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Published Monday, April 4, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 65
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Panama papers
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists graphic
Blockbuster!

Leaked papers from a Panamá law firm reveal secret holdings of politicians, the wealthy and even soccer players.

The story is HERE!



Spanish skills help Utah man manage top soccer team
By Rommel Téllez
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Nearly every Tico  who follows soccer loves David J. Patey.

Patey happens to be the president of Club Sport Herediano, one of the oldest and most cherished soccer teams of the country.

However, it's not just because of his position that he's even been called a savior by the local media. His success recipe also includes an impressive command of  the Spanish language and a chunk of good luck.

Born in Jerusalem and raised in Utah by Canadian parents, the loan broker is a devout Mormon and father of five.  In 2003, he and his wife decided to move to Costa Rica to master the language of Cervantes, with which he got in touch for the first time when he was 13.

“Back then, I could count from 1 to 17 and say ‘Hola, como estas.’” he remembered.

For two years the couple lived in Escazú and then returned to the U.S. After a few months they noticed their children were losing the language they had learned.

“At that point we decided to return to Costa Rica and stay permanently. We were lucky enough to sell our property in the U.S. just a little before the housing crisis started. That was a blessing.” said Patey.

Once settled, Patey continued his business of “marrying lenders and borrowers,” as he put it. He cared little about soccer, a sport that would change his life.

Oct. 27, 2012, a rumor spread in media outlets. A Gringo investor would come to the rescue of the Club Sport Herediano, a 92-year-old team struggling to survive under a pile of debt and legal battles.

“Two friends and business partners had asked me to be the administrative manager of the team,” recalled Patey. “I said yes as long as it would not hurt my privacy. That shows how naive I was at the time. I expected privacy in a country where soccer is a religion.”

Less than 24 hours later he held his first press conference and found himself overwhelmed by dozens of reporters, photographers and sports personalities. His Spanish and people skills impressed some reporters who believed that someone had trained him before the event.

“A few days later, those reporter put me to the test. They gave me a paper with several Costa Rica slang sentences. Not only did I answer them all right, but gave them examples of

David Patey
A.M. Costa Rica/Rommel Téllez
David J. Patey in the Heredia stadium.

synonyms for those same sentences” Patey said with a big smile.

Sopa de muneca (Knuckle sandwich), sopapo en la jupa (a strike on the head) and no me chingue mae (don't bother me) are some examples of the pachuco, slang Spanish, they asked him, he recalled.
 

After that, his stardom broke loose. Everybody liked him and, as Patey himself confirms, the appropriation of the Costa Rican culture smoothed things out.

Under his administration the team attained financial stability and was able to pay its players decent wages. He also decided that, whenever possible, weekly games would be played on Saturday nights, so he and the team could have Sundays off.

“A priest came to me and said that because of the move, the Mass attendance had considerably increased,” Patey adds.

Nowadays, Patey still isn't a soccer super fan,  but at least understands how it works and actually enjoys watching the games. He encourages other foreigners to pick a team, buy the correct T-shirt and go to the stadium. “That's all it takes for you to start liking it,”

Patey is also in the car dealership business. He works with the french company Peugeot and likes to mediate among conflicts. That's in part because he does not consider soccer a profitable activity. Rather he said he is in this industry inspired by the passion of players and fans.

“I am very happy. I am the popular Gringo and I live in the best country in the world. I am not planning to change this” he said.


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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 65
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Figueres makes his candidacy official
 
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Former president José María Figueres confirmed Saturday what everyone already knew. He will be a candidate for the country’s top office in 2018.

His announcement came as he resigned the presidency of the Partido Liberación Nacional, a requirement for candidacy.

The announcement also signals the beginning of a political brawl among those seeking to be the party’s nominee. Former president Óscar Arias Sánchez is known to be interested in making another run for the office.

Figueres, the son of the former president and revolutionary, José Figueres Ferrer, served as president from 1995 to 1998.
 
He is considered the favorite of the business community because of his capitalistic leanings.

Figueres is not without baggage. He served as an advisor for several years to Alcatel, the French firm that was involved in a major bribery scandal, but no charges ever were brought against him. He said he received $900,000 for three year’s work.

Figueres is the son of an American woman, Karen Olsen, who took up Costa Rican nationality and is a politician in her own right.

Figueres was graduated by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and his online biography said that he successfully completed the U.S. Army Ranger course. He also has a master’s degree in administration.


Coco arrests made in advance of sweep

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents have detained two persons who are suspected of being members of a mob that killed an Escazú man in Playas del Coco a week ago. Three more persons are being sought.

