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  Published Thursday Edition
June 15, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 118
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BREAKING: Sharon Day nominated to be
the new U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica

UPDATED: 11:50 a.m.
By Conor Golden,
News Editor of A.M. Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica confirmed from officials at the White House that U.S. President Donald Trump has nominated Sharon Day for the post U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica.

Ms. Day is a former co-chair of the Republican National Committee being first elected back in 2011.

According to a statement provided by the Office of the Press Secretary, she has served the Republican Party at state, local and national levels for more than 20 years as well as being an active political commentator and columnist.

“Earlier in her career, she was the chief executive officer and vice president of Marketing of Stop Loss International, a general managing underwriter and reinsurance company, headquartered in Indianapolis,” a statement from the Trump administration said.

“Ms. Day has also been active in community service, including as housing authority chair for the Broward County Housing Authority and as commissioner on the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.”

Sharon Day
Republican National Committee photo    
Sharon Day, the nominee for ambassador.

Ms. Day resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but was originally born in Texas, the RNC said.

Ms. Day will replace S. Fitzgerald Haney as Costa Rica ambassador. Haney is a businessman from New Jersey who held the post since 2015.

Haney was allowed to stay on as ambassador after Trump was elected, even though many other Barack Obama appointees were required to leave their posts on Inauguration Day.

More information will be provided as it comes.

EARTH University
EARTH University courtesy photo
Aerial photo of the EARTH University campus in Limón.
U.S. donates $1.3 million towards tropical research
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With the aim to protect a biological station and provide more students from all across the world with the opportunity to study agricultural sciences, the United States Embassy donated $1.3 million to the Organización de Estudios Tropicales and the Escuela de Agricultura de la Región del Trópico Húmedo, also known as EARTH.

The money comes from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Hospitals and American Schools Abroad foundation.

"These two institutions have a long history of working together with students, professors and institutions in the United States,” S. Fitzgerald Haney, the U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica, said. “It is a sign of my country's desire to continue this close relationship in the future.”

In the case of the Organización de Estudios Tropicales, this is the first time it receives funds from the Hospitals and American Schools Abroad Foundation. From the total amount, the organization will receive $621,000 which will used to optimize La Selva Biological Station. 

Thus, the money will be invested in highly efficient air conditioners, solar water heaters, photovoltaic panels, double-pane doors and windows, LED lighting, sanitary services and reduced water consumption lavatories, according to Liana Babar, the general director of the Organización.

The return on that investment will be measured in the reduction of energy, water and other resources consumption.

Afterwards, the organization plans to disseminate the sustainable construction model and educate visitors, users of the facilities, neighboring communities and the rest of the country, explained Babar.

The Organización para Estudios Tropicales is a consortium of approximately 55 universities and research institutions in the United States, Costa Rica and other countries of the world, whose mission is to provide leadership in education, research and responsible use of natural resources in the tropics.

On the other side, the EARTH receives $700,000 to build more dormitories on its campus in Guácimo and La Flor, both in the province of Limón.

This will allow more foreign students to be part of the short-term residency programs,

"For more than a decade, ASHA has supported the education we provide to young entrepreneurs from around the world,”  said Daniel Sherrard,  provost of Earth University.

EARTH University is a private institution dedicated to an environmentally and socially-conscious education in science, technology and entrepreneurship. It is located in Guácimo, Limón.

Caja in desperate need of regular blood donations
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social really wants your blood. At least that is the impression as of late based on recent statements from the organization.

The problem stems from a desperate need for plasma for transfusions, surgeries and all number of medical emergencies and a serious shortage both in blood and in willing donors.

“The only way to ensure the continuity and safety of blood transfusions is to create a culture of blood donation that will consolidate a large and permanent group of volunteer donors,” the Caja said.

This comes in the context with Wednesday being World Blood Donor Day.

According to Dr. María Eugenia Villalta, the medical manager for the Caja, there is scientific evidence from the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization that voluntary unpaid blood donation is the safest as it guarantees a regular and reliable amount.

“Our aspiration is precisely that: to consolidate a true group of voluntary donors of blood that allow us to maintain a safe reserve of this tissue that is not bought nor sold. It is given and is donated,” she said.

According to the Banco Nacional de Sangre, 32,000 donors must give blood each year to stabilize supply.

To accomplish this, the bank is going directly to companies, communities and organizations every day Monday thru Sunday.
If each person donates blood every three or four months, then the urgent calls for donations to prevent a crisis would not be necessary, Dr. Villalta explained.

