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Published Tuesday, June 14, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 116
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Government suspends early release of prison inmates
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government has reversed itself and has suspended plans to ease prison crowding with a continued release of inmates.

The announcement came Monday afternoon after yet another police action involving someone who had been released from prison early.

At nearly the same time, Casa Presidencial released a statement that basically said that the plan was not the idea of the current administration in the first place.

Technically, the decision came from the Instituto Nacional de Criminología, which had been supervising the releases. More than 6,000 releases had been planned.

The institute did not mention a public outcry about the proposal. Instead, it said that overcrowding at the Gerardo Rodríguez Echeverría prison had been reduced significantly. The prison is part of the complex in San Rafael de Alajuela. A judge had ordered the reduction of inmates.

The decision came after at least two men tried to stick up a delivery vehicle in Purral de
Guadalupe. Fuerza Pública officers tracked two of the men to a home after the 9:30 a.m. robbery. The police tactical squad eventually entered the building and detained the men. A revolver was confiscated, they said.

One of the men appears to have been a beneficiary of the early release program after a conviction for another robbery.  There has been a spate of such cases.

The early release program transferred inmates from prisons to what is called a semi-institutional setting. Typically the inmates have to sleep in the new facility a couple of times a week, depending on their individual case.

The prisons are under the control of the  Ministerio de Justicia y Paz, which said Monday that the early release program is not new, that it dates from 1970 and that the current regulations date from 2007. A statement decried what it called incorrect information in the media.

From 2000 to 2013 15,503 persons have benefited from the system and entered a semi-institutional setting, said the ministry. Some lawmakers also were unhappy about the project.

Michigan jail escapee identified and detained here
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Michigan jail escapee who also is a sex offender has been detained in Jacó.

The man, identified as John Wesley Saatio, was picked up at a nightclub June 2 in the Pacific beach resort community, but he was not officially identified until Monday.

Saatio has a long record of convictions that include home invasion, probation violation and burglary.

He escaped in Houghton County, Michigan, on the state’s upper peninsula last June 19.

Investigators here said he was being escorted back to jail after a court appearance when he bolted. He was facing a 25-year term.

The tattooed Saatio resisted arrest and also did damage to his cell later, said the Fuerza Pública.

Ministerio de Securidad Pública photo
John Wesley Saatio

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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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Movimiento Libertario photo
Otto Guevara Guth and his filing

Government defends anticipated fuel hikes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Casa Presidencial is defending hikes in the price of motor fuel and said that despite increases the cost to consumers remains the lowest in the last five years for the months of June and July.

Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo S.A. has announced increases of 84 colons a liter for super gasoline, 76 colons for plus and 70 colons for diesel.

The statement from the government blamed a shortage in the petroleum supply, a change in the fuel mixtures due to climate and the colon-dollar rate of exchange.

At the same time, a legislator, Otto Guevara Guth of Movimiento Libertario, announced he is taking action against another factor. He said that he has filed an action of unconstitutionality against the union contract between the refinery and its workers.

He cited a number of aspects that he suggested were excessive, including scholarships for employee children, marriage and child birth bonuses and special medical care.

The agreement is with the Sindicato de Trabajadores Petroleros, Químicos y Afines.

The Sala IV constitutional court upheld the constitutionality of the labor contract in a decision announced last week, but Guevara seems to be trying a different tack.

Our readers’ opinions
Support for an assault rifle ban

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

The editor feels gun control will not stop the killings because a fertilizer bomb was used in Oklahoma city!  First, this was a SHOOTING!  And why are Americans acceptable to taking off their shoes and no box cutters or knives or large containers of liquids on planes?  Maybe we understand the connection between high jacking planes and these items.  So why can’t Americans understand the relationship between mass shootings and assault rifles?  Not all guns, assault rifles. Duh. 
Lee Swidler
She is now safe in Canada

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Wonders never cease. The Americans will stoop to extraordinary lengths to ignore the obvious. It would be laughable if there weren't so many victims.

Madeleine Rose
Now safely living in Canada

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, June 14, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 116
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Environmentalists promise to tell Crucitas panel about corruption
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The environmental group that opposed the Las Crucitas open pit gold mine has promised to tell an international arbitration panel about on-going corruption and criminal law proceedings against former Costa Rican public servants involved with the concession.

That promise was part of a filing with a panel of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes that is hearing a claim for compensation by Infinito Gold Ltd.

