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May 17, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 97
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Legislators respond while LGBTI group plans fight
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Frente por los Derechos Igualitarios, an organization that fights for the rights of the sexually diverse people, will accuse the president of the Legislative Assembly before the constitutional court for allegedly violating the freedom of speech of its members.

This was confirmed by the spokeswoman of the organization, Larissa Arroyo, who also said the organization will seek help from Defensoría de los Habitantes, the Costa Rican ombudsman.

Going forward, the group also intends to make its presence known and file a report before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights after an incident that took place Monday afternoon.

That day, members of the organizations attended the legislative session at the hall destined for the public.

They attached several posters in the window demanding equal treatment for sexually diverse people.

At some point, the group also attached a bigger poster that showed the president of the legislature, Gonzalo Ramírez, kissing Antonio Alvarez Desanti, a lawmaker who currently is the candidate for the Costa Rican presidency for Partido Liberación Nacional.

“Then Ramírez ordered the security guards to come after us and our art, violating our constitutional righ of freedom of speech.” explained Ms. Arroyo. “What makes it worse is the fact that, even after we asked, the security refused to provide their names and under what grounds they were removing our artwork.”

According to Alexis Chacón, spokesperson for deputy Rolando Gonzales, the order to remove the poster was issued only after several lawmakers complained. 

He also added that Rolando Gonzales, another lawmaker from the Liberación Nacional Party was the first one to be offended.

“That's not true. Marcela Guerrero, Patricia Mora also felt offended.” said Gonzales.

legislature
                              protesters
Frente por los Derechos Igualitarios photo
Some of the protesters at the chambers.

“I complained because that's a disrespectful representation of a behavior that does not correspond to the true nature of the two people involved.” he said.

“This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It's all about respect.”.

Marcela Guerrero, legislator of Partido Acción Ciudadana also shook off the accusation and said she just wanted to deescalate the situation.

“I'm on their side. I'm an activist for equal rights but I considered their approach to be divisive rather than inclusive.”

In the last two weeks, human rights groups have widely criticized the election of Ramírez as head of the legislature, due to his staunchly conservative views and his status as an evangelical pastor.

One day after this incident, the executive branch announced that the government is asking for jurisprudence from the Inter-American Court on Human Rights to determine exactly what international rules the country should comply with in regards gender and sexual identity.

The government has also consulted before the court if the right of people to change their name according to their identity is a protected one and what's the best procedure to do so.

It also seeks to know if the patrimony of a same-sex couple is protected under the Interamerican Convention on Human Rights.

“It is a duty of the state to take measures to prevent the violation of these people rights.” said Ana Helena Chacón, the second vice president of the country.



Overstaying 90-day visa means a fine of $0 so far
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff


As of today, tourists who stay in the country for more than 90 days have to pay a fine of $0, since the last two governments have not yet implemented a system to collect the penalties established by the law.

According to article 91 from Ley General de Migración y Extranjería, people who overstay their 90-day tourist in the country should be charged $100 per extra month on their departure.

If they fail to do so, they will be banned out of the country three days for every overstayed day.

The current immigration law dates from 2010, however, immigration authorities claim that legal debate as to whom and how the fines should be collected have delayed the process for seven years.

“There have been many interpretations on the subject and our lawyers have been discussing the issue with the Procuraduría General to gain a clear view on how the process should be properly set up,” said Seidy Muñoz, spokesperson for the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería.

The Procuraduría General de la República works as the country’s solicitor general and its criteria is usually legally binding. In fact, last March the Procuraduría sent a final resolution on the subject to immigration officials.

“Right now, I'm not able to provide an estimate on when the system should be up and running. It is up to a special commision to define the deadlines,” Ms. Muñoz said.

Aside from the legal issues, the compliance with the law in terms of collecting fines also implies the creation of an informative platform from scratch and its deployment.

It also implies that Migración should partner with banks and other private institutions to develop a payment network.

Ms. Muñoz was not able to provide an estimate of how much money the state could be collecting from those fines. She said that, in case of a tourist with or without a visa, immigration authorities do not keep statistics on how many people overstay and for how long.

Even though the fines are not being applied yet, there are other penalties in place for the tourists who forget to leave the country on time. One of them is to reduce the time of future stays or declining entry at all, explained Ms. Muñoz.

“The immigration police may get suspicious if they see some tourist entering and leaving often and may reduce the validity of his or her visa.” she explained.

There is also the matter of getting caught or at least being found guilty of a crime committed in Costa Rica, which could also have a factor on returning as much as potential deportation.


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USDA inspecting four local meat plants

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is auditing four establishments here in Costa Rica.

According to the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal, the audit on the establishments is the result of continuing to maintain the health standards of all products exported to the United States. This includes the products being properly labeled, not tampered or damaged and are generally safe for consumption.

The agricultural ministry said that this audit has been occurring since Monday and is also intended to verify that the Servicio and the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería is properly regulating and controlling these plants.

The ministry did not list the establishments in question except to say that they were processing meats The audit is expected to end next Friday.

