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Published Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 107
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Costa Rica is, indeed, a land of many mysteries
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica usually is not considered a land of mysteries. There are no wee people running around and goblins hardly ever visit.

There are, of course, all sorts of well-known myths to keep the religious and the drunks in line. There is the Carreta sin Bueyes, La Segua and el Cadejos.

Then there are the various ghost stories, like the supposedly haunted TB hospital in Cartago.

Newspaper editors love these tales, particularly around Halloween.

The nation does have some real mysteries that may not be supernatural in origin but they still are unsolved.

The No. 1 mystery is what happened to Luis Enrique Villalobos, the money broker who vanished in November 2002 along with perhaps as much as $1 billion of funds mostly from foreigners and expats.  Of course the search for him was hindered by the faithful who were sure he would come back and pay his bills. But more than 6,000 persons remain scammed even though his brother was sentenced for aggravated fraud. The money, if it ever existed, never turned up.

No. 2 is the naked jogger. An environmental group set up some camera traps in the unspoiled Parque Nacional Corcovado. There were plenty of good photos of puma and other animal life. But there also was a photo of a naked man who tripped the cameras when he ran by. So who is running in the jungle in the middle of the night? And why?

sea creature

No. 3 is all the unusual and sometimes wacky sea creatures that visit and sometimes wash up on Costa Rican beaches. Expat Jim Burgess sent in the example above Tuesday from a beach in Osa. There are many others.  The sea guards many mysteries.

No. 4 has to be the Fuerza Aérea Argentina aircraft that vanished in 1965. The aircraft carried 69 officers and cadets who were traveling on the first leg of a trip from Panamá to El Salvador. Extensive searches of the Talamanca mountains have come up with no clues.

No. 5 has to be those stone balls found in the Palma Sur area and attributed to pre-Columbian natives. Archaeologists have advanced many theories as have popular writers. But like much from antiquity the truth is still out there. It is hard to believe that early Costa Ricans spent their days fabricating giant stone balls just as a hobby.

No. 6. Space aliens probably did not make the stone balls as some claim, but there are steady reports of unidentified flying objects, usually in the Arenal area.  Some claim that there is a hidden spaceport in a nearby smaller lake. This brings the concept of illegal aliens to the most extreme, but enough people have seen strange activities in the sky that there must be something there. Science just has not explained yet what is going on.

No. 7. There are a handful of tourists and Costa Ricans who have vanished and have remained missing despite intense searches. There is a university student near Cerro Chirripó and a park ranger near the Poas volcano. Then there is a Chicago man and  British tourists who have vanished in the western part of the country. In fact, one case goes back to an elderly man who just walked away from a tourism operation in La Fortuna never to be seen again in 2001. And there is a Dutch couple who vanished on the central Pacific coast. Not all of these can be attributed to criminal activity.

No. 8. We know why plenty of Canadian snowbirds and U.S. tourists flock to Costa Rica each year, but why do the turtles? Both coasts are nesting grounds for four species of turtles. Scientists think the turtles use the earth’s magnetic field to find exactly the same beach where they hatched years earlier. But the actual mechanism still is a mystery.

No. 9. The last unidentified boom took place May 22. No one knows what caused the sound that was heard all over the Central Valley. This was the latest of a series that have been heard at least since 2012. Volcanoes did not cause this, and neither did jet aircraft. Even the scientists are perplexed.

No. 10 This space is reserved for your mystery of Costa Rica. Send your suggestions to editor@amcostarica.com. No la la supernatural events, please. Oh, and no politics. Public officials walk around in a fog of mystery all the time.



Residents are talking less but the cell phones are hot
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There are a lot more mobile telephone connections than there are people in Costa Rica. The Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones in a report on 2015 said that there were 153 cell telephone lines for every 100 persons in the country.

Online use was up 82 percent by the estimated 4.8 million users over the prior year. But people
are talking less. The Superintendencia said
that the minutes of voice connections fell by 9 percent in 2015. The agency said this is the first time that the amount of voice communication had declined.

The use of bandwidth was up 97 percent over 2014, said the report. That is the result of those mobile apps and mobile internet access.

The increase in use also can be attributed to the aggressive marketing of the private internet providers.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 107
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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.