Partly based on the claim of corruption by the organization, the Asociación Preservacionista de Flora y Fauna Silvestre, the panel of three arbitrators decided to let it file a written brief, according to the decision by Gabrielle Kaufmann-Kohler, tribunal president.

Infinito is seeking compensation from the government of Costa Rica because the project was shut down before any of the estimated millions in gold could be extracted.

The site is near Cutris de San Carlos in northern Costa Rica.

The environmental organization also said that because it was the plaintiff in the judicial process before Costa Rican courts that resulted in the cancellation of Infinito’s concession, it may provide explanations and evidence related to the factual and legal issues resulting in that cancellation. The organization also was aggressive in a public relations campaign against the project.

The tribunal’s decision on the request noted that neither Infinito nor the government of Costa Rica has made any allegation of corruption.

The tribunal said that lawyers for the environmental organization could see confidential papers to craft what basically is an amicus curiae brief, but that the organization would not be able to participate in legal arguments.

An individual involved with Infinito has said in a letter to the editor that Infinito’s claim is for $93,896,754 plus costs and interest. The company also asks for other such compensation as the tribunal sees fit. It is that claim that allows the tribunal to place a value on Las Crucitas on the day it was annulled. That value is easily in the $300-$400 million dollar range, he said.

Employers propose no raises in minimum wages for next six months
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Employer representatives have proposed no raises in the minimum wages for the next six months.

That was the proposal Monday from the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado. Monday was the turn for employer representatives to make a proposal.

Employee representatives already have proposed raises of from 2.3 to 3.5 percent.

The negotiations are before the Consejo Nacional de Salarios, which has the final say. Yet to be heard from is the government, which also will make a proposal.

Luis Mesalles of the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras defended the proposal by saying that the formula used contained a lot of negatives but that there was no plan to seek a reduction in the minimum salaries. The proposals generally cite inflation statistics and the cost of living.

The country maintains a list of minimum private salaries based on job categories.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, June 14, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 116
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Genetics and brain structure found to predict second-language learning
By the University of Washington news staff

A study by researchers at the University of Washington shows that the final grades that college students received in a second-language class were predicted by a combination of genetic and brain factors.

Genetic variations of the COMT gene and a measure of the strength of the brain’s communications network, known as white matter, jointly accounted for 46 percent of the reason for why some students performed better than others in the language class.

“We are interested in understanding why individuals learn differently, including those who perform well and those who perform poorly,” said lead author Ping Mamiya, a research scientist at the university’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences.

“Our study shows for the first time that variations of the COMT gene are related to changes in the brain’s white matter that are the result of learning,” Ms. Mamiya said.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the study this week.

“We all know that human learning is highly complex and that a lot of factors play a role,” said co-author Patricia Kuhl, institute co-director. “Second-language learning as an adult is difficult, and we thought studying how people learn something difficult would be a good way to tease out the interactions between genes and brains in learning.”

The research team recruited first-year college students 20-years-old on average who had just arrived in the U.S. from China. The 79 volunteers in the study had passed the university’s minimum English requirement, and 44 of them immediately entered a three-week immersion class intended to help international students improve their English skills.

Over the course of the three-week language class and up to eight days after the class ended, the researchers performed brain scans of all the students, including a control group whose

members had also just arrived from China but did not get into the class.

The researchers used an MRI technique called diffusion tensor imaging which gives clues about the structure of the brain’s connections. Better structure helps signals transfer across the brain, which may lead to better learning, researchers presumed.

The brain scans suggest that within a day of the immersive English training, white matter had already begun to change. Foreign language exposure increased the connectivity of the brain’s language circuitry in enrolled students compared with students who were not enrolled in the language class. The increase went up over the course of the three-week training, and then reversed after the training ended.

“Being able to document these associations between brain structure and environmental stimulation in young adult human brains is really exciting,” Ms. Mamiya said. “It is one of the highlights in this paper.”

Since different forms of the COMT gene can have different effects on brain structure, the researchers suspected that the students’ COMT genotype would be related to how much white matter changed from the language class.

Sure enough, using DNA samples taken from the students at the beginning of the language program, the researchers found that two specific forms of the COMT gene (Methionine/Valine or Valine/Valine) were linked to greater increases in brain connectivity in students who took the language class. Students with a third COMT genotype (Methionine/Methionine) did not show any white matter change in response to the experience.

The combination of the COMT genotype and the white matter measure was so powerful on language learning that it accounted for 46 percent of total variance in the students’ final scores.

“Humans’ abilities in learning any particular skill vary tremendously, and we want to know why,” Ms. Kuhl said. “Knowing why answers a basic science question about how the environment, our genes, and our brains really work, but could also lead to interventions that improve learning.”

