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Published Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 97
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Blue-ribbon panel discounts perils of modified crops
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A detailed study by one of the top scientific organizations in the United States concludes that there is no substantiated evidence of  risks to human health from current commercially available genetically engineered crops. The study also did not find conclusive cause-and-effect evidence of environmental problems from the genetically engineered crops.

The study and its report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has relevance for Costa Rica where genetically engineered crops have been banned locally. There also is a bill in the legislature to extend the ban to the entire country.

The panel contains professor-level members from major universities in the United States, The Netherlands and México and one member from industry.

The panel also concluded that regulatory efforts should be directed at specific agricultural products despite how they are produced. The report said that due to advanced technology, there is little difference between genetically modified organisms and those bred conventionally.

The report does not cover all genetically modified crops. It noted that the only engineered characteristics that have been put into widespread commercial use are those that allow a crop to withstand the application of a herbicide or to be toxic to insect pests. It noted that some potentially beneficial modified varieties are in development.

These include rice with increased beta-carotene content to help prevent blindness and death caused by vitamin A deficiencies in some developing nations.

There is some evidence that insect-resistant modified crops have had benefits to human health by reducing insecticide poisonings, it said.

“The committee carefully searched all available research studies for persuasive evidence of adverse health effects directly attributable to consumption of foods derived from GE crops but found none,” said a summary of the findings.

The report and its summary were released Tuesday, the same day that the University of Guelph said that by tweaking a plant’s genetic profile, researchers doubled the plant’s growth and increased seed production by more than 400 per cent. “An almost entirely accidental discovery by researchers could

gene splicing
A.M. Costa Rica graphic
Gene splicing

transform food and biofuel production and
increase carbon capture on farmland,” the university said. The process involved the use of an enzyme from corn on a laboratory plant.

The National Academies panel said that gene flow from a modified species into wild relatives has happened but there have been no examples of diverse effects.

Environmental activists in Costa Rica worry about the pollution of the genetic pool of corn by imported modified varieties.

The committee also said it found that in many locations some weeds had evolved resistance to glyphosate, the herbicide to which most modified crops were engineered to resist. It said that proper weed management could delay resistance.

“Overall, the committee found no conclusive evidence of cause-and-effect relationships between GE crops and environmental problems,” the report summary said. “However, the complex nature of assessing long-term environmental changes often made it difficult to reach definitive conclusions.”

The committee also said that based on its findings the mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods is not justified to protect public health. But it also said that this issue involves social and economic choices that go beyond technical assessments of health or environmental safety. Ultimately, it involves value choices that technical assessments alone cannot answer, it added.

The summary of the research reports is HERE! The site also contains a link to the full report and a list of panel members.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 97
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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Our reader’s opinion
Why do we need a new airport in Orotina?

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Perhaps I'm being overly pessimistic, but I just don't see a future that justifies a gigantic new international airport in Orotina.

Just about everything in the country is overpriced except, perhaps, medical care and property taxes --- for the moment, which makes tourism in Costa Rica expensive relative to its regional competition.  All indications are things will get even pricier as the government tries to position the country as a First-World nation.

In general, the beaches of Costa Rica, especially in the Jacó area, do not compare favorably at all with those of many Caribbean islands and even some other Central American locations.  Don't get me wrong.  I love Costa Rica, but unless you're a surfer, anyone who believes Costa Rica's beaches compete with Ambergris Caye in Belize, Varadero in Cuba or a host of beaches in the Central Caribbean has probably never been to any of them.

The general infrastructure is increasingly incapable of dealing with a growing population and an even faster growing number of vehicles choking the poorly maintained road system.  Not much is really being done for the people who actually live here to deal with this issue, and I doubt whatever is done will be sufficient.

A central Pacific international airport will probably negatively affect the economies of both the Central Valley and the Atlantic Coast region to some degree.  The Caribbean Coast might become even more marginalized than it already is.

The current low cost of fossil fuels is unsustainable in the long term meaning that international travel will become more expensive over time.

Increasing political instability around the world as well as the gradual decline of the Western economies could well result in more international conflicts and economic contraction that adversely affect both tourism and trade.

Basically, apart from the biodiversity and ecotourism angles, both of which are threatened by accelerating climate change, Costa Rica offers little to differentiate itself from competitive destinations in this part of the world.

Finally, if history tells us anything, the government seems almost incapable of successfully executing major development projects in a timely and cost efficient manner.

There may be things I have left out.  Other than that the airport is probably a great idea.
Steve Roman
San Antonio de Belén

Extortionists targeted in made-for-TV raids

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Law enforcement, caught off guard by the murder of a taxi drive by presumed extortionists, launched a counter attack Tuesday.

