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Published Friday, March 31, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 65
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Air ambulance rushes premature babies to capital
baby lift
Dirección del Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea photo

Two extremely premature newborns were transferred by pilots of the security ministry’s Dirección del Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea in an emergency ambulance flight from Liberia to Pavas airport in San José Thursday.
Once the aircraft landed, the newborns were split up with one going to Hospital Nacional de Niños and the other to Hospital México. Both were still in stable condition, according to reports.



Everyone is welcome to propose some legislation
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

No restrictions. No matter age, immigration status, education level, race or gender. Anyone, anytime, may approach the Costa Rican legislature and propose a new bill, a reform of an existing law or even a request to change the constitution. Even expats can submit their proposals!

Everybody is welcome at the Oficina de Gestión de Propuestas Ciudadanas, a legislative department created in 1999 to give a voice to anyone who has got something to say about public affairs. Here, any idea is welcomed and heard, no matter what it is.

Making Costa Rica the 51 state of the United States of America is one of them. Filed by Luis Campos Quesada last year, his proposal consists in organizing a referendum and asking the citizens if they want to give up independence to become Gringos.

Perhaps not taken into consideration by Quesada was also that expats would suddenly find themselves repatriated.

“Our dependency on the United States is so big that we better join them. It benefits both sides. The U.S could set up a strategic military base and make up for the loss of the Panama Canal. In exchange, we Ticos would get federal funding and turn any undocumented Costa Rican living there into a lawful citizen,” said the 17-year old college student who lives in Pérez Zeledón.

“No, I've never lived in the U.S. but I got family over there. See, that's another advantage. We could go visit our relatives anytime we want with no worries,” he added.

The office was created with one main objective: to encourage people to take part in public decisions and by doing so, strengthen the concept of participative democracy over the representative one, according to Xinia Jiménez, the coordinator of the office.

“Legislative proposals can be written, e-mailed and by telephone. If someone is illiterate, we'll write his ideas. Same case if the person is blind or has a disability. Even if they struggle with Spanish, we'll do our best to help that person out,” she said.

That means Spanish-challenged expats have no need to fear that their proposals cannot be sent in. In her time, Ms. Jiménez has witnessed all sorts of ideas.

A few examples are file numbers 742 and 629, that seek to establish a death penalty in Costa Rica and another proposal numbered 1215 filed by Beto Rodríguez.

Xinia
                              Jimenez
Xinia Jiménez searches for a proposal.

This one wants to authorize liquor manufacturers to sponsor sports teams because of the “big amount of money they may input in the sports industry."

Another case is the proposal 2235 from José González, who states  the need of overseas congressmen with one in each country that has a significant Costa Rican expat community.

All ideas are sent to the congressmen. If a lawmaker considers it interesting enough, he or she will study it and decide whether it worth it is for legislative discussion and a possible approval, according to the coordinator.

“In 18 years, we have processed 2,317 proposals. Out of that amount, 1,013 have been studied by congressmen and 123 were fully discussed by all 57 lawmakers.  Today, we have 19 laws of the republic that had its humble origins in this office,” said Ms. Jiménez.

Thanks to the citizens initiatives the Colegio de Profesionales en Orientación was created, a law to identify medicines for blind people was approved, the national students day was established and a national program to protect children against gambling was set up.

“It is quite satisfactory, especially if you take into consideration that from time to time there are political parties that do not get a single law approved in its four years.” added Ms. Jiménez.


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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 31, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 65
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Criminals are packing heavier weaponry

By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Organized crime is getting heavier weaponry at a rate the security forces cannot keep up with, according to Juan José Andrade, director of Fuerza Pública.

“This is a concern we have been talking about for a while, because criminal groups are getting heavier guns and that's a huge threat to both police officers and civilians.” he said.

Andrade explained that cops can only carry small weapons because they need to comply with the Armas y Explosivos law, which regulates what the officers may or may not carry.

“This phenomena is the reason why our police forces are the ones in Central America that always wear a bulletproof vest. We might need to discuss the law and foresee changes in the short term,” said Andrade.

His comments come after the latest police raid against heavily armed groups on Wednesday night, where police officers arrested several individuals in front of a bar in Llorente de Tibás.

One of them allegedly tried to bribe two officers with around one million colons, according to police. The men were driving a Honda with two Glock pistols in the vehicle, according to a report. Both weapons were without permits, officials said.
 