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, June 14, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 116
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Former California senator
agrees to admit corruption

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Former California state senator Ronald S. Calderon has agreed to plead guilty to a federal corruption charge and admits in a plea agreement filed Monday that he accepted tens of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for performing official acts as a legislator.

Calderon, 58, of Montebello agreed to plead guilty to one count of mail fraud through the deprivation of honest services to resolve a case against him that was filed in 2014. The plea agreement comes several weeks before Calderon was scheduled to go on trial on charges contained in a 24-count indictment.

In the plea agreement, Calderon admits accepting bribe payments from the owner of a Long Beach hospital who wanted a law to remain in effect so he could continue to reap millions of dollars in illicit profits from a separate fraud scheme and from undercover FBI agents who were posing as independent filmmakers who wanted changes to California’s film tax credit program.

Calderon’s brother, Thomas M. Calderon, 62, also of Montebello, a former member of the California State Assembly who became a political consultant, pleaded guilty last week to a federal money laundering charge for allowing bribe money earmarked for his brother to be funneled through his firm.

“Public officials who engage in corrupt behavior threaten the basic fabric of our democracy,” said U. S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The Calderons have acknowledged their roles in a bribery scheme in which money for them and their families alone was driving legislation that would have benefited only a few individuals.”

Ronald Calderon is expected to plead guilty to the mail fraud charge this week before U. S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder.

In the plea agreement, Calderon admitted participating in a bribery scheme involving two areas of legislation and the hiring of a staffer at the behest of those paying bribes.

In the first part of the bribery scheme, Calderon took bribes from Michael Drobot, the former owner of Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, which was a major provider of spinal surgeries that were often paid by workers’ compensation programs.

The spinal surgeries are at the center of a massive healthcare fraud scheme that Drobot orchestrated and to which he previously pleaded guilty. Ronald Calderon is not implicated in the healthcare fraud scheme. Drobot was a client of Tom Calderon’s political consulting firm.

California law known as the spinal pass-through legislation allowed a hospital to pass on to insurance companies the full cost it had paid for medical hardware it used during spinal surgeries. As Drobot admitted in court, his hospital exploited this law, typically by using hardware that had been purchased at highly-inflated prices from companies that Drobot controlled and passing this cost along to insurance providers.

Drobot bribed Ronald Calderon so that he would use his public office to preserve this law that helped Drobot maintain a long-running and lucrative healthcare fraud scheme, which included  Calderon asking a fellow senator to introduce legislation favorable to Drobot.

In another part of the bribery scheme, Calderon accepted bribes from people he thought were associated with an independent film studio, but who were in fact undercover FBI agents.

As part of Calderon’s plea agreement, federal prosecutors have agreed not to seek a sentence of more than 70 months in federal prison.

U.S. Supreme Court is due
to issue trio of major decisions

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Supreme Court has just under three weeks left until it is scheduled to recess for the summer, but before that happens the court is expected to rule on high-profile cases regarding affirmative action, immigration and abortion.

Decisions will be handed down in the most important abortion case in almost 25 years, an affirmative action lawsuit accusing a Texas university of discriminating against white applicants, and a challenge to President Barack Obama’s executive order that granted legal status and work permits to four million immigrants in the country illegally.

The outcomes of the cases will directly affect the lives of millions of Americans, but with the court down to just eight justices following the death of Antonin Scalia earlier this year, two of the decisions could get slightly complicated.

Justice Elena Kagan is recused from the affirmative action lawsuit, since she previously worked on it as solicitor general, so a four-judge majority could decide the case. But in the other two cases, a 4-4 ruling would result in a tie, in which case the lower court rulings would stand, essentially giving those courts the final say in the matter.

The immigration case, U.S. v. Texas, centers on an executive order issued by Obama that would effectively halt the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants,  mostly those with children who are legal citizens, and expand a program that allows those under the age of 16 who are in the country illegally to stay.

Texas and 25 other states sued the Obama administration over the action, arguing that the plan is unconstitutional since it conflicts with current federal immigration law. The administration, though, is arguing that the states have no standing to sue, since immigration law falls under the purview of the federal government.

A lower court previously struck down the Obama action as unlawful and issued an injunction on its implementation until the Supreme Court rules in the case.

During oral arguments the country's top court appeared to be divided 4-4. If that split upholds, the lower court ruling would stand, preventing Obama’s plan from taking effect. If the court rules in favor of the Obama administration, which seems unlikely given that the court is divided evenly along ideological lines, the case would be thrown out and the administration could begin implementing the policy.

