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Published Monday, March 27, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 61
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Around 1,100 pounds of shark fins found by group
shark fin

Over 500 kilos of shark fins were discovered by the Federación Conservacionista de Costa Rica at the government's warehouses of the Centro Nacional de Abastecimiento y Distribución de Alimentos. A.M. Costa Rica's story on
Page Three HERE.

Federación Conservacionista de Costa Rica photo

U.S. urged to save money and allow Medicare abroad
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Overseas Americans have been short-changed for years because they do not receive Medicare coverage even if they are paying for it.

With the change in administration in Washington, there is growing sentiment that coverage should be extended to U.S. expats and residents. And now proponents have come up with an economic argument: The U.S. government could save a bundle by allowing some of the 50 million Medicare insured obtain their services overseas.

This argument will not advance the cause of Americans living overseas, but they hope they will win coverage if the U.S. government decides to pay for medical tourism.

If lawmakers in Washington decide to do this, there will be a major increase in the demand for medical tourism, too.

Right now U.S. citizens overseas who are eligible for Medicare pay for the Part B coverage and then make trips to the United States for major medical treatment.

The argument is that the federal government could save a lot of money allowing treatment overseas at much cheaper costs.

All Social Security recipients automatically are covered by free Medicare Part A, that provides  hospital and nursing home coverage.
Many expats also choose to purchase Part B coverage for outpatient services even though they cannot use the coverage in foreign countries.
They do so because they anticipate some day returning to the United States and they want to avoid the complexities and higher costs of obtaining the plan again.

Plenty of U.S. citizens and Canadians are now traveling overseas for major medical procedures.

In Costa Rica, they have access to highly trained professions.

Many physicians, surgeons and dentists have been trained in the U.S. and the facilities are accredited.

The cost can be half that of identical medical services in the U.S. Some private firms are sending their insurers to México at substantial savings. The proposal is that the United States do the same.

U.S. military retirees, some former Civil Services workers and former members of Congress get U.S.-paid medical services overseas.

One U.S. entity has been promoting Medicare coverage overseas. It is the Washington, D.C.,-based Center for Medicare Portability. Founder Matthew J. Downs,  said in an opinion article:

"Medicare portability is not just a fiscally sound idea for improving the Medicare system. Simply put, Medicare portability is fair, because it frees American retirees to follow their dreams abroad without fear of losing their healthcare coverage or paying twice for it.”

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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.

Dental Services
Dental Services Costa Rica

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Phone in Costa Rica: ( 506 ) 2226=0755  (En español )



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I.R.S. Criminal and Civil Issues

Consult with a U.S. licensed Tax Attorney in Costa Rica concerning your I.R.S. Issues

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Marijuana Lab
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo        
Some of the 344 marijuana plants discovered in a San José home.

344 plants of marijuana found by police

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police discovered a mini marijuana plantation in the San Francisco de Dos Ríos neighborhood of San José last Friday morning.

Over 344 marijuana plants and several stolen bags of marijuana were found within a house, according to police. The Fuerza Pública also confiscated other equipment including lamps used to substitute for sunlight and an air conditioning system to maintain the temperature and humidity. These were among other objects used for indoor, controlled marijuana growing.

The house was located following an alert that was raised that someone was trespassing around the area of Okayama park, the police report said. When police arrived, officers found a house with damaged gates and a person that the report described as suspicious. The review of the place led to the discovery of the laboratory and the officers called the Policía de Control de Drogas.

Official reports stated that two Jamaican nationals were arrested within the building. According to police, both have no prior criminal record.

Hospital Calderón moving some offices

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Several offices within Hospital Calderón Guardia are moving into rented buildings close by the major health center beginning today.

According to an announcement by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, the offices for gynecology, cardiology, gastroenterology and nephrology will be moved. The location, the Caja said, is around one and a half blocks west of the hospital on Avenida 11.

These relocations come in anticipation of upcoming improvements to the hospital beginning sometime in mid-April. These improvements will include new construction within the hospital, representatives said.