Swarms of Fuerza Pública tactical squad members descended on low-income  Tejarcillos de Alajuelita complete with dogs and heavy weaponry. That was where taxi driver Randall Hernández, 54, died. He had filed a judicial complaint a week earlier against those who were demanding payments to allow him to work in the area.

The police raids in Alajuelita did not turn up much, but the activity took place just in time for the television news. As usually is the case, crooks seem to have advanced warning of such raids.

The young thugs are active and demanding payoffs from taxi drivers and merchants in that canton and in other districts of the metro area.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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Legal Notice
The State of Utah To:  Richard Lydenberg you are summoned and required to file an answer in writing to the Petition of Divorce filed in the case number: 164900117 within 30 days after the last day of publication, which is May 26, 2016, you must file your answer with the clerk of the court at: Third Judicial District Court of Salt Lake County, State of Utah, 450 South State Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84114 and serve a copy of your answer to the Petitioner, if you fail to file and serve your answer on time, judgment by default will be taken against you for the relief demanded in the Petition. The Petition is on file with the clerk of the court. You can obtain a copy of the Petition by requesting one from the clerk of the court.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 97
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Government marks day against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
with wire service reports

The central government took actions Tuesday in support of gays, lesbians and transgender individuals.

Officials said that a decree was being prepared for publication that would seek to eradicate discrimination based on sexual orientation or sexual identity. Nine ministries are publishing internal regulations to that effect and seven more are in the process of doing so, said the central government.

The decree is No. 38999, which also prohibits teachers in the public schools from encouraging discrimination.

The government is also seeking advisory opinions from the Interamerican Court of Human Rights to determine if existing treaties protect the inheritance of partners of the same sex.

The court also is to be asked if individuals have the right to modify their name based on their sexual preference and if it is necessary that this be done judicially or via a rapid process.

The executive branch may construct proposed laws based on the international court responses.

One law already has been proposed.  Marvin Atencio Delgado of the Partido Acción Ciudadana is presenting bill No. 19.841 that would allow a person to reflect in their identity documents the gender they would like. The bill, if passed, would cut red tape.

Tuesday was the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. In the U.S., President Barack Obama said the country is committed to the principle that everyone

must be treated fairly and with respect, but there is work to be done.

During an unrelated hearing Tuesday on the U.S. Senate floor, Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada took the opportunity to say he stands with the transgender community. Reid condemned discrimination against the gay, lesbian and transgender community and said North Carolina's controversial bathroom law is the kind of discriminatory action that has no place in the 21st century.

The federal government is suing the state of North Carolina over its so-called bathroom bill, saying it breaks federal anti-discrimination laws. The state law says that persons must use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificate.

Meanwhile in Kosovo, a few hundred people held their first pride parade seeking acceptance and respect of their rights in the conservative society.

In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced legislation to protect transgender people from hate speech and discrimination.

Trudeau said in a speech at a Montreal event hosted by the gay rights group Foundation Emergence that "despite all the obstacles we have overcome, the battles we have won, and the victories we have celebrated, we are still witnesses and, in some cases, victims of injustices."

International Day Against Homophobia is celebrated in more than 120 countries each year. It was created in 2004 to draw political leaders' attention to the violence and discrimination that gay, lesbian and transgender people face.

Telephone scammers still are on the loose using fake conference calls
By the A.M Costa Rica staff

The conference call scam has shown up again in the Turrialba area, and at least one expat family has been affected.

This is the crime in which a crook fast-talks a victim into providing information to access a bank account.

The conference call is just a trick. The usual procedure is that a crook will respond to a classified ad and agree to make a purchase. In the case of the Turrialba expats, the product was a horse.  The crook agrees to put a deposit in the victim’s bank account.

Eventually the crook calls again and says there are computer problems depositing the money and suggests a conference call with a teller at a bank. Of course the teller is really a confederate.

If the victim provides the supposed bank employee with access information, the crooks quickly clean out the account. In the case of the expats, some $700 were sucked from the account and spread around in 20,000-colon increments to various pre-paid cell telephones, making the money hard to trace.

One of the expat couples contacted reporters because he said the local bank officials were unimpressed, and they said that this type of scam happens every day.

Judicial investigators detained a man suspected of another type of scam in Oreamuno de Cartago Tuesday. The man claimed to victims he was an employee of a highway construction firm and that he had excess asphalt to sell at a cheap price.

After the victims make a cash deposit into the man’s account, they wait in vain for the delivery, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 97
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Clearing beaches found to have positive effect on sea turtle nesting
By the University of Florida news staff

Conventional wisdom says removing beach debris helps sea turtles nest. Now a new University of Florida study supports that idea. In the study, clearing the beach of flotsam and jetsam increased the number of nests by as much as 200 percent, while leaving the debris decreased the number by nearly 50 percent.