Dentistry

Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini has placed and
DR. Cavallini
Dr. Marco A. MuÏoz Cavallini
restored over 17,000 dental implants since 1980. The Dr. Marco Muñoz Cavallini Dental Clinic, is recognized as one of the best practices in Dental Reconstruction, Dental Implant placement and Cosmetic Dentistry in Costa Rica and the World. For more information, visit us today at: marcomunozcavallini.com
8365-5/12/15

Psychotherapy

Dr. Gray
Dr. Lucinda Gray
California Licensed
Psychologist
International Practice

• Anxiety
 • Depression
 • Relationship Problems
 
CR (506) 2228-2041
US (310) 827-4241
www.LucindaGray.com
New World Meditation
8952-8/24/16

Insurance professionals

The Garrett Insurance Group
Garrett
-Brokerage fully licensed by the
      government.
-Experience since 1980.
-Bilingual English/Spanish.
-Represent all the best insurance
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       BMI, Blue Cross, Blue
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-Correspondents of WILLIS.
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E-mail : info@garrettbrokers.com
More information HERE!
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Residency experts

Residency in Costa Rica
A full service immigration agency
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Getting and authenticating documents can be a chore. —

We know how to do it. Experienced with many nationalities. Up-to-date on
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www.residencyincostarica.com
Tel: (323) 255-6116
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 Accountants

U.S. Income Tax Services
Marlene B. Summers, Tax Accountant
Licensed by the I.R.S.
 
Ms. Summers
Marlene B. Summers
U.S. citizens, plan now for your tax year. Let me help you pay only the tax  you must!
 
Take advantage of the foreign earned income exclusion.
 
If your filing is not up-to-date, the Streamlined Filing Procedure can be used to mitigate penalties.   Including  disclosure of foreign corporations to avoid future problems. 

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File your current or amended returns.

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U.S. Tax
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(English spoken). Tamarindo office hours now available.  If you or anyone you know would like an appointment in Tamarindo, please call our San José office at 2288-2201 to make an appointment.
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FAX: 506 2231-3300
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James Brohl, C.P.A. & M.B.A.
US Income Tax,  U.S. GAAP Accounting
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Reporting foreign financial assets: FBAR and foreign corporations.
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All US Tax return preparation:
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eFile returns: secure with faster refunds.
Business consulting to facilitate working in Costa Rica.

Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620
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Fine art restoration and conservation

Gilbert Carmichael
Master Art Restorer
European and U.S. standards. USPAP.
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Real estate agents and services

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Eco
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In front of Subway at Plaza Herradura, Jacó
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colinadelsol022515c.gif
* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
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or Phone:  001 517 484-3675.
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8951-8/29/16
Season’s first real rains pound metro area

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Much of the country got a first real dose of the rainy season Tuesday. The metro area saw a series of storms that dumped up to 50 millimeters (about two inches) in places.

There was flooding, and the rain is being blamed for a two-vehicle accident in El Coyol on the Bernardo Soto highway west of Juan Santamaría airport. Two persons were injured critically. There were other accidents that were attributed to the weather.

The storms passed over the capital since midday, but the skies really opened up at 4:30 p.m. and sent rain punctuated by thunder and lightning onto the evening rush hour.

More is expected for today.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that a tropical wave passed over the country and that the approach of the intertropical zone of convergence has caused atmospheric instability.

The weather institute also said that the Pacific coast, the northern zone and parts of the Caribbean also experienced storms.



bad bills
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Fuerza Pública officers said they confiscated these bad U.S. bills at the Peñas Blancas border crossing from a Salvadoran truck driver. The man later admitted trying to pass the bills and received a $200 fine, police said.


Session today will consider the future

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio with the support of a German development organization and the International Labour Organization, is inviting the public to participate in open discussions about the future of Costa Rica in the year 2050.

The meeting will be at 4:30 p.m. today in the Colegio de Profesionales en Ciencias Económicas en San Pedro.

The ministry announcement said that it was seeking citizen participation to design a policy that would begin a new era of production in Costa Rica. It is a continuation of a similar meeting in March, it added.

A new policy is sought to enhance production and also social progress, it said.

The German development organization is the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.


Man faces his 35th criminal case

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 31-year-old resident of  Matina, Limón, has been placed in preventative detention on the allegation that he was selling crack cocaine.

His arrival should be old home week at the prison. The Fuerza Pública said that this is the man’s 35th criminal case. They said the first arrest was on a drug charge in 2011. He also had been detained for armed aggression this year. Nearly all the cases involve drugs.

Police said he was detained Sunday with 74 crack rocks near a church in Batan.


'Midsummer Night's Dream’ to be presented

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Teatro Nacional and the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud is presenting  “A Midsummer Night's Dream” Friday, Saturday and the following Tuesday, all at 8 p.m.

