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Published Friday Edition
June 9, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 114
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Área Marina de Manejo Cabo Blanco
Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía photo
Aerial photo of Cabo Blanco and the newly-designated marine protected area.
Government creates new marine protected area
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Thursday’s International Oceans Day inaugurated the creation of a new protected marine area: Área Marina de Manejo Cabo Blanco.

The new reserve is located south of the Nicoya Peninsula and covers much of the coastline making up the tip of the Cóbano district, according to a statement from the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía. Cóbano is part of Puntarenas province and the district runs from Punta Cocobolo to Playa Manzanillo.

Nearly 82,093 marine acres are now devoted to protect sea turtle nesting, coral formations, whale and dolphin passage and reproduction of important commercial fishes.

The idea is to mitigate environmental pressure sustained by pollution, overfishing, trawling and climate change, the ministry said. The marine area is the second of its kind to be created in the country after the Marina de Manejo Submarinos.

Within the confines of the area, over 24 fish species that are often sought by sport fishermen inhabit the area as well as 37 species sought for commercial reasons.

Dolphins, whales and sea turtles also frequent the area in comparison to the nearby resort beaches of Coco, Flamingo and Tamarindo.

The marine area will also be a place to foster scientific research, conserve biodiversity and guarantee the sustainable use of coastal and marine resources, officials hope.

“This gives us a more direct effort in the sea to be able to conserve the resource for a longer time,” said Johanne Sancho, of the Asociación de Desarollo de Cabuya.

“That is why it is a matter of food security, but with tourism, is also very important with the name Área Marina de Manejo gives added tourist value.”

The community of Cabuya will experience a particular impact due to this change in designation. The small, Puntarenas community is located on the east side of the Reserva Natural Cabo Blanco.

Most of the population is engaged with or are members of the fishing industry.

Large-scale commercial fishing and lack of controls or regulations has caused damage to the local ecosystem, Ms. Sancho said.


U.S. citizen wanted for alleged role in lottery scam
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A United States citizen is on the run from international justice, for allegedly being a member of an international crime group specializing in scamming senior U.S. citizens through a call center located in Costa Rica.

According to police records, she is facing charges of fraud, illegal association and money laundering, which are investigated under the judicial file 17-000029-0016-PE.

The international alert was issued after U.S. authorities and tthe Ministerio Público collaborated in the arrest of five Americans, who were investigated in the state of North Carolina for allegedly committing million dollar scams against retirees.

It is believed that the group acted between 2010 and May 2014, presenting themselves as agents of the Federal Trade Commission and other government agencies of the United States of America.

Apparently, the defendants called their victims, most of them over 55, and assured them that they had been winners of the lottery jackpot.

Then, they were instructed that, in order to claim the prize they had to pay fees, taxes and insurance policies.

Sometime later, the group would call their victims again, and explain the prize was actually bigger so they had to make new deposits to Costa Rica.

Using this method, the group is accused of cheating at least a thousand people in the United States, making profits of almost $9 million

The captured suspects are currently in custody while the United States authorities sent the required paper work for their extradition.

They all face charges in North Carolina.


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Published || Friday Edition, June 9, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 114
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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.
U.S. Income Tax

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I.R.S. Criminal Investigations, including non-filing of tax returns, tax evasion, filing false income tax returns, money laundering, currency reporting requirements, offshore banking reporting requirements, false statements, and false offer in compromise submissions.

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Canatur chooses fight over patent

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The national chamber of tourism has chosen legal action in the fight over the canopy tour patent.

Canadian business owner, Darren Hreiniuk, issued a statement through his legal counsel last Wednesday that they were going to give 15 working days beginning June 1 for owners and operators to contact them and settle out of court in order to continue operations, according to the Cámara Nacional del Turismo. 

Since that time, the clock has been ticking as Canatur met with more than 40 canopy tour operators and legal advisors over how to mount a proper defense against this move.

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.

According to Hreinuk’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 lawyers for Canatur identified a series of legal actions that the group was willing to take in order to protect the businesses that freely offer the activity, the organization said. Canatur is not releasing the details of these measures.