The abortion case, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, stems from a Texas law passed in 2013 that requires all abortion providers to adhere to the same building standards as outpatient surgical centers. Under the law, doctors at the abortion centers must also have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, nearly 50 kilometers, of their clinic.

Since the law’s passage, the number of abortion clinics in Texas has plummeted from 42 to 19, and abortion activists say the number could drop even lower if the law is fully implemented. Whole Woman’s Health, the plaintiff in the case, claims the requirements are unnecessary and overburdensome. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Texas Health Department of State Health Services, though, argues that the new regulations are necessary to protect the safety of patients seeking abortions.

Since a federal appeals court has already voted to uphold the law, a tie in the Supreme Court would result in the full implementation of the abortion regulations.

The affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas, arose after a white woman, Abigail Fisher, sued the University of Texas claiming the school denied her admission based on her race.

Thanks to an unusual law in Texas, the state grants automatic admission to the top 10 percent of students of each high school to its state university. For about 25 percent of other students, the school bases its acceptance decision on several factors, including the student’s race.

Fisher’s grades weren’t high enough to put her in the top 10 percent of her class, so she couldn’t take advantage of the rule. She was denied admission in 2008, and when she found out the University of Texas admitted minority students with lower grades than hers, she sued the school for race-based discrimination.

The university claims its race-based selection policies are necessary to provide a sufficiently diverse campus community, while Fisher’s attorneys say the 10 percent program is enough to ensure that minorities are included in the selection process.

With Kagan recused from the case, a tie is impossible, so if it is decided along ideological lines, the university policy will be struck down, which could have major ramifications for universities with similar policies around the country.

The court could also rule that it doesn’t have sufficient evidence to rule in the case and send it back down to the circuit court.

NATO to move its troops
to face down the Russians

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization will agree to deploy four international battalions to Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, countries that feel most threatened by Russia, alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday.

“This will send a clear signal that NATO stands ready to defend any ally,” Stoltenberg said ahead of a meeting of alliance defense ministers beginning today in Brussels, where officials are expected to formally approve the deployment plan. Stoltenberg said battalions will work on a rotational basis under the orders of NATO commanders.

The talks come ahead of a NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in July.

Some leaders in the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia say they fear the force NATO plans to deploy is too small to deter an attack by Russia. “We cannot exclude it … they might exercise on the borders and then switch to invasion in hours,” Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas said about the likelihood of Russian aggression in the Baltics.

Ben Hodges, the commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, echoed the Baltic nations' concerns about the strength of NATO's deterrence during a recent visit to the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.

“It’s a transition,” Hodges said. “I hope that includes serious war fighting capabilities. Just putting garrisons of tools sitting in the countries . . . will not deter.” 

There was no immediate reaction from Moscow, whose leaders continuously accuse the alliance of moving more military forces close to its borders and have vowed to do whatever it takes to protect Russia’s national security and interests.

In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on a new national security strategy for Russia that unequivocally identifies NATO as a threat.  Observers said the strategy reflects the deterioration in relations between Russia and the West following Moscow's annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine and its military intervention in Syria.

Rape victim gets sentence
for adultery in Qatar court

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Qatari court on Monday handed down a one-year suspended sentence for adultery to a Dutch woman who was drugged and raped in an upscale Doha night club.

The 22-year-old woman, identified only as Laura, was on vacation at the time of the March 14 incident. When she reported it to Qatari police, she was arrested and had been jailed since then.

In addition to the one-year suspended sentence, the court fined Laura $800. As soon as she pays the fine, she will be deported from the country.

The Dutch ambassador to Qatar Yvette Burghgraef-van Eechoud, who was present in court, told reporters the embassy would help Laura leave Qatar.

"We will do everything to get her out of the country as soon as possible to where she wants to go," Eechoud said.

The woman’s attacker, identified as Omar Abdullah al-Hasan, was convicted of having sex outside of marriage, which is illegal in Qatar. He was given a sentence of 100 lashes for adultery and another 40 lashes for drinking alcohol. While alcohol is available at high-end hotels in Qatar, it is illegal for residents of the country to drink it without their employers' permission.

Laura is expected to return to the Netherlands within the next few days.

Values and freedoms facing
attacks, says U.N. rights chief

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Human rights values and freedoms are under attack throughout the world, according to Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights.  In an opening speech to the 32nd session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, he outlined a number of pressing human rights concerns he said could have been prevented.