Once again in the wake of the highly publicized crime, the Fuerza Pública flooded the Pacific coast community with police officers. This is a repetition of what has happened in San Ramón, Limón and even Pérez Zeledón after crimes that made the local television.
 
The two men who were detained Friday morning, brothers with the last name of  García Canales, will face murder charges. They were believed to have been identified from surveillance cameras near the site of the early morning killing.

After a dispute with a pirate taxi driver, the victim, Alejo Leiva Lachner, 21, was set upon by a mob of about 20 persons, investigators said at the time. He suffered a stab wound.

Led by a vice minister, a handful of Ministerio de Seguridad agencies swept Playas del Coco and handed out tickets for a multitude of violations. They found gambling machines, marijuana and other illegal substances. Traffic police assisted by removing the plates for 18 vehicles and confiscating two of them.

The also checked the business licenses on bars and closed one, they said.


Our reader’s opinion
Proud Mac owner checks in with history

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Your article, although good, was lacking some basic facts.  First you labeled
the toaster Mac as the Apple 1.  The Mac you pictured was a Macintosh 128.

The one you pictured was, in fact, just the first Macintosh.  Before the
toaster Mac there was indeed an Apple 1 which was the prototype.  The
first production model was the Apple II.  Then came the Apple III,
which was available with a real hard disk (5 megabyte), and then came the
predecessor to the Mac you pictured which was called the Lisa.  It started
with large floppy disks but changed over to the 3.5 floppy we all knew with
the Macintosh 128. 

I have been the proud owner of all of the Apple line, including the Lisa, Apple III and the toaster Macs.

Just thought your readers might like the additional history.
James Fair
Phoenix, Arizona

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More data expected to be released
Massive document leak draws quick reaction in Costa Rica

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

The scandals have just started from the leak called the Panamá Papers.

The bombshell disclosure already reveals the offshore holdings of 140 politicians and public officials around the world, including 12 current and former world leaders.

So far no Costa Rica political figures or business leaders have been named, but more information based on leaked documents from a leading Panamá law officer are promised.

In Costa Rica the disclosures generated response from the Minsterio de Hacienda that said investigations would be made of  companies, individuals and law offices mentioned in the report.

So far the most substantial mention of Costa Rica in news articles published by The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists involves Caro Quintero, the drug figure arrested here in 1985.

One of the news articles notes that Quintero was represented by the Panamá law firm of  Mossack Fonseca, and the Costa Rican government ended up with property owned by the detained man.

Still the Ministerio de Hacienda, in an unusual Sunday news release, said the disclosures confirm the urgency of legislation creating a value-added tax, higher income tax and a modern tax system that closes the many doors to the evasion.

The ministry also promoted a bill that has stronger tools to fight tax fraud and said that the country needs a registry of the beneficial owners of corporations.

The Panamá law firm is known for setting up thousands of off-shore corporations for the financial elite. Such off-shore entities are not in themselves illegal, but the disclosures show how many could be used to hide or misrepresent vast sums of money.

The Ministerio de Hacienda said it would seek additional information from foreign countries. The journalism report says without more details that the Panamá law firm set up some companies via Costa Rican banks, but the country is not in the top 10 of countries being used for this purpose.

Among the disclosures, the team of international journalists, working with the leaked documents from the Panamanian law firm, has concluded that associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin moved as much as $2 billion through offshore bank accounts over a nearly 40-year period.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, allied with the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other news organizations, said in its report Sunday that the 11.5 million documents from Panama's Mossack Fonseca law firm show dozens of transactions involving people or companies linked to Putin from 1977 through the end of 2015.

Parking money in offshore accounts can be used to establish legal tax shelters or ease international business deals. But the report said "the documents show that banks, law firms and other offshore players have often failed to follow legal requirements that they make sure their clients are not involved in criminal enterprises, tax dodging or political corruption."

The Kremlin last week did not answer questions posed by the journalists about the transactions, and it publicly accused the group of preparing a misleading information attack on the Russian leader and people close to him.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.
 
Sueddeutsche Zeitung, based in Munich, said Sunday it received the data from an anonymous source more than a year ago. It says the amount of data it obtained is several times larger than the U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks in 2010, and the secret intelligence documents given to journalists by Edward Snowden in 2013.

grraphic of banks
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists graphic
Where Mossack Fonseca formed companies over the years.


Along from the links to Putin, the International Consortium says these documents:

• Reveal the offshore holdings of 140 politicians and public officials around the world, including 12 current and former world leaders. Among them are the prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, the presidents of Ukraine and Argentina, and the king of Saudi Arabia.

• Include the names of at least 33 people and companies blacklisted by the U.S. government because of evidence that they’d been involved in wrongdoing, such as doing business with Mexican drug lords, terrorist organizations like Hezbollah or rogue nations like North Korea and Iran.

