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Published Wednesday, April 5, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 68
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Fish at market
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Conor Golden
                                                         



You can almost smell the quality control!
Some of these fish, pictured at a stall in San José's Mercado Central, do not come with much labeling as to price or freshness.
Fish inspections yield dismal labeling practices
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With the upcoming Semana Santa holidays, an inspection report sponsored by the commerce ministry yielded startlingly high results in the number of times fishmongers failed to comply with required pricing and labeling information.

The inspections were done in conjunction with the quality control unit of the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería, the animal health service and the Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuicultura. Of the 100 fish stores inspected by the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio, 69 were found to have failed with labeling and pricing inspections.

The majority of those places were located outside the greater metropolitan area of San José and the Central Valley, according to the report. The report classified the fish being sold into two categories of prepackaged and bulk product.

The main non-compliances detected in bulk product, based on the findings, were due to a lack of labeling on the country of origin, name of the species of fish and the “thawed” label required to put with the fish being sold.

Apparently, some stores were falsely advertising frozen fish as fresh particularly if it was tilapia and pangasio. This is often done as a scam against consumers who would pay more money for fish labeled as fresh.

Prepackaged fish, unlike the former category, has even more regulations attached to it. During those inspections, the main violations also came from not labeling the product’s country of origin as well as the weight of the product being sold in the package.

In other words, not only does a consumer not know where the fish is coming from, but they have to estimate how much they are buying. This could lead to numerous instances where

someone is paying more for less.

Moreover, the inspections report gloomily states that price information of all the 100 establishments visited. Of those 100 places, only 26 had pricing information with the label.

“As can be seen from the results of the study, it is important to emphasize that in some of the businesses visited the practice of not providing any information to the consumer persists,” the report concludes.

In a twist of fate, the reports results were released the same day as the Mercado Central of San José announced the upcoming Fería del Pescado beginning this Thursday. The fair runs until this coming Sunday and includes more than fish, according to the Pescaderías del Mercado Central de San José.

The event will run through the central corridor of the fishmongers section in the market and will include masquerades, marimbas, live music, dancing and balloons, organizers said. The market will be open Thursday through Sunday from 6:30 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon.

"Historically the Mercado Central of San José has been the point of reference for buying freshest fish and seafood," said Jose Gutiérrez, one of the organizers for the fair, "I recommend that people compare prices, because although some fish prices tend to rise during Easter, this does not happen with all species, there are always cheap options that can be bought at the same price or even at a promotion price.”

“It is also very important to compare the quality, it is not the same to buy in a place where tons of fish are processed at industrial level and store it for weeks and even months, compared to here where we receive fresh fish every one to two days, we process them in an artisan way and we offer them at better prices,” he said.


Illegal gold mining creates environmental damage
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Environmentalists who protested at length over a proposed open-pit gold mine in Cutris de San Carlos are being invited to help clean up after illegal placer operators trashed the place with garbage and even liquid mercury.

The invitation came from Alexis Núñez, a police official in Los Chiles. His officers have detained four illegal miners who were attracted by the rich deposits of gold. The problem is that they created an environmental disaster.

The four men came from Abangares, a community with a long history of hard rock mining.

The area where police found mercury is in the forests of Crucitas not far from the Nicaraguan border. The area also holds the headwaters of the Río San Juan.

The men were using an age-old technique to extract fine gold from placer sand. That is an effective but dangerous method. The mercury combines with tiny bits of gold to make what is called an amalgam, basically a gold alloy.  In order to get the gold, the amalgam would be brought to a boil so that the mercury is driven off as fumes.

The vapor is the most dangerous form of mercury because, if inhaled, most goes right to the lungs and then to every part of the body. Hatters, those who made felt hats, used mercury in their trade. That is where the expression mad as a hatter originates.

Most modern prospectors use other methods of recovering gold in place of mercury.

Police said that mercury was spilled on the ground in the forest and that the men caused serious damage to the environment. That included protected mountain almond trees (almendro amarillo in Spanish with the Latin name Dipteryx panamensis).

The men were caught working in a small stream, police said.

The four men were referred to prosecutors, and a judge freed them pending a future hearing on the condition that they not return to Crucitas.

This is the same area where a Costa Rican court halted an open-pit mining project by the Canadian firm, Infinito Gold Ltd. The firm has all proper permits and even the support of then-president Oscar Arias Sánchez, but environmentalists, mostly from the Universidad de Costa Rica, protested for years.

