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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 6, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 69
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Police dogs
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Rommel Téllez



Dogs with a mission

Meet some of the dogs fighting crime with the Judicial Investigating Organization! From left to right, there is Josh, Fergus, and Rayo with their trainers and partners of the Unidad Canina. Story HERE on Page Three!

Prohibition returns in some places for Holy Week
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Prohibition is back again for some municipalities in Costa Rica with the upcoming Semana Santa dry laws. Expats need not worry too much, however, as only 16 of them actually plan on enforcing the measure.

The announcement came Wednesday from the Unión de Gobiernos Locales, a private organization funded by the municipalities for educational and investigative purposes, that 42 of the 58 cantons surveyed would not be enforcing the ley secas.

For those expats who may not be familiar with the law, the prohibition of the sale of alcohol in the cantons of Costa Rica is one within the sole jurisdiction of the concejos municipales. Businesses that do not comply with the restriction could be subject to the closure of the business or face a fine up to 10 times the amount of the base salary established by the national government.

So for all the expat drinkers who want to stock up on the goods before the commencement of Semana Santa, here is the list of municipalities enforcing prohibition. On Thursday and Friday of Semana Santa, the dry law is being enforced in: Belén, León Cortés, Esparza, Corredores, Puriscal, Tarrazú, Vázquez de Coronado, Turrialba, Flores, Santa Bárbara, Dota, and Heredia.

Naranjo and Cartago are only applying it on Good Friday, while Paraíso will only apply it during the processions on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Alajuela is applying the restriction during its parades Tuesday and this Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

While those municipalities are enforcing the sale ban, at least 42 gave assurances that it will not enforce the rule. These include the major areas of San José, Montes de Oca, Puntarenas, Santa Ana, Limón, Nicoya,

No beer here
A.M. Costa Rica graphic
Dry municipalities are a bane to drinkers.

Palmares, and Escazú among others.

Until around 2011, municipal police and Fuerza Pública officers would show up at supermarkets, bars and restaurants the Wednesday night of Semana Santa. At supermarkets they would make sure the alcohol displays were covered, usually with a heavy, black plastic.

At bars, they would put seals on the door to show no one could enter until Saturday morning. At restaurants that did a significant business in food, they would put seals on the refrigerators and cabinets that held alcohol.

Expat drinkers knew enough in those days to stock up on alcohol before the two-day dry law went into effect. Tourists, on the other hand, sometimes were surprised that alcohol only was available under the table.

The law has its roots in the Catholic faith, which treats Holy Thursday and Good Friday as days of meditation, fasting and penance. 


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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 6, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 69
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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.
Legal Services

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TAX FRAUD DEFENSE /  PANAMA PAPERS

I.R.S. Criminal and Civil Issues

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

Tax Fraud Investigation or Prosecution:
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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
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Swede keeps police busy in Nandayure

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police and coast guards in Guanacaste briefly detained a 25-year old Swedish man Tuesday for allegedly threatening several people with a machete among other charges.

The incident occurred in Puerto Coyote in Nandayure where, according to a report, the man began shouting at people that he saw pigs and had to kill them. Authorities presume that the Swede was on drugs at the time this happened. An alert was called out and responded to by coast guard officers from Puerto Coyote who detained the foreigner, according to the report.

The Guardacostas sent him to judicial authorities for arrest, however there was no formal complaint filed against him, and he was later released without charge.

The report from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública then allege that, in less than five hours, the 25 year old entered a mall in Nicoya where he verbally assaulted some of the shopkeepers and stole several items.

The Fuerza Pública apparently caught the Swede and sent him to the prosecutor’s office to determine the charges against him. Police said that the man has been detained prior on several instances of drug consumption, property crimes and fights among other things.


Illegal gold mining worse than thought

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The judiciary revealed Wednesday that the problem of illegal gold miners in Crucitas is much worse than initially reported. The Poder Judicial said that 14 more persons are facing court procedures after having been captured in the area earlier.