Dr. Dany Cabezas, a physician at the blood bank, noted that, in the past, blood was bought from people.

However, Cabezas was emphatic that this form of donation posed a serious risk as mostly very poor people who often suffered from alcoholism or were drug addicts were the donors.

This posed a serious to danger to people receiving a transfusion, Cabezas said. It is for that reason that the practice was pitched in Costa Rica.The new motto for the Caja is: donate blood, donate now, donate more.

Unfortunately, this only applies to those expats who can give proof of residency; something more than a passport and a tourist stamp.

At the same time, officials recommend that persons encourage others to donate who can and are able.

Not everyone can donate but everyone could benefit from a transfusion if the situation required it.

The Banco Nacional del Sangre is located in Zapote relatively close to the local Correos building and Registro Nacional.

Their regularly-scheduled hours are from around 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday thru Thursday. Hours change on Friday and Saturday. The building is closed on Sunday.

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Published || Thursday Edition, June 15, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 118
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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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New bill softens divorce requirements

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new bill proposed by the Frente Amplio political party would soften the current requirements to file a divorce, by creating a new reason to call for the dissolution of marriage.

That new reason is called imposibilidad de la vida común and it would speed up the separation process to avoid a great deal of pain and suffering in the families, according to its proponent the legislator Edgardo Araya. U.S. divorcees would recognize that reason by its English comparative: irreconcilable differences.

According to the current family laws, when one spouse no longer wishes to live with the other one, he or she must signed a mutually-agreed divorce of one of the parties to separate for three years.

“This situation forces many people to stay in a marriage for years and that's very contradictory, since  the whole idea of  marriage is that both people desire to keep their bond,” said Araya. “However, even if the bond ceases to exist, the marriage continues under the current legislation.”

“The bill seeks to add new grounds for divorce. The possibility for one of the parties to attain his or her right to a divorce on the basis that the common life is no longer possible. The lack of this possibility   generates legal problems with great implications for society," Araya added.

Another problem of the current law arises when the person who must leave the house loses all rights of the assets bought together and just at the end of the three years period he or she may claim property over those assets. 

In other words, if the divorcing spouse leaves the house for three years, even if they are owner of the property, they forfeit all rights of ownership.

“This could make it difficult to divorce because of economic dependency. People then sustain a coexistence, which is to some extent forced," Araya said.

In its introduction the bill explains that the current situation generates inequalities and it violates  the legal principle of autonomy of the will, for it forces a person to stay in a marriage, even though their willingness to do so has changed .

According to data from the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones, in 2017, 45 percent of all marriages end up in a divorce. The data also shows that 43 percent of marriage will last less than 10 years before filing for divorce.

Since this bill has recently been introduced, not much action has occurred on it yet due to the slowness of the legislative system. It could be right to assume that some political parties have not or will not examine the nature of the legislation until it moves further up the legislative food chain.

Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo             
Aerial dancers with the Taller Nacional de Danza perform.

Dance workshop hosts weekend shows

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

More than 150 students of the Taller Nacional de Danza will hit the stage of the Teatro Popular Melico Salazar this upcoming weekend for the Muestra Coreográfica 2017.

The set will include more than 20 productions of contemporary dance, jazz, Afro-Caribbean dance, ballet, hip-hop, flamenco, aerial dance and Costa Rican folk dancing, according to the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

“Three days of great joy, seeing the students who have been with us for a long time and see their progress as well as the new members who joined and are learning the tools in dance, is reason enough to be satisfied and continue with this job,” Ivonne Durán, the director of the Taller Nacional de Danza.

The dance workshop offers free courses for the public from children to adults, the ministry said. The purpose of the upcoming shows is to have students receive as complete an experience as possible, the Taller said.

Students will be introduced beginning this Friday at 7 p.m., on Saturday at 3 and 7 p.m., and then Sunday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. , organizers said. Tickets cost 5,000 colons and are available for purchase in the theater’s ticket office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Interested attendees wanting to purchase should know only cash will be accepted, the theater said.

Bus strike comes to halt on Wednesday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

All the Uruca neighbors, as well as those from Barrio Escalante, Barrio México and Barrio La Cruz had their bus line services resumed as of Wednesday at 10 a.m., once the strike imposed by the companies Gulial and Biusa came to a halt.

According to Alfredo Villalobos, spokesperson of the companies, the return to business is temporary and they may stop the service again if their demands are not met by the government in the short term.

“We are fighting against the bureaucracy that keeps us in this problematic financial situation,” he said. “We need authorities to help us have a profitable business and pay attention to us for once and all.”