This is the comedy by William Shakespeare. This production will be in Spanish as “Sueño de una noche de verano.” The production also is part of a program of the Ministerio de Educación Pública.

 


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Turrialba area still wants to attract tourists despite the volcano
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Talk about mixed signals.

The nation’s animal health service said Tuesday that it had allowed the evacuation of 100 cows from the neighborhood of the Turrialba volcano at the request of the animals’ owners.

Meanwhile, the national emergency commission issued a statement that the canton of Turrialba was a secure location for tourism. The commission noted that restrictions only apply to a five-kilometer radius around the mountain.

Mauricio Ventura, the tourism minister, joined with the commission to say that visitors can continue to come to the area.

The volcano has entered an active phase, and there are some suspicions about the nearby Irazú volcano, too. The two volcanoes are linked underground.

The transportation of cows, mostly milk animals, presents a health risk that could cause the spread of disease. The  Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal said it had inspected and issued health permissions for the transport of the animals from Central and La Picada on the skirts of the volcano. The ash has damaged the pasture heavily, and the emergency commission has been trucking in hay.

There still are other animals in the vicinity.

The government promotion of Turrialba for tourism comes at a dark time for the country’s industry. Photos of the volcano spewing tall columns of ash have been featured prominently in foreign news reports.

On the other hand, when Irazú erupted violently in 1963 it became a tourism attraction.

Then there is the outbreak of zika in the central Pacific coast. Residents there say that the latest toll cited by the

cows
Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal photo
'Get us out of here! Moo!'

Ministerio de Salud only covered individuals who had received extensive medical treatment and that there were many others who had been infected.

A committee is trying to salvage the World Surfing Games that are scheduled for Jacó in August.

Not helping the situation is the arrival of the rainy season that will create many more locations where the mosquito vectors can breed.

There are no official statistics yet, but individual tourism operators are reporting cancellations of reservations because of zika fears. But arrivals at the country’s airports do not seem to be affected as the country moves into the second high season based on vacations in the north.


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State company retires another petroleum-burning generating plant
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The state power company says it retired a 39-year-old generating plant in Moín Tuesday. The plant, operated by the  Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, was used to back up the hydro generating facilities operated by the company.

The state firm known as ICE said that with the Reventazón hydro project having gone on line, the backup was not needed.

The plant in the Sandoval section of the canton of Limón, went into service in the 1970s when the country experienced an electrical shortage. It has four generators that ran on bunker oil. The country produces the bulk of its power from hydro sources. The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad also has retired the generating plant in Colima, Tibás, after 57 years of cooperation.

generating plant
Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad
This is the now-retired generating plant.


Vacation, travel and hospitality


HIdden
                        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:
HiddenGarden@TheVanStoneGroup.com.   
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.
9008-8/4/16

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

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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.

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See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!
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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.
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8729-12/30/15

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CR local phone:  +506-2274-3231
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Beautiful House Inside Gated Farm for Rent
House inside gated farm. Two bedroom, One bath fully-furnished. Close to town in Santa Barbara de Heredia.  $650 includes:  Internet, Wifi, Cable TV, Water, Electric.  Located in Santa Barbara de Heredia. American owner lives onsite, quiet, secure.  More information to my email: organicfarmhouserental@gmail.com
9019-6/25/16

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
Timeshare
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email: info@sellmytimesharenow.com
8766-7/30/16

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part
tropical homes
of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442
8784-2/19/16

Real estate for rent (paid category)

Central
                                              Valley view

Boutique quality mountain homes for rent located on a small horse ranch on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes have stunning views of Costa Rica's Central Valley. Located at 7,300-foot altitude, our ranch borders the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the homes are hiking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. We offer various rental options for our 1- and 2-bedroom homes. Contact us at Ajsanch783@AOL.COM for more details.
8981-5/28/16

Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry. $650 per month plus electricity. ½ month security deposit. No lease.  The larger apartments are $650 per month. They have larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be best for the prospective tenants to visit
Barrio Amon
the building to see the apartments.   For more information contact: edificiomorazan@gmail.com  or call Hilda at 2221-7161.
8998-7/18/16




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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
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Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 107
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Axiom new ad

Judge makes Trump U papers
public as part of fraud lawsuit


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A federal judge has released nearly 400 pages of documents that detail how Trump University employees used aggressive practices to get customers to sign up for more expensive seminars about succeeding in real estate.

