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Pubishsed Thursday, June 9, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 113
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Bill would hand out cash overseas
We're from the government here to tell you the truth

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some members of the U.S. Congress want to counter all the tall tales being distributed by the Russians and the Chinese, if any.

They plan to enlist the U.S. State Department, the U. S. Agency for International Development and the Broadcasting Board of Governors, among others.

The idea is to hand out $20 million to those willing to carry the U.S. party line. But the bill, H. R. 5181, insists that the chairman of the Board of Governors shall not compromise the journalistic freedom or integrity of relevant media organizations.

The board runs the Voice of America, which publishes and broadcasts in many languages.

Of course the State Department is being asked to establish a committee and a Center for Information Analysis and Response. Among the goals will be to support local independent media who are best placed to refute foreign disinformation and manipulation in their own communities, it says.

The bill also seeks to distort current programs:

“When selecting participants for United States educational and cultural exchange programs, the secretary of State shall give special consideration to students and community leaders from populations and countries the secretary deems vulnerable to foreign propaganda and disinformation campaigns,” the bill also says.

In addition, the new center seems to be charged with doing basically what the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and other multi-lettered organizations try to do now:

“To analyze tactics, techniques, and procedures of foreign government information warfare with respect to disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda.”

The bill seems to outlines fears that foreign governments are using “disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability of the United States and United States allies and partners.”

The primary sponsors are Adam Kinzinger, an

spy v spy graphic

Illinois Republican, and Ted W. Lieu a California Democrat.

Naturally, the proposal does not go down well with U.S. civil liberties and journalistic observers. One called the bill de facto ministry of truth, citing the literary works of George Orwell.

Until now, U.S. efforts overseas generally dispensed fact and not propaganda. In fact, U.S. officials nearly always were outclassed by their Soviet counterparts. The Voice of America also has a reputation for journalistic integrity, and A.M. Costa Rica publishes some of its daily material gleaning for commercial wire services.

The U.S. had an Office of War Information in World War II, but the propaganda was generally kept overseas in the theaters of war. Basically the agency published magazines and dropped leaflets on the enemy.

As to the new bill, “though putatively aimed to counter purported disinformation abroad, text of the bill hints the effort would operate on some level within the U.S., as well — or at least cracks the door to widening that scope and focus in the future,” said Claire Bernish of the in an article.

A quick history of propaganda shows that other forces are far more effective. The Soviet Union collapsed, in part, due to rock and roll songs copied from Scandinavian radio shows and distributed widely. And then there were the singers who were social critics.

The world’s best propagandists work on New York’s Madison Avenue, and they are not mentioned in the bill.

Parental visit in Heredia leads for double murder
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A parental visit turned into a double murder Wednesday in the usually quiet neighborhood of San José de la Montaña. A father appears to have become enraged and cut down his 27-year-old wife and her mother, 47, with machete slashes to the head, neck and arms. The father-in-law, 52, suffered serious wounds.

The suspect is a 27-year-old man with the last name of  Vílchez, said the Fuerza Pública,
which made the arrest in the street outside the murder scene.

The murders took place shortly before noon in the presence of the couple’s children, 14, 6 and 1, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The dead were identified as Margarita Espinoza Arce, the suspect’s wife, and her mother, Mayela Arce Rodríguez. The father-in-law, Álvaro Espinoza Martínez, was in the Hospital San Rafael de Alajuela.

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Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Anti-drug officer packages up some of the harvest from a hydroponics growing operation.

Drug shipments to Cuba alleged

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anti-drug police have wrapped up two interlocking operations dedicated to the production and sale of drugs. The transactions included sending Costa Ricans to Cuba in the guise of clothing vendors.

The arrests announced Wednesday also included some that had been made months earlier. Among these is the detention of a Costa Rican woman with the last name of Jiménez who was caught in Cuba Dec. 6 by police there in the possession of $73,000.

Police here said they tipped off the Cubans when the woman made a trip.

In raids Wednesday the Policía de Control de Drogas of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública and the Dirección de Inteligencia y Seguridad Nacional announced they found two hydroponics labs, one in Curridabat Wednesday morning and the other on May 5 in Escazú.

Agents said that Costa Ricans were enticed as couriers to carry drugs, mainly marijuana and cocaine, in baggage that appeared to be clothing for resale.