“It is definitely unacceptable that Mr. Hreiniuk’s claim to charge, in the short term, an amount that in addition to being excessive and harmful is inadmissible,” said Isabel Vargas, the group’s president.  “Canatur will not allow abuses against businesspeople nor payments that affect or make tourism, unnecessarily, more expensive.”

The group has determined that the collection of a royalty is debatable within the confines of the law and still urges operators to not contact nor pay Hreiniuk.


U.S. citizen leads ensemble tonight

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Gerald Brown, a U.S. citizen and director emeritus of the national symphony orchestra, will be at the head of a special concert tonight at 8 p.m. in Teatro Popular Melico Salazar.

The special concert will include an ensemble of ten soloists from the ranks of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional. The group will perform works by Nino Rota, famous for writing the soundtrack for “The Godfather” as well as the Habanera by Camile Saint-Saëns and the Romance by Antonin Dvorak, among others.

The soloist group will include three violinists, one viola player, two bassoons, a flute, an oboe, an English horn and a trombone, according to a statement by the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

Tickets for this concert will be sold during the week in the box office of the Teatro Popular Melico Salazar from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General price is 10,000 colons, organizers said.


Tenorio national park robbed Tuesday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A group of armed men stormed into the Volcán Tenorio National Park's entrance booth and stole over $4,000 in cash Tuesday night.

The incident took place around 10 p.m., when the robbers tied up the park rangers who were on duty, one male and the other female. In addition to the cash in the booth and on the rangers themselves, the thieves also took away a personal computer and the guns of the officers. None of the latter were injured during the attack, according to the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación.

The victims, who where handtied, called for help as soon as the robbers left the place. Member of the Fuerza Pública from the villages of Guatuso and Upala arrived to the place to provide further support.

Due to the attack, the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación closed the park on Wednesday  upon the arrival of investigators from the Judicial Investigating Organization. They spent the day in the park looking for leads to find the perpetrators.

As of Thursday, the park has been reopened to visitors on its regular 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. schedule and all services are provided as usual. According to Alexander Léon, director of the Área de Conservación Arenal – Tempisque, the isolation of the place made it easy for thieves to get away with it.

“This happens in every single national park and, after this case, we'll work on a plan to reduce the vulnerability of the park rangers and improve the response time of authorities should a similar case arrive,” León said.

Due to the robbery, SINAC issued a set of recommendations for visitors, according to Francesco di Palma, the agency’s spokesperson.

“We are telling everyone to come with as little cash as possible and make use of their credit or debit cards,” Di Palma said. “We also require tourists to report any suspicious activity and, in case of an emergency, please follow the directions provided by the park's staff.”

León explained that many national parks offer electronic services to pay the fee, but not all of them, so he recommends to check that out in advance.

Volcán Tenorio houses one of the country's most famous tourist attractions: Río Celeste. This is a river whose waters turn into light blue due to the presence of a specific mixture of aluminum, oxigen and silica.


Event seeks to display refugee heritage

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As part of the celebration for World Refugee Day, the Festival IntegrArte will be hosting its own forum in the heart of the capital next Saturday June 17.

The festival is expected to include live music, theater, dance, photography and storytelling along with an Entrepreneurs Fair mainly dedicated to the work and efforts of Costa Rica’s refugee population.

The event will be held in the Centro Nacional de la Cultura beginning at 9 a.m. and finishing up at 7 p.m. It will go from June 17 to the 18, organizers said.

The purpose of the festival is to develop a space for artistic expression that combines the typical manifestations of Costa Rican art with the cultural heritage of refugees living in the country, a statement from the event organizers said. To that end, any refugees are especially welcome.

The closing of the festival will create the official Inauguration Act that will be presided over by representatives of the local United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in collaboration with Costa Rican government officials.

The UN refugee agency is the main organizer for this event with support from government ministries, the municipality of San José and the Universidad de Costa Rica among others.

“The IntegrArte Festival offers the public a unique opportunity to enjoy the contributions of the refugee population to the Costa Rican culture, recognizing its richness and diversity,” a statement read.

“Thus, through art, Costa Rica opens the doors and embraces the thousands of people who flee from violence, war and discrimination.”


Dry
Corridor
U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization photo           
Long droughts are becoming a growing worry.

