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Published Friday, May 20, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 99
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Ash clouds invade much of the nation's capital
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
(Posted at 2:38 p.m. Friday)

A morning rush hour eruption of the Turrialba volcano put a mist of ash over much of the capital and points northwest.

Office workers said their rooms quickly filled with the fine mist even though many windows and doors were shut. There was a wave a coughing.

The eruption happened at 7:41 a.m. Some private schools closed, and the Ministerio de Educación Pública went on emergency status.

The ministry also made obvious suggestions and said doors and windows should be blocked
with wet rags and students should put moist
cloths over their mouths and noses.

A Universidad de Costa Rica poster suggests protecting personal electronic equipment and wetting down outside patios to reduce the ash in the air.

The Dirección General de Aviación Civil said that Juan Santamaría and Tobias Bolaños airports were working normally but that some airlines have chosen to avoid the Central Valley.  At least one jet landed in Liberia.

The volcano has been erupting daily for almost a week. But the winds today brought more of the ash cloud into the capital.

An earlier photo is HERE!

Antigua Aduana being closed for electrical repairs
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The culture ministry is closing the Antigua Aduana for redesign and reconstruction of the electrical system, it announced Thursday.

The closure comes just six years after the structure was inaugurated after a $6.3 million renovation job.

The ministry said that the principal structure that used to be the nation’s customs house will be closed from June until August. The location is on Calle 23 not far from the Estación al Atlántico rail station.

As a result, the annual Feria Internacional del Libro and Feria Hecho Aquí are being put off until later in the year.

The ministry said that the facility was inspected first in February by representatives of
 the Instituto Nacional de Seguros, the state insurance company. A second inspection was by the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz and individuals from the environmental ministry.
The ministry said that extensive work already was being planned. The cost will be about $1.4 million.

The main structure is a lengthy brick building some 215 meters (705 feet) long and 17.5 meters (57 feet) wide. The two-story glass-walled Casa del Cuño east of the main structure will continue in use, the ministry said.

Parts of the Antigua Aduana are home to other culture ministry programs, and there is the  Teatro de La Aduana.

The Antigua Aduana received thousands of visitors for various expositions each year, but many are government-sponsored.

Concessionaires  have to pay license fees, court says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala IV constitutional court has rejected appeals from the Puerto Caldera and the  Autopistas del Sol seeking to avoid paying municipal business tax. The concession holders argued that they were agents of the state and should not be taxed by the municipalities.

The Puerto Caldera is in the Municipalidad de Esparza, and the Autopistas del Sol is in the Municipalidad de Escazú. Business license fees could be ample because they are based on the income of a company. The business license is called a patente.

The summary of the decision gave no reasons for rejecting the appeal except that the court magistrates decided that the concession

Ministrio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo
The port of Caldera is a concession.

holders should not be exempt from the license fee.

The Puerto Caldera is mainly a cargo port where much of the country’s imported grains are unloaded.

Day-old baby being observed for microcephaly
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country’s medical system is studying a day-old child as possibly the first case of zika-induced microcephaly. The Ministerio de Salud said that the mother contracted the zika virus in her 10th week of pregnancy in El Salvador. That was last Nov. 1.

The woman entered Costa Rica April 23 to seek better medical care here and for

confirmation of her infection, the ministry said.

The diagnosis in El Salvador was based on the geographical location where the mother lived and her clinical history, the ministry said.

Apparently there were no lab tests for the virus.

Both mother and baby are reported to be in a national hospital being attended by a team of specialists, the ministry concluded.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, May 20, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 99
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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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Memorial Day to be celebrated May 28

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica’s Memorial Day ceremony will be Saturday, May 28, at 11 a.m.

The Marine Corps League will conduct the ceremony at the Campo de Esperanza Cemetery in San Antonio de Escazú.

The names of the U. S. military veterans who had died in Costa Rica since the last Memorial Day ceremony will be read, said the league.

Other veteran organizations usually join in the ceremony, but they have yet to announce their participation this year.

The Marine Corps League Web site is HERE!

Juvenile prosecutor to speak

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Juvenile prosecutors plan a session at 1 p.m. today on organized crime and young criminals. The session will be at the Colegio de Abogados y Abogadas in Zapote.

A speaker will be Mayra Campos, a juvenile crimes prosecutor.

