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Published Friday, May 12, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 94
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Health officials have fumigated over 750,000 places of mosquito breeding grounds.
Health ministry maintains alertness over zika threat
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two outbreaks of zika virus were controlled by the health ministry but the government is issuing another warning call for the public against mosquito-borne diseases as the country plunges deeper into the rainy season.

The Ministerio de Salud claimed victory over the two outbreaks that occurred in Sámara at Guanacaste province as well as near San José at Alajuelita.

Costa Rica remains the only country in the Americas to go more than five consecutive weeks without a single direct transmission of the virus, the health ministry said.

Health officials have delivered more than 5,000 protection kits to pregnant women in conjunction wit the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias for the first semester of 2017. Zika typically causes no symptoms or only mild ones, such as fever and body aches.

If the virus infects a pregnant woman, however, it can result in birth defects in newborns, including microcephaly, which is characterized by an abnormally small head and brain, accompanied by marked developmental disorders.

Zika is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, but it can also be transmitted via sexual contact.

According to data provided by the Ministerio de Salud, there have been a total of 741 cases reported of zika within the country during the first 16 weeks of 2017. Of those cases, over 151 were confirmed as zika, the ministry said.

Cases of other chikungunya are not as high as the data given about zika. With this mosquito-borne disease, 2017 has yielded around 130 cases so far, according to Salud.

Meanwhile, dengue cases are topped at 1,111 with the highest numbers reported in Matina, Siquirres and Pococí. That is still down from similar data compiled at the same time in 2016 where cases reached as high as 6,819.

The most impressive regression has been in the reports of malaria disease.

The health ministry reached a peak of recorded cases back in 2006 at 2,913. This year, only four cases of malaria have been reported.

Costa Rica has been especially emphasizing a campaign since November to eliminate the breeding grounds of mosquitos around public areas.

These measures were adopted in the form of an information campaign as much as a direct action plan by the health ministry in fumigating these sites.

“We want to remind the general public that the best fight against the Aedes mosquito is to properly dispose of waste," the ministry said in a statement.

"And to ensure that our homes, workplaces, schools and our communities and municipalities are kept clean without standing or stagnant water."

Government officials were concerned that last year would bring over 60,000 cases of the mosquito-borne virus to Costa Rica.

That does not include cases of dengue, malaria and chikungunya.

Those numbers were overestimating, however, as only a total of 1,649 cases were confirmed, according to data provided by Salud.

So far, the Programa Nacional de Control de Vectores visited 687,128 residences and helped eliminate almost 3 million breeding sites.

Additionally, health officials said they had sprayed around 759,000 homes.

These breeding sites for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary culprit in spreading these illnesses, tend to be in unused tires, buckets, tanks, garbage bags, jars and around potted plants.

Telecom operators face no new cell competition
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

No new telecommunications operators are interested in providing cellular services in Costa Rica, after Movistar and Claro were the only ones to present an offer for  a bigger piece of the country's radio-electric field.

Thursday at 2 p.m. was the deadline established by the Superintendencia General de Telecomunicaciones for any companies to present their offers to bid for 70 megahertz worth of space of the radio-electric field.

The radio-electric field consists of all the frequencies able to transport the electromagnetic waves that allow television and radio broadcasts, mobile phone and internet services, as well as the interactions with satellites, vessels and planes.

According to the Costa Rican constitution, it is a good of the state and it can never leave its control.

The telecom firms were required to be proven telecom telecommunications operators, with at least five years experience and have at least 50 percent of the minimum bidding amount, which is about $40 million, according to Eduardo Castellón, spokesperson of the Superintendencia.

These telecom companies will now attend a public bidding of the spectrum on a date that has not yet been determined. The Superintendencia has got a 50 days period to set the date of the bidding. 

“Operators have presented their technical offers, showing their real capacity to provide the services,” Castellón said. “Their proposals will now be assesed by a team of experts, however, no money is involved in this part of the process."

The bidding itself will be a sophisticated one.

On that day, representatives of the selected companies will connect to a specially designed software that will calculate the price of the frequencies based on what is requested by the operators.

If, all together, the companies request more than what's available, then the price will automatically go up.