$2 million to help regional drought

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new regional program to support the most vulnerable communities in the Central American Dry Corridor is being uplifted with a $2 million fund provided by the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica.

The bank, in cooperation with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, signed the agreement Thursday. This action also includes a cooperation agreement with the Comisión de Ambiente y Desarrollo del Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana represented by the Costa Rican environmental minister.

The program aims to promote sustainable agro-food systems based on knowledge without affecting the provision of ecosystem services on which the affected communities depend, according to a statement from the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía.

“This agreement will allow us to have the assistance and funds we need for the research needed to adapt our region to the severe changes that are already being caused by climate change,” Edgar Gutiérrez, the environmental head, said.

The regional ministers of environment and agriculture have requested that the program identify and integrate productive options in areas that are effectively drying up. The hope is to design some form of innovative financial mechanisms to improve the resilience of thousands of farming families.

“Implementing an environmental and climate action agenda is essential to reduce food insecurity and poverty in Central America and the world,” Tito Díaz, the local UN Food and Agriculture coordinator for Mesoamerica, said.

The Dry Corridor is a term used to describe the severe drought situation in Central America but particularly in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The region is experiencing once of the worst droughts of the last ten years with over 3.5 million in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN program. This can be traced partially back to the El Niño phenomenon in addition to climate change within Central America.

The Food and Agricultural Organization seeks at least $15 million more to increase the resilience of vulnerable populations in the corridor against disasters and crises impacting food security for the region.


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U.S. Tax
Published || Friday Edition, June 9, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 114
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Union creates new documentary "1982: the Longest Medical Strike"
By Rommel Téllez of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the longest medical strike ever recorded in Costa Rican history; one that give birth to the current Incentives Law that provides health workers with benefits in regards to schedule, overtime pay and general working conditions.

To commemorate the fight, the Sindicato de Profesionales en Ciencias Médicas has unveiled a documentary called “1982: the Longest Medical Strike”, that portrays the relationships between workers and government in a Cold War political landscape.

It all started in April 27, when doctors from all around the country asked for a 2,000 colons raise to their base salary since the government had failed to create a cooperative for them. The president of the time under which the strike exploded was Rodrigo Carazo.

However, it was the next president, Luis Alberto Monge, who dealt with a big part of the conflict.

Striking health workers were led by the Sindicato de Profesionales en Ciencias Médicas and the Unión Médica Nacional.

Together, these two unions gathered enough support to close 58 clinics nationwide and limit the services to three hospitals: San Juan de Dios, Hospital de Grecia and Hospital de Turrialba.

The medical crisis lasted for 42 days because of the refusal on the part of Partido Liberación Nacional and the comptroller's office to approve a bill that would increase the current salary by 25 percent, leaving the minimum health worker salary at 9,800 colones.

At the time, the comptroller's office invoked article 72 of the Ley de Presupuesto de la República to limit the raise to 1,300 colones.

Health professionals didn't accept so workers played their last card, which was to shut down the emergency services of Hospital San Juan de Dios.

1982 newspaper
clipping
Sindicato de Profesionales en Ciencias Médicas photo
The union drew from extensive archives of the period.

Under so much pressure, the legislators at the time agreed to approve the demands of the workers and by December of the same year, they signed the Law 6.836, which determined the working conditions of the public Costa Rican health staff and of course, the hike sought.

After the strike, 400 doctors were accused of abandoning their post illegally and the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social tried to fire them, however none of the cases succeeded.

“We were filming for several weeks and now the documentary is ready to be seen through our Facebook site,” said Catiuka Pérez, presswoman for the Sindicato de Profesionales en Ciencias Médicas. “We believe it is important to keep these memories alive.”

Ms. Pérez said that lots of footage and interviews with actual strikers make part of the film. The documentary has been released at a time when the Caja is on the spotlight again.

This time for financial reasons, since experts consider that the pensions system could go broke by year 2028.

Today, unions are strongly opposing a hike in the contributions every worker should pay to the Caja and one more time, the same associations are calling for a general strike to take place the last week of June.



