic slurs. Even though Donald Trump is now president, there should be some of that political correctness spread in the Irish direction.

Then there is the corned beef and green beer.

Talk about a stereotype. Is there anyone who is not aghast at someone dumping green food coloring in the noble beverage.

fighting Irish
University of Notre Dame graphic
Is the fighting Irish an insult or blarney?

And what if it is Guinness? Does that create some kind of purple beer? Pass the ribeye and hold the corned beef.

Now about the fighting. It’s true that the Irish have been at war with someone or another from the mists of time. But that is no reason to stereotype an entire race?

There really are a few wimpy Irish, probably Protestants who just will not rise to a perceived verbal insult, and some of them even are women.

Which brings up the drinking related to the alcohol food group.  Alcohol soothes the wounds of the racial stereotyping and perhaps the pain of the last brawl. At least that’s the story here, and if you don’t like, I’ll see you in the alley.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 53
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   Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo         
The Zurquí tunnel will be closed starting Thursday for night work.

Road closings beginning Thursday night

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The public works ministry will be conducting some night closures for road work beginning this Thursday.

Ruta 32 will be closed Thursday from 10 p.m. until 3 a.m. the next morning between the toll booth in Heredia and the Cruce to Río Frío going both directions. The reason of the closure is to allow technicians from Universidad de Costa Rica to make a general evaluation of the Tunel Zurquí and its structural status, according to the ministry.

According to Mario Chacón, director of Policía de Tránsito, drivers have the alternative to take Ruta 10, in the direction Turrialba-Siquirres. For lighter vehicles, there is also Ruta 126, from Vara Blanca to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí.

Meanwhile, from 10 p.m. Thursday night until 5 in the morning on March 28, around 2 kilometers of road will be regulated between the cemetery Jardines del Recuerdo to the Pozuelo cookie factory. That first night, however, the road will be completely shut down to traffic.

During the regulated hours, only a single lane will be open to traffic while crews work on two lanes at a time. Flaggers are expected to conduct safe transit through the construction zone, the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said.

The alternative routes include the General Cañas highway using the bridge commonly known as the platina. In addition, there is also the recently opened bridge over the Río Virilla that connects San José to Heredia. The new four-lane bridge could offer some relief to commuters looking for an alternative aside from another construction zone.

Two suspects arrested in Nosara murder

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents of the Judicial Investigating Organization out in Nicoya, in the northern province of Guanacaste, arrested two suspects accused of killing a 50-year old man in Nosara back in February.

According to a report, the victim had filed a complaint against one of the suspects for the robbery of a cell phone back in January. Since then, someone had  threatened  the victim because of the complaint, officials said.

According to police investigations, the day of the murder, the two persons went to the victim's house and beat the man before strangling him.

Talks begin about new police station

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Security officials are talking about a new police station for crime-plagued Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast. But so far there is nothing more than paperwork.

Vice ministers Bernardita Marín Salazar and Juan José Andrade hosted a meeting Tuesday in San José to discuss the project. The job will be to design and then build a structure.

In the statement that followed the meeting there was no mention of a budget for the project or when bids might be sought.

Security officials are expecting a slug of money when the legislature votes for the second time on a corporate tax. Most of the tax money is to go to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública for, among other things, to build new police stations. The tax is expected to go into force July 1.

Police officers invaded the Caribbean tourist mecca over the weekend after a Canadian visitor died in an early morning robbery. Subsequent reports showed that there has been at least 33 recent stickups in and around the community.

Andrade is promising 100 days of aggressive police work in the area. He has doubled the number of officers. The efforts so far mirror those that are continual in the metro area. Police officers are flagging over motorcycles and cars to check paperwork and perhaps conduct searches in the hopes of turning up drugs or firearms. Pedestrians, usually young males, also are stopped on the street, asked to turn out their pockets and to submit to a pat down.

The effort has the support of the local tourism chamber and most merchants. The Municipalidad de Talamanca where Puerto Viejo is located was represented at the meeting Tuesday. The police effort is similar to the one staged in Playas del Coco on the Pacific coast after a visiting metro area man was killed by a mob.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 53
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Marching through history tours commemorate campaign of 1856
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The recreation of a military campaign may not be the first thing expats would think that a Costa Rican cultural organization would seek to do but that is exactly what’s happening beginning this Sunday.

With the approaching national holiday of Juan Santamaría in April, El Museo Histórico Cultural Juan Santamaría is again offering expats and others to follow in the footsteps of the men and women who defended Costa Rican sovereignty back in 1856 to 1857.