Sea turtles are classified as either endangered or threatened, depending on the species. Restoring their nesting habitats is critical to keeping them alive, said Ikuko Fujisaki, an assistant research professor of wildlife ecology and conservation at the university.

With humans encroaching on their natural habitat, sea turtles face an uphill climb to stay alive, said Ms. Fujisaki. Sea turtles spend most of their lives in the sea, but they rely on sandy beaches to reproduce.

From May 1 to Sept. 1 of each year, from 2011 through 2014, Ms. Fujisaki and her colleagues conducted an experiment along the Gulf Coast near Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle. They sought to understand the effects of large debris on sea turtle nesting activities. The study area has one of the highest nesting densities of loggerhead sea turtles in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The debris in the area were both natural, such as fallen trees and stumps, and man-made, including concrete, pipes and metal fencing that remained on the beach after old military structures were demolished.

During the experiment, researchers recorded locations of nests and false crawls, defined as the number of times that sea turtles emerge from the Gulf waters but do not lay eggs.

University of Florida file photo
Sea turtles spend most of their lives in the water.

Researchers also removed large debris. They found sea turtle nests increased where scientists removed debris. After researchers got rid of debris, sea turtle nest numbers increased 200 percent, and the number of false crawls increased 55 percent, the study showed. In beach sections where debris was not removed, the number of nests declined 46 percent.

“Our results showed that the presence of large debris on a sandy beach could alter the distribution of sea turtle nests by influencing turtle nest site selection,” Ms. Fujisaki said.

Fujisaki’s findings are published online in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Ms. Fujisaki worked with colleagues at the U.S. Geological Survey to conduct this research.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

                        Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (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!

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 columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


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Real estate-related services (paid category)
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Real estate rentals (paid category)

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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 
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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
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                                              Valley view

Boutique quality mountain homes for rent located on a small horse ranch on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes have stunning views of Costa Rica's Central Valley. Located at 7,300-foot altitude, our ranch borders the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the homes are hiking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. We offer various rental options for our 1- and 2-bedroom homes. Contact us at Ajsanch783@AOL.COM for more details.

Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 97
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Axiom new ad

American Meteor Society via Voice of America  
The American Meteor Society posted this photo.

Meteor lights up the sky
in northeastern United States

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A meteor lit up the skies over Portland, Maine, early Tuesday morning in something that looked straight out of a science fiction movie.

The fireball was captured by a dashboard camera mounted on a Portland Police Department car. Several other views of the fireball were posted on social media.

While spectacular, fireballs like this are common, according to Mike Hankey, the operations manager at the American Meteor Society. "Debris from space hits Earth all the time," he told CNN. "The bigger the debris, the bigger the flash of light."

After seeing the video, he said it was likely a “piece of an asteroid . . . the size of a car.”

"These are totally harmless events and they happen every day on the planet," Hankey said. "But for an individual to see something like this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, just the odds of you being in the right place at the right time.

According to the meteor society Web site, there have been many fireball sightings in the northeastern U.S.

The society said it has received 425 reports so far about the fireball event around 12:50 a.m. local time. The fireball was seen primarily from Maine but witnesses from Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Ontario and Québec also reported the event, the society said.

U.S. Senate approves bill
permitting 9/11 Saudi suits

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Senate approved legislation Tuesday that would allow the survivors and relatives of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States to sue Saudi Arabia's government for damages.

Riyadh has denied any involvement in the attacks, the worst terrorism ever in the U.S., but 15 of the 19 airline hijackers who commandeered four passenger jets to carry out assaults in New York and Washington were later identified as Saudis.

The legislation, approved on a voice vote, would give victims' families the right to sue Saudi Arabia for damages for any role it played in the attack. Saudi Arabia, in return, has threatened to pull billions of dollars from the U.S. economy if the measure becomes law.

To be effective, the legislation still must be approved by the House of Representatives and then signed by President Barack Obama.

The president has threatened to veto the measure if it clears the House, saying it would expose Americans overseas to legal risks.

After Senate passage of the legislation, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, "Given the concerns that we have expressed, it's difficult to imagine the president signing this legislation."

The measure is winding through Congress as Obama considers whether to make public 28 pages of classified material, contained in the official government investigation report of the attack, that touches on possible Saudi involvement. 

Anti-government views fuel
U.S. presidential campaign

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

With the U.S. presidential primary in its final months, one of the country's top pollsters says a dominant theme has emerged in how Americans view their government.

Frank Newport, the editor-in-chief of Gallup, said that record numbers of Americans are dissatisfied with Congress and the government in general, and candidates such as Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders have seized on that sentiment.

Sanders has argued that U.S. lawmakers have become too beholden to Wall Street and the influence of the wealthy, and he will prioritize populist programs such as universal health care and free college tuition. Trump has blasted U.S. trade agreements, which he says have cost Americans jobs, and pledged to radically renegotiate trade deals to better benefit American workers.