The 14 were surprised on a water course March 20. These individuals also are accused of using mercury, which has caused subsequent contamination.

Mercury is the hallmark of the amateur gold panner or placer machine operator. The liquid binds to gold and forms an alloy. So, by adding mercury to gold-rich sand, the two metals will bond and become a thick liquid. The mercury picks up gold specks that might be invisible to the eye.

Later, the liquid is boiled to drive off the mercury. The gold remains. This is an ancient and hazardous way of recovering gold. Mercury vapor is toxic.

The Crucitas zone in Cutris de San Carlos contains more than a million ounces of gold. That is why the area is attractive to alluvial gold prospectors. The central government and the courts have decided to ignore the gold because mining would damage the environment. The district is in north Costa Rica near the Nicaraguan border.

The gold panners and placer operators must have been on the job in a remote mountain region for a long time.  The Poder Judicial said that there was a lot of litter in the area, including cans, plastics and other trash.

Saturday the Fuerza Pública captured four more placer miners. That brought the total arrests to 18.

Blood drive going on through weekend

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The national blood bank is hosting a blood drive today through the weekend at various sites.

Costa Rican citizens and foreign permanent residents are invited to participate provided they present their identification of permanent residence or citizenship. The Banco Nacional de Sangre will be setting up stations to take blood at their site in Zapote on the southern side of the Catholic church today from 7 in the morning to 3:20 p.m. This will continue into Friday and Saturday, organizers said.

On Holy Thursday, Hospital Calderón will open its doors, together with the blood bank, to receive a maximum of 60 donors from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Aside from proof of legal residency or citizenship, a donor must also be between the ages of 18 and 60, weigh more than 110 pounds, and not be sick. The blood bank also said that potential donors should plan on having a light breakfast without many fatty or dairy products and to drink plenty of fluids prior.

Machismo learned early on by some boys

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Learning to make unwelcome advances to women on the street does not come with adulthood. Young Costa Rican males are well on the way to become would-be mashers by the fifth grade.

The uncivilized way some men badger women on the street has become a topic of legislation. A proposed law, No. 20.283, would penalize what are known as piropos or endearing sayings, crude comments, catcalls and most definitely any unwelcome touching.

Overlooked in the debates and even the laws has been the origin of this sense of superiority that even makes adolescent boys think they are lady killers.

A reporter saw the behavior of a group of male youngsters dressed in school uniforms when they walked by a blonde Midwestern U.S. high schooler in downtown San José. They directed a litany of unwelcome comments to the teen tourist.

The experience suggests that legislation is not going to solve the problems women face on the street or on buses. Somewhere in the early years, male children learn that this type of behavior is allowed and perhaps obligatory to show their incipient manhood.

Machismo, the exaggerated pride in being male, runs deep in Latin America. Adding to the mix are those women who welcome such advances. As one expat put it: “Being a young man in Costa Rica is like being a king.”

Several organizations exist to fight what they consider street harassment, but they seem to focus on adult males. A number of social problems grow from this sense of superiority, including underage pregnancies.

Lawmakers have tried to address the problem. Last October, the legislature passed a bill that raises the legal age to contract marriage to 18. Previously, Costa Rica permitted marriage of youngsters 15 and older and allowed consensual sexual relationships at 13.

The street harassment bill seems to be stalled in the legislature. The measure actually was proposed by high schoolers, three students at the Colegio Superior de Señoritas in downtown San José, according to the bill summary.

Our reader's opinion
Fund effort at plastic waste to diesel fuel

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I loved your article about the effort to create a low cost method for turning plastic waste into diesel fuel. Interested readers should know that they can help Clean Oceans International / EcoFuel Technologies in this important effort by donating to the project’s Go Fund Me page. Every little bit helps!
Heidi Allen
Coto Brus / Florida


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A.M.
Costa Rica

Third News Page
U.S. Tax
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 6, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 69
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Canine investigators provide added help to their human counterparts
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Aquiles, or Achilles in English, is an experienced detective with over eight years working for the Judicial Investigating Organization. Like his namesake, he is tough and barks rather than speaks. His findings, however, have been key for crime solving. His expertise is in smelling blood traces and spotting human remains.

