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Published Monday, April 24, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 80
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$2.8 million given to Catholic Church by the State
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

In the last three years, the government under Luis Guillermo Solís transferred about $2.8 million in subsidies to the Catholic Church. The vast majority of funds have been used to support Christian-oriented education centers and the construction and restoration of parishes and chapels.

The money has been granted as temporalidades, which means state discretional subsidies that may vary depending on the beneficiary and amount of money granted each year, according to Ministerio de Hacienda.

Costa Rica’s government provides financial assistance to the Roman Catholic Church based on Article 75 of the Constitution, which states that its patronage is a duty of the state, while other congregations may exercise their faith as long as they don’t oppose morality.

As per Costa Rican law, only three ministries have an authorization to provide money for the Roman Catholic Church: the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto, the Ministerio de Educación Pública and the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

Also, autonomous institutions or individuals may donate to the church as they see fit. Of all the ministries, education is by far the leader in transfers for the purpose of economic support to Catholic schools and high schools.

In 2014, the Ministerio de Educación Pública transferred $766,000. In 2015 it sent $737,000 and last year, $708,000.
Among the recurring beneficiaries are Instituto Educativo San Jorge, Centro Educativo Daniel Combi and Centro Educativo San Ambrosio.

Part of the money granted by the ministry in 2014 was also used to build the Parroquia Nuestra Señora del Carmen and helped to fund the remodeling of the Capilla San Luis, both in the city of Cañas, in Guanacaste.

In the case of the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud, all the money transferred has been allocated to the conservation of the archdioceses archives. For that purpose, the cultural ministry transferred $84,600 between 2014 to 2016.

Basilica de
                              Nuestra Senora de los Angeles
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Conor Golden
Churches got state money for renovations.

In regards to the foreign relations ministry, its single transfer was $1 million wired on 2014. At the time the money was used to restore the Templo Católico de San Isidro de Heredia and also restore the Parroquia La Inmaculada de Colorado in Tilarán, Guanacaste.

As of today, Catholic priests also have some privileges afforded to them with Catholicism being the official state religion. They are able to visit prisoners and hospitalized patients with much less hassle than pastors and other religious leaders face for one thing.

Also, marriages carried out by Catholic priests are automatically registered in the civil registry, while members of other denominations must be married by their church and then be witnessed in front of a public notary.

Back in April 2014, the then-minister of the Presidencia and bishop of the Costa Rican Lutheran Church, Melvin Jiménez, sent to the legislative assembly the bill 19.099, which sought to break the monopoly of the financial and fiscal benefits of the Catholic Church and spread them among other religious congregations.

The proposal stirred public debate, as it would require the state to create a registry of the authorized faiths in Costa Rica along with its respective funding. However, the bill did not go through, and some non-government organization like Invisibles and Movimiento por un Estado Laico showed their open opposition.

In August 2014, President Solís said he would move his government towards the creation of a more secular state. At the time he said that a secular state does not mean a godless one, however Catholicism remains in the Constitution as the official state religion of Costa Rica.

Government eyes turn to Golfito area over weekend
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This past week provided a visit by the Costa Rican president and a flurry of self-congratulatory press releases from varying elements of the government regarding one of the poorest and least-developed areas of Costa Rica: Golfito.

Last Friday, President Luis Guillermo Solís helped inaugurate the opening of the Golfito Marina Village & Resort. The project seeks to give some tourist attention to the Golfito area and the Zona Sur region.

The nearly $50 million dollar investment in the project is mixed capital coming from the United States and Costa Rica. According to a statement from Casa Presidencial, 70 percent of the whole project has been financed by the Banco Nacional.

The hope among officials is that the marina-resort area, constituting 2,000 square meters, will be a boon for tourism, employment and development. That is what the president emphasized. That is what the tourism ministry emphasized.

Call it coincidence or call it correlation, but the president’s recent visit to the region also came with several other statements released by varying government organizations. The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social issued two separate statements Friday about its work in aiding Golfito.

According to one release, the Caja is preparing to give a billion colons to improve the health conditions of around 42,000 people in Golfito.

Some of that money has gone to improve the Hospital Manuel Mora Valverde, according to the Caja. That includes renovation of offices, the consultation wing, new beds, X-rays and adding air conditioning among other things.
                              Marina & Beach Resort
Casa Presidencial photo
Golfito Marina Village & Resort.