Newport says both candidates essentially argue that Congress has done little to improve voters' lives.

"A lot of these candidates are running against government. Bernie Sanders called it a revolution. Trump doesn't use that word but says we need huge changes in the way government works . . . and that does separate them from Hillary Clinton."

He said Mrs. Clinton, after her decades of experience in government, is proposing incremental, instead of wholesale, changes. He says she favors using government the way it is to make things better for Americans.

Gallup is one of the United States' oldest public opinion polling groups and has been regularly surveying the American public for decades to determine what issues voters care about. It also surveys voters to determine the level of public support for individual politicians, including President Barack Obama, whom Gallup says currently has an approval rating of 51 percent.

That relatively strong level of public support is favorable for candidates in the Democratic Party, even though historically, the White House has tended to swing to the opposition party after a president has served two terms.

Newport said that in order for Democrats to win the election in November, they must raise turnout among black voters, Hispanic voters and young voters who form a significant part of the party's base.  Otherwise, he said the predominantly older white voters who form the core of the Republican Party's support could have enough numbers to carry their candidate to victory.

Mrs. Clinton wins Kentucky,
but Oregon favors Sanders

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Former U.S. secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the apparent winner of Tuesday's Democratic presidential primary in Kentucky.

With nearly all the ballots counted, Mrs. Clinton led Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont by just under 2,000 votes. The lead had gone back and forth all night after the polls closed.

Donald Trump, now the Republicans' presumptive nominee, won Kentucky's GOP caucuses, which were held in March.

Voters from both parties were making their choices in Oregon, where Sanders was expected to emerge the winner and Trump was running unchallenged. With 66 percent of the votes counted, Sanders had 52 percent to Mrs. Clinton’s 46 percent

Even if Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, managed a victory Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton has an insurmountable lead in the delegate count. But Sanders has defeated her in 19 state nominating contests and has vowed to stay in the race until the nominating convention in July.

Nationwide polls show Sanders has a better chance of defeating Trump in the November election than Clinton does if she is the Democratic nominee.

At her campaign rallies, Mrs. Clinton has aimed her attacks at Trump, calling him unfit to be the country's commander-in-chief.

An NBC News/Survey Monkey poll Tuesday showed Mrs. Clinton with a narrow national edge over Trump, 48 percent to 45 percent, down from a 5-percentage-point margin a week ago.

An average of several polls showed Mrs. Clinton with about a 6-percentage-point lead on Trump six months ahead of the November national election, with Sanders ahead by 13 percentage points over Trump, a one-time television reality show host who has never held elective office.

The NBC News poll showed a wide gender gap in a prospective Clinton-Trump matchup, with women favoring her by a 15-percentage-point margin and men favoring him by 11 points. Black and Hispanic voters favored her by wide margins, with whites preferring Trump. Those with college degrees favored Mrs. Clinton by 7 points, while those with higher incomes prefer Trump.

Oregon voters have had a head start in balloting, with the state's unusual three-week vote-by-mail system. Voters had until early Tuesday evening to turn in their ballots.

Urban League issues report
citing U.S. social disparities

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A major U.S. civil rights organization says social and economic disparities persist in America, even though the economy has stabilized since the Great Depression nearly a decade ago.

In its “2016 State of Black America Report,” the National Urban League provided a retrospective of racial equality in the United States since it started publishing the reports in 1976.

The similarities in 2016 compared with those of 1976 are disheartening, Urban League President Mark Morial said as he unveiled the report Tuesday in Washington.

African-Americans are still twice as likely as whites to be unemployed, regardless of education level, and the household income remains about 40 percent lower, the report said.

And blacks in 2016 are only slightly less likely to live in poverty than they were 40 years ago.

The criminal justice picture is not much brighter, according to the report. In hundreds of U.S. police departments, the percentage of white police officers is more than 30 points higher than the percentage of whites in the communities they serve.

"Behind these statistics are real people, men, women, families, children, and they are affected in dramatic ways," Morial said.

The report challenged the nation's political leaders to address the disparities by adopting the group's version of the Marshall Plan, an American initiative that helped rebuild Western Europe after World War II.

Beginning in 1948, the U.S. provided today's equivalent of about $130 billion to Western European nations over four years.

With its Main Street Marshall Plan: Moving from Poverty to Prosperity, the Urban League proposed sweeping and decisive solutions requiring an investment of $1 trillion over five years to address the nation's social and economic disparities.

"Some say we cannot afford it. I say we cannot afford not to do it," Morial said. "There are too many neighborhoods locked out and left out."

The plan recommended investments in a variety of education programs, an inflation-adjusted $15 per hour minimum federal living wage, urban infrastructure, small businesses, home and tax credit programs and affordable technology.