Recent revelations showed that juveniles are mixing with adults in criminal gangs to extort money from residents and, of course, to move drugs. Not much is known how the state handles juvenile criminals because the processes are not open to public inspection.

Infant mortality said to have declined

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican officials said Thursday that the country ranks in fourth place in infant mortality behind Cuba, the United States and Chile.

The Ministerio de Salud said that the 2015 mortality rate was 7.76 per 1,000 births. The statement grows out of a coming visit by the Organisation for Economic Developement and Cooperation during which the government will outline its advances in the health field.

Infant mortality had declined from 8.01 in 2014, said officials.

Hearing launches on Brazil’s house speaker

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The ethics committee of Brazil's lower house of parliament began hearings Thursday to question suspended House Speaker Eduardo Cunha about allegations that he hid millions of dollars in secret bank accounts.

Cunha was suspended this month after a supreme court decision against him, and the current hearings are designed to decide whether to oust him from the legislative body altogether.

Cunha faces charges of corruption and obstruction of justice, the result of allegations that he lied to lawmakers by denying he had money stashed in Swiss bank accounts. He repeated that assertion Thursday.

Swiss prosecutors say he had secret accounts at the Julius Baer bank worth about $5 million. Brazilian investigators believe those funds are linked to a corruption scheme involving Petrobras, the state-owned oil company.

Ironically, Cunha is the lawmaker who initiated the legal process that resulted last week in the impeachment and removal of Dilma Rousseff as president. She also was accused of corruption.

Interim President Michel Temer began his term last Friday as hundreds of Rousseff supporters continued street demonstrations. Regional leaders denounced the Senate's vote for an impeachment trial as a literal coup.

Temer, the former vice president, installed a business friendly cabinet hours after senators voted to temporarily remove Rousseff from power. Temer's government has the daunting challenge of pulling the country out of a deep recession and reforming the pension system.

Like Cunho and Rousseff, Temer is tainted by his ties to Petrobras, although he is not under investigation.

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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Vapor and ash roll across the landscape near the Turrialba volcano. The Comision Nacional de Emergencias said that the mountain also put up columns of ash and fumes 1,200 meters above the mountain peak. That’s nearly 4,000 feet.

The twin eruptions come a half day after experts said the volcano was quieting down.

Comision Nacional de Emergencias photo

Caja expresses its concern over new and higher private physician fees
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The nation's health agency is expressing concern about a new set of fees put out by the physician’s professional organization.

The fees establish the minimum that physicians and surgeons can charge.

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social said that the higher fees might make more residents use the public medical service putting more pressure on the system.  The new fees also might have a negative effect on medical tourism.

The Colegio de Médicos y Cirujanos published the minimum list of fees May 2, and then suspended them immediately when there was a public outcry.

The fees establish minimum physician charges for a long list of

procedures. Of course, fees by hospitals and other professionals are extra.

The lengthy document was approved by the colegio’s board of directors in February.  The colegio is a legally constituted professional organization to which all physicians and surgeons must affiliate. They are bound by the list of minimum fees.

The list, for example requires a physician to charge at least  162,300 colons ($306) for care in a hospital. The first 75 minutes of attention to a patient in intensive care would cost at least 378,700 colons ($714.50). An additional 30 minutes of attention in intensive care is at minimum 108,200 colons ($204).

Some critics have said some fees have gone up 300 percent. The colegio has listed minimum fees in the past. But the new document is far more detailed and complex and covers a full range of medical procedures.

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Singapore study says bilingual babies learn both languages faster
By the National University of Singapore news staff

 A study involving about 70 babies in Singapore found that learning two languages from the start help babies learn each language better.

Some parents may worry whether teaching their babies two languages concurrently will overburden their babies’ minds, while some may wonder if babies get confused learning two very different languages from birth. These concerns are unfounded, according to the latest findings by psychologists from the National University of Singapore.

Led by Associate Professor Leher Singh from the university’s Department of Psychology, the study, which explored the learning of English and Mandarin, suggested that learning two languages from the start helps children master the rules of each language faster. In fact, learning English and Mandarin concurrently accelerate the learning of Mandarin.

“Our results dispel commonly held beliefs about bilinguals being slower in learning words,” said Professor Singh. “Parents need not worry that learning English will take away a child's potential to learn Mandarin as learning both languages may strengthen their knowledge of Mandarin.”

The results were first published online in the journal Frontiers in Psychology in April 2016.

