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Published Wednesday, April 19, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 77
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U.S. officials say cartel links with terrorism likely
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

U.S. officials see immigration from the south not as individual Latin Americans seeking a better life but as a network used by criminal cartels and smugglers to move hundreds of tons of drugs into the U.S, and, until recently, tens of thousands of illegal immigrants.

And these networks are vulnerable to infiltration by terrorists and even those carrying nuclear devices into the United States, according to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

Kelly gave a candid assessment of the situation at George Washington University Tuesday. "We've made a difference, to say the least, on the southwest border," Kelly said of the Trump administration's nascent efforts to enhance security. "But this network is so well-developed and is so efficient, it can move anything."

Even biological weapons or even a dirty bomb would not be out of the question he told his audience.
Thanks to the growing links between criminal networks and terrorists, even those foreign fighters who are not able to use Europe as a gateway can still wind up on America's borders, said U.S. officials
There is a chance, they warn, that some terrorists already have.

"The nexus between criminal networks and terrorist networks is real and, I would predict, will get more sophisticated," Kelly cautioned. "They're not doing it in huge amounts yet, I don't believe, but to me, it would be a next step."

Costa Rica is well-known as a transit country for illegal drugs and migrants.  The country has been flooded for the last two years by Cubans and later by Haitian and Africans seeking to enter the United States.

So far Costa Rican officials have reported the detention of just one potential terrorist, a man from Somalia who volunteered his personal data at a refugee center near the Nicaraguan border.

Meanwhile there is persistent evidence that some members of the security forces are actively involved in allowing illegal migrants into the county and helping them exit to the north.

Or they are at least turning a blind eye to the problem.There also are periodic arrests of police officers involved in the drug trade.

Orchestra performances headed by Juilliard pianist
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

New York pianist Simone Dinnerstein is the featured artist Friday and Sunday when the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional gives identical concerts. Both will be led by the British conductor James Judd.

Ms. Dinnerstein, a Juilliard School graduate, will present  the “Concerto No. 21 in C Major” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who wrote the work in 1785.

Also on the program are  “Don Juan” and  “Till Eulenspiegel,” the latter based on the exploits of the German folk hero. Both are by Richard Strauss.

Also scheduled is “Symphony No. 8 in B minor” by Franz Schubert, sometimes called the unfinished symphony because it consists of just two movements.

Ms. Dinnerstein made her debut at Carnegie Hall in 2005 and has distinguished herself by performing in unusual places, such as prisons.

She also founded Neighborhood Classics, a concert series described on her website as being open to the public and hosted by New York public schools to raise funds for their music education programs.

This is the third official concert of the season for the orchestra.
Lisa-Marie Mazzucco photo
Simone Dinnerstein.

As usual the Friday concert will be at 8 p.m. with a repeat performance at 10:30 a.m., both at the Teatro Nacional.

The Centro Nacional de la Música said that Judd has directed outstanding groups internationally.

These include: the Symphonic Orchestra of Israel, the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra in Fort Lauderdale and the Symphonic Orchestra of New Zealand.

Tickets for the concert range from 4,000 to 18,000 colons with half off for seniors and students.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 77
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Hannia Vega, new member of the directive council of the Superintendencia General de Telecomunicaciones.

Telecom regulator gains new member

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

Unless the legislature objects, Hannia Vega is the new member of the directive council of the Superintendencia General de Telecomunicaciones, the government agency in charge of regulating the competition in the telecommunications market.

The appointment was made by the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos, under which Superintendencia works. The new appointee should now go through a 30-day trial period where lawmakers may veto the decision. For Ms. Vega, the 30-day period began Tuesday.

If no objection arises from the legislative assembly within 30 days, Ms. Vega will be confirmed automatically and be part of the council for the next six years. However, her appointment has drawn strong opposition from some Partido Acción Ciudadana lawmakers, who will oppose that decision.

“We are deeply concerned about her qualifications for the position. This should not be a political role but a technical and neutral one. Ms. Vega has a history of trying to rule in favor of the big private telecom companies and we'll definitely object her presence,” said Javier Cambronero, head of Partido Acción Ciudadana's legislative representation.

A similar position was withheld by Emilia Molina, who is part of the legislature's Comisión de Nombramientos. “I will support my party's position in regards to Ms. Vega.” she said.

