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Published Friday Edition
June 2, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 109
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Canadian and Canatur spar over canopy patent
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Thursday morning saw some officials and other interested parties sit in a meeting following a recent uproar in the Spanish-language media regarding a Canadian, a zip-line and a patent.

Businessmen, lawyers and other industry representatives with the Cámara Nacional de Turismo, or Canatur, promised a fight against Canadian citizen Darren Hreiniuk and his patent claim over canopy tours. Hreiniuk claims on his website and in statements that he was the first one to come up with the canopy tour concept and wants compensation from other companies that allegedly followed in his idea.

A statement by the group recommended that all operators and persons in the tourism industry refrain from contacting Hreiniuk until they acquired criteria and enough claim to block the Canadian’s motion.

For those that do not know, a canopy tour is an established route through a wooded or mountainous landscape using a zip-line or aerial bridges between platforms built in trees. Usually in both instances, tourists are harnessed to a cable without interruption throughout the entirety of the experience.

This comes with recommendation from the group’s assembled team of lawyers and other specialists analyzing the situation.

Hreiniuk’s legal counsel issued a press release Wednesday saying that they were going to give 15 working days starting on June 1 so that owners and operators of canopies can contact them and reach an agreement to continue operations, the group said.

"We want businessmen to feel safe and supported by the chamber, as this is one of the most important tourist activities for which we are recognized as a destination worldwide,” the president of the Cámara said.

Darren
                              Hreinuk
Facebook photo     
Darren Hreiniuk taking a canopy tour.

“For many years, we have improved it in aspects of security, quality and differentiation by private initiative. Many small and medium-sized businesses live in this country and we will not allow abuses of any kind.”

The group said its team of lawyers is going to carry an in-depth study of all the elements to develop the best strategy and avoid any involvement on the part of entrepreneurs who carry out the activity.

Next Thursday, a new meeting is set to showcase the results of the analysis and, from there, the chamber will decide what legal actions need to be undertaken.

According to Hreiniuk’s website, the Original Canopy Tour and the concept itself began when he moved to Costa Rica back in 1992.

The website stated the purpose of the tour was to provide a unique experience while, at the same time, raising environmental awareness and socio-economic development.

The company claims being featured on National Geographic, MSNBC, USA Today, MTV and the Discovery Channel among others.

A.M. Costa Rica attempted to request comment directly from Hreiniuk but received no response in time.



Union leaders call for general strike against Caja
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

“We have no option left but to take to the streets.”

That’s the position of Albino Vargas, the Secretary General of the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados, one of the countries biggest unions.

He uttered his words Thursday, a couple of hours after the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social agreed to continue with its plans to increase the contributions all workers should pay to their social security regime.

This issue has been an ongoing one of which A.M. Costa Rica recently reported in relation to doctors temporarily walking out of their hospitals for a few hours.

This was considered a warning on the part of union-members of what may come should the Caja’s Junta decide to raise the fee.

According to the agreement, workers will not escape the hike in the contributions.

Instead, they will have to pay 0.5 percent more money from the salary as of July and then face the other 0.5 percent increase in Jan. 2018.

The original decision by the Junta Directiva, unilaterally in charge of such decision-making without much room for outside consultation, called for the increase in full.

“We want Luis Guillermo Solís to remove the president of the Caja, María Sáenz, for betraying the working class and for betraying prior agreements where she promised to discuss the measure with other members of society,” Vargas said.

“Once again,  it is the working class who is supposed to pay for the Caja mismanagement, hurting the people who make the least money while some others have luxury pensions of up to $30,000 dollars a month,” Vargas added.

A general strike is another likely outcome after the decision from the Caja, according to Martin Chinchilla, Secretary General of the Unión de Empleados de la Caja y la Seguridad Social.

Chinchilla is also one of the leaders of the Bloque Unitario Sindical y Social Costarricense, a confederation of several unions, including that of teachers and other prominent entities within the Costa Rican State.

“We are deceived by the board of directors who have made this decision,” he said. “That pushes us toward further measures and to analyze if dialogue is the way to go.”

“We’ll be having a meeting next Monday afternoon to decide what are we going to do, but I can tell you this decision will not be tolerated,” added Chinchilla.

“We are confident all social justice fighters will join us and we are happy to say we are in close relation with the Confederación de Trabajadores Rerum Novarum,” he explained.

The confederation is a local Costa Rican worker’s syndicate with close ties to international and regional unions.

According to the Caja, this decision is essential to provide new funds to the pension regime, which experts from the Universidad de Costa Rica say will go broke by 2028 if no new income is delivered.


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A.M.
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Second News Page

Published || Friday Edition, June 2, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 109
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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.
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Ruta
147 bridge
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo       
Traffic temporarily reduced on the original bridge.

Public works begins new bridge project

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Public works is moving in to work on the Río Virilla bridge except this one is not the recently-completed Alfredo González Flores bridge for the General Cañas highway. This is a completely new one.

