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Published Wednesday, April 20, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 77
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New corporate tax goes to full legislature for debate
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A legislative committee reported out a bill reinstituting an annual tax on corporations Tuesday, 7-2. Opposition votes came from the committee chairwoman, Rosibel Ramos of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana, and Otto Guevara of Movimiento Libertario.

A statement released by the Partido Acción Ciudadana gives the impression that owners of corporations will have to pay the tax for all of 2016 if it is approved by the full legislature.

This is No. 19.818. The approved text is not yet available. However, statements from the political parties involved show that the tax rates will be different than those in the tax that was declared unconstitutional in January 2011.
The tax covers sociedades anónimas, sociedades de responsabilidad limitada and similar entities inscribed in the Registro Nacional.

Many expats hold vehicles and properties in corporations. Those with inactive corporations would pay 15 percent of a base judicial salary, the usual method for establishing taxes and fines. The Partido Liberación Nacional estimated that this would be about 63,600 colons or about $120.

Active corporations but without income would pay the same. Firms with gross income up to  50.9 million colons, some $96,000, would pay 25 percent of a base salary or about 106,000 colons or about $200.
Companies with gross income between 50.9 million and 118.7 million colons, $96,000 to $224,000, would pay 30 percent or about 127,200 colons or $240.

Companies with income greater than 118.7 million colons would pay 50 percent of a base salary or 212,000 colons, about $400.

The bill is subject to change when it is debated in the full legislature. Amounts of the tax in future years would increase as the judicial salary increases.

The central government estimates that the bill will bring in about $40 million in taxes from the productive sector. Earlier estimates were higher. Some 95 percent of the proceeds are supposed to go to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

A proposal has been advanced to give some to the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The central government sold the tax to the public and lawmakers as a bonus to the security ministry, but then budget makers reduced the ministry’s budget in anticipation of money from the tax. So when the tax was declared unconstitutional, the central government was in a bind. Lawmakers like Guevara have been seeking big cuts in the current budget, but the central government has declined to so.

The original tax was unconstitutional because lawmakers had made significant changes and failed to publish the final product.

new bridge
Consejo Nacional de Vialidad rendering
This is the proposed bridge at right on Ruta 32 north of the capital.
Two key bridges have sister spans in design
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government plans to build a bridge with three more lanes on Ruta 32 over the Río Virilla near the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa. The river there marks the boundary between Tibás and Santo Domingo de Heredia.

A second bridge is planned on Ruta 147 between Santa Ana and Belén over the same river downstream. This bridge will be two lanes that will go up adjacent to the existing two-lane bridge.

Design work for both projects will be ready
soon, said the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad.

The estimated investment is $25 million, the road agency said.

Ruta 32 is the highway that carries traffic from  San José north to Guápiles and then to Limón on the Caribbean coast. The route also carries traffic from much of the southern part of the country, including trucks carrying containers of agricultural products.

Road agency officials said they expected to have the designs approved and the jobs submitted for bids by the end of the year.

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Casa Presidencial photo
Children are at play while their elders protest their housing situation at Casa Presidencial.

Accord is reached with protesters

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The central government said that it has reached an agreement with the Foro Nacional de Vivienda, which represents residents of  Proyecto El Faro in Guararí and Triángulo Solidario.

The central government said that the resident organization met with Sergio Alfaro Salas, the minister of the Presidencia, and Ana Cristina Trejos of the  Ministerio de Vivienda y Asentamientos Humanos Tuesday. Many of the residents had walked from their homes in Heredia to Zapote for a protest.

Casa Presidencial said that the government would form a committee to meet next month to consider housing concerns. In addition, Alfaro promised to arrange a meeting with President Luis Guillermo Solís and the Foro Nacional de Vivienda.

Those who live in Triángulo Solidario are being displaced by the northern loop of the Circunvalación highway, and they are demanding housing from the government.

Health officials pleased by mortality data

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation’s health officials are heralding what they call an historic decrease in infant mortality.

The Ministerio de Salud cited statistics from the Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos that said infant mortality declined from 8.01 per 1,000 in 2014 to 7.76 per 1,000 last year. The decline in infant deaths has been a trend for the last decade, the ministry said.