The medical center’s director, Taciano Lemos Pires, said that the improvement aims to expand and modernize the consultation spaces, comply with health regulations and also increase the hospital’s capacity.

Public works prepares for Semana Santa

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The public works ministry announced Saturday that drivers will be able to move through the capital without the risk of receiving a traffic restriction fine for Semana Santa.

Mario Calderón, the commissioner for the Policía de Tránsito, said that this would be a better strategy to control and improve the flow of vehicles moving in and out of the Central Valley. The restriction by license plate number normally covers all corresponding vehicles from the circling highway to the center of the capital, the public works ministry said.

“We should definitely have as many officers available to monitor the main roads that go in and out of the Central Valley,” Calderón said, “There will be personnel assigned to the entrances of the province, mainly for the control of processions and alcohol, taking into account that many cantons do not apply the Ley Seca.” 

Semana Santa, or Holy Week, brings with it the closing of all public and private schools for that week. It also allows all public employees working for the government to get April 10 and 12 off in addition to the already-existing holidays such as Juan Santamaría Day on April 11, Holy Thursday on April 13 and Good Friday April 14.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said that it anticipates traffic in the capital to decrease considerably as many private employees take off work for vacations as well and head for the beaches.

The restriction will resume on Monday April 17, officials said.

Terminal access still proves more difficult

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The job seemed like an easy one for an agency with decades of experience in building highways.

There are some complications with the 2.1-kilometer roadway the government has promised to build as a permanent access to the $1 billion APM Terminal container handling facility in Moín. The project requires a bridge over a railroad line and the Río Moín.

As anyone in business here knows, nothing is simple.

First there were continual objections from the union that represents workers on the nearby public docks. Then there were objections from environmentalists that the project would damage mangroves.

Now, the Contraloría General de la República is citing weaknesses in the planning and start date.  Marta Acota Zúñiga, the head of the budget watchdog agency, told lawmakers Friday that although the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad had authorization to issue direct contracts to design and build the roadway, the agency missed the start date.

Contractors were supposed to start the job between June 16 and 24 last year. Yet the Consejo took two more months just to evaluate the offers, she said.

In addition, she said it appears that the exact location of where the roadway will be is now in doubt.

Carlos Villalta, whose Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes supervises the Consejo, told lawmakers that the job still will be finished on time.

Construction is supposed to take 20 months.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, March 27, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 61
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Around 1,100 pounds of shark fins discovered in government storage
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A conservationist group announced Friday that it had discovered more than 1,100 pounds worth of hacked shark fins being stored by the Costa Rican government. It is unknown how the government acquired them.

According to the Federación Conservacionista de Costa Rica, more than 500 kilos of shark fins were found in warehouses of the government’s Centro Nacional de Abastecimiento y Distribución de Alimentos.

The existence of these shark fins was apparently verified by a reporter from Radio Columbia. The conservation group has demanded that the agricultural and fish institution release the documents detailing where, who and when these sharks were hunted and fished.

“We wonder if these fins sold in CENADA are part of the eight tons of shark fins, mainly hammer sharks, that the national fishing sector has accumulated since the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación banned its export on March 1, 2015,” said Randall Arauz, the spokesman for the conservationist group.

According to the group, the deputy minister of the sea and waters, Fernanco Mora, confirmed that the fins were being stocked in the distribution center’s warehouses for a drying experiment and that the fins were legal.

Shark fins are big business in Costa Rica. Indeed, one of the reasons there has been very little outcry from the shark fishing industry over the 2012 ban was because they know it will continue to be business as usual.

Legislation and marine protected areas are only as good as the political will and available funds required to enforce them.

dead sharks
Parque Nacional Isla del Coco guardaparques photo
Some of the 93 sharks killed in the largest seizure in history at the Parque Nacional Isla de Coco.

Puntarenas hosts major wholesalers of shark fins, and after Costa Rica cracked down on the docking of shark fishing boats, the crafts unloaded in Nicaragua and the fins were trucked to Costa Rica.

The high prices of shark fins make its trade lucrative and hence, the supply of fins is still intact.