“Sobre los pasos de nuestros héroes” will offer four routes with the first two beginning at the museum in Alajuela. No need to worry about marching in the hot sun like soldiers going to war, however. Minibuses will take the public towards one of two destinations depending on the route: Atenas or Naranjo.

The second tour is only for people who will not need assistance walking and are in good physical condition, event managers said. That will be a hike in Naranjo canton between Cañuela and Barranca.

The third route is one using a minibus that follows the campaign trail of the Costa Rican army in 1856 from San José to Puntarenas.

Stops will be made at historical sites, museum officials said. The last route offered goes from Alajuela to Muelle in San Carlos corresponding to the movements of the second stage of the campaign.

Each tour will have present two specialists to answer any questions from participants and to give context to the tour as much as the national campaign.

Organizers from the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud also said that a team of oxen will accompany the tours to make for a more original effect during the routes.

Participants should be wary, however. Organizers for the tours said that some surprises may be counted on along the way.
walking tours
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud

Participants march like soldiers with the oxen as in 1856.

The cost for participating for the first and second routes is 7000 colons while routes three and four will cost 10000 colons, the cultural ministry said.

That price will include two bottles of water, roundtrip transportation, printed historical information and a traditional-style lunch.

The number of available spaces for each tour is limited to 50 people per day and reservations need to be made with the museum.

The routes are following Costa Rican involvement in what is sometimes called the Filibuster War of 1856 to 1857. Expats touring San José may have noticed the statue in Parque Nacional commemorating the victory of the second battle of Pavas. That is in commemoration of the conflict.

The war began after William Walker, a U.S. citizen acting independently, became de facto ruler of Nicaragua in 1856 through control of a puppet regime and a mercenary army numbering in the hundreds.

The combined efforts of the Ejército Aliado Centroamericano that included Costa Rica forced Walker out of the region and later forced his surrender to the U.S. Navy in May 1857.

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Eight-legged arachnids feast on 800 million tons of food annually
By the Springer publishing company press staff

Spiders feed on an estimated 400 to 800 million tons of insects and other pests annually; in comparison, all humans consume about 400 million tons in meat and fish

A new study reveals some stunning estimates about just how much the world’s spiders eat annually: between 400 and 800 million tons of insects, springtails, and other invertebrates. In the process, these eight-legged carnivores play an important role to keep countless insect pests, especially in forests and grassland areas, in check.

This is according to the findings of Martin Nyffeler of the University of Basel in Switzerland and Klaus Birkhofer of Lund University in Sweden and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg in Germany, published in Springer’s journal “The Science of Nature.”

Using data from 65 previous studies, Nyffeler and Birkhofer first estimated how many spiders are currently to be found in seven biomes on the planet. Their conclusion: altogether there are about 25 million metric tons’ worth of them around. Most spiders are found in forests, grasslands and shrub-lands, followed by croplands, deserts, urban areas and tundra areas.

The researchers then used two simple models to calculate how much prey all the world’s spiders as a whole kill per year.

In their first approach, they took into account how much most spiders generally need to eat to survive, as well as census data on the average spider biomass per square meter in the various biomes.

The second approach was based on prey capture observations in the field, combined with estimates of spider numbers per square meter. According to their extrapolations, 400 to 800 million tons of prey are being killed by spiders each year.

For a sense of just how much this is, take the following into account: all humans together consume an estimated 400 million tons of meat and fish annually.
Whales feed on 280 to 500 million tons of seafood.

The world’s total seabird population eats an estimated 70
spider feed
Wikipedia photo
This golden-orb spider nabbed a grasshopper for lunch.

million tons of fish and other seafood.

According to further calculations, spiders in forests and grasslands account for more than 95 percent of the annual prey kill of the global spider community.

The figure reflects the fact that forests, grasslands and savannas are less frequently disturbed than for instance agricultural or urban areas, and therefore allow for greater spider biomass.

“These estimates emphasize the important role that spider predation plays in semi-natural and natural habitats, as many economically important pests and disease vectors breed in those forest and grassland biomes,” Martin Nyffeler, the lead author for the study, said.

According to the researchers, spiders are not only important predators, but are also valuable sources of prey.

Between 8,000 and 10,000 other predators, parasitoids and parasites feed exclusively on spiders, while spiders form an important part of the diet of an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 bird species.

“We hope that these estimates and their significant magnitude raise public awareness and increase the level of appreciation for the important global role of spiders in terrestrial food webs,” adds Nyffeler.

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See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

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We offer for rent a boutique quality 2-bedroom (BR)/1-bath mountain chalet, and a 2-BR/2-bath mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude within the limits of a small horse ranch.  Located just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance, our homes sit on the strategic high ground of Costa Rica’s Central Valley, and are contiguous with the park’s 47,000 hectares of primary cloud rainforest. The chalet and mountain home include a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace, and covered parking.  All utilities and wifi internet included. Please contact Allan or Cristina at for photos, pricing and contract details.

