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Published Friday, April 28, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 84
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Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
Surrender of Filibusters occurred May 1
May Day parade
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Rommel Téllez
And marches like this will occur on May 1
May 1 represents a calico holiday of celebrations
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The upcoming celebration of International Labor Day in Costa Rica is not only just a holiday many Ticos use to flee to the beaches and mountains. It is a significant day for local politics and social activists who traditionally gather at Avenida Segunda to march towards the Asamblea Legislativa.

On the one hand, it is a good opportunity to take a walk in downtown San José and become aware of how many small and micro political parties lean to the Left and revere old-school leaders such as Mao, Fidel, Cháves and Manuel Mora, the local equivalent to those big names.

Mora was the founder of the very first Costa Rican Communist Party and an activist who had a huge role in the creation of the country's social security system and the so called Garantías Sociales, established in the constitution.

It is also a good opportunity to witness how many different causes may fit into a single march.

From indigenous associations demanding more empowerment to New Age Anarchist waving black flags with their faces covered as if to ambush the rest of the marchers at any time. From animal rights advocates to vegan socialists fighting the repression of the military forces of the state; sometimes that is represented in the form of a chubby police officer with a stick watching the passersby.

Other groups include feminist associations marching to end gender violence, flamboyant LGBTQ organizations making sure their community is no longer disrespected or made invisible. Students, Movimientos Bolivarianos, ice cream sellers, clowns, unions and religious groups complete the mix of ideologies.

On the other hand, It is the best chance to get close to many legislators. This specific day they have a tendency to show themselves as irresistibly charming. Maybe it is because this is the day they get the most media coverage.

By law, May 1 is the day the assembly starts its new term and lawmakers chose a new directory, sort of their internal government.
Electing the directory could be described as organized chaos with many legislators changing their minds last minute according to last minute alliances between the parties.

In past years, some of them have cried, fought against each other or gone mad with rage when not chosen for a position in the directory.

And there is a reason for so much passion.

The directory has a lot of power. Its president is the one in charge of starting and finishing legislative sessions.

They allocate the budget for the other political parties. It creates the Comisiones Permanentes, sort of mini legislatures with the power to approve laws of certain nature.

The directory has also the power to call off some bills and stop their discussion, authorize paid leaves and approve the payments of all the 57 legislators.

Let's not forget that in case President Luis Guillerno Solís and his two vice presidents are all out of the country at the same time, the president of the assembly becomes the president for all.

The voting process is broadcasted all day long. As of 2015, it is tradition that on the same day the president would address the country and give their state of Costa Rica speech.

As of 2016, the president will do the same thing but the next day at 3 p.m. It is a way to make the Workers Day a little less chaotic, specially taking into consideration that ministers, diplomats, prosecutors, former presidents and the San José Catholic Bishop attend the event.

There is more significance to the day for Costa Rica.

Among the arsenal of remembrances include: the Chicago Haymarket massacre that inspired the Second International to create the socialist holiday, the surrender of U.S. Filibusters in 1857 as well as the signing of the border treaty with Panamá in 1941.

All of these things happened on May 1 and are the reasons why some others Ticos celebrate this celebration.

Companies using strange methods to evade taxes
By the A.M Costa Rica staff

In the pursuit to evade taxes, some companies are using peculiar methods to cheat the finance ministry. One of them is filing dead people as suppliers, said the vice minister Fernando Rodríguez Thursday at a press conference.

According to him, Hacienda officials recently tracked down a company that declared about $3 million paid in supplies and tried to deduct that money from its income tax. However, further investigation showed that these people were deceased.

On top of that, the company used the names of the deceased even though their identities were reported on the crime section of a local newspaper.

Both of these deceased persons were registered as independent contractors a few days after their deaths through Hacienda's information system called Tribunet.

One year later, the same notary who enrolled them in the system took them out.

The addresses provided matched that of an abandoned property.

The company imported cell phones and respective accessories, according to Rodríguez. The total amount of unpaid taxes could be close to $4.5 million since the company had a cash flow of at least $16 million, the finance ministry said.

