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Published Friday, June 10, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 114
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Government quietly jacks up the exit tax by $2
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The central government has slipped in another tax by decree. The tax ups the national exit tax at airports by $2 to $31.

The tax also is levied on those entering the country, according to the decree. Both taxes are mostly invisible to air travelers now that most airlines collect the money with the price of tickets.

The decree came from President Luis Guillermo Solís and seems also to cover those who  leave the country by land. Ostensibly the tax is to compensate the nation’s animal health service for fumigating, x-raying or otherwise inspecting the baggage of travelers to avoid the transmission of plant and animal diseases. The measure also said that the fee will cover cost of incinerating of anything confiscated.

The increase in the existing tax was well hidden in a general list of increased fees for the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal. The agency already collects money from a traveler’s tax. Those with trucks and even owners of aircraft are hit with fees that go to the animal

health service, whose workers are supposed to fumigate such transport vehicles.

There was no public announcement of the new tax although both Case Presidencial and the

Ministerio de Agricultura y Gandería, the animal health agency’s parent institution, maintains a staff of public relations writers. The initial reporting of the tax came from a reporter at La Nación.

There is some question if the tax is legal because some parts of the published decree are hidden by black coloring. That includes the amount of the new tax.

The decree says specifically that the tax applies to persons who enter or leave the country and the $2 fee is contained in section C-19 of Article 3 of the lengthy decree.

This is another one of those dedicated taxes that do not show up in the national budget and cannot be used to reduce the national deficit.

The La Gaceta official newspaper published the decree May 25, and the new tax is supposed to go into effect in 15 days.

Concrete bridge piers await the horizontal span at a traffic trouble spot between La Uruca and Heredia. bridge
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo

Placing Virilla bridge girders means closing the road
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Motorists for miles have been tearing their hair out because of the constant delays at the bridge over the Río Virilla between La Uruca and Heredia.

As part of a widening project, the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes is adding lanes to the bridge. But to do so, the span has to be closed.

The ministry said Thursday that the road would
be closed from 10 p.m. Thursday night until 4 a.m. today and again for the same period starting at 10 p.m. tonight.

The contractors are moving the girders that will hold up the new road into place.

The girders are 20 meters long and three meters wide, said the ministry.

The closing will be repeated for yet another big girder June 18 at the same time, said the ministry.

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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Defrauding wife to cost 10 years

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers took a step Thursday to increase the criminal penalty for fraud against the female member of couples.

In 2007 when technicians drafted a law establishing crimes against women, the penalty for a man defrauding his companion was set at three years. In contrast, other forms of fraud carry a 10-year prison term.

The fraud against a wife would include hiding assets when the couple splits up and the woman seeks payments for raising children. The Spanish term is  fraude de simulación.

Lawmakers agreed that this measure was discriminatory against women and said the change, when passed a second time and approved by President Luis Guillermo Solís, will provide more protection for women and children.

Stamp will mark anniversary of balls

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Museo Nacional will mark the second anniversary of U.N. designation of the stone spheres with a new stamp this month.

It was in 2014 that the U. N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization added the stone balls in the Diquís region of southwest Costa Rica to the world heritage list.

The national museum hopes to promote a satellite museum in Palmar Sur and nearby locations where the balls are found as a major tourism destination.

The stamp is being issued by Correos de Costa Rica, and the official unveiling will be June 23. But the museum said that the stamp has been made by a French printer with bits of pulverized rock added to the ink to give the coating a texture.

Justice minister asked to testify

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers want to hear from the minister of  Justicia y Paz, who is the driving force in releasing 6,000 prison inmates before their sentences are completed.

The Comisión Permanente Especial de Seguridad y Narcotráfico Thursday issued an invitation to the minister, Cecilia Sánchez Romero, to visit the legislature. The ministry runs the prisons through a subsidiary agency.

The plan is controversial in that some of those released have become suspects in other crimes. However, the ministry says that a bit more than 1 percent of those released early return to crime. The goal is to reduce prison overcrowding.