The Special Operational Forces and Operational Support Group agents also arrived after reports of other powerful weapons and ammunition in several parked vehicles. After a quick review, officers found seven other weapons, including a U.S.-made AR-15 assault rifle, which uses 5.56- milimeter caliber bullets and has an effective range of at least 500 meters, according to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

Police said another individual had three pistols with four loaders and a total of 31 bullets.

Earlier this week, the security ministry reported that 340 firearms have been confiscated in the first four months of the year.

Man arrested on suspicion of 16 robberies

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial investigators apprehended a man Thursday and said he was the suspect in 16 of those window-breaking robberies that plague female motorists on the Circunvalación in Hatillo.

Unlike the usual juvenile suspects, the man who was detained is 30, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Agents detained him in a raid at his home in Hatillo 8. They said they confiscated purses, cell telephones and other items to be used as evidence.

Agents were investigating a string of robberies that usually took place between 6 and 9 p.m. since September. There are traffic lights on the six-lane highway in Hatillo, and accomplices spot female motorists alone in their vehicles and set them up for the window-breakers.

When the vehicle stops, the crook breaks the passenger side or back window with a rock or some other object, reaches in and takes what is there, usually purses or briefcases.

The robbery gangs prefer to target women because they usually leave purses on the passenger seat and because they are less likely to pursue the bandits.

Within the last week, television news shows played a video taken by a motorist in a car behind a victim. The video clearly showed the face of a man breaking a window, grabbing something and fleeing. Agents did not relate the arrest with the video.

Police have been challenged to prevent these types of crimes. There are three stoplights in the Hatillo area, and each produces long lines of vehicles backed up during rush hours. In addition, the courts usually treat these offenders lightly. And many are juveniles.

Not all goods can be checked by Aduana

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man who was able to enter the country without declaring parts used for agricultural machines and tractors, was forced to pay 106 million colones as compensation for damage caused by the evasion of customs duties. The last 25 million of that amount were wired to the finance ministry last Thursday, March 23.

Prior to that payment, the man had already deposited 81 million colons for taxes, fines and interest, an alternative judicial measure known as integral damage repair, that keeps people from going to jail. The man also had to make a publication in a newspaper of national circulation as well, according to Poder Judicial.

“I don't know the specifics of the case, but in general terms, not all the merchandise that arrives into the country is checked at Aduana. That would make international trade impossible. However we do random checks to verify that products declared in the forms are actually the ones entering the country,” said Fernando Rodríguez, a vice-minister with the Ministerio de Hacienda.

“As I said before, I don't know this specific case but it is likely this person could enter the country and was later spotted on a second check,” Rodríguez added.

Once the agreements were completed, his criminal case was dismissed.

New major effort to reduce road deaths

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The central government is launching a major effort to reduce highway deaths. Casa Presidencial said that the project includes seven major components and 89 separate initiatives.

Among the efforts will be an evaluation and possible revisions to the traffic code, said the government. The announcement comes at a time when lawbreakers seem to do so unmolested by traffic police. One government report estimated that half of the motorcycle drivers in the country are unlicensed.

Anyone who drives knows that motorcyclists take big chances. That is shown in the report Thursday that motorcycle deaths increased from 122 in 2015 to 200 in 2016. There also have been increases in deaths of those on bikes as well as pedestrians.

The announcement by Casa Presidencial said that priorities will be promoting the proposed bike path from La Sabana to the Universidad de Costa Rica and a major public relations effort to change the vehicle culture here.

Vice President Ana Helena Chacón presented the plan that has been in the works since February. The name of the project is the Pacificación de las Vías Públicas, or “pacification of the public roadways.”

The road deaths also are being considered a health issue with the government ready to promote more Sundays without vehicles on Paseo Colon in San José, according to the announcement. Also planned is a national road education week in the public schools in June.
  
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A.M.
Costa Rica

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U.S. Tax
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 31, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 65
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First all-woman band hosting debut evening concert Saturday
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The first Costa Rica women's band will debut this Saturday in the amphitheater of the Centro Nacional de la Cultura at 5:30 p.m.

The ensemble is made up of 19 female members of the Ministerio de Cultura bands program, plus 17 guests for a total of 36 performers.

