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Published Tuesday Edition
June 13, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 116
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Minister resigns amid domestic abuse allegations
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The sudden resignation of two heads at the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes shook the Solís government Monday morning.

The day started with Carlos Villalta stepping down as chief of the public works ministry due a domestic violence complaint filed by his wife on Sunday night.

According to police officers deployed on the site, the woman had bruises around her neck and some parts of the face. She then was escorted to the Ministerio Público, where a family judge issued a restraining order against Villalta.

A few hours later, during an activity at Museo de los Niños, President Solís said he had requested Villalta to step down and face the charges in court.

According to Casa Presidencial, those circumstances did not allow him to work in tranquility with his fellow ministers and employees.

At that very same time, the presidency informed that the vice-minister of transports, Giselle Alfaro, had also filed her resignation to the post. However, she will not leave the ministry completely, as she's going back to her prior post.

Ms. Alfaro insisted she is leaving for personals reasons not linked to the departure of Villalta.

Given the circumstances, the Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres issued a statement formally condemning the behavior of the former minister.

Carlos
                              Villalta
Casa Presidencial photo
Villalta at his resignation announcement.

“From our organization, it is our duty to ensure the compliance of laws that guarantee a violence-free life to women and we will never tolerate any of it, specially in public officers whose behavior should set a positive example,” the document said.

In a statement to the press, Solís thanked Villalta for what he called his professional competence and his management skills.

“I thanked him for all his efforts executing pending tasks in the public works arena,” Solís said in the statement.

Villalta became head of the public works ministry back in February 2016. Under his oversight, the country saw the building of a new bridge to replace the infamous Platina on the General Cañas Highway, according to Casa Presidencial.

Solís said government will take a few days to find and evaluate the capacity of the candidates willing to fill the post. He said he wants the transition to be as smooth as possible to not interfere with current projects.




Upcoming demolitions list in Carrillo provided
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Municipalidad de Carrillo has finally provided A.M. Costa Rica the public records on the properties that are set for demolition in the whole canton. The process took around a month.

The information was provided by Nelson Cascante, legal director of the municipality who sent a list of 84 properties that are at risk of facing demolition in case they are missing the proper permits.

Many of the cases lack a file number and are spread in the districts of Belén, Filadelfia, Palmira and Sardinal.

Also, the vast majority of the properties are registered under the name of individuals, except in the cases of organizations such as Repuestos Filadelfia Refil and Iglesia La Roca del Pedernal.

The Banco de Costa Rica and the Banco Popular y de Desarrollo Comunal, both in Sardinal are also included in the list.

The document is dated from June 6 but it was delivered to A.M. Costa Rica Monday.

The list of demolitions provided can be found HERE.

According to Carlos Chanto, vice president of the municipal council, Mayor Carlos Cantillo and staff-member Maureen Brenes should have provided this data last Tuesday before the weekly meeting of the council.
The document explains that there are a lot more cases than those provided in the list, but they remain in the mayor's office just to be delivered once the demolitions have an execution order.

It also explains that all the people and companies in the list have been already notified of the demolitions.

The letter, signed by Maureen Brenes, said that the status of  cases are subject to change anytime.

The conflicts in Carrillo re-started at the beginning of May 2017, when the municipality demolished some properties that allegedly did not have the proper construction permits.

However, many owners considered the measure unfair. According to them, they were not notified on time and the permissions requested by the municipality were not required 10 years ago.

In mid-May, the municipal council issued a formal request for the mayor to halt all demolitions until further research could be done on each case.

However, the mayor vetoed this decision and continued with the plan, according to Chanto.

A.M. Costa Rica tried to contact Maureen Breenes for further comment but no answer was provided.



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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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Caja provides a new online option

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

In order to reduce the use of paper and improve services to employers and independent workers, the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social will now provide enrollment certifications that can be obtained online through the site ccss.sa.cr.

These certification are required any time an independent worker or employer needs to show its estatus as an  active contributor to the social security.

Being an active social contributor is required by the government to grant permits, licenses, authorization, exemptions and concessions.

It is also a requirement for becoming a supplier of goods and services to the state and also register assets before the Registro Nacional. The system also allows third parties to confirm the validity of the document.


"This is an innovative step that allows the institution to save money and gives users the possibility of not having to go to the branches of the Caja to carry out the process," said Luis Diego Calderón, director of Collections.



Calderón also said this step makes part of a bigger policy that seeks to simplify processes to citizens and reduce the use of paper.



