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Published Wednesday, May 3, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 87
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Legislature election worries human rights experts
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A blow to the human rights agenda is what experts fear is the aftermath following the ascendancy of an openly evangelical pastor as a new president for the country’s legislative assembly.

His name is Gonzalo Ramírez and he is a legislator with the Renovación Costarricense party.

He was elected Monday as president of the assembly with some of the strongest support coming from Partido Liberación Nacional. Ramírez obtained his victory Monday night after defeating another candidate for the position: Otton Solís, the founder and legislator of the ruling Partido Acción Ciudadana.

The pastor’s election was a tight one. He only succeeded after winning by only two votes meant to be voided. Suray Carrillo and Gerardo Vargas, both of who are from the prominent left-wing Frente Amplio party, cast those votes.

What Ms. Carillo and Vargas didn’t care about is that, according to the legislative rules, voided votes are added to the candidate with most of the votes.

In fact, Ms. Carrillo resigned Tuesday night as head of faction of Frente Amplio.
Ramírez, who in a statement said he is open to all ideas and discussions, is the first legislator from a minor, Christian-oriented party who obtains the presidency of the legislative assembly.

“To those who are against us because they hold different values than ours, because they have a different world vision or just because they don’t trust us, I tell them not to rush and judge us,” said Ramírez on a written speech.

 “This is specially true for my colleagues from Frente Amplio. I guarantee you respect and espace for your proposal during my administration,” he added.

However, the power granted to a religious figure in the political arena doesn’t seem healthy, according to Gina Sibaja, a political science researcher at Universidad de Costa Rica.

“The mix of religious ideals and politics has never worked. We’ve seen that through out the centuries,” Ms. Sibaja said.

“The religious influence in politics has been increasing along the years and that it leading us to a more conservative society where human rights are no priority."

Facebook photo  
Ramírez, newly-elected legislature head.

“The fundamentalist power groups will now have its influence enhanced at the legislative assembly and we’re in danger of including religious beliefs in important decision-making debates,” said Jesús Guzmán, professor of political science at Universidad de Costa Rica. 

“Ramírez will now have the power to determine what bills will be discussed and how much time will be given to debate each of them. I expect he will call off the Sociedades de Convivencia and the Fertilización In-Vitro bills,” added the professor.

The Sociedades de Convivencia bills seeks to legalize and provide social rights to same-sex couples. It is different from the marriage status and similar to civil union ordinances in the United States.

On a late press release sent Tuesday, the Frente por los Derechos Igualitarios, a non-government agency, requested a public apology from Liberación Nacional lawmaker and presidential candidate Antonio Álvarez Desanti for pushing for the election of the evangelical legislator.

The Fertilización in Vitro bill seeks to create and regulate the procedures used to conceive through this method. Evangelicals have long opposed this, as they claim the technique kills innocent embryos.

In February 2016, the Inter American Court on Human Rights ruled in favor of six Costa Rican couples who demanded this procedure be applied on national soil. It also demanded Costa Rica create the required regulations as soon as possible or harsher fines could apply.

The evangelical legislator emphasized in his acceptance speech that his priorities will be focused on security, infrastructure, public transportation, fiscal stability and infancy protection laws.

Group proposing new regulatory law on realtors
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Cámara Costarricense de Bienes Raíces is working to propose a new bill that would require mandatory licensing for anyone working in the real estate business.

The proposal might require the creation of a national real estate regulatory agency that will provide safer conditions for sellers and buyers, as well as owners and renters, according to Ana Seidy López, president of the Cámara.

“People who do business with independent realtors non-affiliated to the Cámara, are at a higher risk of getting wrong information, get miscalculated quotes on the value of properties and vulnerability in case of unethical practices,” Ms. López said.

According to the president, some people refuse to work with the Cámara because they don't have the commitment, patience and time that a job like this requires.

Ms. López explained that the Cámara has not set a deadline to finish the bill, however, it is of high interest to the executive board to have it ready as soon as possible.

She said the idea is to protect both ends of any real estate property.

The bill proposed by the group has been in the works for several years now but Ms. López, who only recently became president, claims that the proposal will be on the agenda for her second meeting with the board.