The concert is free and open to the public. The direction of the Banda de las Mujeres will be in charge of Pilar Redondo and Pamela Goyenaga.

"The creation of the Banda de las Mujeres of Costa Rica is part of the commitment of the cultural sector to the national policy on gender equality. We must fight for equality in all areas of life, in this case, the recognition and promotion of professional female musicians," said Silvie Durán, the head of the cultural ministry.

"When three decades ago the first woman managed to join a concert band, she encountered adverse circumstances and the mockery of those who questioned their performance by reason of their gender,” she added.

Banda de las Mujeres
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo 
The Banda de las Mujeres prepares for another show.

The Costa Rican directorate of bands has 171 years of existence and is the oldest cultural institution.  After the abolition of the army in 1948, the bands transformed their original military nature into civilian concert bands.

At some point, they were part of Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.



Free music, free movies and free shows are all on this weekend
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Free is the key word for many cultural activities going on this weekend.

The 2017 Salón Nacional de Artes Visuales recently opened at the Museo de Arte Costarricense. The exhibition features 38 works by 27 different artists in painting, sculpture, photography and video among other mediums. This year’s exhibition received more than 242 proposals from over 155 different Costa Rican artists to be presented to the country.

The Salón Nacional’s artwork will be open to the public until June at the museum located in Parque La Sabana. It is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday with entrance free for everyone.

Meanwhile in film, the "Preámbulo" continues on every Thursday and Friday evening at 7 with Saturdays and Sundays playing movies at 4 and 7 in the afternoon. The showings are played at the Sala Gómez Miralles at the Centro del Cine north of the Instituto Nacional de Seguros building. There is no entry or ticket fee.

Escazú will get a free concert by the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional at the Parroquia San Miguel Arcángel de Escazú. The concert is tonight at 7 p.m. and will include the orchestra’s rendition of Antonio Vivaldi’s famous “The Four Seasons” and Astor Piazzolla’s “Las cuatro estaciones porteñas,” according to the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

This concert will represent the first time that the orchestra has played both works in the same performance, the ministry said.

Entrance for the show will begin at 6 p.m. while the concert is expected to last almost an hour and a half.

Today will also mark the premiere of the new TV series “Forjadores.” The opening will also bring with it hula-hoopers and dancers at the Plaza de la Democracia at 6 p.m. The activity is expected to last until 7:30 p.m., according to the cultural ministry.

This Saturday beginning at 7 a.m. the United World College in Santa Ana is hosting its festival celebrating diversity. Organizers said that it is an event full of music, dancing, food, sales, games and more.

If that sounds typical of festivals, then the difference in this one will be that every single thing involved in the festival will have an international focus showcasing all the cultures of the world at the school, the college said.

Not free but for a good cause is Sunday’s Cruz Roja event.

The organization expects to field more than 1,000 runners and walkers Sunday for its third annual Carrera por la Vida at Parque la Sabana.

The rescue service is offering 9.1- and 5-kilometer courses as well as a 5-kilometer walking route. The starting point is at the west side of the park. The finish line is at the nearby Estadio Nacional.

The starting time is 7 a.m. The enrollment fee is 15,000 colons, and there are prizes ranging from a motorcycle to hotel stays, said the Cruz Roja.


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Stacked supreme court assumes all legislative powers in Venezuela
By Conor Golden
 News editor of A.M. Costa Rica

with wire service reports


The Venezuelan supreme court’s decision to take control of the opposition-controlled legislature has set off a flurry of outrage and condemnation from much of Latin America, including Costa Rica, and the United States.

The decision by the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia, the official name for the high court, came late Wednesday night in what many lawmakers and citizens see as another move by Nicolás Maduro and the Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela to consolidate their already-firm grip over the country.

Costa Rica’s foreign ministry released a statement Thursday afternoon condemning these actions and calling the decisions inadmissible and contrary to the essence of democracy. The ministry also called for a multilateral solution under the umbrella of the Organization of American States to resolve this issue.

Meanwhile, for some Venezuelan nationals, the regime’s newest move seems more like business as usual. “It’s not a surprise. We’ve been in a dictatorial state since 1999,” Klaus Bengochea said bitterly in response to the court’s decision.

He is referring to the year in which Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chávez was popularly elected and remained head of state until 2013. Bengochea is a Venezuelan national here in Costa Rica. According to his own testimony, he was jailed and beaten by police in Venezuela for his assistance to opposition protesters during his time there and remains an opponent to the current regime.