Police agencies are quick to point out that arrested individuals were on leave from what are called semi-institutional settings, basically halfway houses. But Thursday police made an error, and the ministry reported later in the day that two persons who had been arrested were not part of the program and had served all their time for prior crimes.

Lawmakers also want to talk to the minister about plans to use electronic bracelets to keep track of prisoners who are confined to their homes.

The meeting is likely to take place next week.

Power company protecting insulators

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With a lull in the Terrialba volcano, power company crews are trying to reinforce the electrical system in the vicinity because it has failed in the past.

The problem is that the corrosive ash from the volcano can cause insulators to short circuit. Some 118 electric customers have lost power repeatedly because of this.

The company said that its crews are now washing the insulators and putting coverings, basically sleeves, on them in order to protect them from the ash.

In addition to residents of the area, the power is for a dairy processing facility, a radio repeater on the mountain and a large water pump, said the company, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

The firm has had 44 persons working in the area. They also installed a transformer at the peak of the volcano. There are a lot of electrical devices there, mainly to keep track of the eruptions.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, June 10, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 114
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El Niño is officially pronounced dead by U.S. weather experts
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
with wire service reports

Costa Rica’s weather is now up in the air.

The  U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has declared El Niño dead. This is the giant weather phenomenon that has left Guanacaste and much of the Pacific coast parched. The situation has generated emergency alerts in Costa Rica and efforts to provide water to people and livestock.

The weather pattern was so big and so bad that the U.S. space agency, NASA, called it Godzilla.

The system in the far Pacific began in March 2015. The big question now is what comes next. Typically after a period of neutral conditions La Niña, the cooler opposite, develops.

The weather pattern, defined by warmer-than-average Pacific Ocean water, was one of the three strongest El Niños on record,

along with 1997-1998 and 1982-83, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It has been linked to crop damage, fires and flash floods over the past year.

In the U.S., it delivered much-needed rain and snow to California, but failed to end the parched state's four-year drought.

The cyclical weather phenomenon also triggered droughts in parts of Africa, India and Southeast Asia, and contributed to the heating up of the planet. The Earth has had 12 straight record hot months and is likely to have its second straight record hot year.

The El Niño cycles occur every two or three years on average.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts a 50 percent chance of La Niña by the end of the hemisphere's summer, and a 75 percent chance by the end of the fall.

La Niña generally brings more hurricanes to the Atlantic.

Marijuana by another name could become a good biofuel
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police and a lawmaker were not on the same page Thursday.

The Fuerza Pública reported that their officers and members of the Policía de Control de Drogas hacked, chopped and burned  367,460 marijuana plants during their latest incursion into the high Talamancas.

Meanwhile, at the legislature, Lilia Dallas Rodríguez of Frente Amplio was extolling the virtues of hemp, a cannabis relative without the psychedelic punch.

She said that hemp could be a good material for an alternative fuel.

Police officers in the Talamancas found places where
individuals have been cultivating marijuana, but many of the plants grow naturally there. And they are not considered to be a good grade of marijauna for recreational use.

Ms. Fallas presented a motion to authorize the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo to enter the biofuels business with the use of hemp.

The motion would amend some laws to make this legal.

In fact, hemp has a number of industrial uses that seem to have been overlooked in many places because of the plant’s relation to marijuana. Vast fields were cultivated in the U.S. Midwest to provide fiber during World War II.

The lawmaker noted that hemp has just a half a percent of psychoactive chemicals.

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New blood test appears effective to early stage Alzheimer detection
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

University researchers in the United States say they have developed a blood test that appears to be effective in detecting the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia in elderly people.

Scientists at Rowan University in the eastern state of New Jersey say their blood test can detect mild cognitive impairment, which is generally seen in patients 10 or more years before they develop severe symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease, an affliction that is almost always fatal.

Not everyone with mild cognitive impairment develops Alzheimer's, and the condition known as MCI can be caused by a wide variety of causes, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, vascular problems, depression and traumatic brain injury. The Rowan researchers, writing in a journal of the Alzheimer's Association, say their blood test can distinguish between the various forms of cognitive impairment and identify with nearly 100 percent accuracy those that will most likely progress to advanced Alzheimer's.