In 2015, 725,653 certificates of this nature were issued. That amount decrease in 2016 when the requests for certification reached 670,405. From January to April 2017, a total of 338,628 requests of certifications were filed, according to statistics provided by the Caja.

The website is running since May 22. and the Caja Authorities expect it to become a centralized outlet for all public institutions who need to check worker's and employer's statuses.


Traffic
Police
Policía de Tránsito photo           
Officers controlling traffic at intersection.

55 percent of all calls to traffic police
were due to accidents in San José

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The month of May yielded a lot of rain and over 4,300 traffic accidents reported in the capital alone, according to new data provided by the traffic police.

The Policía de Tránsito said that accidents registered in San José accounted for nearly 55 percent of the total number of calls handled last month. To put it in perspective, traffic policemen only showed up at 8,014 accident scenes throughout the entire country.

Commissioner Mario Calderón was as surprised as most expats would be considering the amount of cars and concentration of people in the capital. Accidents happen seems to be the standard.

Calderón, however, estimated that many of the calls were for minor incidents that need not require the intervention of traffic cops and could be solved through drivers carrying the right form exchanged during accidents.

This, he believed, would reduce calls to emergency services and allow staff to better devote time and resources to more pressing concerns.

Interestingly enough, Guápiles had an average of one person injured per every two reported accidents, according to the data. By comparison, San José with the most calls still only experienced only one person injured for every twelve accidents.

Traffic police point towards speeding on Ruta 32 and more frequent use of motorcycles as to how this phenomenon occurred.

As for traffic-related deaths, only nine were totaled for the month of May in the greater metropolitan region consisting of the capital, Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago based on the police’s definition of the area. The total number of traffic-related deaths was 35 for May, Tránsito said.




Wellness Pura Vida is the new strategy

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Costa Rican tourism institute launched a new strategy to give and showcase the premier phrase every person has heard in the country: pura vida.

Pura vida, if somehow one does not know, means “pure life” in Spanish and it is a distinct phrase in Costa Rican lingo used as a form of greeting, a response or a general description of one’s mood.

The Institute Costarricense de Turismo seeks to capitalize on the phrase in a new advertising campaign known as the Wellness Pura Vida strategy.

This strategy is actually part of a larger one launched by Turismo in an effort to diversify the advertising of what the country has to offer beyond the beaches, the parks and volcanoes among others.

The objective is position Costa Rica as a destination of well-being with a unique Tico brand.

Mauricio Ventura, the tourism minister, cited the Global Wellness Tourism Economy report that gave the country a nearly eleven percent increase between 2013 and 2015. Ventura sees a growing market there and one that can be used to create a unique brand.

“It is fundamental that Costa Rica increase its tourism offer and penetrate into highly-profitable segments,” he said in a statement.

“With Wellness Pura Vida, we seek to position the country as a destination of well-being, differentiated, offering unique and transformative experiences, which improve the quality of life for its inhabitants and those who visit us.”

The strategy comes after the recent ad campaign launched primarily in North America called Costa Rica: My Choice.

Today, data from the report claims that the industry is a $563 billion market with tourists wanting a wellness experience spending at least 130 percent more than the average global tourist.

Wellness tourism in Costa Rica entails the consumption of tourist services in harmony with the environment that involves the realization of outdoor activities, tasting of an indigenous gastronomy, healthy and with an excellent presentation, according to the government.

It also includes the personal care and the newest techniques of relaxation, sports in a natural environment, coexistence with the Costa Ricans and immerse themselves in the local environment among other components.


Puerto
Limón
Casa Presidencial photo      
The port at Limón grew in trade activity based on report.

Costa Rica grows in port activity

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Most of Latin America and the Caribbean showed a drop in cargo trading in the recent port ranking done by an economic commission. While the scenario foreshadows a lack of encouraging news for the region, Costa Rica recorded a growth of at least seven percent in port movements.

The recent ranking published by the Comisión Económica Para América Latina labeled the drop as being the biggest loss in the cargo trade industry since 2009.

Despite this, Costa Rica appears to be an exception based on the marine and logistics profile of the report, the government said.

The country’s two main ports at Limón and Caldera improved as well. The former grew by at least 3.4 percent and the latter ballooned to 8.2 percent, the profile said.

The government believes that the improvements are based upon attempts to improve the infrastructure and management of the country’s main ports.