Once analyzed by inspectors and officials from the Food Safety and Inspection Service, the results will be sent to the Servicio to apply any changes in regulations or requirements necessary to comply.

This could include watching out for diseases in the animals, sanitation, the slaughter and processing of the products, residues from veterinary drugs and other factors that may need improvement, the ministry said.


Alfredo
Gonzalez Flores bridge
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo    
Work crews are putting the finishing touches on the bridge.

Platina is in the final construction phase

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

After numerous delays and heavy traffic backup, the Alfredo Gozález Flores bridge over the Río Virilla is in the final phase of construction, according to engineers.

The bridge, commonly known as the platina, will be apparently open in a matter of days, according to Andrés Muñoz, the chief engineer in charge of the project. The installation of the expansion joints and the curing process has been complete and the project is finally close to complete after being shut down since January.

The bridge has been somewhat opened with two lanes opened between midnight and noon for traffic going toward the capital and then one lane for Alajuela. Those switch around noon.

The bridge is a part of the General Cañas and, prior to its closure, represented one of the most direct and quickest ways to get to and from San José and Juan Santamaría airport.


According to data provided by the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes, over 100,000 vehicles travel on the bridge each day and is the main connecting artery for the greater metropolitan area.

Muñoz said that, if necessary, partial closures will be applied to paint the lines on the asphalt but such closures will be given well in advance of their occurrence. He added that the new bridge may experience further closures even after its grand reopening so as to reconstruct the median dividing traffic.

In the upcoming days, crews will be painting the new lines on the bridge and installing the signage as well as placing pedestrian safety railing and lighting for the structure.


IMF report cautiously lukewarm review

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The latest report gathered from the International Monetary Fund gave some cautiously average and lukewarm reviews of the state of financing and economy within Costa Rica.

Among the group’s findings summarized in 19 points, the officials found that the colon had depreciated moderately and the central bank’s reserves continued to decline in spite of narrowing the current deficit. The findings anticipate that the colon will continue to depreciate bit by bit while the reserves will lose about $300 million more. This comes after already seeing a $260 million decline last year, according to IMF data.

Meanwhile, the fiscal deficit remained elevated for this year while the state’s debt to gross domestic product, or GDP, ballooned to over 45 percent as well. The potential gains from new legislation passed by the Asemblea Legislativa will be largely offset by court mandates earmarking increased expenditures on social welfare programs and education, the report gloomily predicts.

The IMF said that the risks involved were an unlikely passage of a fiscal program necessary to lift the country out of its situation due to domestic politics. It cautioned that a strengthening of the dollar, a weak budgetary situation, a bank reliance on foreign funding an high credit dollarization mar the country’s progress due to normal fiscal health.

“With no additional policy action, the primary deficit would return to almost 3 percent of GDP over the medium term,” the IMF said.

“The overall deficit would rise to 8 percent of GDP owing to a mounting interest bill and constitutionally-mandated education spending. Public debt would reach 65 percent of GDP by 2022, steadily growing thereafter.”

To that end, the organization recommended fiscal austerity measures and cuts to spending that are unlikely to occur and so much so that even the official findings advance the notion of at least finding a mixed policy procedure that would cater to cultural conditions.

The IMF praised the measures of increasing the income tax as well as the value-added sales tax but cautions that those alone are not enough and a change in the pensions as well as incomes of persons are necessary also.

In short, the situation is stable for the moment but also lukewarm in terms of current fiscal health.

“Costa Rica ranks better than most of Latin American countries in international competitiveness comparisons, but it should not be complacent. Enhancing transport infrastructure and public expenditure efficiency, especially in education, and competition policies should accelerate potential growth and foster inclusiveness,” the report concludes.



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Translated into English





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Virus cuchara destroying tomato crop as scientists look for solutions
By Rommel Téllez of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Scientists from the Universidad de Costa Rica are fighting against the spread of the spoon virus, the local name given to a disease that is attacking tomato plantations since 2012.

The virus is known formally as the Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus as it turns leaves yellowish and causes them to curve towards their inside, giving the appearance of a spoon.

The white fly spreads it. When many of these flies defecate over the plants, the excrement produces a fungus that interferes with the process photosynthesis to shrivel up the leaves and decrease tomato production. To find alternatives to eradicate the disease, the Universidad de Costa Rica organized a conference on Tuesday at its facilities in Grecia, Alajuela.

Enrique Moriones director of the Instituto de Hortofruticultura Subtropical y Mediterránea led the activity.

The expert recalled how this virus appeared in warm-weather countries at the end of the 80s and how other viruses from the same family may also impact cucumber and melon plants. One of the measures to fight the virus is by using special plastics that block ultraviolet radiation at greenhouses and keep the white fly away, according to Moriones.

He also explained that another successful strategy is to treat the plantations with a product similar to salicylic acid, which allows the plants to activate their own immune systems.

In Costa Rica, fighting the virus is a little harder than in other countries, since there are two different types of white flies: Bemisia tabaci MED and Bemisia tabaci MEAM1.

