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Published Tuesday, May 31, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 106
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LIttle jaws
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Little jaws

This is one of 14 infant sharks that members of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas rescued in the Gulf of Nicoya when they retrieved illegal nets.

Despite seasonal prohibitions on fishing, nets continue to be placed, said the  Ministerio de Seguridad Pública. The gulf provides a rich feeding ground for fish like the young sharks

Consumer surveyors tackle the discount illusion
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Shoppers in Costa Rican supermarkets know they are in uncertain territory.

The large economy size costs more per unit than the regular size. Two bottles of Coke Light wrapped in plastic sometimes costs more than two individual bottles.

And the bottles of alcohol are twice what they cost in other countries.

The phrase is predatory capitalism. And the only agency that makes an effort to rein in the excess is the consumer branch of the economics ministry.

That agency, the Dirección de Apoyo al Consumidor, gave the results Monday of another one of its surveys and said that eight of 14 supermarkets checked in San José, Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago did not comply with the law in advertising specials.

Sometimes the promotional price turns out to be more than the everyday price.

The supermarket surveyors also checked the weights of advertised products by submitting samples to the Laboratorio Costarricense de Metrología.

The survey was done in early April and included chains and independents.

Costa Rica has detailed laws on how products are to be presented to consumers. But in most surveys the workers from the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio find violations.

Sometimes these are unintentional errors.

super offer
Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio photo
Scrawled signs like this just will not do, the report said.

One basic rule is that when a product is on special the regular price must also be shown.

The survey report said that in eight locations the offers lacked clarity and did not contain required information.

The ministry report said that these stores were in compliance: Automercado Moravia, Centro de Compras Heredia, Centro de Compras Pacifica Alajuela, Maxi Palí Tibás, Palí Tibás El Parque and Walmart Escazú.

In other locations the surveyors found that products packed with the works Gratis or Pack Especial actually were more expensive.

The survey also reported that all the products checked were of the correct contents or weight, according to the laboratory findings.

The full report is HERE!

Now here is a health marketing challenge for readers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The health ministry is running a contest and the public is invited to create an inspirational phrase to encourage organ donations. The messages are being restricted to two lines, said the Ministerio de Salud. The phrases are to be submitted to the

The author of the selected message will
receive recognition and the phrase will be used in publicity, said the ministry. The ministry asks that identification including name and cédula number be submitted along with telephone and email address.

Since most living individuals are not anxious to be an organ donor, the messages presumably will be directed to people to encourage them to sign up in the event of their deaths.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 31, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 106
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Professional Directory
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.


Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini has placed and
DR. Cavallini
Dr. Marco A. MuÏoz Cavallini
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Dr. Gray
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Fundación MarViva photo
Opponents of shrimp trawling display a net to lawmakers at a weekend session in Santa Cruz.

Fishermen voice opposition to trawling bill

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Opponent of shrimp trawling are rallying those who seek other fish. 

The Fundación MarViva said that Guanacaste fishermen met with lawmakers over the weekend to voice their opposition. The foundation also opposes bill No. 19.838 that would sidestep a Sala IV constitutional court decision outlawing shrimp trawling.

The foundation provided a summary of the weekend meeting.

The central government supports the measure because officials are concerned by the individuals put out of work by the ban.

One reason for the opposition is that shrimp fishermen can use a net with openings of just 1.5 inches square, the lawmakers were told. Other fishermen have to use a net with openings 4.5 inches square.

Consequently, the shrimp trawlers sweep up a lot of unwanted fish.

The lawmakers also were told that the Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuicultura does not have the resources to provide the needed oversight.

The bill is in the Comisión de Ambiente.

The Sala IV also told the fishing institute to not renew licenses for shrimp trawling when they expire.

Others have expressed concern because the trawling method damages coral.

President will travel to Cuba

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Luis Guillermo Solís, just back from a two-week trip to the United States, Britain and Italy, is going to Havana.

The meeting in Cuba is of the Association of Caribbean States, said Casa Presidencial. The 25-member organization is mainly interested in trade and tourism.

The main meeting is Saturday with sessions between country leaders scheduled for Sunday.

Traffic officer held over repo job

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A traffic officer has been accused of acting illegally as a repo man.

The Judicial Investigating Organization detained the 61-year-old man on the allegation of abusing authority.