On Tuesday, the aforementioned companies paralyzed their service in order to demand a hike in the bus fares. According to one of their official statements, they are about to go into bankruptcy because the current methodology does not cover their operational expenses.

The representatives of the companies want the government to approve an emergency hike in the bus fares as they think that's a possibility granted under the law. However, authorities deny that such a thing is possible. The Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos confirmed on Wednesday the company has not presented any request for a hike in the fares since 2011.

The Autoridad also said prior paper work presented by Biusa and Guilial this year does not comply with the requirement to start a study of the fares.

In Costa Rica, bus lines are granted through a concession by the Consejo de Transporte Público but the fares are calculated by the Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos.

The Consejo has also said the have the legal power to retire the concession from the companies and give them to another operator, should a new case like that arrives. They will also start the process to fine the company for the damages caused to the riders.

During the morning, private cars offered transportation services in the communities affected. They charged from 500 to 1,000 colones per person for a trip to San José downtown.

The Defensoría de los Habitantes, through a brief press release, said the measures taken by the company are unacceptable. The Defensoría works as the country’s ombudsman. 

U.S. helicopters assist Caja engineers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With the help of two U.S helicopters of Joint Task Force Bravo, a team of specialists in engineering and architecture from the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social, toured the Talamanca area, in the province of Limón, at the point where two new headquarters of the social security system will be built.

According to Paquita González, director of special projects for Caja, the aircraft and their crew collaborated with the first exploratory tour, which also included representatives of the construction company.

During the trip, the group determined the type of helicopters that will be required for the transportation of the construction material, what the unloading places will be as well as the landing space of the helicopters landing place of the helicopters.

The new headquarters are part of a plan to provide better health care to the indigenous population especially those in Bajo Blay and Piedra Mesa, in the district of Telire.

From June 26 to the 30 four helicopters facilitated by the government of the United States, will have the mission to help with the transportation of zinc sheets, pipes, cement, water tanks and wood. The investment is estimated at $2.5 million.

Both properties will be visited periodically and will house an observation area, regular care office, dentistry, nursing, first aids, vaccination and waiting area. In addition, the investment will help provide housing for doctors and nurses, and also for relatives of patients who need to spend the night over.

Ms. Gonzáles also said that health education will be a very strong component in this project, that’s why the place will include a classroom.

In the case of toilettes, these will rather ecological latrines designed with a special system for waste disposal. Due to indigenous customs, it will be located outside the building.

There will also be ecological water treatment, solar panels and low-power consumption  equipment, explained Ms. González.

She also said that populations of Piedra Mesa and Bajo Blay have a very difficult access by walking, which could take up to six. It is estimated that about 1,700 people live there.

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U.S. Tax
Published || Thursday Edition, June 15, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 118
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Cartago historic site, Sanatorio Durán, receives some renovation
By Conor Golden, News Editor of A.M. Costa Rica

This morning, the restored kitchen and dining hall of the former Sanatorio Durán Cartín will be put on display in an inauguration that began as part of the Salvemos Nuestro Patrimonio Histórico Arquitectónico contest.

The heritage center’s director, William Monge, as well as the architects who presented the project for consideration as a restoration project will be in attendance at the ceremony. The restoration is expected to give viewers a window into the past as to what this famous building looked like while still in operation.

Nestled in the highlands overlooking Cartago, the former sanitarium for tuberculosis patients has been quiet for nearly 50 years if one does not choose to believe in ghosts or the supernatural.

Sanatorio Durán is considered a national heritage site. The Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural of the cultural ministry maintains responsibility for the property.

To get to the site, one can either drive up through the mountains or take the Tierras Blancas bus route that provides a direct drop-off at the sanitarium and picks back up every hour. The price for the ride is around 545 colons. The price to enter the facilities is 1,200 colons a person.

Durán is called one of the most haunted places in both Costa Rica and Latin America by some. The sanitarium was featured on the U.S.-based paranormal TV series “Ghost Hunters” at one point. That is the legend surrounding the place, but it is facts that bring context to how that legend was established in the mindset of people.

Costa Rican physician and one-time president Carlos Durán Cartín, the namesake for the place, founded the first sanitarium for treating tuberculosis in Central America within sight of the Volcán Irazú. It may have seemed necessary to the doctor considering his daughter suffered from the disease as well. The location seemed to be a sensible choice.

Higher up in the mountains and in the cooler, crisp climate that defines Cartago apart from the rest of the country, the clean air around the area would be a welcome relief to anyone suffering from the scourge of tuberculosis.