The case was transferred to Ministerio Público for further prosecution.

Fernández said that 100 similar cases are under investigation by Hacienda’s investigators. These cases were spotted by using mathematical models cross-referencing several databases.

Ministerio de Hacienda said on a press release that complex investigations have been taking place using data filed by companies from 2011 to 2015.

According to Hacienda, behind these cases there is a need, not to only evade taxes, but also to hide contraband and money laundering.

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Policeman arrested on suspicion of rape

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents arrested a 38-year old man Thursday morning on charges of participating in at least five instances of rape. In one of those counts, the victim happens to be a 15-year old girl. As for the suspect who was arrested, he is a member of the Fuerza Pública.

The arrest was made during a raid by members of the Judicial Investigating Organization at the suspect’s room in Siquirres.

Investigators said that the first case began on March 14 when a man raped a 26-year old woman walking alone at 10 p.m. near the Río Reventazón. The next case happened April 4 in the same area and around the same time with the two victims being sisters, investigators said.

The last reported case occurred April 11 making all the incidents occurring on Tuesday nights with the same details as to how it was conducted by the rapist and same characteristics in terms of the scenes being isolated places. Apparently the rapist was riding in a car and threatened the victims with a gun to force them in, according to the report from investigators.

In the case of the minor, she apparently was walking with two classmates and the rapist left them in the car while he committed his crimes, officials said. In the case of the sisters, they were walking with their boyfriends and the assailant committed the crime in the same way, the judiciary said.

The Ministerio de Seguridad Pública issued a statement that said police officers in the ministry cooperated in the capture and arrest of their fellow officer. The ministry said that it has already filed  an application to automatically dismiss the suspect from the police force.

Officials said that the suspect entered the force in February 2010 for the Caribbean region of the country.

Platina shutdown starting this Saturday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Remember the Alfredo González Flores bridge, otherwise known as the platina, and how it was supposed to be open by early May? That does not appear to be happening anytime soon with the new statement from the public works ministry.

According to the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes, the bridge is going to be completely shut down again beginning this Saturday at 3 p.m. and will not be reopen until just before the morning commute at 5 a.m. Monday at the latest.

The ministry hopes that, with the upcoming long weekend due to the May Day holiday, the closing will have a minor effect on drivers.

Construction crews need to fill in the approaches to the bridge. This is the part of the General Cañas highway that reaches the edge of the bridge at both ends. Public works also said that the closure would also be used for a way to solve the sinking occurring at the three lanes currently being used.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad said that the sinking was planned for as the work was not finished. Lastly, the closure is also being used to place the blocks that will absorb the force of traffic going over the bridge.

During the closure, the ministry said that using Ruta 27 or Ruta 3 are possible alternate routes. The latter recently completed a bridge project also going over the Río Virilla that expanded its lanes to four.

The bridgework will continue into May, apparently, as the construction for the curbs and also the sidewalk is still needed to be complete, officials said. The detour going to Alajuela will be closed at the Juan Pablo II bridge directing drivers towards La Valencia instead.

The detour for traffic traveling towards the capital will be made close to the crossing at Belén by the Ferretería EPA.

Group calls for border post improvements

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An organization representing the private sector in Costa Rica is calling upon the legislative assembly to approve a project that it said would modernize the borders of Costa Rica.

The group, Unión de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado, is referring to the nearly $100 million loan offered by the Inter-American Development Bank to improve the facilities and waiting times at the border stations.

This Programa de Integración Fronteriza was due to be approved by lawmakers April 6 but the final text was not voted upon.

One of the deputies stalled the project’s approval arguing that several Costa Rican native tribes need to be consulted first.

The private sector group fired back in a Wednesday statement claiming that the Comisión Nacional de Asuntos Indígenas, which is the official government body handling Costa Rica’s relationship with the tribes within its borders, was already consulted on this bill.

The organization noted the immediacy of a border that it claims is unnecessarily slow and costly. "In our view, this new consultation was unnecessary, as representatives of indigenous peoples had already been consulted,” said Franco Arturo Pacheco, the group’s president.