The filthy abuse by politicians of the vulnerable is leading to escalating violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, warned Zeid, adding that the laws, institutions and values which bind people together are buckling.

Zeid said hate is becoming mainstream, walls are being erected and barriers of suspicion are rising as clampdowns on public freedoms grow.  He said the world is witness to every kind of horror imaginable on a daily basis.

“I also condemn with the greatest possible force the outrageous attacks by violent extremists on innocent people, chosen at random, or because of their presumed beliefs, or opinions, or as we saw yesterday, their sexual orientation,” Zeid said. 

Around 50 people were killed and 53 wounded by a gunman Sunday in a nightclub frequented by lesbian and gay people in Orlando, Florida. 

Zeid said he is concerned about the high incidence of gun violence.

“The Americas have by far the highest rate of intentional homicide of any region in the world.  Many of these crimes can be linked to organized criminal gangs, which also drive corruption of the judiciary and other institutions,” Zeid said.

Big question after Orlando:
Is prevention possible?

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Attacks like Sunday's mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, bring public shock and frustration along with a return to questions about what the government can do to prevent something similar from happening again.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was aware of Omar Mateen, who perpetrated the attack, and interviewed him in 2013 and 2014. But an official said investigators found no evidence of criminal activity.

Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, said the agency will likely spend the coming days reviewing why Mateen's case was closed, and whether that was the appropriate action.

"The issue, as always, becomes when a person goes from radical thought to actual action, and that’s what the FBI is trying to grapple with right now," Hughes said in an interview. "They have a thousand active investigations in all 50 states and have to make the determination of when is somebody just spouting their mouth off and when they’re actually going to make the violent leap into militancy.”

Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum, said it is difficult for authorities to keep track of potential violent extremists because they do not necessarily have a criminal record or associate with people who are committing violence.

"I dubbed this many years ago the 'Sudden Jihad Syndrome,'" he said.  "Sudden in the sense that there’s no warning from the outside. Someone who in this case is a security guard who had a 3-year-old child, who had seemed to be integrated and living a normal life, can have ideas in his head that will cause him to erupt in this way and start massacring people."

The Orlando shooter claimed allegiance to Islamic State in a phone call to emergency services, while the militant group used its media outlet to claim the attack was carrying out by one of its fighters.

Marielle Harris, a senior researcher at the Counter Extremism Project, said it is unclear yet how much direct support the shooter may have had. But she said the situation was mutually beneficial, with Mateen able to act on behalf of a powerful organization and Islamic State getting to claim an attack that has dominated Western media. She said it is important to look at the internet's role in radicalization, adding that social media companies need to be much more proactive.

"We don’t know how active Omar Mateen was on social media, but we can guess that he was radicalized online," Ms. Harris said. "He had never been to ISIS-controlled territory. He was born in New York. He lived most of his life in Florida. So, really, where do people get information these days? It’s on the internet. Where are they self-radicalizing?  It’s on the internet."

Harris also stressed that in addition to visible interactions, another major issue is extremists connecting on Facebook or Twitter and then moving to encrypted platforms that are much harder to trace. She highlighted her organization’s initiative that uses the hashtag #CEPDigitalDisruption to flag extremist accounts for removal. It monitors posts in English, French, German, Turkish and Arabic.

"We really do need to keep an eye on these extremists and see just how they're radicalizing online because that's half of the battlefield," Ms. Harris said.

Any discussion of monitoring online activities, particularly those of Americans, also brings with it the debate about the needs to ensure security while also respecting privacy.

“It’s a very difficult balancing act," Hughes said. "The issue becomes: As a public we can’t expect the FBI or law enforcement to have a 100 percent success rate. It’s just unrealistic. You’re going to have a number of people who make a jump into violence that you’re not going to be able to stop, and that’s the nature of living in a free society."

Pipes said relying on police is not the best method for combating Islamist extremists, and the focus should instead be on countering "these horrifying ideas with better ones."

"It’s not about guns, it’s not about poverty, it’s not about mental illness. It’s about a body of ideas, a very ugly body of ideas like fascism, communism, now this Islamism," he said. "We need to focus on this. We will not solve this problem until we deal with this ugly body of ideas."

Obama says overseas ties
lacking in Florida shooting

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday there is no clear evidence that the shooter who carried out the biggest mass killing in the country's history at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, was directed by an overseas terrorist group.

"It appears the shooter was informed by extremist information disseminated over the internet," Obama told reporters at the White House.