The judicial agency said the traffic officer accompanied another man as they tried to repossess a bus in Turrialba. The owner of the bus was behind on payments, the agency said. But the men did not have any judicial order allowing them to take the vehicle, the agency said.

The traffic officer was on his day off, the agency said. He was detained Monday while working on the autopista Florencio del Castillo.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 31, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 106
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rail line

Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles graphic

This is the entire proposed route from the Heredia rail station west to the Hospital San Rafael de Alajuela.
Heredia rail service expected to add 12 more kilometers this morning
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Government officials said that a 12-kilometer stretch of rail between Heredia and Río Segundo de Alajuela was going into service at 5:30 a.m. today.

The new rail section will be part of  a pilot project that can carry a passenger from the Río Segundo to Heredia and to the Estación Atlántico in San José.

The line continues to the Universidad Latina in San Pedro.

Crews for the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles have been trying hard to get this section open because officials had promised to have the stretch in service by the end of the first half of 2016.

The rail expansion has not come without complaints. Passengers say the cars are overcrowded. And from time to time there are

derailments or a collision with a vehicle or a human.

One man was hit in Barrio Cuba Monday and dragged 50 meters by a train. He survived with head injuries. The accident happened when the man slipped on the rails and fell, said observers. There have been 11 persons hit by trains this year and three have died.

In addition, two units of the valley passenger line collided head-on.

One problem for the rail construction crews is that some individuals have intruded on the right-of-way. The next project is to continue the line to Alajuela Central.

Basically crews had to rebuild the line. The rail institute found out when it was opening up the San José Heredia line that all the ties and rails would have to be replaced. Now concrete ties are being used.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 31, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 106
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Human rights obligations trump U.N. cannabis treaty, researchers say
By the Radboud University news staff

The regulated cultivation and trade of cannabis for recreational use is permissible on the basis of states’ positive human rights obligations. This is the result of research by legal scholars Piet Hein van Kempen and Masha Fedorova of Radboud University, The Netherlands.

Pleas for the regulated cultivation and trade of recreational cannabis are often based on arguments related to individual and public health, the safety of citizens and the fight against crime: the so-called positive human rights obligations. To date, however, no study has been carried out to find out what the legal implications of legalizing cannabis would be. International law and cannabis II is the first study into cannabis and positive human rights obligations.

The study of the two scholars shows that these positive human rights obligations can require states to provide regulated legalization of the cultivation and trade of recreational cannabis if this regulation were to protect human rights more effectively than a total ban on drugs, as defined in the U.N. Drugs Conventions.

The researchers’ analysis also resulted in an affirmative answer to another crucial question: From an international law perspective, should states give priority to their positive human rights obligations over their obligations resulting from the U.N. Drug Conventions?

In their research Van Kempen and Ms. Fedorova concluded that the U.N. Drugs Conventions as such do not allow for the regulated legislation of the cultivation and trade of cannabis for recreational use.

Thus, their new study offers new insights from a human rights perspective.

The five primary conditions for regulated legalization are:

1.This must be in the interest of the protection of human rights.

2.The state must demonstrate that the regulated legalization of the cultivation and trade of cannabis will result in the more effective protection of human rights.

3.The decision regarding such regulation must have public support and must be decided through the nationwide democratic process.

4.There must be a closed system so that foreign countries are not disadvantaged in any way by this measure.

5. The state is required to actively discourage cannabis use.

If a state can meet these conditions, under current international law it is permissible to give priority to human rights obligations over the obligations of the U.N. drug conventions, the scholars concluded.

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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Cells:  +506-8380-5919  and +506-8302-5877

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

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About us
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 31, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 106
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Mars makes a close approach
to give earthlings a good view

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Astronomy buffs across much of the globe awaited darkness Monday for a glimpse of Mars, as the Red Planet makes its closest approach to Earth in 11 years.

The event, visible to the naked eye, is when the second-smallest planet in the solar system passes within 76 million kilometers of Earth. Scientists say it will remain roughly at that distance through June 12.

The close encounter is known as close approach, an event marked by Mars and Earth coming nearest each other in their orbits around the sun.

NASA says the next close encounter will occur July 31, 2018, when Mars will be about 57 million kilometers away.

In a statement earlier this month, the U.S.-based site Sky and Telescope urged star gazers to look low in the southeast sky at the end of twilight, "and you can't miss it," said senior editor Alan MacRobert. "Mars looks almost scary now, compared to how it normally looks in the sky," he said.