The ministry gave credit to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, which runs the public hospitals and clinics, as well as the Hospital Nacional de Niños and other public and private hospitals in the country.

Infant mortality is usually considered the number of deaths per 1,000 live births in the first year of life. The world average is 41.09, according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. According to CIA figures, Costa Rica would be around 50th place in the world. Some countries report mortality figures less than 2 per 1,000 births.

India wants Queen’s diamond returned

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Indian government officials said Tuesday they will seek to retrieve a 105-carat diamond that was given as a gift to Queen Victoria in 1850 when India was a British colony.

The priceless Koh-i-Noor Diamond now sits on display as part of the crown jewels in the Tower of London. Ownership of the diamond is much disputed, and at least four countries, including India, have claimed the jewel in the past.

During a hearing in the Supreme Court Monday, India’s solicitor general surprised and outraged many Indians when he said the diamond belonged to Britain and should not be returned to India. He said the diamond was a gift, and not stolen like many Indians believe to be the case.

"It was given voluntarily by Ranjit Singh to the British as compensation for help in the Sikh Wars. The Koh-i-Noor is not a stolen object," Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said. In response, India’s Ministry of Culture released a statement late Tuesday indicating that Kumar’s comments didn’t reflect the official stance of the government.

The government called the stone a “valued piece of art with strong roots in our nation’s history” and added that Prime Minister Narenda Modi has successfully recovered three other historical artifacts from Australia, Canada and Germany since he took office in 2014.

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Mrs. Bender files criminal case over jewelry held by customs official
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Ann Patton Bender has filed a criminal charge against a top executive in the Costa Rican customs department alleging appropriation and illegal retention of some $7 million in jewels that has been confiscated by investigators, according to a family spokesman.

Mrs. Bender is the widow of Wall Street millionaire John Bender who died at the couple’s 5,000-acre private Refugio de Vida Silvestre Boracayán in La Florida de Barú de Pérez Zeledón Jan. 10, 2010.

Mrs. Bender was the women who was tried three times on allegations of murder involving her husband’s death. She was acquitted twice and convicted once. Prosecutors are appealing the last acquittal with the goal of yet a fourth trial.

She said her husband took his own life while she tried to stop him. Prosecutors disagreed although there was really no way to prove otherwise.

Early in the case, investigators cleaned out the huge mansion at the reserve and discovered that Mrs. Bender had accumulated about $7 million in precious and semi-precious stones. Many were loose and not mounted as jewelry.

Peter DeLisi, a childhood friend of John and also a Wall Street expert, is the family spokesman. As A.M. Costa Rica reported March 21 he said Mrs. Patton and he thought that the case of the precious and semi-precious stones had been resolved with a ruling by a judge that acquitted her of money laundering and smuggling allegations.

There is a paper trail that shows the stones were to be returned, and DeLisi said that the woman agreed to pay a $1.5 million tax even though she was not legally required to do so.

According to the spokesman, the couple accumulated the stones in 2008 and 2009 when prices were low due to the world economic downturn. He said that they were brought into the country with the full knowledge of customs inspectors after some 10 to 15 trips the Benders made to the United States.

Mrs. Bender’s representatives here reached an agreement with the then-manager of the central office of the Dirección General de Aduanas, the customs agency. But that individual left, and
Ministerio Pùblico archived photo
Here are some of the jewelry confiscated by investigators

the job was filled Jan. 15 by a woman with the coincidental name of Guiselle Joya Ramírez.

Ms. Joya has not responded to inquiries from A.M. Costa Rica, and others in the customs agency decline to discuss the case and claim it still is an open investigation. A.M. Costa Rica has documents that show a judge has made a final determination in favor of Ms. Bender.

DeLisi provided a reporter with a copy of the official criminal complaint report filed with the judiciary. He also said that Ms Joya was served with the complaint Friday.

DeLisi for some time has raised questions as to why Ms. Joya has held discussions with a lawyer, Juan de Dios Álvarez Aguilar. The lawyer was a trustee for the family holdings in Costa Rica and now stands accused of helping himself to millions in Bender assets.

DeLisi said that Ms. Joya has allowed Alvarez to insert himself into the proceedings as a third party although he has no legal standing. In addition, he said earlier that Mrs. Bender’s own lawyer was excluded from a meeting between Ms. Joya and Alvarez.