Hannia Vega worked as the telecommunications vice-minister during the administration of former Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla and also in the Ministerio de Planificación from 2006 to 2008, according to an official release.

The process to fulfill the vacancy started in February 2016, and 31 women took part in it. According to Costa Rican law, this post must be granted to a woman to comply with a 30 percent gender quota. The two other members of the council are men.

The other two finalists were Cinthia Arias Leitón and Natalia Salazar Obando.

The new appointee will arrive at Superintendencia on a rather polemic period, since the agency has faced public outcry for allowing internet providers to apply a fair internet use clause that caps web surfing. That clause was issued three years ago on a temporary status.

The constitutional chamber of the Supreme Court has analyzed three appeals to this measure, while the Defensoría de los Habitantes has requested the Superintendencia to terminate the clause.

Back in February, the American Chamber of Commerce demanded that a new council member should be assigned to the Superintendencia, so that the agency could continue an international bidding of new frequencies in the radio electric spectrum.

In the document, the chamber claims that a delay in the bidding means a great loss of money in foreign investment.

The Superinterndencia de Telecomunicaciones was created as part of the agreements following the approval of the free trade agreement between Central America and the United States.

ICE completes volcano risk analysis

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica’s electricity institute recently completed its investigation into potential threats that could occur in the event of a volcano eruption and earthquake due to the recent eruptions of Volcán Poás.

Some of the volcanoes studied by the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad included: Rincón de la Vieja, Miravalles, Tenorio, Arenal, Poás, Barva, Hule, Río Cuarto, Irazú, Turrialba and Barú, the latter located in Panama but potentially affecting southern Costa Rica. The study included field work along with reports as to volcano ash fall and acid rain in Costa Rica in addition to the statistics on volcanic-related hazards, the institute’s threat specialists said.

The national electrical grid spans 1,423 miles, based on data provided by the institute. That includes over 5,090 transmission towers and 60 electric substations. The grid is also interconnected with the greater electric power grid for Central America, the institute said.

The research conducted is intended to serve as a base for projections as well as for the preparation and planning for the response necessary for these emergency situations, the institute said in a statement. Guillermo Alvarado, a volcanologist involved in the study, noted that ash fall and acid rain can generate the most effects on the electrical grid.

In the most extreme scenario, the services could be interrupted for such an extended period of time that tourism and agro-industrial production will also suffer detrimental results, he said. With the situation in Poás, a geologist involved with the research, Alberto Vargas, noted that certain transmission lines could potentially be under varying degrees of threat. Special surveillance, the geologist said, should be particularly carried out for the stations at Toro, Cariblanco, Poás and Naranjo.

"The impacts will depend on the amount and size of the ash, its shape, porosity, humidity and weather conditions. The direction and speed of the wind is one of the most important factors, as this will largely define the distance of the ash displacement,” Vargas said.

According to the research, the volcanoes that present the highest threat due to the ash system are: Rincón de la Vieja, Arenal, Poás, Irazú and Turrialba.

Museums hosting social awareness expo

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation’s museums are putting on a two-day expo in May to feature the work of the public and private institutions and to assume a role of addressing social problems.
The event will be May 18 and 19 in the Casa del Cuño just east of the Antigua Aduana on Calle 23 in east San José. The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud and the Comité Costarricense del Consejo Internacional de Museos are sponsors.

Some 31 public and private museums and similar institutions are expected to give a taste of their holdings those two days to coincide with the International Day of Museums, May 18. Sponsors said that nearly 3,000 visitors, mostly students, attended last year.

This year the museums will be addressing environmental deterioration, school bullying and immigration, said an announcement.The museum organization said that in addition to preserving the past, museums should take an active role in encouraging debate over important issues.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 77
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Discovery Costa Rica still seeks further investment for park project
By Rommel Téllez and Conor Golden
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investors of the Discovery Costa Rica four-fold development project to be built in Guanacaste are still seeking further investment to reach $400 million required to see this anticipated destination come to fruition.

This was confirmed Tuesday at a major announcement in Teatro Nacional by Thomas Turner, chairman of Sun Latin America, the company that has obtained the rights to the name from Discovery Communications, Inc., in the venture. Sun Latin America was previously known as Sun Ranch and is a corporation located here in Costa Rica.