• Show how major banks have driven the creation of hard-to-trace companies in offshore havens. More than 500 banks, their subsidiaries and their branches have created more than 15,000 offshore companies for their customers through Mossack Fonseca.

• At least four of the international soccer federation figures involved in the current scandal had offshore companies set up by the Panamá company, as did Lionel Messi, the soccer star, as well as a number of other players.

The Panamanian firm told The Washington Post it follows both the letter and spirit of financial laws, which vary throughout the world. It said that in nearly 40 years of operation it has never been charged with criminal wrongdoing.

In an interview Michael Hudson, a senior editor at the International Consortium, said, "This is really the shadow side of our global economy, the money that flows around mostly unchecked, undetected. "You can't say in every single case that someone is doing something wrong, or that they're hiding improper practices. But it certainly raises lots of questions about transparency when you have politicians, and especially top leaders of countries, moving their holdings offshore and using offshore entities to obscure what they're doing."

The report lists the British Virgin Islands as the most popular offshore tax haven, with one out of every two companies in Mossack Fonseca's files being incorporated there. Panamá, the Bahamas and the Seychelles are next on the list.

The International Consortium’s report also sheds new light on a 1983 British gold heist that has been called the Crime of the Century.

Robbers stole nearly 7,000 gold bars from the Brink's-Mat warehouse at London's Heathrow Airport, along with cash and diamonds. The gold was smelted and sold, and much of the money was never recovered.

The report said a Mossack Fonseca document shows that an official at a company the law firm created 16 months after the robbery was "apparently involved in the management of the money from the famous theft from Brink's-Mat in London.  The company itself has not been used illegally, but it could be that the company invested money through the bank accounts and properties that was illegitimately sourced." The law firm denied it helped conceal the proceeds of the London theft.

An Internet search reveals that the law firm has a Costa Rican subsidiary, Mossack Fonseca & Co. Ltda. on Avenida 5 between calles 42 and 44 in Sabana Norte.



Election dirty trickster says he was involved with Araya's campaign
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The leftist Frente Amplio political party is asking the national election monitor to see if an admitted fixer was involved in the last presidential campaign.

Gerardo Vargas, president of  Frente Amplio, said that he also wanted the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones to find out if any campaign funds from the Partido Liberación Nacional campaign went to the fixer.

The fixer is Andres Sépulveda, a computer hacker who is serving a 10-year sentence in Colombia for manipulating political campaigns in Latin America.

He spoke openly with a reporter about his involvement in a number of campaigns and said he was involved with the presidential campaign of Johnny Araya Monge. Araya ran for president two years ago and now he is the mayor-elect of San José.

According to an interview published by Bloomberg Businessweek Thursday, Sépulveda offered hijacking of emails, manipulation of social media to create false trends and robbery

of confidential data from campaigns in México, Venezuela and Colombia, among others.

In the case of Costa Rica, the investigation does not provide further details of Sépulveda´s role in the 2014 Araya´s presidential campaign. However, Andrew Willis, one of the reporters in charge of the investigation told daily La Nación that Sépulveda´s work involved checking the opposition Web sites and finding vulnerabilities of other candidates.

Araya has denied any connection with Sépulveda or Juan José Rendón, a Venezuelan political adviser who would have been the contact between the hacker and those who required his services.

Araya withdrew from a presidential runoff March 5, 2014, claiming that the political atmosphere showed him a strong desire of the population for a change in power. One month before, on February he had obtained 29.71 percent of votes, leaving him just a little behind Luis Guillermo Solís, the eventual president who got 30.64 percent at the time.

Last Feb. 7, Araya was elected as the new San José mayor and will take office May 1. He had held the same position from 1998 to 2013. 


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Photos from space reveal second Viking settlement in North America
By the University of Alabama at Birmingham news staff

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of what may be North America’s second Viking site.

With the use of pioneering satellite imagery analysis, excavation and investigation of archeological evidence, the team has uncovered what could be the first new Norse site to be discovered in North America in over 50 years. If confirmed by further research, the site at Point Rosee in Newfoundland will show that the Vikings traveled much farther into North America than previously known, pushing the boundary of their explorations over 300 miles to the southwest.

The discovery is the subject of a two-hour special called “Vikings Unearthed.” The program is a co-production between PBS and the BBC. It will first stream online at pbs.org/nova today at 2:30 p.m. Central to coincide with the premiere of a 90-minute version of the film in the United Kingdom on BBC One. A two-hour U.S. broadcast will follow Wednesday at 8 p.m. Central on PBS.

