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Published Friday, April 21, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 79
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Jason Torres, pictured, may be one of the competitors this weekend in Santa Teresa.
Santa Teresa surf competition begins this weekend
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Surfers are coming out for the Santa Teresa de Cóbano weekend surf competition beginning Saturday.

At least 150 competitors are playing for the OTIS-Beach Club Сup. Apparently, organizers expect many international participants as well.

The weekend series is part of the Kōlbi national circuit in Costa Rica. According to the Federación de Surf, the event draws some of the best surfers in the country for the 10th consecutive year.

Waves are expected to be at least two meters high in Santa Teresa, according to organizers.

Jair Pérez of Jacó will arrive as the expected leader for the championship in spite of the waves normally being dominated by a local surfer.
Some local upsets could potentially come from Anthony Fillingim and Ramón Taliani who, between the two, have won three national and international placements in less than two months, the federation said.

This is something that Pérez acknowledges as much as Santa Teresa consistently providing good waves, he said in a statement

At the other end are the female competitors with Coral Wiggins coming out as the expected leader in the series, according to the surf federation.

She is expected to come into the competition with Emily Gussoni, who sits at ninth place after being absent in one competition and finished out with a victory in another.
The competition will be held on Saturday and Sunday. The start times on both days will be at 7 a.m. and the series is expected to end around 5 p.m. both days.

Restricting hate speech to be topic for UNESCO
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Restricting hate speech on the Internet seems like a no-brainer until the long-term complexities are considered.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, the imbalance in the news flow between developed and lesser developed countries and the First World monopoly on emerging technologies like satellites arose as issues.

The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was the primary forum. Western newspeople saw this as an effort to control news coverage by authoritarian regimes. Costa Rica was the conference location in 1976 on what was being called then the New World Information Order.

Now the issue is human rights and hate speech. These principles are being cited as a way to restrict online content.The University for Peace in Ciudad Colón is becoming involved with this issue as the site for a forum May 3. The university and the U.N. agency, known as UNESCO for short, are sponsoring a discussion on the regulation of social media as a solution to counter hate speech online.

The university said that this theme is part of the U.N. agency’s priorities for 2017 and also is part of the school’s mandate. An announcement said that the challenge of hate speech raises the challenge of the just equilibrium between liberty of expression online and respect for equality and human dignity.

UNESCO also says on its website that the real challenge is to fully exploit the potential of new media while not compromising civil liberties, including the right to freedom of expression, to education and also to privacy.

Some would contend that this is a false division between free expression and other valued rights. Jay Rosen, writing for the American Bar Association, points out that the differences also are geographical.

He cited “the Ameri­can view, which says that speech can only be banned when it threatens to provoke imminent violence, and the European and Islamic view, which says that speech can be banned when it deni­grates or demeans the social standing of a group based on religion or ethnicity.”
The Council of Europe already has taken steps to do what it says is to create a proper balance between internet speech and racism and xenophobia.

Germany has been a leader in that regard by restricting Nazi symbols and neo-Nazi activities long ago. France also has restrictions based on content.

Some Latin American countries have followed this path, too.

Rosen is a law professor at The George Washington University and the legal affairs editor of The New Republic.

In his essay, he notes that today, lawyers at Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Twit­ter have more power over who can speak and who can be heard than any president, judge, or monarch.

The international aspects of the social media require that the private companies employ fancy footwork to remain out of the grips of local laws and regulations.

China’s authoritarian regime, of course, has legions of social media inspectors, and some international firms have bowed to their wishes at the expense of free expression by Chinese.

UNESCO in its 2015 study notes that some international treaties already ban expressing ideas of superiority or inferiority of people categorized by race.

Free expression supporters say that the best way of countering the speech is to counter it with more speech.

Still, even in western democracies there are pressure groups seeking controls mainly   extreme right wing and anti-Muslim speech on the social media.

And there are those would quickly approve barriers to espousing racial hatred or other discriminatory statements on social media. Those prohibitions also could include statements about ethnicity, language group, gender, religion, sexual preference or nationality, as noted by UNESCO. The U.N. Agency also notes that the phenomenon of hate speech calls into question some of the most fundamental principles on which societies are built.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 21, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 79
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Sweden researcher Carlos Rojas discusses Costa Rica and refugees.