The case is pending before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, a World Bank agency. Infinito claims damage under a Canadian-Costa Rica trade agreement. If Infinito is successful, Costa Rica may face a $300 to $400 million damage award.

Both parties submitted additional documents last month, the center said.

The case was convoluted. According to news files, the Sala IV constitutional court ruled April 16, 2010, that all legal objections raised against the project were without merit, but the lower Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo that November ordered that the concession be annulled, and this was upheld by the Sala I Nov. 30, 2011.

Initially the company sought $1 billion, noting it worked for 20 years to start the project.

The company estimated that there were of 1.24 million ounces of gold in the ground, which is why the area attracts illegal placer operators.

The great green macaw nests in the mountain almond trees. The bird is called lapa verde in Spanish, and they are endangered.

That was a big point with environmentalists even though Infinito had promised to restore the area at the end of the mining operation.


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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 5, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 68
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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.
Legal Services

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I.R.S. Criminal and Civil Issues

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

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  * Failing to report or hiding income

I.R.S. Criminal Investigations, including non-filing of tax returns, tax evasion, filing false income tax returns, money laundering, currency reporting requirements, offshore banking reporting requirements, false statements, and false offer in compromise submissions.

Confidential and Privileged Communication
Former University Lecturer and I.R.S. Lecturer
Harold P. Gewerter, Esq., Ltd., J.D., M.S.
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Dental Services
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Over 8,000 registered firearms missing

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


The whereabouts of over 8,236 firearms are unknown to officials of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, who fear the final destination is in the hands of criminals.

The disappearance of the weapons comes after the closure of about 700 private security companies whose owners became unreachable, making it impossible for the government to guarantee their safekeeping.

The information was confirmed to A.M. Costa Rica by Roberto Méndez, the director of Dirección de Seguridad Privada at Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

“The problem we face is that private security companies sometimes lose their license or just stop doing business. The law requires the owners to inform Ministerio de Seguridad about it but they don't do it, so it makes it difficult for us to keep track of closures,” he said.

“We know most of the owners will try to sell them to an arms shop and that's perfectly legal. What we care about is in what conditions they are stored and how they are protected against theft.” Méndez added.

As of today, there are 630 properly registered private security companies that account for 30,000 guns, according to Méndez.

“We have teamed up with the Judicial Investigating Organization to spot the owners and track the missing guns,” he added.

It is likely that most of those guns will end up sold to criminals or exported to Panamá according to César Tapia, executive director of Asociación Costarricense de Empresas de Seguridad y Afines.

“Usually, the small security agencies are the ones prone to vanish. Most of the time they work without fully complying with labor laws, taxes and gun permits, these are what we call pirate agencies. Even when they are registered they make shady businesses, he added.

These are the very ones that, once out of business, will sell their fire arms to whoever pays the price. It is usual that they are sent to Panamá, where the government stopped the importation of arms three years ago,” Tapia said.

According to the Law 8395, private security officers are only allowed to carry small fire arms when assigned into malls, gated communities, companies and banks. In any other situation such as massive events, the private officers should use alternative non-lethal weapons and call the police if things gets rough.

“In Costa Rica, as any other place of the world, public security forces are not enough. In addition, they are required to perform many tasks aside from patrolling and helping out in case of emergencies. They can't just look after a neighborhood all say long. That's where we come in,” he added.


Motorcyclists account for 43 percent
of all traffic fatalities so far this year


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The public works ministry’s report on the number of traffic deaths for the month of March and the first quarter of the year as a whole yielded some grim results: 43 percent of the lives lost from traffic incidences were motorcyclists.

Some 21 of the 49 road fatalities were motorcyclists for the month of March. 54 of the 126 fatalities so far this year have been motorcyclists as well, according to the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes.

Mario Calderón, the head of the Policía de Tránsito. said that motorcyclists should take better precautions while riding and that includes: wearing a helmet, not having more than two people on the motorcycle, no persons under 5 should be passengers, and the riders should wear reflective gear or clothing.

In addition to this, the new report noted that speeding was the leading cause of death on the road with 37 deaths. 26 deaths were related to being in the wrong lane while driving and 24 due to driving recklessness. The report also said that 22 pedestrians lost their lives from their own reckless actions.