The Urban League noted that in the past six years, the private sector has added more than 14 million new jobs.

"President Obama has gotten us to second base. Now we need to bring it home so that this recovery is complete,” Morial said.

The report, Morial said he hopes, will pierce the dark veil of neglect so the next U.S. president will see "the disparities are real, the conditions are tough. The times demand real leadership."

Bergdahl court-martial set
now for next February

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The court-martial of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for alleged desertion has been postponed until February.

Bergdahl, 30, was to have been put on trial in August on charges of walking away from his post in Afghanistan in 2009. But a military judge at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, put off the trial for six months to give legal teams more time to prepare.

The Taliban quickly captured Bergdahl after he left his outpost. He was freed from captivity in 2014 as part of a prisoner swap involving inmates at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Bergdahl's lawyers say he walked away from his post to warn officers about problems in his unit. But the U.S. Army says that could have put his fellow soldiers in grave danger.

His defense team says it is upset at the postponement because they say the trial will now take place after a new president takes office. They say their case may have been poisoned by likely Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has called Bergdahl a dirty rotten traitor who should be executed.

Democrat Hillary Clinton, who leads in the delegate count in her party's presidential nominee selection process, has not publicly commented on the court-martial, but she defended the prisoner swap at the time.

Large chunks of world
lack connections to internet

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

According to the World Bank, 9 billion devices are connected to the internet today, but more than half of the world's population is still not connected.

Technologists and government officials say getting connected is critical to improving the lives of many people.

"We have got huge fights in terms of corruption, transparency, openness, and technology is really the vehicle we're using to ensure that whatever transactions are taking place, you can see them. They're digital," said Joe Mucheru, Kenyan cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology.

But there are still areas of the world that are not connected, said Hilton Romanski, senior vice president and chief strategy officer of Cisco, a multinational technology company based in the U.S.

"Obviously, we look at Africa, we look at Southeast Asia, there are large swaths . . .  of the population that are not connected," he said.

Denis O'Brien, chairman of the mobile phone company Digicel, says that once people start using smartphones, they talk less and use more data, making high-speed service or broadband a necessity.

He said that building the infrastructure in developing regions is a challenge, pointing out, "Everybody's built the easy bit. In other words, they've done the towns and the cities, but going into rural communities, they haven't done it because the business case is very thin."

Technology experts said the private and public sectors need to come together to bring the internet to remote and developing regions, and drive economic growth.

"Any country that wants to create investment and be a location for investment to create employment, the first thing you need is broadband," O'Brien said.

Kentaro Toyama, associate professor of community information at the University of Michigan, has a warning for developing nations that see technology as the solution for economic growth. He notes that social problems did not end in the U.S. as digital innovation advanced over the last 45 years.

"During that same span of time, this country has experienced rising inequality,” he said. “The medium income has declined."

Toyama added that in developing nations, a smartphone alone will not help people who are uneducated and lack technological skills, "people, for example, who are physical laborers on farms, where it doesn't make too much of a difference if you can have access to the latest agronomic research paper as a way to improve your farming."

But O'Brien said the opposite is true.

"Once you get broadband, you can educate people,” he said. “You can create jobs for people, and people from an agricultural point of view become much more efficient."

He also pointed to cultural differences in each country.

Giving the Kenyan point of view, Mucheru said, "The internet is going to make a change. It is critical for people. I think the fact that maybe some of the people in the West haven't come out of poverty because they have not used their devices well is not the same for Africa."

Cisco's Romanski said it takes cooperation among private, government and nonprofit sectors to maximize the impact of technology.

"So it's going to take all the parties coming together to drive the right cultural shift and the right education into these countries so that the developing market can, over the long term, enjoy the benefits of economic growth," he said.

The experts agreed that positive change in a nation can happen if education about technology is combined with the right policies.

U.S. Senate approves funds
greater than House for zika

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Senate approved $1.1 billion to combat the zika virus, significantly less than the Obama administration’s $1.9 billion request, but almost double the funding being considered in the House of Representatives.
Tuesday’s 68-29 vote came after the Republican-led Senate voted down the White House’s full request, which was made in February as U.S. health officials warned that zika could spread through large swaths of the nation.
The mosquito-borne virus can cause devastating birth defects and has been linked to a debilitating neurological disorder.
“We need to better control mosquitos that carry the zika virus. We need to raise awareness to make sure families are informed about this disease, and accelerate the development of a vaccine,” said Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat of Washington State, who co-authored the bipartisan compromise bill.