According to data provided by the Universidad de Costa Rica, the virus caused the loss of over half the tomato crop grown in Santa Bárbara de Heredia at the end of 2014.

virus cuchara
Universidad de Costa Rica photo
This photo displays the virus cuchara in full attack.

As of 2015, Costa Rica had more than a 1,000 hectares of tomato plantations and more than 1,000 independent producers, who sell most of it to the internal market.

Almost 90 percent of tomato production takes place in the Central Valley, especially in the provinces of Heredia and Alajuela.

These two provinces also accounted for 65-percent of the whole national production. Smaller plantations can be found in San José, Guanacaste and parts of Puntarenas.

In terms of exports, from 2012 to 2016, Costa Rica exported around 973 tons of tomatoes mainly to the Caribbean islands of Guadalupe and Martinique, according to data provided by Promotora de Comercio Exterior.

The accounted for a total revenue of $1,225,000, according to Promotora.



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Tropical forests in Central America threatened by narcos, study says
By the Oregon State University press staff

Central American tropical forests are beginning to disappear at an alarming rate, threatening the livelihood of indigenous peoples there and endangering some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in North America.

The culprit? Cocaine.

The problem is not the cultivation of the coca plant, which is processed into cocaine, that is causing this narco-deforestation. It results from people throughout the spectrum of the drug trade purchasing enormous amounts of land to launder their illegal profits, researchers say.

Results of the study, which was funded by the Open Society Foundations and supported by the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, have just been published in the journal “Environmental Research Letters.”

“Starting in the early 2000s, the United States-led drug enforcement in the Caribbean and Mexico pushed drug traffickers into places that were harder to patrol, like the large, forested areas of central America,” said David Wrathall, an Oregon State University geographer and co-author on the study. “A flood of illegal drug money entered these places and these drug traffickers needed a way that they could spend it.

“It turns out that one of the best ways to launder illegal drug money is to fence off huge parcels of forest, cut down the trees, and build yourself a cattle ranch. It is a major, unrecognized driver of tropical deforestation in Central America.”

Using data from the Global Forest Change program estimating deforestation, the research team identified irregular or abnormal deforestation from 2001-2014 that did not fit previously identified spatial or temporal patterns caused by more typical forms of land settlement or frontier colonization.

The team then estimated the degree to which narcotics trafficking contributes to forest loss, using a set of 15 metrics developed from the data to determine the rate, timing and extent of deforestation.

Strongly outlying or anomalous patches and deforestation rates were then compared to data from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, considered the best source for estimating cocaine flow through the Central American corridor, Wrathall pointed out.

“The comparisons helped confirm relationships between deforestation and activities including cattle ranching, illegal logging, and land speculation, which traffickers use to launder drug trafficking profits in remote forest areas of Central America,” Wrathall said.

They estimate that cocaine trafficking may account for up to 30 percent of the total forest loss in Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua over the past decade.

A total of 30 to 60 percent of the forest losses occurred within nationally and internationally designated protected areas, threatening conservation efforts to maintain forest carbon sinks, ecological services, and rural and indigenous livelihoods.

deforestation
Oregon State University photo
Field in Central America displays rapid deforestation.

“Imagine the cloud of carbon dioxide from all of that burning forest,” Wrathall said.

“The most explosive change in land use happened in areas where land ownership isn’t clear. In forested, remote areas of Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua, where the question of who owns the land is murky.”

“In Panama, the financial system is built to launder cocaine money so they don’t need to cut down trees to build ranches for money laundering. In Honduras, land is the bank.”

Farming and cattle ranching aren’t the only money laundering methods threatening tropical forests, the researchers say.

Mining, tourism ventures and industrial agriculture are other ways drug money is funneled into legitimate businesses.

Wrathall said the impact affects both people and ecosystems.

“The indigenous people who have lived sustainably in these environments are being displaced as the stewards of the land,” he said. “These are very important ecological areas with tremendous biodiversity that may be lost.”

The authors said the solutions include de-escalating and demilitarizing the war on drugs; strengthening the position of indigenous peoples and traditional forest communities to be stewards of the remaining forest lands; and developing regional awareness of the issue.

“We are cruising through the last of our wild spaces in Central America,” Wrathall said.

“Obviously, ending the illegal drug trade would be the best solution, but that isn’t going to happen. In fact, when drug enforcement efforts are successful, they often push the activity into remote areas that haven’t had issues before, such as remote biodiversity hotspots.”

Wrathall is an assistant professor in Oregon State University’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

He specializes in the impact of climate change on the distribution of the human population and other factors that affect human migration.



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All tours led by Christopher Howard
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See www.liveincostarica.com for details and itineraries
9168-3/17/17


Hidden Garden
Visit the Largest Gallery in Costa Rica
Featuring artistic expressions of Costa Rican culture, heritage and traditions, the Hidden Garden Art Gallery has been your source for fine art since 2010.  Here you will find 15 large rooms of art in a beautiful, tranquil setting, with more than 60 artists showcasing traditional and contemporary paintings, sculpture, photography and giclee prints.  Located just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) towards the beaches. Stop in for a visit to enjoy the view!