The small-scale study conducted at Rowan, in Glassboro, New Jersey, tested the blood of 236 subjects, 50 of whom had MCI.

“Our results show that it is possible to use a small number of blood-borne autoantibodies to accurately diagnose early-stage Alzheimer’s,” said Cassandra DeMarshall, the study's lead author and a doctoral candidate at the public university. “These findings could eventually lead to the development of a simple, inexpensive and relatively noninvasive way to diagnose this devastating disease in its earliest stages.”

The original proof-of-concept study would need to be repeated on a larger scale, experts said, but if the original findings are confirmed, patients suffering from mild cognitive impairment could seek appropriate early treatment, including lifestyle changes. This could also ease the significant financial and psychological cost for family members responsible for caring for elderly Alzheimer's patients.

DeMarshall said about 60 percent of the patients her team studied had MCI caused by an early stage of Alzheimer's Disease, so "to provide proper care, physicians need to know which cases of MCI are due to early Alzheimer’s and which are not.”

Robert Nagele, the research team leader, said the results now being reported were particularly important because pre-Alzheimer's changes in the brain begin at least a decade before the emergence of telltale symptoms.

“To the best of our knowledge," Naegele said, "this is the first
blood test using autoantibody biomarkers that can accurately detect Alzheimer’s at an early point in the course of the disease when treatments are more likely to be beneficial – that is, before too much brain devastation has occurred”

Nagele is director of the Biomarker Discovery Center at Rowan’s New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging, and the co-founder and chief scientific officer of Durin Technologies, Inc. His team's research is to be published in a forthcoming issue of Alzheimer's & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring.

More than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's Disease, the most damaging form of dementia, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Not every instance of memory loss signals that the brain may be misfiring, of course, so the Alzheimer's Association prepared this list of warning signs:

 * Memory loss that disrupts daily life, such as forgetting names or dates, but not instances where you forget a name briefly, then remember it five minutes later

 * Difficulty in making plans or solving problems, or unusual difficulty in concentrating
* Familiar tasks become hard to complete, such as remembering the rules of a favorite game or driving to a location you know well

 * Confusion about time or place, such as forgetting what day it is

 * Trouble with reading or judging distance, apart from organic vision problems such as cataracts

 * Problems with words in speaking or writing, such as calling a wristwatch a hand clock

 * Misplacing things or putting them in unusual places, also losing the ability to retrace your steps, and sometimes accusing others of stealing from you

 * Poor judgment or decision-making, such as making bad decisions about money or neglecting cleanliness and grooming

 * Withdrawal from social activities, such as hobbies, sports or work projects

 * Changes in mood or personality such as confusion, suspicion, fear or anxiety, even among friends

Those who notice any of these changes should see a physician, the Alzheimer's Association recommended.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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

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Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, June 10, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 114
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Axiom new ad

California U.S. appeals court
rejects concealed carry right

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A federal appeals court in California ruled Thursday that U.S. citizens do not have a constitutional right to carry concealed weapons in public.

The 11-judge panel overturned a decision by a smaller panel from the same court.

Thursday's ruling upholds a California state law requiring applicants for permits to carry hidden weapons to show a good reason why they need to carry a gun, such as defending themselves against someone who poses a true threat.

The original suit was brought by California citizens who were denied permits to carry a gun by sheriff’s departments in two counties. They argued the sheriffs were violating their constitutional right to bear arms as spelled out in the Second Amendment. But California's attorney general appealed the initial ruling.

The case eventually could wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Obama formally endorses
Mrs. Clinton and praises her

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama formally endorsed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton after meeting Thursday with her rival, Bernie Sanders, in a bid to unite the party and defeat controversial Republican Donald Trump.

In videotaped remarks released by the Clinton campaign, Obama said he knows how difficult it is to be president, and that is why he knows his former secretary of State is capable of doing the job.