In all there were 11 persons detained, including those who had been arrested earlier. Among them is one person identified as a U.S. citizen with the last names of Soto Dazell, who is a Costa Rican resident.

Three of those arrested are Cubans who also are residents in Costa Rica.

Some of the drugs were entered into the local supply chains for distribution in Alajuela and in Rohrmoser, too, agents said.

Agent confiscated six vehicles. The raids also were in La Uruca, Escazú, Los Anonos, Alajuela and Guachipelín.

Immigration woes lead to extortion arrest

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents detained two immigration officers in Puntarenas Wednesday on the allegation that they tried to extort money from a foreigner.

The two men are 29 and 30.

Judicial agents said that the two men were approached by a foreigner March 17 who said that he did not have an entry stamp showing when he had arrived in the country. The man wanted to know what to do, the judicial agents said.

According to the allegation, the two men told the foreigner that he either could return to his home country in order to obtain an entry stamp when he returned or he could pay them $200 to resolve the situation.

Agents said they made the arrests after the foreigner completed the transaction with the two men. They said they confiscated in addition to the money paid by the foreigner some 300,000 colon and $500 also in cash that one of the men carried.

British director will lead orchestra

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

British director David Lockington will lead the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional this weekend in works composed by Héctor Berlioz, Jean Sibelius and Camille Saint-Saëns.

The concert will be Friday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 10:30 a.m., both in the Teatro Nacional.

Being featured will be Costa Rican organist Jorge Luis Alvarado, who will perform “The Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78” by Saint-Saëns.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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Confirmed cases of zika seem to be spreading down Pacific coast
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Reported cases of infection by the zika virus are moving down the central and south Pacific coasts.

The Ministerio de Salud said Wednesday that one case has been reported in Quepos and that the total in Parrita now is five. There are two reported cases in Puerto Jimenez on the Osa peninsula, said the ministry in its weekly report.

In addition the total of reported cases in the canton of Garabito, which includes the community of Jacó, now is at 63.

Three cases have been confirmed in Barranca and one in Esparza and Montes de Oro de Miramar.

One case has been confirmed in Cóbano on the southern Nicoya peninsula. Seven cases were confirmed earlier in Sámara on the peninsula’s west coast as well as one in nearby Nosara.

There also is one case in Santa Cruz. One case has been confirmed in La Cruz in extreme northwest Costa Rica near the border with Nicaragua.

Two cases have been reported in San Mateo and one each in San Francisco de Heredia, Grecia and Guacimo. The first case on the Caribbean coast has been reported in Limón.

The location where a zika patient lives does not necessarily mean they contracted the disease there. And the ministry is

keeping a separate count of the 11 persons who probably contracted the disease outside the country.

The count for those who probably contracted the disease in Costa Rica is now 98, according to the ministry statistics.

The ministry also reported that the number of pregnant women infected with the virus is now five.

The chief epidemiologist for the health ministry, Rodrigo Marín, is appearing on a Channel 7 promotion encouraging residents to destroy places where the Aedes aegypti mosquito can breed. He makes the point that there usually are 10 cases of dengue for every one that is reported officially. He said that 30,000 reported dengue cases may mean 300,000 persons have had dengue.

Although he did not speculate on how many latent zika cases exist, research shows that many persons who are infected show no symptoms, although it is possible for them to pass on the disease.

Zika, of course, can cause major damage to children still in the womb, in some cases. So far no such cases have been diagnosed here, said the ministry.

Zika has taken the focus off of other diseases transmitted by the same mosquito species. So far this year there have been 1,459 cases of chikungunya and 7,376 cases of dengue. New cases of both these diseases have dropped in the last six weeks, but health officials expect increases now that the rainy season is here.

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Recycling rice husks found to greatly reduce the level of arsenic
By the University of Delaware news staff

A team of researchers at the University of Delaware has found that incorporating rice husk to soil can decrease toxic inorganic arsenic levels in rice grain by 25 to 50 percent without negatively affecting yield.

This research could have important implications for developing countries whose populations rely on rice as a staple of their diets and are in need of cheap, readily available material to improve soil quality and decrease arsenic levels that threaten human health.

The team is led by Angelia Seyfferth, assistant professor in  the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

She worked with a group of research technicians and undergraduate researchers from diverse areas of study on the project, the results of which were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, which is an American Chemical Society journal.

The work builds on previous research led by Ms. Seyfferth that looked at soil incubations of rice husk, rice straw and rice ash.