Almost 1,600 artists to participate in the international arts festival
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Festival International de los Artes starting June 29 will showcase the work of 1,595 artists, out of which 1,153 are Costa Ricans and 442 are coming from abroad, according to a recent Thursday statement from the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

The ministry said that amount of people accounts for a total of 154 shows, 98 made in Costa Rica and 56 produced in other countries.

The festival will take part in San José on a 1.5 kilometers space between Parque Central and Antigua Aduana, where the facilities of the Ministerio de Cultura are located.

The shows scheduled in Parque Central, Plaza de la Cultura, Plazoleta de la Soledad, Plaza de la Democracia, Parque Nacional and Antigua Aduana will be free of charge.

The shows happening indoors at Teatro Nacional, Teatro Popular Melico Salazar, Teatro 1887, Teatro de la Danza, Teatro de la Aduana, Gráfica Génesis and the Teatro de la Niñez will cost 7,000 colones or $12.

Festival Internacional de los
Artes
Festival Internacional de los Artes Facebook photo
The schedule will be announced in the upcoming days.

In the coming days, organizers said they will release the official schedule of all workshops, conferences and performances taking place.


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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

Published || Friday Edition, June 9, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 114
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Study in Costa Rica finds first payoff bias learning in wild animal
By the University of California-Davis press staff

Wild capuchin monkeys readily learn skills from each other, but that social learning is driven home by the payoff of learning a useful new skill.

It’s the first demonstration of payoff bias learning in a wild animal, and could inform whether and how animals can adapt to rapidly changing conditions, for example due to climate change or reintroduction of species from captive breeding. 

“When animals learn, they can learn very quickly,” said Brendan Barrett, a graduate student in animal behavior at the University of California, Davis, who led the study, published June 7 in the journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B.” “What are the psychological mechanisms animals use to learn?”

Barrett worked with a population of capuchin monkeys in northwest Costa Rica that was part of a 27-year study by UCLA professor Susan Perry. Capuchins are interesting because they have sophisticated social behaviors, and the kin relationships and early developmental histories of these monkeys were known.

“They explore their world, harvesting food from it,” Barrett said. That includes coming up with new ways to open and harvest hard-to-access fruits and seeds. Unusually for monkeys, capuchins will tolerate other monkeys watching them as they open fruit.

Among the possible hypotheses: Monkeys conform with the group majority; they follow what experienced animals do; they learn from parents or close relatives; or they learn from their own experience.

Barrett and colleagues studied learning strategies in the monkeys by observing how they learned to open the fruit of the Panamá tree. The nuts inside these large fruits are well-protected by a hard shell covered in gooey exudate and lined on the inside with stinging hairs.

Typically, a group of monkeys familiar with the fruit will have worked out their own way to open them, Barrett said. That makes it hard to figure out how monkeys learned the technique.

Instead, the researchers were lucky enough to find a group of monkeys that had split off from a larger group in 2003 and moved to an area that had no Panamá trees.

Capuchin monkeys
University of California-Davis press staff
Capuchin monkeys in Costa Rica observing each other.

Some of the older animals had experience with different ways of opening the fruit, and some had no experience at all.

The researchers found that overall, most monkeys adopted the most efficient technique for opening the fruit: the method with the highest payoff.


“We found that the most efficient technique could spread very quickly through the group, in as little as two weeks,” he said.

Even older monkeys that had already mastered one opening technique would pick up another that was more efficient by watching others, Barrett said.


The monkeys used a mix of learning by observation and individual experience to figure out how to open the fruit, they found. Older monkeys tended to rely on their own experience, while younger ones paid more attention to how other animals opened the fruit.

Some monkeys settled on their own technique, even if it wasn’t quite as efficient, but the options they tried were still guided by watching other monkeys.

The study shows that payoff-bias learning, guided by which technique is more efficient, may be more widespread in wild animals than previously thought, Barrett said.

Understanding how animals learn skills could be important, for example, when considering how to reintroduce captive-bred animals to the wild, or moving a population into a new habitat.



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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
Published || Friday Edition, June 9, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 114
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Comey gives stinging rebuke
of Trump and Russian affair


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The recently fired director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey, said on Capitol Hill Thursday that he believed U.S. President Donald Trump was trying to get him to drop an investigation of Trump's former national security adviser, and that White House officials spread lies, plain and simple to cover up the reason for his dismissal.