The secretary general of the organization, Luis Almagro, denounced what he called a “self-inflicted coup d’état perpetrated by the Venezuelan regime against the National Assembly, the last branch of government to be legitimized by the will of the people of Venezuela.”

The court issued two decisions which strip parliamentary immunity from members of the national assembly and provide 
for the court to assume the legislative function, according to the Organization of American States.

The main decision declared all legislation passed by the national assembly unconstitutional, calling support for the Inter-American Democratic Charter a treasonous act, the organization said. Venezuela was also ironically the first country to invoke the charter back in 2002.

The U.S. State Department officially condemned the court for its decision to usurp the powers of the democratically elected national assembly calling the move a serious setback for democracy.

Perú pulled its ambassador Thursday in protest, and countries including México, Colombia, Argentina and Chile also denounced Venezuela's high court.

Almagro called an emergency session of the organization’s Permanent Council saying that: “The restoration of democracy is an obligation we all share. It is time for the hemisphere to work together to help restore democracy in Venezuela. We have an obligation to the people of Venezuela to act without further delay. To be silent in the face of a dictatorship is the lowest indignity in politics.”

Almagro had earlier called the organization to suspend Venezuela from the group back in mid-March due to a  glowering and increased amount of human rights violations such as suppression of the free press, arresting of political opposition and a court packing of the judiciary that led to this recent decision.

That is not withstanding Venezuela facing numerous shortages in food and medicine due to the economy spiraling downward from drops in oil prices and demands.

It remains to be seen how some Latin American countries proceed in suspending the country from the group. Many of those countries, such as Cuba and the Dominican Republic, rely on Venezuela in the form of subsidized oil.

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See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!
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Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

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

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

George Lundquist

experience Costa Rica
Costa Rica Travel In Paradise Group Tours

Looking for easy booking process for a smooth Costa Rica trip?   We customize wonderful trips to Costa Rica.  We offer you our wealth of knowledge for a great experience . . . a trip of a lifetime!!!

* FAMILY VACATIONS. Our travels take into account the different ages of your family enjoy the most from your Family vacations. Click HERE!

* GROUP TOURS. Whether for a church group, couple of friends, Scout troop or a family group. We provide excellent quality service in your Group Tours. Click HERE!

* EDUCATIONAL TOURS. Tours for universities to schools to elementary schools. We have professionals to help you discover the secrets of Costa Rica in a fun way. Costa Rica Educational Tours. Click HERE!

* GUIDED TOURS. General holiday planning giving you the best value for your investment Costa Rica vacation Packages. Click HERE!

Contact us: 
Dial toll FREE from USA or Canada:  1.800.901.0114
CR local phone:  +506-2274-3231
Cells:  +506-8380-5919  and +506-8302-5877
Email:  info@travelinparadisecr.com
Web:  www.travelinparadisecr.com
8995-4/17/17

Here's reasonable medical care
Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom



Need a book about Costa Rica?


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A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
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Business
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Real estate wanted

Real estate-related services (paid category)

COSTA RICA SOLAR
solar one

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

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BUY NOW! Your solar hot water system, so in three months, we can calculate a lower install price for your PV system.  Perfect for homes and hotels. Save up to 40% of your electric bill.
More Watts per Panel, Smarter and more Capable Enphase Micro Inverters mean Less Cost and more Flexibility for You.

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Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398
OUR EMAIL:
 andrefurlong@gmail.com
Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
VISIT OUR WEB:
www.crsolar.net 
9118-6/26/17

Real estate rentals (paid category)

rental home
Beautiful Home for Rent
San Isidro Del General, Perez Zeledon. The beautiful southern zone. By week or month.  Only 10 minutes to town. Fabulous, artistic, one Bedroom, elegantly furnished home, overlooking river,  and near to attractions at the beach or mountain. Comes completely furnished with custom queen bed, orthopaedic mattress, all linens, large kitchen, all pans, dishes, silverware, blender new refrigerator, stove with oven, washing machine, glove leather couches, breakfast nook, patio with hammock.  Has also large bodega, with extra full sized bed, can sleep 4. Comes with satellite TV & WIFI. Located next to small river, with access to river pools, and over 60 varieties of rare, tropical birds. Only 45 minutes to beach, Playa Dominical and 40 minutes to National Park Chirripo. Perfect weather. Not hot like the beach. No car needed, bus take 15 minutes to town, costs 30 cents. Gated private and secure, near bus, mini markets. This is a complete home, artistic, beautiful surroundings, with convenience and privacy, yet near to it all. Nice folks.  For more photos and information: james43michael@gmail.com  Costa Rica phone: (506) 2771-4339
9178-4/7/17