According to a statement issued by the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes, the new bridge will be a part of Ruta 147 between Santa Ana and Belén. Some expats may already know that there is already a bridge located there but a new two-lane structure adjacent to the original is the project in mind.

Carlos Villalta, the public works head, said that this project is expected to cost at least $8.5 million with the money coming from the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica. Meanwhile, the United Nations Office for Project Services will be administering the work, officials said.

Work is already underway for the opening salvos needed to construct the bridge and the ministry intends to have a structure starting to form in about seven months. The bridge will have two lanes, an internal and external shoulder as well as room for sidewalks. Villalta stressed that this project, unlike the platina bridge, will have little to no effect on regular traffic except in a few instances where machinery needs to be moved or parts placed on the bridge.

This bridge is supposed to yield some relief to the congested traffic experienced in that area during peak hours, the ministry said. In addition to the bridge, the final designs for the expansion of the five-lane Santa Ana radial are being finalized. The expected total investment will be $34 million, the ministry said.


Action demanded from labor ministry

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Frente Amplio legislator Patricia Mora sent a protest letter to the labor minister, Alfredo Hasbum, demanding a quick response about alleged human rights abuse in several pineapple and banana plantations.

According to Ms. Mora, pineapple employers are refusing to hire workers who have previously had problems with their health as well as work-related accidents.

Aside from that, these employers have allegedly created blacklists where the names of those workers remain under a “not for hire” status.
Ms. Mora said this was a common complaint she received during a recent trip to the plantations located in  Guácimo, Siquirres, Pococí and Talamanca, all of them cantons in Limón province.

The same situation was apparently relayed back to her in Sarapiquí, Heredia province along with San Carlos and Los Chiles, in Alajuela.

The legislator said these actions violate statutes protecting the privacy of health records and they constitute a blatant discrimination against the most vulnerable workers. It also denies the people's right to work, which is protected by the constitution, she said.

In the statement, the legislator asks the labor minister to start an investigation as soon as possible.

“These are very serious allegations and they emphasize the need to have a new law reform that strengthens the labor inspections department of the ministry,” she said.

Despite these allegations, the government said it maintains a constant inspection in those same plantations.

According to a release sent out Thursday by Casa Presidencial, from January 2016 to May 2017, the labor ministry conducted more than 173 inspections both in the northern and Caribbean areas of the country.

The inspections included 39 banana plantations and 16 pineapple ones.
During the first 103 visits, authorities found at least 79 companies not fully complying with labor laws. Afterwards, 70 second visits were performed and it showed that 51 of them proved full compliance and 12 did not.

The latter will be reported before the labour courts, according to the document.

“We confirm our commitment to enforce the labor laws and we will take care of any complain as soon as possible,” Nancy Marín, the vice-minister for labor, said.


Prisoner drafts open letter to deputies

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A prisoner from San Rafael’s correctional facility drafted a letter that was sent by the justice ministry to libertarian legislator, Natalia Díaz.

The letter comes in response to her particular outspokenness in opposition to a fair composed of prisoners that was scheduled to be held along the Bulevar near to the chambers of the assembly.

The controversy over allowing prisoners in such close proximity to legislative deputies, staffers and the general public sparked off a controversy that eventually turned into a verbal sparring match between the opposing deputies and the justice minister, Cecilia Sánchez.

“The right of our population to have opportunities of insertion and respect for human dignity is undeniable,” she said. “Faced with all sorts of prejudice and stereotypes, it will be unavoidable. We will have our fair because there will always be good sense in other people and other institutions that do understand this is a human rights issue.”

“Perhaps the challenge is not to open doors, but to open minds, especially with those who should be called and who are called to build a more inclusive society,” she stingingly added.

Eventually, the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz gave in and moved the event towards the closed quarters of the Centro Nacional de Cultural in San José on Wednesday this week.

One jailed man, Juan Carlos Siras, decided to take up the cause of prisoners located at the Vilma Curling, San Rafael, La Reforma facilities and juvenile detention center in Zurquí.

He carried different letters written by prisoners to deliver to the legislative deputies. The prisoner was under guard while delivering the documents to legislator Marco Vinicio Redondo, as representative for the assembly.

"Legislating is synonymous with guiding. Legislating is to educate. Legislating is to point out ways to the Costa Rican people and, for these reasons, nothing created allowing a prisoner the opportunity to enhance their human dignity through participation in a fair of arts and services should cause fear,” the letter to Ms. Díaz said.

"You are right to protect with your position the social rights of Costa Rican citizens, but I urge you vehemently from these humble words not to allow, in your capacity as a deputy, social prejudice win over solidarity or to teach children and young people of our country intolerance or that it is good to alienate their peers who are in unequal conditions and political power take away the hope of re-socialization.”


News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English








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A.M.
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Third News Page
U.S. Tax
Published || Friday Edition, June 2, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 109
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Tico Protestants plan 500th year anniversary since the Reformation
By Rommel Téllez of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Unity despite the differences. That is the goal that Protestant churches aim to reach this year, which marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation that set the Christian world apart and gave birth to many other denominations which still exist today.