She considers now to be a good time to regulate this business, as there is an increasing concern about it in relation to some implied risks of money laundering.

Currently, Costa Rica is tightening its measures to avoid money laundering to become part of the Financial Action Task Force, an international agency that certifies countries as compliant or not compliant with international financial regulations.

As of now, the Cámara is one of the most important associations of real estate agents. It provides ongoing training, an affiliation certificate, an ethics code and an ethics tribunal.

However, because of its voluntary membership status, the rulings of the tribunal cannot be enforced beyond the group’s membership.

Back in 1999 and 2009, similar bills were filed before the legislative assembly for approval, but a lack of consensus buried the initiatives into the legislative archives.

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Suspects detained for stealing from police

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Three suspects were detained by police on suspicion that they are responsible for stealing at least 14 firearms from a police delegation in Jicaral.

According to a statement from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, a man went to the local police station around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning asking for help. While the desk officer on duty was distracted, others came in to the delegation where they confiscated the officer’s firearm and beat him, officials said.

The ministry was quick to note that the other police officers on duty were on patrol in Jicaral at the time of the incident.

The Fuerza Pública captured two of the suspects in a white Toyota Yaris after an alleged witness described the vehicle and another gray car. The other vehicle was apparently discovered today in Pilas de Canjel, police said.

The location is being watched by police, while a search warrant remains pending. The third suspect that police are monitoring has a prior history of aggravated robbery and even murder, police said.

The stolen firearms, however, have still not been located, according to a police report.

Mayors agree to regional waste agreement

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Five mayors in the Zona Sur region of Costa Rica agreed last Friday to form an inter-municipal company responsible for taking out the trash in the region.

This represents a first step in the process, however, as the agreement needs to be approved by the municipality councils, according to a statement from the Instituto de Fomento y Asesoría Municipal.

The mayors for the cantons of Buenos Aires, Coto Brus, Osa, Golfito and Corredores signed the agreement, known as the “Acuerdo de Cuenca.” The institute praised the agreement as being a necessary solution for what is considered by them to be a regional problem.

The agreement proposes the implementation of an inter-municipal company that will be provided with a dumping area for the final disposal of solid waste, according to the institute. The proposals come threefold in order to achieve this end goal.

First, the agreement devises a temporary solution for the construction of an emergency landfill at the Osa landfill site currently in operation. For this to work, the institute must be prepared to finance the costs of the project and Osa’s municipal council must approve the measure.

The idea is for this emergency measure to be operational by October and capable of receiving the waste from the other cantons with an operating life of two years, the institute said.

The next measure would be to establish the framework for the Empresa Intermunicipal de Servicios Públicos del Pacífico Sur and how it will get its resources and money.

The last measure would be to establish a landfill site that includes all the necessary infrastructure required of its scale and operation by the public company.

There is a great social and environmental sensitivity in our cantons, people love and respect nature and would like to keep it that way, so for this project to be successful in environmental matters,” said Alberto Cole, the mayor for the Osa canton. “We must have a lot of organization and solidity in a type of company that will answer the needs of the south.”

The meeting between representatives of the institute and the five cantonal mayors occurred in Ecuador. Participants are examining the Ecuadorian-based company Empresa Municipal de Aseo de Cuenca as a model for its Costa Rican comparative.

Our reader's opinion
Response to libertarian ideology story

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In your May 2 edition there was a single paragraph in the otherwise well done article, "Libertarian group offers alternative ideology in Costa Rican politics", that caused me to stop and swear softly.
"The libertarians in Costa Rica often face very strong opposition to much of their proposed legislation due to the massive spending, as much as the aforementioned tax cuts, that would occur should the party obtain the reins of power"
As written, it states that libertarian policy is for "massive spending" and implies other (enlightened?) parties oppose that. That is the complete opposite of libertarian policy.
Libertarian policies consistently adhere to the principle that we should enact the minimum amount of government possible at the lowest possible cost that allows individuals the maximum opportunity to make purely personal decisions in their own best interest. This of course is what the parties in power oppose; an empowered citizen, free from excessive government restraint.
Where we agree with the entrenched parties is that some form of tax will be necessary to sustain the legitimate functions of the State. Libertarians want that burden to be transparent to the citizens and oppose the current methods, which are to hide those costs in debased currency, hidden taxes, systemic inefficiencies, and abuse of powers delegated to them.
The opponents of libertarian policies are those who believe in "massive spending" on more government involvement in more of your activities every day.
Chuck Dumas
La Central, Naranjito