Rayo, his four-legged colleague, has other abilities instead. He is able to detect the fragrance of cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, and marijuana not only on solid surfaces, but also in air.

Fergus is also an expert in finding drugs. For him, working with police is not a job but a game. Food, medical care and the chance of playing with a worn out green baseball is what he takes for a paycheck.

These are only three out of the 16 dogs that make up part of the Unidad Canina. A unit that bonds them and their human masters in a way that goes way beyond  a work or friendship relationship.

“It's just chemistry.” said Alejandro Castillo, director of the unit. “Sometimes one feels like having an extra sensorial communication with them. This bond is so strong that our instructors are aware that their emotions will affect the performance of the dogs. If they come to work mad or sad, the dog will absorb that energy.”

The unit had its origins back in 1994, when a group of judicial investigators started training dogs on their own for attacking and self defense. The idea was so successful that in 1996, the United States government donated the first dog for drug tracking.

This first canine was a labrador retriever named Michiwas White Dance. Costa Rican officers found that name hard to pronounce and just called him Rock, and he was able to find trace of fuel and other accelerants used in cases of arson.

Rock arrived to the country in the company of Paul Gallagher, a U.S. Marine from the state of Maine who delivered a one-week training techniques workshop to the first four employees of the department.

Not long after, local investigators decided to make Rock a patriarch and got six puppies from him using  artificial insemination. Out of the six descendants, only four were able to join the unit.

Ever since then the unit hasn't stopped growing, and most of the dogs come from donations by municipalities, other police officers and the United States. Today, nine of them are trained to search for drugs, three are specialized in finding flammable materials, two in human remains.

The other two are about 9 months old and are just getting the starter training, said Murillo.

To choose the name of the future collaborators, trainers and guides make a gathering, propose the name on a piece of paper, then put it in the bag, shake it and pick out the winning suggestion. The new canine members will be baptized accordingly.

The new canine recruits do not become official police officers, but are considered property of the state. If someone hurts one of the dogs, this person will be prosecuted for damaging state property.
Fergus in action
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Rommel Téllez
Fergus catching a scent in the air during training exercise.

On the other hand, the property status of the dogs allows them to smell suspicious substances from afar, go to a property and sit down where the smell come from. If they did that under a police officer status, that could be considered trespassing and hence, limit the investigative capabilities of the unit.

“In the history of our department, we have removed 10 dogs off their duties. Sometimes because they are old and some other times because they change their behavior. When they retire we place them for adoption among the employees of Poder Judicial only,” said Murillo.

If no trainer has the possibility to shelter the veteran, then the unit publishes an ad in the Poder Judicial intranet system and receives the requests. Each is studied carefully since there are two main requirements: the dog will not spend most of his time alone and it will have enough space to stretch.

On average, each time a dog goes into retirement, there is a list of up to 45 people wishing to adopt him or her, according to Murillo.

“As any police force we have challenges. In an ideal scenario I should have at least 14 more dogs and trainers, but the government has frozen all permanent new hires. At least we do have full support from Poder Judicial when it comes to budgeting,” Murillo said.

About 80 percent of the departments budget is invested in food, veterinarian care and medicine, according to the director, who also emphasizes that it is a perfect investment for the service they provide to not only the police and community, but the well being of the staff.


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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 6, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 69
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Our reader's opinion
The U.S. Embassy staffers do not directly investigate sex trafficking
Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

This letter is in response to your news analysis published 29 March 2017, “Embassy must prepare a daunting report.

First, please let me thank you for addressing this important issue. It’s great to see more media covering human trafficking issues, and I hope it helps build much-needed awareness around this complex theme.

There were several errors in your article, however. There is widespread misunderstanding about the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Person’s report. I’d love the opportunity to explain a few things.