“The modernization of border posts is urgent, a necessity for the industrial, commercial sector, exporters and importers, and even for the tourism sector. The inefficiency costs the country a lot and these issues must be solved immediately.”

The finance ministry listed within the bill’s memorandum the significant delays and average time it takes a freighter, in an export operation, to cross the border of Peñas Blancas and Paso Canoas.

With the former, it ranges from two to seven hours, the ministry said. In the case of Paso Canoas, the time is around four and a half hours.

The bill was scheduled for the second debate to occur Thursday however, according to the legislature’s website, it has still not occurred. The loan, if passed, would include the modernization of the border posts at Las Tablillas, Peñas Blancas, Paso Canoas and Sixaloa.

This past week, the Nicaraguan counterpart to this organization, the Consejo Superior de la Empresa Privada de Nicaragua, signed a cooperation agreement urging further action for its neighbor to the south.

For one, both groups wanted an early approval for the Inter-American Development Bank’s loan in the legislature. The Nicaraguans also would like an opening of another border crossing post between Naranjo and La Cruz.

This comes after the Ministerio de Hacienda inaugurated its new customs post at Peñas Blancas last Friday. Officials said 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.

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Former United Fruit buildings receive heritage protection award
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Former houses of the United Fruit Company based in Quepos should receive some renovation as the new winners of the cultural ministry’s “Salvemos nuestro patrimonio histórico-arquitectónico.”

The property of which these buildings sit on is part of the old Zona Americana of Quepos and consists of over 52 buildings that formed an integral part of the former banana empire that dominated Puntarenas province for  decades.

El inmueble 94, or property 94 as it is called in English, first truly developed in 1938 with the Lara Chittenden contract, which gave United Fruit Costa Rican land for a stipulated period of 50 years. The ministry said that shares in the houses were also purchased by Agathon Lutz of Pirris Farm Trading Company.

The construction process that subsequently began apparently relied on the use of donkeys for transport before a railroad could be brought in, according to records from the Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural.

The organization handles the preservation and conservation of sites deemed important to the country’s national heritage.

Once the railroad was brought in to the burgeoning Zona Americana, the buildings that just won the right to preservation sponsorship were used by the rail company to handle administrative tasks including the buying and selling of tickets to use the line.

The banana business was booming during this period and the main source in the economy of the region and for Quepos. That all went bust beginning around 1954 and 1955, according to the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

Union conflicts, floods and the loss of profits all contributed to the downfall of United Fruit’s interests within the area and the company transferred the property over to Palma Tica, a palm oil production company.

Patrimonio building
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
One of the buildings deemed worthy of preservation.

The ministry said that shortly thereafter, the rail line disappeared beneath the asphalt of a new road and the only memory left were just the vacated buildings.

Palma Tica also began to face legal trouble and the site, now known as the Antigua Zona Americana, was abandoned and evicted to be administered by the government. To that end, the buildings are subject to intense vulnerability in the form of decay and vandalism of the property, the  trio of architects advocating for the sponsorship warned.

The group of three included Ulises Pérez Araya, a professor at Universidad Latina and recent graduates Melisa Muñoz Martínez and Geannina Zúñiga Villalobos.

The young women received their diplomas in architecture Wednesday as a result of having completed their graduation project, which was the call for preserving this area and winning the contest.

"This project is strategically located and will allow the people of Quepos to come and see that we have other buildings that we can rescue, use and enforce,” Pérez said.

“I think it will be a bastion for other professionals to see that we can do much with this type of architecture that is highly identified with the tropics and with Costa Rica.”

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Ocean warming cancels benefit of high carbon dioxide, study says
By the University of Adelaide press staff

University of Adelaide researchers have constructed a marine food web to show how climate change could affect our future fish supplies and marine biodiversity.

Published Thursday in “Global Change Biology,” the researchers found that high carbon dioxide expected by the end of the century, which causes ocean acidification, will boost production at different levels of the food web.

Despite this, ocean warming cancelled the benefit by causing stress to marine animals, preventing them using the increased resources efficiently for their own growth and development.