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Third News Page
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Published Wednesday, May 3, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 87
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National symphony orchestra to be conducted by Tica for first time
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A concert by the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional is a fairly regular occurrence as far as events go in Costa Rica. The difference with this ensemble is that, beginning Friday evening, the orchestra will be conducted by a Costa Rican woman.

This represents the first time in the 76-year history of the orchestra that a Tica will be leading the music for the ensemble, according to the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

The concert begins Friday at 8 p.m. in the Teatro Nacional with an encore occurring Sunday at 10:30 a.m., organizers said.

36-year old Gabriela Mora Fallas will be the conductor for the evening. Ms. Mora currently is the director for the Orquesta Sinfónica de Cartago, the Orquesta Sinfónica Intermedia and the Banda Avanzada for the Instituto Nacional de la Música.

For me it's not only an honor, it's a beautiful opportunity to work with the orchestra and do my work to another level, since an official season concert is much more serious in all its surroundings,” Ms. Mora said.

Mora studied at the Instituto Nacional de la Música and later at Universidad de Costa Rica. She later earned her master’s degree in management at the Conservatory of Boston in the United States, the cultural ministry said.

The program for this weekend’s show includes Igor Stravinsky’s “The Consecration of Spring” as well as the “Tombeau de Couperin” by Frenchman Maurice Ravel.
Marcin Dylla
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
 Marcin Dylla.
Gabriela Mora
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
Gabriela Mora.
The last piece will be the “Concierto del sur” by the Spaniard Manuel Ponce, organizers said.

The orchestra said that there will be 20 extra musicians adding more flutes, oboes, clarinets, French horns, trumpets and a tuba. That brings the total up to over 90 musicians for the concert. Among the guest performers will be Polish guitarist Marcin Dylla.

Organizers said that Dylla has performed in recitals within the major cities of the United States as well as having regular performances in Europe.

Tickets for the concert can be purchased at the theater or its website, the cultural ministry said.

Prices are based on seating and will be anywhere between 4,000 and 18,000 colons with half prices for students.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

Published Wednesday, May 3, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 87
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Global bleaching database could aid future testing of coral health
By the University of British Columbia press staff

A University of British Columbia-led research team has developed a new global coral bleaching database that could help scientists predict future bleaching events.

Until now, knowledge of the geographic extent of mass coral bleaching has been incomplete.

“We know that mass coral bleaching is happening all over the world, but the majority of events are in places in the developing world where the capacity for monitoring them is limited,” said Simon Donner, associate professor in the department of geography and the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the university.

“But no report doesn’t mean bleaching didn’t happen. It could be that the monitoring resources are not available or the reefs are too remote to visit.”

To build the database, the researchers scoured academic journals, government documents and other sources for reports of coral bleaching missing from an existing voluntary database commonly used by scientists. Then, they personally contacted local experts in places where they suspected coral bleaching had occurred.

So far, their database contains 79 percent more reports than the voluntary database. The researchers also found two-thirds of the new reports show moderate or severe bleaching.

Using the data, Donner and his team also created global maps showing areas where coral bleaching likely occurred between 1985 and 2010, despite the lack of previous reports.

The database will help scientists more accurately assess changes in the frequency of mass coral bleaching. It will also help predict future bleaching from ocean temperatures and allow scientists to test whether coral reefs are adjusting to rising ocean temperatures.

Bleached coral
Wikipedia photo
Example of what bleached coral looks like.

“If oceans continue warming at the current rate for the rest of the century, it’s likely that we won’t have many corals left,” said Donner.

“About a quarter of the ocean’s biodiversity exists on coral reefs. People depend on them for food, income and protection from rising seas.”

A loss of the world’s coral reefs from climate change would be disastrous for people in the tropics and Donner encourages everyone to contribute to the open-source database.