To celebrate this milestone, the followers of the Costa Rican Lutheran Church have been organizing several activities in the last three years as a way to remind themselves that their existence went through a rough historical process, according to the Geraldina Alvarez, pastor of the church.

“We feel really privileged to be part of this 500th anniversary celebration, because for us the Christian Reformation still goes on, as a never-ending adaptation process in favor of those who need help and know the word of God,” she said.

According to Geraldina, her church will continue focusing on an active social role, pushing equal rights for immigrants, women and sexually diverse people. They will push for the creation, too, of a secular state in Costa Rica.

According to the constitution, the Roman Catholic faith is the country’s official, state-sponsored religion.

“Our social fights will continue and we will stress the importance of continuing the dialogues we’ve been having with the Catholic Church. We wish a closer relationship with other followers of Christ,” she added.

In October, the Lutherans will hold a festivity named the Wittenberg Week, as a way to honor the day Martin Luther released his well known 95 Theses, a revision of the doctrine under the Scriptures, in the town of Wittenberg, which was then a part of the German Kingdom of Saxony.

Luther was famous for mailing this work to the Archbishop of Mainz on Oct. 31, 1517. Historians are still arguing whether or not the rogue Catholic priest actually did nail them to the doors of the church or not.

“We’ll organize entrepreneurial workshops for women, performing arts, a meditative mass and a big meeting with members of the Catholic church,” Pastor Alvarez said.

Martin Luther
Wikipedia photo   
1529 Martin Luther portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

“We will also finish planting 500 trees as symbolic celebration of the 500 years of the Reformation,” she added.

In the case of the Costa Rican Episcopal Church, they plan to celebrate the anniversary with a simultaneous prayer offered this coming Sunday. They also seek to pay a visit to the Catholic Archbishop at some point during the year as sign of unity.

More activities will be announced soon, according to Hector Monterroso, Bishop of the Church.

“Once a month, two other leaders from two different denominations  and I sit together to have lunch and plan our celebrations,” he said.

“We are very excited about the celebrations. For us the Reformation reminds us not only a doctrinal separation but, most important, the fact we are united on one single mission: to create more disciples for our lord Jesus,” he added.


Romantic pieces to ring through Teatro Nacional this weekend
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Wagner, Saint-Saëns and Rachmaninoff will kick off the fifth concert in the official season for the national symphony orchestra tonight and on Sunday.

Tonight’s show begins at 8 p.m. and Sunday’s at 10:30 a.m., the cultural ministry said.

According to a statement from the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud, Brazilian director Fabio Mechetti will lead the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional.

He will be joined on stage by German cellist, Leonard Elschenbroich, who will be performing a solo on the Concerto for cello by Camille Saint-Saëns.

Mechetti is the head of the Minas Gerais Philharmonic located in Brazil’s Belo Horizonte state but he also is the director for the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra in the United States, the cultural ministry said.

"For this program a combination of more romantic music was chosen,” Mechetti said. “In the first part we will interpret the Prelude of the III Act of Lohengrin by Wagner followed by the Concerto for cello by Saint-Saëns while, in the second part, we will play one of the most romantic symphonies of the symphonic repertoire: the second symphony of Rachmaninoff.”

Tickets for the V Concierto, as the event is called, are on sale at the ticket office and website of the Teatro Nacional, the cultural ministry said.
Fabio Mechetti
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo  
Fabio Mechetti leads the orchestra this weekend.

Prices vary between 4,000 and 18,000 colons depending on seating.

Students and seniors may request a 50 percent discount when presenting their ID or card at the booth.

For those who want to better understand the concert’s program, Aurora Saenz of the cultural ministry will also offer a talk on Friday at 7 p.m. in the theater foyer.

Admission is free but limited.



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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

Published || Friday Edition, June 2, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 109
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Macaque study displays general wild monkey behavior traits
By the University of Lincoln press staff

Wildlife tourists frequently fail to identify aggressive and distressed emotional states in wild monkeys, mistaking animals’ warnings of aggression for smiles and kisses.

This can lead to welfare problems for  primates and risk of injury for people, according to new research published Thursday.

A new study by a team of behavioral ecologists and psychologists examined whether educational tools intended to help tourists recognize different facial expressions in monkeys, such as 2D images and information signs like those found in zoos or animal parks, were effective in reducing harm to humans and distress to primates in destinations where wild macaques freely interact with humans.

The researchers found that tourists made significant mistakes in interpreting macaques’ emotions such as believing a monkey was smiling or blowing them kisses when they were in fact displaying aggression, despite exposure to pictures designed to demonstrate what the animals’ facial expressions mean.

This level of misunderstanding could lead to increased risk of injury to humans and have a negative impact on the welfare on the animals, particularly in places where wild macaques interact with people, the study concluded.

The research, led by researchers from the University of Lincoln, U.K., suggests videos or supervised visits led by expert guides would be better placed to educate tourists about how best to read emotions in animals in zoos and wildlife parks, along with advice on maintaining safe distance from the animals.