Some of these measures include efforts by the Administración Portuaria y Desarrollo de la Vertiente Atlántica to revive a modernization overhaul that was put on hold.

Then there was the effort to improve the management within the Instituto Costarricense de Puertos del Pacífico.

According to Alexander Mora, the minister for Comercio Exterior, the behavior of exports has also been relevant in Costa Rica’s improvement. Mora cited the lack of mining or oil in the country as an example.

These two industries experienced the sharpest decline in trade for the region, the government said. Costa Rica also exports very little to South America leaving it relatively immune from the economic effects that plague or improve it, Mora said.

He also glowingly added the exceptionalism attached to Costa Rican agricultural products like pineapple, banana and coffee. Moreover, Costa Rican exports are more often transported by air in comparison to other countries in the region.


News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English






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U.S. Tax
Published || Tuesday Edition, June 13, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 116
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International choirs to sing for peace on Costa Rican stages
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Choirs from all around the world will join the country to sing for peace beginning June 23.

According to a statement from the Asociación Pro-Paz Choral Fest Costa Rica, the Festival Coral Internacional por la Paz will bring together musicians and choirs from varying backgrounds.

These include choirs such as the Coro del Recinto de Río Piedras from the Universidad de Puerto Rico or the Coral de las Espigas from Argentina.

Some of the artists also joining in on the choir festival include masters from Spain and Venezuela, organizers said. From Costa Rica, the choirs will include the Universidad de Costa Rica’s choir, Coro Kem Bix from Heredia, San José’s Coro de Cámara Surá and the Coro Juvenil del Centro Nacional de la Música.

“Costa Ricans have the responsibility and the right to create artisitic and cultural events to make a different call to unify the world and to peace,” Jose Guitiérrez, the president of ProPaz Choral Fest, said.

The event will begin June 23 at 7 p.m. in Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados, organizers said.

It will continue with more concerts held at Iglesia San Isidro de Coronado on June 24 at 7 p.m. and then two shows on Sunday, one at 2 and 7 p.m. respectively.

Coro Universidad de Puerto
Rico Recinto Rio Piedras
Asociación Pro-Paz Choral Fest Costa Rica photo
Coro de Recinto de Río Piedras from Puerto Rico.

The concert will close at Sarado Corazón de Jesús. Meanwhile, prior to that, the international guests will be arriving in Costa Rica Thursday to provide workshops and learn more of the culture, the association said.

The Asociación Pro-Paz Choral Fest Costa Rica is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote peace at the national and international level with the organization of artistic, cultural, educational and other events, a statement from the group said.

“Among its objectives is to bring together people of different origins and nationalities to sing together for peace, as well as strengthen ties of friendship among peoples through choral music,” the association representatives said.



Pink Floyd tribute band to perform in Teatro Espressivo concert
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Teatro Espressivo will be hosting a special concert in tribute to the psychedelic-rock band Pink Floyd fittingly titled “Dark Side of the Moon y un poquito más.”

The concert is part of the fifth season of the theater’s “Música en Tiempo Espressivo.” Unfortunately, Roger Waters and David Gilmour will not be hitting the stage at the theater but the tribute band Las Tortugas will be subbing in the group’s place.

The tribute band has been playing with each other since 1990, organizers said, and became the first group to create a special series of shows on the national stage dedicated to the music of Pink Floyd, organizers said.

“For us, the album Dark Side of the Moon seems to be a milestone in world music not only at the sales level but as a reference for conceptual discs,” Carlos Sequeira, a member of the band, said.

In addition to the songs played on the 1975 staple, Las Tortugas also plan to include crowd favorites of Pink Floyd likely from other albums such as “Wish You Were Here” and “The Wall.”

The concert will be on June 22 at 8 p.m. at Teatro Espressivo, organizers said. Tickets can be bought between 8,000 and 10,000 colons depending on seating choice.

Las
Tortugas
Teatro Espressivo photo
Las Tortugas put on their "Dark Side of the Moon" show.

They can be purchased online at the theater website or by calling the theater.

“Música en Tiempo Espressivo” is a project of the theater that aims to bring the audience to varying musical manifestations existing in Costa Rica, a statement from Espressivo said.

More concerts in this series are expected for the future.


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Published || Tuesday Edition, June 13, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 116
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Mosquito-repelling chemical may cause reduced motor function
By the University of Michigan press staff

A chemical currently being used to ward off mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus and a commonly used insecticide that was threatened with a ban in the United States have been associated with reduced motor function in Chinese infants, a University of Michigan study found.