The playbooks' for the now defunct business owned by the presumptive Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, include information about how its sales people were told to deliberately mislead potential customers, manipulate their emotions and ignore their concerns.

The release is part of a lawsuit by customers who claim they were defrauded.

At a Tuesday news conference at Trump Tower in New York, Trump continued his recent streak of bashing Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge who unsealed the documents.

"He's been a very bad judge . . . very, very unfair," Trump said.

He has maintained that customers were overwhelmingly satisfied with the offerings,  a point his attorneys repeated after the documents were unsealed. The documents do include testimony from a number of satisfied customers.

Trump University's core customers are identified in the documents as male heads of households between 40 and 54 years old, with annual household incomes of at least $90,000, a college education and a net worth of more than $200,000.
 
The documents show meticulous attention to details such as seating at seminars. Room temperature should be set no higher than 68 degrees and music should be the O'Jays' "For the Love of Money."

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is leading one of several lawsuits against Trump University, applauded the release of documents. Schneiderman said Trump is absolutely shameless about lying to people to induce them to his seminars, which cost upward of $20,000. He said the playbook was a guideline to dupe people into paying for more courses.

Trump University faced a handful of legal challenges, as well as scrutiny from the New York Department of Education, before it shut down in 2011.

But Trump has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence, releasing reviews from students lauding the courses. He says he won't settle the case because he'll be vindicated in court.


Egyptian authorities arrest
journalism union leaders


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Egyptian prosecutors have ordered the head of the country's journalists union and two other senior union officials to stand trial for allegedly spreading false news and harboring fugitive colleagues.

The order, issued Monday, targets union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim. It calls them to trial June 4 in Cairo.

The controversial case stems from a May 1 police raid on the Cairo offices of the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate, where police aimed to arrest two opposition journalists who had sought refuge inside.

Qalash and the union condemned those arrests, at the time accusing police of storming their offices for the first time in the union's 75-year history. The Interior Ministry later denied using force to enter the building, while acknowledging police had arrested the opposition reporters.

Days later, the union demanded a presidential apology and the release of all detained journalists, while threatening to strike if its demands were not met.  Protesters spurred by the arrests also called for the removal of Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar.

Monday's order charging the union trio comes as authorities face rising public dissent against President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, whom rights activists and diplomats inside and outside the country describe as increasingly authoritarian.

The rights group Amnesty International denounced the union leaders' arrests, calling them "the most brazen attack on the media the country has witnessed in decades." Amnesty's Magdalena Mughrabi also said the arrests signal "a dangerous escalation of Egyptian authorities' Draconian clampdown on freedom of expression."

A lawyer for the union trio, Sayed Abu Zeid, said his clients were questioned for hours Sunday evening and that they initially refused to post bail because "publishing news . . .  should not involve imprisonment or bail." Prosecutors later said bail was posted.

The two suspects arrested May 1 were detained after publishing content in mid-April criticizing Egypt's decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.


Advice about beating wives
raises ruckus in Muslim lands


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Saudi Arabian national television has aired a video showing a family therapist teaching men how to beat their wives correctly.

In the tutorial, Khaled Al-Shaqby says he is "aware that this issue is a thorny one, which contains many hazards." But he adds: "Allah willing, we will cross this bridge safely."

The video aired in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, then was translated and released in the U.S. by the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute.

Al-Shaqby points out that men should not resort to violence as a first option, but should discipline their wives first before using violence. While admitting that some men use rods, sticks or sharp objects to beat their wives in order to discipline them, he advises against it. He suggests using a twig or a handkerchief to hit the wife, merely as a symbol to express their anger at the disobedience.

Human rights groups and women's organizations are outraged by the video, which comes after a draft proposal by Pakistan's Council of Islamic Ideology that husbands be allowed to beat their wives, as long as they do it lightly.

Council chairman Muhammad Kahn Sherani said, "If you want her to mend her ways, you should first advise her. . . . If she refuses, stop talking to her . . . stop sharing a bed with her, and if things do not change, get a bit strict."

A bit strict, he clarified, would include hitting her with light things like a handkerchief, a hat or a turban, but not hitting her on the face or private parts.

The council's draft proposal has met with a furious response in Pakistan, including calls for it to be disbanded.

A Pakistani photographer has launched #TryBeatingMeLightly, a photo series showcasing Pakistani women's reactions to the proposal. Some of those include:

#TryBeatingMeLightly, I'll become the destruction you will never foresee.