Mrs. Bender, after three trials, was able to leave Costa Rica last September. The woman spent time in preventative detention in Buen Pastor prison and also was hospitalized. Both she and her husband suffered from depression, and Bender had threatened suicide.

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Orchestra to feature Taiwanese-American pianist in weekend concerts
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional will feature a young pianist when it gives concerts Friday and Sunday.

On the program is “Dances of Galánta,” a 1933 work by Hungarian composer Zóltan Kodály, based on folk music of the region by that name which today is part of Solvakia. Also on the program is “Piano Concerto No.2, Opus 22” by French composer Camille Saint-Saëns and the “Symphony No. 3 in E flat Major, Opus  97,” also known as the Rhenish Symphony, by the German composer Robert Schumann.

The invited pianist, Taiwanese-American Steve Lin, will play the Saint-Saëns concerto. The 27 year old has won a number of international recognitions for his skills and has been praised in international media. This is the orchestra’s third official concert of the season.  John Nelson will conduct.

The performance Friday in the Teatro Nacional is at 8 p.m. The Sunday performance is at 10:30 a.m. There is a rehearsal at the theater Friday at 9 a.m.

Taiwanese-American Steve Lin

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 20, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 77
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Trump, Mrs. Clinton prevail
New York State primaries

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Billionaire Donald Trump and former secretary of State Hillary Clinton won Tuesday's presidential primaries in the northeastern U.S. state of New York, extending their leads over rivals trying to earn the Republican and Democratic nominations.

With the bulk of the votes counted, Trump had a huge win with about 60 percent compared to 25 percent for Ohio Gov. John Kasich and 15 percent for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.  Mrs. Clinton was beating Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont 57 percent to 42 percent.

The candidates are trying to amass a majority of convention delegates in order to clinch their party nominations for the November general election.

Trump earned almost all of New York's 95 delegates for the Republicans, putting him at 845 delegates after Tuesday's vote. Cruz remained at 559 delegates, while Kasich gained a few to reach 147. A Republican needs 1,237 to be nominated, a level Trump may not be able to reach before the party's July convention.

Trump thanked his supporters and continued to cast himself as the only Republican with enough support to win the nomination.

"We don't have much of a race anymore, based on what I'm seeing on television, Senator Cruz is just about mathematically eliminated," Trump said.

Trump also hinted at his continued criticism of the delegate selection process, saying "It's really nice to win the delegates with the votes."

Cruz and Kasich are now hoping for an open convention where Trump is not chosen on the first ballot and delegates are free to vote for them in the second round. In remarks to his supporters Tuesday, Cruz likened himself to Sanders.

"The people in state after state have made it clear, they cry out for a new path," Cruz said. "This is the year of the outsider. I'm an outsider, Bernie Sanders is an outsider. Both with the same diagnosis, but both with very different paths to healing."

Sanders also faces a mathematically tough road to his party's nomination.

Mrs. Clinton's win put her at 1,887 delegates, including the so-called super delegates who have pledged to support her, while Sanders trailed at 1,174. The Democrats have more overall delegates, so a candidate needs 2,383 to clinch a majority.

But Sanders remains positive and told an enthusiastic crowd Tuesday that Mrs. Clinton is getting a little bit nervous. He also highlighted a potential benefit that his campaign with its mass of young, passionate supporters could have for the Democratic Party as a whole.

"This is the campaign that has the energy, that has the enthusiasm, and that in November will create the kind of voter turnout that will not only allow us to retain the White House, but we'll regain the U.S. Senate, we'll do better in the House."

Mrs. Clinton used part of her victory speech Tuesday night to reach out to those Sanders backers.

"To all the people who supported Senator Sanders, I believe there is much more that unites us than divides us."

Terror experts fear Islamists
will get radioactive material

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

European counterterror chiefs warned at a London conference Tuesday that Islamic State militants are seeking to secure biological and nuclear materials to build rudimentary weapons of mass destruction.

They said the Islamic State might be splitting into two for operational purposes, with one wing focused on defending the terror group’s self-styled caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq, and the other dedicated to carrying out terror attacks in the West.