Author criticizes Costa Rica on refugees

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Swedish social analyst Carlos Rojas has recently published a stinging critique that alleges Costa Rica has the capacity to receive more refugees than the country has done so far.

The author, Rojas, is one of the leading figures at Sweden Research, a group which conducts studies and analysis in issues concerning social sustainability and urban development for authorities, municipalities, and other publicly financed organizations.

Within the pages of his book “¿Cual es el limité?,” translated in English as “What is the limit?”, Rojas examines the state of the refugee crisis facing many European countries. He calls the current system unsustainable not due to the high number of refugees, but rather for the system that is based on keeping them away.

He cites in his book around 86 countries that the well-known non-governmental organization Freedom House calls democracies. With a population of three billion and the number of persons seeking refuge at 50 million, that represents an interesting compare and contrast. Taking those two numbers together, he continues, it is the equivalent of 1.5 percent of the total population of those countries seeking refuge.

His book theorizes that if those countries, all together, decided to accept refugees for a period of three years, it would mean an annual reception rate of 0.5 percent of the population during those years. In the case of Costa Rica, Rojas said, that would mean around 30,000. That is a level lower than the one Sweden, the country where he resides, has experienced in the last years.

Rojas acknowledges in the book that, as the amount of people claiming refugee status increases, then it is likely that more are going to arrive in Costa Rica. To that end, he suggests that Costa Rica takes this into account and formulate a plan to handle those refugees when they arrive and take the first step by opening, rather than slamming, the door.

The book Rojas writes cites evidence taken from studies and reports by Freedom House and from findings made from the European Asylum Support Office. Most of the refugees and asylum seekers in Costa Rica typically come from Cuba, Haiti or the area known as the Northern Triangle, which constitutes Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

Online tool estimates cost of solar power

By the A.M. Costa Rica Staff

Those interested in cheaper electricity alternatives for residential purposes may now calculate how much it would cost to transition to solar power, thanks to the online tool

There, consumers may input their location, their electricity consumption and the name of their provider. When the data is completed, the site will let users know how many solar panels they would need, how much it would cost and how much they would save out of their investment.

This is a joint project between the Universidad de Costa Rica, Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, the German Development Cooperation Agency, The Costa Rica – USA foundation and Bac-Credomatic.

"The idea is to guide people who want to invest in photovoltaic panels, but lack the technical knowledge to install it in homes and businesses,” said Gustavo Valverde, a researcher at the electrical engineering school at Universidad de Costa Rica.

"This tool allows citizens and companies to determine what systems are required to meet their electrical needs,” said Irene Cañas, the vice minister of energy and environmental management at the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía.

“We are pleased that this alliance gets us closer to our goals of sustainable development," she added.

To develop this application, the financial group Bac-San José invested $25,000, according to Luis Mastroeni, manager of social corporate responsibility.

“In the next few months we'll start offering a lease so that residential customers can switch to a more sustainable energy source,” he said. “In general terms, a family of four would need to invest about $4,000 to buy the panels, with us they can afford that on a monthly payment of $46.”

According to data provided by Bac-San José, the tool has the potential to  benefit more than 12,000 people, allowing them to save up to $18.3 million annually. The data also claims that a family could save up to 70 percent off their current bill.

OECD innovation report underwhelming

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Thursday, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, also known as the OECD, issued a report about the innovation requirements Costa Rica has to meet before being accepted as a member.

The presentation of the study took place in Casa Presidencial by Andrew Wyckoff, director of science, technology and innovation of the organization.

Wyckoff said that, although Costa Rica has been positioned as a leading country in the region thanks to its internationalization and market opening, it still has an urgent need to increase productivity particularly in the areas of small and medium-sized domestic enterprises.

According to the director, this can be achieved by reducing the barriers to innovation and increasing the investment in research and development. In other words, that may mean some cutting in business regulations in favor of more neo-liberal policies favored by the organization.

The report warns about the facts that most of the foreign investment is still poorly connected to local firms and that exports continue to be concentrated in foreign-owned firms.

“Current programs in support of science, technology and innovation are too small to have a sufficient impact and trigger a change in Costa Rica's innovation capabilities,” the document reads.