Zoo defends its decision
to kill gorilla with boy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Cincinnati Zoo is defending its controversial decision to shoot and kill an endangered male lowland gorilla after a 4-year-old boy fell into his enclosure Saturday, putting himself in serious danger.

The incident was captured on video and has outraged animal lovers around the world.

It shows the gorilla, named Harambe, dragging the boy through a shallow moat filled with water. Several times, Harambe looked to be gently touching the boy and stood him up on both feet as if he was trying to protect him.

But just as suddenly, he pulled the boy through the moat to a different part of the pen with the boy's head hitting the concrete. Harambe had control of the boy for at least 10 minutes before the zoo's Dangerous Animal Response Team shot him to death.

Many animal lovers say killing the huge 17-year-old primate was unnecessary. But zoo director Thane Maynard said Monday that officials believed they had no choice. With his pen surrounded by screaming and excited people, Maynard said, the gorilla was clearly agitated, disoriented and acting erratically.

Maynard called Harambe unpredictable and said tranquilizing the 181-kilogram ape would have taken too long. He described lowland gorillas like Harambe as dangerously strong with arms as large as a man's leg and hands powerful enough to crush a coconut.

Maynard said this is the first time this kind of thing has happened in the zoo's 143-year history. He said the barriers around Harambe's enclosure were adequate. It is still unclear how the child got past those barriers.

The boy who tumbled into the gorilla pen was remarkably unhurt. He is back home after spending several hours in a hospital. His family thanked the zoo for its speedy reaction to the crisis and said they understand the zoo's grief at having to kill an endangered and beloved animal.

Meanwhile, social media is buzzing with outrage over the death of Harambe. More than 200,000 people have signed a petition on the website.

Another online petition called Justice for Harambe has attracted 165,000 signatures from people wanting the boy's parents to be charged with negligence.

A Facebook page also called Justice for Harambe had more than 64,000 likes as of late Monday.

Such gorillas can be found in the dense rain forests of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea. Their population has declined by more than 60 percent over the past 20 to 25 years because of poaching and disease, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Some churches continue
policy of shielding illegals

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For more than three decades, churches and synagogues across the country have served as sources of refuge to immigrant families at risk of deportation.

But today, they take a considerably more nuanced approach in handling a crisis that affects tens of thousands of immigration violators and their families, from as far south as Arizona border towns to the heart of New York City.

The Sanctuary Movement, as it is commonly known, arose from some of the darkest days of Central America’s history. When President Ronald Reagan first took the oath of office in 1981, civil conflicts and economic calamity had begun to ravage Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

By decade’s end, nearly 1 million refugees had fled north to the United States to seek asylum.

Congregations, in a show of defiance to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, shielded refugees who otherwise would have been denied asylum status.

Fast forward to 2014, when gang and drug violence, as well as economic devastation south of the border, led to another massive influx of refugees and migrants, including children.

An estimated 4.5 million children born in the U.S. have an undocumented parent.

The response has been a deportation policy that has led to more than 350,000 annual removals, a term coined in 1996 that refers to both border exclusions and deportations. In many cases, families are separated.

Tucson, Arizona’s Southside Presbyterian Church, which co-led the sanctuary movement of the 1980s, has revived its efforts by providing physical shelter and legal assistance to immigrants facing deportation.

The Rev. Alison Harrington, in an interview, said more congregations feel outraged and heartbroken over current U.S. deportation policies, and are opening their doors in hopes of keeping families together and communities intact.

Rev. Harrington said a growing anti-immigrant nativist movement by individuals and politicians is only fueling these efforts.

“You kind of have this rising of people, who are people of faith, who will be conscious to say, ‘This is not who we believe we are as a people, as an American people,’” said Rev. Harrington, adding that she feels a moral imperative to help.

Because of the church’s proximity to the Mexico border, along the barren Sonora desert, Rev. Harrington said she encounters immigrants seeking assistance on a regular basis.

In the 1980s, a period she calls a nightmare, 80 people slept on the church floor on any given night, roughly 14,000 over the span of a decade. But the church now accommodates only one family at a time, in rare circumstances for a month or more.

In 2014, she recalls one family, Rosa, along with her husband, Gerardo, and two sons, now 9 and 12 years old, who remained in sanctuary for a record 461 days before Rosa's case was resolved.