Visit our Web site at:  www.HiddenGardenArt.com
Contact us by email: info@HiddenGardenArt.com
Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
Moon Travel Guides & Frommer's

Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tel.  8386-6872 / 2667-0592; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073
International shipping available.
9214-8/2/17


George Lundquist header

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

 (as reported by the moving companies)
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!
HERE!

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.

George Lundquist, Retirement, Relocation, and Lifestyle Guide. Email : lundquistgeorge@gmail.com
9113-7/4/17

experience Costa Rica
Costa Rica Travel In Paradise Group Tours

Looking for easy booking process for a smooth Costa Rica trip?   We customize wonderful trips to Costa Rica.  We offer you our wealth of knowledge for a great experience . . . a trip of a lifetime!!!

* FAMILY VACATIONS. Our travels take into account the different ages of your family enjoy the most from your Family vacations. Click HERE!

* GROUP TOURS. Whether for a church group, couple of friends, Scout troop or a family group. We provide excellent quality service in your Group Tours. Click HERE!

* EDUCATIONAL TOURS. Tours for universities to schools to elementary schools. We have professionals to help you discover the secrets of Costa Rica in a fun way. Costa Rica Educational Tours. Click HERE!

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

Contact us: 
Dial toll FREE from USA or Canada:  1.800.901.0114
CR local phone:  +506-2274-3231
Cells:  +506-8380-5919  and +506-8302-5877
Email:  info@travelinparadisecr.com
Web:  www.travelinparadisecr.com
8995-4/17/17

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



Need a book about Costa Rica?


Check out our special selections available at Amazon logo

HERE!


Household Furnishings

Fine
Furniture of Sarchi

Fine Furniture of Sarchi - Sarchi, Costa Rica
All our handcrafted products are made in Sarchi with pride and quality by artisans who are dedicated to designing, crafting, and delivering our furniture to you. Please visit our website and send us a picture and specifications of what YOU like, or just send us pictures from anywhere you wish. We will quote you right back with a more than competitive price and an on-time delivery date. Delivery and set up available throughout Costa Rica. We have different Costa Rican woods from which you may choose. 
www.FineFurnitureOfSarchi.com
Contact information:
Adolfo's Cell 506-8831-4306
 Tom in the USA 803-261-6000
Email: Info@FineFurnitureOfSarchi.com
9218-8/25/17

U.S. Income Tax

U.S. Income Tax Services
Marlene B. Summers
T
ax Accountant Licensed by the I.R.S.
 
Ms. Summers
Marlene B. Summers
U.S. citizens, plan now for your tax year.  Let me help you pay only the tax  you must!

  If tax payment is a holding you back, the IRS have options that can solve payment problems.  If your filing is not up-to-date, the Streamlined Filing Procedure can be used to mitigate penalties. Including  disclosure of foreign corporations to avoid future problems.  
Take advantage of the foreign earned income exclusion. File current or past due FBARs with no penalties to meet IRS requirements. File your current or amended returns.

Over 10 years in Costa Rica.
Competitive rates.

Phone (506) 2289-6590 or (506) 8750-2316
Email: marlene.summers@gmail.com
9186-6/30/17

A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
Business
wanted
Real estate wanted

Real estate rentals (paid category)

San Jose Penthouse

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.
9217-5/11/17


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 www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442
9055-2/23/17


Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
Timeshare
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: info@sellmytimesharenow.com
9049-7/31/17


Real estate-related services (paid category)

COSTA RICA SOLAR
solar one

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

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

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

    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
    SEE our new PACKAGE DEALS.
Solar logo
CALL TODAY!
Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398
OUR EMAIL:
 andrefurlong@gmail.com
Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
VISIT OUR WEB:
www.crsolar.net 
9118-6/26/17







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Page 5 is HERE!     
Page 6 is HERE!     The sports page is HERE!
Opinion is HERE!   Classifieds are HERE!  Plus useful links
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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica || Published May 17, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 97
Calendar
Opinion
Classifieds
Real Estate
Lifestyle
Food
About us
 
Henderson Island
University of Tasmania photo  
Shoreline of Henderson littered with plastic.

An uninhabited island has
the worst plastic pollution

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The beaches on a remote, uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean have the highest amount of plastic debris in the world.

Researchers from the University of Tasmania say Henderson Island, which is more than 5,000 kilometer from any major population center, is strewn with roughly 37.7 million pieces of plastic waste.

Put another way, the beaches on Henderson Island are covered with about 671 pieces of plastic litter per square meter, which researchers said is the highest density ever recorded.

“What’s happened on Henderson Island shows there’s no escaping plastic pollution even in the most distant parts of our oceans,” said Jennifer Lavers of the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and lead author of a paper about the pollution in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

Henderson Island, which is part of the United Kingdom’s Pitcairn Islands territory, sits right in the middle of the Pacific Gyre current, which makes it a focal point for garbage from South America as well as from fishing boats.