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 barvavolcano@gmail.com for photos, pricing and contract details.
9163-3/10/17


Tropical Homes logo
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 www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442
9055-2/23/17

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
Timeshare
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: info@sellmytimesharenow.com
9049-7/31/17





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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 31, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 65
Calendar
Opinion
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Lifestyle
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Mexican attorney general arrested in drug trafficking

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The attorney general from México’s Nayarit state was arrested at the U.S. border in San Diego for suspected involvement in cross-border drug trafficking, U.S. authorities said Wednesday.

Edgar Veytia, who serves as the top police officer for the western Mexican state, was indicted on counts of production and distribution of various drugs, conspiracy to import those drugs into the U.S., and conspiracy to distribute them.

According to the indictment, Veytia, who went by the alias “Diablo,” is being accused of involvement in trafficking at least one kilo of heroin, five kilos of cocaine, 500 grams of methamphetamine and 1,000 kilos of marijuana.

Veytia allegedly had been engaging in drug activity from January 2013 until last month.

Veytia has an appearance scheduled Thursday at the San Diego courthouse to determine if he can receive bail. He has another hearing scheduled April 11 to decide if he will be sent to New York to face charges.

Nayarit Gov. Roberto Sandoval promised cooperation from the state government in the investigation in México and the United States.

Nayarit is located on México’s Pacific coast between the Sinaloa and Jalisco states where drug cartels are very powerful.

More than 170,000 people have been killed in México since the government began using its army to combat the drug cartels in 2006, and 28,000 have gone missing. Also, investigators say newly discovered mass graves in the eastern state of Veracruz held at least 242 bodies.

Zika worse for persons
with mosquito virus history


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Zika, like dengue fever and West Nile virus, is in a family of mosquito-borne viruses called flaviviruses.

A new study suggests that zika can be much worse for people previously infected with another flavivirus. In pregnant women, it may put their babies at higher risk for serious birth defects, including microcephaly, a condition in which infants are born with abnormally small heads.

The study highlights the potentially deadly effects of a phenomenon called antibody dependent enhancement.

In the study of mice, researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York gave the rodents human antibodies to dengue virus from 141 infected individuals. Another group of animals received antibodies from 146 individuals with West Nile virus. The mice were then exposed to zika virus.

Only 21 percent of mice with the antibodies from dengue patients survived being infected with zika. Similar results were reported in mice that received antibodies from West Nile patients.

Those results were compared to mice that received human antibodies that were not in the family of flaviviruses that includes zika, dengue and West Nile. All of those animals lived. Another group of mice with no human antibodies also were able to fight off the illness when they were infected with zika.

Virologist Jean Lim, a co-author of the study published in the magazine “Science,” said "Our studies may help to explain the severe zika manifestations that we observed in the recent zika-infected areas such as South America, where dengue virus is endemic."

The study also found that injecting the mice with high doses of dengue survivor antibodies made zika less severe. It was the mice that were given smaller doses of antibodies that became sicker and died of the mosquito-borne illness.

Ms. Lim said she thinks that is because more potent flavivirus antibodies are protective against zika. She believes weaker flavivirus antibodies interact with zika, helping to infect vulnerable cells.

Fewer antibodies seem to act in the same way that an original mild case of dengue can make a second infection much worse.

Zika virus is not confined to the Americas. It originated in Africa, but has spread to India and parts of Asia.

More than one-third of the world's population lives in areas where dengue is endemic. As Zika virus spreads, so does the fear of more serious infections.

Ms. Lim said it is possible that antibody dependent enhancement could be happening in humans.

Ms. Lim is looking to explore the possible connection between ADE and severe birth defects.

There are already vaccines against dengue, and Ms. Lim says one possibility to prevent zika's serious complications would be to develop a dengue vaccine that also protects against zika. Vaccines against zika virus are now in clinical trials.