Despite other reports, Discovery Communications, Inc., the television show producer,  has licensed its name and brand to the project. This is a move presumably intended to boost the credibility and the investment viability for the project. Discovery Costa Rica is the name given to the development that has some lofty goals with an eye for sustainability at the same time.

According to Turner, the partnership has already accrued enough money to kickstart a Ranch Experience located 1.4 miles from Daniel Oduber airport in the Guanacaste city of Liberia.

The funds for the Ranch Experience were not divulged by Turner or the other representatives of Sun Latin America. Turner did say, however, that he and his associates are confident to raise the remainder of the money from private investors.

The project was officially presented Tuesday at 3 p.m following major local reports originally estimating that the total investment would reach up to $1 billion.

According to Turner, this resort is far from being a theme park. He described it as an eco-adventure development that relies on four pillars which the organization touts as experiences. The first one is called the Ranch and Canyon Experience, which will include residential accommodations, hotels, hospital, a wellness complex, a lagoon, inland oceans and water parks on 880 hectares. That is about 2,186 acres.

Second would be the Ocean Adventure. According to the project's site, which went live online Tuesday, it will be located in the Papagayo Marina, and will offer deep water catamaran sailboats and cruiser tours, along with snorkeling, water skiing and off-shore sport fishing.

The third experience has been baptized as Discovery Costa Rica’s Beach Resort, which will feature a 300-room hotel and condominium complex, as well as a club and restaurants.  It will also offer whale watching and island exploration. The last one is called the Discovery Costa Rica Volcano, including lodge and private cabins with and thermal bath spa, near the Rincón de la Vieja volcano.

Attending the grand announcement for this project were Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís, Second Vice President Ana Helena Chacón and the U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica, S. Fitzgerald Haney. They were among several other officials from varying ministries in attendance.

During their speeches they all expressed high expectations for the project, although they provided little detail in regards to jobs created and deadlines.

Discovery Costa Rica
Discovery Costa Rica graphic
Discovery Communications lends its name to the project.

The representatives for Sun Latin America particularly emphasized that the entire development would be Costa Rican designed, Costa Rican built and Costa Rican managed.

All of the speakers also discussed the availability of water for this project. They also sought to enforce the environmental sustainability of the entire design.

Monday, A.M. Costa Rica reported that environmental activist are willing to fight the development if somehow it threatens water sources for local residents. The presenters suggested that water for this project will be taken from sources independent of the surrounding communities.

According to the organizers and government officials, recent legislation and around 14 state-funded projects in the works will decrease the likelihood of water distribution problems in the often-dry province of Guanacaste. The issue has been a source of some consternation for both sides of the debate in the past.

“We have the SETENA permits. We have water permits. The project has been planned for the last six years,” said John Scheman, the CEO of Sun Latin America in an email sent to A.M. Costa Rica before the press conference. He was referring to the environmental agency the Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental, which issues permits.

When asked as to whether or not the developers were willing to work with environmental activist groups and other parties interested in sustainability, Scheman quickly explained after the press conference that his company would actively welcome input from members of the local community and these groups.

However, he said that if an agreement cannot be reached and some groups wanted to fight, then the project developers would defend their intended operation to see it through.

Also, to that end he presented the company’s creation of a chief social officer, who would handle and be an active voice in the higher echelons to examine the local impact of the project.

Both Scheman and Turner confirmed that the appointment for this office has not yet been made.

An official from Coalición Costarricense de Iniciativas de Desarrollo, the state's agency in charge of attracting foreign investment said Costa Rica Discovery would create immediately 2,000 jobs in construction and 4,000 more jobs in different areas in later phases of the project.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 77
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Costa Rica joins calls for Venezuela to respect the right to protest
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
with wire service reports

Opposition groups in Venezuela are planning to throw what is being planned as “the mother of all marches” today in the wake of the consolidation of President Nicolás Maduro’s already-strong grip on power. In response, many Latin American countries including Costa Rica have urged the Venezuelan government to respect the constitutional right of protest.

Tuesday morning, the Costa Rican foreign ministry issued a statement in conjunction with several other governments in the region decrying the deaths of six protesters killed as a result of recent protests. The Ministerio de las Relaciones Exteriores reiterated its opposition to the increasing violence prevalent in the South American country. Both these factors contributed to the ministry’s calling the Venezuelan government to respect human rights.