The Caja explained that the hospital has 75 beds, two operating rooms and various specific areas of medicine including psychiatry, orthopedics, gynecology and pediatrics.

Simultaneously, the Caja moved its branch location to newer facilities in the Golfito canton. The branch is used by the organization for people to receive their disability payments, subsidies, insurance, bills and pensions among other services. The Caja said total investment in the building and subsequent move amounted to 390 million colons.

Previously, the facilities were housed in an old, wooden building once occupied by the Compañía Bananera. The new building is apparently more spacious, has modern ventilation and is updated with the rules and regulations governing the building code.

Separately, the Instituto de Desarrollo Rural, that is overseeing the government’s national recovery plan for indigenous territories, met with leaders of the Bribrí tribe Thursday.

The main concerns between the two parties are over issues of development as much as protecting territorial sovereignty of the tribe’s areas.

There was not much else as far as elaborations on tangible projects and the institute reaffirming its commitment to the region.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 24, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 80
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Police break up alleged cockfighting ring in Limón province.

Police detain 102 for alleged cockfighting

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police forces detained more than 102 people participating in an apparent cockfighting ring and seized almost the exact same number of live roosters believed to be used as competitors in the bloody activities.

The raid occurred Sunday morning in 28 Miles de Batan in the province of Limón. According to a preliminary report, members of the Departamento de Inteligencia Policial and the Fuerzas Especiales Operativas of the Fuerza Pública seized a large number of cocks, money and weapons along with a small amount of drugs.

Police said over 102 people were directly engaged or were in the vicinity as spectators watching the cockfighting. 92 cocks were found alive and 126 were dead as a result of the bloody activity, officials said.

Aside from the large amount of cocks and the number of people present at the time, police also seized 77 leather bags used to transport the roosters into the makeshift arenas before the fights. There were also 320 razor-sharp spurs that are attached to the feet of the roosters, which then uses it to slash and slice at each other during the fights.

Peñas Blancas has a new customs post

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The finance ministry inaugurated its new customs checkpoint this past Friday at Peñas Blancas.

According to the Ministerio de Hacienda, the post sits on a former property lot held by the Municipalidad de La Cruz in Guanacaste. With the new building, all the procedures necessary to cross the border into Nicaragua can all be conducted in one place in addition to improving security for civil servants and travelers using it, the ministry said.

For his part, the director-general for Aduanas said that this crossing is the gateway for Costa Rica’s trade with Central America and México to the north. In 2016, customs only collected about $1.18 million at this area despite the importance of the transit point, the ministry said.

The finance minister and first vice president, Helio Fallas, noted that the new building will also be stocked with modern equipment and improved surveillance systems. This is a part of the ministry’s wider attempt at modernizing Aduanas to meet the rigors and traffic of present-day trade and traveler transit.

Always noting the budget, Hacienda also said that the new facilities could reduce the cost of maintenance billed to the central government. It is expected that the offices of the fiscal police, the Instituto Nacional de Seguros, immigration, and the animal health service among other government entities will be located in the same building.

Costa Rica with U.S. does joint drug busts

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican Guardacostas and officials from the United States teamed up to take two boats allegedly loaded with cocaine and marijuana last Thursday evening.

The first case began around 8:30 p.m., according to reports from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, when Costa Rican coast guardsmen intercepted a boat 67 nautical miles off the coast of Limón. The ship, bearing a Costa Rican flag, was manned by four crew members who claimed they were Nicaraguan fishermen and legal residents of Costa Rica, coast guard officials said.

The boat was taken to Limón to be inspected by members of the Policía de Control de Drogas as officials believe that the cargo on board is full of marijuana.

The second case constituted a joint effort between the U.S. Coast Guard and the Costa Rican authorities. A second boat registered in Puntarenas was found in the Pacific Ocean manned by five Costa Ricans and an Ecuadorian. When the Coast Guard vessel approached the boat, the crew began tossing some packages overboard, according to a report.

The Coast Guard recovered over 20 packages loaded with what is believed by officials to be cocaine. This interception took place around 6 p.m. Thursday in international waters.