10 gang members arrested
on federal narcotics charges


By the Department of Justice press staff

Federal and local authorities have arrested 10 members and associates of the 18th Street gang, primarily on federal narcotics charges.

In a sweep that began Tuesday evening and continued into Wednesday, special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation, as well as deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and officers with the Los Angeles Police Department, took the eight defendants into custody. One defendant was arrested in Honolulu, and another in Indianapolis.

Three other people who face federal charges were already in local custody, and law enforcement continues to search for five more defendants.

The arrests are the culmination of an department-led investigation that began in December 2014. The investigation focused on the distribution and sale of methamphetamine and unlicensed sales of firearms.

During the course of the investigation, authorities seized approximately four kilograms of methamphetamine and 14 firearms, including five assault rifles. The investigation led to six indictments that charge a total of 18 defendants.

Among those arrested yesterday are Giovanny Ochoa, 26 years old, of Hawthorne, and Aveline Villalba, 36 years old, of South Los Angeles. If they are convicted of conspiracy and narcotics-distribution charges, Ochoa and Villalba each would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and could be sentenced to as much as life.

The defendants arrested in the Los Angeles area have been arraigned in United States District Court. All eight pleaded not guilty and were ordered held without bond pending trial.

The two defendants arrested in other districts have also been ordered held without bond and are expected to be transported to Los Angeles in the coming weeks.

18th Street gang, also known as Calle 18 in Spanish, is one of the two more prominent gangs in Central America. The gangs are known rivals of Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13, and are widely active in countries such as Honduras and El Salvador. The gang began in the United States but quickly spread back to the original members’ origins in Central America where its numbers have since exploded along with the violence racking the region.


Sanctuary city shaken
following rape incident


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Residents of Rockville, Maryland, pride themselves on living in a diverse community, the mid-sized city’s most celebrated strength, they say. So proposing sanctuary status seemed like a realistic move, until a rape case brought the endeavor into question.

City councilwoman Julie Palakovich Carr introduced the sanctuary ordinance in early March. It would add Rockville to the list of about 600 sanctuary cities and counties, jurisdictions that choose not to inform immigration officials when undocumented immigrants, charged with or convicted of minor crimes, are released from local custody, according to the National Immigration Law Center.

The city held a hearing on the sanctuary jurisdiction topic at which at least 80 people testified, some in favor, others against.

But two weeks after the measure’s introduction, two undocumented Rockville High School students were charged with the rape of a 14-year-old girl.

The unidentified girl told law enforcement that Henry Sanchez, 17 years old, from Guatemala, and José Montano, 18 years old, from El Salvador, pushed her inside the boys’ bathroom and took turns raping her. The two were registered as freshman at Rockville High School.

Both Montano and Sanchez, who was charged as an adult, are being held without bond while their case is pending.

As the case became national news, Rockville's proposed sanctuary ordinance was called into question.

“There is no reason why places shouldn't enforce federal immigration laws. You see what happens when they don’t,” said Brendan Cassell, a student at a local high school and executive director of the Montgomery County Federation of Teenage Republicans.

“Rockville city is an example of that. We had two illegal immigrants who should have been deported,” he said.

A suburb of Washington, D.C. and county seat of Montgomery County, one of the most affluent counties in the country, Rockville is home to numerous high tech and biotechnology companies. With several upscale regional shopping centers, it also is a major retail hub.

Since the rape case, it has been a center of controversy. The school system has been inundated with phone calls and emails. Parents have picketed Rockville High.

Rockville resident Brigitta Mullican drew up a petition, saying the city does not need to break the law to be inclusive and calling for an end to the sanctuary city effort.

“Rockville should not give undocumented immigrants a false sense of security,” the petition says. “Adopting a so-called sanctuary city policy will do nothing to prevent immigration agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Homeland Security, from taking action against undocumented immigrants in Rockville.” More than 600 people have signed the petition.

In response, Ben Shnider, launched a competing petition on Change.org.

It urges city officials to keep our immigrant neighbors from being singled out by law-enforcement officials because of their immigration status and says, “Rockville must write these protections into law.”

The petition has 1,189 signatories.

Still facing a vote on the sanctuary ordinance, Rockville’s mayor and council members were not available for comment, but a statement from the city’s communication department says the Rockville City Police Department currently follows all federal mandates and notifies U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement of arrests, as required.