Speaking at the Security and Counter Terror Expo in London, security officials said Islamic State militants had shown interest in obtaining nuclear, biological and chemical material for terror attacks in the West.

“We know terrorists are trying to acquire these substances,” said Jamie Shea, deputy assistant secretary general for emerging security threats at the North American Treaty Organization. Jorge Berto Silva, deputy head of counterterrorism for the European Commission, added that there was a justified concern.

The warning came as German and Italian intelligence officials reported their fears that IS strategists are planning suicide summer attacks on Mediterranean resorts.

The German newspaper Bild said the plans involved the use of automatic weapons on crowded beaches, similar to the shooting last June in the Tunisian beach resort of Sousse that left 38 vacationers, mostly Britons, dead. Disguised as a tourist, the gunman at Sousse, Seifeddine Rezgui Yacoubi, pulled out an AK-47 assault rifle concealed in a beach umbrella.

An Italian security official said the plans involve attacks on French, Spanish and Italian beaches. “We think they are planning to pretend they are vendors,” he said.

Tuesday Spanish police announced they had arrested a Moroccan on the island resort of Palma de Mallorca on suspicion of recruiting fighters for the Islamic State.

Many analysts argue the chances that the Islamic State will be able to secure nuclear material for even a rudimentary bomb are small but not zero. Over the past five years, the FBI has assisted authorities in Moldova in disrupting four efforts by nuclear smugglers to sell radioactive material to Middle Eastern groups. The Associated Press reported last year that one deal was focused on the attempted sale of a huge cache of deadly cesium.

Religious leaders at U.N. urge
ratification of climate accord

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Religious leaders came together in prayer Monday at the chapel of the Church Center for the United Nations to affirm the sanctity of the Earth. In a joint statement, they urged heads of state to ratify and implement the Paris climate change agreement negotiated in December. 

The interfaith statement was signed by 250 faith leaders from around the world, including the Dalai Lama, South African social rights activist and retired Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu, the former Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Haifa; and Argentine Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican's Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences. Nearly 5,000 individuals and 90 groups worldwide also signed the statement.

The event occurred days before Earth Day, Friday, when there will be a signing ceremony for the Paris agreement at U.N. headquarters.

Episcopal minister Fletcher Harper, executive director of GreenFaith, an interfaith coalition that helped organize the event, said the statement "reflects that we must regard the Earth as a gift, not just as a commodity that can be bought or sold, but as a gift that must be cherished and protected not only for the short-term economic gain, but for long-term protection of life. These are fundamental moral and religious values that are shared by traditions across the world."

The statement said Earth has already passed safe levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and the signatories called for a swift phase-out of subsides for fossil fuels and rapid adoption of renewable energy to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees C compared with pre-industrial times.

"We risk creating irreversible impacts putting hundreds of millions of lives, of all species, at severe risk," unless these measures are taken, the statement warned.

U.S. court backs standard
for boy’s bathroom access

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The battle over lesbian, gay and transgender rights continued Tuesday when a U.S. Appeals Court ruled a Virginia school's banning of a transgender student from the boy's bathroom is discriminatory.

The 4th Circuit Appeals Court referenced the U.S. Department of Education's bathroom policy that says use of sex-segregated facilities should be determined by reference to the student's gender identity.  The ruling will allow high school student Gavin Grimm to move forward with a lawsuit he filed last year.

In North Carolina, boycotts of the state's bathroom bill law continued this week with the cancellation of concerts by two popular rock bands scheduled to play in the state.

Pearl Jam canceled a concert today with a statement on its Web site Monday, saying the law was "a despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens."

The rock group Boston also canceled three planned concerts in North Carolina with an announcement on their Facebook page Monday.

Last week, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory responded to intense criticism over the state's legislation, signing an executive order that alters key provisions in the measure but leaves in place its most controversial elements.

The executive order allows private businesses in the state to establish their own policies regarding the use of bathrooms and locker rooms by transgender people and restores some of the equal opportunity employment policies and rights to sue for discrimination.

Ecuadorian death toll at 500
as aid and help are arriving

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency aid and rescue workers from all over the world are pouring into Ecuador as the death toll from Saturday's powerful earthquake climbed past 500.