In regards to public funding for the development of research in the country, the study suggests the creation of modern funding mechanisms and also better ways to evaluate the quality of the investigations produced. The study also suggests the creation of what is titled professional research funding.  “Scientific quality is lower than in comparable Latin American countries,” says the report.

Today, a team from the organization will meet some other government officials to run workshops and define an action plan to achieve the organization's recommendations.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 21, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 79
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Costa Rica seeks stronger ties with increasingly authoritarian Turkey
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana, with which Costa Rica is an active member-state, met Thursday in Istanbul with a bid to strengthen and espouse greater ties with Turkey.

Turkey has recently made headlines around the world following a referendum vote on the constitution that yielded enormous transfers of power to the president, currently Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Some reports believed that such actions have caused an increase in authoritarian rule in the secular, democratic nation of Turkey.

During one of many speeches, Manuel González, the Costa Rican foreign minister, highlighted the strategic importance between Turkey and Central America.

According to a statement by the organization, he also discussed the possibilities of working together on the five pillars of the integration with the sustainable development agenda.

The meeting was attended by the foreign ministers of Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Dominican Republic as well as representatives of Nicaragua and Panamá. Turkey was admitted observer status in the system back in 2015.

Beyond the regular dialogue and promises of aid or cooperation, it seems that Turkey is interested in establishing a free trade agreement with these nations.

Turkey has been a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization since 1952. The United States regards the nation as a strategic partner, previously during the Cold War against the Soviet Union and now with the civil war in Syria raging and

the fight against the Islamic State still on.

The relationship has become tense in recent years mainly due to the United States’ support of Kurdish militias fighting against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
A Kurdish separatist movement in Turkey is viewed as its own terrorist organization within the echelons of the ruling administration.

At the same time, it has been noted that Turkey is one of the most repressive countries when it comes to limitations of the free press as well as expressions and assembly particularly following an attempted military coup last July.

Since that time, observers have noted that Erdogan has potentially used that as an excuse to install himself as more of a strongman and less of a democratic leader within the Muslim-majority country.

Costa Rica touts itself often and frequently as having an excellent set of standards and reputation globally for human rights. Meanwhile, organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have noted a steep decline in freedom of expression and assembly as well as court packing and quashing of opposition by the current Turkish government headed by Erdogan.

Aside from promises of what is called a cultural cooperation agreement, Turkey also pledged to jointly combat drug trafficking with Costa Rica, according to the Costa Rican foreign ministry. It appears during the visit that the ministry did not announce nor mention anything during the meeting as to these issues facing Turkey. The ministry did say, however, that:
“Turkey is a strategic ally and a potential market of great value for foreign direct investment and increased exports.”

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 21, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 79
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Sea floor erosion and rising levels is killing coral reefs, study says
By the European Geosciences Union press staff

In the first ecosystem-wide study of changing sea depths at five large coral reef tracts in Florida, the Caribbean and Hawaii, researchers found the sea floor is eroding in all five places, and the reefs cannot keep pace with sea level rise.

As a result, coastal communities protected by the reefs are facing increased risks from storms, waves and erosion. The study, by the U.S. Geological Survey, was published Thursday in “Biogeosciences,” a journal of the European Geosciences Union.

At two sites in the Florida Keys, two in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and in waters surrounding the Hawaiian island of Maui, coral reef degradation has caused sea floor depths to increase and sand and other sea floor materials to erode over the past few decades, the “Biogeosciences” study found.

In the waters around Maui, the sea floor losses amounted to 81 million cubic meters of sand, rock and other material, about what it would take to fill up the Empire State Building 81 times, or an Olympic swimming pool about 32,000 times, the researchers calculated.

As sea levels rise worldwide due to climate change, each of these ecologically and economically important reef ecosystems is projected to be affected by increasing water depths. The question of whether coral colonies can grow fast enough to keep up with rising seas is the subject of intense scientific research.

But the U.S. Geological Survey study, found the combined effect of rising seas and sea floor erosion has already increased water depths more than what most scientists expected to occur many decades from now.

Other studies that do not factor in sea floor erosion have predicted seas will rise by between 0.5 and 1 meter by 2100.