According to Oceana, a marine conservation group, almost 10 million kilograms of shark fins were exported in 2008, as a result of killing 73 million sharks worldwide.

Sharkproject, a non-government organization based in Germany, designated Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís, the shark enemy of 2016.

Presidential candidate experiences the grim realities of rampant crime
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Even a presidential candidate is inviting trouble when he leaves his home unattended. An empty upscale home is an open invitation to crooks who probably have been scoping the location for weeks.

The latest victim is Rodolfo Hernández, one of the candidates seeking the nomination from the new Partido Republicano Social Cristiano. He is the former director of the Hospital de Niños.

While the doctor and his wife were absent from their Sabanilla home Saturday evening, burglars entered through a barred window and sacked the place.

There is a long-time tradition here among Costa Ricans and expats that someone must always stay with the house. Frequently, the someone is a domestic employee.

Burglars are not to be confused with gunmen who storm a home when many persons are there and rob their persons. That happens, too. In fact, the home of another presidential candidate, Ricardo Toledo of Partido Unidad Social Cristiana, suffered that fate when four gunmen invaded in 2007. The gunmen killed a domestic employee and a spectator across the street.

Hernández accepted and then quit as a presidential candidate in 2014 for Unidad Social Cristiana.

What does not make the news frequently is that poorer residents probably experience many more robberies than the well-off, who can afford guards, alarms and domestic employees. More than one single mother has had her home cleaned out while she was at work earning money to feed her children.

Judicial investigators are on the Hernández case, and they have some clues. But the courts seldom issue harsh sentences unless such a crime involves personal injury.

Hacienda Baru
Palermo 900

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, March 27, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 61
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Costa Rica's ambassador presiding over nuclear ban talks at the U.N.
By Conor Golden, News Editor for A.M. Costa Rica
with wire service reports

Costa Rica’s permanent representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva will preside over a conference today that seeks to reach the banning of nuclear weapons. The event will be held at the organization’s headquarters in New York.

The U.N. announced that these talks represent the first multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament within the organization in at least 20 years. Manuel González, the foreign affairs minister, will be participating in today’s segment of the conference.

The entire series of meetings will be chaired by Ambassador Elayne Whyte Gómez, according to Costa Rica’s Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores. Costa Rica retains no nuclear weapons.

Negotiations over certain countries’ nuclear stockpiles have been raging since the atomic bombs were dropped over Japan in 1945 during the Second World War.

Often, these negotiations do not garner much success for proponents of complete elimination of nuclear stockpiles. The geopolitical ramifications of such actions and what that may mean for states are highly complex.

According to records from the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, Costa Rica and the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean joined other nations in Africa, Australia and southeast Asia in being defined nuclear weapons free zones.

These zones were first established in Latin America and the Caribbean back in 1967 and have since expanded. The treaties ban nuclear weapons in the territories within the zones entirely. That includes: acquiring, placing, possessing and testing such weapons.

According to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the majority of governments at the U.N. General Assembly voted back in December 2016 to launch these negotiations beginning today.

This came in spite of significant pressure from nuclear-armed states not to see this conference happen. Some of those countries that are nuclear armed include: the United States, Russia, India, Pakistan, China, Britain and France among others.

“As of 2016, it is estimated that more than 15,000 nuclear warheads remain in global stockpiles,” a statement from the U.N. about the conference read.

“While that represents a considerable reduction from the inventories maintained during the cold war, there has been growing frustration in recent years over the...continued reliance on nuclear weapons in security doctrines.”

Some expats are curious as to what a Trump presidency would yield in relation to this issue.

The Obama administration strongly encouraged U.S. allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to vote against these negotiations.

Many of these NATO allies rely on U.S. nuclear power as a part of its own defense and security.

The treaty banning nuclear weapons “aims to delegitimize the concept of nuclear deterrence upon which many U.S. allies and partners depend,” said the notice that Washington released to NATO back in October in opposition to the talks now beginning.