That number is likely to grow, with officials saying more than 200 people are missing.

Rescuers and citizens along the Pacific coast are using everything from heavy equipment and dogs to their bare hands to dig through the collapsed homes and stores, straining to listen for cries of help.

A number of survivors have been pulled out of the rubble, but authorities say the cellphone calls and text messages from people buried under the wreckage are fading.

"Let's not kid ourselves," President Rafael Correa said after visiting the damage Tuesday. "It will be a long struggle . . . reconstruction for years, billions in investment."

Ecuador's economy is already in a severe recession because of dropping oil prices.

President Barack Obama telephoned Correa Tuesday to convey the condolences of the American people for the earthquake deaths. He assured Correa that the U.S. will do all it can to help Ecuador recover.

Saturday's 7.8 magnitude quake was felt across the entire country, but the coastal cities of Portoviejo, Manta and Pedernales were hit the hardest.
The government says it will draw down on $600 million in credit from several multinational lenders, including the World Bank, to finance its emergency response efforts.

The U.S. Agency for International Development announced Tuesday that it will deploy two teams to the site, one to assist the government by assessing damage and needs, and a second to work with a U.N. team to coordinate international rescue activities. USAID has also pledged an initial contribution of $100,000 for critical supplies.

The quake, Ecuador's worst natural disaster in more than half a century, injured more than 2,500 people and left thousands homeless. The death toll includes three Cuban doctors, a Catholic missionary nun from Northern Ireland, two Canadians and one U.S. national.

The U.N. Children’s Fund reported Tuesday that the quake has affected at least 150,000 children, having damaged 119 schools.

"We are in a race against time to protect children from disease and other risks common in such emergencies," said the agency’s representative in Ecuador, Grant Leaity.

Supreme Court deadlocks
on litigation between states

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Supreme Court is divided over whether one U.S. state is allowed to sue another.

The justices split 4-4 Tuesday over whether to overturn a 27-year-old Supreme Court precedent that allows courts in one state to sue and penalize government agencies in another state.

The case stemmed from a tax dispute involving a California resident who moved to Nevada.  Gilbert Hyatt claims he moved to Nevada in 1991, shortly before receiving $40 million in patent fees for developing a computer chip.

California officials say Hyatt moved to Nevada in 1992 and owes the state millions in back taxes.

The deadlock means the precedent that was considered when the ruling was made, Nevada v. Hall, will remain in effect.  California officials had asked the justices to overturn a 1979 case that said courts in one state can hear a private citizen's lawsuit in another state.

In a second case, also involving a state's authority to sue another state, the court ruled 6-2 that the Supreme Court of Nevada was in error when it awarded $1 million in damages to Hyatt, who had sued the California government.

The majority ruled the Supreme Court of Nevada ignored rules of immunity by awarding damages above the $50,000 maximum that would be acceptable in similar suits against Nevada.

Writing for the majority in the case Franchise Tax Board v. Hyatt, Justice Stephen Bryar said a state cannot treat another state in a hostile manner.

The 4-4 ruling is the third time the short-handed court has deadlocked since the February death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Obama meeting Saudi king
to air basic disagreements

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman are set to meet just as relations between the White House and the monarchy have become increasingly frayed, and the two longtime allies face significant disagreements over how to combat terrorism and regional conflicts.

Obama will meet today with the monarch in Riyadh on his fourth trip to Saudi Arabia as president.

The visit will be followed on Thursday with a summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council, an alliance of six Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

It appears, however, that fundamentally different priorities and strategies on combating terrorism and bringing stability to the region likely will keep Washington and Riyadh at odds on myriad key challenges.

The United States and much of Europe see the Islamic State group and al-Qaida as the top threats in the region and around the world.

For many of the Gulf states, though, the main threat emanates from Iran and the people and groups that Tehran supports, like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Shi’ite Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The Sunni-majority Saudis have led a costly military intervention against the Houthis.

“To almost all of the Arab states, Assad is at least as serious a threat as ISIS. Iran and the Shi’ite domination of Iraq is far more serious than ISIS. And in Yemen the Houthi, Iran and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula are the dominant threats,” said Anthony Cordesman, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The White House said Obama and Gulf Cooperation Council leaders will look at ways to step up cooperation, and align their policies and approaches in areas of mutual interest, such as countering terrorism and promoting peace and stability in places like Yemen and Syria.