To date, scientists have known of only one other Viking site, found on the very northern tip of Newfoundland, Canada, at L’Anse Aux Meadows. In the 1960s, archaeologists uncovered the foundations of 1,000-year-old Viking buildings, signs of metalworking, iron nails and artifacts.

The site appeared to pre-date Columbus’ voyages to the New World by some 500 years, confirming that Norse explorers had reached North America as suggested in the Vinland sagas. For more than 50 years, scientists have searched for another Norse site.

Using infrared images from 400 miles in space, Sarah Parcak and her team looked at tens of thousands of square miles along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States and Canada. She is a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Pancak
British Broadcasting Corporation photo
Sarah Parcak at the Point Rosee Viking site.

Images taken in Point Rosee revealed possible man-made shapes under discolored vegetation. This intriguing evidence suggests the Vikings traveled farther south than previously known. The Newfoundland project was co-directed by Gregory Mumford, Professor Parcak’s husband and also a professor at the university. Preliminary excavations took place over a period of two and a half weeks in June 2015. The team will return to Newfoundland this summer to continue excavation and collect more samples.

Professor Parcak recently made international headlines when she was named winner of the 2016 TED Prize. She is an expert in satellite remote sensing for archaeology and wrote the first textbook in the field. Her methods have helped locate 17 potential pyramids in Egypt, in addition to 3,100 forgotten settlements and 1,000 lost tombs. She has also made major discoveries throughout the Roman Empire.


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

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

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
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When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

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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



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COSTA RICA SOLAR
Solr
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SOON with the coming of new power company regulations, we'll be installing PV (photo voltaic) for solar electricity. Yes, at last!
* PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!
Solar device
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Real estate rentals (paid category)

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Beautiful House Inside Gated Farm for Rent
House inside gated farm. Two bedroom, One bath fully-furnished. Close to town in Santa Barbara de Heredia.  $650 includes:  Internet, Wifi, Cable TV, Water, Electric.  Located in Santa Barbara de Heredia. American owner lives onsite, quiet, secure.  More information to my email: organicfarmhouserental@gmail.com
8959-5/8/12686

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
8766-7/30/16

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
tropical homes
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
8784-2/19/16

Real estate for rent (paid category)

Puriscal rental
A peaceful place near Puriscal.
Property is a small house on a 16-acre farm in Desamparaditos, a small village located 5K NW of Santiago de Puriscal. 15 minutes to Puriscal, 1 hour to San José and the airport, all paved roads. House has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, large  open kitchen/dining/living area and is fully furnished. Nice veranda with great views. Many fruit trees. Private but not isolated with all utilities. Rent $550/month long term, short term negotiable. Tenant pays for electricity and phone. Landlord pays water. No pets, please. In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 7187-8577, in the USA call Pete Todd at 970-221-1457 or 720-951-7928.
8961-4/11/16

CARIARI.
Two bedrooms plus additional on loft, furnished condo with garage, half block walking distance to Costa Rica international Academy. Gated compound on Country Club grounds across Fairway Five. USD $850 plus utilities. Info: US 925 755-4645 or sfyarina@att.net  Note:

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

Central
                                              Valley view

Boutique quality mountain homes for rent located on a small horse ranch on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes have stunning views of Costa Rica's Central Valley. Located at 7,300-foot altitude, our ranch borders the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the homes are hiking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. We offer various rental options for our 1- and 2-bedroom homes. Contact us at Ajsanch783@AOL.COM for more details.
8981-5/28/16

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




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A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 65
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Opinion
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Axiom 890 pixels

Trump faces a rocky road
as Wisconsin vote nears

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Real estate billionaire Donald Trump is drawing new attention for his views on abortion, NATO, nuclear arms and his treatment of women as his political challengers try to cut into his lead as the front-running U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate.

Political analysts are suggesting his unexpected surge to the nomination has been slowed as Republicans and others begin to question his views and say that his chances are bleak of winning November's election against the expected Democratic Party nominee, former secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In recent days, major news outlets have reported he would be the candidate with the worst national favorability ratings to win a major party presidential nomination in three decades and political surveys show him losing badly in the national contest to replace President Barack Obama, who leaves office next January.

Trump, who has never held elective office, has a significant lead in winning delegates to July's Republican national convention, where the party will pick its 2016 presidential nominee. But Trump could end up short of winning a majority of delegates before the start of the quadrennial gathering, throwing the contest to a contentious second ballot or perhaps more.

The one-time television reality show host faces voters Tuesday in Wisconsin, the next state to vote in the months-long Republican nomination contest.  Political surveys in the northern state show Trump's nearest challenger, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, ahead of him in the state contest for 42 national convention delegates.

Cruz said Saturday that Trump's nomination would be a train wreck in a national election face-off against Clinton.