“You don’t even have to be a scientist,” he said.

“To anyone who is a diver, your citizen-scientist engagement can be valuable for us trying to understand what’s happening to coral reefs around the planet.”

The study, published this month in the journal “PLOS ONE,” was co-authored by Gregory J.M. Rickbeil and Scott F. Heron.

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Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

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

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

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
Published Wednesday, May 3, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 87
Real Estate
About us
U.S. Congress warn airlines
to improve customer service

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. lawmakers have put the nation's airlines on notice: improve customer service or we will make you.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing for top airline executives to testify and to determine how Congress might respond after a passenger was violently dragged off an overbooked United Airlines flight.

“Seize this opportunity,” committee Chairman Bill Shuster, a Pennsylvania Republican, told United CEO Oscar Munoz and other airline executives at a hearing. Otherwise, we're going to act and you're not going to like it, he said, predicting a one-size-fits-all solution that may serve some airlines but not all.

Munoz apologized repeatedly for the removal of David Dao, 69, who last month refused to give up his seat to make room for airline employees. The video of airport police dragging Dao from his seat went viral.

“In that moment for our customers and our company we failed, and so as CEO, at the end of the day, that is on me,” Munoz said. “This has to be a turning point.”

Executives from American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines also joined Munoz and United President Scott Kirby at the hearing.

American Airlines experienced its own public relations fiasco last month when a passenger video went viral, showing a woman on a plane in tears holding a child in her arms and another at her side after an encounter with a flight attendant over a baby stroller.

United and other airlines have announced policy changes regarding overbooked flights. Airlines have said they routinely overbook flights because a small percentage of passengers do not show up.

Health experts baffled
about mysterious illness

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Global health experts are striving to identify a mysterious illness in Liberia that has already killed 12 people.

Officials with the World Health Organization in Monrovia have already ruled out Ebola, yellow fever and a regional virus called Lassa. They have sent samples to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta for further tests.

The illness causes fever, vomiting, diarrhea and headaches. At least 21 cases have been confirmed so far and nearly all of the victims had attended the funeral of a religious leader last month in Sinoe County.

The health experts are looking for a link between the victims and food and drinks they may have consumed at the funeral.

Study says aspirin may aid
the breast cancer battle

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Low-dose aspirin might help fend off breast cancer, according to a new study.

Researchers at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center noted an overall 16 percent reduction in breast-cancer risk among the 57,000 women who took an 81-milligram dose of aspirin three or more times a week.

The most striking finding, according to researchers, was the effect the aspirin had on the most common form of breast cancer, known as estrogen or progesterone receptor positive HER2-negative breast cancer. The risk of developing that subtype was reduced by 20 percent.

The participants, part of the California Teachers Study that began in 1995, filled out questionnaires that included their exercise, smoking and drinking habits, family history of cancer and medications they took, including hormone replacement therapy.

By 2013, almost 1,500 women reported having developed invasive breast cancer.

The reduction in breast cancer risk in the City of Hope study was seen in comparison to the results of other large studies investigating the possible benefits of higher-dose aspirin and other painkillers. The study's findings were published online in the journal Breast Cancer Research.

Investigators did not see a breast-cancer risk reduction among women who took regular-strength aspirin or other types of painkillers. They said that may be because some women only took the aspirin occasionally, for pain relief.

Low-dose aspirin taken regularly has been linked to other health benefits, including reductions in the risk of heart disease and colon cancer.

Investigators in the latest study only found an association, not a causal link, between the use of baby aspirin and a reduced risk of breast cancer.

Researchers noted aspirin reduces inflammation, which plays a role in the initiation of disease. They also said the painkiller is a mild aromatase inhibitor. Aromatase inhibitors reduce the amount of the female hormone estrogen circulating in the bloodstream, which fuels breast tumors, so they are used to treat some forms of breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

At this point, researchers are not recommending that women start taking low-dose aspirin to protect themselves against breast cancer. They said more research is needed showing a definite link between baby aspirin and cancer prevention.

Putin denies involvement
in U.S. election interference

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied Tuesday that Russia interfered in last year's U.S. presidential election, saying such allegations are simply rumors that are being leveraged for political reasons in the United States.