"There's no doubt that I was fired because of the Russia investigation," Comey told lawmakers, referring to the widening investigation of Russian influence on last year's U.S. presidential election, which American intelligence agencies have said was an effort by the Kremlin to assist Trump's electoral defeat of his Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The president's efforts to change the way the Russia investigation was conducted, that is a big deal, Comey said. Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was his first chance to speak in public about the meetings and conversations he had with Trump during the months before he was fired.

The former head of the nation's largest law-enforcement agency was questioned alternately by Republican and Democratic senators for nearly three hours; the dramatic session was covered live by all major U.S. television networks, and broadcast worldwide.

Comey said it was and still is the high confident judgment of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered in the 2016 campaign.

"I know that I was fired because something about the way I was conducting the Russia investigation was putting pressure" on Trump, Comey testified.

The president's personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, told reporters immediately after the Senate hearing that Trump never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone.

After Comey's abrupt and stunning dismissal last month, Trump and his aides at first said the action was necessary because the Federal Bureau of Investigation was in disarray, and its director had lost the trust of his agents.

Comey said Trump lied and defamed him by that story, and in fact the president himself subsequently admitted the ongoing investigation of Russian influence on U.S. politics was his primary motivation for the firing.

Comey told how he made meticulous efforts to document his interactions with Trump, whose insistence on private meetings aroused the veteran prosecutor's suspicions.

The FBI chief wrote detailed memoranda immediately after each of his talks with Trump, a measure he had never felt obligated to do with previous presidents, and kept those documents in government files.

Comey said he did not distribute his private notes to the attorney general, the U.S. government's top legal official, who supervises the FBI, because Trump's appointee to that post, former Sen. Jeff Sessions, was about to recuse himself from the Russian investigation due to his own unpublicized meetings with senior Russian officials.

The Justice Department later issued a statement saying that Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation only because he was involved in President Trump's campaign.

The president floated the notion that there was a recording of his most sensitive conversation with Comey, and that it would embarrass the FBI chief.

Comey testified he realized that a special counsel would have to be appointed to pursue the widening investigation of Russian influences on U.S. officials, so he took the extraordinary step of leaking some of his private notes, passing them to a confidant at a university in New York, who in turn relayed the information to a reporter for The New York Times.

Unofficially releasing information in this way is not uncommon in Washington, but rarely, if ever, at such high levels of government.

Comey's highly unorthodox tactic worked, however, because a respected former FBI director, Robert Mueller, was named to head the probe of Russian influence on U.S. politics. Mueller's team has been given Comey's private notes, the ex-director said.

Asked whether he felt Trump had obstructed justice by his actions since taking office this year, Comey deflected those queries, saying such questions should go to Mueller, the special counsel.

Obstruction of justice is a federal crime and an impeachable offense; such a charge was being discussed at the time Richard Nixon resigned the presidency in 1974, following the Watergate political burglary scandal.

In his opening written statement, Comey recounted how at a White House dinner in January, shortly after Trump assumed power, the president told him, " 'I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.' I didn’t move, speak or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed. We simply looked at each other in silence."

The committee's top Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, said Trump's comments, as recounted by Comey, were very disturbing.

Later Thursday the Senate Intelligence Committee reconvened in closed session to hear more from Comey, on subjects that he said should not be discussed in public. Senators met in a portion of the U.S. Capitol configured as a secure compartmented information facility, built to resist eavesdropping.

Despite his well-known preference for posting quick messages on Twitter, Trump was silent during the Senate hearing Thursday.

Comey said Trump asked him on Feb.14 to let go of the FBI's investigation of Michael Flynn, a retired general who had been fired as Trump's national security adviser the previous day, reputedly for lying to Vice President Mike Pence about Flynn's contacts with Russia's ambassador to Washington.

Trump did not explicitly order him to stop the investigation of Flynn's connections with Russia, Comey said, but "I took it as direction. This is what he wanted to me to do."

Still the FBI chief at the time, Comey said he was so stunned by Trump's request to go easy on Flynn that he did not think to say, "Mr. President, that's wrong.”

He said FBI colleagues were as shocked and troubled as I was by Trump's comments urging an end to the probe of Flynn.