For this study, the researchers grew rice plants in the soil amended with residues and rather than using rice straw, which they found from the previous study has negative impacts on the environment, and they focused on the rice husk, which is silica rich, has less arsenic in the tissues and promotes less arsenic release from not only the tissues but also from the soil compared to the straw.

They also looked at rice ash, which Ms. Seyfferth said is basically a charred rice husk material, as an amendment.

“We used those two materials and compared the growth of rice with those materials incorporated into a soil that had background levels of arsenic and relatively low plant-available silicon,” said Ms. Seyfferth. “The big finding is that when we grow these plants in the fresh husk amended soil, we see a 25 to 50 percent decrease in the inorganic arsenic in the grains which is the most toxic form of arsenic. So right away, just by putting this material into soil, we can make the plants healthier and alter the toxic form of arsenic that’s in the grain which has direct implications for human health.”

Being a silica rich material is important for reducing the amount of arsenic in the rice plant because the mechanism for uptake of arsenite, which is the most dominant form of arsenic in flooded rice paddies, shares a transport pathway with dissolved silicon.

This finding was published in a paper that came out in 2008 led by Jian Feng Ma, a Japanese researcher, and Ms. Seyfferth said that it confirmed some of her earlier suspicions about arsenic and silicon.

“There were already some clues because arsenic and silicon are very similar in terms of their location on the periodic table, and before that paper came out I had thought about doing some competition experiments between arsenic and silicon rice. When that paper came out, it gave me some confidence that it would be important to investigate,” said Seyfferth.

University of Delaware/Wenbo Fan
Angelia Seyfferth displays some of the rough rice used in her experiments.

Although she had done some research with synthetic silicon fertilizers that showed promise for decreasing arsenic in the grains, Ms. Seyfferth said it wasn’t until she went to Cambodia and saw the vastness of rice paddies and how much rice residue is being generated from the production of rice globally that she really wanted to explore using some of those materials as silica sources.

“In Cambodia and in many other rice growing regions, the plants are grown in the soil and then when they harvest, they remove the straw and all of the above ground portion, so they leave the roots in place but most of the silicon is in the straw and also in the husk,” said Seyfferth.

When rice comes right off the plant, it is encased in a husk material, and when that gets removed to get to the grain, the leftover husk has a lot of silicon.

“Usually, this material is just put in piles and the engineering industry is always coming up with new and interesting things to do with it. When I was there, seeing these giant piles of husks that were double my height and incredibly vast, I looked at that and I said, ‘Wow, look at all that silicon,’” said Ms. Seyfferth.

In a natural environment, those silica rich tissues would get re-incorporated but when rice is grown and the tissues are removed and taken off site, that loop is disrupted.

“By incorporating this, we’re putting that silica back, which as we show can decrease inorganic arsenic in the grain but it also can provide other nutrients so maybe more phosphorous, more nitrogen as sort of an organic fertilizer without the need for more chemical fertilizer. Then, having more silicon also makes the plants more resistant to other stresses like fungal pathogens,” said Ms. Seyfferth.

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, June 9, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 113
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Obama might campaign
to unite Democratic Party

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Barack Obama is the first sitting U.S. president in several decades who can significantly impact the race to elect his successor. His approval ratings are more than 50 percent.

Administration officials have repeatedly said Obama is extremely eager to help unite the Democratic party and hit the campaign trail to support its presidential nominee.  However, the White House says he will not make an endorsement until after a meeting with candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders today.
“We have got to make sure we get this election right,” Obama told supporters during a recent Democratic party fundraiser in Florida.
“We take for granted the incredible progress that we've made across every dimension of the economy, security, a society that's more tolerant and more accepting of diversity,” he said. “We've got a lot of stuff to build on.”