In Singapore, English and Mandarin are the two most commonly used languages, despite being very different from one another. In English, tones do not change the meaning of words, but in Mandarin, they do, leading to a potential conflict for bilingual learners.

Professor Singh and her team studied 72 babies who were between 12 to 13 months of age, when they were starting to learn new words. They compared the ability of the babies to recognize that tone changes the meaning of a word in Mandarin, but it is not relevant for words in English.

During the experiments, when English-Mandarin bilingual babies were spoken to in English, they ignored tone when learning new words, but when they were spoken to in Mandarin, they responded to tone changes when learning new words. However, monolingual Mandarin babies did not show mastery of the Mandarin tone system until six months later when spoken to in Mandarin, when they were around 18 months old. This suggests that the bilingual babies had already developed expertise in the Mandarin tone system whereas the Mandarin monolingual babies had not.

When new words were introduced to their vocabularies, the English-Mandarin bilingual children surpassed their Mandarin monolingual peers as they could learn words in each language more effectively. This dispels widely held beliefs that bilingual children learn words more slowly because they are processing two languages.

The team also made interesting findings in relation to the development of language skills in babies. The babies involved in the study were aged between 12 to 13 months. Researchers discovered that although these babies were not speaking in words yet, they already know a lot about words in each of their languages if they are bilingual. This indicates that babies can navigate the rules of language, even when the rules conflict, and can use this information by the time they are 12 months of age to learn two different languages.

“Our findings show that more exposure to one language is not necessarily better for babies,” said Professor Singh. “What led to better performance in learning Mandarin was being raised bilingually, with exposure to both English and Mandarin, rather than solely to Mandarin. This is a novel finding, and the first study we know of that shows accelerated word learning in bilingual children, strongly suggesting that babies are not thwarted by learning two very different languages.”

Concurrently, the team is conducting studies to investigate the social and moral judgments of bilingual and monolingual babies, to find out if bilingualism makes children more open minded in the way they perceive people.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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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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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, May 20, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 99
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French parliament extends
state of emergency for sports

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

France's parliament is extending a state-of-emergency for two months to cover two upcoming major sports events.

The state of emergency has been in effect since 130 people were killed in November during a coordinated series of terrorist attacks on bars, cafes, a football stadium and a music hall in Paris.

France is clearly the country most threatened by the Islamic State and al-Qaida, Patrick Calvar, the French government's spy chief, told a parliamentary committee last week.  And they are planning new attacks, he added.

Calver fears the terrorists are planning a new form of attack that can be repeated in areas where large crowds gather to create a climate of panic.

Between June 10 and July 10, two million fans are expected to attend the Euro 2016 football tournament in 10 cities throughout France.

Millions of other spectators are expected to gather for the Tour de France cycling race between July 2 though July 24.

"Giving up on sporting events and cultural events is precisely to give in to the terrorist threat," Prime Minister Manuel Valls told a French radio network.

France's police force has been under immense pressure following two militant attacks last year and regular street protests.  But Valls assured citizens the government is fully prepared to make sure the sports events run smoothly.  "We will not drop our guard," he said.

The government said in mid-April that since the state-of-emergency was first imposed, police have conducted about 3,500 searches, taking 56 suspects into custody and placing 69 others under house arrest.

Under the latest extension, the police will no longer have the authority to raid homes without a court order, as they have since November.

The French Human Rights League is opposed to the extension.  It says the government has become hooked on the state-of-emergency.

All air flights are at risk
with latest crash, experts say

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. counterterrorism expert says that commercial aviation around the world is endangered until authorities can pinpoint what caused a Paris-to-Cairo passenger jet to crash into the Mediterranean Sea. A terrorist's bomb is the most likely culprit.

"The important thing to take away from this is that in the event this was a bomb, it's critical that the counterterrorism community find the bomb maker," Fred Burton, vice president of intelligence at the U.S.-based Stratfor global intelligence company, said  "This was a very successful attack and until that bomb maker is located you have a persistent threat against commercial aviation."

He expressed the fear that other bombs might already have been planted on additional aircraft. "There is a sense of urgency to try to determine that," he said.

Even as numerous aviation crash experts voice strong suspicions that terrorism was behind the EgyptAir crash, Anthony Brickhouse, a former U.S. transportation accident investigation official, voiced a note of caution. "As investigators, we are taught to keep everything on the table until evidence suggests otherwise," he said.