#TryBeatingMeLightly, I'm the sun. Touch me and I will burn you like hell fire. I am light, you will try, but you can never stop me. You can never contain me. I am the kind of woman they name hurricanes after. I dare you, #TryBeatingMeLightly

#TryBeatingMeLightly, and you'll regret it for the rest of your miserable life.

The Council of Islamic Ideology advises Pakistan’s government and lawmakers on Islamic issues. Its proposals are recommendations, and not legally enforced.


Asian Americans in media
seek bigger share of jobs


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Recent controversies surrounding Hollywood’s casting of white actors to play Asian characters have some people wondering why popular media continue to ignore minorities. Despite calls by advocacy groups to increase hiring, some Asians fear they are becoming invisible, token characters, especially in the entertainment media. Analysts say the problem extends to television news, where they say minorities are often underrepresented and their viewpoints largely ignored.

Clicking through the channels, it is obvious that there are not many Asians reporting on the evening news, even though they're the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population.

Juju Chang is one of  only a handful of Asian-American news anchors, and she said it’s due to a lack of diversity in top management.

“When I went on air at the network here, I was the only Asian-American and among the few women, and I'm sad to say that many all these many years later, I think that we've gone a long way in terms of diversity in front of the camera, but I think we still have a ways to go behind the scenes, especially in upper management,” said Ms. Chang.

Ms. Chang said it's important for minorities to be involved when story ideas are approved.

“Until Asian-Americans get real traction in that sense, you know, we're going to keep pressing our noses against the invisible window,” she said.

Asians make up only 3 percent of the broadcast workforce. Journalism Professor Angie Chuang said a cultural bias may be to blame.

“The truth is that all kinds of psychological studies and employment studies have shown that we tend to favor or be more comfortable with people who are like us,” said Ms. Chuang.

Gender bias is another issue. Television journalist Alan Wang spoke via Skype.

“I think the image for Asian women for other people is that they’re soft, they're beautiful, they're not threatening, whereas the image of the Asian male, what you’re looking at, really has been the face of the enemy of this country during the last three major conflicts,” said Ms. Wang.

Analysts say Asians lack the political clout of other groups such as African-Americans and Hispanics. Another group fighting for greater representation is the Asian American Journalists Association. The group's vice-president for broadcast, Niala Boodhoo, responded on Skype.

“I feel like even having those conversations is something that would not have happened years ago, and I think the fact that we're even having those conversations is a sign of progress. But there is more to be done,” said Boodhoo.

A leading broadcast industry group says 2011 was the best year for Asian American broadcasters. That’s when Asians made up just 3.5 percent of the industry. But that percentage has declined since then. And, without greater representation, many Asians fear issues important to their communities will continue to be misinterpreted or ignored.


Mount Everest expedition
was more than climbing


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Climbing Mount Everest, at 8,848 meters the tallest mountain in the world, has long been the ultimate challenge for people with something to prove. Two of the most recent teams making a bid for the summit learned how the lonely task of climbing a mountain can bring other people closer.

On May 24, retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chad Jukes, 32, became the second combat wounded veteran to get to the summit of Mount Everest, climbing with an artificial leg to replace the limb he lost to an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2006.

Jukes, an accomplished climber, was accompanied by two active duty Army officers,  2nd Lt. Harold Earls and Capt. Elyse Ping Medvigy. The trio made their climb in order to bring awareness to post-traumatic stress disorder and the high suicide rate among returning U.S. veterans.

For many veterans, including Jukes, the suicide problem hits close to home. One of the organizers, retired Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Burnett, said Tuesday that one of Jukes' Army buddies committed suicide while Jukes was away on the climb.

"There's 22 veterans taking their lives a day," Burnett said. "So we wanted to show the resilience of the climb, and the camaraderie."

Burnett said the team -- known as USX, for the nonprofit U.S. Expeditions and Explorations, completed their descent of the mountain on May 29. "Chad had some frostbite on his hands, Harold had some on his feet, but overall they're in good physical condition," he said.

Burnett said the point of the climb was not to echo the experience of combat, because nothing could do that, but to give the climbers "a life changing experience, just the way combat is. It gives you  . . . people you will have a lifelong bond with. So in the middle of the night, if you're having a problem and you can't cope, you reach out to that person and that person will help you."

Burnett said war veterans give more of themselves in combat than anyone could understand, and he wants to help keep them alive once they come home. He said, "That's what we're trying to do: just raise awareness, show that you can overcome things, and that there's people you can lean on."