For weeks, many Republicans insisted they needed more information on how funds would be spent. Some also demanded that other programs be cut to cover the costs of fighting zika.
“Let’s deal with this threat in a fiscally-responsible way,” said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. “There is no reason to gratuitously add to the deficit and the debt.”
Cornyn proposed an alternative of his own that would have siphoned funds from other disease-prevention appropriations to pay for the fight against zika. Democrats banded together to defeat it, joined by Republican Marco Rubio.

Rubio represents Florida, the state thought to be at greatest immediate risk of a zika outbreak. He warned that Congress would be held to account if lawmakers shortchange zika funding and large numbers of Americans fall ill.
“Why take the chance that you are going to have to go home in August and September and explain to millions of people across this country why you were low-balling our approach to it?” Rubio asked. “Let’s do this once. Let’s get it right. Let’s ensure that we are protecting our people. Let’s deal with this now.”
The Senate-approved zika measure faces an uncertain fate in the House of Representatives, where majority-Republicans are considering a proposal to redirect $622 million previously appropriated to fight ebola. Those funds would be merged with more than $500 million the Obama administration is already siphoning from ebola programs.
"We're re-prioritizing existing funds to make sure that the zika attack is fully funded,” said Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican.

Regardless of which chamber’s version ultimately reaches President Barack Obama’s desk, the amount Congress approves to fight zika will be far less than what the White House has requested.
Already, some Democrats are laying the rhetorical groundwork to blame Republicans if federal efforts to contain zika prove insufficient.
“The virus is coming,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. “And if Republicans block Congress from protecting the people of this country, then Republicans must accept responsibility for the devastating consequences.”
Republicans say such criticism is unfair, noting the Congress is taking action and that the true cost of what will be required to fight zika is a matter of guesswork at present.

World health will request
$160 million for zika fight

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The chief of the World Health Organization says the zika virus and other health emergencies will top the body’s annual assembly, which meets next week in Geneva.

The U.N. agency’s director-general, Margaret Chan, says the more that is known about the zika virus and particularly its impact on pregnant women, the more worrisome it becomes.   

Zika currently is circulating in 59 countries, among them Brazil, which is hosting this year’s Summer Olympic Games.  While Brazil is in the forefront of the epidemic, Dr. Chan says her agency does not support a travel ban to the Games. 

Dr. Chan does, however, advise caution, especially for pregnant women who could give birth to babies with brain abnormalities if they become infected with the virus. 

“Pregnant women should avoid traveling to these places who are reporting local infection. . . . Another important point is men who travel to these countries, including to the Olympics, should they be infected when they get home, they must practice safe sex, particularly if their partners or spouse are pregnant.  So, they need to use a condom for the entire duration of the pregnancy,” she said.

Dr. Chan says many lessons have been learned from the ebola epidemic in West Africa; but, in order to apply these lessons to better contain the spread of newly emerging threats, such as zika, she says World Health will ask the assembly for a budgetary increase of $160 million for the next two years. 

She said there are many other communicable and non-communicable diseases of great concern, with 76 health issues to be considered at the assembly. The meeting is expected to be the biggest ever, with some 3,100 delegates from 194 member countries in attendance.  One of the biggest concerns, she says, remains that of maternal mortality.
Real estate-related services (paid category)
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. Buy, sell or rent a timeshare at 

Solr array
SOON with the coming of new power company regulations, we'll be installing PV (photo voltaic) for solar electricity. Yes, at last!
* PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!
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Office phone: 506-2446-0543
Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

If you are looking for information on condos, homes, lots, commercial real estate or development properties our award-winning team of professional agents are ready to help you buying property in Costa Rica. We have over 18 years of experience to educate our buyers in all aspects of purchasing property. Call us or email us today for more information on how to purchase that perfect piece of Costa Rica Real Estate.

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Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

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 sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at:

Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
Pacific Coast. 
For more i

Axiom two
The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
For more information
Click HERE!

Axiom three
Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
We will be happy to give all the information you need. Contact:

Costa Rica Office: +506.4001-2343
Mobile: +506.8367-2466
USA Office: +1.786233-1579

Rich Coast
Costa Rica Real Estate
    2.47 acre ocean view property w/ 2 houses & 2 unfinished apartments $249k!!!
    2 houses and pool furnished, great rental potential walk to the beach $327k w/ owner financing
    2-bedroom furnished condo 400 feet from Jacó beach $179,000

and lots of other great properties! Property listings in Escazú, Herradura, Jacó, Manuel Antonio, Dominical and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate.