Putin's denial came at a joint news conference in Sochi, Russia, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after the two leaders met amid increasingly strained relations over the war in Syria, and Russia's annexation of the Crimea region in neighboring Ukraine.

Putin's remarks are at odds with findings from U.S. intelligence agencies that have reported Russia was responsible for the hacking of Democratic Party email accounts, which were intended to benefit Republican Donald Trump and harm his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

In response to a reporter's question, Ms. Merkel said she was not fearful about the threat of Russian interference during this year's German elections and would respond to inaccurate information with facts.

"I am not an anxious person. I will fight the election on the basis of my convictions," she said, adding that Germans would handle decisively any disinformation campaigns.

Before the meeting at the Black Sea resort in Sochi, Putin said the talks were an opportunity to discuss Ukraine and Syria, although Merkel signaled no major breakthroughs were expected.

The two leaders last met in Germany in October 2016 in an attempt to revive the stalled peace process in eastern Ukraine. Although a peace agreement mediated by Germany and France in 2015 has helped reduce the fighting, violence has continued.

Ms. Merkel and Putin strongly disagreed Tuesday on the cause of the Ukrainian conflict. But both confirmed their support for the peace agreement.

On Syria, Germany has been firmly opposed to Russia's support for President Bashar al-Assad. Ms. Merkel has suggested that Russia was partly responsible for atrocities resulting from airstrikes carried out by Russian forces in civilian areas.

Putin on Tuesday called for strengthening Syria's fragile truce. Russian-led peace negotiations involving Syrian rebels and government officials are set to begin Wednesday in Kazakhstan's capital of Astana.

Also during the meeting, Ms. Merkel asked Putin to help ensure the rights of gays in Chechnya, one day after Russian police arrested gay rights activists.

During a May Day parade Monday in St. Petersburg, Russia's second largest city, Russian police arrested about 20 protesters, including the leader of an organization that is helping gay men escape from Chechnya, where they are reportedly subject to torture and other types of abuse.

Tuesday's trip to Russia was Ms. Merkel's first for a bilateral meeting there since Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in 2014, which precipitated the most intense confrontation between Moscow and the West since the Cold War.

The Eagles are suing a hotel
for alleged false advertising

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The surviving members of the legendary rock band The Eagles, are suing a Mexican hotel that calls itself Hotel California, which is also the title of what is likely the band’s most famous song.

The suit was filed Monday against the 11-room hotel in Baja California Sur, saying the hotel owners actively encourage the notion that the hotel is somehow associated with the band.

Allegedly one way the owners do this was through playing the song and other Eagles hits over the hotel’s sound system. The hotel also sold merchandise such as T-shirts calling itself legendary.

The suit, which was filed in Los Angeles, also claimed the hotel owners tried to register the Hotel California name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

"Defendants lead U.S. consumers to believe that the Todos Santos Hotel is associated with the Eagles and, among other things, served as the inspiration for the lyrics in Hotel California, which is false," according to the complaint.

The hotel opened in 1950 and was called Hotel California, but had gone by the name Todos Santos until being purchased by a Canadian couple in 2001 who changed the name back to Hotel California.

Hotel California appeared on the 1976 album of the same name and took home a Grammy for album of the year.

Don Felder, Glenn Frey and Don Henley wrote the song, which is known for winding guitars and oblique lyrics. Frey died in 2016 at age 67.

According to Henley, the song is about a journey from innocence to experience. It's not really about California; it's about America, he said in an interview with CBS News last year.

Islamic State regrouping
in parts of Iraq, officials say

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A car bombing in east Mosul is confirming fears of some analysts that the offensive against the Islamic State is dealing the terror group military defeats but not necessarily political setbacks.

More than 190 days since U.S.-backed Iraqi security forces launched their campaign to oust the Islamic State fighters from Mosul, the militants remain in parts of the western half of the city. And last month the group detonated a car bomb in the Zuhur district of east Mosul that left four dead and 14 wounded.

Zuhur was meant to have been cleared of Sunni militants back in January when Baghdad declared eastern Mosul fully liberated, but the bombing demonstrated that active Islamic State cells are still operating there, despite strenuous efforts by Iraqi security personnel to unearth them.