The USX team is sharing its expedition the old-fashioned way, through telling the stories now that the trip is at an end. Adventure guides Cory Richards and Adrian Ballinger carried an extra seven kilograms of equipment up the world's highest peak to share their adventure in progress through the mobile app Snapchat.

On Snapchat, Richards said Tuesday, "You can't alter anything, and you've got a limited amount of time to say something and you just say it, you show it, and you move forward." He said the mobile app gives a much more raw, unfiltered look at the climb than traditional media can do.

The app allows the user to post short sound-and-image snaps that are accessible for a limited time and then disappear.

Because there is no regular cellular service on the world's highest peak, transmissions took 10 to 15 minutes, so they were accomplished mainly during the climbers' down time. Richards tried to snap an image from the summit itself when he reached it on May 24, but his phone died in the low oxygen at the peak. Because the altitude is as dangerous for humans as it is for cellphones, Richards spent only three minutes at the summit.

But the view from the peak wasn't the most important part of the climbers' message to their followers, Ballinger said. The view they wanted their followers to see was the weeks of work, including the boring, frustrating and mundane moments, that lead to one big moment of glory.


Slavery
Voice of America graphic  

Study reports 45 million
are in slavery in world

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An Australian group tracking modern-day slavery says countries doing the least to fight the practice affecting some 45 million people worldwide often have slavery-complicit governments, as well as high levels of conflict and political instability.

Among the countries it singles out in the Global Slavery Index as taking the least action to combat slavery are North Korea, Iran, Eritrea, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Slavery conditions can include forced labor, including forced labor in prisons, commercial sexual exploitation and forced marriage for women.

The Walk Free Foundation behind the study says North Korea has the highest percentage of its population enslaved. Nearly one in 20 people, or 4.37 percent of its population, are in servitude. India has the highest number of people living in slavery conditions at 18.35 million, followed by China with 3.39 million and Pakistan with 2.13 million.

Those numbers are up 10 million since the group's first survey in 2014.

Many of those enslaved are working under forced labor conditions to make clothing that is exported globally, says Walk Free's executive director, Fiona David, adding that consumers who buy those products may be contributing to the problem.

"The surveys in Bangladesh showed an estimated 1.5 million people being held in some form of forced labor,” she said. “And, of course, Bangladesh is our largest source of ready-made clothing for consumers around the world. So this really has implications for everyday people in terms of what clothing they buy and sell. The same can be said for Cambodia."

Even the making of cheap fabric can contribute to global slavery numbers. Uzbekistan, for instance, subjects its citizens to forced labor in its annual cotton harvest. That fact has particular resonance in the United States, where African slaves two centuries ago were forced to labor in cotton fields in the American South before such slavery was outlawed.

Human Rights Watch spokesman Wolfgang Buetner spoke on the issue Tuesday.

"The textile industry presents a big problem with regard to forced labor, because very often the textile workers have to suffer very long working hours, are paid badly and often can barely leave the factories," he said.

"This is a problem in Bangladesh, where a lot of textile workers are working, but also in India and other countries in Southeast Asia. What is important is that the companies also live up to their responsibilities and that they check on the subcontractors comply with labor law standards."

Walk Free has collected surveys in several wealthy countries where consumers can buy imported clothing made under forced-labor conditions. In 2016, 66 percent of U.S. consumers said they would stop buying a product if they were aware that its manufacture involved use of slave labor. Fifty percent said they would pay more for clothing, electronics, food, tea or coffee that was made under slavery-free conditions.

In 2015, Walk Free reported that 78 percent of Brazilians and 54 percent of Indians would switch brands if they found that the products they were using involved slave labor.

Also in 2015, Britain's parliament passed a law known as the Modern Slavery Bill, updating its anti-slavery law to include provisions that defend slavery victims against prosecution for crimes committed while they were enslaved. It also ensures that child victims have an advocate to support and care for them.

Walk Free estimates that there are as many as 13,000 victims of modern slavery in the United Kingdom, which includes England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Wealthier countries generally had lower slavery rates. The top 12 countries with the lowest rates of slavery are Western European, the U.S. and Canada, and Australia and New Zealand.

The study said Qatar, Singapore, Kuwait, Brunei, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Japan and South Korea are among the nations whose governments have taken relatively little action against modern slavery despite adequate wealth and stability.

One hundred and sixty-seven countries were included in the study. Ratings for Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen were not included due to ongoing conflicts.

The study assessed factors such as "protection and respect for rights, physical safety and security, access to the necessities of life such as food, water and health care, and patterns of migration, displacement and conflict" to reach their conclusions.