New index ranks best and worst websites

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Citizens seeking to access public information on municipal websites are the ones facing more hassle, according to the latest public digital index released by the Incae business school, located in La Garita village, Alajuela.

The study shows that many of the municipal websites in Costa Rica lack the tools to interact with their audiences and are commonly filled with outdated and irrelevant information. The document also shows that in a scale from 1 to 100, the average website of a Costa Rica public agency scores only 46.34.

The research is carried out on a yearly basis and it is called Índice de Experiencia Pública Digital. According to the academic institution, it is developed to spot opportunities create a more fluid conversation between citizens and its institutions.

In a list of 172 public offices, the five organizations with better websites and digital access based on the results are: Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica (72), Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social (70.2), Universidad de Costa Rica (68), Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (67.8) and the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz.

On the other hand, the worst positions were occupied by Municipalidad de Matina (26), Municipalidad de Poás (22.5), Municipalidad de Alajuela (22), Municipalidad de San Mateo (11) y Municipalidad de Hojancha (9).

To obtain a definite score, researchers evaluated three major criteria on each website or digital platform: interaction quality, information quality and quality of the platform, this last one includes design and functionality.

On a national and average overall these criteria were 28.7 in interaction quality, 62.3 in information quality, and 49.3 in the quality of the digital medium.

In addition, researchers concluded that there's a lot of room for improvement in regards to navigation for mobile devices, accessibility for all types of users, intuitiveness and quick loading.

“The truth is, that traditionally and globally, the public sector has always been below the curve of technological adoptions,” the report states.

According to the research, one of the main challenges for public sector institutions is to respond at a rate that often surpasses their traditional capabilities and organizational system.

“Although the digital maturity of the vast majority of public institutions is not developing at the desired rate, it is possible to perceive some important advances in the first three places. They showed a balance in the quality of the user experience that allowed these entities to rank at the top of this year's ranking,” the document said.


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A.M.
Costa Rica

Third News Page
U.S. Tax
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 5, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 68
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Semana Santa offers beach excursions and taste of Tico Catholicism
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Semana Santa is around the corner and, for many Ticos, this is a long-awaited celebration where some go to church and the rest flee to the beaches to profit from the hot sun that comes with the dry season.

Celebrating the life and endeavors of Jesus is also a good excuse for Ticos and expats alike to eat sardines and fish on Good Friday, as well as watching “Ben-Hur,” “The Ten Commandments” and, of course, “Jesus of Nazareth.” All of these films have been solemnly broadcasted by public television every single Semana Santa for the last 30 years.

So, if you live in San José and going away to crowded beaches is not your thing, nor is staying at home watching the days go by, you may enjoy some of the events that staff of the Catedral Metropolitana has prepared for everyone. These activities are free as well.

It all starts with a procession to celebrate Palm Sunday. The reenactment of Jesus arriving into Jerusalem is a staged event expats can watch acted out at 9:30 a.m this Sunday along Avenida 4 and the cathedral.

Monday, you might want to listen to music out of woodwinds instruments. The performance is in charge of Banda Municipal at Iglesia La Merced at 5 p.m.

Just after it, there is a nocturnal procession starting in Mercado Borbón, in case you want to see people bring music and costumes and prayers to one of the poorest spots of San José.

On Tuesday, aside from the regular Masses, you might want to go and check out the angelical voices of the Coro de la Univerdad de Costa Rica. The concert with the choir will start at 6 p.m. in La Iglesia de la Soledad.

Early on Wednesday morning a week from today, you'll find yourself surprised to see an image of Jesus surrounded by tiquisque, arracache, yuca and otvegetablesher traditional  brought from small farmers to Parque Central at 8:30 a.m.


On Thursday, you may also want to join a nightly procession starting at 8 p.m. at Parque Central. Try not to go to bed late because the most important procession will take place Friday morning at Iglesia la Merced.
Palm
                    Sunday Parade
Costa Rican Archdiocese photo
Palm Sunday parade headed by the statue of Jesus Christ.

The whole spectacle is so elaborate that it will include professional actors, set designs and dramatic dialogues. This procession will end up at Catedral Metropolitana.

To commemorate the death of the Christ, the Catholic Church is organizing a vigil also on Saturday night starting at 7 p.m also at the cathedral. Attendees should not forget candles because they represents the light they should pass to the people nearby.