“We urge the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to quickly define the dates to comply with the electoral timetable that will allow a prompt solution to the serious crisis that Venezuela is facing,” the statement said.

Maduro has called for a countermarch and declared plans to expand the country’s civilian militias. The besieged president, speaking to thousands of uniformed militia members assembled Monday at the presidential palace in Caracas, said they must determine whether they are with the homeland or with the betrayal of the homeland.

The president announced a goal to ramp up their ranks to half a million, from the current 100,000, and to arm each with a gun. On Sunday, he’d ordered military troops to fan out nationwide.

"We are going to mobilize, to fight, to continue fighting to prevent any intention of the right to subvert the constitutional order," added Diosdado Cabella, vice president of the ruling United Socialist Party.

The Maduro supporter, a lawmaker in the National Assembly, said he expected about 60,000 motorcyclists to ride in support of the government Wednesday.

At least five people have been killed in two weeks of protests, with security forces firing rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons.

The turbulence erupted after the Venezuelan Supreme Court’s March 30 announcement that it would strip the opposition-controlled National Assembly of its legislative powers.

The court, stacked with appointees of Maduro and his predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez, reversed its position in the wake of domestic and international outcries about an attempted power grab.

Thousands of Maduro’s opponents are expected to turn out in the capital today at 10 a.m. local time to pressure his administration to respect the assembly’s autonomy, schedule long-delayed elections, free political prisoners and restore other democratic norms.

While the main march is planned for Caracas, Unidad Venezuela, a coalition of opposition parties, also is organizing marches in each of the country’s 24 states, according to the group’s Twitter account. Demonstrations also are planned at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington starting at noon local time.

Monday, Maduro called on his followers to defend the country against alleged plans to overthrow him. Venezuela’s defense minister, Vladimir Padrino Lopez, assured Maduro of the military’s loyalty. And the country’s foreign minister, Delcy Rodríguez, also expressed solidarity with her boss and against outside forces such as the imperialist United States.

But the leftist government’s opponents also are appealing to military and civilian troops to back their cause.

"We know that behind those shields are Venezuelans who accompany us in this struggle for a change," the National Assembly’s president, Julio Borges, said in a tweet Tuesday.

The National Socialist Party has ruled Venezuela for 17 years. Economic pressures have mounted in recent years, especially since the price of oil, Venezuela’s chief export, began falling in 2014.

Venezuelans face chronic, severe shortages of food, medicine and other basics in what once was Latin America’s wealthiest country.

Today’s mass protest falls on a significant date for Venezuelans: April 19, 1810, when Venezuelans began their quest for independence from Spain.

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

    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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Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398

Real estate rentals (paid category)

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

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 or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442

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

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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 77
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About us
WHO claims great progress
countering tropical diseases

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization said Tuesday that unprecedented progress had been made in tackling many of the world's most disfiguring and disabling neglected tropical diseases over the past 10 years.

Margaret Chan, the organization’s director-general, said there has been record-breaking progress towards bringing ancient scourges like sleeping sickness and elephantiasis to their knees.

About 1.5 billion people in 149 countries, down from 1.9 billion in 2010, are affected by neglected tropical diseases, a group of 18 disorders that disproportionately affect the very poor.

In 2007, the World Health Organization, commonly referred to as the WHO, and a group of global partners devised a strategy for better tackling and controlling these diseases.

Five years ago, a group of nongovernmental organizations, private and public partners signed the London Declaration, committing greater support and resources to the elimination or eradication of 10 of the most common neglected tropical diseases by the end of the decade.

The WHO's fourth report on neglected tropical diseases was launched to coincide with a one-day meeting Wednesday at the agency's headquarters to take stock of what has been achieved in the fight against these diseases and to explore ways to move the process forward.

Dirk Engel, director of the WHO's Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, said health ministers, representatives from pharmaceutical companies, academics, donors and philanthropists will look at the changing landscape of tropical diseases and explore better ways of integrating the fight against these diseases into global health and development.

The report described achievements made in controlling the debilitating diseases. For example, it noted that an estimated 1 billion people received 1.5 billion treatments donated by pharmaceutical companies for one or more neglected tropical diseases in 2015 alone.

It cited dramatic successes in efforts to eliminate visceral leishmaniasis, a parasitic, disfiguring and often deadly disease that attacks the internal organs.