Trump, campaigning in Wisconsin, fought back against any contention that he is not capable of handling the demands of the presidency and noted that while he negotiated business deals across the globe for decades, he never had been asked about the numerous issues he is now is being confronted with.

"I have good common sense," he told one rally. "I have good business sense."

In recent days, Trump has taken several positions on abortion, still a divisive issue in U.S. politics 43 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that women have a right to end their pregnancies if they choose to.

Trump drew attacks from both abortion supporters and those opposed to it last week when he told one interviewer that if the medical procedural were ever made illegal in the United States, there should be some form of punishment for women who end their pregnancy.

Within hours, he reversed himself and said doctors, not women, should face criminal charges for performing abortions, if they were prohibited.

Days later, he said U.S. abortion rights should stay the way they have been, unless he could, if he is elected, appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn their 1973 approval.

In other comments, Trump said he would be okay if the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the U.S.-European military alliance since the end of World War Two, broke up because he said some countries in Europe are not paying their fair share and are ripping off the the United States.

"Either they have to pay up for past deficiencies or they have to get out," Trump said, "and if it breaks up NATO, it breaks up NATO."

Even as world leaders met in Washington on ways to curb nuclear arms development, Trump suggested that perhaps both South Korea and Japan should have a nuclear arms capability to thwart North Korea.

He said he would not rule out U.S. use of tactical nuclear weapons against Islamic State jihadists in the Middle East.

Political surveys show Trump's popularity among female voters has plummeted, to 70 percent or more unfavorable ratings, in the wake of his abortion comments and his defense of his campaign manager, who is accused of battery for grabbing a female reporter by the arm a month ago as she tried to ask Trump a question.

But Trump, who rarely acknowledges any mistakes, told a New York Times columnist that he erred in retweeting an unflattering photo of Cruz's wife, Heidi, side-by-side with a glamorous one of his wife, Melania, a one-time fashion model.

In the Democratic race, Mrs. Clinton has a substantial lead in the delegate race for the party's nomination.

But polls in Wisconsin show her locked in a tight contest in the state with her lone challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has focused his campaign against Wall Street and growing income inequality in the United States.


Amtrak train hits backhoe
in Pennsylvania mishap


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Two people were killed and 35 others injured when an Amtrak train derailed early Sunday in Pennsylvania, prompting officials to shut down service along a busy stretch of the northeast corridor.

Chester Fire Commissioner Travis Thomas said the two killed were not passengers aboard the train.

Amtrak officials say none of the 35 passengers being treated have life threatening injuries.

News reports say the train was traveling from New York to Savannah, Georgia, when it struck a backhoe on the tracks, just outside of Philadelphia at 8 a.m., killing two construction workers.

The accident caused the lead engine to derail.  The train was carrying some 350 passengers and crew at the time.

Amtrak said it was temporarily suspending train service on the Northeast Corridor between Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration are investigating the incident.


More funds sought for zika
by disease control agency


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said the U.S. needs funding to provide the protection that Americans deserve against zika, a mosquito-borne virus that's been linked to serious birth defects in Latin America and has infected hundreds in Puerto Rico.

"Zika is already in the U.S. and territories,” said Tom Frieden, director of the Centers. “It's already infected hundreds of Americans who've traveled to Zika-affected places. It's already spreading widely in Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the U.S. territories. We expect it to continue to spread."

Frieden said the most urgent issue is to reduce the risk to pregnant women and their developing fetuses. The zika virus has been associated with severe birth defects in newborns.

Local, state and federal government officials, health experts, pharmaceutical companies and others gathered Friday at the Centers headquarters in Atlanta to prepare for the likelihood of mosquito-borne transmission of the zika virus in some parts of the United States.

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa already are experiencing active zika transmission. The mosquito that carries the virus is abundant in the southern coastal states.


Noninfectious polio virus
reduces risk of accidents


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

With only 74 cases of polio reported worldwide in 2015, the disease is well on its way to eradication. But re-emergence through accidental release from a biocontainment factory is a small but real risk.

So researchers have developed a strain of poliovirus to use in a new generation of vaccine that could help stamp out the disease once and for all.

The so-called cold-adapted strain is noninfectious, so there would be no outbreak if the poliomyelitis pathogen were ever to escape from a plant. 

In the journal PLOS Pathogens, investigators led by Dutch scientists report that the cold-adapted vaccine strains can multiply only in temperatures lower than that of the human body.

The cold viral strains contained in the vaccine were genetically engineered so they are able to grow well at 30 degrees C but not at all at 37 degrees, the normal human temperature.

That means if there were an accidental release and a human were to come into contact with the poliovirus, it couldn't grow and multiply inside the person.