“We had to get into high-level negotiations on that one,” Rev. Harrington explained, “so a lot of the details are confidential, but her case was resolved to the point that we knew she would be safe to leave.”

While churches similar to Southside most commonly provide direct services to immigrants seeking immediate assistance, including short-term housing, other areas of the country have higher settlement rates.

As a result, immigrants in places as far apart as New York City or the San Francisco Bay area require a different set of services.

Judson Memorial Church, in the heart of Manhattan, is one example that provides sanctuary in more ways than one.

“It could be physical, it could be spiritual, it could be financial, it could be legal,” the Rev. Donna Schaper said.

“We accompany about 200 people a month, and we train volunteers to go to ICE so they know their rights,” she said, referring to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Immigration employees, Rev. Schaper explains, are not the enemy. Her employees even make a point of knowing them by name.

But she makes it clear that she does not morally respect the game they play, one that she says terrifies people.

Just outside Rev. Schaper’s door, Miguel Ángel Animas and his two U.S.-born daughters are seated, awaiting help from the staff at the church. His wife, the girls’ mother, was recently deported to Mexico.

Schaper explains how immigration, like the environment and homelessness, lacks enough of a human face to inspire swift action on comprehensive reform. She pauses briefly, thinking of Animas’ youngest daughter, who is playing a Dora the Explorer video game on a tablet.

“Look at that girl, Michel. Who wouldn’t want to help her, if they saw her?” Rev. Schaper asked.

Despite Rev. Schaper’s frustration, she describes New York City as a very friendly city to immigrants. And in her tenure at Judson Memorial Church, she has seen success, especially at the local level.

In 2009, the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC, an interfaith network of citywide congregations, including Judson, spearheaded an effort to prevent immigration agents from interviewing and detaining immigrants at city jails convicted of minor offenses, or whose cases were dismissed.

Their fight eventually paid off.

In 2011, then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a City Council bill reversing key provisions, a major victory for Judson and New York immigrant families who might have otherwise been separated.

Lake Mead
National Aeronautics and Space Administration photo   
This Landsat image shows a reduced Lake Mead

Lake Mead level is reported
at lowest point ever recorded

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The 16-year drought in parts of the western United States has dropped the water level in the country's largest reservoir at Lake Mead to its lowest level in its 81-year history.

When full, the lake, straddling the Nevada-Arizona state border that was formed with the construction of the Hoover Dam during the Great Depression of the 1930s, has a surface elevation of more than 370 meters above sea level. It provides crucial water to the two states and also California, including Los Angeles, the country's second-biggest city.

But the Lake Mead level has been falling during the extended drought that has parched farmlands in the west and led to water rationing. In the last week, the recorded lake level fell to 327 meters above sea level.

Lake Mead is currently at 37 percent of capacity and its shoreline has the distinctive look of a dirty bath tub, with rings marking where water levels once were.

Melting snowpacks that feed the lake from the Colorado River have diminished over the years. Emergency measures could be implemented if the water levels continue to fall throughout 2016, but the agency that manages the lake is predicting that its level could rise slightly in the coming months.

Holder says leaker Snowden
provided a public service

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder says Edward Snowden performed a public service when the ex-National Security Agency contractor leaked classified intelligence documents.

Holder, however, was quick to put into context what appeared to be praise of a person the U.S. considers a criminal.

"I thought the president put it best when he said, 'Just because we have the ability to do something, doesn't mean we should,'" Holder said during an appearance on the "Axe Files," a podcast hosted by David Axelrod, produced by CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

The Obama administration was constantly weighing the value of surveillance against the issue of privacy, Holder explained.

Still, the former top American law enforcement official added "We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made."

By leaking a flood of classified information to select news outlets in 2013, Snowden revealed the extent to which the Obama administration was collecting personal data — far and above what took place under The Patriot Act following the 9/11 attacks.

The revelations not only shocked the American public, but also international allies such as Angela Merkel, whose personal cellphone was revealed to have been bugged.

The crisis prompted President Barack Obama to convene a panel that criticized the National Security Agency's domestic data collection, that is the bulk of metadata on Americans, which can show the most intimate details of an individual's life.

For some, Snowden is a traitor who gave away all kinds of secrets to our enemies, thus putting the public in danger.

For others, he is a brave American activist, who put his life on the line to reveal the violations of the U.S. Constitution.