Laëtitia Maréchal, from the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln said:

"There is a growing interest in wildlife tourism, and in particular primate tourism. People travel to encounter wild animals, many of them attempting to closely interact with monkeys, even though this is often prohibited.”

“However, serious concerns have been raised related to the safety of the tourists interacting with wild animals. Indeed, recent reports estimate that monkey bites are the second cause of injury by animals after dogs in Southeast Asia, and bites are one of the main vectors of disease transmission between humans and animals.”

The findings indicate that people who are inexperienced in macaque behavior have difficulties in recognizing monkey’s emotions, which can lead to dangerous situations where they think the monkeys are happy but instead they are threatening them.

“Education, guided visits, and keeping a safe distance with animals could be implemented as measures to reduce such issues, improving both animal welfare and tourist experience,” she said.

“Video might be a particularly effective tool to help people recognize animal emotion based on their facial expressions, behavior or vocalizations, reducing any misunderstanding.”

Monkey
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Rommel Téllez
Neutral expression gives all clear in monkey behavior like this one in Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio.

Researchers quizzed three groups of participants, those with little to no experience of Barbary macaques, those with exposure to 2D images of different monkey faces, and those who had worked with primates for at least two months, on what emotions were being portrayed in a series of images showing aggressive, distressed, friendly and neutral faces.

Macaques present aggressive or threatening stances through raised eyebrows, staring, and opening the mouth to show the teeth, or having the lips protrude to form a round mouth.

When the mouth is widely open and the animal is yawning, or the corners of the lips are fully retracted revealing the upper and lower teeth, it signals that they are distressed or submissive.

Macaques will have their mouths half open and the lips slightly protruding with a chewing movement and clicking or smacking of the tongue and lips to indicate they are friendly; and neutral faces feature a closed mouth and relaxed face.

They found that all participants, regardless of their levels of experience, made some mistakes confusing aggressive faces with non-threatening faces such as neutral or friendly faces.

Experts made just under seven per cent of mistakes, participants who were exposed to 2D images of monkey faces made just over 20 per cent of mistakes, and participants who had never or rarely encountered live monkeys made nearly 40 per cent of mistakes.

Ms. Maréchal added: “The tourists often responded by imitating the monkey’s facial expression, which generally ended by either aggression by the monkey towards the tourists or the monkey leaving the interaction.”

“These findings are highly relevant to the general public and any professional in wildlife tourism, where wild animals can interact with the general public,” the study concludes.



Vacation, travel and hospitality


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9168-3/17/17


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9214-8/2/17


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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
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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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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. 

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9113-7/4/17

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Adolfo's Cell 506-8831-4306
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9218-8/25/17

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9186-6/30/17

A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
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Real estate rentals (paid category)

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9217-5/11/17


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9055-2/23/17


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9118-6/26/17







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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
Published || Friday Edition, June 2, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 109
Calendar
Opinion
Classifieds
Real Estate
Lifestyle
Food
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Trump announces withdraw
from Paris Climate Accord


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. will withdraw from the Paris climate deal, President Donald Trump announced Thursday, fulfilling a key campaign promise but putting at risk global efforts to deal with the effects of climate change.

At a ceremony in a sweltering White House Rose Garden Thursday, Trump said the accord did little to help the environment and unfairly punished the U.S. by holding it to tougher standards than other top polluters.

“The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries,” Trump said.

The move comes despite passionate protests from world leaders and entrepreneurs, many of who personally pleaded with the president in recent days to stay in the climate deal.

In the end, Trump rejected the accord as an attempt by foreign lobbyists who want the U.S. tied up and bound down so that their countries can have the economic edge.

The deal, reached in 2015, set goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting the rise in global temperatures. 195 countries signed it.

Trump said he would like to immediately begin talks to either re-enter the accord or an entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States.

“We will see if we can make a deal that’s fair,” Trump said. “And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”

The withdrawal represents perhaps the most significant rollback yet of the foreign policy legacy of Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama.

In a statement, Obama suggested Trump’s decision amounts to an absence of American leadership but said U.S. businesses would nonetheless step up and do even more to lead the way on climate issues.

During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly vowed to tear up the agreement, which he said was hurting American workers.

Though much of Trump’s opposition to the deal appears to stem from economic concerns, there is also a question whether Trump believes in the problem that the accord was meant to address in the first place: global warming caused by unbridled industrial development.

On various occasions, Trump has suggested that he does not believe in global warming at all. In a 2012 tweet, Trump famously said he believes the concept was a hoax created by the Chinese in order to hurt the U.S. economy.

Many world leaders do not share that desire. In a joint statement, the leaders of France, Germany, and Italy said they firmly believe the Paris agreement cannot be renegotiated.

Pulling away from the deal will have far-reaching global impact, as the U.S. is the world’s biggest economy and second-biggest polluter.

However, the immediate environmental consequences of the decisions are unclear.

The White House had already announced it would not follow through on many of the key climate change targets set by Obama.