The embassy does not actually have investigators. The report is rating whether or not the Costa Rican government is doing more - or less - to combat trafficking in persons compared to the year prior.  It is not rating whether the level of trafficking in persons in Costa Rica has worsened or improved.  Their intention is to spur the government to do more.

So, for instance when you say “agents of the embassy have failed to find one (prostitute) that has been trafficked,” it’s important to note there are no agents reporting anything. Again, they are just collecting information and statistics from the Costa Rican government.

I’d also like to point out that those who, as you say, “benefit from the U.S. government’s grants,” aren’t the ones providing these statistics. They are invited to provide anecdotal stories and information. However, it is the metrics of how many victims the government of Costa Rica identifies and provides services for, and the number of arrests and prosecutions – and the prevention programs/public awareness campaigns, etc – that feed the report.

The report is public and limited by Congressional writ in what it can say and how it can say it.  There is a lot of “reporting” that is done that goes into great detail, including addressing TIP-related offenses (exploitation of minors, pimping, domestic abuse, etc.)  This stays in Department channels and is not expounded upon in the generalities of the public (very brief) report. There is also a section on labor, including domestic servants. It’s just not discussed in detail in the public report.

Your article mentions you believe the TIP report should acknowledge prostitution is legal in Costa Rica. However that is not a TIP issue.  Of course having legal prostitution complicates identifying TIP victims.  But when focusing on TIP, the issue is not prostitution itself (legal or illegal), it is whether or not the person engaged in prostitution is doing so of their own free will, or is being forced/coerced to work in the sex trade.

I’d like to also point out that there is a sharp distinction drawn between smuggling (illegally moving people across borders for a fee) and trafficking in persons (forcing someone into work, sex work, etc. under duress or through coercion). Trafficking (i.e. smuggling) is not Trafficking in Persons (i.e. modern slavery).

The Haitians and Cubans were for the most part something altogether different. That’s migration (with a bit of smuggling) mostly accomplished via issuance by Costa Rica of 25-day transit passes. The government provided shelter, medical services, etc., with the help of  international agencies (including the U.S. Embassy who gave them many of the materials to set up the main camp in El Cruce, working with the Red Cross).
Things are indeed complicated. For one, Costa Rica does not accept the complete international definition of human trafficking. As you can imagine, this is a huge problem when it comes to reporting. We’re not comparing apples to apples.

I recognize it’s difficult and a bit complicated for Embassy staffers to do a lot of first-person research in downtown San Jose. To begin with, that’s not their job. However they are very much concerned, and they have sent employees out to assist our organization in assessing the situation on the streets. They - like all of us - would like nothing more than to see these problems resolved.

I myself am the former Technical Director of Costa Rica’s first safe house for child victims of commercial sexual exploitation (a form of human trafficking), Salvando Corazones. I’m also the Founder and Executive Director of the Asociación Costarricense de Milagros in Costa Rica, and the Casa Milagro Foundation as we are recognized in the United States. We don’t (yet) receive any government funding, nor has anyone asked for our input or statistics. But we can for sure give you a bit of feedback from our own first-person research.

For starters, in just the short 18 months that the original safe house operated, we cared for a total of 30 female minors. Of those young girls, 29 of them had been forced into prostitution by their own families. Just one of them was a victim of sex tourism. When I mentioned this to the State Department in a meeting I had with them in Washington, DC last year, they were shocked. For one, they wanted to know why the number of prosecutions were so low (nearly non-existent), if there were so many victims. This, of course, points to other problems in our system.

Since 2015, Casa Milagro has been providing basic services to several hundreds of homeless children and adolescents in the streets of San Jose. The number of these youth who have been, or are still, being sex trafficked is astonishing. I can’t really speak with first-hand knowledge of the trafficking of adults, but my understanding from those “in the know” is that this is also a huge problem.

It’s also known that we have a terrible situation nationwide with the forced labor of children and adults. What many people are not aware of is that Costa Rica is a big hub for organ trafficking. Some suspect it’s the largest hug internationally. See as an example.