Out but not down is how Kyle Orton, an analyst with the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank, describes the terror group’s strategic position. Zuhur is part of a pattern of attacks that suggests the Mosul operation itself was rushed and more importantly that IS is already recovering in liberated areas, he warned in a study for the think tank.

He cautions that the group’s loss of territory should not be seen as the sole measure of how this war is going. U.S. and Iraqi officials estimate that Islamic State now controls just seven percent of the country, down from a high of 40 percent.

Islamic State hopes to emulate its precursor jihadist organizations, which were able to weather the military defeats inflicted on them by U.S. forces during the 2007 to 2008 Surge.

The group is exploiting its strategic depth in remote territory both in west and east Iraq such as the Euphrates River Valley bordering Syria, the Jalam desert east of Samarra and in the Hamrin mountains. The purpose is to launch hit-and-run attacks like an April 23 ambush on a government military convey near the western Iraq town of Rutba that left 10 Iraqi soldiers dead.

Islamic State has regrouped in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk. The militants still control half the province.

Recently, Iraqi commanders announced they are considering an assault on the town, which is overwhelmingly Sunni Arab, using Shi’ite militias.

That would continue, argues Orton, one of the worst aspects of the campaign against Islamic State, namely the use of demographically inappropriate forces to cleanse local areas that has meant the group’s military losses are not political losses.

When it comes to Mosul, Baghdad has managed to prevent Shi’ite militias from entering the city, allowing the offensive inside to be conducted by regular Iraqi security forces. Even so, most Iraqi soldiers are Shi’ite, which doesn’t help Baghdad with its hearts-and-minds campaign for the long-term loyalty of local Sunnis.

Thanks to the terror group’s brutal handling of civilians the Shi’ite influx into Mosul has not turned Sunnis en masse against the security forces. But rising civilian casualties in west Mosul from coalition airstrikes is starting to anger local Sunnis.

Operation pace starts to wear
on the U.S. Special Forces

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A continuous, heavy reliance on the most elite U.S. forces is threatening to erode what many officials now see as an increasingly indispensable set of military capabilities.

Already on the front lines in the battle against terror groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaida, U.S. special forces are increasingly being called upon to help combat a growing variety of threats from state and non-state actors at a pace that Pentagon officials fear may not be sustainable.

"We've been operating at such a high op-tempo for the last decade-plus," Theresa Whelan, acting assistant defense secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict, told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday. "We've mortgaged the future in order to facilitate current operations.

Approximately 8,000 U.S. special operations forces are currently deployed to more than 80 countries, according to U.S. Special Operations Command.

That figure includes high-profile missions in Syria and Iraq, where about 600 special operations forces have been working with local partners to help defeat Islamic State.

Special operations forces have also been playing a key role in Afghanistan, where just last week two Army Rangers were killed in a large raid with Afghan counterparts that is thought to have killed the leader of Islamic State in that country.

Additionally, the operations command has been given new responsibilities, taking the lead in coordinating military actions against terrorist organizations and also maintaining the Defense Department's efforts to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

But Gen. Raymond Thomas, commander for Special Operations, and Ms. Whelan cautioned that the additional responsibilities combined with a larger role on the ground, in many areas, have led to increased strain, especially in a tight budget environment.

In some cases, support staff has taken a hit, Ms. Whelan said. Officials also worry about the lack of certainty when it comes to funding.

Nearly 30 percent of the command’s money comes from the Overseas Contingency Operations budget, meant to help fund current military operations. But the vast majority of that money pays for long-term functions or capabilities.

The renewed concerns about special operations funding came the same day President Donald Trump touted a $20 billion military spending increase, included in a bill expected to be approved by the House of Representatives this week.

Still, the impact when it comes to stabilizing the command’s funding is unclear, as the military spending increase includes billions of dollars for special forces.

But even if funding is stabilized, there remain deep and long-standing concerns about trying to do too much with not enough, possibly pushing special operations force troops past their breaking point.

More news of the Americas
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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:

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)

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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.

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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!

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Bracelet tracking
Ministerio de Justicia y Paz photo    
These screens show bracelet-wearers being tracked.