And many U.S. businesses are likely to continue their trend toward cleaner policies, says Andrew Light, senior climate adviser to Obama’s State Department.

For now, there are few signs other countries will follow Trump’s lead.

Many of the world’s biggest polluters, including China, the European Union and India have already vowed to keep their commitments outlined in the deal.

Perhaps more significant is the geopolitical impact of Trump’s decision, according to many of Trump’s critics, who see the move as evidence Trump is abdicating Washington’s traditional role as global leader.

Nina Hachigian, U.S. ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations under Obama, called the decision an utter disaster.

“One hundred ninety-five countries have signed that. If we want to be a global leader, we can't pull away from an agreement that has that kind of unanimity just on foreign policy alone, let alone the future of the planet,” she says.

Global leaders already had good reason to question U.S. commitment to international climate deals.

In 2001, then-President George W. Bush pulled the U.S. out of the Kyoto Protocol, which also aimed to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Then, as now, there was widespread conservative opposition to the U.S. entering such a climate pact. And in both cases, conservatives welcomed the decision to withdraw.


Justice Dept. officials insist
no pause on prosecuting hate


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Last month, Eric Treene, a career prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, found himself facing intense questioning.

Treene, the department's special counsel on religious discrimination, was testifying on religious hate crimes before a Senate panel when Democratic Senator Al Franken of Minnesota quizzed him about what he saw as mixed messages coming from the Trump administration.

During a tense five-minute exchange, Franken, an unabashed Trump critic, repeatedly posed a variation of this question: What message does the presence of controversial Trump strategist Stephen Bannon in the White House send to those who commit hate crimes?

"The message that I feel strongest as a prosecutor and an attorney for the Department of Justice is the consistent message that I've gotten from the attorney general to pursue hate crimes, to continue doing the work we're doing," Treene said.

"That's not the question I asked," Franken shot back as he continued to grill Treene about Bannon, a former editor of the right-wing website Breitbart News, seen by some critics as a purveyor of hate speech.

Treene sidestepped the question, maintaining that there has been no change in the Department of Justice's policy on prosecuting hate crimes, despite the change of administration.

The exchange illustrated the degree to which Trump's appointment of controversial figures such as Bannon and Sessions to senior positions and his own campaign statements about Muslims and other minorities have shaped views of his administration's stance on hate crimes and discrimination.

"With history, you have to raise questions about the department's true and honest pursual of hate crime prosecutions when it seems to run counter in a lot of ways to what the administration and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have said in the past," said Ryan Lenz, a senior investigative writer with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Justice Department officials say controversial statements and actions by Sessions have not impeded their efforts to pursue cases involving hate crimes and civil rights.

Under former President Barack Obama, the Justice Department made civil rights a law enforcement priority, carrying out nearly two dozen investigations of police departments accused of excessive force and racial profiling, and charging more than 250 individuals with hate crimes during his first seven years in office.

The Trump administration has prioritized fighting violent crime and enforcing immigration laws.

And Sessions has set out to undo a series of Obama-era Justice Department policies that have irked critics, from pausing reforms imposed on police departments accused of civil rights violations to easing restrictions on mandatory minimum sentences.

Sessions says these measures are key to boosting law enforcement morale and public safety, but advocates say they're a rollback of civil rights.

"All the signals from the Justice Department say that they're backing off," said Ngozi Ndulue, director of criminal justice for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP.

Justice officials say Sessions has directed the Civil Rights Division to pursue hate crimes as part of the attorney general's campaign against violent crime. Treene said he's been encouraged to vigorously pursue cases on behalf of Muslims and others.

The Justice Department has announced 18 hate crime cases, including four new ones, and 26 civil rights cases, including four new ones, since Trump took office.

The number of new hate crime cases appears to be on par with the number in previous years.

"If you look at our stats, we probably charge 20 cases a year, maybe one or two a month," the official said.

Critics like Lenz said the Justice Department has not done enough to investigate and prosecute rising hate crimes since the election. Officials say they investigate every case, and that any slowdown since January is to be expected as personnel turn over.

Criminologist Brian Levin of California State University-San Bernardino said that historically, a change of administration has led to a change in law enforcement priorities, affecting the level of investigations, staffing and prosecution of civil rights cases carried out by the Department of Justice.

"We saw prosecutions decline under President Bush and increase under President Obama, for example, although there is usually a lag in data, as some early cases in an administration that were prosecuted were actually opened under a previous administration," Levin said.


Ohio sues drug makers
accused of fueling epidemic


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. state of Ohio filed a lawsuit Wednesday against five prescription drug manufacturers, saying they used deceptive practices that fueled an opioid addiction epidemic.

“These drug manufacturers led prescribers to believe that opioids were not addictive, that addiction was an easy thing to overcome, or that addiction could actually be treated by taking even more opioids,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “They knew they were wrong, but they did it anyway.”

The state wants the companies to stop misrepresenting the drugs, to pay damages for the amount of money the state spent on excessive opioid prescriptions and resulting addiction treatments for patients, and to reimburse patients as well.