Our reader’s opinion
A cost-benefit analysis of solar power

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
We listened to the siren voices of the slick salespeople and our green consciences and installed solar water heating four years ago.We have lots of hot water most of the time. The financial case looks rosy when presented by enthusiasts.
However the economics suck. Leaks brought our ceiling down three times since then. The cost of repairs was never factored in.
We were told that the expected life of the system was 20 years. That raises two points. Most gringos do not stay for anything like that period. Some of us have a life-expectancy of less than that. Worse, most roofs will not last so long.
The way salesmen present the economic case shows the payback period. No large business or economist would agree that this is a sensible way to value a project. I normally use the present value of future cash flows method. This applies a discount rate to future benefits and is a rather complex calculation. It shows dramatically lower benefits than the payback period.
Installation companies offer guarantees. Most of these firms are small, many have a short history. Maybe the principals are old. Who is to say they will still be in business or will stand by guarantees? Do the guarantees cover ceilings and collateral damage? Good luck if you are foolish enough to go to the local courts in the case of a dispute.
We like having a greener property and despite the ridiculously uneconomic benefits are happy. Just think before you sign on the dotted line.
Chris Clarke

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Costa Rica

Third News Page
U.S. Tax
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 24, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 80
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Science march wants public funding but some are still skeptical
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Thousands marched for science over the weekend to celebrate Earth Day.  Part of the effort was to encourage more public funding on research, according to organizers.

But the placards and statements did not really address what kind of science marchers were seeking and what kind of science should be supported.

The march in the United States also highlighted the Trump administration's decision to end financing for climate change research.

Many professions in the United States are suspicious about government control and money. That includes lawyers and journalists, and both have their own private organizations and foundations.

Trump is not the only politician critical of federal funding of science. William Proxmire, the Democratic senator from Wisconsin, made a name for himself by denouncing government science grants with his Golden Fleece awards he popularized until he retired in 1998.  Sen. Rand Paul seems to have picked up the challenge with “The Waste Report.”

The Kentucky Republican said in December that his two years of highlighting government grants showed nearly $2 billion of wasteful misplaced priorities and bad management.

Other sources for research are private companies, foundations and colleges and universities. Part of this newspaper is being produced by software created at universities and sold to the public. There also are research divisions in a number of government departments where employees do the work.

Obtaining a federal grant for research is a complex venture, and those who evaluate proposals are pretty conservative. They use what is known as peer review by calling on the evaluations of experts to see if a proposal should get money. Consequently, there is a lot of personal politics, and proposals with the right buzz words have an advantage.

The well-known communications professor Lee Thayer points out in1983 that there were two kinds of research: that which is done for money and that which is done for other reasons.

Academic researchers are supposed to publish papers to gain promotion and tenure. Many times, publication is the goal rather than adding to knowledge. And these seem to be the types of efforts Senators Proxmire and Paul have cited.

Even once the research plows new ground, there is a good chance the public will not be impressed.

The Gallup Organization reported in 2014 that a national survey showed that more than four in 10 Americans continue to believe the Old Testament view that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago. That is a view that has been debunked repeatedly by research into evolution.

                    for Science
March for Science graphic
Marchers left a lot of opposition and a lot of questions.

Said Gallup:

“Between 40 percent and 47 percent of Americans over the past 32 years have said the creationist explanation for the origin of human life best fits their personal views. These Americans tend to be highly religious, underscoring the degree to which many Americans view the world around them through the lens of their religious beliefs. Those who adopt the creationist view also tend to have lower education levels, but given the strong influence of religious beliefs, it is not clear to what degree having more education or different types of education might affect their views.”

In fact, many Americans report that they fully believe in the biblical story of Adam and Eve.

Charles Darwin advanced the belief in 1859 that humans and other creatures evolved though natural selection. That concept has become the foundation of natural sciences, and Darwin paid his own way when he traveled for five years on the H.M.S. Beagle collecting information for his book.

Albert Einstein also developed his theories of relativity on his own time while he was working at a Swiss patent office.

Both concepts clashed with the understanding of the day just as modern research clashes with current understanding.

For example, principal figures in the world’s religions are reported to have taken their leave by rising into the air. Muhammad used a winged horse. But modern science shows that Heaven is not located somewhere in space. Instead, there are hundreds of other planets in other star systems, and a few might be habitable.