In a March 30 phone call, Trump described the Russia investigation as a cloud that was impairing his ability to act on behalf of the country, Comey said.


Turkey moves to deploy
up to 3,000 troops to Qatar


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Turkey's decision to send up to 3,000 troops to Qatar further cements their growing ties, but it virtually eliminates a possible role for Ankara to mediate between Qatar and the Gulf states that have decided to isolate it for alleged support of terrorism.

Both countries have found themselves increasingly isolated: Turkey for the increasing authoritarian rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Qatar for its alleged financial support of extremist groups and growing ties with Iran, the main competitor to Saudi Arabia for power and influence in the region. Qatar denies the allegation.

Erdogan reportedly tried to intervene after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen cut diplomatic ties Monday with Qatar and took other measures to pressure it.

He then convened a special session of Parliament on Wednesday night to authorize the dispatch of up to 3,000 troops to Qatar and hold military exercises with the country.

Saying both countries faced the same threats, Turkey agreed last year to open a military base in Doha and had already dispatched 150-300 troops there.

The agreements that were finalized Wednesday were signed in 2016 but had not yet been approved before suddenly being pushed to the top of Parliament's agenda.

The move carries some risk for Turkey, particularly if Saudi Arabia attacks or annexes Qatar.

“If there is Qatar on one side and the rest of the Gulf states on the other, one must be very careful,” said Ali Faik Demir, a member of the Galatasaray University International Relations Department. “Meaning that no state can be brave enough to take on the Gulf states in investment and economic relations-wise by standing with Qatar.”

While the troops are not expected to fight for Qatar should hostilities break out, Demir says Turkey should have avoided the appearances of giving Qatar military support when it could mediate the crisis.

“Turkey is in a position to become a key in peace in Middle East and other subjects when one considers her America and West relations, even Russia relations, and especially the delicate Iranian balances and how she is an important power in the Muslim world and in the Middle East,” Demir said.

Kadir Has University professor Serhat Guvenc says Qatar will suffer badly if the crisis is not solved in a short time, and if the crisis continues this will impact Turkey adversely due to its support of Qatar.

But Turkey's decision also is an economic one.

Qatar has recently developed into one of the most active investors in Turkey's economy. Economists estimate Qatar has invested $19 billion in Turkey, buying Digiturk and Finansbank in the last two years. Turkish defense industry giant BMC also has a Qatari partnership, and Qatari Emir Sheik Temim bought the most expensive part of the Bosphorus in 2015.

In December 2015, Turkey reached a long-term deal to buy liquefied natural gas from Qatar. Bilateral trade totaled $710 million last year.


British election could be
major setback for May


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Voters in Britain apparently have dealt Prime Minister Theresa May’s ruling Conservative Party a major setback in a snap election she called to rally support ahead of negotiations to exit the European Union.

An exit poll Thursday night suggested Ms. May’s gamble in calling the early election has backfired spectacularly, with her party in danger of losing its majority in parliament. The poll was conducted for a consortium of broadcasters and is based on interviews with voters leaving polling stations across the country.

If confirmed, the result would lead to a period of political uncertainty and could throw Britain’s negotiations to leave the European Union, set to start June 19, into disarray.

With nearly two-thirds of the seats counted, the results appeared to be generally bearing out an exit poll that predicted the Conservatives would get 314 of the 650 seats in Parliament, down from 330, while the Labour Party was projected to win 266, up from 229. Final results are expected Friday morning.

In currency trading, the British pound lost more than 2 cents against the dollar within seconds of the exit poll announcement, before recovering slightly.

If Ms. May is forced to step down as prime minister, less than 11 months after landing the job, that would make her tenure the shortest of any British prime minister since the 1920s.

“The country needs a period of stability and whatever the results are the Conservative Party will ensure we fulfill our duty in ensuring that stability so that we can all, as one country, go forward together,” she said.

When Ms. May called the election April 18, her Conservative Party held a huge lead in public opinion polls along with its slim majority in parliament.

That lead in the polls shrank over the course of the campaign, during which she backtracked on a major proposal on care for the elderly, opted not to debate her opponents on television, and faced questions about her record on security after Britain was hit by two Islamist militant attacks that killed 30 people.