Another reason for developing the new vaccine, said Jerome Custers, a senior vaccine scientist at Jannsen Infectious Disease and Vaccines in the Netherlands, is that the stockpile of the current injectable vaccine is low and it's fairly expensive to make.

“So it would be great if you could manufacture this in a lot of countries in the world," Custers said. "And by allowing that, you really need viruses that are safer to work with, so less virulent, not disease-causing.”

Only six Western countries, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland and France, are now licensed to manufacture the vaccine.

But Custers said having a safe polio vaccine strain that’s easily reproducible would bring down the cost of the drug as more countries, such as India, began manufacturing it.


Hackers seem to be using
news reports to pick targets

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In 2013, the Westmore News, a small newspaper serving the suburban community of Rye Brook, New York, ran a feature on the opening of a sluice gate at the Bowman Avenue Dam. Costing some $2 million, the new gate, then nearing completion, was designed to lessen flooding downstream.

The event caught the eye of a number of local politicians, who gathered to shake hands at the official unveiling. "I've been to lots of ribbon-cuttings," county executive Rob Astorino was quoted as saying. "This is my first sluice gate."

But locals apparently weren't the only ones with their eyes on the dam's new sluice. According to an indictment handed down late last week by the U.S. Department of Justice, Hamid Firoozi, a well-known hacker based in Iran, gained access several times in 2013 to the dam's control systems. Had the sluice been fully operational and connected to those systems, Firoozi could have created serious damage. Fortunately for Rye Brook, it wasn't.

Hack attacks probing critical U.S. infrastructure are nothing new. What alarmed cybersecurity analysts in this case, however, was Firoozi's apparent use of an old trick that computer nerds have quietly known about for years.

It's called dorking a search engine, as in Google dorking or Bing dorking, a tactic long used by cybersecurity professionals who work to close security vulnerabilities.

Now, it appears, the hackers know about it, as well.

"What some call dorking we really call open-source network intelligence," said Srinivas Mukkamala, co-founder and CEO of the cyber-risk assessment firm RiskSense. "It all depends on what you ask Google to do."

Mukkamala says that search engines are constantly trolling the Internet, looking to record and index every device, port and unique IP address connected to the Web. Some of those things are designed to be public, a restaurant's homepage, for example, but many others are meant to be private, say, the security camera in the restaurant's kitchen. The problem, says Mukkamala, is that too many people don't understand the difference before going online.

"There's the Internet, which is anything that's publicly addressable, and then there are intranets, which are meant to be only for internal networking," he said. "The search engines don't care which is which. They just index. So if your intranet isn't configured properly, that's when you start seeing information leakage."

While a restaurant's closed-circuit camera may not pose any real security threat, many other things getting connected to the Web do. These include pressure and temperature sensors at power plants, SCADA systems that control refineries, and operational networks that keep major manufacturing plants working.

Whether engineers know it or not, many of these things are being indexed by search engines, leaving them quietly hiding in open view. The trick of dorking, then, is to figure out just how to find all those assets indexed online.

As it turns out, it's really not that hard.

"The thing with dorking is you can write custom searches just to look for that information," Mukkamala said. "You can have multiple nested search conditions, so you can go granular, allowing you to find not just every single asset, but every other asset that's connected to it. You can really dig deep if you want."

Most major search engines like Google offer advanced search functions: commands like filetype to hunt for specific types of files, numrange to find specific digits, and intitle, which looks for exact page text. Moreover, different search parameters can be nested one in another, creating a very fine digital net to scoop up information.

For example, instead of just entering Brook Avenue Dam into a search engine, a dorker might use the inurl function to hunt for webcams online, or filetype to look for command and control documents and functions. Like a scavenger hunt, dorking involves a certain amount of luck and patience. But skillfully used, it can greatly increase the chance of finding something that should not be public.

Like most things online, dorking can have positive uses as well as negative. Cybersecurity professionals increasingly use such open-source indexing to discover vulnerabilities and patch them before hackers stumble upon them.

Dorking is also nothing new. In 2002, Mukkamala says, he worked on a project exploring its potential risks. More recently, the FBI issued a public warning in 2014 about dorking, with advice about how network administrators could protect their systems.

The problem, says Mukkamala, is that almost anything that can be connected is being hooked up to the Internet, often without regard for its security, or the security of the other objects it, in turn, is connected to.

"All you need is one vulnerability to compromise the system," he said. "This is an asymmetric, widespread threat. They don't need anything else than a laptop and connectivity, and they can use the tools that are there to start launching attacks.

"I don't think we have the knowledge or resources to defend against this threat, and we're not prepared."

That, Mukkamala warns, means it's more likely than not that we'll see more cases like the hacker's exploit of the Bowman Avenue Dam in the years to come.