The bulk of Americans seem to get their scientific knowledge from “The Flintstones,” the UFO Network, wacky television documentaries, anti vaccination advocates, websites with an agenda and maybe even from “Star Wars” movies.

In Costa Rica lawmakers still have a bill that would ban genetically modified crops, despite any evidence of harm, and the country says it still is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2021, even though carbon is basically plant food. In fact, the public ignorance of science worldwide has become its own research topic with its own academic journals, publications and conferences.

Recommended restaurants
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Palermo 900
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What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2017 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 24, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 80
Real Estate
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Page 1 is HERE!    Page 2 is  HERE!    Page 3 is HERE! 
Page 5 is HERE!     
Page 6 is HERE!     The sports page is HERE!
Opinion is HERE!   Classifieds are HERE!  Plus useful links

Language develops independently in bilingual children, study says
By the Florida Atlantic University press staff

When bilingual children learn any two languages from birth each language proceeds on its own independent course, at a rate that reflects the quality of the children’s exposure to each language.

That is the new finding in a study of Spanish-English bilingual children by researchers at Florida Atlantic University published in the journal Developmental Science.

In addition, the study finds that Spanish skills become vulnerable as children’s English skills develop, but English is not vulnerable to being taken over by Spanish.

In their longitudinal data, the researchers found evidence that as the children developed stronger skills in English, their rates of Spanish growth declined.

Spanish skills did not cause English growth to slow, so it’s not a matter of necessary trade-offs between two languages.

“One well established fact about monolingual development is that the size of children’s vocabularies and the grammatical complexity of their speech are strongly related. It turns out that this is true for each language in bilingual children,” said Erika Hoff, lead author of the study and psychology professor at the university as well as director of the Language Development Lab.

“But vocabulary and grammar in one language are not related to vocabulary or grammar in the other language.”

For the study, Ms. Hoff and her collaborators used longitudinal data on children who spoke English and Spanish as first languages and who were exposed to both languages from birth.

They wanted to know if the relationship between grammar and vocabulary were specific to a language or more language general. They measured the vocabulary and level of grammatical development in these children in six-month intervals between the ages of 2 and a half to 4 years.

The researchers explored a number of possibilities during the study. They thought it might be something internal to the child that causes vocabulary and grammar to develop on the same timetable or that there might be dependencies in the process of language development itself.

They also considered that children might need certain vocabulary to start learning grammar and that vocabulary provides the foundation for grammar or that grammar helps children learn vocabulary. One final possibility they explored is that it may be an external factor that drives both vocabulary development and grammatical development.

Ericka Hoff
Florida Atlantic University photo
Erika Hoff, study's lead author, poses with young child.

“If it’s something internal that paces language development then it shouldn’t matter if it’s English or Spanish, everything should be related to everything,” said Ms. Hoff.

“On the other hand, if it’s dependencies within a language of vocabulary and grammar or vice versa then the relations should be language specific and one should predict the other. That is a child’s level of grammar should predict his or her future growth in vocabulary or vice versa.”

Turns out, the data were consistent only with the final possibility: that the rate of vocabulary and grammar development are a function of something external to the child and that exerts separate influences on growth in English and Spanish.

Ms. Hoff and her collaborators suggest that the most cogent explanation would be in the properties of children’s input or their language exposure. 

“Children may hear very rich language use in Spanish and less rich use in English, for example, if their parents are more proficient in Spanish than in English,” said Ms. Hoff.

“If language growth were just a matter of some children being better at language learning than others, then growth in English and growth in Spanish would be more related than they are.”

“There is something about differences among the children and the quality of English they hear that make some children acquire vocabulary and grammar more rapidly in English and other children develop more slowly,” said Ms. Hoff.

“I think the key takeaway from our study is that it’s not the quantity of what the children are hearing; it’s the quality of their language exposure that matters. They need to experience a rich environment.”

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

Contact us: 
Dial toll FREE from USA or Canada:  1.800.901.0114
CR local phone:  +506-2274-3231
Cells:  +506-8380-5919  and +506-8302-5877

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

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solar one

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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!

NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
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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Real estate rentals (paid category)

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

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

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

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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 24, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 80
Real Estate
About us
Trump makes new push
for border wall project

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Donald Trump made a new push Sunday for construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to thwart illegal immigration, with funding for the controversial barrier at the forefront of White House discussions with lawmakers to avert a partial government shutdown at the end of the week.