Researchers at the U-M School of Public Health and U-M Center for Human Growth and Development tested children in China and found exposure to the chemical naled via their mothers during pregnancy was associated with 3 to 4 percent lower fine motor skills scores at age 9 months for those in the top 25 percent of naled exposure, compared to those in the lowest 25 percent of exposure. Infants exposed to chlorpyrifos scored 2 to 7 percent lower on a range of key gross and fine motor skills.

Girls appeared to be more sensitive to the negative effects of the chemicals than boys.

Naled is one of the chemicals being used in several U.S. states to combat the mosquito that transmits Zika. Chlorpyrifos, around since the 1960s, is used on vegetables, fruit and other crops to control pests.

A.M. Costa Rica confirmed with the Ministerio de Salud that neither of these brands of chemicals are used in the eradication and prevention of mosquitoes during its operations locally.

Both are insecticides called organophosphates, a class of chemicals that includes nerve agents like sarin gas.

They inhibit an enzyme involved in the nerve signaling process, paralyzing insects and triggering respiratory failure.

However, they may adversely impact health through other mechanisms at lower exposure levels that are commonly encountered in the environment.

In the children studied, naled affected fine motor skills or the small movements of hands, fingers, face, mouth and feet. Chlorpyrifos was associated with lower scores for both gross, a medical definition meaning large movements of arms and legs, and fine motor skills.

"Motor delays in infancy may be predictive of developmental problems later in childhood," said first author Monica Silver, graduate student research assistant and research fellow in the School of Public Health Department of Environmental Health Sciences.

"The findings may help inform policy as the debate over use of these chemicals continues."

The only studies to date on naled health impacts have taken place in occupational settings, not with exposure in the general population, Silver says.

Previous chlorpyrifos research has found ties to delayed motor development in children and a host of health issues for those who handle the chemical, including nausea, dizziness and convulsions.

The researchers examined the umbilical cord blood of about 240 mothers, looking for exposure to 30 different organophosphate insecticides, five of which showed up in at least 10 percent of the samples. In addition to naled and chlorpyrifos, they found methamidophos, trichlorfon and phorate.

Zika
terminator
Ministerio de Salud photo
Insecticide spraying to kill mosquitoes.

The cord blood was gathered from 2008-11 as part of a cohort study designed by co-author Betsy Lozoff of the Center for Human Growth and Development to investigate the relationships between iron deficiency and infant neurodevelopment.

The researchers followed the development of the babies using the well-known Peabody Developmental Motor Skill Assessment at 6 weeks and 9 months. No deficits were noted at 6 weeks.

The test provides gross, fine and total motor scores, and more specific subtest results including reflexes, body control, movement, grasping and eyes and hands coordination.

Use of the Peabody tool is unique to this study. Previous research in the environmental health field has primarily relied upon motor portions of larger developmental assessment tools, while this one focused strictly on motor skills, giving a more comprehensive view.

Chlorpyrifos has been banned for residential use in the U.S. since 2000, and for all use in some European countries. In 2015, the Obama Administration proposed a total ban in the U.S. but two months ago the head of the Environmental Protection Agency determined there was not enough scientific evidence to support the action.

While China is the world's largest user of pesticides, the researchers say exposure to the chemicals is a worldwide concern, especially as the U.S. and other countries brace for another season with the Zika virus.

"Zika is a very serious public health threat. This information helps to highlight that the way we go about combating Zika and other vector-borne diseases needs to be thought out more completely in order to minimize other unintended consequences," said John Meeker, U-M professor of environmental health sciences who was senior author and principal investigator on the project.

Integrated pest management uses education and a range of other tactics to avoid insect infestations, and taking precautions against getting bitten.

While exposure to chlorpyrifos and other pesticides used on crops is widespread and may be unavoidable in some situations, the research team said consuming organic produce when feasible, and thoroughly washing all fruits and vegetables before eating them can help to reduce exposure.



Vacation, travel and hospitality


Live in Costa Rica tours

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See www.liveincostarica.com for details and itineraries
9168-3/17/17


Hidden Garden
Visit the Largest Gallery in Costa Rica
Featuring artistic expressions of Costa Rican culture, heritage and traditions, the Hidden Garden Art Gallery has been your source for fine art since 2010.  Here you will find 15 large rooms of art in a beautiful, tranquil setting, with more than 60 artists showcasing traditional and contemporary paintings, sculpture, photography and giclee prints.  Located just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR) towards the beaches. Stop in for a visit to enjoy the view!