During the podcast, Holder reflected on the nuance of the Snowden case by saying that, ". . . doing what he did and the way he did it was inappropriate and illegal."

In the eyes of the U.S. government, Snowden jeopardized America's security interests by leaking classified information while working as a contractor for the National Security Agency in 2013.

"He harmed American interests," Holder said.

Holder is currently trending in the top 10 on Twitter. Snowden lives in exile in Russia, but occasionally makes video appearances.

Catholic parishioners lose
last battle for their church

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Parishioners in Massachusetts held an emotional final service after losing their legal battle to keep open the Catholic Church that many had attended for decades.

Parish members were forced to vacate the St. Frances X. Cabrini Church where they had held an 11-year round-the-clock vigil to keep the building open.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston decided to close the church, along with dozens of others, to deal with declining Mass attendance and other problems.

Members of the church spent the last 11 years fighting that decision, with their legal appeals earlier this month reaching the Supreme Court, which declined to hear their case. Lower courts had ruled that the archdiocese was the legal owner of the church property and had the right to evict church parishioners.

Church members had also appealed their case to the Vatican, but were not successful in persuading church officials to keep the building open.

The Boston archdiocese says it hopes the protesters will go to another Catholic church within the district. Some parishioners told local media that they want to form their own church outside the reach of the Vatican, and say they have begun raising money to build a new parish.

Turkish leader rejects
birth control for Muslims

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said no Muslim family should use birth control or engage in family planning, saying the practices violate Muslim traditions.

"We will multiply our descendants. They talk about population planning, birth control. No Muslim family can have such an approach," he said Monday in a televised speech.

Erdogan, a devout Muslim, has angered women's groups in the past by dictating how many children a woman should have and speaking against gender equality.

He has previously attempted to ban abortion in the country and has called for limits on Caesarean births, saying women who give birth that way generally cannot have more than one more child.

Wealthy Chinese generally
avoid making big donations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

China saw its number of billionaires grow by 30 percent to 40 percent annually, but is still recording charitable donations at a small fraction of the rates seen in Europe and the United States.

A new report by the U. N. Development Program found that charitable donations are about 4 percent of those in the West.

The year 2015 saw 38 percent growth in the number of billionaires in China, according to a Forbes magazine study. Their net worth rose by $170 billion, reaching $830 billion in 2015. China is the world's second-biggest producer of billionaires after the United States.

One reason for the lack of donations is the lack of transparency in the functioning of charity organizations, and widely held suspicion about the use of funds raised for social welfare, Gu Qing, assistant country director for Poverty, Equity & Governance at the U.N. agency’s China office, said.

"There have been some major scandals on the use of funds collected for charity. Also, there are few tax benefits to encourage donations," Gu said. An unclear legal and policy framework have added to the general reluctance to give.

In China, charity donations by business people and companies are mostly give-and-take deals, said Oliver Rui, professor of finance at China Europe International Business School.

"Donors often cut under-table deals for getting favors from local government bodies in return for donations," Rui said. "Most charity foundations are directly or indirectly affiliated with government agencies. People either stay away from them or cut deals."

There are some improvements, however. The Development Program report found there was a 60 percent increase in the past five years in the number of charity foundations, which stood at 4,211 in 2015. Analysts said this was not very significant in an economy which has grown at 8 to 10 percent in recent years.

China recently came out with new laws that imposed severe restrictions on foreign non-government organizations, and a set of new regulations for charity organizations. China wants to discourage the growth of an independent civil society and divert funds and energies to certain chosen fields, said Josh Freedman, research manager at consulting firm China Policy.

"The government is trying to redefine charity. It is welcoming donations in charities that support its own goals like poverty eradication, disaster relief and environmental protection. But, it wants to curb NGOs that encourage labor activism or support political groups," Freedman said.

Official controls on domestic charities remain despite some relaxation on their operations in the new law. For example, a charity is not allowed to raise funds outside the county in which it is registered.  This allows local officials to watch and control the flow of funds.

Experts fear that keeping foreign NGOs out of the picture would make it difficult for China to develop a responsible and efficient network of charity organizations. Some experts even question the wisdom of separating the goals of charity from the need to develop an independent and self-sustaining civil society.

"At UNDP, we believe that a strong and healthy philanthropic sector in China, confident in looking outside its borders, will benefit China as well as the rest of the world," Patrick Haverman, deputy country director of UNDP China, said while releasing the report.