Finally, the resurrection commemoration is Sunday and to celebrate it, the  cathedral will be hosting a special Mass of Resurrection, which traditionally features local celebrities showing their faith. And politicians too. There is usually music by the Banda de San José.


First trimester of energy usage scores 99 with renewable energy
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The results from the first trimester of energy usage are in and Costa Rica used renewable sources to power around 99 percent of its electricity since the beginning of the year.

The data was released by the Centro Nacional de Control de Energía which monitors the energy usage of the country. Water, wind and geothermal energy continue as the main sources that power the country, the energy control center reported.

With April coming up, however, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad anticipates a greater reduction in flows from the rivers that feed much of the country’s hydroelectric plants. This may cause additional support needed from water stored within the reservoir and, later, a greater reliance on thermal energy to generate the necessary electricity, the power grid institute said.

This maintains the steady use of renewable energy that Costa Rica has used during the past two years where, during both, the power gained from generating alternative sources was 98 percent. According to data provided by the electrical institute, Costa Rica produced about 10,778 gigawatt hours of electricity and 98.21 percent of it came from renewable sources.

This comes in spite of the low amount of rainfall Costa Rica received overall for 2016, according to the national power-monitoring center.

Most geothermal and water energy is stored in large and medium-sized reservoirs controlled by the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

This organization of energy has placed Costa Rica in 2016 as the country with the largest renewable energy matrix in the world, according to officials.


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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 5, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 68
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New experiment launched seeking to turn plastic waste to diesel fuel
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
with reports from the American Chemical Society

Some expats may recall a video circulating around Facebook of a sea turtle rescued by scientists off the shores of Costa Rica. They pulled a plastic straw that had been fully embedded up its nose. The video emphasizes the harm of the billions of pounds of plastic waste being dumped into the world’s oceans.

To try and turn waste into profit and maybe aid the environment, an organic chemist and a sailboat captain report that they are developing a process to reuse certain plastics, transforming them from worthless trash into a valuable diesel fuel with a small mobile reactor. They envision the technology could someday be implemented globally on land and possibly placed on boats to convert ocean waste plastic into fuel to power the vessels.

According to statistics provided by the U.N., there are more than eight million tons of plastic leaks into the ocean each year. That is equivalent to dumping a garbage truck’s worth of plastic each minute.

It is also important to consider that up to 90 percent of all the waste that goes into the oceans is of plastic material causing severe damage to the marine biosphere, according to the U.N.

According to some estimates, the rate at which plastic items are being dumped into the oceans could accelerate to the point where, by 2050, the ocean will contain more plastics than fish and 99 percent of seabirds will have ingested plastic.

A sailor for 40 years, James Holm says he has watched the sea and coastline become more and more polluted. “A few years ago, I was sailing through the Panama Canal, and when I stopped at an island on the Atlantic side, I was stunned by the amount of plastic covering the beach. I thought if I had a chance to do something about it, I should.”

His partner, Swaminathan Ramesh was driven by the desire and excitement of searching for a new idea with the power to change the world. Ramesh took early retirement in 2005 from BASF after 23 years as a research chemist and began looking for new opportunities. Ramesh formed EcoFuel Technologies and coupled his chemical knowledge with Holm’s concerns about plastic wastes and ocean pollution. In the meantime, Holm had formed Clean Oceans International, a non-profit organization.

They sought to optimize a technology that can use waste hydrocarbon-based plastics as a feedstock for valuable diesel fuel. Their goal was to rid the world of plastic waste by creating a market for it.

For years, Ramesh explains, pyrolysis technologies have been used to break down or depolymerize unwanted polymers, such as plastic wastes, leaving a hydrocarbon-based fuel. But the process usually calls for complex and costly refining steps to make the fuel useable.

Ramesh set out to change the game and developed a metallocene catalyst deposited on a porous support material that, coupled with a controlled pyrolysis reaction, yields diesel fuels directly without further refining. It is also cost-effective on a small scale, runs at lower temperatures and is mobile.

“We can scale the capacity to handle anywhere from 200 pounds per 10-hour day to 10,000 or more pounds per 10-hour day. Because of its small size, we also can take the technological process to where the plastic wastes are," Ramesh said.

plastic waste
A.M. Costa Rica stock photo
File photo of plastic cleanup near Río Grande de Tarcoles.

The whole system can fit in a 20-foot shipping container or on the back of a flat-bed truck, Holm says.