“Our measurements show that seafloor erosion has already caused water depths to increase to levels not predicted to occur until near the year 2100,” said biogeochemist Kimberly Yates of the Survey’s St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, the study’s lead author. “At current rates, by 2100 sea floor erosion could increase water depths by two to eight times more than what has been predicted from sea level rise alone.”

The study did not determine specific causes for the sea floor erosion in these coral reef ecosystems. But the authors pointed out that coral reefs worldwide are declining due to a combination of forces, including natural processes, coastal development, overfishing, pollution, coral bleaching, diseases and ocean acidification, which a change in seawater chemistry linked to the oceans’ absorption of more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

For each of the five coral reef ecosystems, the team gathered detailed sea floor measurements from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration taken between 1934 and 1982, and also used surveys done from the late 1990s to the

dead coral
U.S. Geological Survey photo
Coral near the U.S. Virgin Islands has died and collapsed.

2000s by the Lidar Program and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Until about the 1960s sea floor measurements were done by hand, using lead-weighted lines or sounding poles with depth markings.
From approximately the 1960s on, most measurements were based on the time it takes an acoustic pulse to reach the sea floor and return. The researchers converted the old measurements to a format comparable with recent lidar data.

They compared the old and new sets of measurements to find the mean elevation changes at each site. The method has been used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to track other kinds of sea floor changes, such as shifts in shipping channels.

This is the first time it has been applied to whole coral reef ecosystems. Next the researchers developed a computer model that used the elevation changes to calculate the volume of sea floor material lost.

They found that, overall, sea floor elevation has decreased at all five sites, in amounts ranging from 0.09 meters to 0.8 meters. All five reef tracts also lost large amounts of coral, sand, and other sea floor materials to erosion.

“We saw lower rates of erosion and even some localized increases in seafloor elevation in areas that were protected, near refuges, or distant from human population centers,” Yates said.

“But these were not significant enough to offset the ecosystem-wide pattern of erosion at each of our study sites.”

Worldwide, more than 200 million people live in coastal communities protected by coral reefs, which serve as natural barriers against storms, waves and erosion.  These ecosystems also support jobs, provide about one-quarter of all fish harvests in the tropical oceans, and are important for recreation and tourism.

The study brought together ecosystem scientists and coastal engineers, who plan to use the results to assess the risks to coastal communities that rely on coral reefs for protection from storms and other hazards.

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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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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 21, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 79
Real Estate
About us
Opponents of Maduro gather
in downtown Caracas again

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Opponents of the Venezuelan government converged in downtown Caracas for a second day Thursday, pledging to sustain peaceful pressure on leftist President Nicolás Maduro to restore democracy in the crisis-ridden country.

Security teams were out in force nationwide after at least three people were fatally shot Wednesday, as tens of thousands of pro- and anti-government factions took to the streets in the largest anti-government demonstrations in decades. Among the victims were a 17-year-old boy and a 23-year-old woman, both shot in the head in separate incidents.

A National Guard soldier also reportedly was killed in protests in Miranda state, near Caracas.

Wednesday's deaths bring the number of people killed in almost three weeks of escalating protests to eight. In recent protests, security forces have fired rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons.

Late Wednesday, Maduro announced that security forces had detained 30 people for allegedly planning violence.

Maduro supporter Diosdado Cabello, a National Assembly lawmaker with the ruling United Socialist Party, decried the National Guard member’s death and blamed it on opposition protesters.

On Thursday morning, supporters of the center-right political opposition blocked the Prados del Este freeway in both directions.

Businesses and universities were closed for a second consecutive day, Agence France-Presse reported, noting that the previous day was a national holiday -- April 19 marked the anniversary of the Venezuelans’ 1810 opening battle for independence from Spain.

In recent days, Maduro ordered troops to fan out around the country on high alert, and he encouraged his backers, including civilian militia members, to defend against alleged plans to overthrow his government. He announced plans to expand the militia to half a million from its current strength of 100,000 and to arm them with rifles.

The United Nations issued a statement Thursday expressing concern about the latest developments and urged that all efforts be made to lower tensions and prevent further clashes.

In Washington, administration officials are worried the Venezuela government is working to suppress the opposition.