He said the shooter, Omar Saddiqui Mateen, a 29-year-old American Muslim born to Afghan parents, represented a "kind of homegrown extremism that we've been concerned about for a long time."

But, Obama said, "It does appear that at the last minute he announced allegiance" to the Islamic State group in calls to Orlando's 911 emergency line.

Obama said law enforcement officials are still at the preliminary stage of their investigation and that there is still "a lot more that we have to learn."

Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey said, "We're going through the killer's life," including his use of internet.

Late Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama will travel to Orlando Thursday “to pay his respects to victims' families, and to stand in solidarity with the community as they embark on their recovery.”

Obama, speaking the day after 49 people were gunned down at the Pulse nightclub and another 53 were wounded, said the shooter legally bought the weapons used in the attack. He said one of the weapons used in the rampage was "a handgun with a lot of clips."

Authorities said Mateen, who was later killed by police, sprayed round after round at late-night revelers in the club with a semi-automatic rifle.

"It was not difficult for him to obtain these kinds of weapons," said Obama, who has unsuccessfully fought for tighter gun laws in the U.S. "This is going to be something we have to grapple with."

Mateen’s rampage was interrupted by an off-duty and armed police officer who was working security at the club. They exchanged shots.

He said the U.S. is so lax in the ease with which disturbed people bent on carrying out armed mayhem can purchase weapons.

Authorities in Orlando said they are working on a hundred leads to try to determine if the suspected shooter at a gay nightclub had help in carrying out the attack.

"There may be prosecutions down the road," FBI agent Paul Wysopal told reporters.

Authorities said that during his attack on the club, Mateen called the Orlando emergency line and vowed fealty to Islamic State and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and also referenced the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people.

U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley said that others who may have had connections to Mateen are being investigated, but that there is no reason to believe the public may be in further danger.

The FBI twice in recent years questioned Mateen about possible connections with terrorist groups but found nothing to warrant any charges.

Theme parks in the Orlando area are, nevertheless, stepping up security in the wake of the attack.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said officials have identified all but one of the 49 victims and so far have been able to reach half of their families to let them know of the deaths of their loved ones. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said many of the victims were residents of Puerto Rico, a U.S. island territory off the southeastern U.S. coast and a short flight from Florida.
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Container homes
New shipping containers for sale:
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We also have a 40-ft. HQ Shipping Container Home
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Office phone: 506-2446-0543
Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090


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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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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
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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)

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!

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

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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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, June 14, 2016, 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
hosptial tower
Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social photo
A view of the new tower

Nicoya hospital tower now in service

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The new tower at the Hospital La Anexión in Nicoya has gone into operation.

The  Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social facility services much of the Nicoya peninsula. 

The new tower provides 31 more beds as well as a dialysis unit, a pharmacy and a social work facility.

The hospital also is adding 48 new positions, said the Caja.

The dialysis unit is important because the hospital provides that service to some of the victims of the mystery kidney ailment that has been affecting mostly younger men on the Pacific coast of the Isthmus.

Rain expected to return today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

More rain is predicted for this afternoon after many in the Central Valley got a break Monday.

Despite cloudy and threatening skies, the usual afternoon downpours did not develop.

Today the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional says that on the Pacific coast in the Central Valley and in the nation’s mountains afternoon rain is likely.

The rain likely will be accompanied by wind gusts, the forecast said. The northern zone and the Caribbean will get the same in the coastal mountains, said the institute.

The instability in the atmosphere is due to a low pressure system that moved north from the Gulf of Panamá. The weather agency has been warnings about slides and flooding.

Student groups say they will march

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A coalition of student federations at public universities will march on Casa Presidencial Thursday for what organizers said was to defend their just budgets.

Like all public bodies, the universities may be facing austerity measures because of the growing national deficit.

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From Page 7:

School vacation and its tourism bump near

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The public school mid-year vacation is just three weeks away, and that means an additional, although smaller, tourism period.

Plenty of parents arrange their vacations to coincide with when school is out. Many private schools that are on the Costa Rican calendar also will be having time off around the same period.

For public schools, the official start is Monday, July 4, but that means the real start is at the end of classes the proceeding Friday. Classes resume July 18.

Already public and private organizations that plan activities for children during this period are beginning to advertise. This and the month after Christmas are good times for them because some parents dig down to find money to give enrichment activities for children. These include athletics, art and languages.

The Museo Nacional and the Museo de los Niños will be announcing their programs soon.

One advantage of the vacation, even for those without children, is that the downtown license plate restrictions usually are eased because the traffic is lighter.