In an interview that raised questions about the state of U.S.-Saudi relations, Obama referred to the Saudis as free riders in the battle against Islamic State, implying Riyadh benefits from the U.S. security umbrella without sharing the burden.

He also told The Atlantic that Saudi Arabia would have to learn to co-exist with Iran by learning to share the neighborhood.

White House officials would not say if the president and the king planned to discuss Obama's remarks in The Atlantic interview.

Seniors continue to rule
in government of Cuba

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Cuba's Communist Party says 84-year-old President Raul Castro will hold the party's highest post for another five years, alongside his chief lieutenant, 85-year-old hardliner José Ramón Machado Ventura.

Those disclosures came Tuesday, capping a four-day secret party congress that many analysts had expected to produce signs that party stalwarts, many of them in their 70s and 80s, would begin to step aside in favor of younger leaders.

Government news sites said Castro, whose presidency ends in 2018, will remain the party's first secretary and that Machado Ventura will hold the post of second secretary. 

Castro had earlier called for drastic changes to Cuba's Soviet-style command economy, while calling for top leaders to retire at age 70. But he has also indicated that new party rules would not be operational until the next party congress in 2021.

The reports say the party also chose its powerful 15-member political bureau, which observers say is largely devoid of new and younger party members.

The twice-a-decade congress ended a month after U.S. President Barack Obama's historic visit to Havana, the first visit by a sitting U.S. president in nearly 90 years.  Since then, Cuban leaders have sought to portray that visit as a U.S. attempt to woo ordinary Cubans away from the country's socialist values and toward a multi-party democracy.  

More than a half century ago, Machado Ventura fought alongside Fidel Castro and Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara in a rebellion against dictator Fulgencio Batista, who ruled in the 1950s. 

He has since sat on the powerful Politburo for the past four decades and has frequently been deployed by both Castros to maintain party discipline.

London unveils icon replica
of arch destroyed by terrorists

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A replica of one of Syria's most iconic monuments destroyed by Islamic State militants has been unveiled in London as part of World Heritage Week.

A recreation of the nearly 2,000 year old Arch of Triumph in Palmyra, Syria, was revealed Tuesday by London Mayor Boris Johnson in Trafalgar Square, in front of Britain's National Gallery.

The six-meter tall, full scale stone replica was created by the Oxford-based Institute of Digital Technology using state-of-the-art technology such as 3-D imaging.

Johnson said, "Monuments, as embodiments of history, religion, art and science, are significant and complex repositories of cultural narratives."

"No one should consider for one second giving terrorists the power to delete such objects from our collective cultural record," he added.

The arch was among the ruins in Palmyra, a U.N. World Heritage Site northeast of Damascus. Palmyra is known as the Pearl of the desert for its striking ancient ruins.

The militants seized Palmyra last year, but it was taken back by the Russian-backed Syrian army last month.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Office phone: 506-2446-0543
Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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

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

Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
Pacific Coast. 
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Axiom two
The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
For more information
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Axiom three
Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
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Rich Coast
Costa Rica Real Estate
    2.47 acre ocean view property w/ 2 houses & 2 unfinished apartments $249k!!!
    2 houses and pool furnished, great rental potential walk to the beach $327k w/ owner financing
    2-bedroom furnished condo 400 feet from Jacó beach $179,000

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

Have a Property For Sale? Contact Us!
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

first image
B&B for sale in Costa Rica $650,000

I believe this is the finest area of Costa Rica in which to live and, with a lock on 80percent of all tourists visiting Costa Rica, to invest. There are birds and flowers of every description, terrific neighbors, incredible views, wonderful weather with a healthy climate, visits by sloth, deer, monkeys, a very good business that can expand and grow, if desired, or simply a beautiful place to live. Please look at my Web site and the guest reviews, the people's reaction to the property, and you'll see just what a wonderful opportunity this is

There is about 7,000 square meters of land included (over 1 3/4 acres) as well as another smaller home and an apartment above the carport, designed as maid's quarters but usually rented out to tourists. The rear of the property is bordered by a small and very clean spring-fed creek/river. Across the river there is jungle, which makes for a great deal of all around privacy and which will never be developed. Restaurants, a supermarket, services, and many natural attractions are just a short distance away. The property was appraised at over $1.7 million (US) a few years ago, which might indicate what an incredible bargain this is.