“We are concerned that the government of Maduro is violating its own constitution and is not allowing the opposition to have their voices heard, nor allowing them to organize in a way that expresses the views of the Venezuelan people," U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday at the State Department.

The Maduro government’s seizure of U.S.-based General Motors’ sole factory in Venezuela is likely to add to Tillerson’s worries. The Detroit automaker described Wednesday’s takeover by Venezuelan authorities as an illegal judicial seizure of assets. In a statement Thursday, GM said vehicles and other assets were taken from the plant.

The company has about 2,700 workers in Venezuela. GM’s statement said that if the government allowed the move, employees would get separation benefits arising from the termination of employment relationships beyond the parties’ control.

Maduro had rallied his supporters to turn out for a counter march Wednesday, and thousands showed up wearing the red clothing that marked them as Chavistas. Chavez launched the leftist movement carried on by Maduro, who succeeded him as president in 2013.

The demonstrations 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 Chavez, reversed its position in the wake of domestic and international outcries about an attempted power grab.

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.

Illegal immigrant named
on the 2017 Time 100 list

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Jeanette Vizguerra, a Mexican woman seeking to avoid deportation from the United States, sought a safe place in the basement of a church in Denver, Colorado, in mid-February.

This week, she filed her federal tax return. On Thursday, she was named one of the "2017 Time 100,” Time Magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

"This award, hopefully, helps to take away the label, the tag, that those of us who are undocumented have; that we are criminals, that we don't contribute," Ms. Vizguerra said with the help of a translator during a news conference at the First Unitarian Church, the place she has been living in to avoid being arrested by immigration officials and deported.

Her legal team says her story is well-known. Reports say she was pulled over in 2009 for driving with expired registration tags. She was arrested for presenting fake documents and spent 23 days in jail.

Julie Gonzales, Ms. Vizguerra's legal representative, told the Los Angeles Times that her client pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of possessing a forged instrument.

Since then, Ms. Vizguerra has been in deportation proceedings. She checked in with immigration officials many times in the past, but after the election of a new president and seeing others check in only to get deported, she decided to find refuge in a church.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement guidelines, places like schools, hospitals, churches, synagogues and mosques are considered sensitive locations, which means immigration is still following its practice of not entering to arrest those living there.

Spokespersons for the agency said that enforcement actions at sensitive locations should generally be avoided, and require either prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official or exigent circumstances necessitating immediate action.

Reports say Ms. Vizguerra left the U.S. in 2012 to visit her mother, who died before she arrived. When she tried to return to Colorado, Ms. Vizguerra was arrested for entering the country illegally.

She was detained again, pleaded guilty, and was released pending check-ins with immigration officials. But under President Donald Trump's executive orders on immigration, she is now a priority.

The order signed in January makes undocumented immigrants with pending criminal cases priorities for deportation, whether they have been found guilty or not.

Former President Barack Obama prioritized deportations of those convicted of serious crimes.

Ms. Vizguerra's profile on Time's website was written by America Ferrera, an actor and activist whose description of the mother of four differs from the rhetoric used during the last presidential campaign.

"The current administration has scapegoated immigrants, scaring Americans into believing that undocumented people like Jeanette are criminals," Ms. Ferrera wrote. "She came to this country not to rape, murder or sell drugs, but to create a better life for her family. She shed blood, sweat and tears to become a business owner, striving to give her children more opportunities than she had. This is not a crime. This is the American Dream."

Ms. Vizguerra came to the United States from México in 1997 with her husband and oldest daughter. She worked as a janitor and union organizer. She also was the founder of the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition.

Her daughter is protected from deportation under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era program. She also has three U.S.-born children, all under age 12.

U.S. preparing charges
against Julian Assange

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. sources have told CNN that they have prepared charges against Julian Assange, the Australian whistleblower who founded WikiLeaks.

The U.S. Justice Department has been investigating Assange since at least 2010, when WikiLeaks published thousands of stolen U.S. security files.

Last week in a speech in Washington, D.C., Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo said WikiLeaks directed a U.S. Army intelligence analyst in 2010 to intercept specific secret information that overwhelmingly focuses on the United States.

The Washington Post reports that prosecutors in the Justice Department have been drafting a memo considering charges against people connected with WikiLeaks. But the Post reports that any charges against those people would need approval from the highest levels of the Justice Department.