According to Superintendencia, this is important to ensure transparency and help the government make the most profit possible out of the business.

Statistics provided by the entity show that right now the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad has 550 Mh of radio electric field.

By comparison, its nearest competitors like Claro works with 70Mh and Movistar with 60Mh. 

The telecom market was first opened for competition in 2011, as a consequence of the Central America  Free Trade Agreement approved by popular vote in 2007.

Aside from the state owned Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, Movistar and Telefónica became the institute’s first competitors.

At the time of the first bid, the offers were received on a closed envelope where the operators stated how much they were willing to pay.

At the time, Superintendencia had 200 Mhz for concession but was able to grant the use of only 130Mh.

That meant $195 million in revenue.

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Anti-animal cruelty bill passes first step

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Animal lovers may nod their heads in approval with the legislative assembly’s recent first-step approval of a bill that penalizes animal abuse and cruelty.

The bill, numbered 18.625, reforms the Ley de Bienestar de los Animales by imposing up to half a base salary fine to those breeding or promoting the use of animals for fighting. It also would punish with a prison sentence of three months to a year any person caught causing harm to a domesticated animal. There also fines within the provisions for reckless endangerment or abandonment of an animal.

The maximum penalty in the bill would be applied towards those who intentionally kill an animal. That means a prison sentence of three months to two years, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial.

The executive branch along with the prominent political parties of Frente Amplio and Partido Acción Cuidadana praised the legislature’s first round of approval for the measure. Frente Amplio stated that the bill was passed in the first debate with unanimous approval.

On the other hand, animals like squirrels, lizards, monkey snakes or mountain pigs, would be classified as domesticated.

"This is a result of the legislative consensus and the struggle of the animal movement, which for years has been fighting for a change in our legal framework to punish cruelty against animals," said Marcela Warrior, legislative deputy and member of Partido Acción Ciudadana.

Casa Presidencial quickly interceded in its statement with mentioning that the legislative action would exempt: fishing, aquaculture, livestock, zootechnical, livestock, veterinary, sanitary or phytosanitary control, marking, reproductive control or animal hygiene from the application of sanctions. 

The legislation now needs to be called upon for a second debate in the assembly and then voted on again before being sent to the presidency for signing and publication in La Gaceta as law.

Fixing drains
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo        
Crews will be working on improving the drains.

Cañas highway closed this weekend

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The General Cañas highway will be fully closed beginning this coming Saturday at 10 p.m. Officials from the public works ministry said that the highway section will not be reopened until Sunday at 5 p.m.

The works is intended to to improve the draining gutters located on either side of the road. However, cement delivery trucks will be parked and spread along the highway, which is the reason the road will be fully blocked.

According to Mauricio Sojo, the engineer that will be on site, there is a slight possibility the road will be reopen earlier, depending on weather conditions.
The highway will be closed in the vicinity of the Alfredo Gozaléz Flores bridge, colloquially known as the platina. The direction going to San José will be closed from the hardware store in Belén. Going to Alajuela, all vehicles will be diverted near the Conservatorio Castella.

$100 million to improve border posts

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The border integration program has some lofty goals to fix Costa Rica’s borders: eradicate infrastructure problems, create greater inter-institutional coordination, more security and user controls and fix what are being labeled repetitive and inefficient procedures.

The Programa de Integración Fronteriza, approved today for its final vote by the legislative assembly, is essentially a loan by the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo to the tune of $100 million. The Ministerio de Comercio Exterior has been designated as the executor of this plan with the loan money intended to go towards financing construction and improvements at the land crossings.

“The Programa de Integración Fronteriza is a priority for increasing competitiveness, trade and national security,” said Jhon Fonseca, the vice minister of foreign trade. “The changes promoted by the project will reduce excessive waiting times, lower costs, increase competitiveness, more trade, more production, more employment, more well-being, and above all improving the protection of our population, flora, fauna and productive sectors.”

Through this initiative, the government plans to move beyond more than 30 years of simple general upkeep of the border infrastructure at the land posts. The foreign trade ministry said in a statement that the situation constitutes an obstacle to the growth of commerce and represents a glaring security concern.