“In fact, I don’t think there has ever been someone so qualified to hold this office,” Obama said. “She’s got the courage, the compassion and the heart to get the job done.”

The White House said Obama would campaign with Mrs. Clinton for the first time during an appearance in Wisconsin Wednesday. Obama carried that state in both general elections when he ran for president.

“I am with her. I am fired up and I cannot wait to get out there and campaign for Hillary,” the president said.

The official endorsement came after Obama held a one-hour Oval Office meeting with Sanders, the impassioned Vermont senator who has won the support of millions of people, especially younger voters. 

His speeches demanding income equality and an end to the strong influence of wealthy donors and special interests in Washington have helped energize supporters.

After the meeting, Sanders stopped short of conceding the nomination to Mrs. Clinton, but said he would meet with her soon and do everything possible to help prevent Trump, the Republicans' presumptive nominee, from winning the White House. 

Trump’s own party leaders have disavowed his rhetoric against Mexicans, Muslims, women and other groups. But most have continued to back him.

"The American people will not vote for or tolerate a candidate who insults Mexicans and Latinos, who insults Muslims; who insults African-Americans and women,” Sanders told reporters at the White House. “I will do everything in my power, and I will work as hard as I can, to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States."

Sanders said he would compete in a primary in Washington, D.C., Tuesday and would continue to push issues central to his campaign until the Democratic convention in July.

The senator said his campaign has been about building a movement to create a government that represents all Americans, not just the wealthiest.

“We will continue doing everything that we can to oppose the drift that currently exists, to oppose an oligarchical form of society where a handful of billionaires exercise enormous power over our political and economic and media life,” he said.

Democratic leaders said Sanders and his supporters are critical to ensuring a victory for Mrs. Clinton. 

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama and Sanders had a friendly meeting and discussed the possibility of working together in the future on ways to energize and engage younger voters.

He also pointed out that overall, the Democratic Party is united in its key priorities and principles.

“I would expect Sanders to eventually get behind Hillary Clinton, perhaps not in a full-throated way,” said Kyle Kondik, political analyst with the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “Now it is just a question of how you bring the party back together and how willing Sanders is to help in that effort.”

William Galston, a political scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said both Mrs. Clinton and Sanders have a responsibility to bring the party together.

“Mr. Sanders, if he is serious in saying, as he has frequently, that the differences between him and Secretary Clinton pale into insignificance in comparison to the differences between the two of them and Donald Trump, then he will do everything in his power to bring the party back together,” Galston said.

With all the votes counted
Kuczynski seems the winner

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Former World Bank economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has won the closest presidential contest in Peru in five decades, election officials said.

With all the votes counted, the electoral board said Kuczynski received 50.1 percent compared to 49.9 percent for Keiko Fujimori, daughter of imprisoned ex-president Alberto Fujimori.

Supporters immediately celebrated outside Kuczynski's campaign headquarters while the apparent president-elect sent a brief message on Twitter thanking his countrymen. "Now it's time to work together for the future of our country,'' he wrote.

But the gap between them was so small that an electoral court must settle the matter of the 0.2 percent of ballots that have been challenged for smudges, improper markings or other issues before a winner can be declared.

However, pollsters say it would be virtually impossible for Ms. Fujimori to win.

"I am not going to make any statement," Ms. Fujimori said Thursday. "I am going to wait. We are waiting patiently."

A week ago, Ms. Fujimori had been the favorite to win. But Kuczynski caught up with her in final opinion polls as Peruvians weighed the legacy of her father, who was convicted of corruption and human rights abuse, and scandals involving her own close advisers.

Some Peruvians credit the elder Fujimori with defeating violent Shining Path guerillas and building rural schools during his decade-long rule.

Kuczynski has promised to invest in infrastructure projects and lower sales taxes to revive economic growth that has slowed with tumbling mineral prices.

Vietnam rejected assistance
in investigation of fish deaths

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A top U.S. diplomat says Vietnamese officials rejected U.S. offers of technical assistance with an investigation into a mass fish death along the Southeast Asian country's central coast.