Trump wants initial funding for the wall, a key campaign promise in his run to the White House, included in the budget to finance government spending to the end of September, but opposition Democrats remain adamantly against its construction.

The U.S. government runs out of operating funds at midnight Friday, giving the Republican-controlled Congress and minority Democrats just days to reach a compromise with the White House.

"The Democrats don't want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members," Trump said in a Twitter comment.

In a second remark, he said, "Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall," a claim numerous Mexican leaders have said will not happen.

Reince Priebus, Trump's White House chief of staff, predicted in an interview with NBC News that enough money will be approved in the negotiation for us to either move forward with either the construction or the planning or enough to get going with the border wall.

But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, "Democrats do not support the wall. Republicans in the border states do not support the wall."

She added, "The wall is, in my view, immoral, expensive, unwise, and when the president says, 'Well, I promised a wall during my campaign.' I don't think he said he was going to pass billions of dollars of cost of the wall on to the taxpayer."

Priebus said the Trump administration expects the priorities of the president to be reflected in the funding for government operations.

"We expect a massive increase in military spending, we expect money for border security in this bill, and it ought to be because the president won overwhelmingly and everyone understood that the border wall was part of it," he said.

Even with contentious negotiations ahead in the coming days, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said, “I don’t think anybody foresees or expects or wants a shutdown at the end of next week.”

Republican leaders in Congress have also downplayed the possibility of shutdown, which would be the government's first since 2013, but a budget accord with Democratic lawmakers has yet to be reached.

Trump is heading into one of his administration's most challenging weeks, with his 100th day in office on Saturday, the same day a shutdown could occur if a budget deal is not reached or temporary funding approved for a week or two while negotiations with lawmakers continue.

First round of French voting yields upcoming May runoff

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Preliminary results from France’s first round of presidential elections confirmed that centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron and nationalist, anti-immigration candidate Marine Le Pen are heading into a runoff in two weeks, marking what analysts describe as a political earthquake in France.

It is the first time in the history of the modern French Republic that the presidency will be held by a member of a non-traditional party, highlighting a deep anti-establishment sentiment that ultimately could determine whether France remains a part of the European Union or follows an independent path like that of post-Brexit Britain and the United States under Donald Trump.

According to projected results, Macron garnered 23.8 percent, and Le Pen won 21.7 percent. The winner needs an absolute majority and that will be determined in a runoff on May 7.

“In one year, we have entirely changed French politics,” Macron said at a victory rally Sunday night.

Macron, a 39-year-old center-left former economy minister who is pro-EU, pro-business, led pre-election polls despite his previous association with unpopular Socialist President Francois Hollande. The appeal of his year-old En Marche! movement lies mainly in France’s prosperous urban areas, where globalism has benefited many.

His challenge is to galvanize support of centrists and the left, including members of France’s fractured Socialist party, and convince voters he does not represent an extension of Hollande’s policies.

Macron will face Ms. Le Pen and her National Front party, whose strongholds are largely in formerly industrial areas of France where unemployment is high and so is disillusionment with the modern economic and social order. Ms. Le Pen, who wants France out of the European Union, has succeeded in winning over large numbers of former leftists and centrists. Over the next two weeks, she hopes to draw from the right and the center, especially those who are most disillusioned with the status quo.

Among the top contenders from 11 candidates was former Prime Minister Francois Fillon, a center-right social conservative whose bid was damaged by allegations of creating fake jobs for close relatives. Conceding defeat on Sunday, he endorsed Macron.

The vote happened amid tight security following a terrorist attack in Paris just days before the poll that observers thought would benefit Ms. Le Pen.

On Sunday, 50,000 police officers backed by 7,000 soldiers, including special forces, were deployed to the streets amid tensions following the attack claimed by the Islamic State terrorist group. The shooting along the iconic Champs-Elysees in the heart of Paris left one police officer dead and several other people injured.

In a tweet one day after the Champs Elysees shooting, U.S. President Trump said, “The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!”

Analysts and voters interviewed saw this as the most unpredictable election since World War II. One third of voters were undecided just days before the balloting.