The facilities intended to benefit from this money are the crossings at Peñas Blancas and Las Tablillas along the Nicaraguan frontier and then Paso Canoas and Sixaloa to the south.

New clinic opening in Cartago province

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new clinic is going to be created for the communities of Pacayas and Tierra Blanca in Cartago province, according to the Costa Rican social security fund.

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social issued a statement Thursday elaborating that the clinic in Oreamuno canton will be the first one established for that level of care in the province. This clinic is intended to aid patients who are terminally ill or suffering from chronic pain, said María del Rocío Sáenz Madrigal, the executive president for the Caja.

These services, while headquartered at the clinic, are also conducted in the homes of patients too, according to the Caja. Aside from the new one opening in Oreamuno, the Caja intends to build other facilitites at La Cruz, Matina and Chomes.

Ms. Sáenz Madrigal recalled that Costa Rica is exemplary in this type of offered care, since not all health systems have incorporated palliative care within the health system. Costa Rica, she said, is considered one of the few countries that provides this palliative support those terminally ill or who have chronic pain.


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Translated into English

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Costa Rican rocket company to present first hydrogen-powered bus
By Rommel Téllez of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Next month, the first hydrogen powered bus ever seen in the country will show off and take people for a free ride in the Liberia canton, in the northern province of Guanacaste.

The exotic vehicle is developed by the Ad Astra Rocket Company, founded by former Costa Rican astronaut Franklin Chang Díaz. Chang is a Costa Rican-American famous for several missions on the Space Shuttle and member of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA. The company has its Costa Rican facilities also in Liberia.

To make it work, hydrogen is produced from renewable electricity through water electrolysis and stored for later use and stored on-board. It is then combined with oxygen from the air to produce electricity, which feeds an electric motor and produces movement. The only byproduct is water vapor.

The construction of the bus is part of a public and private alliance between the company, its partners and Banca para el Desarrollo, a financial agency that promotes entrepreneurship by granting loans to projects deemed as innovators.

“So far, we have invested about $430,000 in the whole project.” said José Castro, chief scientist of the team.
“We are excited to tackle our generation's biggest challenge: freeing ourselves from our dependence on fossil fuels and focus on sustainable solutions.”

The bus can transport up to 35 people and travel up to 338 kilometers on 38 kilograms of compressed hydrogen. For expats unfamiliar with the metric system off the top of their head, that is about 210 miles on 83 pounds of the gas.
hydrogen tanks
Ad Astra photo
Workers prep compressed hydrogen storage tanks for bus.

It is kept in the U.S. at a facility in Connecticut.

Ad Astra is also developing the prototype of a recharge station in its Liberia facility. The idea is to create a whole system that provides alternative energy for public transportation. 

The bus finally running in the streets means the group would finally reach two major milestones.

The first is the integration of all hydrogen production, storage and dispensing systems at Ad Astra’s Liberia facility and the final coordinating steps in the procurement, transport and operation, according to a statement from the company.

The goal is to turn the project into a real transportation system, make it work and eventually in export the idea to other countries, the company said.

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Group calls Northern Triangle situation ignored humanitarian crisis
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new report issued by the non-government organization Doctors Without Borders gave an exhortation of what it defines as a largely neglected humanitarian crisis.

The group is referring to the violence and evacuations plaguing Central America and México. According to statistics released by Doctors Without Borders, over 50,000 people cross into México each year from the area known as the Northern Triangle.

Expats may know that this name is referring primarily to the Central American countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Sometimes Nicaragua is also included with the grouping. Many of these migrants use México as the main funnel by which to eventually enter the United States. Some even move south to Costa Rica in search of improved conditions.

These countries constituting the Northern Triangle are wracked by enormous gang violence and high murder rates aside from corruption and crime. Doctors Without Borders said that it created a report yielding results that are more in common with some of the deadliest armed conflicts in the world today.

The group did this through two years of documenting migrants’ stories, with over 35,593 medical and psychosocial consultations as well as violence assessment surveys. The results discovered a pattern of violent displacement, persecution, sexual violence and forced repatriation, according to the group.

“Despite existing legal protections under Mexican law, they are systematically detained and deported,” the executive summary of the report said. “Nearly 98 percent of NTCA citizens were captured by immigration authorities in 2015, with devastating consequences on their physical and mental health.”