The disease, although still potentially fatal in modern times, now faces the arsenal of modern medicine and antibiotic treatment to stop it. However, at the time of the facility’s founding in 1915, prolonged rest in clean air was the cure.
Refurbished Durán
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
Part of the newly refurbished section of the sanitarium.

Roman Catholic nuns with training in nursing made up the majority of the on-site staff at the facility. Around 300 beds were made ready for patients until the 1970s, when the sanitarium closed for good.

Back of Durán
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Conor Golden
Sanitorio Durán as seen from the back. Refurbished area toward far right of the photo.

It is after the closing of the ward that local stories start to creep through the open, glassless windows and doors. One tells a story of the spirit of one of the nuns who still patrols the gloomy third floor of the facility. Then there are also the patients who never left the care center alive and are rumored to still dwell in the now-abandoned, slowly dilapidating buildings.

Pride Month continues with array of activities celebrating LGBTIQ
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Pride Month and the Festival Diversidad is hosting a wide variety of activities and commemorations beyond the June 25 Marcha de la Diversidad along San José’s Paseo Colón.

Three talks are being scheduled at the Árbol de Seda restaurant in Barrio Escalante with the first one beginning today at 5:30 p.m. under the theme “Bisexualidad Invisible.”

The next two will be at 6 p.m. on June 21 and 28 discussing the issues of disability in relation to sexual orientation as well as LGBTIQ issues in the upcoming elections, according to a statement by the Frente por los Derechos Igualitarios.

The last discussion will be at Barrio Amón’s TEOR/éTica at 6:30 p.m. That site is also playing host to an open exhibition on the history of the Costa Rican LGBTIQ movement, the group said.

Vamos a besarnos, or “Let’s kiss” in English, will remain open to the public until July 7. TEOR/éTica will then feature a series of themed films at the Centro Costarricense de Producción Cinematográfica.

“Diversidad is created as a pilot plan to see and reflect on different approaches to the cinema about sexual diversity, especially the ones that tell us the stories of rebellion and resistance to a soceity where the struggles of the LGBTIQ community have been diluted in memory,” Amanda Castro, one of the producers for the series, said.

The series premieres begins this Saturday at 1 p.m. with the Brazilian documentary “As cores da rua” followed by a forum presided by transgender women from Puntarenas, organizers said. It will also feature two U.S. films “Paris is burning” and “Moonlight.”

The climax of all these events is the diversity march in front of the centro colon, the Frente said. Organizers said that the parade starts at noon June 25.

“With the Festival San José Diversa, we want to offer a great variety of cultural activities in this month of diversity and pride,” José Daniel Clarke Caamaño, one of the organizers said. “From conversations to movies to the historical exposition of LGBTI movements, the Festival San José Diversa complements the Marcha de la Diversidad.”

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

Published || Thursday Edition, June 15, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 118
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Fossil leads to potential mammal migration route through Costa Rica
By the University of Buffalo press staff

Late in the afternoon on a hot March day in central México, a paleontologist uncovered a jawbone and called over to Jack Tseng.

Tseng, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, was on the dig researching intercontinental immigration of fossil mammals.

“I thought it was a badger,” Tseng said, “but a colleague on the site had just finished a study of otters, and he said it was sea otter-like. But what would a sea otter be doing in central Mexico?”

Turns out the otter, from about 6 million years ago, may have been part of an immigration event from Florida to California. Based on the discovery, Tseng and his colleagues have written a paper published June 13 in the journal Biology Letters. They propose a new east-west passage for the otter, and potentially other mammals, along the northern edge of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt, which runs across the country at the latitude of Mexico City.

Like many breakthroughs, this one came from a fortunate tiny detail. The jawbone held several teeth.

“One tooth was a lower first molar, the most diagnostic tooth in a carnivore,” Tseng said. “If we are lucky enough to find a fossil molar tooth that is complete, there is a lot of useful information.”

The tooth was almost identical to a tooth from another Enhydritherium terraenovae, an ancient sea otter, fossil found in Florida. Similar finds had only been made along the coasts, in Florida and California, but paleontologists did not know how the animals got across the continent.

One hypothesis was that they moved up and around through northern Canada, an 8,000 kilometer trip. Another was they made it down past Costa Rica to Panamá and crossed over to the west.

The possibility of an east-west migratory route in México in the Miocene geologic epoch, roughly 23 million to 5.3 million years ago, has implications for a much larger biologic event: the Great American Biotic Interchange, when land bridges were formed and animals dispersed to and from North America and South America.

It shows that the region’s fossil sites could have recorded details of this biological interchange of historic proportions.