President Trump, on the campaign trail, did speak of a desire to see the abolition of nuclear weapons and of giving an unrivaled arsenal to the United States, which he said had fallen behind in its nuclear capabilities. The president also mentioned the possibility of using nuclear weapons against the Islamic State and publicly pondered whether protected countries such as Japan and South Korea might be better off with its own arsenal.

This comes in relation to an ongoing unpredictability of a hostile North Korea in the region consistently threatening to unleash missiles against both those East Asian countries.

U.S. nuclear policymakers will now also be keeping one eye on the activities at the United Nations where the negotiations threaten to upset the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The treaty called for the end of the construction and development of any new nuclear warheads, but did allow for the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom and France, who are also the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, to retain their existing nuclear weapons for an unspecified time.

The conference will take place until Friday.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

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

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.

George Lundquist

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Real estate rentals (paid category)

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Poas chalet
What a chalet!
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, Monday, March 27, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 61
Real Estate
About us
After failed healthcare bill,
Trump wants to move on

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Donald Trump is set to move on this week after suffering the worst defeat of his young presidency. With the words “repeal and replace Obamacare” still ringing in voters ears, Trump’s loudest campaign promise crashed when the Republican majority in Congress proved incapable of taking the first legislative step to put an alternative plan in place.

“I’m disappointed,” the president said Friday after it became clear there were not enough Republican votes to move forward on a replacement bill. “I’m a little surprised, to be honest with you. We really had it. It was pretty much there within grasp.”

By Sunday, however, Trump was venting his frustration on Twitter, blaming conservative Republican groups who had urged defeat of the bill. He tweeted, “Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!”

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, on "Fox News Sunday," attempted to quash prominent news reports that Trump was blaming him and House Speaker Paul Ryan for the defeat.

Nevertheless, Washington’s journalists and myriad political observers were merciless, questioning whether the Republican party led by Trump and Ryan was capable of governing. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s critique was titled “Trump’s Triumph of Incompetence.” CNN anchor Dana Bash, opened her Sunday discussion program “State of the Union,” with a one-word summary: “Dysfunctional”.

Priebus suggested the president’s legislative strategy going forward would be to work toward the center for support on health care.

Administration officials signaled Sunday that Trump would focus this week on rolling back Obama era environmental regulations, including the Clean Power Plan. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt told "This Week" the president would sign an Energy Independence Executive Order as early as Tuesday. The EPA chief said the order is intended to make sure that we have a pro-growth and pro-environment approach to how we do regulation in this country.

Another item high on Trump’s agenda is tax reform. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the news site Axios Friday that he has been overseeing the administration's tax reform bill for the past two months. He said the bill would include proposals to cut individual and corporate taxes.

Mnuchin declined to say what corporate tax rate would be proposed, other than it will be a lot lower than the current rate of 35 percent. The former Wall Street banker and hedge fund manager said the president's tax plan would be introduced soon and hopes it will win congressional approval.

One dead, 15 wounded from
shooting attack in Cincinnati

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

One person was killed and 15 other people were wounded in a shooting at a crowded nightclub early Sunday in Cincinnati, in the U.S. Midwestern state of Ohio, officials said.

Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said as the night unfolded several local men got into a dispute inside the bar and it escalated to shots being fired.

He said the bar was very crowded with hundreds of people.

As a result there were 16 people that sustained gunshot injuries, one of which is deceased. A total of 15 others that were injured, one is in extremely critical condition and several others with more serious injuries and some very minor, the chief said.

Isaac did not say if the shooters were among those wounded adding there are a lot of interviews still to be done, a lot of evidence to process, and we certainly make that information available as it develops.

Police said the family of 27-year old Obryan Spikes, dead at the scene, has been notified.

Assistant Police Chief Paul Neudigate said the scene at the Cameo Night Club was a very horrific situation and added on Twitter there are no indications this incident is terrorism related.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said to the victims it does not matter if the act was terrorism related as they have been terrorized by gun violence.

Local television station WLWT reported several of the victims had life-threatening injuries, and officials have not said whether anyone is in custody.

While some victims were taken to hospitals by ambulance, others drove themselves, according to local reports.