Alibaba faces U.S. problems
over money and fake products


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which has posted stellar financial performances year after year, is suddenly going through stormy times, with two different investigations launched against its operations in the United States.

Alibaba, known as the closest rival to Amazon and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is under the microscope of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition.

After Alibaba disclosed the SEC investigation of its accounting practices and sales data last week, nervous investors sent share prices tumbling. The Washington-based IACC, an industry-driven group, recently expelled Alibaba just one month after the Chinese firm had been admitted as a member and described by coalition as "one of our strongest partners."

The company, named after the famous Arabian tale, "Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves," now will have to convince the coalition it did not deliberately allow or condone sales of counterfeit goods to boost its revenues and profits. Alibaba's online platforms Taobao and Tmall are widely seen as sources of fake or falsely branded goods, but analysts say it is unclear whether this was the company's deliberate policy.

"Alibaba’s Taobao site is notoriously well known for selling counterfeit goods," said Jeongwen Chiang, professor of marketing at the China Europe International Business School. "They claim they have been trying to clean up those merchants but the problem continues."

After the coalition action, Alibaba said it closed down 5,000 stores and removed 180,000 sales listings for counterfeit goods from Taobao, its online shopping platform, in cooperation with product makers and the industry group, which strives to combat counterfeiting and piracy through self-regulation.

"We are 100 percent committed to fighting this battle," Michael Evans, president of Alibaba Group Holdings, said at a recent coalition event in Florida. Counterfeiting is a massive and pervasive industry issue, he said. "It happens on our platforms and on every other e-commerce platform globally. It is happening everywhere around the world, not just in China."

There are some who think that Jack Ma, head of Alibaba, has done what he can to stop counterfeiting. The 17-year-old company's shopping platforms attracted 423 million shoppers looking at over a billion listings last year. Supporters of the $15.7-billion company say it is nearly impossible to police hundreds of millions of daily transactions.

"Jack Ma is not so stupid as to condone fakes," said Ernie Diaz, consultant and publisher of China Digital Review.

"Selling fakes is not in the interest of Alibaba or the Chinese e-commerce industry in general, and Ma knows it," Diaz said. "It would take upwards of a million people to check hundreds of millions of transactions that take place each day, and this is not viable."

Alibaba's various online platforms account for about one-third of all e-commerce transactions in China. They were worth about $1.4 trillion in 2015.

Amazon and other e-commerce giants have not been accused of selling counterfeit goods, for the most part, because they filter the process of product listings, displays and authentication more efficiently, analysts say. The Chinese government, which is keen to encourage online sales, may have been lenient in dealing with Alibaba and other local companies, some analysts add.
Real estate-related services (paid category)
Container homes
New shipping containers for sale:
20 ft. (model year 2015) Containers:  $3,500
40 ft. HQ (model year 2015) Containers: $5,000
We also have a 40-ft. HQ Shipping Container Home
for sale: $23,000

And a 40-ft HQ Reefer basic home model: $12,000.
Both with kitchen, bathroom, fully finished electricity. Turnkey.
Our Web site is www.containerhomes.net
9018-8/25/16

SellATimeshare.com
Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Buy, sell or rent a timeshare at SellATimeshare.com. 
9004-4/26/17

COSTA RICA SOLAR
Solr array
SOON with the coming of new power company regulations, we'll be installing PV (photo voltaic) for solar electricity. Yes, at last!
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Solar device
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or 506-8314-8090
OUR EMAIL: Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com

VISIT OUR WEB: www.CR-Solar.com

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


Re-Max
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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8935-2/7/17

Remax logo
Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at: info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com
8927-1/28/17

Axiom one

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

Click
HERE!
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:

AXIOM DEVELOPMENT GROUP SRL
Costa Rica Office: +506.4001-2343
Mobile: +506.8367-2466
USA Office: +1.786233-1579
sales@axiomcostarica.com
www.axiomcostarica.com
8906-2/21/16


Rich Coast
                                  Rollover
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
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
www.RichCoastRealty.com
8953-8/29/16

Real estate for sale (paid category)


Penthouse
                                  rollover
Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $895K U.S.  Go to www.ThePenthouseCostaRica.com  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email crstratton@ymail.com
9017-12/1/16

updated
                                  photo
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 goodbuyflorida@yahoo.com.
9020-8/3/16

Excazu
                                  condo
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:  visoer1937@gmail.com or oervis@hotmail.com
9011-8/11/16

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

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need.  More information
go to www.ranchforsalecostarica.com  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:  darin_ricco@hotmail.com
9010-6/10/16