The disease is prevalent in Southeast Asia, particularly in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Engel said a subregional program was organized to provide early treatment with donated medicines and vector control through indoor residual spraying, similar to that used in malaria control.

"With those two interventions, you reduce the incidence of visceral leishmaniasis almost to nothing," said Engel. "And the aim was to have less than one case in 10,000 people at the subdistrict level, which is a tough target."

He noted that the disease had been eliminated in 82 percent of subdistricts in India, 97 percent of subdistricts in Bangladesh, and eliminated entirely in Nepal.

While Asia is burdened with the greatest number of NTD cases, Africa has the highest concentration of the diseases. Engel said that between 450,000 and 500,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa were infected by at least one tropical disease — but usually several — at the same time.

He said Africa was making excellent progress in controlling neglected tropical diseases. African sleeping sickness has been reduced from 37,000 new cases in 1999 to fewer than 3,000 cases in 2015, and Guinea worm disease has gone down to only 25 human cases, putting eradication within reach, he said.

Engel noted that lymphatic filariasis, an infection transmitted by mosquitoes, causing enlargement of limbs and genitals, also was being brought under control.

He noted that so much progress has been made in the treatment of onchocerciasis, or river blindness, that we are now thinking of setting a new target of elimination post-2020.

In another important advance, the report found that trachoma, the world's leading infectious cause of blindness, has been eliminated as a public health problem in Oman, Morocco and México.

Neglected tropical diseases used to be prevalent throughout the world. Now, they are found only in tropical and subtropical regions with unsafe water, bad hygiene and sanitation, and poor housing conditions.

Frog mucus found effective
in killing some flu viruses

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A frog found in India secretes a substance that has been shown to be highly effective at killing influenza viruses.

Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta said the secreted peptide, a subunit of a protein chain, kills dozens of flu strains that plague humans. It is effective against H1 viruses, including ones that could cause pandemics.

Unlike humans, frogs don't have an immune system that is capable of protecting them against pathogens like viruses and bacteria. But they do produce a slimy mucus that does the job for them.

Researchers at Emory screened 32 peptides derived from the mucus of the frog, called Bahuvistara, and found one that was effective against all H1 viruses. The frog is found in the southern Indian province of Kerala.

Joshy Jacob, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Emory's vaccine center and senior author of the study, describing the peptide in the journal Immunity. He and his colleagues administered the peptide to mice and then exposed them to H1 viruses. He said it protected the animals from infection.

"The beauty of this peptide is that it directly kills the virus. It's virucidal. So if you put the peptide and the virus together, it actually destroys the virus," Jacob said.

The researchers named the peptide urumin, after a sword blade that snaps and bends like a whip.

Jacob said the mucus is collected from the frog after exposing it to a mild electric current, which makes the amphibians secrete the antiviral agent.

After identifying the more than three dozen immune peptides in the mucus, the protein building blocks were made synthetically in the lab.

Four emerged as antiviral candidates. But one, urumin, killed all H1 viruses.

Jacob said a flu-fighting peptide could be especially useful when vaccines are not available or when circulating viral strains become resistant to current drugs.

He said one of the next challenges would be turning the effective peptide into a pill or injection to protect humans from viruses.

Jacob said the peptide was not effective against seasonal flu viruses that mutate rapidly. But researchers plan on testing more of the frog-derived peptides to try to find others that work against other types of influenza virus.

Trump signs new order
to buy and hire America

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order aimed at making it harder for companies to hire temporary foreign workers.

The order, called "Buy American, Hire American," will take initial steps to reform the H1-B visa program.

H1-Bs allow employers, mostly high-tech firms, to hire skilled foreign workers to work in the U.S. for three years. There are 85,000 slots available each year, 65,000 for applicants with bachelor's degrees and 20,000 for those with master's degrees or higher.

"We are going to use a tool you all know very well. It's called the sledgehammer," Trump said Tuesday during a speech at Snap-on Tools, a company in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The administration will require companies to demonstrate that the visas are going only to the most highly skilled workers in their fields.

The administration said the visas, which can be renewed once, have contributed to a slide in American wages; 80 percent of H1-B visa holders are paid less than the median wage in their fields.