The result was a collapsing food web.

“Humans rely heavily on a diversity of services that are provided by ocean ecosystems, including the food we eat and industries that arise from that,” said project leader Ivan Nagelkerken, from the university’s Environment Institute.

“Our understanding of what’s likely to happen has been hampered by an over-reliance on simplified laboratory systems centered on single levels of the food web."

In this study, the team created a series of three-level food webs and monitored and measured the results over a number of months to provide an understanding of future food webs under climate change.

The researchers constructed marine food webs based on plants which use sunlight and nutrients to grow such as algae, small invertebrates that graze on the plants such as shrimp, and fish that in turn prey on small invertebrates.

They had 12 large aquaria with different species to mimic seagrass, open sand and rocky reef habitats, simulating tidal movements with circular currents.

The food webs were exposed to the levels of ocean acidification and warming predicted for the end of this century.

Over several months, the researchers assessed the basic processes that operate in food webs like predation and growth of organisms.

“Elevated carbon dioxide concentrations boosted plant growth; more plant food meant more small invertebrates, and more small invertebrates, in turn, allowed the fish to grow faster,” said Silvan Goldenberg, who is supervised by Nagelkerken and Sean Connell, another professor.

Pacific sunset
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Conor Golden
Ocean warming  causes stress on the food chain.

“However, ocean warming cancelled this benefit of elevated carbon dioxide by causing stress to the animals, making them less efficient feeders and preventing the extra energy produced by the plants from traveling through the food web to the fish. At the same time, fish were getting hungrier at higher temperatures and started to decimate their prey, the small invertebrates.”

The researchers found that ocean warming would be an overwhelming stressor that made food webs less efficient, neutralized the fertilizing effect of elevated carbon dioxide and threw the fragile relationship between predators and prey off balance.

“The consequences for marine ecosystems are likely to be severe,” said Nagelkerken.

“Oceans in the future may provide less fish and shellfish for us to eat, and larger animals that are at the top of the food web, in particular, will suffer. We hope this study will provide predictive understanding which is critical for fisheries management.”

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Real estate-related services (paid category)

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

Real estate rentals (paid category)

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
Published Friday, April 28, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 84
Real Estate
About us
Hundreds of diplomatic jobs
remain unfilled under Trump

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

With U.S. President Donald Trump facing challenges overseas in Syria and North Korea, as well as growing tensions with Russia, the public face of his administration remains largely unknown, with hundreds of top U.S. diplomatic positions still unfilled.

So far, only two new U.S. ambassadors have been confirmed: to Israel and the United Nations.

More than three months into his presidency, Trump has nominated others for China, New Zealand, Japan, Congo and Senegal. He has not yet nominated anyone for 181 out of a total of 188 U.S. ambassadorships.

In the first four months of his presidency, Barack Obama had nominated eight ambassadors. George W. Bush had nominated three, Bill Clinton 15 and George H.W. Bush 14, according to the nonpartisan, nonprofit Center for Presidential Transition.

Tuesday, the nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to China, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, will appear in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his first nomination hearing.

But as tensions on the Korean Peninsula rise, Trump has not yet nominated a U.S. ambassador to South Korea or an assistant secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Ambassadors are normally political appointees and are traditionally replaced under each new administration.

The Brookings Institution's Thomas Wright calls this level of unfilled senior positions unprecedented and worrisome.

"If you take, for instance, the recent summit with President Xi Jinping of China, there were very few Asia experts appointed to senior positions," Wright said. "Those people normally would be crucial in guiding that summit along. And so this, I think, is having a damaging effect on an ongoing basis."

Acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner sought to quell concerns at a recent briefing.

"I can assure everyone in this room and everyone in the United States and around the world that these are not vacancies, that there are senior State Department officials serving in acting capacities, but these folks are seasoned veterans of the Foreign Service and seasoned diplomats," Toner said.

The acting spokesman and career diplomat said appointing new ambassadors and assistant secretaries of state always takes time under every new administration.

But why is this administration having more problems filling top positions than previous ones?