Visit our Web site at:  www.HiddenGardenArt.com
Contact us by email: info@HiddenGardenArt.com
Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
Moon Travel Guides & Frommer's

Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tel.  8386-6872 / 2667-0592; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073
International shipping available.
9214-8/2/17


George Lundquist header

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

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

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George Lundquist, Retirement, Relocation, and Lifestyle Guide. Email : lundquistgeorge@gmail.com
9113-7/4/17

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Fine
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9218-8/25/17

U.S. Income Tax Services (paid category)

Marlene Summers

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9186-6/30/17

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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442
9055-2/23/17


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9049-7/31/17


Real estate-related services (paid category)

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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
Published || Tuesday Edition, June 13, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 116
Calendar
Opinion
Classifieds
Real Estate
Lifestyle
Food
About us
 
White House tosses out
proposal protecting sea life


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Trump administration is throwing out proposed rules aimed at keeping endangered whales, turtles and other sea life from getting caught in Pacific Coast fishing nets.

Not only government experts, but also members of the Pacific fishing industry proposed the regulation under the Obama White House in 2015. It would have shut down what is called drift gillnet fishing for swordfish for as long as two seasons if too many endangered animals are caught in the nets and killed.

The fishing boats drag the 1.6 kilometer-long nets along the Oregon and California coasts for swordfish.

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, which decided to kill the proposal, said it would create a much more substantial impact on the fleet than we originally realized.

A spokesman said the fishing industry is taking safety measures and is working hard to drastically cut the number of whales, turtles and dolphins stuck in the nets.

A senior scientist with the conservation group Oceana, Geoff Shester, criticized the Fisheries Service.

"Today's decision demonstrates the administration's blatant disregard for recommendations of its own fishery advisors and reverses course on commitments made by the previous administration."

Shester called on the fishing industry to abandon gillnets in favor of methods he said are proven to profitably catch swordfish without the deadly unintended catch of other marine wildlife.


Ninth Circuit Court rules
against the travel ban


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A second U.S. federal court has voted to uphold a block on President Donald Trump's executive order restricting travel from six mostly Muslim countries.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled unanimously Monday against Trump's temporary ban, on the grounds that the president overstepped his authority when he issued his March 2 executive order, "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry in the United States."

The three-judge panel said that while the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act gives the president broad powers to both control entrants to the U.S. and protect U.S. security, immigration, even for the president, is not a one-person show.

Monday's decision echoes a previous ruling by the Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which on May 25 upheld a Maryland judge's ruling blocking parts of the order. But the two courts made very different arguments.

The 4th Circuit focused largely on statements and tweets made by President Trump that indicated his order was a ban on Muslims, something he advocated during his campaign for president.

But the 4th Circuit was only ruling on the portion of the law restricting travel from the six countries for 90 days.

The 9th Circuit ruled more broadly and focused on the INA and what the judges saw as insufficient justification to support the travel order.

"In suspending the entry of more than 180 million nationals from six countries, suspending the entry of all refugees, and reducing the cap on the admission of refugees from 110,000 to 50,000 for the 2017 fiscal year, the president did not meet the essential precondition to exercising his delegated authority: The president must make a sufficient finding that the entry of these classes of people would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States,” the judges wrote.

The INA gives the president authority to restrict the entry of foreign nationals when they would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, the judges wrote.

But they went on to say that there is no demonstration in the travel order that admitting travelers from Somalia, Sudan, Iran, Yemen, Syria and Libya would be detrimental to U.S. national security

"The order does not tie these nationals in any way to terrorist organizations within the six designated countries. It does not identify these nationals as contributors to active conflict or as those responsible for insecure country conditions. It does not provide any link between an individual’s nationality and their propensity to commit terrorism or their inherent dangerousness."

The judges said the travel order does not really curtail travel on the part of individuals, but rather on countries that it says are inherently dangerous.

Similarly, the judges found no adequate explanation for the restriction of refugee admissions to 50,000 for the 2017 fiscal year.

The State Department, which oversees in part the early stages of refugee admission to the U.S., said last week that it would be processing refugee applications under the original cap for the fiscal year, rather than under the significantly reduced number set by Trump's executive order.

The announcement followed congressional approval of a federal budget in May for the remaining months of the fiscal year. It also came after the 4th Circuit upheld an injunction on part of the president's travel related executive order.