NTCA is the acronym used to describe the Northern Triangle of Central America.

Doctors Without Borders photo
Many migrants use this cargo train called "The Beast."

The results of persons interviewed by the group said that around 39 percent of them listed a direct attack or threats to themselves or their families as the main reason for leaving their country.

Out of all the migrants listed, 43.5 percent had a relative who died due to violence in the past two years, the report said.

Moreover, the journey does not apparently end the violence as 68.3 percent of populations entering México reported being victims of violence and over one-third of women had been sexually abused, the findings said. 60 percent of those treated by the group for that sexual violence were raped.

Doctors Without Borders has motives in this report. The organization believes that the humanitarian crisis on this side of the Atlantic demands immediate support particularly with the U.S. and México providing better legal protection measures.

That means asylum, humanitarian visas and temporary protected status, according to the group.

Given current U.S. immigration policy as well as an increasingly aggressive México that, with pressure from the United States, is cracking down harder on illegal migration, the requests towards changing policy may not come to fruition in the present future.

The link to the report is HERE.

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Beautiful Penthouse Fully Furnished for Rent
Central San José downtown 

Including electricity, rate ₡355.000 (colones) or $650 per month.  2-bedroom / Laundry in bldg /  apartment. with king-sized bed in the master bedroom and large closets and desk.  It has 2 bathrooms, large kitchen and separate large living room. The apartment is on the top floor of the building with a commanding view of San José.  American-style apartment with elevator in a very secure building in Barrio Amón. Total eastern wall is windows for commanding view of area. The fully equipped kitchen has all the amenities included. All linen, towels, bedding are included. Three televisions, cable television, high-speed internet, WiFi. It includes plenty of hot water and all your electricity is also included in the rent. Shared free laundries on four floors of the building. Convenient to Parque Morazán, 100 mts. north of downtown Holiday Inn, Del Rey and other downtown hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, National Registry.  1/2 mo. security deposit. No lease required.

For personal inspection and more information call Hilda or Frank at (506) -7279-0252, 7148-1518, 7256-8378. Not calling for deals not related.

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:

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
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Solar device
NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
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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.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
Published Friday, May 12, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 94
Real Estate
About us
Venezuela weapons caches
concern among CIA officials

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuela has large caches of weapons that are at risk of falling into the wrong hands, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency told a Senate panel Thursday, adding that it is a real threat.

Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo shared that assessment at a Senate intelligence committee hearing. The restive South American country is in its second month of often-violent street protests, with at least 39 deaths resulting from clashes between its socialist government's supporters and foes.

Pompeo's comment came in response to a question from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. The Florida Republican had asked about threats posed by groups armed by the regime of Nicolas Maduro to defend him from the protests.

Rubio has suggested that these armed groups, called colectivos, could sell arms on the black market to drug traffickers or terrorist organizations such as FARC, which recently ended decades of war with Venezuela's neighbor, Colombia, or the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Pompeo acknowledged the threat but said the CIA had no evidence of contacts between terrorists and Venezuela's armed groups.

The groups' actions outside Maduro's control do represent a risk, but we need more details, Pompeo said. "For now, we have no evidence that it is happening."

The CIA director said such collaborations most likely would have dangerous reverberations throughout the region.

Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, told the Senate panel that Venezuela's unpopular government had lost its credibility after mismanaging its economy and stripping away some democratic norms.

Maduro, who has jailed political opponents and delayed long-overdue elections, earlier this month called for a new constitution, fueling more anger among Venezuelans already bitter over severe and chronic shortages of food, medicine and other basics.

Venezuelan government security forces have used tear gas and rubber bullets to quell demonstrations.

The U.S. government has imposed sanctions on some individuals in Venezuela, including the country's vice president, related to suspected corruption and drug trafficking.

Deputy AG faces pressure
to appoint special counsel

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Former colleagues of Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Wednesday he should recuse himself from investigations into Russian meddling in U.S. elections and instead appoint a special prosecutor after President Donald Trump abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday.

Rory Little, a former associate deputy attorney general who has known Rosenstein since the 1990s and also backed his nomination, said it is entirely likely Rosenstein will appoint a special prosecutor.