In doing so, the city is following Montgomery County guidelines. Montgomery County is not a sanctuary jurisdiction.

Montgomery County Council member Craig Rice said he has been hearing from his constituents that since the rape case residents are focused on coming together as a community.

White House defends bill
repealing internet defenses


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The White House on Thursday defended a bill recently passed by Congress to repeal Obama-era internet privacy protections, saying the move was meant to create a fair playing field for telecommunication companies.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer, during a Thursday news briefing, reiterated President Donald Trump's support for the plan to repeal a rule forbidding internet service providers from collecting personal data on users.

Spicer said the Obama administration's rules reclassified internet service providers as common carriers, similar to hotels and other retail stores, treating them unfairly compared with edge providers, like Google and Facebook.

Repealing the rules, he said, will "allow service providers to be treated fairly and consumer protection and privacy concerns to be reviewed on a level playing field."

Critics of the repeal bill say it could put the internet browsing histories of private citizens up for sale to the highest bidder.

Repealing the rules, which were instituted just prior to last year's presidential election by the Federal Communications Commission but hadn't yet taken effect, could be seen as a win for major telecom companies like Verizon and AT&T, which can use the consumer data to target digital ads more effectively.

The companies have said the privacy rules put them at a disadvantage compared with websites like Facebook and Google, which aren't normally regulated by the FCC and weren't affected by the rules.

Clock does more than time;
preserves linguistic record


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In a cave in a mountain in western Texas, the Long Now Foundation is building a clock. It is a big clock, 150 meters tall. The clock will tick only once each year, go bong once a century, and once a millennium, it will send out a cuckoo. Its creators plan for it to last at least 10,000 years.

But they’re not doing it just to build a better clock.

Executive Director Alexander Rose calls the enormous, slow-ticking timepiece an icon of long-term thinking, one of many projects Long Now has launched on that scale.

One of those long-term projects is an effort to save the black-footed ferret. This endangered, New World weasel is vulnerable to the old-world disease known as plague.

The Long Now’s Revive and Restore project is exploring how to genetically modify the ferret’s DNA to resist plague. Rose says that Revive and Restore is also looking for ways to bring back the woolly mammoth.

Disappearing languages are another Long Now priority. This century, thousands of rare human languages may disappear. The Long Now is partnering with linguists and native speakers to preserve these languages on line. The foundation also has created language decoder rings. Each of these palm-sized disks, made from long-lasting nickel, holds miniaturized language pages for over 1,000 languages.

University of Colorado archives director Heather Ryan has assisted what's called the Rosetta Project. She says the Rosetta Disks are a great thought experiment for long-term thinking. And if we ever lose our online experts, she says, they may also be practical.

To foster long-term responsibility, the Long Now Foundation sponsors talks and podcasts with visionaries, such as Larry Brilliant. The physician and epidemiologist is a former hippie and current philanthropist, who helped the World Health Organization eradicate smallpox.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

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Real estate for sale (paid category)


Plantation Acres
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

Contact:
Johnny Lopez
Phone: (506) 8945-5820 / (506) 2643-3356
Email: johnny@c21jaco.com
9141-3/23/18
9141-3/23/189173-9/1/17

Puriscal home
GORGEOUS MOUNTAIN & OCEAN VIEW HOME
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
HEALTH CONDITIONS REQUIRES QUICK SALE
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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUEAmahIU9A
Community Web Site: http://www.altigua.com
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email gary_one@msn.com
9173-9/1/17

colinasdelsol
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

Contact:
In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:  jsandimurray@colinasdelsolcr.com
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: jimday50@aol.com or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here: www.colinasdelsolcr.com
9056-2/28/17

Etlinger
                                      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 www.etlingerafarms.com and photo album can be found at www.ticorico.com
9196-4/25/17

horse
                                      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 www.ranchforsalecostarica.com  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:  darin_ricco@hotmail.com
9183-6/13/17

Kkpit
                                      rollover

FURNISHED  APARTMENT for SALE.
CONDOMINIO SATURNO, LA URUCA, OUTSKIRTS
of SAN JOSÉ, COSTA RICA
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: boriskopit@yahoo.com
9143-4/17/17

rollover
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  www.whynotcostarica.com. 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 tim@whynotcostarica.com 
9143-2/3/17

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 www.ThePenthouseCostaRica.com  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email crstratton@ymail.com
9132-6/1/17

Business for sale or lease (paid category)

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

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Remax
                                        Tamarindo
www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com 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:  info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com  or click here www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com
9145-1/2918

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
CONTACT US TODAY with NO OBLIGATION whatsoever.