“The wreckage will tell the story and investigators are trained to use the information to piece things together," said Brickhouse. "We know what particular types of damage look like. We know what it looks like after aircraft structural breakup. We know what it looks like after an explosion on board. We know what it looks like when it’s intact and flies into the water. We have historical data to go on.”

Richard Bloom, a key official at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, said the accident was likely caused by some kind of terrorism, but noted that in 1999, an EgyptAir relief co-pilot likely intentionally crashed a passenger jet for mental health or religious reasons.

Bloom said that when incidents such as the EgyptAir crash occur, "there will be much talk about what to do to decrease the probability of it happening again in the future. A better way of screening aircrew. A better way of screening passengers. A better way of re-enforcing the plane structure.

"But really we should look into . . . how we socially and psychologically convey the information so fewer people want to engage in this kind of behavior," he said. "How can you, from a global, national, and local standpoint, talk about the crash and convey it so that people aren’t encouraged to commit more terrorism. That’s far more important than increasing layers of security.”

Burton said a bomb could have been placed on the EgyptAir flight under a seat or somewhere else on the aircraft, and it could have been designed to explode at a specific time, set off by altitude or barometric pressure or possibly even a suicide bomber posing as a passenger.

He predicted that authorities could reach somewhat "definitive conclusions" about the cause of the crash within three to five days and days later "have an absolute good handle on exactly what transpired."

"They're certainly going to be looking for a claim of responsibility if this was a terrorist attack," Burton said, although no one has yet claimed to have carried out the attack.

Burton, the best-selling author of a book about the 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. intelligence and military compound in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, said attacks on commercial aircraft like the EgyptAir plane "are chosen specifically, but they also could be chosen based on the ability to get to that aircraft or the ability to get a bomb onto that aircraft.

"So there's probably a tactical consideration in play here," he said, "as well as a very specific signal that's being sent to France and to Egypt," based on the two countries' military campaigns against Middle East jihadists.

Burton, who for years has investigated air crashes and terrorist attacks, described how the aircraft possibly disintegrated after an explosion at an altitude of 11,582 meters, making a 90-degree turn to the left, then making a full circle and falling toward the Mediterranean, less than an hour before it was scheduled to land in Cairo.

"I put that on the incapacitation of the pilot, meaning you've had a catastrophic event at that altitude, you're going to have a rapid decompression," he said. "In essence, if you envision a plane breaking apart, and then twisting around with the wind shear and the air speed . . . . That's what's causing that kind of maneuver in my assessment.

"Usually the cockpit is going to fall away by itself in what is called a scatter effect," Burton said. "So in essence the debris starts raining down, plus breaking apart, the swerving motion of the debris falling. That's indicative to me of fairly large pieces of fuselage falling."

He compared the demise of the EgyptAir flight to that of the 1988 explosion of a Pan American passenger jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people in an incident eventually blamed on the Libyan government.

One current A320 captain for a major U.S. airline concurred with Burton's assessment, saying, "The evidence that’s showing so far -- the big turn in the descent -- if the airplane had come apart by some sort of explosion and starts the descent, it’s completely understandable that it was spiraling out of control."

Burton said, "Aircraft have always been the holy grail of terrorists, going back to the 1970s, with the likes of Black September (a Palestinian terrorist organization) and hijackings."

He said aircraft have been known to break apart at high altitude, but that the possibility of that is remote.

Investigators have yet to find remains of the plane, and the water where is is believed to have fallen is deep.

verticle farm
AeroFarms graphic  
This is a typical setup of stacked plant bed.

Growers are turning indoors
for controlled agriculture

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Vertical farming is a tech-savvy subset of farming in which plants are stacked indoors, floor-to-ceiling, using controlled-environment agriculture methods, The concept is growing rapidly, changing the business landscape of traditional supply chains and growing seasons.

It is also having a profound effect on the environment.

Newark, New Jersey-based AeroFarms set up shop in a neon-sprayed former paintball and laser tag arena next to a highway in the city’s Ironbound district.  Its warehouse is the size of a Walmart Super center, but exclusively for leafy greens and herbs, more than 250 varieties.

AeroFarms aisles rise tall and are accessible only by forklift crane. There are shelves that are specialized growing labs using patented LED lights, aeroponic mist and reusable cloth.

To enter, farmers must suit up appropriately: gloves, lab coat, hairnet. Shoes must be disinfected.