In the last few weeks before the vote, far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon surged in the polls and so did discussion of the previously obscure candidate in social media.

Among the ways his campaign lured young voters was through the release of a video game in which a player pretending to be Melenchon walks the streets and takes money from men in suits. The player is shown in a battle against the rich and powerful.

Anger at the establishment is the sentiment driving voters in an election in which security, France’s lagging economy, its 10 percent unemployment rate, and Islamist extremism are issues on the minds of those on the left and on the right.

Vaccines remain health tool
to eradicate polio, diseases

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Six years ago, 194 countries signed on to the Global Vaccine Action Plan, an international campaign to provide children and adults around the world with access to life-saving vaccines.

The goal of the program is to prevent millions of people from getting vaccine-preventable diseases by the time it ends in 2020. The idea is to provide universal access to vaccines to protect people of all ages, from the very young to the very old.

Flavia Bustreo, is the assistant director-general for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health at the World Health Organization.

“Immunization and vaccines are the most powerful public health tools that we have currently, “ she said.

Ms. Bustreo says 35 years ago, 13 million children lost their lives from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines. She said that number has been reduced to 6 million, but 6 million is still too high. Today, 85 percent of children are vaccinated against measles and other deadly diseases, but Ms. Bustreo says more children need these vaccines.

“We need to have vaccination coverage that is about 90 percent, in order to have what we call the ‘herd effect’ ... which means you cover the children who are vaccinated, but also, because of the reduction of transmission of infections, you also cover the children that are not vaccinated,” Bustreo said.

Because of vaccines, polio is on the brink of eradication. Polio exists in two conflict zones: in northern Nigeria and along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Last year there were 37 cases. Compare that to the 350,000 cases in 1988 when the eradication campaign began.

There’s a special urgency to vaccinate all children against polio. Dr. David Nabarro has worked on a number of health programs at the World Health Organization and now as a special envoy for the United Nations.

“The last part of eradicating any disease is always the hardest part,” he said. “If you don’t do it, you lose everything. To do it, you’ve got to really bring all the energy and commitment you can to bear, and it requires a special kind of dedication.”

North Korea detains
third U.S. citizen Friday

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

North Korea has detained another U.S. citizen, a university accounting professor in his 50s in the country to teach and discuss relief activities.

South Korea's Yonhap news agency said Tony Kim, who also goes by his Korean name Kim Sang-duk, was arrested Friday at Pyongyang International Airport.

Kim taught accounting at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology for about a month, according to the school's chancellor, Park Chan-mo. Kim had taught at Yanbian University of Science and Technology in China before teaching in North Korea.

The U.S. State Department said protection of U.S. citizens is one of its highest priorities. But the United States has no diplomatic relations with North Korea, and works with the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang to try to free detained Americans.

Park said he was told Kim's detention had nothing to do with his teaching in North Korea, but did not know further details of his detention. North Korea did not immediately comment on the arrest.

Kim is the third American held by the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a time of tense relations with the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump has dispatched a naval strike group to the waters off the Korean peninsula as a warning against Pyongyang's continued nuclear weapons development program. The North Korean government, in violation of U.N. decrees, has conducted numerous missile tests and five nuclear tests, with a sixth possible soon.

On Sunday, North Korea said it was ready to sink an aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, which is the lead ship in the U.S. naval strike group, to demonstrate its military might. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday the naval ships would arrive off the Korean peninsula within days.

American monitor killed
in eastern Ukraine Sunday

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An American member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe was killed and at least two others were injured Sunday when their car hit a mine near rebel-held Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

Austria's foreign ministry confirmed the incident near the small village of Pryshyb. Austria currently holds the organization’s rotating presidency.

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz demanded a thorough investigation, adding that those responsible would be held accountable.

Alexander Hug, deputy chief of the group’s Special Monitoring Mission, told journalists that a German and a Czech national were injured but have been treated at a local hospital in Ukraine's eastern republic of Lugansk.

According to reports, the vehicle drove over a mine in territory controlled by the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic.

A rebel statement said the team was traveling along an unsafe road. “We know that the mentioned crew deviated from the main route and moved along side roads, which is prohibited by the mandate of the OSCE SMM,” local media reported.

Netanyahu warns foes
against attacking Israel

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is warning those who want to destroy Israel and the Jewish people that they will be destroyed themselves.