Howard University political science professor Ron Hira said the Trump administration is right: "The laws are loose, and so what happens is it's become a way for employers to bring in cheaper, indentured workers as opposed to filling those skills gaps. As a result, the program is oversubscribed, and it's actually undercutting Americans."

When the application season opened for H1-Bs this month, federal offices were quickly flooded. As in recent years, there were so many applications that the U.S. government stopped accepting them within a week. Visa winners will be chosen by a computer-generated lottery.

Hira also said the intent of the program is good in serving as a guest worker program for when there are shortages of American workers. What got in the way? Politics.

Companies are making so much money, he said, that they are able to influence Congress to prevent changes in the H1-B program and it's all legal.

Hira said that if the sledgehammer seemed to be velvet-coated, that's because the executive order is not really intended to change policy so much as to guide policy changes. Federal agencies will have to implement it.

"The idea behind the executive order is to make it merit-based, that the really highly skilled people get preference over the cheap labor that goes on," Hira said.

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 visa lottery.

Archeologists make find
of possible royal tomb

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Archeologists in Egypt have made a major discovery of statues, coffins and several mummies in a 3,500-year-old tomb.

According to the Antiquities Ministry, the tomb, which is on the west bank of the Nile near Luxor, was believed to have been built between 1,500 and 1,000 B.C., likely for a judge.

The tomb, which is located in the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis not far from the Valley of the Kings, is made up of a courtyard that leads to two halls. One hallway had four colorful coffins, while the other had six.

The head of the dig, Mostafa el-Waziri, said another area contains statues depicting royalty from previous ruling dynasties.

"It was a surprise how much was being displayed inside" the tomb, Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany told reporters outside the tomb, according to Al Jazeera. Archaeologists discovered more than 1,000 Ushabti, or small carved figurines. This is an important discovery.

More discoveries, including more mummies, are expected.

Star Trek fantasy becomes
new reality with tricorder

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Star Trek, the iconic science fiction television and film series, features a medical device called a tricorder. In the show, a doctor can use this handheld device to check a person's vital signs and diagnose illness. What was once imagined is now a reality.

The Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE challenged scientists to develop a tricorder-like mobile device to improve health care globally. Out of 300 entries from countries around the world, a team called “Final Frontier Medical Devices” won first place and $2.6 million.

“I’m still in shock, still don't believe it,” said emergency room doctor Basil Harris, leader of the winning team. “It's really been a wild family reunion every weekend, nights and weekends of putting this together over the last five years.”

Harris and his team of family members range in expertise from computer science and medicine, to engineering and health policy. Harris, his siblings and some friends developed the device they named DxtER.

DxtER includes a collection of non-invasive sensors that collect data about a person's vital signs, body chemistry and biological functions, and is able to diagnose numerous illnesses such as anemia, diabetes and pneumonia as a part of the competition's criteria.

Taiwan-based Dynamical Biomarkers Group won 2nd place for developing a mobile diagnostic device for consumers. With members from Taiwan, China and the U.S., and in partnership with HTC, the team received $1 million for developing a device called DeepQ.

Inspired by the traditional Chinese medicine's method of observe, listen, inquire and feel, this device includes the ability to monitor a person's vital signs, has a blood urine test kit, and two camera lenses to allow the device to see, along with a smart phone and application.

“There's a mission we want to achieve. That mission is to bring quality health care to everyone, to people maybe in China in rural villages," said Dynamical Biomarkers Group team leader and Harvard Medical School Associate Professor Chung-Kang Peng. "They don't have the resource, so we need money to further develop our system to make it better. We plan to make the system at least five times better than this one.”

Dynamical Biomarkers Group would like to work with the Chinese government to bring DeepQ to selected villages in one to two years.

The General Hospital of Maputo in Mozambique, Africa, has committed to having this type of device for its doctors, nurses and patients.

“I think the fundamental problem that exists that we wanted to address is that there are hundreds of millions of people around the world who have no access to modern health care, and these people exist in remote places of the world," said Grant Campany, executive director of Health and Wellness at XPRIZE. "They exist right here in the United States in the rural areas."

With a lack of doctors, nurses and infrastructure in many parts of the world, Campany said technology provides one solution to the shortage.

“This is the type of device that can help level the playing field across the board," said Harris. "From remote villages to urban centers to refugee camps, this stuff can be deployed and really, really make a difference."