AeroFarms’ high-yielding, economically efficient technology has made it the commercial leader in indoor farming, a market that is expected to quadruple over the next five years to nearly $4 billion.

AeroFarms co-founder and CEO David Rosenberg says the decision to focus on leafy greens was not based on any technological constraint, but rather business optimization.

“These are relatively high price-per-pound items, so it absorbs some of the price premiums with the new technology,” Rosenberg said.

AeroFarms’ output is consistent year-round, and it's consistently good for the environment. The effects of soil erosion, pesticides, water overuse and carbon emissions are heavily reduced, in some cases eliminated. The result is a net win for AeroFarms and the Earth.

“We could take up seed. We could grow it using 95 percent less water. In about 16 days our output per square foot is approximately 80 times per square foot over a field farmer, and we also grow using about 50 percent less fertilizers and zero pesticides, herbicides, fungicides,” Rosenberg said. “We could do this whether it is in the Sahara or a city like Newark.”

With indoor farms already operational on four continents, AeroFarms co-founder and chief marketing officer Marc Oshima says the company’s goals are to increase its production efficiency and scale operations worldwide near major distribution channels.

“We look at every single major urban environment as an opportunity,” Oshima said. “We look at things like urban density, we think about population, we think about people who are eating leafy greens.”

They also consider plants that are specific to their audience.

“We think about amaranth, one of the most popular greens in Africa and Southeast Asia. We think about how we can really bring and celebrate different types of varieties and different types of greens that are going to be specific to those regions.”

The farms also serve as tasting labs for AeroFarms' packaged varieties of supermarket-available, ready-to-eat leafy greens. Its baby watercress, labeled as “bright and crisp with a slight sweetness and a healthy dose of spice," also happens to be an AeroFarms office favorite.

Alina Zolotareva, registered dietitian nutritionist and self-described foodie at AeroFarms, says her objective, from a public health standpoint, is to get people to eat more leafy greens like kale, one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet.  To achieve this, producing the perfect taste is essential.

“Americans especially don't eat enough vegetables, so for me the most exciting part is all of the different flavors that we have here,” Ms. Zolotareva said. “It makes eating your vegetables so much more exciting and so much more fun.”

The farm’s specialty kale, in her opinion, “melts in your mouth.”

“A lot of people like the nutritional density of kale, but they don’t like the taste,” added Rosenberg. “So we can make a sweeter kale using the same seed, just stressing a plant to change the phytochemistry to get certain outcomes.”

Rosenberg says AeroFarms’ focus on leafy greens serves a greater function in addressing a growing food shortage worldwide.  As part of a multifaceted approach to the crisis, he says consumers must shift their focus from calorie intake to nutrition.

Recent studies by the World Bank predict that an estimated global population of 9 billion in 2050 will require at least 50 percent more food.

AeroFarms, for its part, is slated to increase production significantly in the United States, in addition to its global operations. Less than a kilometer from its 2,800-square-meter farm is the site of its new global headquarters, a 6,500-square-meter former steel mill, the largest indoor vertical farm worldwide based on annual growing capacity, with a harvest rate of up to 900,000 kilos.

Morley Safer, CBS reporter,
confirmed dead at 84 years

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

American broadcast journalist Morley Safer, who became one of the country's most respected and honored reporters in his 52 years with CBS news, died Thursday, four days after making his final broadcast.

Safer, who announced his retirement last week, was 84 years old. CBS did not announce a cause of death.

The Toronto-born Safer came to CBS in 1964 after several years of working for Canadian and British news agencies.

An early Safer report in 1965 showed U.S. Marines using cigarette lighters to set fire to civilian huts in a South Vietnamese village during a fruitless search for Communist guerillas.

Old men and women wailed and sobbed watching their tiny homes reduced to ashes, while the U.S. troops showed no emotion.

The Pentagon and White House were outraged at CBS and the Safer report, which helped turn public opinion against U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Safer joined the CBS news magazine “60 Minutes” in 1970, and was credited with some of the series' most memorable moments, including a report on a sloppy murder trial that led to freedom for an innocent man serving life in prison.

A Safer report on the health benefits of drinking red wine, a trip aboard the famed Orient Express train, and the profile of an Auschwitz inmate who avoided the Nazi gas chamber by playing music were among the reasons he won three Peabody Awards and 12 Emmys.