Retired U.S. Ambassador Ron Neumann said it may have something to do with Trump's vetting team.

"There is a very small group in the White House that is controlling a lot of things, and there are some tensions within that group," Neumann said. "But in addition to that, it is just small. So it's perfectly possible that a large part of the delay is simply that those making the decisions are totally overloaded."

Neumann, now president of the American Academy of Diplomacy, noted that when it comes to top foreign policy positions within the State Department, there may be other considerations.

Tillerson's spokesman, R.C. Hammond, confirmed there was no sense nominating candidates for jobs that may eventually be cut.

The Trump administration has proposed cutting the State Department's budget by close to 30 percent. Congressional leaders from both major political parties have said they will not approve such cuts.

Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass said the most natural pool of talent on the Republican side has been precluded from consideration because many signed open letters criticizing then-candidate Trump during the campaign.

Trump holds on original call
to pull from NAFTA deal

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Donald Trump said phone conversations Wednesday with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau persuaded him not to imminently withdraw the United States from their countries' three-way trade pact.

He reiterated his long-standing assertion that the 1994 trade agreement has been very good for Canada. It has been very good for Mexico. But it has been horrible for the United States.

The U.S. president's softening tone on what is perceived as America's most crucial trade pact is being well-received.

Trump has already withdrawn the United States from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama, although that deal had not been ratified by Congress.

A Mexican government statement on Wednesday's phone call between Trump and Peña Nieto stated the leaders agreed on the convenience of maintaining the North American FreeTrade Agreement and working with Canada to bring about successful negotiations.

A Canadian foreign ministry spokesman said Ottawa is ready to come to the table at any time.

Trump targeted Canada this week for what he said was unfair trade practices and he ordered a new 20 percent tariff on Canadian lumber imports, which could add to the cost of buying new houses in the United States.

Many Mexican officials have called NAFTA a disappointment, saying it has brought slow economic growth despite increased investment in factories and industry.

Low-cost drug is available
to prevent postpartum woes

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A low-cost and widely available drug could save the lives of 1 in 3 mothers who would otherwise bleed to death after childbirth, according to a new study.

Severe bleeding, known as postpartum hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide, killing more than 100,000 women every year. Even for mothers who survive, it is a painful and traumatic experience.

The world's poorest countries, especially in Africa and India, are the worst hit.

But there is new hope. In the 1960s, Japanese researchers developed a drug called tranexamic acid, which works by stopping blood clots from breaking down. But they could not persuade doctors to try the drug for treating the phenomenon.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has done just that, in a trial involving 20,000 women in 21 countries, mainly in Africa and Asia. The results show tranexamic acid reduces the risk of bleeding to death by almost a third, with no side effects for either mothers or babies.

Dr. Nike Bello, a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist in Nigeria, said that if a drug can prevent hysterectomies, a drug can prevent death, a drug can minimize the amount of blood we need, then that is a good thing, all over the world.

But there are challenges to getting the drug where it is needed. First, the doctors must know about its effectiveness, said professor Ian Roberts of the London tropical medicine school, who led the latest research.

In the trial, tranexamic acid was given via a drip. Researchers say the next step is to find an easier way to administer the drug so it can be used in clinics and rural settings across the world.

Iraqi militiamen discover
destruction of Hatra heritage

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Iraqi militiamen, who drove Islamic State fighters from the ancient city of Hatra this week, found that the group had destroyed relics dating back more than 2,000 years.

"The sculptures and engraved images are destroyed, but the walls and towers of the kingdom of Hatra remain standing," said Marwa Rashid, a spokeswoman for Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces, a Shi'ite militia that is clearing Islamic State from villages north of Mosul in northern Iraq.

The units took full control over the historic city, about 110 kilometers southwest of Mosul, after a three-week offensive. Its recapture was a part of a regional military operation known as Muhammad Prophet of God.

Known historically as the ancient city where East meets West, Hatra is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage site and considered one of the archeological jewels of Iraq and capital of the first Arab kingdom. The large fortified site was founded in the 2nd or 3rd century B.C. and once was a thriving city under the influence of the Parthian Empire.