At least one person was in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Authorities are interviewing several witnesses, but Capt. Williams said since a lot of the club goers left, the ongoing investigation becomes challenging.

It is not immediately clear what caused the deadly incident as officials said the motive is still unclear.

Data shows how earthquake
shifted parts of New Zealand

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

New data shows that parts of New Zealand's South Island moved several meters closer to the North Island during last November's 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

The data, including satellite radar imagery, shows that parts of New Zealand’s South Island have shifted more than 5 meters closer to the North Island, and that some areas were raised by up to 8 meters.

Other information has come from observations on the ground and the analysis of coastal regions by GNS science, a New Zealand government research agency.

The tremor, near the tourist town of Kaikoura, ruptured a swath of land almost 200 kilometers long.

GNS has published the first of 10 papers on the powerful quake in mid-November 2016 in the international journal Science. Two people were killed when the magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck and Kaikoura was cut off by landslides.

Ian Hamling is the lead author of the research paper. He says the shifting of the earth in New Zealand occurred when powerful seismic forces pulled the ground in different directions.

The earthquake struck last November northeast of the city of Christchurch. It was felt in the New Zealand capital, Wellington, on the North Island, 200 kilometers away.

Christchurch is still recovering from a devastating 2011 earthquake that killed 185 people and destroyed the city center.

New Zealand is known as the Shaky Isles. The South Pacific nation lies on the unpredictable Ring of Fire that circles almost the entire Pacific rim.

Each year more than 15,000 earthquakes are recorded in New Zealand, but only about 150 are large enough to be felt.

The research paper, led by GNS, included the work of 29 co-authors from 11 national and international institutes such as the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration laboratory in California and the University of Leeds in Britain.

Pakistan says it’s starting
an Afghan border fence

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Pakistan says it has started fencing off its long border with Afghanistan and areas vulnerable to cross-border militant attacks are being given priority.

Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa revealed the project during a visit Saturday to tribal districts, including Mohmand, near the Afghan border where terrorists assaulted outposts from across the other side and killed five Pakistani soldiers this month.

Bajwa identified Mohmand and neighboring Bajaur district as high threat zones, saying fencing them is the military's high priority.

An army statement quoted him as saying that efforts are also underway to evolve a border security mechanism with Afghan authorities.

Without elaborating, the Pakistan army chief said that technical surveillance means are also being deployed in addition to regular air surveillance to enhance the border security.

Pakistan and Afghanistan share a nearly 2,600 kilometer, largely porous, border and both blame each other for encouraging terrorist infiltration to support deadly attacks on their respective soils.

Relations between the countries have nosedived in the last two years over mutual terrorism allegations.

Islamabad closed all border crossings with the landlocked country a month ago, saying terrorist attacks in Pakistan were being orchestrated by fugitive anti-state militants sheltering in Afghan border areas.

Pakistan reopened the crossings earlier this week to allow legal travelers and thousands of stranded Afghanistan-bound shipping containers to resume their journey.

Kabul rejects charges anti-Pakistan militants are using Afghan soil for cross-border attacks and instead demanded Islamabad close insurgent sanctuaries on its side of the border being used to fuel violence in Afghanistan, charges Pakistani authorities deny.

Sunday crackdown in Russia
draws U.S. condemnation

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. State Department has strongly condemned the detention of hundreds of protesters throughout Russia including the country's opposition leader on Sunday.

Tens of thousands of Russians demonstrated in cities across the country in support of a call by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny for accountability among Russia's elite. Nearly 500 people were detained around Moscow’s Pushkin square, including Navalny, for protesting without permission.

Navalny, a Kremlin critic, was detained as he arrived to join the Moscow rally. Reports from the scene say police put him in a truck that was surrounded by hundreds of protesters who tried to open its doors and halt the arrest.

The protests appeared to be the largest coordinated outpouring of dissatisfaction since the massive 2011-2012 demonstrations following a fraud-tainted parliamentary election.

Navalny called the demonstrations after publishing a detailed report earlier this month accusing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of amassing a collection of mansions, yachts and vineyards through a shadowy network of non-profit organizations.