Researchers say their sampling of the debris at five sites on the island leads them to believe there are more than 17 tons of plastic on the island and around 3,570 new pieces of litter being deposited every day.

Ms. Lavers noted, “It’s likely that our data actually underestimates the true amount of debris on Henderson Island as we were only able to sample pieces bigger than two millimeters down to a depth of 10 centimeters, and we were unable to sample along cliffs and rocky coastline.”

Every year, the world produces some 300 million tons of plastic, much of which is not recycled. Plastic disintegrates very slowly, and when it ends up floating in the ocean, it can lead to entanglement and ingestion by animals, birds and fish.

“Research has shown that more than 200 species are known to be at risk from eating plastic, and 55 percent of the world’s seabirds, including two species found on Henderson Island, are at risk from marine debris,” Ms. Lavers said.


White House denies reports
of request to end probe


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The White House was in crisis mode yet again Tuesday after reports emerged claiming that President Donald Trump asked former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey to shut down an investigation into Trump's ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's ties to Russia.

An administration statement said the reports aren't true. But the claims raise new concerns that Trump was attempting to obstruct an investigation that Comey had been leading into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to influence the 2016 presidential election.

The reports said Trump made the request of Comey during a February meeting.

But a statement from the White House said the report is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey. It said while the president has repeatedly expressed his view that Flynn is a decent man, he never asked Comey or anyone else to end any investigations involving the national security adviser.

Flynn's resignation came hours after it was reported that the Justice Department had warned the White House weeks earlier that Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail for his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump took office on January 20.

Trump abruptly fired Comey last week, creating a firestorm of political controversy and increasing calls for a special prosecutor or independent commission to look into any Russia-Trump connections.

White House officials have stressed that the Russia probe had nothing to do with Trump's firing of Comey, although Trump himself has suggested in interviews that it was at least partly a motivation.

The Times said Comey's memo was part of a paper trail that the FBI director kept to document allegedly improper pressure by Trump in the FBI's Russia investigation, raising the possibility of a paper trail of evidence.

Colleagues of Comey have said the former FBI director took careful notes of meetings, especially politically sensitive ones, and there had been rumors for weeks that such memos existed.

A spokeswoman for the FBI declined to comment on the details of the Comey memo. As the latest reports surfaced Tuesday, reaction from lawmakers in both parties was swift, with intensifying calls for Comey to testify before Congress.

Comey turned down a recent request to testify in a closed session, but reports have suggested that he would do so if the hearing were public.

Any movement on an independent investigation depends upon the votes of House Republicans. With a year-and a-half still to go until 2018 midterm elections, many members of Congress are carefully watching polling numbers for Trump back in their home congressional districts.

There already have been calls for Trump to turn over records of any conversations with Comey. That was especially the case after Trump, in a tweet earlier this week, appeared to threaten Comey into silence by saying Comey better hope there are no tapes of their conversations.


Afghanistan poppy harvest
exploding heroin to world


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The world's number one opium-producing country, Afghanistan, is braced for an exploding poppy harvest this year, as farmers are cultivating the illicit crop in areas where it has never grown before.

“Unfortunately, the narcotics production is on the rise this year,” Javed Qaem, Afghan deputy counternarcotics minister, told international donors in Kabul Tuesday. “We are concerned that narcotics would increase this year, including in areas and provinces where previously we had zero opium production.”

Qaem's comments come amid growing international concern that the Taliban, who are fighting Afghan government troops in rural areas of the country, are fueling the poppy trade by engaging in trafficking and skimming hundreds of millions dollars in profit to fuel their militancy.

Taliban insurgents, according to U.S. officials, net 60 percent of their war chest from narcotics.

Afghanistan is thought to produce an estimated 90 percent of the world's heroin. As poppy cultivation spikes, U.S. intelligence officials warn that the war-torn country is likely to see more armed violence this year.

“The intelligence community assesses that the political and security situation in Afghanistan will almost certainly deteriorate through 2018, even with a modest increase in military assistance by the United States and its partners,” U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said in a Senate hearing last week.

Since 2002, the U.S. has spent more than $8.5 billion on counter-narcotics in Afghanistan, at about $1.5 million a day, according to the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

In addition to war, opium fuels corruption and organized crime in Afghanistan, a country already ranked among the five most corrupt states in the world by Transparency International.

Only 13 of the country's 34 provinces were reported poppy-free in 2016, and this number has dropped to one digit this year, Afghan officials say.

Afghan authorities said poppies, which traditionally have been grown in southern provinces, have found fertile lands in several northern and northeastern provinces, including Balkh and Jawzjan.

A large-scale increase also is expected in provinces with previously little opium crops, such as northwestern Badghis and Ghor.

Around 50 percent of the poppy crop in Afghanistan is produced in southern Helmand province, which borders Pakistan.

The Afghan government says the increase in drug production and trafficking is taking place mostly in conflict-hit areas.