Your analysis noted that problems are more severe in other Central American countries. I would agree with that. I feel the biggest difference is that most people are aware the problems are worse elsewhere. Nobody wants to believe these types of problems exist in the land of Pura Vida and “The (former) Happiest Country on Earth.” Therefore, we don’t have the type of international (or national) help that our people need and deserve.

Whereas I’d love to see fair, honest and accurate reporting on the part of the Costa Rican government, my biggest desire is that the government would do more to help those at risk, the victims and our survivors. Quite honestly, they leave much of the dirty work to the few of us non-governmental organizations who are trying to help. And even at that, they make things quite difficult to accomplish, by providing year's worth of red tape and bureaucracy.

Scott Pralinsky    
Founder & executive director at Casa Milagro

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Costa Rica LANDLINE 011-506-2261-8892
Costa Rica MOBILE 011-506-8849-0081
Skype: costarisa - E-mail: christopher@costaricabooks.com

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!

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

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

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

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

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



Need a book about Costa Rica?


Check out our special selections available at Amazon
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HERE!

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

Real estate-related services (paid category)

COSTA RICA SOLAR
solar one

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

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.
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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 
9118-6/26/17

Real estate rentals (paid category)

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

Poas chalet
What a chalet!
We offer for rent a boutique quality 2-bedroom (BR)/1-bath mountain chalet, and a 2-BR/2-bath mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude within the limits of a small horse ranch.  Located just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance, our homes sit on the strategic high ground of Costa Rica’s Central Valley, and are contiguous with the park’s 47,000 hectares of primary cloud rainforest. The chalet and mountain home include a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace, and covered parking.  All utilities and wifi internet included. Please contact Allan or Cristina at barvavolcano@gmail.com for photos, pricing and contract details.
9163-3/10/17


Tropical Homes logo
Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442
9055-2/23/17

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
Timeshare
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email: info@sellmytimesharenow.com
9049-7/31/17





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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 6, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 69
Calendar
Opinion
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Real Estate
Lifestyle
Food
About us
 
Trump expresses outrage
over Syria chemical attack


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. officials from President Donald Trump on down have expressed outrage at the apparent chemical weapons attack in Syria, and have suggested that retaliatory action is being considered against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, either by a multinational response or alone.

At a joint news conference alongside visiting Jordanian King Abdullah II, Trump on Wednesday said the attack cannot be tolerated.

He did not rule out the use of retaliatory force, warning that the use of chemical weapons against civilians had crossed many, many lines beyond a red line for him.

While acknowledging that he is in charge in Washington now, Trump laid some of the blame for the chaos in Syria at the feet of his predecessor, Barack Obama, who famously threatened military action in response to a 2013 chemical attack in Syria, but did not follow through.

In 2013, however, Trump issued a series of tweets in which he urged then-President Obama not to attack Syria. But when asked Wednesday at a photo opportunity if he had any policy to deal with this new attack, Trump was circumspect.

The Jordanian monarch also condemned the attack, calling it another testament to the failure of the international diplomacy to find solutions to this crisis.

At the United Nations earlier in the day, U.S. envoy Nikki Haley castigated the international community for its inaction in the face of past atrocities, and seemed to suggest that the United States would act, with or without a multinational response.

“When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action,” Ms. Haley warned. “For the sake of the victims, I hope the rest of the council is willing to do the same.”

Ms. Haley explicitly criticized Syria’s chief ally, Russia, which has used its veto power on the Security Council to prevent passage of resolutions condemning Syria’s use of chemical weapons.

The comments come just days after Ms. Haley said the U.S. is not focused on removing Assad from power. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also spoke to Russia's support of Assad.

"There's no doubt in our mind that the Syrian regime under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad is responsible for this horrific attack," Tillerson said. "And we think it's time that the Russians really need to think carefully about their continued support for the Assad regime."


Trump removes Bannon
from Security Council role


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon has been removed from his role on the National Security Council, in a shakeup that restores the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff as regular attendees to the council’s Principals Committee.