Former secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who claimed the Democratic presidential nomination after decisive primary victories Tuesday, is viewed as someone who can push forward Obama’s work beyond his presidency and help cement his legacy.
Obama is also ready to burst onto the campaign stage to counter controversial rhetoric by Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.
Trump's own party leaders have criticized some of his remarks as divisive and racist, and the president has said Trump’s foreign policy statements have rattled world leaders.
Mindful of the need to keep the Democratic Party united and energized to win the November presidential election, the U.S. leader did not step forward immediately to endorse Mrs. Clinton after her decisive primary victories Tuesday.
Instead, Obama telephoned both Mrs. Clinton and her Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders.
The Vermont senator has garnered the support of millions of voters, particularly those under 30, with a consistently forceful message against the corrosive sway of special interests in Washington and rising income inequality in America.
At Sanders' request, Obama will meet with the senator at the White House today to discuss “how to build on the extraordinary work he has done to engage millions of Democratic voters, and to build on that enthusiasm in the weeks and months ahead," according to a statement by press secretary Josh Earnest.
While the president has expressed confidence in the Democratic party’s ability to win the White house and other key races, he has told supporters, “I want us to run scared the whole time.”
Obama congratulated Mrs. Clinton for securing the delegates necessary to clinch the Democratic nomination.

With an unfavorable rating of more than 50 percent in most polls, Mrs. Clinton has much to gain from the backing of a popular president who is widely respected as a party leader and on the global stage.
“It has been a long time since a sitting president became the super campaign cheerleader for a candidate,” said Douglas Brinkley, Rice University presidential historian.
In 1988, Ronald Reagan had a major impact on George H.W. Bush’s bid for the White House, as did Theodore Roosevelt on William Taft’s victory in 1908.

Mrs. Clinton is largely viewed as having the ability and experience to serve as president, said Brinkley. But her image has been tarnished by a series of scandals, and she does not possess the same powerful ability to connect with the public as does Obama and her husband, former president Bill Clinton.
“Hillary Clinton is not the most charismatic public speaker. She’s worked on it,” said Brinkley. “But the kind of sizzle factor that President Obama can bring, after winning two terms in a row, will be an immeasurable help to her.”

Obama is also highly popular among key voting blocs, such as African Americans, Latinos, and younger voters.
“Barack Obama knows how to bring out the college students, in a way that Bernie Sanders did. He’s popular with young people. And she sorely needs to energize younger voters,“ Brinkley noted.
Obama wants to ensure the next president will carry forward his signature accomplishments, like passage of the Affordable Care Act.
“It’s almost like he’s running for a third term for president,” said Brinkley.

House panel awaits info
on State Department edit

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. State Department is providing a House of Representatives panel with preliminary information about a deliberate edit of a public briefing, an issue that has raised questions about the Obama administration's transparency during Iran nuclear talks.

Spokesman Mark Toner said the department will provide the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee a preliminary response ahead of a late Wednesday deadline. He said the department expects to have a more extensive response in about a week or so.

The committee is seeking documents that identify the individual who requested that a portion of video from a 2013 briefing be removed. It also wants information on any other requests to edit State Department briefings.
At issue is a Dec. 2, 2013, briefing conducted by then-spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
Asked about the accuracy of a State Department denial earlier in the year of secret government talks between the U.S. and Iran, Ms. Psaki said, “There are times when diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress.”
“This is a good example of that,” she added.
The exchange was initially deleted from the posted video briefing, but remained in the department’s official transcript.

Rep. John Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the oversight committee, has accused President Barack Obama’s administration of trying to whitewash the public about details of Iran nuclear talks.
Lawmakers have also called for Secretary of State John Kerry to testify about the incident, and for a State Department inspector general probe.
Last week, Kerry called the video edit stupid and inappropriate. However, State Department officials have said it remains unclear who made the edit request.

Officials also say there was no State Department policy in place at the time to prevent such edits, but new guidelines were recently enacted.
Some U.S. lawmakers have remained skeptical of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
They have voiced concerns that the Obama administration provided misleading information about the plan and that the deal could be destabilizing for the U.S and its Middle East allies.

Another battle is looming
over U.S. privacy rights

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The battle lines are drawn once again. U.S. law enforcement agencies and Silicon Valley are getting ready to face off on the issue of privacy.

This latest battle is focused on a 30-year-old law on government access to electronic communications and associated data. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act was a forward-looking statute when enacted in 1986, but technology has dramatically outpaced it.

The U.S. Congress has been looking into ways to revise the law in order to preserve the privacy of internet users while also preserving the legal tools necessary for government agencies to enforce the law and protect the public.

The late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called privacy "the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by a free people."

The Senate Judiciary Committee this week is considering an amendment to the privacy act that would expand the government's ability to collect data using a national security letter, which doesn't require a court order. The amendment would authorize the FBI to demand a person's internet browser history and internet protocol address, enabling investigators to see what Web sites a person visits, how much time is spent on a particular site and the location of the internet user, all without judicial oversight.