“Opium cultivation, production and trafficking take place in remote areas that are under the control of militants, terrorists and the Taliban,” said Afghan General Baz Mohammad Ahmadi, the deputy interior minister for counternarcotics.

The Afghan government says it, along with aid agencies, has been trying to help Afghans find a sustainable alternative crop source. But those efforts appear to be failing.

Afghan counter-narcotics police said they last year seized almost 650 tons of contraband drugs. The confiscated drugs included raw opium, heroin and hashish. Around 2,683 smugglers and traffickers, including 67 women, were arrested last year, Ahmadi said.

Experts say worsening security and immediate economic benefits for farmers are major reasons for the rise in poppy cultivation. Experts also believe that the increase is partly due to weak counternarcotics efforts by the government.

According to Sherzad, counternarcotics efforts require a comprehensive approach and coordination among government departments, which, he said, is currently lacking. He added that “narco-entrepreneurs” control large portions of government lands in several provinces where they cultivate poppies.


Indian court rules in favor
of child wanting abortion


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A pregnant 10-year-old girl in northern India will be allowed to have a late-term abortion, a local court announced Tuesday.

The girl, who is about five months pregnant and reports being raped repeatedly by her stepfather, appealed for a termination. Indian law does not permit abortions after 20 weeks unless doctors can prove that the mother's life is at risk.

The decision was made after a local court accepted the recommendation of doctors at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in the state of Haryana.

The pregnancy came to light last week when the girl's mother suspected her daughter was pregnant and took her to a doctor. The girl was reportedly often left at home during the day when her mother was at work.

The stepfather, who is also the child's paternal uncle, was arrested and is currently in jail, according to police, who added that the abuse had been going on for years.

Child rape is extremely common in India, where it often goes unreported for fear of losing family respect. Local reports say the stepfather had warned the girl to keep quiet.

U.S. military begins tapping
into new technology startups


By the A.M. Rica wire services

Capella Space may look like just another Silicon Valley technology startup, with people coding at their desk. But just a year old, Capella has a unique customer: the U.S. military.

“We like to work with the government because we think we can help the government save money, bring a capability that doesn't exist, and through that hopefully save some lives,” said Payam Banazadeh, co-founder and chief executive officer of Capella Space.

An immigrant from Iran, Banazadeh now builds a special kind of satellite that allows its user to take imagery, even through clouds and at night. What makes it unique is its size. It is just a bit bigger than a shoebox.

Unlike the military, Capella Space can build satellites that are smaller, cheaper and faster than traditional military satellites. The military can now quickly become one of Capella Space's customers for its Satellite data through a new group under the U.S. Department of Defense, called Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx.

“The Department of Defense is the world’s largest bureaucracy. It has 3 million members of it, both military and civilian. In any large organization, things just take longer to do and for certain things that makes a lot of sense,” said Raj Shah, managing partner of DIUx.

As a result, the military tends to be risk averse, and in many cases, will only adopt technology when it is perfect. However, by that time, the technology is often already outdated.

The culture in Silicon Valley and many other tech startup ecosystems is the opposite, where risk and speed drives innovation.

At the Milken Institute Gobal Conference recently, experts from Silicon Valley and the military emphasized the importance of keeping up with technology by working with innovative startup companies.

“As a broad statement, government systems are very poorly secured. As a broad statement, government systems are not using the latest forms of operating systems, encryptions and mechanisms,” said Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

“Given the speed at which technology is advancing, that if we don’t accept less than a 101% solution, we’re going to fall yet further behind,” said Norton Schwartz, former chief of staff, U.S. Air Force and president and CEO, Business Executives for National Security.

As the most recent global cyber attack proves, it is a constant race to stay ahead of threats.

With an office in Silicon Valley and in several other tech hubs across the U.S., the mission of DIUx is to bridge the different cultures of tech startups and the U.S. military to meet national security needs.

Housed in Silicon Valley, the mission of DIUx is to bridge the different cultures of tech startups and the U.S. military to meet national security needs.

“Technology is always changing and if you have only legacy equipment, that actually gives the bad guys more time to figure out what the vulnerabilities are. If we’re constantly evolving, it’s a cat and mouse game between attackers and defenders and we want to be on the winning side of that,” said Shah.

It starts with DIUx removing much of the paperwork and bureaucracy traditionally involved with having the military as a customer. Since its inception 18 months ago, DIUx has worked with more than 30 tech companies from across the U.S. and the globe. The technology ranges from robot sailboats to small satellites.

“The innovative ecosystems will be very good at certain types of technologies and products and we should play to their strength. They’re not the answer to everything. We don’t expect the next company out here to build the next fighter jet. But they may build some of the software that sits on it,” said Shah.


Trump’s global gag rule
effects world health funding


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Trump administration says it will expand a rule that pulls funding from public health agencies who provide or even discuss abortions.

The global gag rule, which Trump reinstated via executive order earlier in his term, bans any U.S. aid to international organizations that support the practice of abortion. This new policy could disrupt hundreds of clinics in Africa and around the world that fight AIDS and malaria.