Despite 60 years on television, Safer always said the written word and appealing to the ear was more important than appealing to the eye.

House OKs a lower amount
for zika funding in U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The battle over zika funding took a new turn as the U.S. House approved $622 million in funding for the crisis late Wednesday, following a floor debate and a 241-184 vote that fell almost entirely along partisan lines.

Democratic members of Congress expressed their frustration about the limitations of a Republican-sponsored bill addressing the zika health crisis, criticizing the bill for providing only a third of the White House’s request and for stopping at the end of the 2016 federal fiscal year this September.

“Let me assure you, mosquitoes and diseases do not follow the Congressional budget calendar,” Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Florida, said Wednesday.

Timing in addressing the zika crisis has been a major source of conflict during the debate. The U.S. Congress has been slow to respond to funding for the zika crisis since President Barack Obama’s request for $1.9 billion in February.

“The president has requested $1.9 billion in emergency funding to combat the zika outbreak, but that is not what House Republicans brought to the Floor today,” Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said Wednesday.

“Instead, they're putting forward legislation that would provide just $622 million, less than a third, as I said. That means we can't fully fund development of a vaccine, deployment of diagnostic testing, especially for pregnant women, and vector control to manage mosquito populations,” said Hoyer.

Rep. Hal Rogers, a Republican from Kentucky who sponsored the legislation, defended the proposal, arguing Wednesday “This is wholly adequate, it’s more than adequate in terms of money.”

In a statement earlier in the week when he introduced the legislation, Rogers said, “We have made our own funding determinations, using what information is available and through discussions with federal agencies, to craft a proposal to fight the spread of this damaging disease.”

The lack of decisiveness can have a very real impact on emergency health preparedness, according to J. Stephen Morrison, a senior vice president at the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“In these kinds of emergencies, it’s essential that there be strong bi-partisan consensus,” he said.

Morrison said the president’s $1.9-billion funding request “is a completely justifiable first step in what is likely to be a much bigger, longer term response.”

He said the House bill not only falls short by allocating only a third of the president’s request, it also takes money away from other emergency health preparedness initiatives, including ebola research, that is needed in the United States and abroad.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement on the bill’s passage Wednesday that he would “work with the Senate to get the needed resources to the president’s desk.”

The Senate voted 68-29 Tuesday to allocate $1.1 billion, although the source of that funding is unclear. The Senate’s measure, which includes $850 million for Health and Human Services to fight zika domestically, and $250 million for efforts abroad, was attached to a larger spending bill for House consideration Thursday. Unlike the House bill, the Senate version appropriates new funds rather than raiding other programs to pay for it. The fact that it would increase the deficit makes the Senate bill far less attractive to fiscal conservatives in the House.

The White House, however, has called Rep. Rogers’ bill woefully inadequate and Obama vowed to veto it.

“Our concerns about the Republican proposal in the House are many,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest in a press briefing earlier Wednesday before the vote.

Earnest said the White House was concerned about the $1.3-billion shortfall.

“The approach that Republicans have advocated for in the House is wrong, it's unwise, and it is inconsistent with prioritizing the public health and wellbeing of the American people,” he said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 500 people are infected with the zika virus in the United States, including 48 pregnant women.

Rio Olympics challenged
by pollution and disease

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A city employee skims the surface of the water.  His net snags a candy wrapper, along with a dead fish.  Down the shoreline, an old refrigerator floats by. 

This is Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, soon to be home to the best sailors in the world as they compete in the Olympic sailing event.  But the bay is so polluted, even with human feces from the city's inadequate sewage system, that health officials worry that anyone who comes in contact with its water, risks infection.

Brazil is in a state of turmoil on several fronts, not just the quality of water.  The 2016 Olympic Games are less than three months away. Yet, the athletes don't dominate the news.  A tiny insect does.  Experts are warning about zika, a virus spread by mosquitoes, that the World Health Organization has declared a global health emergency.  Zika can cause mild symptoms in adults.  But it is linked to the severe birth defect microcephaly, in which a baby's brain does not fully develop, resulting in a smaller head. 

Zika also is spread by unprotected sexual contact. So, an Australian pharmaceutical company is supplying that country's Olympic team with condoms.   The South Korean team will have long sleeve shirts and long pants treated with chemicals to repel mosquitoes. The American team will be decked out in Ralph Lauren white shorts, seemingly taunting the pesky mosquitoes with their bare legs.   