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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, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 53
Real Estate
About us
Renegotiated trade deal aids
the NAFTA countries

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, could benefit the United States, México and Canada, enhancing the continent's competitiveness in global markets, say several close observers of the trade deal with a keen interest in entrepreneurship.

Revising NAFTA with an eye toward increased protection of intellectual property rights would bring a more collaborative environment to get some real innovation going, said Reva Goujon, a vice president at the global geopolitical analysis firm Stratfor.

"The North America Free Trade Agreement in the Era of Trump" was the subject of a panel discussion Ms. Goujon participated in at the South by Southwest Conference & Festivals, an annual gathering of innovators in music, movies and technology, as well as in political thinking and social activism. The annual 10-day festival opened Friday.

President Donald Trump wasn't at the discussion, but his presence loomed over it. He has talked about withdrawing the United States from NAFTA and imposing border tariffs on goods produced outside the country. That's on top of repeatedly insisting that Mexicans will pay for a border wall they don't want and after disinviting their president from a White House visit.

Yet Rep. Will Hurd, a Texas Republican, said he trusted that all three signatories would collaborate on updating the deal to maintain a free-trade zone.

"NAFTA can be strengthened," said Hurd, also a panelist, noting that Trump, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had made the same point.

Hurd is a former CIA officer who serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security and heads the House subcommittee on information technology.

He added that any NAFTA revision must focus on issues such as agriculture and energy, which today are very different from 30 years ago. “We should think about creating a NAFTA 2.0 to boost U.S. competitiveness in the rest of the world,” Hurd said. An agreement that also would improve North American competitiveness in the rest of the world.

Ms. Goujon agreed there's a lot to be updated within NAFTA when talking about labor, environmental regulations, raising regional content so that all of North America benefits.

She acknowledged NAFTA had contributed to some disadvantages for low-wage workers who have really been left in the lurch, and who also were pummeled by automation in manufacturing and by China's 2001 entry into the World Trade Organization.

"But there are a lot of jobs that are created from a free-trade agreement like this," Goujon said, estimating at least 4 million jobs "depend on U.S.-México trade. And supply chains are so greatly integrated between the United States and México that if you just untangled that, and I don't think you can, you would be causing enormous economic disruption."

Skeptics have said it would be hard for the United States to alter the deal and impose tariffs on México without harming Canada, too.

"I can't see how it is possible at all. It would be very complicated to do and I don't think Mexico would ever go along with it," Mark Warner, a Toronto trade lawyer, said.

The panel discussion took place at Casa Mexico, a public-private partnership hosting concerts, exhibitions and presentations that showcase the neighboring country's sociocultural riches as well as its business ambitions.

The World Bank ranked México 15th globally in terms of gross domestic product in 2015.

The partnership brought roughly 100 young entrepreneurs to the panel discussion in order to meet investors "and benefit from this ecosystem, which is one of the most developed in the world in terms of venture capital and entrepreneurship," Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, México's consul general in Austin, said.

Conversely, México wants to show off its own talent, he added.

"There's an incredible push in terms of entrepreneurship in Mexico and there's a growing and increasingly consolidated market for venture capitalists and funds of venture capitalists in Mexico that we wanted to bring to SXSW to be better known."

Gonzalez said his government also wanted clarity about the Trump administration's trade goals so Mexico could bring that certainty to people who might be asking themselves about whether and how to deal with the United States.

250 skulls discovered
in Veracruz mass grave

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Mexican authorities said Tuesday that more than 250 skulls had been found at a mass grave near the eastern city of Veracruz.

Veracruz state prosecutor Jorge Winckler, who confirmed the discovery, said drug traffickers had used the city of Veracruz as a dumping ground for bodies for many years.

"I cannot imagine how many more people are illegally buried there,'' Winckler said, noting the state had reports of about 2,400 people who were still missing. "Veracruz is an enormous mass grave.''

An activist group consisting of relatives of the missing began searching fields around the area last year after failing to get help from authorities.

"We dig holes, but we try not to touch the remains,'' said member Lucia Diaz, because DNA may be the only hope of identifying the dead and touching the bones might contaminate them.

So far, Ms. Diaz said, searchers have found about 125 pits that contain about 253 bodies. Nobody knows when the burials began, but Ms. Diaz said some were quite recent.

So far only two sets of remains, those of a police detective and his assistant, have been identified, Winckler said.

The prosecutor said that excavations had covered only a third of the lot where the skulls were found, and that more people might be buried there.