Addressing the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies Wednesday, Ted Osius, U.S. ambassador to Vietnam, said overtures of assistance, made in late April were immediately declined.

"Pretty much right away, I offered technical assistance from the United States if the government of Vietnam wanted it for figuring out what had happened, and the reasons that so many fish had died along the central coast," he said. "That immediate offer of assistance was not accepted."

The massive die-off of marine life has sparked outrage and nationwide protests, most of which have been broken up by police. Demonstrators blame the catastrophe, which left an estimated 100 tons of dead fish along central coastline beaches in late April, on the release of toxic chemicals from a new Taiwanese-owned steel mill.

Although an official investigation has found no links between the fish deaths and the $10.6 billion coastal steel plant run by a unit of Taipei-headquartered Formosa Plastics, public anger against the company has not abated.

In May, nearly 140,000 Vietnamese nationals submitted a petition urging the Obama administration to launch an independent probe of the event.

Last week, the Vietnamese government said it had identified the cause of fish deaths, but needed more hard scientific evidence before making public allegations. Critics have repeatedly condemned the government's delayed response to the massive die-off.

In late April, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who took office earlier that month, ordered a thorough inspection of the fish deaths. April 26 government officials said findings of the probe would be released within a week.

U.S. Islamic State fugitive
now facing terrorist counts

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. is filing terrorism charges against a 26-year-old American citizen who first made headlines when he was detained by Kurdish peshmerga forces in northern Iraq after claiming he was trying to escape from the Islamic State terror group.

The American citizen fled the United States and joined the Islamic State terror group before claiming to have undergone a change of heart. 

Looking thin and ragged, the man, Mohamad Jamal Khweis, was escorted into a federal courtroom Thursday in Alexandria, Virginia. He wore a dark blue T-shirt and grayish slacks, while sporting a closely cropped haircut.

His father, mother and brother waved at him anxiously. According to his defense attorney, the family was seeing Khweis for the first time since he left to join the Islamic State.

Khweis first made headlines when he was detained by Kurdish peshmerga forces in northern Iraq in March, becoming one of just a handful of American Islamic State volunteers to be captured on the battlefield.

Khweis, who said little during his initial court appearance, is charged with providing and conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State. The counts carry a maximum penalty of 20 years behind bars, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release.

Khweis was not required to enter a plea, and his lawyer cautioned against reading too much into the government's court filings.

"Everything is not as it appears," Attorney John Zwerling told reporters outside the courthouse.

Parts of the case laid out in the court documents conflict with the story Khweis told Kurdistan 24 TV just days after he was detained.

According to the criminal complaint, FBI agents interrogated Khweis while he was in Kurdish custody in Iraq.

He admitted he had researched the Islamic State in the U.S., watched propaganda videos of terrorist fighters carrying out operations and execution and became interested in actually traveling to the self-declared caliphate in mid-2015.

In December 2015, he boarded a flight at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport to London, staying there for several days before continuing on to Turkey and crossing the border into Syria.

Once in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, he was sent to a safe house, where he was questioned by terrorist officials and given the name Abu Omar al-Amriki.

"The defendant stated another ISIL member asked him if he wanted to be a suicide bomber," FBI Special Agent Victoria Martinez wrote in the criminal complaint unsealed Thursday, using an Islamic State acronym. "The defendant answered 'yes.' ”

"The defendant stated that he thought this question was intended to test his commitment," Martinez added.

Also while in Raqqa, Khweis described how he and other foreign recruits met with Jaysh Kalifa, often described as the Islamic State's elite military unit.

The representatives explained that their group was responsible for accepting volunteers from foreign countries who would be trained and sent back to conduct terror operations, according to the complaint.

Still, investigators say Khweis maintained he only touched a firearm once, moving a gun that was left on a couch so he could sit down.

"It's a very unique case," said Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. "Very rarely do you get a criminal complaint with this level of detail."

Hughes warned the details could be damning.

"He wasn't a naïve kid that didn't know about ISIS," Hughes said. "It's very clear that Mohamad went in there bright-eyed and knew what he was getting into."