Just over 47,000 refugees have resettled in the United States since October, at a greatly reduced pace since the first travel ban was signed January 27.

In recent weeks, that number has been about 800 to 900 refugees a week. The State Department said it could not speculate about the final number of refugees that would ultimately come to the U.S. by the end of September; at the current rate, that would mean about 60,700 refugees overall for the year.

The Trump administration has appealed the 4th Circuit ruling to the Supreme Court, asking for immediate relief from restraining orders issued on both coasts.

Also on Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a brief with the Supreme Court pointing out that very soon the 90-day ban on travel will expire and the appeal will be moot, in a matter of days. There is no reason for this court to grant review.

The travel order that was the subject of Monday's ruling is a second attempt by the Trump administration. The first was withdrawn after it, too, was stayed by a district court. That stay also was upheld by the 9th Circuit.


Ali Shehadeh
Voice of America photo           
Ali Shehadeh observes crops in greenhouse.

Seeds of change offer
hope in Lebanon farm

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In the farm fields of Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, the start of a harvest that not even war could stop offers hope for farmers facing a time of crisis.

Driven from their headquarters in Syria's Aleppo province, the work continues of a group of scientists and farmers who store and grow crops with a view to helping feed nations.

The work of experts at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas is global, but many harbor the personal hope their efforts will help rebuild the country they left behind.

In the center’s Lebanon base, Ali Shehadeh fondly scrolls through pictures on his laptop of the old heaquarters, from the seed bank where samples of crops such as wheat, barley and chickpeas were preserved to the fields in which they were grown.

Spread out across 1,000 hectares, the site represented a vast archive of the country's agricultural past and present, as well as a treasure trove for farmers worldwide.

This includes 150,000 seed samples stored and ready to be grown or distributed across the globe, with each sample potentially holding genetic traits that could help develop crops better suited to survival in an age of rapidly changing conditions.

"We try to figure out how to produce crops better adapted to climate change," explained Shehadeh, originally from Idlib.

Before the war, their work had played a role in helping Syria reach the point of producing enough to feed itself, but the same war that destroyed that self-sufficiency also drove them out.

The worsening of conditions, including the kidnapping of two staff members, who were released a few weeks later, lead the center to shift its operations out of the country.

With troubles brewing in 2012, the team was prompted to copy most of the samples and send them to Svalbard, an ultra-secure doomsday global seed vault dug into a snow-steeped mountain on Norway's Arctic archipelago.

Then, in 2015, they withdrew seeds from Svalbard to help rebuild the collection; this time in Lebanon as well as Morocco.

This is the fifth harvest collected at Terbol, a small town in the Bekaa Valley and new home for the center.

With climate change beginning to be more keenly felt, the work of those like Mariana Yazbeck will be increasingly vital.

Yazbeck is seed bank manager at the new site, and highlighted the role of the region in the birth of farming.

"What we have here is the base for some of the most important crops responsible for feeding a large population in the heart of the fertile crescent, which is the cradle of agriculture," Yazbeck said.

"Now, 10,000 years later, we've many problems facing our agricultural practice, whether diseases or environmental challenges, and the need to feed an ever-growing population."

Though it may not be a direct result of climate change, the agricultural sector in Syria is in as dire need of assistance as any.

According to a U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization assessment last year on the impact of the war, damage to the sector totaled $16 billion.

Though largely abandoned, the center in Aleppo is not entirely out of action. It is thought the seed bank freezer continues to work unattended.

And for many at the center’s Bekaa facilities, when peace comes and brings with it the opportunity for the organization to return to Syria, the desire to assist will not just be professional. It will be personal.


Asia Pacific urged to step up
fight against cybercrime


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Asia Pacific nations are facing rising challenges posed by cybercrime and security breaches amid escalating economic costs from cyber attacks.

Regional businesses and governments say policy reforms are needed against a backdrop of a fast changing technological landscape and mounting vulnerabilities to cyber crime.

Singapore has taken the regional lead to boost cyber security within the Association of South East Asian Nations as well as promoting the island state’s technical resources.

In October 2016, Singapore hosted the inaugural ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Cybersecurity, announcing new initiatives to boost ASEAN’s capacity to deal with cyber threats.

U.S.-based Honeywell, backed by the Singapore Economic Development Board, is to set up a new industrial cybersecurity center of excellence for Asia Pacific. It will also feature development laboratories and advanced training in security services.

In June, Singapore and Australia signed a cooperation agreement to stem cybercrime, with Australia also signing pacts to boost cooperation with Thailand and China.