New study says fat people
now outnumber the skinny


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

There are now more obese people on the planet than there are underweight people, according to a new study.

In what they’re calling the “world’s biggest obesity study,” researchers from Imperial College London compared global body mass indices from almost 20 million adults from 1975 to 2014.

What they found was that over that period, global obesity rates among men tripled from 3.2 percent to 10.8 percent. For women, it more than doubled, rising from 6.4 percent to 14.9 percent.

That means that there were 266 million obese men and 375 million obese women in the world in 2014, with all humans becoming 1.5 kilograms heavier each decade since 1975.

Severe obesity is also a rising concern, with researchers finding that 2.3 percent of men and 5 percent of women are severely obese, meaning they have a body mass index of over 35 kilograms per square meter.

Morbid obesity, when a person’s basic activities are impaired by being overweight, affects 1 percent of men and 2 percent of women, researchers said, adding that there are now 55 million morbidly obese adults.

When looking at people who are underweight, by contrast, those rates have fallen from 14 percent to 9 percent among men and from 15 percent to 10 percent among women.

“The number of people across the globe whose weight poses a serious threat to their health is greater than ever before,” said Majid Ezzati, the senior author of the study from the School of Public Health at Imperial. “And this epidemic of severe obesity is too extensive to be tackled with medications such as blood pressure lowering drugs or diabetes treatments alone, or with a few extra bike lanes. We need coordinated global initiatives – such as looking at the price of healthy food compared to unhealthy food, or taxing high sugar and highly processed foods - to tackle this crisis.”

If the obesity trend continues, researchers said, by 2025, 18 percent of the world’s men and 21 percent of the world’s women will be obese.

The study found that China has the most obese people of any country and that the U.S. has the highest number of severely obese people.

India and Bangladesh accounted for about a quarter of the world’s underweight people.

“Our research has shown that over 40 years we have transitioned from a world in which underweight prevalence was more than double that of obesity, to one in which more people are obese than underweight,” said Ezzati. “Although it is reassuring that the number of underweight individuals has decreased over the last four decades, global obesity has reached crisis point.”

The study was published in the journal The Lancet.


Drone strike evens score
for death of U.S. Marine

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. military said Sunday one of its drones in Iraq has killed an Islamic State fighter it believes was responsible for a missile attack last month that killed a U.S. Marine.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led operations against the militants, Col. Steve Warren, said the drone attack killed Jasim Khadijah, described as a former Iraqi officer and a rocket expert, and five other Islamic State fighters.

Warren said Khadijah had controlled the Islamic State rocket attack that killed Staff Sgt. Louis Cardin and wounded eight other Marines at an artillery position in the Makhmur area of northern Iraq.

Cardin was the second U.S. combat death since the start of a U.S. campaign to fight Islamic State in Iraq in 2014.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

COSTA RICA SOLAR
Solr array
SOON with the coming of new power company regulations, we'll be installing PV (photo voltaic) for solar electricity. Yes, at last!
* PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!
Solar device
NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
Solar collector
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.
Solar logo
CALL US TODAY!

Office phone: 506-2446-0543
Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090
OUR EMAIL: Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com

VISIT OUR WEB: www.CR-Solar.com

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


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

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The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at: info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com
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Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
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nformation 

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Axiom two
The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
For more information
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Axiom three
Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
We will be happy to give all the information you need. Contact:

AXIOM DEVELOPMENT GROUP SRL
Costa Rica Office: +506.4001-2343
Mobile: +506.8367-2466
USA Office: +1.786233-1579
sales@axiomcostarica.com
www.axiomcostarica.com
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Rich Coast
                                  Rollover
Costa Rica Real Estate
    2.47 acre ocean view property w/ 2 houses & 2 unfinished apartments $249k!!!
    2 houses and pool furnished, great rental potential walk to the beach $327k w/ owner financing
    2-bedroom furnished condo 400 feet from Jacó beach $179,000

and lots of other great properties! Property listings in Escazú, Herradura, Jacó, Manuel Antonio, Dominical and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate.

Have a Property For Sale? Contact Us!
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
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www.RichCoastRealty.com
8953-8/29/16

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


Special Offer

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

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

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

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


Grecia
                                  rollover
UNIQUE OFFER !!!!
Negotiable price. Thirty thousand seventy square meters. The house is seven hundred fifty squared meters, built three years ago. Five bedrooms plus servant's room with bathroom. Each bedroom includes private bathroom. Master's room includes Jacuzzi and hidromassage. Two main living rooms plus visitor's parlor and hall, two furnished kitchens, all ceramic. Nineteen rooms total counting three offices, eight-car garage. Has 220-volt current with three distribution panels. First-quality water plus well, decorated stone walls, recreational area, second house eighty squared meters, hot water systems, cable, telephone, light system throughout property, river, part forest..