Rosenstein, who started on the job just two weeks ago, wrote a memo harshly critical of Comey that President Donald Trump and aides cited as justification for dismissing the FBI director.

The move ignited a political furor, with Democrats and other Trump critics suggesting that it was designed to impede the FBI’s investigation and questions about whether Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russians. Trump has derided the notion as fake news.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has already recused himself from involvement in the Russia probe after failing to disclose, during his Senate confirmation hearing, meetings with Sergei Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to Washington.

Rosenstein has the authority to name a special prosecutor if he chooses. During his own confirmation hearing in March, Rosenstein said would be willing to do so whenever I determine it is appropriate.

In the three-page memo, Rosenstein said Comey was wrong to usurp the attorney general’s authority when he announced last July that Clinton would not face criminal charges over her use of a private email server and later held a press conference about his findings.

While Rosenstein carefully avoided calling for Comey’s dismissal, Trump said in a statement on Tuesday that he dismissed Comey on the clear recommendations of both Rosenstein and Sessions.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House deputy press secretary, said Wednesday that Rosenstein and Sessions had raised concerns about Comey during a meeting with Trump on Monday and that Trump asked them to put their recommendations in writing.

The Washington Post reported that Trump directed Sessions and Rosenstein to make the case against Comey, and that Rosenstein later threatened to resign after the White House cast the president's dismissal of Comey largely on Rosenstein's recommendation.

Little said that while he did not think the memo compromised Rosenstein’s ability to conduct an independent investigation, it made political sense for him to recuse himself.

The Department of Justice did not respond to a request for comment.

Gansler said it appears that the moment Trump found out that Comey had escalated the investigation was the moment that he fired the very man investigating him.

“When Richard Nixon fired people who were getting close to Watergate, it simply intensified the focus on that investigation,” Little said. “I think that’s what you’re going to see here.”

Dutch inventor planning
a massive plastic clean-up

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Dutch entrepreneur has come up with an invention he says will allow him to start cleaning up a massive floating garbage patch in the Pacific two years ahead of schedule.

Boyan’s Slat's Ocean Cleanup foundation plans to scoop up most of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a gargantuan floating island of plastic between the U.S. states of Hawaii and California.

When he discovered that his original plan of attaching large barriers to the sea floor to trap the plastic would not work, Slat devised a different plan.

The barriers will instead be weighed down by floating anchors and travel in the same sea currents as the garbage, trapping it.

Slat says the new plan will allow him to start collecting the trash within a year  and two years ahead of schedule.

The young entrepreneur's system is making waves among America's super-rich philanthropists. Last month, his foundation announced it had raised $21.7 million in donations since November, clearing the way for large-scale trials at sea. Among donors were CEO Marc Benioff and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.

Nancy Wallace, director of the Marine Debris Program at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said much of the garbage in the world's oceans is found throughout the water column at different depths. That would likely put some of it out of reach of Slat's barriers.

However she applauded The Ocean Cleanup for bringing the issue to a broad public.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not just an ugly reminder of a throwaway human society. It is also a danger to sea life and humans. Tiny bits of plastic can find their way into the food chain.

Ocean Cleanup says 8 million tons of plastic wind up in the seas every year. One piece of plastic can take decades to break down.

Slat on Thursday brought out an intact plastic crate fished from the Pacific last year. The date 1977 was stamped on it.

Lava flows in largest crater
on Jupiter's moon, Loki

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Waves of lava flow inside the largest volcano crater on Jupiter’s fourth biggest moon, Loki.

Researchers at the University of California Berkeley were able to take advantage of a celestial alignment between Loki and another moon, Europa, to make the discovery.

Loki, which is the most volcanic body in the solar system, has over 400 active volcanoes, and Loki Patera is that moon's largest crater. Loki is named after the Norse god, and patera means a bowl-shaped volcanic crater.

In 2015, when Europa passed in front of the moon Io, it cast a shadow, allowing researchers to measure the ultraviolet radiation. That observation revealed a large temperature contrast inside the Loki Patera crater, which measures about 204 kilometers across. It has an area of 21,500 square kilometers, which is larger than Lake Ontario.