The new rules issued by the State Department would impact $8.8 billion in global health funding, affecting the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, a $600 million program that was put in place during the administration of President George W. Bush.

Public health organizations were quick to criticize the expansion of the rule Monday for fear it would severely affect women in countries where American aid groups are one of the few resources for women's and reproductive health services.

"Expanding the Global Gag Rule to include PEPFAR will reduce the standard of sexual and reproductive care provided to women living with and at risk for HIV and risks undoing years of progress on women's health in PEPFAR countries," said Asia Russell, executive director of Health GAP.

PAI, a global public health group, added the expansion would affect other aspects of public health as well.

"In addition to burdening organizations receiving family planning and reproductive health assistance, for the first time, providers implementing programs for maternal and child health, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, infectious diseases, neglected tropical diseases, and water sanitation and hygiene will now be subject to oppressive Global Gag Rule restrictions," the organization wrote in a statement.

Trump's memorandum on the "Mexico City policy" reversed one aspect of U.S. foreign aid policy that had been in effect under former President Barack Obama. It changed the way U.S. financial assistance is distributed internationally.

The "Mexico City policy” dates to 1984, when then-President Ronald Reagan declared it at a population conference in the Mexican capital. Opponents call the U.S. prohibition on aid to groups that perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning a global gag rule.

U.S. foreign aid practices have switched back and forth several times since 1984; aid was barred to pro-abortion-rights groups whenever a Republican president was in power, then was reinstated when a Democrat controlled the White House.


More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

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

Rich Coast Realty
Rich Coast Realty
Real Estate and Construction in the Central Pacific
Three-bedroom furnished house in gated beach community, walk to the beach, $235k. Ocean View Property, can be subdivided into four view lots, 10 minutes from the beach. Only $40,000! Beachfront Lots from $35,000!Contact us with any questions you have about buying property in Costa Rica, Construction, Residency, etc.
12 years’ experience in Costa Rica Real Estate.

Have a Property For Sale? Contact Us!
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
www.RichCoastRealty.com
9189-9/2/17


San Ramon home
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: mmpeace@hotmail.com  (please link that email)
Check out slide show HERE!
9220-8/15/17


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 toddscolorado@gmail.com. In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 506-7187-8577.
CODE: 9216-8/11/17


Plantation Acres
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

Contact:
Johnny Lopez
Phone: (506) 8945-5820 / (506) 2643-3356
Email: johnny@c21jaco.com
9141-3/23/18
9141-3/23/189173-9/1/17

Puriscal home
GORGEOUS MOUNTAIN & OCEAN VIEW HOME
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
HEALTH CONDITIONS REQUIRES QUICK SALE
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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUEAmahIU9A
Community Web Site: http://www.altigua.com
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email gary_one@msn.com
9173-9/1/17

colinasdelsol
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

Contact:
In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:  jsandimurray@colinasdelsolcr.com
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: jimday50@aol.com or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here: www.colinasdelsolcr.com
9056-2/28/17

Etlinger Farm
rollover
Beautiful farm in excellent location
At only an hour's drive from San José, minutes from Guápiles, and boardering Braulio Carrillo National Park, Etlingera Farms is one heck of an amazing farm. We purchased this 77-acre farm 10 years ago after many trips, and an exhaustive search. It has a little bit of everything we were looking for and a whole lot of beauty. Our average elevation of 600 meters helps to keep Bella Vista cool year round. This farm is nearly level with a semi-modern 2-bedroom house. A fairly rustic 2-bedroom caretaker's home. And, a comfortable, 1-bedroom cabin where we stay. We have 2 large barns, a chicken coop, and a 3-stall pig pen. There are two tilapia ponds and 2 hectarias, (approximately 5 acres) of different species of bananas. The property boarders Rio Blanco in the rear and has 300 meters of public road frontage. Water, electricity, and telephone are all serviced by public utility. Etlingera Farms was reforested with several thousand wood trees of different tropical varieties. We truly believe this farm is spectacular. Our neighbors are selling for as much as $20 per meter. We are negotiable, motivated and open to offers. Our location can be found by searching Etlingera Farms on Google Maps. Our webpage is www.etlingerafarms.com and photo album can be found at www.ticorico.com
9196-4/25/17

horse ranch
rollover
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need. The price of our listing Rancho Ricco is $799,000. More information
go to www.ranchforsalecostarica.com  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:  darin_ricco@hotmail.com
9183-6/13/17

rollover
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  www.whynotcostarica.com. 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 tim@whynotcostarica.com 
9143-2/3/17

Penthouse
rollover
Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to www.ThePenthouseCostaRica.com  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email crstratton@ymail.com
9132-6/1/17

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: manager@crbusiness.biz.

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Remax
Tamarindo
www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com 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:  info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com  or click here www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com
9145-1/2918

ReMax
Playas del Coco
We are an award-winning Team of Professional Agents working with Costa Rica’s #1 Selling Real Estate Agency RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties. Get to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST us and let us help you find YOUR Pura Vida! We have over 30 years of experience to educate our buyers and sellers in all aspects of Real Estate.  For Information on condos, homes, lots, farms, ranches, commercial or development property
CONTACT US TODAY with NO OBLIGATION whatsoever.