Have a Property For Sale? Contact Us!
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

House for Sale in Escazu Downtown
Condo near downtown Escazú Centro, Country Day School and Paco Shopping Center. 2 floors, 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. Maid's quarters, patio, 24-hour guard,   clubhouse and pool  Price $170,000 or best offer Call Lewis at 506 2288-2250 or 506 8828-6749.
Email: or

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.  More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:


Luxury condominium apartments for sale in Escazú
The property located in Trejos Montealegre, has three apartments for sale. Excellent location, 400 meters east of Avenida Escazú, next to Village (new commercial and office project), Plaza Tempo, Wal-Mart, CIMA Hospital. To enter and exit Trejos Montealegre no need to pay toll. The condominium is few minutes from San José

♦ Apartment No. 1: 180 square meters, 3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, TV room, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar and island kitchen furniture, garage, electric gate.
♦ Apartment No. 2: 180. square meters,  3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, TV room, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar and island kitchen furniture, garage, electric gate.
♦ Apartment No. 3: This is the largest one. 250. square meters,  3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar  island kitchen furniture, 2 garages, electric gate. Total property measures 529 square meters.  Unique opportunity to buy it for $ 750,000 (Seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars).  For more information contact Adrian, cell phone  506-8598-9898  Email:

Pavo onr
FOR SALE - $270,000
Exceptional 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom, fully furnished luxury apartment for sale at the exclusive Terrazas de Escazú highrise complex in Escazú near La Paco Commerical Center.  Situated on the third floor, this apartment has an exceptional layout with stunning views of the Central Valley. 140 m2 bright and spacious floor plan with open sky terrace with 180-degree unobstructed view of the Escazú mountains and Central Valley.  One covered parking spot with additional guest parking available. HOA fee:  $250/month. Held in Costa Rica corporation for easy property transfer. Building features: 12-meter atrium with controlled access entrance to the building, surrounding landscaping, lower level pool, communal rooftop terrace and small rooftop gym. 24-hour security. Contact: José Granados in Costa Rica, phone 506- 6051-5249  email:
paco two

first image
B&B for sale in Costa Rica $650,000

I believe this is the finest area of Costa Rica in which to live and, with a lock on 80percent of all tourists visiting Costa Rica, to invest. There are birds and flowers of every description, terrific neighbors, incredible views, wonderful weather with a healthy climate, visits by sloth, deer, monkeys, a very good business that can expand and grow, if desired, or simply a beautiful place to live. Please look at my Web site and the guest reviews, the people's reaction to the property, and you'll see just what a wonderful opportunity this is

There is about 7,000 square meters of land included (over 1 3/4 acres) as well as another smaller home and an apartment above the carport, designed as maid's quarters but usually rented out to tourists. The rear of the property is bordered by a small and very clean spring-fed creek/river. Across the river there is jungle, which makes for a great deal of all around privacy and which will never be developed. Restaurants, a supermarket, services, and many natural attractions are just a short distance away. The property was appraised at over $1.7 million (US) a few years ago, which might indicate what an incredible bargain this is.

It can also include a franchise for Best Western Hotel, if interested in growing with the tourism business, and a small hobby farm bordering Arenal National Park with spectacular views of Lake Arenal, is also available. All is available at an excellent price for the right person (people) and a package price can certainly be arranged. Email me at: For more photos and info click HERE!


Negotiable price. Thirty thousand seventy square meters. The house is seven hundred fifty squared meters, built three years ago. Five bedrooms plus servant's room with bathroom. Each bedroom includes private bathroom. Master's room includes Jacuzzi and hidromassage. Two main living rooms plus visitor's parlor and hall, two furnished kitchens, all ceramic. Nineteen rooms total counting three offices, eight-car garage. Has 220-volt current with three distribution panels. First-quality water plus well, decorated stone walls, recreational area, second house eighty squared meters, hot water systems, cable, telephone, light system throughout property, river, part forest..

For health situation, the owner make a INCREDIBLE DISCOUNT!!!!

ORIGINAL PRICE: $1.800.000    OFFER PRICE: $1.200.000
 For more information click HERE!
To see more photos click HERE!  To see house video click HERE!

English language contact:
Christian Arce
Phone: (506) 2494-0016
Cell phone: (506) 8309-0173

Spanish language contact:
Luis Gustavo Jiménez
Phone: (506) 2494-0016
Cell phone: (506) 8707-4016

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq. ft. of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out. The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the backyard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden. This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town. Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small. The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate. Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José. Just reduced to $199,000. Call Jeff: 8725-8176. Email:


San Rmon
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: 
Check out slide show HERE!

Ocean View Property for Sale in San Ramón
1.5-acre lot with spectacular ocean views. Ready to build. Mild climate year round with an average temperature a cool 74 degrees. Spectacular panoramic views of
                                for sale
the ocean and port of Puntarenas during the day, breathtaking views of Esparza at night. Fully titled and owned under a Costa Rican corporation. Price reduced to $45,000. Short-term owner financing available. For more info: Contact: Frank

Jacó beach unique home. First time offered
This house has never been listed.  It is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home approx. 100 feet above sea level on the only hill in Jacó one mile to the beach.  Totally remodeled to a Gringo house.Has great fenced yard for dogs and a huge screened porch with  great views all around, including a small ocean view.  New in the last two years includes: new kitchen with granite counter, cedar cabinets, all new windows, tile, water system, updated electric & plumbing, superb new AC units (low electric bill), This is half of a duplex with a platted yard.  Other side is the chief of police.  Secure & private.  $169.900. Call Glenn at 506-6214-0056 or

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

San Ramon
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: 
Check out slide show HERE!