The changes were revealed in a national security presidential memorandum published Wednesday in the Federal Register, the daily journal of the U.S. government.

The New York Times late Wednesday reported that Bannon resisted the move, even threatening at one point to quit if it went forward, according to a White House official who insisted on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

President Donald Trump, in January, issued an executive order giving Bannon, a former executive of a right-wing online opinion and news site, the authority to participate in the committee.

There were concerns that Bannon, who led Trump’s election campaign in its final months, would inject domestic policy considerations into national security discussions. He has been a polarizing figure in and out of the West Wing of the White House, calling for the deconstruction of the administrative state and advocating economic nationalism.

But many supporters of the president have cheered Trump’s embrace of non-traditional figures in his inner circle as part of his campaign pledge to drain the swamp and structure a radically different administration in the White House.

Media reports previously portrayed Bannon as clashing with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who is a former head of the Republican Party’s national committee.

News stories on Wednesday attributed Bannon getting his wings clipped due to increased scrutiny of White House senior staff by the president’s son-in-law and former Democrat, Jared Kushner, who has been given a large portfolio ranging from the Middle East peace process to reorganizing the federal government.

The Republican chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, John McCain, characterizes Bannon’s ouster as a good move. The senator also is welcoming the president’s decision to restore the director of national intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to the committee.

Daniel Coats, a former Republican senator, is the director of national intelligence and Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford chairs the Joint Chiefs of Staff, making him the country’s highest ranking military officer.

A Republican congresswoman, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, calls Bannon’s removal welcome news.

It is unclear whether Bannon actually has attended any of the committee’s meetings.

President Trump, at the end of his joint news conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah, did not reply to questions shouted about Bannon.

Also added to the committee on Wednesday are the Central Intelligence Agency director, the ambassador to the United Nations and the secretary of the Energy Department, which has responsibility for the design, testing and production of all U.S. nuclear weapons.

The presidential memo on the NSC also downgrades the role of Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert, who had been given authority to convene or chair the Principals Committee.

Bossert is now subordinate to the president’s new national security adviser, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, who replaced Michael Flynn, a retired three-star general.



Haitians in
                        cave
Voice of America photo
Some of 240 Haitians taking shelter in caves.

Scores of Haitians huddle
in caves long after storms

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

When rain clouds darken the skies over Jeremie, the government seat in Haiti's southwestern peninsula, Roland Despeines retreats to a mountain cave. There, he and scores of other Haitians have taken shelter from storms ever since Oct. 4, when deadly Hurricane Matthew tore up their homes and upended their lives.

Despeines is among 240 people whom the Florida-based Food for the Poor discovered huddled in two caves about seven kilometers from the capital last month. The aid group was searching for land to plant food crops, it said in a statement on what it called a humanitarian crisis. It said the cave dwellers included 84 women and 62 children.

"Whenever the rain is about to fall, all of us come to stay here," Despeines said. He spotted kerosene lamps and sheets woven from palm fronds.

Haiti's new president, Jovenel Moise, and its prime minister, Jack Guy Lafontant, along with local officials, also visited Friday. They promised to deliver food and shelter.

The United Nations has reported that at least 70 percent of crops were destroyed in Grand'Anse, the jurisdiction in which Jeremie lies.

"The children are crying all the time because they are hungry," Despeines said. “When a vehicle comes to the area, the people run after it," hoping for food, he added. "If a car brings a bag of rice, we cook it right away, and it isn't enough to feed all of us."

The Miami Herald recently reported food was so scarce on the peninsula that some Haitians, desperate to ease hunger pangs, were eating poisonous plants.

Government workers and aid groups periodically distribute food such as rice and beans. A low-priced government-run restaurant is planned for Fond Rouge D'Ayere, a community near Jeremie, and Moise has ordered plans for new homes.

The U.S. Agency for International Development provided emergency supplies such as plastic sheeting after the hurricane, and it partnered with a local organization to hire carpenters for home repairs.