The lawsuit names Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, Allergan, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and its subsidiary Cephalon, and Johnson & Johnson with its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

A Janssen statement called the lawsuit legally and factually unfounded and said the company has acted appropriately and responsibly. Purdue said it shares DeWine’s concerns about the opioid crisis and wants to work together on a solution.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says opioids are most commonly given for moderate-to-severe pain after surgery or injury, but that in recent years there has been an increase in their prescription for chronic pain despite serious risks and the lack of evidence about their long-term effectiveness.

Opioids, including prescription varieties, and heroin killed a record 33,000 people in the United States in 2015, according to the CDC.

Ohio’s lawsuit says 2.3 million people, or nearly 20 percent of its population, were prescribed an opioid drug last year, and that the drugs are the main source of unintentional overdose deaths in the state. It called the opioid crisis in the state catastrophic.

“Because they know prescribing doctors and other health care providers rely on drug companies’ statements in making treatment decisions, drug companies must tell the truth when marketing their drugs and ensure that their marketing claims are supported by science and medical evidence. Defendants broke these simple rules and helped unleash a health care crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social and deadly consequences in the state of Ohio.”

The effects of the opioid crisis have been felt across the United States, and Ohio is not the first to sue drug companies. Kentucky settled a lawsuit with Purdue in 2015, while a group of 27 states did so with Purdue as well in 2007. Oregon also reached a settlement with another drug maker, Insys, in 2015.

U.S. President Donald Trump pledged during his campaign last year that he would fight the opioid epidemic, which has ravaged many of the rural areas and small towns where Trump received strong support.

The president has created a drug addiction task force, but critics of the budget proposal he unveiled last month said his planned cuts in government spending would hurt the opioid epidemic fight.

Trump’s spending plan would slash funding for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy by 95 percent, eliminating its drug-free communities and high-intensity drug trafficking programs that each have bipartisan congressional support.


Fight for Raqqa could start
soon, U.S. officials claim


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

American military officials say U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have pushed within three kilometers of Islamic State's de facto capital in Syria, and that the major battle for control of Raqqa could begin in the coming days.

Speaking to reporters from Baghdad, Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the U.S.-led counter ISIS coalition, said the SDF was poised around Raqqa after gaining 350 square kilometers from Islamic State in Syria in the last week.

The forces are within three kilometers of Raqqa to the north and east and within about 10 kilometers of the city to the west, Dillon said.

The U.S. military confirmed earlier this week that it had started distributing weapons and vehicles to Syrian Kurdish fighters in preparation for the Raqqa battle.

That move has placed the United States at odds with North Atlantic Treaty Organizations ally Turkey, which contends the SDF's Syrian Kurdish militia is a terrorist group affiliated with the outlawed PKK, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, a terror group that has been battling the Turkish state for many years.

Dillon said the SDF had instructed Raqqa citizens to leave the city ahead of the fighting, with nearly 200,000 people already displaced.

A camp for displaced citizens have been established around the Syrian city, Dillon added, with SDF screening sites in place to prevent IS militants from escaping among the fleeing civilian population.

Meanwhile, U.S. military officials said Iranian-backed pro-regime forces were continuing to violate a no-conflict zone set up around the al-Tanf army base, where special forces are training Syrian militias.

Dillon said the coalition had communicated to the small element of forces that they were considered a threat and needed to leave the zone.

Dillon said the forces violating the zone had stopped establishing defensive positions after coalition airstrikes targeted their tanks and equipment two weeks ago, but had remained a little more than halfway into the established zone, which has a radius of 55 kilometers from the al-Tanf base.

Additional pro-regime reinforcements have not entered the zone, Dillon said, but forces just outside the zone at al-Tanf are reinforcing their positions and bringing in combat-type assets, including tanks and artillery systems.


Africans weigh decision
on head of state immunity


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Human rights groups see two pivotal moments in the mounting of resistance to the International Criminal Court in Africa. Both involve the indictments of sitting heads of state.

“If you look at the history of the pushback of the ICC by the African Union, it dates back to the time the arrest warrant was issued for Omar al-Bashir and then subsequently on the Kenyan officials,” said Netsanet Belay, Africa director of research and advocacy for Amnesty International.

“We believe there is no legal or normative reason to support the impunity of heads of state of governments, especially when it comes to crimes against humanity,” Belay added.

The cases against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his vice president, William Ruto, in relation to the 2007-2008 post-election violence, were dropped for lack of evidence in 2014 and 2016. Kenyatta is running for re-election this year.

The Sudanese president, Bashir, remains in office as well. Since 2009, when Bashir’s international arrest warrant was issued, he has visited at least 18 countries, 11 of them in Africa. He was charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in connection with the conflict in Darfur.

Prosecuting sitting heads of state is complex, with some arguing it undermines stability.

Andile Mgxitama is the leader of the advocacy group Black First Land First in South Africa.

“If for stability and progress, we need to forgive those who transgress against us amongst ourselves, we will do so,” Mgxitama said.