It can also include a franchise for Best Western Hotel, if interested in growing with the tourism business, and a small hobby farm bordering Arenal National Park with spectacular views of Lake Arenal, is also available. All is available at an excellent price for the right person (people) and a package price can certainly be arranged. Email me at: For more photos and info click HERE!


Dorn Home
Beverly Hills Style House for Sale on Pacific Coast, Guanacaste

Lot of 2,866.33 square meters with three terraces, inside luxury house  property with 326 square meters construction. Two-story house with front porch, entry lobby, living room, dinning room, large kitchen, breakfast room, large cupboard, 3 1⁄2 bathrooms, 3 large bedrooms, the main bedroom includes jacuzzi and balcony. Playground, office, laundry area, garage for two cars, own and municipal potable water supply, electricity service, cable TV system, A/C. Located 700 meters from Las Colinas Golf Course, near the airport, Tamarindo Beach and the best beaches of the country. Excellent construction and great details. Price $349,000.   We have another extra large lot (next to the main property)  priced at $75,000.  For more information, please contact us: Emails:   or    Call Lia or Stanley phones:  (506) 2653-6417 /   (506) 7079-6577.

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

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

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

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

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

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

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


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

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

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

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

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

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

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:

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

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

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

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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:

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 20, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 77
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
quake damage
Emergency commission archive photo
Motorist surveys the road damage in Limón

Limón is marking 1991 earthquake

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As Ecuadorian workers count the dead and calculate the damage, Costa Rican emergency officials are remembering the April 22, 1991 quake that rocked the Province of Limón and  Panamá.

The quake was the worst to ever hit the country in recorded history.

This, too, was in the 7-point range, calculated at a magnitude of 7.6. This week the public libraries in Siquirres, Matina, Puerto Viejo and Limón are hosting exhibitions about what has been learned from the disaster, which is called the Changuinola quake. The epicenter was estimated to have been under the Valle la Estrella.

In Costa Rica there were 48 deaths, 651 injuries and 4,451 homes destroyed. In neighboring Panamá there were 79 deaths and 1,061 injured.

The quake raised the shore line in Limón by more than a meter and left coral exposed, said the national emergency commission in recounting the disaster Tuesday.

Regional emergency officials are meeting Thursday in Hotel Maribu Caribe to discuss the lessons learned and plan for future coordination.

Another boatload of marijuana snagged

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The sea was rough and the weather was stormy, but crews from the  Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas managed to intercept a Costa Rican-flagged fast boat carrying a ton of what was identified as Jamaican marijuana.

The interdiction Monday night took place 45 kilometers off Limón in the Caribbean. The three-person crew included a Costa Rican and two Nicaraguans, said the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

Higher quality marijuana frequently is smuggled from Jamaica to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

U.N. members to discuss illegal drugs

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Ana Helena Chacón, the nation’s second vice president, is representing the country in a high-level United Nations discussion on drug policy in New York through Thursday. Diplomats are expected to consider the challenges and the achievements of the U.N.’s drug policy.

Another speaker is the prime minister of Afganistán.

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Panamanian president says country to adopt tax reporting rules

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela says his country will adopt global tax reporting standards in the aftermath of the Panamá Papers controversy.

"To prevent the illegal use of Panama's financial systems, we would like to cooperate with other countries to improve transparency," Valera told reporters Tuesday in Tokyo.

Members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development will visit this week to negotiate ways Panamá and other countries can automatically share tax information beginning in 2018. "We have the door open to do it in a multilateral way," Valera said.

Panamá would join some 100 countries that have already agreed to automatically swapping tax information.

The Panamanian president told reporters his country will also establish a committee of domestic and foreign experts to promote transparency within Panama's financial system.

The actions are aimed at preventing another scandal similar to the Panamá Papers, which earned the country a reputation as a tax haven and a place where money laundering was common among some of the world's wealthiest people. The scandal came to light when millions of documents were leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.