The next step, they say, is to show the technology works well and that it can create a useable drop-in diesel fuel.


They will soon conduct a demonstration project for the government of the city of Santa Cruz, California. Officials there are interested in implementing the technology to address waste plastics that currently cannot be recycled, as well as to formulate diesel fuel the city can use for its vehicles, Holm adds.

“If we can get people around the world to pick this up and use it to shift waste plastics to fuel and make money, we are winning,” Holm says. “We can even eliminate plastic waste before it gets to the oceans by creating value for it locally on a global basis.”


Costa Rica announced its effort back in February with the United Nations Environment Programme, to aid in the global elimination of plastic dumping into the oceans.

The country has pledged multiple times to take steps to drastically reduce single-use plastic items through better waste management and education. Since 1999, there have been efforts to ban single-use plastics without much legislative result.

The health and environmental ministries are trying to win the public as much as legislative cooperation in the endeavor.

Lawmakers saw a bill that addressed the use of plastic in 1999, and a committee rejected the plan back in 2005. Proponents of the bill want to eliminate the one-time use of plastics and not just disposable bags.

Other plastic items such as straws, fast-food forks, knives and spoons may be on the way out too.

A typical beach cleanup produces large quantities of discarded bottles and other types of plastics.


Vacation, travel and hospitality


Live in
                            Costa Rica tours

  • Costa Rica’s #1 source for relocation since 1980
  • Over 10,000 people relocated SUCCESSFULLY with our tours and books
  • ONLY relocation tour legally LICENSED by the Costa Rica government and APPROVED by the Association of Residents (ARCR)
  • Best VALUE, contacts and MORE areas of the country covered
  • ALL tours include a highly INFORMATIVE two-day seminar by the country’s renowned experts
Sample Video of the tour HERE

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All tours led by Christopher Howard
Costa Rica’s most read relocation author
See www.liveincostarica.com for details and itineraries
9168-3/17/17

HIdden Garden
                            graphic
Put Costa Rica on your walls
The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is the perfect place to find quality Costa Rican and international art for your home or office.  With over 60 artists and 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we have been your source for fine art since 2010.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever. Located just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport (towards the beaches).

Visit our Web site at:  www.HiddenGardenArt.com
Contact us by email: info@HiddenGardenArt.com  
Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
Moon Travel Guides & Frommer's

Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tel.  8386-6872 / 2667-0592; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073
International shipping available.
9140-5/1/17

George Lundquist header

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

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

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

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!

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* 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!

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Contact us: 
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CR local phone:  +506-2274-3231
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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



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COSTA RICA SOLAR
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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
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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at 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, Wednesday, April 5, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 68
Calendar
Opinion
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Real Estate
Lifestyle
Food
About us
 
Protesters clash in Caracas
with Venezuelan police


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Anti-government demonstrators clashed with security forces in Venezuela’s capital Tuesday, as pressure mounted within and outside the country for President Nicolás Maduro to quickly restore democratic norms and ease a years-long political and humanitarian crisis.

Protesters, buoyed by the Organization of American States’ Monday-night resolution demanding government reforms, marched toward the national assembly building in Caracas but were met with riot police wielding pepper spray, tear gas and water cannons. Witnesses said that the legislature’s national assembly leader Julio Borges and Lilian Tintori, the wife of prominent political prisoner Leopoldo Lopez, were among those hit with pepper spray.

The demonstrators had come out to endorse the opposition-led national assembly’s scheduled debate Tuesday on unseating supreme court justices. Last Wednesday night, the justices announced they had decided to take control of the legislature, a ruling that some critics characterized as giving Maduro license for a dictatorship. The governments of United States, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Perú also denounced the ruling.

On Saturday, the Venezuelan court reversed that decision but it left intact new authority for the president to negotiate oil deals without congressional approval.

Demonstrators, both pro- and anti-government, have taken to the streets of Caracas since then.

On Tuesday, Maduro supporters living in a state housing project tossed trash at protesters marching along a wide Caracas avenue. Opposition marcher Bernardo Sanchez said pro-government gangs with guns started to shoot in the air. Sanchez said he was hit in the thigh by a bullet.

Tuesday’s street scuffles came hours after the Organization of American States, at an emergency session Monday evening in Washington, approved a resolution condemning the Venezuelan Supreme Court’s decisions as unconstitutional and "incompatible with democratic practice."