“Compared to the U.S., Mexico is a blank slate in terms of paleontology,” Tseng said. The region is difficult to work in because of the topography and flora, like cactus. So not many long-term field projects exist there.

Adolfo Pacheco-Castro, a PhD student at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Centro de Geociencias, and an author of the study, found the jawbone at the dig site in the Juchipila Basin, about 535 miles southeast of Laredo, Texas.

Ancient otter tooth
University of Buffalo courtesy photo
The notorious tooth fossil in question.

The bone was taken to the university in México, cleaned off and studied.

“We compared it to the original tooth from Florida, based on the cusps and the size, it couldn’t be anything else,” Tseng said. The fossils in Florida are older than those in California, so researchers speculate that migrations went east to west.

But why did they travel at all?

“Animals tend to expand their range when and where there is opportunity,” Tseng said.

“As in when there is a geographic connection to suitable habitats. So as populations expand their range, they can move across a continent, or even between continents.”

The Miocene-Pliocene transitional period was a time of disturbance, Tseng said. The plains of America would have been like Africa, with many large mammals. But the first ice age was approaching.

Many large mammals perished in the ice age from environmental and anthropogenic causes, but relatives of the smaller Enhydritherium, about the size of a small to medium dog, survived into modern times and still live around central México today.

Tseng said he expects some people will not agree with the new interpretation of an east-west corridor through México for other mammals. But more research may confirm it.

“We are aware it is a single discovery,” he said.

“It essentially opens up a can of worms. We are throwing a different factor in. We now have a connection between Florida and California, and it’s not in a straight line.”

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Published || Thursday Edition, June 15, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 118
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Costa Rica to attend meeting
as U.S. seeks regional team

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Senior American officials say the United States will signal strong commitment to Central America when top leaders from the region gather in Miami this week, despite a 2018 budget that proposes a significant cut in aid to those countries.

The Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America, opening Thursday, will focus on economic, governance and security challenges in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

The two-day meeting will draw government and business leaders from the United States, México, Central America and other countries. The American delegation will include Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. They will join the presidents of the Northern Triangle countries: El Salvador's Salvador Sánchez Cerén, Guatemala's Jimmy Morales and Honduras' Juan Orlando Hernández and México's foreign secretary, Luis Videgaray.

The goal is to build a broader partnership while seeking stronger and better integration of security, economic and social development issues, said William Brownfield, assistant secretary of State for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs.

Leaders will discuss how to combat transnational crime and drug trafficking, foster economic growth and promote the rule of law, U.S. officials said.

Central America has become a major transit corridor for illegal drugs and a significant source of irregular migration to the United States, the Congressional Research Service acknowledged in a report released last week.

"We want to mobilize the international community to demonstrate its commitment to confronting the shared challenges we face in the region," said John Creamer, a deputy assistant secretary of state who oversees Cuba, México, Central America and Western Hemisphere issues.

Representatives of Belize, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the European Union, Nicaragua, Panamá and Spain also are invited to the Miami gathering.

The Trump administration has requested $460 million in assistance for the Northern Triangle in fiscal 2018, down more than 30 percent from its current $655 million allocation but still a substantial amount of money, Creamer said.

Since fiscal 2016, Congress has appropriated $1.4 billion to implement U.S. strategy in Central America, the service reported.

Advocates worry the proposed cut would negatively affect Northern Triangle economies, security and migration.

The U.S. is sending a mixed message to the region in U.S. involvement in addressing the challenges facing Central America, said Adriana Beltran, a senior associate for advocacy group Washington Office on Latin America.

Senior U.S. officials say the proposed budget cut does not reflect reduced commitment to the region but instead a desire to get maximum value for the dollars allocated.

President Donald Trump is to unveil a revised policy on Cuba in the coming days that would roll back parts of former President Barack Obama's efforts to normalize relations. The changes may include restrictions on those who travel to and do business with the island nation, whose leaders were not invited to the regional conference.

U.S. media reports have predicted Trump will announce the Cuba policy changes Friday in Miami, but White House officials have declined to confirm such a trip.

The Trump administration has stressed the need to work with Central America on curbing illegal immigration, drug trafficking and transnational crime.

Last month in Washington, Tillerson and Kelly met with their Mexican counterparts. Tillerson said the U.S. would continue to partner with México to disrupt and destroy transnational criminal organizations that enable drug trafficking.

On Friday, the conference moves to the U.S. Southern Command in Doral, Florida, where Kelly, who previously served as SOUTHCOM commander, will host talks on regional security.