“We should not put ourselves in a position where Europe says we must attack every one of us, and we do so even in a context where maybe rather dialogue or reconciliation is a better proposition than putting people on trial or going after them and so on.”

South Africa was among the three African countries that said last year they would withdraw from the ICC. Critics say the ICC unfairly targets Africans. All 39 of the people indicted since the court’s establishment in 2002 have been African.

As resistance has grown, the continent has sought to create its own alternatives to the ICC. The current option on the table is the African Court of Justice and Human Rights.

In 2014, African Union heads of state adopted what is called the Malabo Protocol to extend the court’s jurisdiction to include an international criminal law section.

The protocol also gives immunity to sitting heads of state. For that and other reasons, rights groups have urged African countries not to ratify the protocol.

“With the African Court, it means that with this immunity clause, you cannot have a real-time response. You have to wait until this individual is not in office to even commence any type of prosecutions against him,” said Stella Ndirangu, program manager for the International Commission of Jurists in Kenya.

And for Zimbabwean politician Ngqabutho Mabhena, that could push African leaders to cling to power, even more than some already do.

“If the president commits a serious crime, he will not want to vacate office, then he creates patronage within people that are around them or him, for them to continuously stay in power so that they avoid getting out of office,” Mabhena said.

So far, nine African countries have signed the Malabo Protocol, but no country’s parliament has ratified it. The protocol won’t take effect unless 15 African Union member countries ratify it.


More news of the Americas
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9189-9/2/17


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


Santiago de Puriscal
A little piece of paradise near Santiago de Puriscal,
Costa Rica.
    

16 acres (approximately).  Price: $425,000 USD

We are selling our beautiful finca that has been in the family for 37 years. It is located 3 miles (5 km.) northwest of Santiago de Puriscal in the village of Desamparaditos. We are looking for a discriminating buyer who would appreciate the location, views, flora and fauna. Excellent for artists, writers and nature lovers. Fantastic birding. Very private but not isolated. Have surveyed plans for possible subdividing.

For more information:  In the U.S.A. call the owners: Pete & Debbie Todd: 970 -221-1457 or 970-581-4826 or email toddscolorado@gmail.com. In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 506-7187-8577.
CODE: 9216-8/11/17


Puriscal home
GORGEOUS MOUNTAIN & OCEAN VIEW HOME
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
HEALTH CONDITIONS REQUIRES QUICK SALE
This is a gorgeous, new, 3-bedroom luxury home on 2.2 flat acres in a secure, gated community, high in the hills of Puriscal, with stunning, 180-degree views of the ocean, city and mountains of the Central Valley in Costa Rica. Centrally located in the heart of Costa Rica, you are never more than an hour from the Pacific beaches while being much less than that to the culture, shopping, services and night life of the San José, Escazú, Santa Ana and the whole Central Valley. The Altos de Antigua gated community sits at an altitude of 2,800 feet with mild temperatures year round. Features wide paved roads and cement culverts throughout, a large community pool & spa with changing rooms & showers. The community association fees are $42 a month ($500 annually).
This property is currently being offered for $355,000.00 U.S.
Purchase adjoining 2.2 acre investment lot with the home sale for $35,000.00 U.S. or separately for $55,000.00 U.S.
 
    Summary of House Features:

       * Completed 2012 to North American standards
       * 3 large bedrooms, 2 full baths
       * Custom designed kitchen w/granite countertops
       * Frigidaire Professional appliance package
       * State-of-the-art solar hot water
       * Eco-friendly Toshiba LED lighting
       * LG Multi-Split air conditioning system
       * House & perimeter security alarm system
       * 2-car closed garage w/large paved driveway
 
Video Tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUEAmahIU9A
Community Web Site: http://www.altigua.com
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email gary_one@msn.com
9173-9/1/17

colinasdelsol
COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit trees.
* Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.
* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $40,000 USD
* Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
* 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches
* 10 minutes to Medical Facilities
* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
* 5 minutes to Vista Ridge Golf Club

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

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

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

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

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

rollover
Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here  www.whynotcostarica.com. If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call # 509-570-1928 or email tim@whynotcostarica.com 
9143-2/3/17

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

Business for sale or lease (paid category)

Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact: manager@crbusiness.biz.

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

CENTURY 21 JACÓ BEACH
Century 21

A Name You Trust,
Professionalism You Deserve

Tom Ghormley and the dream team!
Owner/Broker
in CR since 1979

Buying? Selling? Renting?
We Can Do It!
Let us help you live your dreams!
Beachfront, Views, Mountains,
Beaches, Houses, Condos,
Hotels, Restaurants, Projects,
Commercial, Investments and more

 Century 21 Jacó Beach Realty
Playa Jacó, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
U. S. A. phone numbers:  (213) 283-5168 
or Toll Free: (877) 746-3868
Costa Rica phone number: (506) 2643-3356
Email: info@c21jaco.com
Web: www.c21jaco.com
9215-3/22/18