The resolution by the group’s Permanent Council calls for Maduro’s Socialist Party government to cooperate in regional talks and to respect separation of powers. It calls for restoring democratic norms, by scheduling long-delayed regional elections, releasing political prisoners and allowing humanitarian aid. Especially since petroleum prices began sinking two years ago, the oil-rich country has been beset with rising crime and extreme shortages of food and other basic goods.

Of the 34 member states, 21 were represented. Seventeen supported the declaration and four abstained: the Bahamas, Belize, Dominican Republic and El Salvador. Venezuela condemned the measure.

In a message broadcast in Venezuela Monday evening, Maduro denounced the organization, saying it intends to become an Inquisition court to persecute Venezuela.

"We reject and repudiate the coup d'etat in the OAS," said Maduro, who has accused an imperialist United States of working with opposition parties to oust him. He was elected president after Hugo Chavez died in early 2013.

On Tuesday, an opposition lawmaker said that unless Maduro quickly responds to the resolution, his critics will press the matter at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

First project deadline expires
for new U.S. border wall


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The first phase of what is expected to be a lengthy and costly process to build additional segments of wall along the southwestern U.S. border ended as the deadline expired Tuesday afternoon for companies to pitch their ideas to the government.

The bidding process was to build 10-by-10-foot prototypes with some made of concrete and some of any other type of material in San Diego so that the government will now evaluate for potential use along parts of the border, which stretches from southeast Texas to southwest California.

The government said it will spend two weeks selecting up to 20 competitors for a second round of competition for each type of wall. More than 400 companies showed interest in bidding, and several may win the chance to build the prototypes.

If the schedule outlined by U.S. Customs and Border Protection is not delayed, the second phase will begin in mid-April, with companies submitting cost analyses and more specific design plans.

Construction on the prototypes could begin in June, according to bid documents.

The specifications for the wall indicate new portions could be as low as 18 feet and 30 feet physically imposing in height and resistant to people chipping away at it, customs described in a notice to interested contractors.

The process began in mid-March, pushed by President Donald Trump, who campaigned regularly on the idea of building a wall along the border. Fencing, walls, surveillance towers and other barriers, including natural, rugged terrain, already exist.

The overall length of the wall segments to be added to the border remain unclear. But they must be resistant to climbing and take more than 30 minutes to bore through, according to bid documents, enough time for border agents to locate the attempted breach.

They should also be aesthetically pleasing in color on the north, U.S.-facing side, the document specifies.

In a Congressional hearing Tuesday, two former border protection officials and a Texas professor testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee about border fencing in the Southwest; they agreed with several senators that a wall is not the only solution to illegal migration across the border.

Terence Garrett, a professor from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, advocated for improving conditions in the so-called northern triangle countries that include Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, to curb the number of aspiring migrants traveling north.

The ongoing bid process focuses exclusively on the wall, but Ron Colburn, former deputy chief of the U.S. Border Patrol who also worked on the Arizona-Mexico border, told senators Tuesday that border security combines multiple techniques that change depending on what area is in question.

Trump promised to make México pay for the wall, a proposal that country rebutted. Instead, the administration has requested that Congress approve $1.5 billion this year to start building a wall.

Estimates for the overall cost of adding miles of wall to the border are as high as $21.6 billion, and that funding will require congressional approval.

Additionally, the government faces continued legal wrangling along the border to secure the land, often from private owners, to build additional barriers.


Researchers study seniors
with youthful memory skills


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Researchers are studying people they call super-agers: those 80 and older whose thicker-than-average brains at that age still make them as sharp as a tack.

Writing in the “Journal of the American Medical Association,” researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago say the memory skills of super-agers are on a par with people in their 50s and 60s.

The experts found that these exceptional elderly patients lose brain volume a lot more slowly than others at the same age, giving them a thicker cortex. The cortex is the outer layer of the brain where such functions as memory and problem-solving are concentrated.

The experts are not clear about what leads some people to lose brain volume at a slower pace than others. But they believe genetics and growing up in a healthy environment during early childhood may be factors.

White House condemns
Syria chemical attack


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. officials are condemning a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria that left scores dead, even while acknowledging the government of President Bashar al-Assad, widely thought to have carried out the strike, remains a political reality in the country.

The early-morning airstrike on a rebel-held neighborhood in northern Idlib province came days after top Trump administration officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, signaled that Assad's removal was no longer a U.S. priority.