"While the United States is indeed the magnet that feeds drug smuggling through Central and South America, it is mostly our friends in Mexico and to the south that feel the brunt of the violence and the crime," Kelly said last month.

Pence also will participate in bilateral meetings with the Northern Triangle leaders.

Scientists find weakness
in malaria parasite's armor

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Researchers have identified an Achilles heel in the malaria parasite; a weakness that could stop the mosquito-borne infection in its tracks. The discovery offers the possibility of a cure, as well as a way to halt transmission.

The malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, uses a protein to infect red blood cells. By blocking the protein, called PfAP2-I, the malaria parasite can't enter the cells where it replicates billions of times before bursting forth into the bloodstream, according to researchers.

The hallmark symptoms of malaria, including high fever and chills, come in waves every 48 hours, which is every time the parasite reproduces. Halting the so-called invasion phase, according to lead researcher Manuel Llinas, could potentially stop the infection.

Llinas and his colleagues at Pennsylvania State University have identified and characterized PfAP2-I, finding that it regulates more than 150 parasitic genes, nearly 20 percent of which are known to be involved in red cell invasion.

The protein appears to hold the key to activating those parasitic genes, allowing them to gain a foothold during a critical stage of infection. The findings are reported in the journal “Cell Host” and “Microbe.”

For the past 50 years, Llinas said, researchers have been trying to find a way to attack the invasion phase, typically with vaccines aimed at harnessing the immune system.

Because the parasite has dozens of mechanisms to pull itself into red cells after attaching to their surface, it is hard raise an immune response to block them all, according to Llinas.

P. falciparum has also shown resistance to virtually all malaria drugs. Llinas said the next step is to develop a drug that targets the parasitic protein.

In addition to a possible cure, an agent that targets PfAP2-I has the potential to break the transmission cycle, since there would few, if any, daughter parasites in the bloodstream to infect biting mosquitoes.

There are an estimated 212 million cases of malaria each year, and the disease kills 429,000 people.

Australia settles lawsuit
with detained refugees

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Australian government has agreed to pay more than $50 million to settle a lawsuit brought by nearly 2,000 asylum-seekers who claim to have suffered psychological and physical abuse while being held at a remote Pacific detention center.

The lawsuit was brought by 1,905 men were held at the Manus Island center in Papua New Guinea between 2012 and 2014. The group was seeking compensation from Australia and two private contractors who operated the center over the harsh conditions there, as well as false imprisonment after Papua New Guinea's Supreme Court ruled their detention was unconstitutional.

The Australian government and the contractors have also agreed to pay another $26 million in legal fees, but will not admit to liability.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton issued a statement calling the settlement a prudent outcome for Australian taxpayers. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say the money will be distributed according to length of their detention and the nature of their injuries.

Under a strict immigration policy, Australia blocks asylum-seekers from the Middle East, Africa and Asia from reaching its shores by boat, sending them to Manus Island and another center on the Pacific island nation of Nauru. The policy has come under fire from the United Nations and human rights groups over the indefinite detention of the refugees, who have reportedly suffered abuse and emotional issues.

Australia and the United States reached an agreement late last year, under which most of the detainees would be resettled in the U.S. in exchange for Australia receiving refugees from Central America and detained in Costa Rica.

Top House Republican shot
during baseball shootout

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A hospital in Washington, D.C., says the Republican congressman shot and wounded early Wednesday at a congressional baseball practice is in critical condition following surgery.

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House majority whip, was at MedStar Washington after being shot in the hip on the baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, across the river from Washington.

Several other people were wounded when an attacker with a handgun and a rifle fired on Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game scheduled to take place Thursday in the nation's capital.

The gunman, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, was wounded by Capitol Police and later died. He fired repeatedly at the men on the baseball field before police were able to return fire.

Also wounded by the gunman were a Capitol Police officer, a congressional aide and a lobbyist. Authorities say there is no clear motive yet for the shooting. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it is actively looking into Hodgkinson's associations and social media postings.

Congressman Jeff Duncan told police that Hodgkinson approached him in the parking lot before the shooting and asked if the men practicing were Republicans or Democrats.

Some of Hodgkinson's social media posts lashed out at President Donald Trump. Hodgkinson also was a volunteer with Senator Bernie Sanders' Democratic presidential campaign.

Sanders said he is sickened by the shooting, and that violence of any kind is unacceptable.

There were about 20 congressmen on the field. The lawmakers hit the ground or ducked behind trees and shelters when Hodgkinson opened fire, apparently without warning; as many as 20 shots were fired. There was extra security at the practice because of Scalise's high position in the Republican Party. He is accompanied by Capitol Police at all times.