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
Email: michael@costarica-realestate.com

9174-2/7/18

Real estate-related services (paid category)

A-1 graphic
A1 MASTER BUILDERS COSTA RICA
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
     Email: hotelescazu@aol.com
     For more info also see our sites:
    www.a1masterbuildercostarica.webs.com
    www.hotelsescazu.com
    www.hotel4salecostarica.com
    www.wind-solar.webs.com 
9142-7/27/17
Related

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 BuyaTimeshare.com help you find a buyer or renter.
9203-4/19/2018

COSTA RICA SOLAR
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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!

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.

    We aren't Cheap...Neither are our Products. Call to Compare.
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    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
    SEE our new PACKAGE DEALS.
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CALL TODAY!
Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398
OUR EMAIL:
 andrefurlong@gmail.com
Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
VISIT OUR WEB:
www.crsolar.net 
9177-6/19/16



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San José, Costa Rica || Published May 17, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 97
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Annual vaccinations beginning June

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Next month, the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social will start its annual immunization campaign against the seasonal influenza.

This year, the Caja will apply at least 1.3 million doses. That's 100,000 more doses than in 2016, in order to provide better coverage for children, according to Leandra Abarca, coordinator of the immunization program for the Caja.

This year, all children between six months and five-years old will be provided the vaccine. It will also be the same case with adults over 60.

The vaccine will be available to anyone considered in a high-risk group such as: patients with cancer, diabetes, morbid obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, pregnant women, patients with neurological disorders and others.

According to Ms. Abarca, the vaccination campaign will be implemented right on time,  because the maximum peak of influenza is expected to arrive in July. The timing will cause a good epidemiological impact, she said on a press release.

Ms. Abarca explained that vaccination campaigns have proven to be cost-effective and that over the years the cases and complications from the flu have been on a steep decline.

As of 2014, there were 32,652 influenza cases per every 100,000 inhabitants. In 2015, that figure was 31,325 and in 2016 it decreased again to 27,814.

Ms. Abarca has called on the population to show up to their respective clinics and hospitals to receive protection and reduce the chances of respiratory complications derived from the seasonal flu.


San
Andres road
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo  
Section of the road is pretty well ruined at this stage.

San Andrés road section to be fixed

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Poor quality of materials and a water problem coupled to make a section of road near San Andrés de León Cortés quite a slippery slope.

According to the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes, crews are being sent to fix that section of the road, a small but perilous 25 meters near a cliff, and build a wall anchored with an improved guardrail. This will allow, the ministry hopes, to recover the gutter and shoulders lost from slide.

About 180 million colons are being put towards the project and it should start within 55 days, the ministry said. Progress, however, may be determined by the weather conditions of the day.


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For page 7:

Residency-based tax still on expat wishlist


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Approving a same-country exception would be good, repealing FATCA altogether would be better, but the best choice would be adopting residency-based taxation.

That was the testimony submitted by an expat advocacy organization to a U.S. congressional subcommittee on the arcane aspects of the country’s tax code. Complex as U.S. taxation is, the regulations and laws are serious business for U.S. citizens living abroad.

The same-country exception, as proposed by American Citizens Abroad, Inc., would remove burdensome reporting by expats who only use a foreign bank in the country in which they live. Right now, the U.S. Treasury Department considers every foreign bank account as a possible offshore location for tax fraud. Many expats have been denied banking services because some foreign banks do not want to get involved in the complex reporting that U.S. laws require, according to American Citizens Abroad.

The same-country exception could be a change in regulation made by a Treasury official or a change in the law passed by Congress, the expat organization told the House Subcommittee on Government Operations. But the organization noted that the Treasury Department declined to do so when new regulations were created in December.

American Citizens Abroad, other expat organizations and some members of Congress have been promoting the same-country exception for two years. The organization notes that overseas expats need a bank account for day-to-day financial activities like shopping and paying other local bills.

However, the propose would require U.S. citizens overseas to file yet another document with the federal government to take advantage of the exemption. That’s why the expat organization testified that a better solution would be to eliminate entirely FATCA, the The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

In Costa Rica, the U.S. law puts a burden on banks to obtain and submit extensive documentation on customers who are U.S. citizens. The law is one reason why U.S. tourists and frequent visitors cannot obtain bank accounts here.

Elimination the law would require congressional action and would almost certainly meet resistance from Treasury officials who see the measure are a barrier to tax evasion.

Better even than elimination the tax compliance act would be to eliminate entirely income taxes on U.S. citizens living abroad, said the expat advocacy organization. The United States and one African country are the only nations that tax its citizens on income earned anywhere, the organization said, although there is an annual exemption of more than $100,000 for income earned overseas

The Republican-controlled U.S. Congress is revising the entire tax code, so those promoting relieve for expats appear to be more optimistic.