That, researchers say, suggests the lava had overturned in two waves that swept from west to east at about a kilometer per day.

Loki Patera’s crater is shaped like a donut, and the observations showed the two waves on either side of the hole. They believe the waves did not form simultaneously.

The paper was published this week in the journal “Nature.”

Saudis paid for veteran trips
against 9/11 lawsuit law

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

After Congress passed a new law allowing Sept. 11 victims' families to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts, opponents mounted an expensive political campaign, including paying American military veterans to visit Capitol Hill and warn lawmakers about what they said could be unintended consequences.

What few people knew, including some of the recruited veterans themselves, was that Saudi Arabia's government was largely paying for the effort, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Despite a World War II-era U.S. law requiring lobbyists to immediately reveal payments from foreign governments or political parties, some of the campaign's organizers failed to notify the Justice Department about the Saudi kingdom's role until months afterward, with no legal consequences.

Even now, some opponents of the law, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, still won't say to whom or how many exactly they paid thousands of dollars each to influence state and federal elected officials on behalf of Saudi Arabia, stymieing public knowledge about the scale of foreign influence on the push to overturn the legislation.

The chief lobbyist for the Saudi Embassy in Washington said it encouraged its subcontractors to be as transparent as possible. But the campaign and the allegations surrounding it show what can happen when the often-murky world of lobbying intersects with emotive American issues like patriotism, protecting U.S. troops and the memory of Sept. 11. It also highlights how federal laws governing disclosures of foreign influence in American politics are only as strong as they're enforced.

"If the purpose of the statute is to make a public record about how foreign sovereigns are spending money to influence U.S. policy, it's not clear how the Justice Department's relatively lax enforcement of the statute furthers that goal," said Stephen Vladeck, a law professor and national security law expert at the University of Texas.

Congress voted overwhelmingly for the law in September, overriding a veto by U.S. President Barack Obama in his final weeks in office. The law, known by the acronym JASTA, gives victims' families the right to sue any foreign country found to support a terrorist attack that kills U.S. citizens on American soil. Its critics warn the law opens U.S. troops, diplomats and contractors to lawsuits that otherwise couldn't be filed under the terms of sovereign immunity, a legal doctrine usually protecting governments and its employees in court.

While the bill mentioned no countries, its supporters acknowledged that it took direct aim at Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudis. The attacks masterminded by al-Qaida's Saudi-born leader Osama bin Laden killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

Saudi Arabia's rulers, who fought a bloody al-Qaida insurgency in the years after 9/11 and who now face another from the Islamic State group, long have denied funding extremists. After JASTA became law, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said it hoped wisdom will prevail and that Congress will take the necessary steps to correct this legislation in order to avoid the serious unintended consequences that may ensue.

The veterans' lobbying effort began within a month after the vote. Soon, some 70 new subcontractors would be hired by Qorvis MSLGroup, a Washington-based lobbying and public relations firm that represents Saudi Arabia, according to Justice Department filings examined by The Associated Press. Nearly all listed JASTA as their main focus, with their objective as alerting lawmakers and others to potential legal liabilities arising for U.S. military, intelligence and diplomatic personnel.

The veterans who spoke to lawmakers had their flights and accommodation paid for with Saudi money distributed by the subcontractors, according to the filings. Some stayed at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. Saudi Arabia's involvement was first reported by The Daily Caller, a conservative website, and later explored by the Saudi-skeptic website

Included among the lobbyists who registered were public relations experts, those who had done work with veterans and a state lawmaker, Nevada assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod. Those who disclosed their salaries listed payments ranging from $12,000 up to $100,000, which Jason E. Jones of Oregon, Wisconsin, received.

Under federal law, anyone working on behalf of a foreign government is required to register within 10 days of being contracted and before beginning any work. But in Wheeler's case, a lawyer filed his paperwork on March 31; three trips and months after being contracted.

Matt Lauer, an executive vice president at Qorvis MSLGroup, said his organization told all its subcontractors to comply with federal lobbying regulations. He said his organization had a long history of filing full reports with authorities on its foreign agent lobbying activities.

But those Foreign Agents Registration Act's guidelines, first put in place over concerns about Nazi propagandists operating in the U.S. ahead of World War II, require the Justice Department to enforce them.