Counterterror experts like Hughes say Khweis' case also presents the U.S. with an opportunity to deliver a powerful message to other Americans who may be tempted to join the Islamic State or other violent jihadist groups.

"To have a guy like this who can say, ‘Listen, I was there,’ is very, very important," said Mubin Shaikh, an expert who has worked with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and testified before U.S. lawmakers in Congress.

"What this one guy can do is more valuable than millions of dollars of advertising, of Twitter accounts," he said.

The key, according to Shaikh, is that, based on initial evidence indicating that Khweis left voluntarily and does not seem to "have blood on his hands," the Alexandria, Virginia, resident is part of a category of foreign fighters who can be rehabilitated.

Yet questions remain about Khweis' case, and some of the information he shared during his on-camera interview with Kurdish television does not match what he told the FBI investigators.

"I wasn't thinking straight," Khweis said in English during a heavily edited portion of the interview. "I made a bad decision to go with girl and go to Mosul."

He also described how the Iraqi girl, the sister of a woman married to an Islamic State fighter, made all the arrangements for the journey.

The criminal complaint, however, makes no mention of any girl.

There are also some questions about what Khweis was carrying with him when he surrendered to Kurdish forces, including his Virginia driver's license, three mobile phones, memory cards, two bank cards, and more than $450 in U.S. bills.

John Zwerling, Khweis' attorney, said the 26-year-old had been in Kurdish custody in Irbil since his surrender. He said that Kurdish officials were present with Khweis at all times, even during the interrogation session by FBI agents.

Zwerling said Khweis' parents are glad their son is back in the U.S.

The parents said they are of Palestinian background. The father said he came to the U.S. in 1988.

Hobbit ancestors show
the species was a real one

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Recently discovered fossils in Indonesia show that the so-called hobbit hominin that lived 50,000 years ago had much older ancestors.

Writing in the journal Nature, researchers from the Research Center of Human Evolution at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, say the 700,000-year-old teeth and jawbone fragment are either from hobbits or a precursor to the .9-meter-tall hominin.

The fragments indicate the creature was about the same size as its much younger counterpart.

The fossils were found in 2014 about 74 kilometers from the cave where the original hobbit fossils were discovered more than a decade ago.

Hobbits, also called Homo floresiensis, are believed to have hit an evolutionary cul-de-sac about 50,000 years ago.

The recently found fossils belong to an adult and two children from a bigger species that came to Flores island about a million years ago.

Then, the creature began to shrink over the following generations in a process called island dwarfism. Island dwarfism is well-known among animals, with some cases seeing a sixfold decrease in size because of a lack of resources.

In fact, Flores was once home to a very small elephant-like creature.

The finding puts to rest the notion that hobbits were simply sick or malnourished homo sapiens.

"The hobbit was real," said Adam Brumm, an archaeologist at the Research Center of Human Evolution and lead author of one of the studies, in an interview. "It was an ancient human species that is separate to ours and that no longer exists on the planet today."

The new fossils could help researchers determine what the older species was and how long it took for that creature to shrink to the size of the hobbits.

One possibility is that hobbits are a dwarfed version of homo erectus, the first hominin to leave Africa.

Being fit at middle age seems
to delay strokes later in life

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The more fit a person is in middle age, the less likely he or she will have a crippling stroke after age 65.

That is the result of a new study by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Doctors studied 20,000 men and women between the ages of 45 and 50, and concluded that those who were most fit from moderate to vigorous exercise had a 37 percent lower risk of a stroke than those who were the least fit.

They say the reduced risk of a future stroke was present even when the subjects had other risk factors, including high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes.

The study urges doctors not to ignore low levels of exercise and fitness as risk factors for a stroke.

The study was published in the latest issue of the medical journal called Stroke.

China is on buying spree
seeking foreign investments

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Something dramatic is happening with China's Go Global strategy, with Chinese companies investing more money in foreign locations in the first 10 weeks of 2016 compared to all of last year. Chinese companies invested $110 billion until mid-April, compared to $108 billion in 2015.