The FBI contends that such data is covered implicitly under current statute, which was written years ago and only explicitly covers data normally associated with telephone records. FBI Director James Comey has said the amendment is needed to fix a typo in the electronic privacy act that has hindered the bureau's ability to work in "a very, very big and practical way."

But a letter sent earlier this week warned Congress that such an amendment is opposed by tech giants and civil liberties organizations.               

"This expansion of the NSL statute has been characterized by some government officials as merely fixing ‘a typo' in the law,” the letter said. "In reality, however, it would dramatically expand the ability of the FBI to get sensitive information about users' online activities without court oversight."

It was signed by Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union and others.

One of the biggest problems these groups have with the amendment is the use of the national security letters, which often are accompanied by gag orders that ban companies from telling users much about how they help the government. Companies also argue that letters give too much power to one branch of government and make it hard to predict what the government may ask for next.

Comey has said the expansion of national security letters is the agency's top legislative priority.

The battle lines are drawn. The war will be fought over the words of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause . . . ."

British exit from the EU
might worry Baltic states

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Political analysts say a vote in favor of Britain leaving the European Union would raise concerns among the former Soviet states in the Baltics and eastern Europe that are now EU members and neighbor a resurgent Russia.

If British voters decide in a June 23 referendum to leave the EU, a so-called Brexit, former Soviet states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania would have good reason to question European unity, says the director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Europe, Alexey Gromyko.

"I think for the Baltic states and for Poland it would be much more difficult to press forward with this staunch opposition to any kind of easing in relations with Russia," he said.

Russia's annexation of Crimea and aggression in east Ukraine, ostensibly to save ethnic Russians against what the Kremlin paints as fascist Ukrainians, stoke fear among some in the Baltics they could be next. 

Significant populations of ethnic Russians moved to the Baltic states during the Soviet era.  About one-third of the people in Latvia are Russian.

Very few expect Russia would attempt an attack on any Baltic states, as the majority of people there have no interest in reuniting with Russia over the European Union.

Outside a British-style pub in Moscow, Latvian tourist Klaus Ristaposhin said he hopes the British vote to stay in the European Union.

"I don't think England should leave the European Union," he said in Russian, "because it is a very dear country for us all.  Europe could suffer serious damage if England exits the European Union," he added.

Baltic states are also members of the North American Treaty Organization military defense alliance.  An attack on one member is considered an attack against all 28 members and would require retaliation.

Nonetheless, a NATO build-up in the region for deterring Russia could see side-by-side growth in national defense, said the director of the Political Capital Institute in Budapest, Peter Kreko.

"I think even the NATO cooperation would deeply suffer in a Brexit and its negative political and economic, consequences," he said. "So, I do think a lot of countries would begin to spend more on military and defense."

While other analysts argue NATO would not be affected, U.S.-EU unity against a resurgent Russia could still wane.

"Great Britain always was considered as the most pro-American party inside the Union," said the Carnegie Moscow Center’s Alexander Baunov.

"And, the Baltic States and Poland, and some other eastern European countries are interested in more American influence in the European politics, not in less," he added.

There would be some advantages for Moscow not having Britain’s criticism of Russian policy heard in the European Union, acknowledges Gromyko.

"But . . . all these things," he says, "no matter from what capital, from what European capital, you look at them, are tactical.  They do not help Moscow, Riga or Tallinn, or Vilnius or London to solve any substantial regional or global problems," said Gromyko.

"And, keeping in mind that the European Union, in spite of two years of the sanction war, is the leading trading partner of Russia," he said, "I do not think that it is in Russian strategic interest to have any developments may lead to further stagnation in the economy of the member states of the European Union."

Expressing confidence in the NATO alliance, Estonia's leaders in May said that any military action by Moscow would be foolish.

Pentagon cyber defenses
seen as highly vulnerable

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A hacker only needs to succeed once to break into a system.

One tiny flaw, a singular vulnerability found, and an entire wall of cyberdefense can crumble.

The influx of data available in the invisible, interconnected cyber realm has become both an opportunity and a challenge, said Steve Welby, Assistant secretary of defense for research and engineering, He also is the Defense Department's chief technology officer.

"Almost everything we're doing in the department is software enabled," Welby said in an interview. "There's almost no system today where new capabilities aren't being inserted much faster than ever before by downloading apps into our systems."