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
Email: michael@costarica-realestate.com

9174-2/7/18

Real estate-related services (paid category)

A-1
                                        graphic
A1 MASTER BUILDERS COSTA RICA
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
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 31, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 65
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Four more traffic policemen arrested

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Judicial Investigation Organization announced Thursday the arrest of four more traffic policeman as suspects in crimes of abuse of authority and failure to carry out their duties.

One of the officers was arrested at his home in Heredia, another at the workplace in Atenas, the third in Peréz Zeledón, and the fourth in Barrio La Cruz, in San José.

According to the investigation, the four suspects arrived to a traffic accident on Jun. 14, 2015, in San José around 5 p.m.

There, the driver of a vehicle that crashed against a wall was in apparent drunkenness, according to eyewitness accounts, and traffic officials took him into custody. However, investigators allege that they filed a report with a negative result of alcohol tests.

“I am not aware of the incident you ask me about,” said Sonia Monge, sub-director of Policía de Tránsito. “However I can tell you that no special anti-corruption program is being implemented other than the regular ethical training of the officers,” she said.

Also on Monday, two traffic police officers were also arrested on suspicions of breach of duty.

According to a preliminary report, on Jan. 29, 2016, both officers arrived to the scene of a traffic accident in Tibás. It occurred that one of the cars involved did not have an insurance policy and thus required the issuance of a ticket.

The report alleges that the suspects allowed the owner to purchase a policy in order to cover the cost of the accident. Judicial agents received a confidential tip of this incident and arrested the two officers involved near Plaza Víquez, in San José.


Five officers injured in Nicoya attack

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A presumed fisherman who came at police officers with a machete suffered a bullet wound and was detained, Casa Presidencial reported Thursday.

The arrest followed a melee in which five police officers were injured and official cars were stoned. The location was at Playa Manzanillo in the Gulf of Nicoya.

Fuerza Pública officers, members of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas and the workers from the Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuicultura converged on Manzanillo. Some 60 members of law enforcement arrived at the location and confronted some 300 fishermen Thursday morning. Casa Presidencial said the officers were greeted with stones and knives.

The objective was to prevent illegal fishing, said Casa Presidencial. Eventually a large amount of fishing gear, including drag nets and fish traps, were confiscated, said the report.

Also involved were employees of the nation’s Servicio Nacional de Sanidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria.


315 pounds of coke discovered in bust

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police officers made a huge drug bust in Heredia Thursday.

The Fuerza Pública was alerted of a suspicious vehicle parked near a supermarket, according to preliminary reports. Officers approached the car and conducted a check on it to discover there was a double liner in the back. Officials allege that this vehicle had the same characteristics as one used for a possible bank robbery.

Within the car, police discovered over 143 kilograms of cocaine, or around 315 pounds. Officials also said that police found around $3200 in colons and dollar. The driver of the vehicle was arrested by police and police said that the vehicle is legally registered with a Guatemalan national.

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Deadline to pay the annual pesky tax is today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The annual pesky tax deadline is today. The tax really is called the Timbre de Educación y Cultura, but the amount is so small and so easy to forget that the levy has been dubbed pesky.

The tax is just for corporations and corporation-like entities, not for individuals. The amount ranges from a mere 750 colons to 9,000 colons, depending on net capital. Most expats just pay the 9,000 colons rather than figure out what net capital is.

The tax is due every March 31, and like other taxes, the Dirección General de Tributación sends out no notices to individuals. But there was a notice posted on the Ministerio de Hacienda website.

Although the amount is small, non-payment can generate fines and interest far in excess of the tax itself.

Desamparados accountant Kevin Chavarría Obando said he advises his clients to pay the tax online from a bank account. Otherwise, those making the payment have to use the ministry’s complex online EDDI-7 program. There is a line under the bank menu for Pagos de servicios públicos for the Ministerio de Hacienda and eventually the  Educación y Cultura stamp.

Today is also the day when the first partial payment of income tax for the current fiscal year should be made by those managers of corporations that generate profits, according to the ministry.