U.S. intelligence agencies say Russia used WikiLeaks to publish emails by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the run-up to last year's presidential election.

Hackers working for Russia are believed to have gotten into the accounts of officials of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee and published their emails on WikiLeaks, in order to tamper with the election's outcome.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday at a news conference that Assange's arrest is a priority for the Trump administration.

Assange's lawyer, however, told CNN that he has not heard from the Justice Department about any charges against his client. "They've been unwilling to have any discussion at all, despite our repeated requests that they let us know what Mr. Assange's status is in any pending investigations," Barry Pollack said.

Pollack said WikiLeaks should be treated the same as other news outlets, such as The Washington Post and New York Times, which routinely publish stories based on classified information. His position echoes the stance taken by the Obama administration, which elected not to prosecute WikiLeaks.

Officials in the Trump administration indicated early on that they might re-examine the issue, which was never formally closed.

Assange is wanted on rape charges in Sweden, but has been granted asylum by the South American nation of Ecuador. He has been living since 2012 in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to avoid arrest and extradition.

The Post on April 11 published an opinion piece by Assange that said, "Quite simply, our motive is identical to that claimed by the New York Times and the Post: to publish newsworthy content.

"Consistent with the U.S. Constitution, we publish material that we can confirm to be true, irrespective of whether sources came by that truth legally or have the right to release it to the media," he added.

Marijuana support grows
within the United States

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Marijuana enthusiasts in the United States celebrate April 20, or 4/20 as an informal holiday, but this year they have something else to get excited about: New polling data show support for legalization of the drug is at an all-time high.

Sixty percent of Americans say they support the legalization of marijuana, according to a poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University. The same poll taken in December 2012 showed 51 percent of respondents supported legalization.

"From a stigmatized, dangerous drug bought in the shadows, to an accepted treatment for various ills, to a widely accepted recreational outlet, marijuana has made it to the mainstream," Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement.

According to the poll, an overwhelming 94 percent of respondents said they support the use of marijuana by adults for medicinal purposes, also the highest level of support seen in the poll's history.

Seventy-three percent of Americans said they oppose enforcement of federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana.

Currently, 29 states have legalized marijuana use for medicinal purposes, and eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use.

U.S. rejects Italian pleas
to help stabilize Libya

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Efforts to enlist more help from the United States in addressing Europe's migrant crisis appear to be falling short, with the Italian prime minister seemingly rebuffed during a joint news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House.

"I do not see a role in Libya," Trump told reporters Thursday when asked about doing more to stabilize the North African country, which has become a focal point for the migrant crisis. "I think the United States right now has enough roles."

"I do see a role in getting rid of ISIS," the president added, using an acronym for Islamic State. "I see that as a primary role, and that's what we're going to do whether it's in Iraq or in Libya, or anywhere else."

The answer is unlikely to satisfy Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who moments earlier called on the Trump administration to follow up its counterterrorism efforts with a political commitment.

"The U.S. role in this is very critical," Gentiloni said. "We need a stable and unified Libya."

Gentiloni's comments seemed to build on remarks he made earlier Thursday, when he described the need for Italian and U.S. action in Libya as absolutely crucial. He said continued chaos could allow the Islamic State terror group to retrench, using it as a base to destabilize neighboring countries and launch more attacks against Europe.

"Stabilizing Libya is fundamental," Gentiloni said during a talk at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "We can avoid Libya into a new theater for competition of external powers, both regional and global, which is a risk."

Italy, in particular, sees Libya as a focal point for the migrant crisis, with 97 percent of the migrants who arrive on Italy's shores either originating from the country or using it as a transit point.

Last month, the Italian coast guard said the number of migrants saved in rescue operations this year had surpassed 15,000. Meanwhile, the last estimates by the United Nations refugee agency put the number of dead in 2017 alone at 440.

Prior to their meeting Thursday, Gentiloni said he planned to push Trump to keep the U.S. focused on Libya and the migrant crisis, both during the White House visit and again during next month's G7 Summit.

He warned that without more urgent action, Europe could be engulfed by what he described as waves of chaos from across the Mediterranean Sea.