Australia’s Ambassador for Cybercrime, Tobias Feakin, in Bangkok for official talks with the Thai Government, said regional cooperation was vital in the face of growing challenges posed by cybercriminal networks in Asia.

A 2016 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime warned cybercrime was growing in the Asia Pacific region, and evolving from an emerging threat to a criminal enterprise.

The office said cybercrime includes: identity theft, crime, scams facilitated through email and social networking sites, sex offenses and fraud, and can ensnare victims through social media websites and mobile phones as well as standard internet sites.

High profile cyberattacks have raised the awareness for the need for improved safety and security. The May unleashing by computer hackers of the WannaCry ransom malware affected 200,000 organizations in 150 countries, including Thailand.

An executive with cybersecurity company, Trend Micro, was reported saying online extortion attacks had increased dramatically, with criminal elements causing millions of dollars in losses.

In the Philippines, security analysts said businesses needed to step up security measures against cyber crimes and increasing global threats.

In late May, reports said Vietnam-linked hackers had been targeting Philippines government agencies to gather intelligence related to the maritime dispute in the South China Sea.

Australia, in pressing for an agreement with China, had accused China-based businesses of on-line intellectual property theft.

International consultants PriceWaterhouseCoopers, in its 2017 Global State of Information Security Survey, called for a unified front against cybercriminals including collaboration and information sharing to enable organizations to understand risks with effective methods of response.

Exponential increases in mobile phone use and tablet devices have added to the risks.

Cyber risk now encompasses more than our traditional view of computers a more than our traditional view of computers, including increased attacks involving the so-called Internet of Things from cars to household devices.

In a recent commentary, Brad Glosserman, executive director of the Hawaii-based Pacific Forum at the Center for Security Studies, said the 2015 cost estimates of cybercrimes in the Asia Pacific stood at $81 billion, with the number of incidents growing.


Russian court sentences
opposition leader to jail


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Moscow court has sentenced Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny to 30 days in jail for staging an unsanctioned rally in in the capital.

Navalny was detained Monday along with hundreds of his supporters throughout the country in anti-corruption protests aimed at Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies.

Navalny, who has announced his intention to run for president next year against Putin, was detained outside his home in Moscow shortly before demonstrators took to the streets there, as well as in St. Petersburg and other cities.

A White House spokesman said the United States condemned the detentions. He said detaining peaceful protesters, human rights observers, and journalists is an affront to core democratic values.

The United States will monitor this situation, and we call on the government of Russia to immediately release all peaceful protesters.

Reporters witnessed hundreds of protesters being detained, with one non-government organization tracking the demonstrations reporting that at least 600 were arrested in the capital and another 300 in St. Petersburg.

More than 3,000 protested in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, with other rallies in the southern resort Sochi, Krasnoyarsk, Kazan, Tomsk and Vladivostok.

Police in Moscow used pepper spray on the protesters and sometimes pushed them back by beating them with batons.

Authorities had agreed to a location for the protest in central Moscow, but Navalny moved it late Sunday to a main thoroughfare leading to the Kremlin after he said that officials blocked construction of a stage and sound system at the original site.

He claimed that authorities refused to supply him with sound and video equipment.

Moscow city hall labeled the change in the protest site a provocation and said that demonstrations would be viewed as a threat to public order, leading to the detentions.

Navalny's aides had been broadcasting about the lead-up to the protests from a Moscow studio, but authorities cut off power to the building just as the 41-year-old Navalny was being detained by police.

"They turned off the electricity in the studio," presenter Leonid Volkov said in complete darkness shortly before the channel went off air. It came back online after a few minutes.

Navalny's anti-corruption videos have provoked the country's most powerful officials, including one accusing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a Putin ally, of living far beyond his means.

Medvedev has called the accusations politically motivated nonsense and called Navalny a charlatan.

In a blog post published last week, Navalny wrote, "I want changes. I want to live in a modern democratic state and I want our taxes to be converted into roads, schools and hospitals, not into yachts, palaces and vineyards."


Experts remain skeptical
of alleged al-Baghdadi death


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. military officials say they have no information to confirm or deny a report Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadi has been killed in an airstrike.

Independent experts are expressing skepticism about the fast-spreading claims of the terrorist leader’s death, which reportedly was broadcast late Saturday on Syrian state television.

However the British Broadcasting Corporation's monitoring service said Sunday it had detected no such report on either state television or Syria's state news agency, SANA.