The latest images of dead and dying civilians are prompting the Trump administration to reconsider its policy on Syria, where a six-year civil war has left hundreds of thousands dead.

On Tuesday, Spicer acknowledged it was not in the best interest of the Syrian people to leave Assad in power, but said U.S. options were limited.

Spicer said that while the U.S. had several opportunities in the past several years to look at regime change, the landscape is fundamentally different today.

Tillerson did not comment on the strike when asked about it Tuesday at an event with Jordan's visiting King Abdullah. However, he later released a statement saying it showed that Assad operates with brutal, unabashed barbarism, and blaming Russia and Iran for failing to rein in the Syrian leader.

The chemical weapons attack was thought to be the deadliest of its kind in Syria since 2013, when a toxic gas attack on a Damascus suburb killed as many as 1,500 civilians. That attack crossed a red line set by former President Barack Obama, who threatened but did not follow through with retaliatory airstrikes against Assad.

Instead, Obama helped negotiate a deal whereby Syria would give up its chemical weapons. Sporadic chemical weapons attacks have since continued, some with less potent agents.

On Tuesday, Spicer blamed the latest attack on the weakness and irresolution of the Obama administration.

President Donald Trump has ramped up airstrikes against Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq but has refused to continue Obama's policy of arming rebels fighting Assad. Instead, Trump is said to be open to working with Russia, which is intervening on the side of Assad.

Trump's approach to Syria has attracted critics on both sides of the political spectrum.

Spicer on Tuesday said he did not see any correlation between the timing of the chemical weapons attack and the Trump administration's change of policy on Assad.

Foreign job seekers file
thousands of H1-B apps


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Large numbers of job seekers from around the world are filing applications at U.S. federal offices as the season opened Monday for H1-B visas for foreign workers.

H1-Bs allow employers, mostly high-tech firms, to hire skilled foreign workers for jobs in the United States for three years. Eighty-five thousand slots are available with 65,000 for applicants with bachelor’s degrees and 20,000 for those with master’s or more advanced degrees.

In recent years, there have been so many applications that the U.S. government stopped accepting them within a week. Visa winners are chosen by a computer-generated lottery.

This year, there is additional pressure because the program's future is not clear.

President Donald Trump has vowed that he will not allow American workers to be displaced by foreigners holding H1-B visas.

On Monday, as the application process opened, the Department of Justice warned U.S. companies not to discriminate against American workers.

“U.S. workers should not be placed in a disfavored status, and the department is wholeheartedly committed to investigating and vigorously prosecuting these claims,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Civil Rights Division.

At the same time, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services warned it will take a more targeted approach as it makes site inspections across the country. What it will be targeting includes an inability to find an employer’s basic business information through commercially available data, employers who have a high ratio of H1-B employees to U.S. workers, and employers who petition for H1-B workers to work off-site.

Overwhelmingly, India has been the biggest recipient of H1-B visas. The Department of Homeland Security reports that 71 percent of H1-Bs went to Indians in 2015. China was a distant second with 10 percent of the visas.

India’s success is attributed to its huge outsourcing firms that submit thousands of applications every year, increasing their chances of winning the lottery. Outsourcing firms, which supply services to other companies, are controversial because they are not subject to a federal requirement that they not displace American workers if they pay the H1-Bs at least $60,000 a year.

The H1-B visa program has proponents who argue that there are not enough Americans to fill all the slots for which skilled workers are needed. A research brief filed Monday by the bipartisan group New American Economy said that there are persistent and dramatic worker shortages in science, technology, engineering and math.

The group of mayors and business leaders who support immigration reform said that in 2016, there were more than a dozen jobs posted in those fields for every one unemployed eligible U.S. worker.

Competing bills in the U.S. Congress both expand and curtail the H1-B visa program.

In the meantime, spouses of H1-B holders, who are allowed to work under a 2015 rule, are still in limbo regarding their eventual employment status.

The Department of Justice, acting on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security, has asked for additional time to review the rule that allows spouses of H1-B visa holders to work.

Implemented under the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, the rule has been challenged in court by Save Jobs USA, an organization of information technology workers who claim to have lost their jobs to H1-B visa holders. The group maintains that the rule threatens American jobs.

Before the rule, spouses, who hold H-4 visas, were not allowed to work.