For health situation, the owner make a INCREDIBLE DISCOUNT!!!!

ORIGINAL PRICE: $1.800.000    OFFER PRICE: $1.200.000
FINANCING AVAILABLE !!!
 For more information click HERE!
To see more photos click HERE!  To see house video click HERE!

English language contact:
Christian Arce
Phone: (506) 2494-0016
Cell phone: (506) 8309-0173
Email:

Spanish language contact:
Luis Gustavo Jiménez
Phone: (506) 2494-0016
Cell phone: (506) 8707-4016
Email:

Lantz
                                      home
A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq. ft. of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out. The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the backyard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden. This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town. Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small. The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate. Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José. Just reduced to $199,000. Call Jeff: 8725-8176. Email: angelsdad@me.com

8972-6/15/16

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

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

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

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

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


Blakmore
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Costa Rica tropical paradise beach house for sale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A.M.
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 65
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
When the hobby is a smelly business

My husband, Metric Man, says it’s about time I gave him credit for all the strange odors and activities he has had to put up with over the years.
Victoria Torley
“What do you mean?” asked I, innocently. “These are just normal gardening smells.” So here is his list of complaints.

“The microwave oven is not for dirt, it is for food.” Dirt makes funny smells when it is microwaved especially if it has bits of manure in it.

“Speaking of manure, what is that funny smell in the car?”
Evidently some of the sacks of freshly gathered cow manure leaked a bit (it was a bit runny) and got into the rug in the cargo area. My fault, I admit it, and I cleaned it up too.

“Speaking of cargo areas, pigs do not belong in the cargo area!” Hey, it was only one pig and it was only one time. How else was the caretaker supposed to get the pig home? Put it on a leash and walk it two kilometers on a main road? And at least I didn’t ask Metric Man to drive with a screaming pig in the car. Fussy, fussy, fussy.

“Do you have to make the orchid mix in the house?” Well, yes. I don’t have a sink outside. An outdoor sink would be very nice and I could keep the smells out of the house (my birthday is coming up – hint, hint).

“And boiling deer toes?” That was a low blow as it only occurred once many years ago and it was for a good cause. The Cub Scouts needed them for their Native American costumes. Dried deer toes make rattles and you can’t dry them without boiling them first.

“I smell ammonia.” Well, of course you do. I am using a pelleted fertilizer to boost the health of the fruit trees because they have been attacked by ants so many times that they are in a weakened state. Poor babies, they need a real boost.

“Do you have to spray insecticide so close to the house?” Again, that is an affirmative. Have you seen what the ants are doing to the angel trumpet?  The hibiscus? Sometimes I have to squirt them with Raid or something to keep them safe.

As you can see, I have a logical reply (okay, maybe not about the pig) to every complaint. As for me, I just let the poor man vent now and then. He does put up with a lot. Now, excuse me, I need a shower before he complains about that, too . . . .




Plant of the Week


Remember when I wrote about garden paths? On my way to Orosi Valley, I stayed at Eden Atenas B&B because I heard they had beautiful gardens. They do – just look at the color on the crotons. They also have lovely garden paths to stroll through on your way to the best breakfast I have ever had at a B&B. Another place I need to revisit.
gardenpath
A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/ Arenal-Gardeners/413220712106845.
 

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From Page 7:


State water company has a really bad weekend

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

About a half million residents of the greater metro area lost water at least twice over the weekend.

The first came for a break in the principal water main in Orosi, said the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados. The state water company said Friday afternoon that service would be shut down for seven hours Saturday to fix the rupture.

The outage mainly affected residents from the center of San José to points east, including La Unión, Curridabat and Desamparados.

The second outage was not planned. The water institute announced Sunday morning that pumps at the La Valencia well fields failed due to an electrical problem. The failure seems to have been related to recharging the system after fixing the Orosi rupture. There also were line ruptures reported.

This appears to have happened late Saturday, and water was cut off in the Central Valley until about 2:30 a.m.

Yet another problem developed Sunday morning, when the state water company said that some customers would be without water until about 9 p.m.

The problems are not to be confused with a continuing shortage of water in Hatillo. Residents there blocked the major Circunvalación highway Thursday demanding water. Other residents in Barrio Cuba report an absence of water. The water institute was delivering water tankers to Hatillo and promised efforts to improve the system. Some 20,000 Hatillo residents were involved.

The situation has prompted some tanker owners to provide service on their own, and Fuerza Pública officers were seen questioning a tanker driver Sunday night because he had his vehicle hooked up to a hydrant.