The lawmakers on the scene praised Capitol and Alexandria Police, saying if security had not been so tight, there could have been a bloodbath.

Fellow Republican Congressman Mo Brooks told CNN the security detail exhibited great, great courage.

Republican Brad Wenstrup, who was a combat surgeon in Iraq, treated some of the wounded before they were taken to the hospital.

Sen. Jeff Flake said an officer who had been shot ran around quite a while with a wound while firing at the gunman.

Scalise is majority whip in the House of Representatives, a leadership position that ensures discipline and rallies votes within the party.

Trump visited Scalise on Wednesday night at the hospital where he is being treated.

Scalise is a friend and he is a patriot who will recover, Trump said earlier in the day. He said the shootings are a reminder for all citizens to overcome the political polarization that has gripped Washington and the rest of the nation.

"We may have our differences, but we do well, in times like these, to remember that everyone who serves in our nation's capital is here because, above all, they love our country," Trump said.

The managers of the Democratic and Republican charity baseball teams say Thursday's game will go on as scheduled. Pennsylvania Democrat Mike Doyle said when U.S. leadership is civil, maybe the American people and the media will be, too.

Republican Joe Barton of Texas, whose 10-year-old son witnessed the shooting, lamented a political climate in which he said lawmakers are not looked at as people anymore. He cited shouting and insults thrown at lawmakers during town-hall meetings with citizens.

Lawmakers from both parties said it should not take an incident like Wednesday's shooting to bring political adversaries together.

Britain’s Labour surge takes
inspiration from U.S., France

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As the political instability in Britain continues, pollsters say last week’s election appears to have marked a watershed moment. Young people voted in big numbers with some estimates suggesting turnout soared from 44 percent in 2015 to as much as 72 percent this year and most voted for the left-wing Labour party. Activists say they have taken inspiration from other political movements across the globe.

Ben Noble and James Fox work at a radio station in Brighton. Outside work hours, they are committed Labour party activists. They’re celebrating a big win.

The Labour candidate in Brighton Kemptown beat the incumbent Conservative MP by some 10,000 votes, or a 10 percent swing. Pollsters say the youth vote was behind Labour’s surge. Ben Noble said the election has destroyed myths about young people.

“It’s simply not true that the young vote are uninformed or ignorant. In fact maybe we’re more engaged than anyone else because we see news through Facebook and Twitter,” he said.

In the social media battle, Labour crushed its rivals. Of the top 100 shared political news stories, just five were pro-Conservative. Many youth activists took inspiration from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign in the United States to become the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential candidate. Labour activist James Fox says he narrowly lost to former U.S. secretary of State Hillary Clinton but galvanized left-leaning, young voters.

“I’d never been involved with an election campaign. And seeing the Bernie campaign, how that worked, I was like, I know if it’s going to happen that’s the only way I can make it happen,” he said.

Noble said younger people have watched the rise of global right-wing politics with alarm.

“There’s a sense of urgency as well because we saw what happened in America. A lot of us didn’t like it. We saw what nearly happened with Le Pen in France. And I think it’s scary times internationally,” he said.

The Labour vote surged in university towns like Brighton where many students were attracted by the party’s pledge to scrap annual $12,000 tuition fees. The election laid bare Britain’s generational divide. Pensioners Barbara and Ann accuse Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of making promises the country can’t afford.

“He just won them for the youngsters, what he’s put on, what he’s going to do for the youngsters," said Barbara. "And where is the money going to come from?”

Ann said, “I do feel sorry for the young though. We certainly had it a lot better as we were growing up.”

Labour is still not in power. But the close result means another early election is possible. And the party’s young supporters believe the momentum is with them.

Tillerson insists fund level
doesn’t equate low success

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he believes the Trump administration can continue to carry out American foreign policy goals despite massive proposed funding cuts to diplomacy programs and foreign aid.

President Donald Trump's proposed budget for 2018 would slash State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development spending by 32 percent, but Tillerson said the amount of funding doesn't necessarily correlate with the results achieved.

Congress is responsible for setting the federal budget and the president's budget proposal faces bi-partisan opposition in both the Senate and the House.

“Throughout my career, I've never believed, nor have I never ever experienced, that a level of funding devoted to a goal is the most important factor in achieving it,” Tillerson told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. “Our budget will never determine our ability to be effective. Our people will.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, which Tillerson testified in front of Tuesday, called the proposal radical and reckless when it comes to soft power. Rep. Gerald Connolly on Wednesday similarly called the Trump budget request a radical alteration to American foreign policy.