Campany said developing a real working medical device out of science fiction is possible because it is a unique time in technological history.

In the U.S., the devices need to go through a rigorous approval process with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

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Real estate for sale (paid category)

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

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

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

Puriscal home
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
This is a gorgeous, new, 3-bedroom luxury home on 2.2 flat acres in a secure, gated community, high in the hills of Puriscal, with stunning, 180-degree views of the ocean, city and mountains of the Central Valley in Costa Rica. Centrally located in the heart of Costa Rica, you are never more than an hour from the Pacific beaches while being much less than that to the culture, shopping, services and night life of the San José, Escazú, Santa Ana and the whole Central Valley. The Altos de Antigua gated community sits at an altitude of 2,800 feet with mild temperatures year round. Features wide paved roads and cement culverts throughout, a large community pool & spa with changing rooms & showers. The community association fees are $42 a month ($500 annually).
This property is currently being offered for $355,000.00 U.S.
Purchase adjoining 2.2 acre investment lot with the home sale for $35,000.00 U.S. or separately for $55,000.00 U.S.
    Summary of House Features:

       * Completed 2012 to North American standards
       * 3 large bedrooms, 2 full baths
       * Custom designed kitchen w/granite countertops
       * Frigidaire Professional appliance package
       * State-of-the-art solar hot water
       * Eco-friendly Toshiba LED lighting
       * LG Multi-Split air conditioning system
       * House & perimeter security alarm system
       * 2-car closed garage w/large paved driveway
Video Tour:
Community Web Site:
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email

COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit trees.
* Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.
* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $40,000 USD
* Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
* 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches
* 10 minutes to Medical Facilities
* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
* 5 minutes to Vista Ridge Golf Club

In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here:

                                      Farm rollover
Beautiful farm in excellent location
At only an hour's drive from San José, minutes from Guápiles, and boardering Braulio Carrillo National Park, Etlingera Farms is one heck of an amazing farm. We purchased this 77-acre farm 10 years ago after many trips, and an exhaustive search. It has a little bit of everything we were looking for and a whole lot of beauty. Our average elevation of 600 meters helps to keep Bella Vista cool year round. This farm is nearly level with a semi-modern 2-bedroom house. A fairly rustic 2-bedroom caretaker's home. And, a comfortable, 1-bedroom cabin where we stay. We have 2 large barns, a chicken coop, and a 3-stall pig pen. There are two tilapia ponds and 2 hectarias, (approximately 5 acres) of different species of bananas. The property boarders Rio Blanco in the rear and has 300 meters of public road frontage. Water, electricity, and telephone are all serviced by public utility. Etlingera Farms was reforested with several thousand wood trees of different tropical varieties. We truly believe this farm is spectacular. Our neighbors are selling for as much as $20 per meter. We are negotiable, motivated and open to offers. Our location can be found by searching Etlingera Farms on Google Maps. Our webpage is and photo album can be found at

                                      ranch rollover
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need. The price of our listing Rancho Ricco is $799,000. More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:


Situated 3 miles west of the capital, 8 miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, 6 restaurants,  next to 2 bus line stops. Car ownership is not needed. January-March air temperatures are 72 to 80 degrees F.  Apartment 1,200 sq. ft (100 sq. meters), on ground floor, indoor  patio. Large windows without bars, parquet floors.  Spacious living room-dining area, 2 bedrooms, maid's room, 2 bathrooms, 4 closets  (including walk in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine,small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools). Close covered parking space in guarded area.  Many amenities, (pictures, indoor plants, sewing machine, books, keyboard, dishes, glassware,silverware). Annual cost of maintenance about $1,350 includes water, landscaping service, garbage disposal, 24-7 security and property taxes.
PRICE $120,000
 Available for viewing:   CONTACT:  USA :  (585) 969-3413 or (585) 266-7418 or in COSTA RICA : (506) 2231-0410.   email:

Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call # 509-570-1928 or email 

Penthouse rollover
Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

Business for sale or lease (paid category)

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

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

                                        Tamarindo The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices. For more information, please contact our local phones: 506-2653-0073 Tamarindo / 506-2201-9056 Flamingo ~ Toll Free: 1-866-976-8898 or email:  or click here