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:

puriscal photo
Costa Rica home for sale $163,500 / 2bedroom - 1,984 ft2

Central Valley view home: 10 minutes from Santiago de Puriscal and shopping, hospital services, and soon Maxi Pali. Only one hour to San José or Pacific beaches.
- On .55-acre lot with river on one boundary
- Area under roof, 1,984 sq. ft., Area inside walls, 925 sq. ft. Steel, recycled
      Styrofoam, and concrete construction.
- 2 ½ years old with central living room and kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths,
       ceramic tile throughout.
- Central Valley volcano and SJO airport views from every room.
- Vaulted ceilings give bright open feeling.
- Entrance from concrete road to large graveled parking area
- VERY energy efficient with VERY low property taxes.
- Covered attached carport with entrance to front door or laundry-guest bath
- 2 carport storage bodegas.
- 12 foot x 14 foot storage bodega
- Security lights, And Amcrest day & night video recorder system.
- Producing banana trees, and mango, bread fruit, and guanabana trees

Includes: Refrigerator, gas stove & oven with electric grill element, microwave, electric washer-gas dryer stacked style, gas on demand whole house water heater. Other furnishings are negotiable. ICE electric service and land line phone. Bajo Burgos Water district. Metro-wireless WiFi is available. Tigo Star Satellite T.V. House is in a Costa Rican corporation, will transfer shares. Contract or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 97
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
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Police officers monitor the camera feeds 24 hours a day.

Police put cameras in Pérez Zeledón town

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Big Brother has come to the principal community in Pérez Zeledón. The Fuerza Pública said it has made an agreement with the Municipalidad de Pérez Zeledón to install surveillance cameras.

There are 13 cameras that have been working for a month in the main community of  San Isidro de El General. Police reported Tuesday that they made 80 arrests in the community since the cameras were installed a month ago. They did not specifically link the arrests to information obtained by the cameras. The bulk of the arrests were for drug offenses.

The cameras are monitored 24 hours a day. Among the areas under the eyes of the cameras in the central park, said police.

A number of communities, including San José, have extensive networks of such cameras. The jury is still out on their use in police protection, but the local television stations love them for the footage they may provide.

Bank transfer tax not the big one

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A bill in the legislature would impose a small tax on the transfer of money between banks, but this is not the bite that expats fear. The tax would be for domestic transactions, but it is receiving opposition.

William Alvarado of Partido Unidad Social Cristiana presented the bill, No. 19.959. If passed, the measure would levy a .02 percent tax on interbank financial transactions. That would be 20 colons for each 100,000 colons. The money would go to disadvantaged regions, according to the bill. Some officials have come out against the idea.

Expats are more concerned that the government might enact some type of tax on the receipt of money in Costa Rica from foreign sources. That would have an impact on retirees here who receive pensions from elsewhere. So far that proposal has gone nowhere because the central government has been occupied with more substantial tax proposals.

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Real Estate
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What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission.
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From Page 7:

Internet coverage lauded for boosting economy

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Central government telecom officials are citing statistics from the World Bank that say that a 10 percent additional penetration of the internet in a country results in an increase of from 1 to 2 percent in domestic output.

Tuesday was the World Information Society Day, as proclaimed by the United Nations. So the Cámara de Tecnologías de Información y Comunicación and the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones were among sponsors of a seminar.

Participants noted that information technology is a tool that makes possible developing businesses without the need for the entrepreneur to be in a fixed place. They said that operating costs may be reduced and the quality and quantity of the product may be increased.

Internet coverage also opens up the possibility of cybercrimes, too, the seminar was told.

The central government is much concerned with what is called the digital gap, that is the low internet participation of the poor and disadvantaged. The government has opened up locations with computers and digital access around the country. And there has been a successful push to connect most schools.

However, not everyone is convinced of this. Kentaro Toyama, associate professor of community information at the University of Michigan, has a warning for developing nations that see technology as the solution for economic growth. He notes that social problems did not end in the U.S. as digital innovation advanced over the last 45 years, according to a wire service report HERE!

Historically, many of the same positive claims have been made about the introduction of television, and there is a vast body of literature on efforts to teach modern farming, household and sanitation practices in rural areas, mainly in Turkey and India, via the television set.

Other critics point out that greater access to the Internet also generates more participation in social networks and pornography Web sites.