A U.N. Development Program flash appeal for $138 million in post-hurricane aid to Haiti indicates it remains short of its goal by at least one-third.

Britain seeks new trade deals
with empire's former colonies


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As Britain begins the process of leaving the European Union, it is trying to rekindle old trade links with Commonwealth countries. However, the push for new commerce has sparked a debate on the historical legacy of the British Empire, with accusations that ministers are trying to whitewash atrocities committed during colonial times.

British Chancellor Philip Hammond arrived in India for a three-day trip to, in his government's words, "Bang the drum for British business." The quest for new Commonwealth trade links has been dubbed "Empire 2.0."

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, on a trade mission in the Philippines, wrote on Twitter recently that Britain "Is one of the few European countries that does not need to bury its 20th-century past."

Indian lawmaker and former U.N. Under-Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor, author of the book Inglorious Empire, has a different assessment of Britain's colonial conduct: "Of which the highlights, but only the highlights, include the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar in India which killed defenseless, unarmed women, children and men, the use of chemical weapons in Mesopotamia."

Despite that history, Tharoor says India is listening carefully to what Britain has to offer.

"The idea that Commonwealth countries represent a possible alternative area for preferential free trade agreements is welcome, provided of course, as in every negotiation, that there is give and take," he said.

But Britain must give more if it wants to benefit, Tharoor added.

India is critical of tightening visa restrictions on its citizens wanting to work in Britain.

Many people working in the $5.6 billion restaurant industry backed Brexit, hoping it would open the door to more migration from Commonwealth countries.

Cutting migration was a central pledge of Britain's campaign to leave the European Union, but countries like India want visa restrictions relaxed as part of any trade deal.

Indian lawmakers say they are open to rekindling old trade links, but in the 21st century, Britain will no longer dictate terms.


Germany threatens media
with large hate crime fines


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Germany has threatened to slap social media companies with huge fines if they do not act quickly enough to remove hate speech from their websites.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet on Wednesday approved a measure that would fine websites like Facebook and Twitter up to $55 million if they do not do enough to censor comments that violate German speech law.

Germany outright bans any speech that overtly promotes racism or insults a certain segment of the population. It also, due to its Nazi past, bans public Holocaust denial.

The draft legislation would require social media companies to remove any illegal speech within 24 hours of it being flagged by users. Other offensive content would need to be removed within seven days of being reported and reviewed.

The German Federation of Journalists blasted the move and said the legislation would make it difficult to reconcile freedom of the press and opinion.

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the companies are responsible for policing and removing hateful content from their sites and that there is no room for criminal incitement on social media.

The massive flow of refugees into Germany over the past two years has fueled a rise in negative online comments, alarming German authorities. In 2015, the social media companies agreed to step up policing of online hate speech, though Maas said they have not done enough.

Mass cited research that claims Twitter removes just one percent of the illegal content flagged by users within 24 hours, while Facebook removes 39 percent. Facebook rejected Mass’s data, citing its own data that shows it removes about 65 percent of illegal content within a day.

German lawmaker Renate Kuenast called the fines an invitation to not just erase real insults, but to wipe out almost everything for the sake of playing it safe.

The bill still needs to be approved by parliament.


Ebay founder pledges
$100 million to journalism


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar's philanthropy promised $100 million over the next five years to support journalism and fight fake news, the foundation announced Wednesday.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is the first organization to receive funds from the Omidyar Network. This constitutes a three-year grant of up to $4.5 million to expand its investigative reporting.

"A lack of government responsiveness and a growing distrust in institutions, especially the media, are eroding trust. Increasingly, facts are being devalued, misinformation spread, accountability ignored, and channels that give citizens a voice withdrawn," Matt Bannick, Omidyar Network Managing Partner, said.

Formally announcing the commitment at the Skoll World Forum on social entrepreneurship in Oxford, England, the Omidyar Network has also promised support to the Anti-Defamation League, devoted to fighting anti-Semitism, and the Latin American Alliance for Civic Technology.