The increased speed and capability comes with a major vulnerability to cyberattacks, making the fortification of the cyber realm arguably as critical as the defense of air, land, sea and space.

"The tradition in cybersecurity is to put a band-aid on, and when that doesn't work, put another band-aid on top of it," said James Lewis. "It's the wrong approach."He is the strategic technologies program director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Lewis argues there are other militaries out there, particularly the Russians, with cyber capabilities that are equally as good as the United States' abilities. Until there's a new, better protected system in place for the U.S. military, hackers with unlimited time and resources eventually can find ways to break through.

"It's not so much that our defenses are weak. It's just that they are hard to defend against," he said.

The Department of Defense built the first workable prototype for the internet decades ago with the goal of sharing data. The point of the cyber realm, Welby said, was connecting people, without an eye toward providing protection.

Even as security experts today see the need to balance connectivity with protection, the technology market's dynamics are making it hard to change the status quo.

"People want convenience. They want stuff to work and connect immediately, and security doesn't come anywhere near that as a priority," Lewis said.

That means the Pentagon, not the commercial sector, is largely left with the task of brainstorming new systems that are inherently defensible from design.

Welby says the military is doing just that with three techniques, researching new computer architecture, providing arenas for the private sector to produce new cyberdefenses and developing new software that can communicate defensive techniques with the user.

"That idea of having systems that can explain its behavior is an exciting one and is at the root of an entirely new field of cyberdefenses that we're just starting to explore," Welby said.

Experts say the best defense is refreshing and modernizing systems. But the reluctance of Congress to fund the purchase of new systems could lead to major security problems in the near future, Lewis said.

"Within three years, five years, they know every bug, they know every opening, they know every vulnerability, so the system isn't protectable anymore," he said of opponents. "Some of the stuff the Defense Department is running is over 20 years old, so there's no way to protect that."

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has courted several technology developers to help the Pentagon as it seeks to improve America's cyber, land, air, sea and space defenses. Carter will meet later this week with Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX and the product architect of Tesla Motors.

U.S. beefs up operations
in the Mediterranean Sea

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. has sent two aircraft carriers to the Mediterranean Sea to support European interests and operations against Islamic State militants.

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived in the western part of the sea Wednesday while the USS Harry S. Truman remains in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, where it arrived last week, according to Navy Lt. Loren Terry.

The Truman and the Eisenhower will overlap territorial responsibilities for about two and a half weeks before the Truman heads back to the United States, Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza said.

The Eisenhower is deploying to the Navy’s 5th Fleet, which is responsible for naval forces in the Middle East.

A U.S. defense official said the Eisenhower would be supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led coalition’s operation to defeat IS in Iraq and Syria, but it was unclear whether the Eisenhower would conduct strikes from a position in the Mediterranean or from the Persian Gulf.

The increased U.S. military presence in the Mediterranean could increase tensions with Russia, which a U.S. defense official said is also operating warships in the Mediterranean.

The Eisenhower will be visiting various Italian ports in the coming days, Baldanza said.

Tennis anti-doping panel
suspends Maria Sharapova

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Russian star Maria Sharapova has been banned from playing professional tennis for two years for failing a drug test at the Australian Open in January.

The lengthy suspension, backdated to Jan. 26 when she last played, was handed down Wednesday by a three-person Tennis Anti-Doping Program tribunal appointed by the International Tennis Federation. Ms, Sharapova said she would appeal what she called an unfairly harsh punishment to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but she will not be allowed to play during the appeal.

At a news conference in Los Angeles March 7, Ms. Sharapova admitted that she had failed the drug test in Melbourne on the day she lost in the quarterfinals to American Serena Williams.

She tested positive for meldonium, a substance she has been taking for 10 years for health reasons. The World Anti-Doping Agency added that drug to the list of banned substances only at the start of this calendar year. Ms. Sharapova said she did not look at an email with the updated ban list before taking her medication.

Even if the penalty is reduced, it is nearly certain that Ms. Sharapova, 29, a five-time Grand Slam champion, will be unable to represent Russia at the Rio Olympics in August. The ban could have been as long as four years, and the International Tennis Federation said on its Web site that her penalty was being backdated to January because of her prompt admission of guilt when she first learned she had failed the drug test.

In March, Steve Simon, the head of the Women's Tennis Association, issued a statement calling Ms. Sharapova a woman of great integrity, but said, "It is every player's responsibility to know what they put in their body and to know if it is permissible." The panel that handed down the ban said various elements of her case inevitably led to the conclusion that she took the substance for the purpose of enhancing her performance.'