"Too many Europeans have been living under the illusion that they could separate their destiny from the Mediterranean and from the crises originating from this region," Gentiloni said.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

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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. Already own a timeshare and looking to sell? Stop saying “sell my timeshare” and let help you find a buyer or renter.

solar one

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

Solar device
NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
Solar collector
BUY NOW! Your solar hot water system, so in three months, we can calculate a lower install price for your PV system.  Perfect for homes and hotels. Save up to 40% of your electric bill.
More Watts per Panel, Smarter and more Capable Enphase Micro Inverters mean Less Cost and more Flexibility for You.

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

    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
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Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 21, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 79
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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

Coast guard rescues four U.S. citizens

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Four U.S. family members, two of them young girls, were rescued Wednesday afternoon at Guanacaste’s Playa Flamingo.

The Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas said the family's rented kayak flipped over and forced them to swim over 200 meters to nearby La Penca Island.

According to Rodolfo Coto, director of the local Flamingo coast guard unit, crewmen there received an anonymous alert from a foreign caller warning them about the accident.

The coast guard team looked for the kayak but could not see it. After more searching they spotted the castaways already on the spit of rock and proceeded to the rescue. The four rescued gringos were Paul Pinta, 42 and a former coast guard crewman from Massachusetts, and also Eric Wales, also 42.

Wales is the father of Summer and Skyler, aged 5 and 3. According to the rescuers, none of them was seriously injured. Pinta did have some bruises on his left arm.

The kayak itself was already towed by the time coast guard officers arrived to the island. According to Coto, the renters of the boat took care of it before taking care of the passengers. The four visitors said to officers they were renting a house in neighboring Playa Danta.

Grandfather and grandson murdered

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Judicial Investigating Organization has detained a suspect in the death of a 67-year-old man and his 7-year-old grandson in Coronado, San José. Police found their bodies with multiple stab wounds.

According to a preliminary report, the victims were sleeping in their house, and around 3 p.m. a man tried to enter their house but failed in the first attempt. Two hours later the same man returned and got into the house, only this time using violence, police said. Cries and noise awoke the neighbors who called the Fuerza Pública.

The individual tried to escape the place by using the older man's car but fell in a ditch and got stuck.

That's when the police officers arrived to the place and arrested a man, reported to be 20 years old and the son of the murdered adult.

$5 million billed to delinquent payers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The first quarter of 2017 gave some employers another round of bills from the Costa Rican social security fund.

According to data provided by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, the organization billed over $5 million to delinquent employers who had not yet paid for the medical care owed to employees. That represents a jump of around 83 percent by comparison to last year, the Caja said.

In the event that an employer is delinquent for more than a month, the Caja is required by its regulations to bill that employer the full cost of the medical fees that an employee may have used. This occurs if they are late in paying after more than a month, the organization said.

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From Page 7:

Expat group promotes online notary service

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

U.S. expats who need to have their signatures authenticated on a legal document usually end up traveling to the U.S. consulate where the going rate is $50.

An expat advocacy group, American Citizens Abroad, Inc., has issued a reminder that there are other options. In particular, the advocacy group is promoting the services of Safedocs, Inc., an online notary service.

At rates starting at $75 for overseas individuals, the company is more expensive than the embassy consulate services. But American Citizens Abroad notes that traveling to a U.S. Embassy frequently is not convenient. The embassy for Costa Rica is located in Pavas, but staffers frequently make trips to other parts of the country.

The services of a notary guarantees that the person signing the document is really the person whose name is supposed to be there. Safedocs does that by farming out notary services around the United States and allowing customers to contact notaries by video.

U.S. expats sometimes go to online chat sites in search of a notary. But a U.S. notary cannot exercise those duties outside the limits of the state in which he or she was certified.

U.S. notary services usually are very reasonable. Some banks will provide notary services to customers for free.

Under certain conditions a Costa Rica notary, who is always a lawyer, can provide that service if his work is accepted by the jurisdiction in the United States. Notary fees here usually start at 10,000 colons, about $19, for a simple document.

More than 50 Costa Rican government agencies accept digital signatures that are placed on a computerized document to verify the sender. Lawyers frequently use these to file documents, but they stop short of being accepted overseas as an authenticated signature. Expats can obtain such a digital signature and the computer attachment to use it at various state banks.