The report has been viewed over 11 million times on YouTube. Medvedev has not reacted to it so far.

Navalny said on his official website that 99 Russian cities planned to protest, but that in 72 of them local authorities did not give permission.

There was scant coverage of the demonstrations on Russia's official media. A short report on Tass said a police officer was injured during an unauthorized rally in Moscow.

Navalny, who has announced his intention to run for president in next year's election, has been rallying supporters in major Russian cities in recent weeks.

Controversial candidate wins
Hong Kong’s chief exec spot

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Hong Kong has selected Carrie Lam to be the city's first-ever female chief executive, sealing an election that many saw as a foregone conclusion and not a democratic race.

Ms. Lam previously served as Hong Kong's chief secretary for administration and was China’s preferred candidate in the race.

While she lagged behind in public opinion polls, she outperformed her two male rivals, former finance secretary John Tsang and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing, claiming 777 votes. That is about 70 percent of nearly 1,200 votes cast by the city’s electoral committee, a body that is stacked with Beijing loyalists.

In her victory speech, she looked to put the focus back on Hong Kong, which she called our home, and away from China's looming presence, pledging to build a better society by uniting its citizens and easing their frustrations.

Pro-democracy activists in this former British colony, however, have refused to acknowledge Lam’s victory in the election, given that the city's 7 million citizens were not allowed to participate in the election and because Ms. Lam was chosen from a small-circle of Hong Kong's pro-Beijing elite.

They have also vowed to boycott her future rule if she bows to the will of Beijing and puts China's interests ahead of the city’s.

After being elected the city’s first female leader, Ms. Lam, accompanied by her husband, son and supporters, told a news conference that she understands Hong Kongers have suffered from serious divisiveness and accumulated lots of frustrations.

She pledged to begin a new chapter by easing the minds of her people, including those of her opponents.

The chief executive-elect also said she would do her utmost to uphold both Hong Kong's core values and the one country, two systems model.

While the votes were being cast, there were a number of rallies staged outside the voting venue either in support of Ms. Lam or in opposition of what protesters said was a rigged election.

There were also some scuffles between pro-democracy protestors and the police.

The anti-Lam protesters denounced Beijing’s interference amid widespread reports of lobbying of the votes to back Ms. Lam, rather than the more popular and conciliatory reformer Tsang.

They demanded a free election by universal suffrage.

Leading one of the protesting parades, pan-democrat legislator Nathan Law called for greater democracy, which he said he hopes will allow the city’s 7 million residents to have a say in the choice of their top leader.

As an electoral committee member, Law said he cast a blank ballot in Sunday’s vote, which he described as a selection rather than an election.

At another pro-democracy rally, Takchi Tam, the vice president of People Power, a progressive democratic party in Hong Kong, pledged to soon organize a protest outside China's representative office in Hong Kong to express the party's disagreement with what it argues is the communist rulers’ meddling in the election.

Ivan Tsim threw his support behind Ms. Lam, who he said will lead the city into a better future with continued stability and economic prosperity, especially when the new leader has addressed his two major policy concerns.

Ms. Lam has promised a $644 million budget for education, and to put greater efforts into increasing land and housing supplies as well as diversifying the city’s economic development.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

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Plantation Acres
This exiting new project offers spectacular home sites with breathtaking ocean and forest views stated on 100 acres of tropical forest.

* On-site Welcome Center
* Located between Punta Leona and Playa Agujas
* At just an hour from San José, the capital city.
* 5 minutes from Los Sueños Marina and 18 Hole Ted Robinson Golf Course
* 10 minutes from Jacó Beach, Costa Rica’s lives beach town

Johnny Lopez
Phone: (506) 8945-5820 / (506) 2643-3356

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 

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


Real estate-related services (paid category)

SMALL and LARGER jobs welcome !!!. We can build from any plan you bring us all work done by USA codes master electric and plumbing Better quality and lower prices than USA. We do it all Right  + Reasonable.
Call us: Toll Free 877-778-8515   
     Text from US: 804-313-6382 
     CR phone: 506-8307-0164
     For more info also see our sites: 
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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Andre 506-8314-8090
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news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, March 27, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 61
Real estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

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

New arrivals need all the dirt on dirt

It’s been a long time since I talked to all our new Costa Rican gardeners. In fact, the last time I talked about how to begin gardening here was when I first started writing this column, about two and a half years ago, so it may
be time to go back to a few basics. Like dirt, for example. After all, dirt is really basic (unless you are a hydro/aqua – ponic gardener) so let’s talk about what kind of stuff we are gardening in because we have a wild mix.