The panel discovered Ms. Sharapova had not noted her use of meldonium, also known as mildronate, on any of the seven doping control forms she turned in from Oct. 22, 2014, to Jan. 26, 2016. Keeping her use of meldonium secret from her team and anti-doping authorities was a very serious breach of her duty to comply with the rules, the panel said.
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
Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Buy, sell or rent a timeshare at 

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


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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

Playas del Coco Click Here!

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Toll Free 1-877-293-1456


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Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

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

Axiom one

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a Property For Sale? Contact Us!
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Jacó Beach - Super Views - Priced Right
This is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home located at about 100-foot elevation one mile from the beach.  Remodeled 2 years ago. Everything is new including total new kitchen, windows, floors, AC units, electric, plumbing, etc.  Super fenced yard for dogs.  Very low electric bill even with the AC.  This is a zero lot line property but with room to expand up and out.  Very secure & private.  Police chief next door. $149,900.  Call Glenn at 506 6214-0056.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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:

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, June 9, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 113
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Banco Nacional restricts ATM use

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Banco Nacional has restricted the withdrawal of colons by those using foreign debit cards.

The restriction has been instituted over the last week at automatic tellers operated by the bank.

Now those who have a foreign debit card can withdraw just 50,000 colons (about $94) at a time, but they can do so four times in a 24-hour period, said a bank representative and a display on the automatic teller monitor.

Those who have Banco Nacional debit cards can withdraw up to 700,000 colons ( a bit more than $1,300) in a single day from their local account, the representative said.

The restriction comes on the heels of a decision by some other banks to prohibit the withdrawal in dollars of amounts more than $100. Banco Nacional has restricted dollar withdrawals for several year by those with foreign cards.

The bank said that those with foreign debit cards can present them to a teller to obtain greater amounts of money, but these transactions are expensive cash advances. The limits spell trouble for the tourist trade because a lot of visitors make trips to the local automatic teller machines.

As is usually the case, Banco Nacional made no announcement of the change. In the past, foreigners could withdraw in colons up to the equivalent of either $400 or $500 at one time, depending on the limit set by their home bank.

The automatic teller limits take place at the same time when dollars are becoming less plentiful. Many Costa Ricans have contracted debt in dollars, and imports, including petroleum, have to be paid in dollars.

The Banco Central has worked to freeze the exchange rate for more than a year. One way was by prohibiting non-bank entities from bidding on dollars at the daily money exchange market. That way Banco Central could basically fix the price of dollars.

However, with the U.S. Federal Reserve Board about to increase the base interest rate in the United States and the increasing Costa Rican public debt, the dollar exchange rate had begun to creep higher in favor of the greenback. In addition, there is a chance that concerns about the zika virus and changes in the market may have reduced the flow of tourist dollars here.

Another factor is the overreaction by bankers over possible money laundering. A number of business people who have legitimate reasons for bringing large sums of money into the country now find that they have to make detailed explanations to bankers, and in some cases are unable to complete the transaction.

There have been complaints by expat homebuyers and those seeking to purchase automobiles that they have a difficult time importing dollars into the country.

Today will be another umbrella day

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional says today will be basically the same as Wednesday with hot morning weather giving away to clouds and downpours on the Pacific coast and the Central Valley. The sky has been opening up this week between noon and 1 p.m., and there have been the expected number of lightning strikes.

The country gets hundreds of such strikes during rainy months, but only a few do damage or take out power or other cable services.

The weather service said that the rains likely will last into the early evening. That means another wet rush hour.

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From Page 7:

Internet search queries linked to diseases

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Looking through large samples of queries posted in Microsoft's search engine, Bing, researchers were able to identify people suffering from pancreatic cancer before they were diagnosed with the disease, according to the results of a study published in The Journal of Oncology Practice.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive types of cancers, with a small chance of a five-year survival, which is why early detection is so important.

The research was based on searches posted by people experiencing early symptoms of the disease, such as yellow skin, abdominal or back pain, and unexplained weight loss.

Scientists say the results of the study could lead to the establishment of a specific health service that could monitor the web and encourage people to undergo early testing.

Data in this research was not linked to users, so people could not be identified.

Earlier, similar research looked for early detection of flu epidemics and adverse drug reactions.