ReMax Playas del Coco
We are an award-winning Team of Professional Agents working with Costa Rica’s #1 Selling Real Estate Agency RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties. Get to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST us and let us help you find YOUR Pura Vida! We have over 30 years of experience to educate our buyers and sellers in all aspects of Real Estate.  For Information on condos, homes, lots, farms, ranches, commercial or development property

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

Playa Matapalo Click Here!
Toll Free 1-877-293-1456


Real estate-related services (paid category)

SMALL and LARGER jobs welcome !!!. We can build from any plan you bring us all work done by USA codes master electric and plumbing Better quality and lower prices than USA. We do it all Right  + Reasonable.
Call us: Toll Free 877-778-8515   
     Text from US: 804-313-6382 
     CR phone: 506-8307-0164
     For more info also see our sites: 
Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Buy, sell or rent a timeshare at 

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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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Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398

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news page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 19, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 77
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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

An arrest every half hour, police say

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

For every day during Semana Santa in Guanacaste, there were no reports of an angel catching its wing but there was an apprehension every half hour by the Fuerza Pública.

These figures were drawn up based on reports from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública between Sunday April 9 and this past Sunday. According to the data, police detained an average of 50 people a day to bring a total of 352 people detained during the week.

The vast majority of these police actions were in relations to drugs with a total of 193 arrested. 46 were for domestic violence and 43 for violating traffic laws, police said. In spite of around 500 officers on the clock during Semana Santa, only eight knives, two pistols and a shotgun were seized by police for holy week.

$191,000 per month in funeral benefits

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Many expats understand that the cost of funerals and ceremonies and burials can all add up, at times, to quite an expensive bill. A unique feature within Costa Rica’s social security fund is that there are sometimes subsidies handed out for funeral expenses.

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social released some data related to the amount of money it had doled out in subsidies for something called the Fondo Nacional de Mutualidad. The purpose of this fund is to help mourners with the funeral expenses of relatives. For 2016, according to the Caja data, a total of 13,982 cases received a payment subsidy.

At an average of 1,165 cases a month, that represents almost $191,000 in colons. The majority of the cases that received aid, around 8,908 cases, were pensioners. The benefit is not exclusive to family members, according to Arnoldo León Quesada, the head for the fund at Caja. The funds can be directed to the person paying for the funeral.

In order to receive the benefit, a trip to the nearest Caja branch office is necessary, the organization said. The documents needed include identification of being the manager of the deceased person’s estate, an original invoice showing proof of expenses incurred, proof of marriage if the deceased is one’s spouse, and proof of being insured by the state. An identification such as a passport or driver’s license is also acceptable proof of identification of the deceased person.

The Caja noted that, if someone wishes to claim the benefit, they must begin the process at least six months following the death.

Student impersonator nabbed by police

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An 18-year-old man,
disguised as a student, was arrested Tuesday on the allegation he was selling drugs inside a high school in the town of Parrita, in Puntarenas.

According to police record, authorities of the high school called the officers after noting an unfamiliar face inside the premises wearing the same uniform as the rest of the students. Apparently, the man climbed a metal fence to get in.

Once the police arrived, it was easy for them to identify the fake student. After a quick padding, officers found several dime-bags of marijuana inside a briefcase. The man was taken into custody and referred to judicial authorities for further investigation.

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From Page 7:

Business sector reps gather at regional forum

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A gathering of 300 representatives from different sectors of the Meso-American and European economies met Tuesday at the Hotel San José Palacio to network on pursuits of public policy and legislation for the economy and finances.

The statement from the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio said that the activity comes at a time of huge disparities in economic inequality between the poorest and richest halves of the population. “Therefore, it is essential to stimulate investment and increase productivity in order to return to a sustainable growth pattern in the long term,” the ministry said.

The Foro Mesoamericano y del Caribe Finanzas Solidarias included members from the public and private sector as well as academia in its discussion to help create a path towards financial inclusion and strengthen what members defined as the economía social solidaria. Costa Rica cited as one of its successes initiatives such as the Sistema Banca para el Desarrollo as a model example for sustainable development.

According to the economic ministry, three proposals are being constructed during these talks. The first will be a proposal for the specialized supervision of financial companies within this type of economy. The second would be financial innovation for social purposes. The last would be the creation of what are called fondos solidarios, or solidarity funds, for companies associated with this type of development.

The forum is expected to conclude today, officials said.