Unlike in the U.S. and Europe, the super-rich in China do not set an example by donating huge sums to charities. There are none like Bill Gates or Warren Buffett in China.

A different picture emerged last week when e-commerce tycoon and Alibaba head Jack Ma announced he will give away a large part of his income to Alibaba Group Charitable Fund and other charities. Ma, who is the world's 33rd richest man with an individual net worth of $20 billion, also said he will not claim income tax deductions that would be available to him for giving.

The announcement is being seen in different perspectives in different quarters.

"Jack Ma is doing it for public relations. There has been some negative news about his company. He wants to enhance his reputation by giving to charity," said Rui of the China Europe International Business School.

Some Chinese business people view charity as a networking tool that will advance their business interests. Besides, there is a realization that they must donate to local charities in order to smooth the process of acquiring companies in foreign countries, he said.

Freedman of China Policy said the e-commerce tycoon may have been influenced by his long association with businessmen and life in the United States.

"Corporate social responsibility has yet to become an acceptable trend in China. Some businessmen use charity as a business tool. But, the situation is improving gradually," Freedman said.

International organizations like the U.N. Development Program are trying to persuade China to open up facilities for giving donations through the internet because a substantial part of the population is connected, mostly through mobile phones. The government recently cracked down on the use of the internet for giving and collecting donations after some instances of misuse arose.

"We believe the internet is the future direction for China's philanthropy growth. There are many people wanting to contribute to society through mobile payments," said Gu of the Development Program.
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Container homes
New shipping containers for sale:
20 ft. (model year 2015) Containers:  $3,500
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We also have a 40-ft. HQ Shipping Container Home
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And a 40-ft HQ Reefer basic home model: $12,000.
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Our Web site is
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or 506-8314-8090


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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:

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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.

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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $895K U.S.  Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

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

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, May 31, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 106
Real Estate
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Red Sismológica Nacional graphic
Red star shows the estimated epicenter.

Quake rattles the area around Parrita

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Parrita experienced a mild earthquake early today at 12:12 a.m.. The Red Sismológica Nacional said that the magnitude was 4.5.  The estimated epicenter was 13 kilometers south of Parrita on the central Pacific coast.

The quake was felt in Quepos and the Valle Central, said the Red.

A quake of this magnitude is enough to rattle some dishes and perhaps cause minor damage.

The quake was attributed to the usual reason for quakes in that area, the subduction of the Coco tectonic plate below the lighter Caribbean.

The intersection of these geological plates is the reason for Costa Rica’s central mountains and even its active volcanoes.

Tourism minister seeking conventioneers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With bids having been let for the the country’s $35 million convention center, the country’s tourism minister is on the road trying to generate organizations to use it.

The minister, Mauricio Ventura, was at the international reunions fair in Lima, Perú, which runs through Wednesday. He spoke at the event. The  Costa Rica Convention Bureau also was represented.

The 15,000-square meter (161,459-square foot) convention center will go up on 10 hectares in Barreal de Heredia along the General Cañas autopista. It is three times the size of any facility available now.

In an interview last month, Ventura noted that the project may not break even but tourism officials are counting on the spinoff of business as a result of convention goers.

Ventura also allowed that no one in the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo is prepared to run a convention center and that a candidate will have to be sought for this job.


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From Page 7:

Another Fed official signals a U.S. rate hike

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. Federal Reserve Bank president said Monday the global markets seem to be poised for an interest rate hike this summer.

James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis, said his outlook was not too surprising since signs are pointing to a second quarter rebound in the U.S. gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S.

Bullard's remarks, made at an international conference in Seoul, South Korea, follow revised data Friday from the U.S. Commerce Department that the economy expanded faster than previously thought in the first three months of this year.

He declined to say whether the Federal Reserve Bank, the central banking system of the U.S., should raise interest rates in June or July. Officials from the Fed's 12 regional banks will meet June 15.

The Fed most recently raised interest rates in December of last year, the first time the bank had done so in nearly a decade.

Interest rates remain unusually low after they were slashed during the 2008 financial crisis in a bid to boost economic growth. The economy's sputtering and uneven recovery has experts debating how soon and how much rates should rise. Raising them too soon could cause the economy to slide back into a recession. Waiting too long to raise rates could cause inflation that could hurt the economy.