Netanyahu spoke at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem memorial to 6 million Jews on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"Iran and the Islamic State want to destroy us, and hatred for Jews is being directed towards the Jewish state today," Netanyahu said. "We must be able to defend ourselves by ourselves against all threats and any enemy."

He said this lesson from the Holocaust guides him every day and that lesson is also the supreme duty of every Israeli prime minister.

But he said there are many cases in which the world did not learn the lessons from Nazi Germany's attempt to wipe out the Jewish people.

Sunday's ceremony included six Holocaust survivors lighting six torches while the traditional Jewish prayer for the dead, Kaddish, was recited.

At 10 a.m. local time Monday, sirens will wail across Israel as the entire country stands in two minutes of silence for the victims of Hitler's genocide.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

Real estate services
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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     
    SEE our new PACKAGE DEALS.
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Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398

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news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, April 24, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 80
Real estate
About us

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

Although they're weeds, they can be good

Every so often I make a pilgrimage to the beach, mostly to remind myself why I don’t live on the beach, but also to take another look at what grows
down there where the soil is sandy.

This time it was so darned hot that I seldom left the pool chairs and the comfort of the overhead fans, but fortunately the hotel had a few plantings that were new to me although only one was really interesting.

Why interesting? I asked John and

Savannah, owners of the Coco Palms, “Hey what is that plant with the red flower?”

Savannah immediately headed for her office to hide from the inquisition, but John headed for his gardener. He returned shortly with the answer. “According to Eduardo, that is called: ‘the plant we got from Richard’s yard’!” Oh my aching head. Well, I had my pictures, so I headed where I always do in such situations, “The Big Brains of Facebook,” specifically “Gringo Gardeners in Costa Rica.” In less than 30 minutes, I had an answer: Brazilian red cloak, Megaskepasma erythrochlamys, quite a Latin mouthful for something that one reader referred to as a weed.

Personally, I like to think that things are referred to as weeds because they grow quickly and propagate easily, not because they are noxious, although I know they can become invasive.  I like them because they can take an empty yard from brown to green and flowered in no time at all. Just tuck the plants you really want nearby and, when they are tall enough, pull the weeds out and put them somewhere else (maybe even in someone else’s yard).

In fact, I was recently asked to help a friend, who runs an after-school program to transform an empty area into a garden for children. There is a lot of work to do preparing the dirt (can’t call it soil yet) into something that will sustain plantings. With any luck, the children will have ideas of their own on what to plant. After all, we all have our favorites. I just hope there will be room for all of them.

A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley

Plant for the Week

I think it has to be Megaskepasma erythrochlamys since I already lost my head over it. If you live at the beach, you might look around for this Brazilian red cloak and see if you can get cuttings. One reader indicated that hers was about 20 feet tall, so it sounds suitable to help you block an unsightly view. The red cloak at the hotel was in heavy shade, but I understand it also does well in the sun. It seems to do well in somewhat sandy soil if occasionally given a dose of fertilizer.

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit HERE!

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From Page 7:

Nicaraguan group plays nice with Costa Rica

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A recent editorial published last week by the chief institute of private enterprise in Nicaragua sought a more conciliatory tone in the wake of increasing news highlighting the negative aspects of the relationship between the two countries.

The statement by the Consejo Superior de la Empresa Privada de Nicaragua acknowledged the ongoing border tensions as much as the situation of thousands of Nicaraguans dwelling illegally here in Costa Rica. At the same time, the council noted, the trade balance between the two nations is close to $700 million.

The group also mentioned that more than 1.45 million people cross through the border at Peñas Blancas including 350,000 tourists. Even more, the Consejo said, there are nearly 182,000 cargo loads that cross the border as well between the two countries and the wider region. According to its own statistics, Costa Rican investment grew more than nine times in recent years and the balance of trade ballooned to more than 40 percent.

The group and its Costa Rican counterpart, the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado, signed a cooperation agreement however the group is urging further action for its neighbor to the south. For one, the group wants an early approval for the Inter-American Development Bank’s loan in the legislature. The next would be to open another border crossing post between Naranjo and La Cruz.

“In the coming months we will be committed to continue this effort and continue to promote this reality that represents this real agenda that goes beyond political and media differences,” the statement finishes with.