Ms. Diaz joined the effort after her own son, Guillermo Lagunes Diaz, was kidnapped from his home in 2013. No trace of him was ever found.

"He was kidnapped. Beyond that I know nothing,'' she said, adding that despite her pleas for action, state officials were slow to investigate the case and didn't bother even to track his phone, which might have helped locate him.

Veracruz has long been dominated by the ferocious Zetas cartel. But the Jalisco New Generation cartel began moving in around 2011, sparking bloody turf battles.

Drug cartels in other parts of Mexico have deposited victims' bodies in mass graves before. In the northern state of Durango, authorities found more than 300 bodies in a mass grave in the state capital in April 2011.

The White House confirms
leaked tax returns are true

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The White House has issued a statement saying President Donald Trump had more than $150 million in income in 2005, on which he paid $38 million in income taxes, and blasted a television report disclosing his official tax returns as an illegal act.

The statement late Tuesday was issued before a report broadcast by MSNBC-TV. Network host Rachel Maddow revealed what she said were two pages of Trump's 2005 tax forms, and credited David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and tax analyst, as the source of the information.

Johnston told Ms. Maddow he found the two pages in his mailbox. He said he did not know who sent them, or why.

Ms. Maddow said she sent copies of the forms to the White House for comment. The administration issued its public statement before her program went on the air Tuesday night.

In its pre-emptive statement, the White House said, "You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago."

The statement added: "Before being elected president, Mr. Trump was one of the most successful businessmen in the world. It is totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns. The dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda, while the president will focus on his."

Trump has long insisted that the American public is not interested in his returns, and has said little can be learned from them. But Trump's full returns would contain key details about things like his charitable giving, how much he made each year and what were the sources of his earnings.

This tax issue was a major point of attack from his campaign rival Hillary Clinton, who suggested Trump had something to hide.

Although Trump repeatedly said he could not release his current tax returns because he was being audited by the Internal Revenue Service, a claim the IRS said is not correct, the issue caught the public imagination months ago.

Since Trump took over the White House on Jan. 20, more than 1 million Americans have signed an electronic petition demanding the president release his tax documents.

The White House has not said whether the president plans to release any of his annual tax returns while he is in office.

Dry ice balloon creates fog
but it also clears it for planes

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Make-believe fog is a frequent special effect used in the theater and at rock concerts. Usually created with dry ice, frozen carbon dioxide crystals, the smokey mist rolling across the stage creates a sense of mystery and suspense. But when real fog settles over an airfield, it creates delays or even danger.

At an airport in the western state of Oregon, ground crews take matters in their own hands when freezing fog threatens to delay takeoffs and landings. And they use the same substance to clear the fog that's used to create it: dry ice.

"The dry ice collects the moisture and it falls to the ground as basically just snow or ice," explains Howard Volkman, the operations and maintenance supervisor at Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport.

When Mother Nature throws travelers a curve ball and freezing fog descends over the airport, he and his co-workers jump into action. First, they load crushed dry ice into a hopper suspended under a big helium balloon.

The five-and-a-half-meter-diameter balloon is tethered with a winch cable to an airport pickup truck. The crew lets it rise to 152 meters, then, with a remote control, turns on the dry ice spreader.

A driver and an operator make slow loops around the runway with the balloon and its dry ice spreader in tow, scattering the crystals into the mist.

"We're clearing a hole in the fog," Volkman says, "just for the airplanes to be able to see the runway."

The staff nicknamed their white balloon CASPER, after the friendly cartoon ghost. Then they came up with an acronym that fit: Cable Attached System Providing Effective Release.

CASPER first took to the air in 2010, and has deployed 14 times this winter.

Medford Airport Director Bern Case says it is very effective, reducing flight cancellations to near zero.

"It's all about dollars. Cancellations and diversions for airlines are very expensive, not only to the airlines, but if a person is trying to get to Tokyo and they can't get out of here, it can ruin an entire trip," he said.

This fog-busting method only works at temperatures of zero Celsius and below. So it is not that useful for airports in coastal cities where it's usually warmer when fog forms.

Case says the Medford airport provided the blueprints for the one-of-a-kind balloon system to the airport authorities in Spokane, Washington and Anchorage, Alaska.

International inquiries about Medford, Oregon’s fog-clearing technology have come from Russia, South Africa and Scotland.

While fog-clearing operations are still necessary for private planes and older aircraft, recent advances in precision navigation technology mean newer jets can take off and land with barely any visibility.

Russia denies special forces
are near the Libyan border

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Kremlin officials and Russian lawmakers are denying published reports that Moscow has deployed a team of special forces and drones to a military base in Egypt near the Libyan border.