Its high and thick walls, reinforced by towers, helped it withstand invasions by the Romans in the years 116 and 198. Its temples offer a unique blend of Hellenistic and Roman architecture with Eastern decorative features.

The site stood undisturbed for decades until April 2015, when Islamic State invaded it. Citing Hatra's un-Islamic nature, the group began destroying relics on the site.

In a video released by Islamic State after its occupation, fighters are seen smashing sculptures with sledgehammers and destroying images and artifacts on ancient walls with assault rifles.

UNESCO, the cultural heritage arm of the United Nations, called the destruction a war crime and has urged political and religious leaders in the region to take note.

Militia units said Islamic State had planted land mines around the eastern gates of the site to deter their advances. Engineering teams will clear the site of any explosives before allowing Iraqi archeologists to assess the damage.

Since mid-2014, Islamic State has destroyed dozens of historic sites in Iraq and Syria, including mosques, churches and Shi'ite religious halls known as hussainiyas. The group says shrines and statues are false idols that must be destroyed.

Sermed Alwan, president of the Iraqi Mesopotamian Heritage Association, said the extent of the damage nationwide to ancient sites had yet to be determined. But the initial accounting of the damage in Hatra is heartbreaking, he said.

NASA spacecraft sails
between rings and Saturn

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Cassini spacecraft sailed into uncharted territory Wednesday between the planet Saturn and the rings that encircle it, and emerged Thursday unscathed.

The Cassini craft is the first and only spacecraft to ever venture into the gap between Saturn and its rings. It sent back its first signal early Thursday morning, about 20 hours after the crossing took place.

Scientists lost contact with the ship during the passing because its antenna had to be shifted to protect the scientific equipment from potentially damaging material floating in Saturn's rings.

The rings of Saturn are made up of moving particles of ice and space debris.

NASA scientists plan on performing 21 more crossings between now and September. The next scheduled crossing is set for May 2.

Cassini has been orbiting Saturn since 2004, but it is running low on fuel, so scientists decided to conduct the ring crossings before the spacecraft becomes inoperable in the near future.

Congress investigation finds
Flynn did accept money

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, took more than $500,000 from Turkey and tens of thousands of dollars from Russian interests after being warned in 2014, when he retired as an Army lieutenant general, not to accept payments from foreign governments, new documents show.

"We have no evidence, zilch, that he obtained permission from the secretary of the Army and the secretary of state to accept any foreign government payments as required by law," Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Thursday..

One document showed the U.S. Defense Department's inspector general's office had opened its own investigation into whether Flynn sought permission to accept the payments from the foreign governments. That investigation is separate from the congressional probe.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the Defense Department probe of Flynn was appropriate if they think there is wrongdoing.

But Spicer said the Trump administration did not review Flynn's security clearance before he was named national security adviser, relying instead on a 2016 renewal of the clearance during the administration of Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, which occurred after Flynn's 2015 trip to Russia.

Among other payments, Flynn was paid $45,000 in 2015 to attend the 10th anniversary of the Kremlin-controlled Russia Today television network, sitting next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at a gala dinner.

Spicer said Trump made the right decision at the right time and he continues to stand by it, regarding his firing of Flynn in February after just 24 days on the job. Trump ousted Flynn after it was learned he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence and others about his contacts with the Russian ambassador to Washington in the weeks before Trump assumed power.

Flynn's Russian connections are a key component of investigations by the House and Senate intelligence committees and the top U.S. law enforcement agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, into details of the U.S. intelligence community conclusion that Russia meddled in the U.S. election to boost Trump's chances of winning.

Cummings said the White House had refused congressional requests to turn over its records related to Flynn's hiring at the White House, which could shed light on whether Trump and other officials knew of the Russian and Turkish payments to Flynn when he was named to the key security position.

Earlier this week, Spicer said it had turned over Flynn-related documents to congressional investigators.