Justice ministry gives tracking update

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The justice ministry provided an update on how the new electronic surveillance system is working on parolees in the Costa Rican criminal justice system.

The surveillance system is really a fancy word for the ankle bracelets placed on the individuals so as to better monitor their movements along with the GPS system tracking them. According to the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz, 144 men and 27 women are obliged to wear an electronic ankle bracelet as the result of a judicial order.

The Unidad Especializada de Atención a Personas Sujetas al Uso de Mecanismos Electrónicos is responsible for enforcing these court orders since the system became active back in Feb. 27. 

Since the system was activated, the justice ministry has caught nearly 14 users for tampering with the device, mainly by cutting it. Of those 14 cases, seven have been required to wear a new one. Meanwhile, others are required to have a landline telephone and still some were immediately recaptured and processed into the system.

Ankle bracelets are a normal form of parole and monitoring device pending someone’s day in court in countries such as the United States.

In Costa Rica, these bracelets are often given to persons on a form of conditional release, under house arrest and for those accused of domestic violence to ensure compliance with a court order. Those situations represent the few instances where the Ley de Mecanismos Electrónicos de Seguimiento en Materia Penal can be applied.

This law is mainly based on the individual ruling of a judge in court rather than a one-size-fits-all policy.

Puntarenas police join in on the fun

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police officers joined in on the fun in Puntarenas throughout the weekend.

The Fuerza Pública shared in the celebrations of the municipality’s own version of a smokeless, drug-free event along the paseo de los turistas, according to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

Masquerades, inflatable play areas, dances, parades and rock climbing walls were among the activities enjoyed by parents and kids alike. The strategy by the police force is similar to the U.S. Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, known by its acronym DARE. Police used the opportunity to give information out to parents as well, according to the ministry.

“All parents and children were pleased and pleased to have these spaces that allowed them to have fun and exercise, and receive advice from the officers,” a statement from the ministry proudly proclaimed.

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From page 7:

Evading taxes with Airbnb may mean charges

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

Foreigners making an income based in Costa Rica through the Airbnb platform and skipping taxes may be subject to a fiscal evasion accusation in their country of origin through the Ministerio de Hacienda.

According to Fernando Rodríguez, the vice-minister of revenue, Costa Rica has signed several international agreements that require the country to alert foreign authorities of their citizenry’s income gains in Costa Rican soil.

This measure will be specially enforced for those people who are renting property and not reporting their income for tax purposes, said Rodríguez.

“People renting property for less than 30 days must be enrolled in the Tribunet digital system under the category named Alquiler de Casas de Estancia Transistoria.  A failure to do so means they are breaking the anti-fraud laws approved in December.” he explained.

Currently, Airbnb hosts and any residents using similar platforms must withhold a 13 percent sales tax and pay it on a monthly basis to Tributación Directa.

Aside from that, owners must also pay the regular Impuesto sobre la Renta, a yearly income tax.

Back in March, Shawn Sullivan, Airbnb director of public policies for Latin America revealed that 228,000 visitors to Costa Rica chose an Airbnb host rather than paying for a hotel. The majority of them prefer to rent a complete property rather than sharing spaces.

Sullivan also met with Rodríguez to figure out a way to make Airbnb withold the sales taxes automatically, however no further agreements were reached up to date.

“According to our interpretation of the law, we are entitled to ask the company for the list of providers registered with them and check the compliance with local and international law,” Fernández said. “They are not really convinced of it but we know we can do it.”

Several attempts by A.M. Costa Rica to contact Airbnb garnered no response.

Industry hit

According to the Cámara Costarricense de Hoteles, many hotels are suffering the consequences of Airbnb competition, according to its director Flora Ayub.

“Right now the consequences for the hotel industry are negative, not only in terms of tourism visitation, but also in regards business and executives visitors,” Ms. Ayub said. “Many hotels in San José who offer convention centers have noticed a decline in their bookings.”

Many of those executive visitors seem to rent condos in gated communities through the platform, where prices are lower, explained Ms. Ayud.

“We don't mind the competition, as long as rules are the same for everyone. People in that platform do not pay taxes, social security fee and payrolls as we do,” she said.