By contrast, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran socialist who initially was written off as having no chance, was widely considered to have run a strong campaign. Labour drew strong support from young people, who appeared to have turned out to vote in bigger-than-expected numbers.

If the exit poll is correct, Corbyn could attempt to form a government with smaller parties, which, like Labour, strongly oppose most of Ms. May’s policies on domestic issues.

One of those parties, however, would be the Scottish National Party, which was predicted to lose 20 of its 54 seats.

If Labour does take power with the Scottish nationalists and the Liberal Democrats, both opposed to Brexit, Britain’s future will be very different from the course the Conservatives were planning.


New Mars rover
NASA photo       
Some hot wheels going to Mars in 2020.

NASA unveils next edition
of new Mars rover for 2020

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has unveiled a concept of a Mars rover vehicle that is set to be launched to the Red Planet in 2020.

The flashy Mars 2020 rover, which some say resembles a vehicle from the Batman movie series, was unveiled at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida as part of its “Summer of Mars” event.

The rover runs on an electric motor that gets its power from solar panels feeding a 700-volt battery.

The rover can separate in the middle with the front focused on scouting and navigation. The rear section is a laboratory that can conduct a wide variety of research, including drilling to try to find evidence of past life on Mars as well as to ascertain whether Mars has water and oxygen that could one day be exploited by human astronauts. It could return core samples to Earth.

While this rover will not actually go to Mars, NASA says some of the components may make it onto the rover that is actually sent to the Martian surface.

Parker Brothers Concepts of Port Canaveral, Florida, built the 8.5 meter long rover incorporating input from NASA subject matter experts. It was commissioned without using taxpayer money, according to NASA.

After being exhibited in Florida, the concept rover will be displayed at several locations from July to August.

The “Summer of Mars” aims to provide an overview of NASA’s studies of the planet.

“It’s an all-encompassing effort to review the history of our efforts to explore Mars and look ahead to what is being planned,” said Rebecca Shireman, assistant manager of public relations for the Kennedy visitor complex. “We hope this will encourage young people to want to learn more about being a part of the effort to go to Mars.”



Al Jazeera news reports
repeated cyber attacks


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Qatar-based Al Jazeera News Network reported repeated cyberattacks on all of their media platforms Thursday.

"Al Jazeera media platforms under cyberattack. Entire Doha-based network undergoing 'continual hacking attempts'," the network tweeted.

Sources at the network also confirmed the attacks to reporters, and viewers in the region said they could no longer view Al Jazeera television.

The alleged cyberattacks come at a time of heightened diplomatic tensions in the region. On Monday, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and the Maldives cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Al Jazeera, one of the largest news organizations in the world, has long been a source of conflict between Qatar and its neighbors who accuse the network of bias.

Mostefa Souag, the network's acting director-general, told Reuters that Al Jazeera will maintain editorial independence despite the diplomatic rift.

Scientists stimulate system
to combat heart disease


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Someday, your immune system may be pressed into service to fight heart disease. Researchers have discovered that a simple sugar can stimulate immune system clean up cells to reduce disease-causing plaque in arteries.

Marcophages are the garbage men of the body. These immune system cells mop up cellular toxins and debris that are produced through cells' normal functioning.

But scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis wondered, what if macrophages could be pressed into service to eliminate or degrade the accumulation of plaque as well? The fatty substance collects inside blood vessels and is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke.

Cardiology researcher Babak Razani has pondered that possibility. "If you, you could imagine this, that you could somehow manipulate it to rev it up, to stimulate its function, then you could make a macrophage into a super-macrophage, one that’s really stimulated to degrade."

In a two-part study published in the journal "Nature Communications," Razani and colleagues described how they manipulated and activated a genetic molecule called TFEB that goes into the nucleus of macrophages, supercharging their housekeeping skills inside cells.

Researchers then showed that a simple sugar, called trehalose, stimulated macrophages in the same way. In experiments with mice prone to atherosclerotic plaques, injection of the sugar molecule decreased plaque size by 30 percent.

In their unaltered state, macrophages try to fix damaged arteries by cleaning up cellular waste, including misshapen proteins, excess fat and dysfunction cellular structures called organelles.