Out there on the coastal areas, you have a lot of sand. No surprise there.

Sand is good. It is nice and loose and ready for fertilizer (just make sure you wash off the salt). Plant roots have easy access to nutrients in sand although it doesn’t retain water at all well. That can be fixed with some dried moss, burnt earth, or small lumps of clayey soil. Don’t bother buying peat moss, collect moss from trees and sterilize it in the oven or microwave.

Heading inland a bit, we hit a large variety of mixes, some high in organics, others quite low, some easy to work and some dense clay.

Let’s start with that dense clay. If you dig in to start your garden as I did and you run into a thick layer of clay, dig it out. We had to dig out 8 inches of clay over a two-by-18-meter patch of land and back fill it with soil in order to plant. Even then, we only planted things with shallow roots. Punching through clay is not for spindly roots.

If you go into your garden and turn over a shovel full of rich black dirt you might think you have hit a treasure trove. But look carefully. Do you see any worms? We have some beautiful rich black dirt – no worms. If there are no worms, your soil is probably lacking in organics. My suggestion? Cow manure. And don’t be a sissy about it either.

Go out to a pasture with gloves, a trowel or shovel and nice strong plastic bags and harvest it yourself. Work it into your dirt, let it cure for a couple of months, and then plant. The worms will migrate into your soil and make happy homes.

And here is something else to remember: Rain forest soil holds very few nutrients. It’s that rain part of the forest soil that does it. Be ready to fertilize more heavily and/or more frequently especially during the rainy season.

A.M. Costa Rica photo/Victoria Torley

Plant for the Week

One look at the Mexican flame vine (Senecio confusus) will convince you to grow it. Look at that color! Birds, bees, butterflies, they all love it. Grow the flame vine in full sun, be ready to do some work giving it support as needed and be patient as it is a slow grower. Once established, it will bloom almost constantly and brighten up your garden.

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit HERE!
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From Page 7:

Cooperation, trade are the priority themes
for Latin American nations gathering today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica is hosting a gathering of nearby Latin American nations in a conference that runs until Wednesday.

Representatives are expected from México, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panamá.

Casa Presidencial said that Enrique Peña Nieto, the president of México, has confirmed that he will attend.

The principal topics will be migration and the possible renegotiation of trade treaties on which these nations depend. Illegal immigration continues despite promises by Donald Trump to close the U.S. southern border. That was shown last week when immigration agents detained a man from Somalia. He was listed as having possible terrorism links.

Still, the man had no trouble entering Costa Rica, and initially he was transported by government officials to a migrant camp near the northern border where his identity was checked.  That is the same camp where thousands of Haitians were housed, but most of them seem to have found their way across the Nicaraguan border one way or another.

The meeting this week is part of the Mesoamerican Project, which defines itself as a plan by 10 countries to promote economic and social development. The session today will be in the Instituto Centroamericano de Administración de Empresas in La Garita.

This is one of several projects promoting integration of the Central American and nearby countries. Originally this association was called the Puebla-Panamá Plan when it was announced in 2001. Priorities are transportation, energy, trade and telecommunications.

Efforts toward integration usually run up against strong defenses of sovereignty from most countries. However, the Caribbean highway from Nicaragua along the Caribbean coast into northern Panamá is an example of such collaboration. México is paying for much of the work on the new bridge over the Río Sixaola between Costa Rica and Panamá.

The annual summits usually are referred to as the Dialogue of Tuxtla after the Mexican town where the initial concept of a Central American and Mexican free trade zone was floated in 1991.