Tillerson disagreed, though, telling members of the Foreign Affairs Committee the Trump proposal was not a withdrawal from America's global responsibilities, but instead an elevated level of engagement.

According to Tillerson, there is a lot of redundancy of roles and operations within the State Department and USAID, and the agencies are currently going through a review to find the best way restructure them.

He said the Trump budget proposal reflects Trump's “America First” catchphrase, but Tillerson said putting America first does not mean America alone.

The Trump administration has defended the cuts by maintaining that other countries must do their fair share as the United States plans to reduce the amount of money it has traditionally committed to overseas spending.

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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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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:  (please link that email)
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Santiago de Puriscal
A little piece of paradise near Santiago de Puriscal,
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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 In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 506-7187-8577.
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Puriscal home
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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
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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

In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here:

Etlinger Farm
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 and photo album can be found at

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. The price of our listing Rancho Ricco is $799,000. More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:

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 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 

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:

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Century 21

A Name You Trust,
Professionalism You Deserve

Tom Ghormley and the dream team!
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

Tamarindo 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:  or click here

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

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


Real estate-related services (paid category)

A-1 graphic
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
     For more info also see our sites: 

Costa Rica

Serving Atenas and Surroundings Areas

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.  Fully Guaranteed!

Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398



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 help you find a buyer or renter.

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Published || Thursday Edition, June 15, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 118
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC newsfeeds are disabled on archived pages.
Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

Mayor now faces sexual abuse charges

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Nicoya mayor skipped preventive jail, has been suspended from his post for three months and will have to avoid any approach to the facilities of the Municipalidad de Nicoya.

A judged from the Segundo Circuito Judicial de San José, also ordered him to not contact any witnesses of the case.

The mayor was arrested Tuesday morning to face an investigation for at least three charges of corruption during his time time working for the municipality from 2009 to 2017.

According to a brief release from Ministerio Público, the suspended mayor now faces a new charge of sexual abuse against a female municipal worker.

Along with the mayor, several other workers from the Municipality were taken into custody for further investigation, among them the legal director and the Human Resources director.

Ruta 32
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo
And the work painting the lines goes on for Ruta 32.

Ruta 32 marking work continues

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Ruta 32 will continue to receive its ongoing marking project today and tomorrow, according to the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes.

Within the confines of the Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo, the part of the highway between the toll station and the crossing of the Río Frío will see crews marking the road with lines and traffic direction.

The work on both days will occur between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. with both lanes of traffic completely closed in order to do the necessary demarcations, the ministry said.

Passage would only be opened in case of inclement weather, according to Mauricio Sojo of the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad. Sojo emphasized that the work producing the drain on the side of the road should end this coming Saturday. This will allow the road to no longer be completely closed, the ministry said.

To that end, expect the road to also be closed on Saturday from 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. to put the finishing touches on it, officials said. Total investment in these works is around 700 million colons, or $1.24 million.

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From page 7:

Kansas trade mission comes to Costa Rica

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

They are not in Kansas anymore. A trade mission from the U.S. state of Kansas just returned from Costa Rica with an expressed goal of establishing and strengthening relations with Costa Rican beef producers.

According to a statement from the Kansas Dept. of Agriculture, the delegation partnered with the Costa Rican Instituto Nacional de Innovación y Transferencia en Tecnología Agropecuaria on the benefits of using U.S. beef genetics in the national herd. A field day showing off the offspring of U.S. Charolais and Red-Angus sired calves was the focal point of the mission, the department said.

Nearly 60 Costa Rican cattlemen and ranchers were in attendance. The delegation visited local ranches, genetic centers and academic institutions. The team also gained some useful insight on industry issues, listened to producer’s needs and did some networking with the public and private sectors of the beef industry, officials said.

“The best meeting INTA has ever put on,” Galen Fink, the owner of Fink Beef Genetics said.

“It was in an area where there are a lot more cows, and producers were very serious about what they were doing. Some traveled up to 10 hours to get to the field day. Tour stops were outstanding.”

According to data from the Kansas Dept. of Agriculture, U.S. exports of beef products increased from $1.7 million in 2009 to $15.1 million last year. Despite this, there has been a sustained decline in the cattle herd in Costa Rica, the department said.

“By utilizing U.S genetics through F1 crosses, Costa Rican producers can increase growth, reduce time to harvest, and improve overall efficiency while simultaneously being more environmentally friendly and sustainable,” said Billy Brown, agribusiness development coordinator at the department.