Remax
Tamarindo
www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices. For more information, please contact our local phones: 506-2653-0073 Tamarindo / 506-2201-9056 Flamingo ~ Toll Free: 1-866-976-8898 or email:  info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com  or click here www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com
9145-1/2918


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

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

Playa Matapalo Click Here!
Toll Free 1-877-293-1456
Email: michael@costarica-realestate.com

9174-2/7/18

Real estate-related services (paid category)

A-1 graphic
A1 MASTER BUILDERS COSTA RICA
SMALL and LARGER jobs welcome !!!. We can build from any plan you bring us all work done by USA codes master electric and plumbing Better quality and lower prices than USA. We do it all Right  + Reasonable.
Call us: Toll Free 877-778-8515   
     Text from US: 804-313-6382 
     CR phone: 506-8307-0164
     Email: hotelescazu@aol.com
     For more info also see our sites:
    www.a1masterbuildercostarica.webs.com
    www.hotelsescazu.com
    www.hotel4salecostarica.com
    www.wind-solar.webs.com 
9142-7/27/17
Related

Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Already own a timeshare and looking to sell? Stop saying “sell my timeshare” and let BuyaTimeshare.com help you find a buyer or renter.
9203-4/19/2018

COSTA RICA SOLAR
solar one

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

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

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

    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
    SEE our new PACKAGE DEALS.
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CALL TODAY!
Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398
OUR EMAIL:
 andrefurlong@gmail.com
Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
VISIT OUR WEB:
www.crsolar.net 
9177-6/19/16



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Published || Friday Edition, June 2, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 109
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New
detention room
Ministerio de Justicia y Paz photo
One of the new rooms for inmates at San Rafael de Alajuela.

New facilities opened for prisoners

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The first of the new cells at the Reinaldo Villalobos and Pabru Presberi prisons opened this past Wednesday for over 175 inmates across the country.

Cecilia Sánchez, the head of the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz, toured the facilities at San Rafael de Alajuela, where Reinaldo Villalobos is located and the deputy minister saw the other in Pérez Zeledón.

“We begin a new history of the penitentiary system,” Ms. Sánchez said. “The implementation of a model of care in dignified conditions, close to life in freedom, without overcrowding.”

These units are a different style than the traditional penal facilities, the justice ministry said. The aim is to provide a space that mimics, as closely as possible, life beyond bars and strengthen options to study, train or work and be rehabilitated back into society.

The facilities are not finished, however. The unit in San Rafael is expected to be complete with 704 more cells and the unit in Pérez Zeledón with 256 by November, the ministry said.

Inmates of these facilities were selected by criteria determined by the Instituto Nacional de Criminología. They are required to live at least three years in the unit before completing their sentence and sign a promise to work, study and receive therapy, the justice ministry concluded.


Cops arrested for helping in sicario hit

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

For $2,000, two cops detained a paroled prisoner and delivered him to two sicarios, the Spanish name for hitmen, who beat and killed him with a knife in an apparently planned assassination, according to the Judicial Investigation Organization.

The homicide took place back in August 2016 in Heredia province, according to a report from the Ministerio Público. Investigators said the victim is Colombian and was serving  a sentence in Costa Rica for drug dealing. By the time he was ambushed by these police officers, he was exiting his Centro de Atención Semi-Institucional, a place where paroled inmates are supposed to go to sleep daily to keep their benefit of being out of prison.

The day of the case, the two Fuerza Pública officers shook down the man, handcuffed him and put  him inside their patrol car. This was captured on a surveillance camera close to 3 a.m. He was then taken to San Joaquín where he was delivered to his murderers, while the cops apparently watched the situation, according to the investigators.

The recorded video caught by a security camera clearly showed the man did not have any interaction except by those officers before he was assassinated, prosecutors said. The crime is being treated as a vendetta between rival drug trafficking organizations, according to Pablo Calvo, the Judicial Investigating Organization chief in Heredia. He also said one of the cops is under custody while the other is on the run.

The killers have apparently fled the country, so an international warrant was requested from the International Criminal Police Organization, or INTERPOL. As part of the ongoing investigation, three properties were raided by judicial authorities.




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From page 7:
 

Aduana makes $174,421 from public auctions


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government’s coffers were filled a little more for the first quarter of 2017 after the finance ministry conducted public auctions carried out by customs officials.

According to a report from the Ministerio de Hacienda, the highest amount of goods obtained was from the customs house in Limón at a total of 88.3 million colons, or around $155,752. This was followed by the Aduana Central, the Aduana in Caldera on the Pacific coast and the customs-house at Paso Canoas in the southern border. The total yield from all these places was 98,548,023 colons, or around $174,421.

By comparison, the first part of 2016 yielded a total of 82,559,718 colons alone, according to data provided by the finance ministry. These public auctions are selling goods considered abandoned by Aduana, according to Hacienda officials. This means that they were not addressed to a definitive business registered with Aduana.

The goods vary between liquor to even vehicles, the ministry said. They can also be wrecked, have no known owner or are confiscated on a judicial order. Registrations are required to be a participant in the bidding and no general member of the public can randomly join it.