This year could end with Chinese companies investing more than double what they did in 2015, analysts say. This would mean nearly seven times the growth compared to 2015, when China's foreign investments in the non-financial sector rose by 14.7 percent, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Consulting firm Dealogic estimates that China might surpass the United States as the world's biggest foreign investor by the end of the year if it continues to pour money into foreign locations at the high pace seen in the first quarter. Chinese companies have struck 17 deals this year valued at $1 billion, it said.

Chinese firms are shopping around for foreign companies for commercial reasons as well as their need to please government authorities. China is increasingly using investments as a diplomatic tool, analysts said. Meetings usually feature promises of Chinese investments worth billions of dollars in different countries.

"Two forces are at work. The government encourages state-owned enterprises to invest abroad. Private companies have different reasons for investing abroad, but they also have the government's support behind them," Zhao Longkai, associate professor of finance at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management, said.

"There is a lot of money floating around in China because the cost of capital is low. Also, acquiring foreign companies is a quick way to gain new markets and technology," he said.

Chinese investments cover a wide range of projects including some politically beneficial and sensitive ones like nuclear reactors, seaports connecting import oceanic routes like one in Sri Lanka, and the recent acquisition of Swiss pesticide and seed company Syngenta by China National Chemical Corp. for $43 billion in a cash offer.

The government's encouragement of investments is driven by foreign policy considerations, analysts said.

"Chinese investment now takes a top spot on the agenda of major diplomatic occasions as China is eager to counterbalance growing negativism about falling Chinese demand for foreign goods and China’s ballooning trade surplus," said a joint study by the Rhodium Group and MERICS. "Chinese diplomats also increasingly use the promise of investment and other financial flows as a diplomatic instrument to seek politically favorable outcomes in negotiations with the EU and its member states."

Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said in a recent interview that "Chinese enterprises make more outbound investments than before as they go global. This is a natural outcome of policy opening and a better understanding of the international market by Chinese entrepreneurs. Outbound investments have been growing rather rapidly, which is a good thing," he 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!
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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.

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

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

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, Friday, June 10, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 114
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
park with mural
Casa Presidencial photo
Workmen are involved in creating a small park in Dos Cercas de Desamparados, part of the central government’s art for peace program. Some of the funds came from the United States, said Casa Presidencial.

Quake hits northwestern Nicaragua

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two strong earthquakes hit northwestern Nicaragua Thursday night. One was at 9:25 p.m. with a 6.1 magnitude, and the second was three minutes later with a 5.1 magnitude, according to the Red Sismológica Nacional de Costa Rica.

The epicenter of the quake was 17 kilometers east of the Puerto Morazán, said wire service reports. The location appears to be very close to Nicaragua’s border with Honduras.

Early reports said that a church had been damaged but that there were no human casualties.

News story prompts police promise

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Nothing generates a quicker response from police than a negative news story.

The Spanish language daily La Nación reported Thursday morning that extortionists still are working the neighborhoods of Alajuelita, a low-income canton between San José Centro and Escazú.

This is a continuation of the problems that have plagued the area.

Quickly the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública promised to root out the problems and arrest those responsible. The ministry praised those victims who filed formal complaints and urged others to do so.

In the past there has been at least one murder of a man who resisted the extortion and filed a complaint.
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From Page 7

Financial services firm opens new location

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fiserv, Inc., a publicly traded U.S. company, has opened a new location in the Oficentro Terra Campus in Tres Ríos. The firm said it was seeking 400 technical support and service personnel.

The Brookfield, Wisconsin, firm has been in Costa Rica since 2004. The company characterized itself as a global provider of financial services technology solutions. The company has just been added to the Fortune 500 list of firms with substantial revenue.

The company’s principal customers are banks and other leasing and finance companies. The firm’s first location here is in the Zona Franca Metropolitana en Barreal de Heredia where 550 persons are employed, it said.

Fiserv says it serves 13,000 clients worldwide, providing them with integrated technology and services solutions that enable their customers to move and manage money safely and securely with speed, ease and convenience.