In February, Homeland Security had asked for 60 days to review the rule. On Monday, that 60-day period closed and the Department of Justice requested a 180-day extension, promising to update the federal appeals court at 60 days.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

Real estate services
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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
     Email: hotelescazu@aol.com
     For more info also see our sites:
    www.a1masterbuildercostarica.webs.com
    www.hotelsescazu.com
    www.hotel4salecostarica.com
    www.wind-solar.webs.com 
9142-7/27/17

SellATimeshare.com
Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Buy, sell or rent a timeshare at SellATimeshare.com. 
9004-4/26/17

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!

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.
More Watts per Panel, Smarter and more Capable Enphase Micro Inverters mean Less Cost and more Flexibility for You.

    We aren't Cheap...Neither are our Products. Call to Compare.
    More Flexible, Reliable-and Fully Guaranteed!

    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
    SEE our new PACKAGE DEALS.
Solar logo
CALL TODAY!
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 
9177-6/19/16



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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 5, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 68
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Legion post plans health care talk

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

U.S. veterans will be briefed today on health care opportunities in Costa Rica.

The event is being sponsored by American Legion Post 10, which has included the topic in its monthly meeting today at noon in Casa España in Sabana Norte.

A post spokesman said that a representative from a local hospital will address discounts for veterans. All veterans are invited, said the spokesman.

Río Cuarto canton created in Alajuela

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica will soon welcome a new canton in its territory: Río Cuarto.

This will be the 12th canton of Alajuela province and its borders will be Sarapiquí to the west, San Carlos to the north, Alajuela and Valverde Vega to the south.

The change was approved by the legislative assembly and will become effective once it is published in the official daily La Gaceta.

It will have one unique district named also Río Cuarto and it will include the villages of:
Ángeles Norte, Bolaños, Caño Negro, Carmen, Carrizal, Colonia del Toro, Crucero, Flor, Laguna; Merced, Palmar, Palmera, Pata de Gallo, Peoresnada, Pinar, Pueblo Nuevo, San Fernando, San Gerardo San Jorge, San Rafael, San Vicente, Santa Isabel, Santa Rita, Tabla, Bosque Alegre, El Hule, La Trinidad, Los Lagos y San José.

According to Michael Sancho, congressman from Partido Liberación, Río Cuarto has all it needs to become one of the most prosperous cantons of the country.

Judiciary workers protest pension cuts

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tuesday, a group of around 300 workers from Poder Judicial protested in front of the Legislative Assembly, demanding congressmen to withdraw a bill that would make cuts to their pension plan.

The workers yelled Judas several times to lawmakers who support the bill and said they will not back down in their resistance movement.

“If we have to go on a national strike, we will do it. We will paralyze the courts, the investigations units, everything. We will freeze the whole judiciary system if we have to,” said Marvin Cerdas, secretary-general of the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Judiciales.

The Poder Judicial workers had been challenging the changes proposed to their pension plan, while Superintendencia de Pensiones said cuts are necessary to keep the sustainability of their funds.

In the past Superintendencia has proposed that under a new scheme, the retirement of the worker should be calculated according to his best 240 salaries, and not only the last 24, as it is established now.

Pension officials also said it is necessary to impose a 30-percent tax on all pensions, otherwise future workers will not have their retirement guaranteed. 

In the meantime, Poder Judicial unions have filed to congress a reform proposal, where they seek that the tax be applied only to those who enjoy luxury pensions and not those with lower incomes.

The Frente Amplio political party will call for the original proposal of the workers to be studied, and not the current one, which they say is a hybrid between the interests of the workers and the economic interest of the pension bureaucracy.

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From Page 7:

20 Costa Ricans trained on U.S. food rules

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica received 20 new professional trainers to improve compliance with new requirements for the exporting of processed foods to the United States.

These trainers will help teach public sector officials, academics, producers and exporters on the new regulations related with the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the law represents the most sweeping reform of food safety law in more than 70 years.

Former president Barack Obama signed it back in January 2011 with the aim to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The training of these professionals was conducted in El Salvador, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic during the opening months of 2017, the Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura said. The sessions were sponsored by the institute along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Based on data from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Costa Rica is currently the 26th largest supplier of agricultural imports to the United States with a total worth of $1.5 billion in 2015. Most of those imports constitute fresh fruits and coffee in addition to processed fruits and vegetables.