The denials came Tuesday, following multiple reports that Russian military activity had been spotted near the Mediterranean coastal town of Sidi Baranni, 100 kilometers from the Egyptian-Libyan frontier.

Those reports, quoting anonymous U.S. officials, say increased Russian involvement may be part of a push by Moscow to support renegade Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar.

Haftar and his so-called Libyan National Army are aligned with a government in eastern Libya that refuses to support the internationally backed Government of National Unity operating from Tripoli.

Russia's Ria Novosti news agency quoted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying he had seen the news reports of the alleged deployment, but said: "I have not heard of them from any other sources."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said: "we do not possess any information of that kind."

Additionally, international affairs lawmaker Vladimir Dzhabarov called the deployment reports fake news which should not be paid attention to.

The deputy head of the state Duma defense committee, Andrei Krasov, said the reports must be a deliberate act of misinformation aimed at raising international tensions.

Despite the Russian denials, Britain's Guardian newspaper on Tuesday quoted Egyptian security sources as confirming the presence of a 22-member Russian security force on Egyptian soil. Those sources said Russia also used another Egyptian base early last month, but they declined to divulge further information.

There has been no formal U.S. comment on the deployment reports.

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


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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: 
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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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 15, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 53
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archvied pages.
Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

Other Río Virilla bridge open for traffic

new bridge
Pictured here is the new Yolanda Oreamuno Unger bridge that covers the route between Heredia and San José. The structure and the highway were expanded to four lanes after an investment of around 4.6 billion colons. According to government estimates, this route is used by over 34,000 vehicles every day. The route comes from the landmark points of La Uruca and the Jardines del Recuerdo as part of Ruta Nacional 3. The bridge was opened last Thursday.
Casa presidencial photo

Three U.S. tourists rescued off Quepos

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Three U.S. tourists were rescued Tuesday off the Pacific shore of Quepos, when the engine of the boat they were in suddenly stopped and the tides started to send them out into the open ocean.

The three tourists are Charles Dunn, James Kim and Jae Shin, who were pulled back to the shore by the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas.

According to Felix Villalobos, chief officer at the Quepos station, the emergency call came in through radio and was made by the captain and one member of the crew.

“It was a small fishing boat rented to do some fishing near the end of the river. We sent out a rescue boat to pull them back to the shore and everybody was fine.” he said.

Villalobos explained that the tourists were let go because they were fine if just a little terrified. He also emphasized that visitors should be very careful in that area.

“There are strong currents, which are good for fishing but could be fatal if a boat turns and sinks. We tell tourists all the time not to go there but they do not listen,” he said.

San Juan de Dios receives investment

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Costa Rican social security fund is prepared to establish a new cancer care center at Hospital San Juan de Dios after an investment in new x-ray equipment of over 650 million colons.

The creation of the center was approved back in October 2016 by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social’s board of directors. Officials said that this treatment section will provide important medical attention to children, adults and seniors also receiving treatment at Hospital Nacional de Niños and Hospital Nacional de Geriatría y Gerontología.

The new technology available at the cancer center includes chemotherapy treatment to more precisely a patient’s affected area. Another improvement that the Caja was quick to note is the emphasis in not shuffling patients from hospital to hospital.

At this time, the Hospital México is the only medical center to offer radiotherapy treatment of this kind, but the new investment will allow the purchase of equipment and the training of professionals to use it at San Juan de Dios. The Caja said more than 1000 patients will benefit from this technology. 

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From Page 7:

Starbucks to build visitor center in Costa Rica

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Hacienda Alsacia, the coffee farm owned and operated by Starbucks beyond the outskirts of Sabanilla in Alajuela, is about to construct a new visitor center, according to the company.

The company bought the farm almost four years ago as a site for the well-known coffee shop chain’s research and development facility. This is basically a nerve center for figuring out what resources are needed to grow high-quality arabica coffee. The company released a statement saying that the visitor center would allow visitors to “explore the journey of coffee from seedling to coffee field, the wet milling process, the drying patio and the way to roasting and a café.”

The plan is for the visitor center to open its doors sometime in 2018. Starbucks said that the space for the visitor center will take up around 46,000 square feet.

Currently the coffee chain includes 11 stores within Costa Rica, according to the company. The first store to open was back in 2012 at Escazú. Although customers familiar with Starbucks in the United States will find it very similar to every other they have seen, Costa Rica’s Starbucks has a few products that cannot be found anywhere else.

In addition to Costa Rica mugs and thermoses, the store also sells a blend of coffee that is made only from Costa Rican beans. The beans come from the Bella Vista coffee plantation in Tres Ríos.