Condo
                                  rollover

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:  parqueos@gmail.com
8936-8/6/16

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: jsaba00@hotmail.com.
8997-6/22/16
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: grantchy@yahoo.com For more photos and info click HERE!
8996-7/20/16

anothiner

Grecia
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UNIQUE OFFER !!!!
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
FINANCING AVAILABLE !!!
 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
Email:

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

Lantz
                                      home
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: angelsdad@me.com

8972-6/15/16

San Rmon
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Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: mmpeace@hotmail.com 
Check out slide show HERE!
8962-6/3/16

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
land
                                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: www.condojaco.com Contact: Frank condojaco1@gmail.com
8942-9/1/

updated
                                  photo
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 goodbuyflorida@yahoo.com.
8933-5/2/16

Cohen
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.
www.hotel4salecostarica.com
www.hotelsescazu.com
hotelescazu@aol.com
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
410-975-6703
In Costa Rica 8307-0164
8916-7/22/16

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 107
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Thousands march against Keiko Fujimori

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Thousands marched in Peru's capital, Lima, to oppose presidential frontrunner Keiko Fujimori, just four days before the election.

Protesters chanting slogans such as "Keiko No!" and "No to a state run by drug traffickers!"  likened Fujimori to her father, controversial former president Alberto Fujimori, who ruled from 1990 to 2000 and is currently serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses and corruption during his term.

Keiko Fujimori, 41, has tried to distance herself from her father by promising not to revive his hardline methods or authoritarian rule, and proposing generous spending on infrastructure, including building more prisons in an effort to combat crime.

The march, organized by the group "Keiko No Va" (It is not going to be Keiko), was led by Veronika Mendoza, a leftist former presidential candidate who came in third in the general election in April. Mendoza has since endorsed former World Bank economist Pedro Kuczynski, despite vast ideological differences between the two.

Ms. Fujimori faces 77-year-old Kuczynski in a runoff election Sunday. She beat him by a large margin in the first round of voting.

The center-right politician would be Peru's first female president.

Despite a recent fall in commodity prices and a slowdown under outgoing president Ollanta Humala, Peru is one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America.


U.S. consumer spending takes a jump

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The consumer spending that powers most U.S. economic activity jumped a strong 1 percent in April, the biggest gain in about six years.

Tuesday's report from the Commerce Department says the gains were due to increases in purchases of cars and other expensive, long-lasting goods. PNC Bank Chief Economists Stuart Hoffman calls the report good news for economic growth in April, May, and June. He also predicts that inflation will rise a bit this year.

New data also show inflation rose a bit, but remains below the 2 percent rate that experts at the U.S. central bank say would help economic growth.

Top Federal Reserve officials are scheduled to meet in two weeks and will consider this and other reports as they decide how soon and how much to raise interest rates. Those rates were pushed down to record lows to boost growth during the financial crisis.

Experts worry that once the economy recovers, keeping interest rates too low for too long could over stimulate the economy and spark sharply higher inflation that could hurt growth. Experts at Wells Fargo Securities predict the Fed will not raise rates at their June meeting.

A separate report on housing from Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller shows home prices rose more than 5 percent in March from the same time a year ago. Low mortgage rates and improving wages are encouraging home buying, but a limited supply of homes for sale is pushing up prices.

Friday, experts will publish the newest U.S. unemployment rate. The Bloomberg financial news service surveyed economists and the consensus is that the jobless rate will drop slightly to hit 4.9 percent. The survey also shows experts expect the economy to have a net gain of 158,000 jobs nationwide.


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From Page 7:


U.S. issues warning for travelers to Europe

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning alerting U.S. citizens to the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe, targeting major events, tourist sites, restaurants, commercial centers and transportation.

The travel alert that expires on Aug. 31 states that "the large number of tourists visiting Europe in the summer months presents greater targets for terrorists planning attacks in public locations, especially at large events."

In particular, the warning draws attention to the European Soccer Championship from June 10 to July 10 and the Tour de France cycling race which will be held from July 2 to 24 in France, as well as the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day event in Krakow, Poland, between July 26 and July 31, which is expected to attract up to 2.5 million visitors.

Although European authorities continue to take steps to assure public safety and disrupt terrorist plots, the State Department urged U.S. citizens to exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation.

Brussels was targeted by Islamic State terrorists in March with 32 people killed in bombings that hit the city's airport and metro.  The Islamic State also attacked Paris in November of last year and killed 130 people.