A spokesperson on weekend duty at the U.S. Defense Department said she had received queries about the reports but had no information to confirm or deny it.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has confirmed intense air raids on Raqqa, where anti-IS forces began a major offensive last week.

Reports from the region say the Amaq news agency, which is publicly identified with Islamic State, showed video of a body purported to be that of al-Baghdadi.

However, the British newspaper The Scotsman cited a tweet by terrorism analyst Michael Smith saying he has viewed the video and does not believe the body to be that of al-Baghdadi.

Multiple previous claims that the IS leader had been killed have proven to be false.



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Costa Rica
Penthouse

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
Contact the seller in Costa Rica: Dan Wise
Phone number:  2232-4063 / 2232-8610
Email: danwisellawyer@yahoo.com
9132-6/1/17


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9124-4/19/17


Rich Coast Realty
Rich Coast Realty
Real Estate and Construction in the Central Pacific
Three-bedroom furnished house in gated beach community, walk to the beach, $235k. Ocean View Property, can be subdivided into four view lots, 10 minutes from the beach. Only $40,000! Beachfront Lots from $35,000!Contact us with any questions you have about buying property in Costa Rica, Construction, Residency, etc.
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9189-9/2/17


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


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

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

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

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


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

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

colinasdelsol
COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.
Solar logo
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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A.M.
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Published || Tuesday Edition, June 13, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 116
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News from the BBC up to the minute


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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

Naranjo-Florencia
section
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo       
Aerial view of Naranjo-Florencia sector construction.

Naranjo-Florencia roadwork continues

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Employees attached to the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad presented the upcoming project to residents along the Naranjo-Florencia highway.

After waiting almost 50 years, it looks as if the highway will be complete, according to a statement from the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes. The road has been defined as a priority for the administration of President Luis Guillermo Solís due to its strategic importance as a route for trucking and it being a part of the Red Internacional de Carreteras Mesoamericanas.

The project itself is divided into three segments. The central and longest stretch of the project is between Sifó and La Abundancia. Casa Presidencial said that it is mostly complete minus the construction of the Laguna bridge at a total cost of almost $189 million. Several sewage structures, nine smaller bridges, railing, overpasses and asphalt along with at least six intersections were built.

The northern tip close to Ciudad Quesada, once completed, would mean important progress to decrease the amount of traffic, the government said. It is still in progress with less than half the work complete. Meanwhile, the Naranjo and Sifón section is still in the design stage with no construction begun yet.

The presentation of the final draft for that section will be presented next Wednesday, the public works ministry said.


Helicopter help
U.S. Embassy photo     
The helicopters refueling in Pavas airport before moving on.

U.S. lends helicopter aid to the Caja

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two helicopters of the U.S. Joint Task Force Bravo arrived Monday morning at the international airport in Pavas, according to officials from the U.S. Embassy.

The aircraft came at the request of the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social in order to analyze operational logistics for transporting materials to two clinics in Talamanca. The country does not have the helicopters needed to carry out this mission, the embassy said, so the United States government is lending aid towards the construction of the isolated clinics.

Both aircraft will be flying to Limón and Talamanca to determine where pilots could actually land along with the best way to transport the materials. The helicopters and crew will be in the country until this coming Thursday, the embassy said.

Joint Task Force Bravo is a forward base for the United States military’s southern command. It functions as the lead forward element in Central America and operates out of Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras.



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From page 7:

Latest edition of expat book now available

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Christopher Howard, a 37-year resident and Costa Rican citizen, has announced the installment of the 18th edition of “The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica – the official guide to relocation.”

The 800-page ebook by Howard provides information needed for incoming retirees to relocate to Costa Rica. The author himself has written at least 14 books on Latin America, is a frequent lecturer, consultant for National Geographic in Costa Rica and a guest columnist on a few local as well as international publications. Some of his work has been featured previously in A.M. Costa Rica.

“Confronted with the spiraling cost of living in the United States, poor financial planning, and an uncertain political panorama, retirees and others can now live for less by relocating to Costa Rica,” Howard said in a statement. “For many expats Costa Rica offers a lifestyle they could never enjoy in North America.”

Howard has produced guidebooks to Costa Rican real estate, Costa Rican Spanish and a guide to the country’s legal system, among others. The latest edition of the book is available on Amazon or by calling Costa Rica Books at its toll-free number he said. It is priced at $9.99, according to Amazon.