On Tuesday, however, Cummings and Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House panel, held a joint news conference in which they said Flynn might have broken the law by not disclosing the payments when he filed paperwork last year to renew his security clearance.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale
Real estate for sale (paid category)

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

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

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

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

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

COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

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

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

For more information Click Here:

Etlinger Farm
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

horse ranch
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 

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

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)

A-1 graphic
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.
Solar logo
Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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Published Friday, April 28, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 84
Real estate
About us

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Rio Zapote cleanup
Casa Presidencial photo    
Cleanup of the river continues as backhoes struggle in marsh.

Crews remove sewage from Río Zapote

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The first project enacted by the government for the cleanup of the Río Zapote is slowly progressing following its incorporation into the relief plan for Hurricane Otto.

The Río Zapote is located in Upala, the canton that was hit hardest by last year’s hurricane. These ongoing works mainly involve the cleaning of the river using backhoes to take out the sewage and refuse leftover from the hurricane’s effects, Casa Presidencial said.

Despite the marshy conditions of the area, engineers at the site said that the works are moving forward satisfactorily and the equipment is standing up to the bad conditions better than expected. The executive branch said that the crews managed to channel over 915 meters of the river bed on its right bank. It is an agonizingly slow process considering that only represents 15 percent of the desired channeling, according to Casa Presidencial.

To speed up this process, the government wants to add two or three more teams to the three crews currently working on the project. There is also talk of of doing surveying and studies as to the feasability of adding seven bridges across the river.

The public works ministry is overseeing the completion of this project.

Ambassador Haney at school
Ministerio de Educación Pública photo  
U.S. Ambassador Haney gets a lively welcome from students.

Haney visits students learning English

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This week marked the end of Costa Rica’s Semana Nacional del Idioma Inglés.

The public education minister, Sonia Marta Mora, and the U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica, S. Fitzgerald Haney, visited several classrooms Thursday morning at the Escuela Buenaventura Corrales. Some expats may know this school by its nickname: the Escuela Metálica. The children practiced with the ambassador and the minister showing off their growing skills in English, according to the Ministerio de Educación Pública.

The students, all in the first grade, also presented some of their projects they had been working on to their distinguished guests as part of the English for elementary programs conducted with the support of the embassy.

These programs are based on developing conversational skills in English for the young students like greeting someone and understanding simple questions. They are implemented nationwide at the first and seventh grade levels, the education ministry said. Often these are developed by English advisors with the collaboration of the embassy and the Peace Corps as well, officials said.

“Almost three years ago we began an arduous work with the ministry and other strategic allies to offer a long-term plan, which will review the curricula, introduce new and attractive teaching materials and incorporate the professional development of teachers,” Ambassador Haney said. “We will continue to support this initiative through the visit of US experts in English language teaching”

Costa Rican News
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From page 7:

Central bank proposes new way to calculate
Costa Rica's dollar-colon exchange rate

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Banco Central de Costa Rica is proposing a new methodology to calculate the exchange rate that could cut in half the price gap when selling or buying U.S. dollars.

The proposal seeks to take into consideration all the exchange transactions that take place in the banking system from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This would imply that the cost of dollar would be closer to its real value, according to a press release.

Right now, the reference exchange rate is calculated by making an average of all the exchange rates that authorized financial institutions have applied in the last five days from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

To proceed with the change, Banco Central seeks a reform on the Reglamento de Operaciones Cambiarias de Contado. The first step now is to create a public consultation with all the financial institutions affiliated to the Superintendencia General de Entidades Financieras, which regulates all the financial institutions both public and private in the country.

The change will benefit transactions such as contracts established in dollars, credit card operations, bank loans and the price of utilities among, according to the document.

Right now, the micro-devaluation system and the exchange rate benefit exporters and savings accounts, while is not as good for importers and those indebted in dollars, according to Hairo Rodríguez, member of the Asociación Bancaria Costarricense.

“By using the micro-devaluation system, there is a depreciation of 27 colons a year. That is not much and the Central Bank has even followed a conservative police to keep steady exchange rates,” said Rodríguez.

He said that in the past few years, Banco Central has taken several millions of dollars from its own  reserves and put it into the exchange market as a way to keep the rate changes at a reasonable pace.