Between 1966 to 2015, the Justice Department has brought only seven criminal cases involving the act, according to an inspector general report released in September. The report recommended the Justice Department's National Security Division, which oversees registrations, improve its oversight, including making sure filings are made on time.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

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

Santiago de Puriscal
A little piece of paradise near Santiago de Puriscal,
Costa Rica.

16 acres (approximately).  Price: $425,000 USD

We are selling our beautiful finca that has been in the family for 37 years. It is located 3 miles (5 km.) northwest of Santiago de Puriscal in the village of Desamparaditos. We are looking for a discriminating buyer who would appreciate the location, views, flora and fauna. Excellent for artists, writers and nature lovers. Fantastic birding. Very private but not isolated. Have surveyed plans for possible subdividing.

For more information:  In the U.S.A. call the owners: Pete & Debbie Todd: 970 -221-1457 or 970-581-4826 or email In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 506-7187-8577.
CODE: 9216-8/11/17

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:

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.
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Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398

Real estate services
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A.M. Guatemala
A.M. Honduras
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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2017 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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news page

Published Friday, May 12, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 94
Real estate
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Science Fair participants
Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones photo  
The four participants pose together for group shot.

Students going to global science fair

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Four Costa Rican students are on their way to Los Angeles to represent their country in the International Science and Engineering Fair beginning this coming Sunday, according to the science ministry.

These four were the winners of the three projects presented at the Costa Rican international science fair challenge to see who would qualify. In recent months, the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomuncaciones put the projects under an improvement process as a means of ensuring the representation of Costa Rica in international competition. This included input from experts in the ministry, INTEL, the national nanotechnology lab, Universidad Nacional and Universidad de Costa Rica among others

The projects going to Los Angeles include an: evaluation of the fungal disease anthracnose and its effect on agricultural crops such as avocado by Priscilla Solera and Sofía Pacheco; a biocontrol of another pest that has a fungus which also affects the ecosystem by Diego Alonso Martínez; and a device for the teaching and learning of the braille alphabet by Luis Javier Mora.

Costa Rica has participated in the science fair since 1998 when Intel first came to the country, the science ministry said. At this fair, over 1,800 colleges from 75 countries will be offering around $4 million in scholarships and awards to the 22 categories of science and engineering. The Costa Rican delegation is sponsored by Intel and the science ministry.

Masked assailants nabbed by police

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A follow-up in a police report led members of the Fuerza Pública to stop two men suspected of attacking individuals while wearing Halloween masks.

The crimes were committed in Higuito de San Miguel in Desamparados, according to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública. The suspects were captured after the motorcycle they were riding on matched a description given to police of the vehicle used in the thefts. The subsequent stop was at a regular police checkpoint, a report said.

Upon searching the individuals, the police discovered the masks. The two men, aged 21 and 19 respectively, were taken into custody.


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From page 7:
Costa Rican fruit companies go to Italian fair

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican fruit products are getting some more international exposure with 10 to 12 local companies participating in the 2017 Macfrut fresh produce fair in Italy.

According to a statement from the Promotora de Comercio Exterior, more than 38,000 people have been attending the two-day exposition that ends today. The goal of the fair is to network and conduct business between buyers and producers. Over 1,000 exhibitors are participating including the Costa Rican businesses.

The group said that, with its support, Piñaalbo, Proagroin, Isabella Fruit Company and Tierra Nuestra Latina were among the Costa Rican companies in attendance. It also represents the first time that Costa Rica attended a fair with a booth under the essential Costa Rican brand, Promotora said.

“Macfrut is an event with a business focus between exporting companies and importers of fresh produce, service providers and machinery, which offers a wide range of supply to the Costa Rican export sector,” the group said in a statement.

“The platform offered by this event is business meetings, conferences and other related events, giving exhibitors the opportunity to learn about the industry, learn about new trends and identify new business opportunities.”

According to data acquired by the government of Costa Rica, the country’s agricultural sector exported around $2.7 billion in 2016. The data said that the United States, Italy and the Netherlands were the top buyers of Costa Rican fresh produce. The main agricultural exports from the country included: bananas, pineapple, coffee, melon and yuca.