The Brazilian government is taking its own measures. More than 200,000 military personnel have been mobilized and will join the private sector and volunteers to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds.  But Christopher Gaffney of the University of Zurich said that because of the country's budget crisis, police and health providers are being redirected to areas frequented by Olympic tourists, "further exposing Brazil's already very vulnerable populations to greater risk."

Gaffney, who studies urban and social impacts of sports mega-events continues, "The stresses that an Olympic game puts on all infrastructures in an Olympic city can cause them to break, sometimes quite dramatically."

Olympic officials have pointed out a lower mosquito population in August when temperatures are lower and rain less frequent during Brazil's winter when the Games will be held.

Others are calling for a delay or movement of the games to a different city, but they worry about the millions of dollars lost by corporate sponsorship.  "We are weighing a cost benefit over human lives," asserts Gaffney.

Ticket sales for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are only at 50 percent, much less than sales for the summer London Games in 2012.

"People are afraid," says Riordan Roett, director of the Latin American Studies Program at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. "Not only of zika, but of the security issues, the gangs in Rio, the poor infrastructure and those kinds of things that tourists don't like."

Brazil's interim president is Michel Temer.  The former vice president took over for the next six months while the country's president, Dilma Rousseff, undergoes an impeachment trial over allegedly falsifying budget numbers.  But Temer was immediately criticized after announcing an all male, all white cabinet.  It was the first time no female was on the cabinet since the 1970s.

Protesters accuse the vice president of orchestrating a coup. 

Temer has promised to unite the country after months of division over the president's impeachment trial.  He plans to institute budget cuts to get the economy out of its recession and asks Brazilians for time.  "I'm not going to be able to work miracles in two years," he said.  The next presidential election is in 2018.

In a phone call Tuesday, Temer assured International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach that the Olympic games will go forward in Rio in August without problems. 
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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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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
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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, Friday, May 20, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 99
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Opposition protesters carry their country’s flag.

Venezuelans continue to seek recall

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Empty shelves fill the aisles at stores and pharmacies across Venezuela while rolling power outages and scheduled blackouts force shopping centers to scale back their hours.

The economic crisis in Venezuela, which came as the result of falling oil prices and decades of financial mismanagement, culminated this week, with President Nicolas Maduro announcing a 60-day state of emergency.

The decree has been rejected by the opposition, which took to the streets this week calling for a referendum to force his ouster.

"What we are demanding is that we have a right for a transition to democracy in peace," Venezuelan opposition leader Maria Corina Machado said.

"We know that this regime is willing to do anything to stop the right of the people, the will of the people, to live in freedom and democracy," she said. "But they won’t silence the people of Venezuela, not anymore."

Last month, the opposition began the process of collecting some 4 million signatures needed to trigger the recall vote.

"I think President Maduro doesn't have many options other than trying to stay in power by hook or by crook," said Washington, D.C.-based analyst Kevin Casas Zamora, of the Inter-American Dialogue.

"He knows that if there is a recall, he’s going to lose it," he added.

Casas said although the opposition may be able to collect the signatures for a recall, it may have little recourse.

"The thing is the noises that we’ve been hearing over the past few days suggest the government is closing the avenue of a recall altogether," he said.

"And that’s precisely what is so serious about the situation, that if you close up that avenue, there is really no peaceful option to settle what has become political gridlock on a grand scale," Casas said. He is a former vice president of Costa Rica under Óscar Arias Sánchez.

Wednesday, Maduro predicted the demise of the opposition-led parliament weeks after threatening a constitutional amendment to cut short its five-year term. The Venezuelan leader also accused the United States of plotting a scenario of violence in the country to justify a foreign military intervention to force him from power.

The International Monetary Fund predicts that inflation in Venezuela, which is already the world’s highest, could more than double in 2016, topping out at more than 720 percent.

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From Page 7:

New rule wants cargo container weights listed

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The transport ministry is creating rules that will require that each container being exported by sea be weighed.

The proposal comes from the Transporte Terrestre y Seguridad Vial section of the Ministerio de Obras Pública y Transportes. Such a rule is required by international treaties.

The weight will be used by dock workers and the crew of ships to position safely the containers, said the ministry. The proposal, which will be converted into a presidential decree, has the support of the various exportation chambers.

The weight of each container will be logged in various places including on the ship that is involved. According to a treaty agreement, the rule must be in force by July 1.