Established in 2004 by Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the Omidyar Network supports organizations to foster economic and social change.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
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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
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Bill seeks overhaul in public works

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A proposal to fully reform the Costa Rican public works ministry was sent to congress Wednesday by the Frente Amplio lawmaker and presidential candidate Frank Camacho.

The bill 20.330 seeks to eliminate all the internal councils that were once created to decentralize the operations of the ministry. If approved, congress would dispose of the: Consejo Técnico de Aviación Civil, Consejo de Seguridad Vial, Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, Consejo Nacional de Concesiones and the Consejo de Transporte Público.

The measure, according to Camacho, would help the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes become more efficient.

“From its very foundations, these councils became political tools rather than technical departments. They have been taken by powerful groups who try to put their people at the top and seek to outsource all infrastructure projects, weakening our concept of social state and helping some people attain great fortunes,” he said.

The congressman also considers that this bill will empower the state's capacity to execute public works instead of using money for very expensive consultants and audits.

To achieve this goal, Camacho proposes the creation of a transition committee at the ministry, which will overlook a total reorganization of workers and their duties.

All the concessions granted so far will still be legal until their time is up. New concessions will require new processes, the bill says. 

To support his bill, Camacho mentioned some of the woes the councils have had in the past. For example, he cited the high cost of the San José-Caldera highway, under the surveillance of Consejo Nacional de Concesiones and the inability of Consejo Nacional de Vialidad to provide a long-term solution in the road of the bridge over the Río Virilla, collquially known as the platina.


Police arrest seven in Puntarenas theft

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Officers of the Fuerza Pública arrested seven people Tuesday night suspected of robbing a house in the central canton of Puntarenas.

The robbery happened in San Rafael de Puntarenas. According to reports from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, the seven suspects are alleged to have attempted an escape in a getaway car. Police discovered a safe, two firearms, cell phones, jewelry, tools and clothes, officials said.

A report states that officers pursued the vehicle after it fled the alleged crime. After a several minute chase, the seven were captured.


Police seize 410 kilograms of cocaine

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police authorities arrested four Costa Rican nationals Wednesday off the coast near Mata Palo for violating drug trafficking laws. The individuals were caught attempting to smuggle 410 kilograms, or 904 pounds, of cocaine, the security ministry said.

The four people were traveling in a fishing boat where the cocaine was stashed in a double liner, according to a report. They were around 110 nautical miles off of Mata Palo in Puntarenas province, police said. Three of the captured had no prior criminal record.


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Biodigestors means agriculture sustainability

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Water consumption and agricultural production are the ongoing themes for the Inter-American Institute’s Cooperación de la Agricultura's series of forums lasting through December.

The initiative is sponsored by the institute in conjunction with the Red de Biodigestores para Latino América y el Caribe specifically focused on sustainable management within the agricultural sector using what is called a biodigestor.

In its simplest form, this container is used to deposit organic matter with a specific kind of dilutive liquid and water. With that combination, the mixture then ferments and produces methane gas, also called biogas, as well as a liquid residue used as a nitrogen-rich fertilizer.

According to estimates from the Centro Internacional de Energías Renovables, energy consumption will increase by nearly 35 percent. That then increases water consumption by 85 percent, said Rafael González, the director of technological development at the center. González was the opening speaker for the first round of these forums on March 22.

The forums highlighted the technological innovation of a biodigestor being used as both a fuel and an environmentally sustainable way to aid the agricultural sector in Latin America. With Costa Rica, it could lead to further sustainability in its economy as agricultural products constitute a substantial amount of its global trade exports.

According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, a website run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Costa Rica’s export value of foodstuffs as well as fruits and vegetables in 2015 was estimated at $4.6 billion. That accounts for almost 38 percent of the total export value in 2015 for the country.

The U.S. imports of Costa Rican agricultural products totaled $1.5 billion of that amount, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative. In return, the U.S. exported $669 million of agricultural goods to Costa Rica of a total $6.1 billion in 2015, according to that organization.