But Razani says they eventually become overwhelmed by the task in people with atherosclerotic plaques, contributing to the debris problem that leads to inflammation and more disease.

Razani said supercharging macrophages with trehalose, so they resist damage and are able to continue their housekeeping function, offers a potential treatment for plaques, in addition to cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Because it’s a natural substance found in yeast, mushrooms and crustaceans, Razani said trehalose is completely safe.

Investigations found the sugar is broken down and doesn’t work when swallowed. Trehalose reduced the size of arterial plaques only when injected into mice. Other sugars did not have any effect.

So the challenge for researchers now is to find a way to turn trehalose into a form that is effective in humans to fight heart disease and possibly other health conditions like fatty liver disease and diabetes.



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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.

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Puriscal home
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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
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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 9, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 114
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

Limón work
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo
Crew preparing a gabion wall for Ruta 240.

Roadwork continues in Limón area

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Drivers are being asked to exercise caution when traveling on a few roads under construction in Limón this weekend. 

According to a statement by the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes, crews along Ruta 240 are constructing a gabion wall along the side of the road that runs from Buenos Aires through Moín and Limón. For those that do not know, a gabion wall is a cage structure filled with rock or rubble and held together by wire.

The work is expected to be ready by the end of June with an expected total investment of 246 million colons. The goal is to stabilize and aid against landslides on the road, the ministry said.

Similarly in Manzanillo, repairs are being done on the drainage system for over 13 kilometers of the local road. That project is expected to be completed shortly with another four being planned within the province of Limón, officials said. Manzanillo is in the canton of Talamanca.

Ruta 32 has some crews out digging ditches in the sector close to the Río Sucio as well as in Tres Equis de Siquirres on Ruta 10. The construction is not expected to cause any road closures but there will be flaggers posted along the stretch to regulate traffic flow. The work should be done by June, officials said.


Fake modeling agency busted for rape

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Thursday morning, the Judicial Investigating Organization raided a fake modeling agency accused of recruiting minors to produce and export child pornography. Authorities also raided six other properties and arrested a total of five people.

So far, judicial investigators have tracked down 26 victims of this group, which are children between 11 and 17 years old.

According to the report, the agency was apparently called VDM Models and was located in Plaza González Víquez, San José.
Through fake casting calls the minors arrived with their parents and were taken to a room where the suspects would picture them naked and then rape some of them.

To guarantee the silence of victims, the suspects allegedly threatened to kill their parents.

In fact, a few parents signed a contract where in some of the clauses they authorized the suspects to take naked pictures of the victims. In a press conference, police said that many of those parents didn't read the contract. They also mentioned the fact that the victims often come from under-priviledged backgrounds.

One of the leaders of the organization was arrested in his house in Granadilla de Curridabat. The other raids took place in San Sebastián and Barrio La Cruz in San José. Also in the provinces of Heredia and Alajuela. Their ages ranges between 25 to 38 years old.

The operation was carried out simultaneously with the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic of México, where five individuals were also arrested.

The images and videos of child pornography were uploaded to the deep web and could be downloaded from other countries, payment for the videos were in the range of $500 to $5,000 the police said.
At the end of the day, prosecutors from Ministerio Público were preparing the request of preventive detention for the five suspects.



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From page 7:

Caja files around 1,1000 closure proceedings

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Officials from the Costa Rican social security fund have filed around 1,100 procedures to close certain businesses registered in Costa Rica for failure to pay debts owed on time.

According to the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social, the first quarter of 2017 yielded 1,083 filings for closure as well as 3.071 million colons collected through payments. Luis Diego Calderón Villalobos, the collections director, emphasized that the institution does not actively seek to close businesses excluding the cases here.

He noted that these businesses were repeatedly late on paying the worker and employer debts owed to the fund. Moreover, the debtor did not pay nor set up a payment agreement with the Caja forcing the institute to initiate procedures to close.

Caja regulations dictate that the institution reserves the power to close businesses if there is a delinquency on worker payments of more than two months. This timetable is applied based on a timetable of the five-day work week.

Caja officials warned that employers need to contribute towards the social security fund and avoid the messiness of closing their doors.