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Published Thursday, June 16, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 118
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Here's Johnny, aged briefly in plastic in Dos Ríos
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Sometimes that shot of Johnny Walker just doesn’t taste right. Some expats probably will blame their own mood or perhaps the lingering effects of a snack or dinner.

Then there is the possibility that the bottle is not really Johnny Walker despite what the label says.

There is, of course, the bartender’s old trick of refilling bottles of top-shelf alcoholic beverages with less expensive brands. That’s why many of the premium brand bottles have internal plastic security stoppers to prevent refilling.

A.M. Costa Rica reporters have been looking into suspicious alcohol for at least five years. The advertising staff gave liter bottles of Johnny Walker scotch to customers one Christmas. The boxes of bottles came from a reputable retail outlet.

But once the bottles were opened, the Johnny Walker just did not taste right. The newspaper staff has been collecting complaints since then from readers, but without analyses from foreign laboratories there was little that could be published.

Now the veil has been ripped for the country’s fake alcohol racket.

Tax officials and members of a host of law enforcement agencies raided four warehouses in San Francisco de Dos Ríos Tuesday and found an alcohol mixing and bottling plant.

The raiding parties found legitimate bottles of well-known brands, probably from the Deposito Libre in Golfito or from some smuggler’s truck. But they also found 20,000 liters of bulk alcohol, 15,790 bottles of adulterated liquor, 36,000 empty bottles and 146 rolls of counterfeit labels of top brands.

bootleg
Ministerio de Hacienda photo
What bootleggers lacked in sanitation, they made up for in creativity.

They also found 131,000 of those plastic security devices.

The operation appears to have been in the business of mixing top-shelf alcohol with much cheaper liquids, bottling the result and passing it off as genuine. And the cheap counterfeit alcohol easily entered the legitimate wholesale stream to end up on the shelves of retailers and in local bars and restaurants.

The Policía de Control Fiscal said they had received a tip about the operation. Participating were prosecutors from the Ministerio Público, Judicial Investigating Organization agents, members of the Dirección de Inteligencia y Seguridad and workers from the Ministerio de Salud and the Fabrica Nacional de Licores, the state monopoly.

As is usually the case with police raids, no suspects were there.

This was a major strike at the fake alcohol racket that markets top-shelf fakes. In the past a few bootleggers have been raided. They usually are small operations turning out mislabeled guaro.


Lawmaker seeks law to order gender parity in politics
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmaker Epsy Campbell Barr has proposed a bill that would require appointing as many women to ministry positions as men.

The bill is characterized as guaranteeing parity between the sexes.

The burden would be on the president to select

equal numbers of male and female ministers and vice ministers, according to a summary.

The requirement would extend to the boards of directors of government institutions and what
are called decentralized institutions.

“Many women in Costa Rica have demonstrated that they possess the preparation and capacity to assume the challenges at the highest level,” Ms. Campbell was quoted as saying in the summary.

She urged the country to continue being a leader in this area.

International studies show that women worldwide have less interest in politics than men, but researchers suggest that is because women are less likely to have a political role.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, June 16, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 118
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


Dentistry

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Psychotherapy

Dr. Gray
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California Licensed
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US (310) 827-4241
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Insurance professionals

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Residency experts

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 Accountants

U.S. Income Tax Services
Marlene B. Summers, Tax Accountant
Licensed by the I.R.S.
 
Ms. Summers
Marlene B. Summers
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(English spoken). Tamarindo office hours now available.  If you or anyone you know would like an appointment in Tamarindo, please call our San José office at 2288-2201 to make an appointment.
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Fine art restoration and conservation

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Heredia utility to build factura system

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Government officials have picked the Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia to develop and run the proposed electronic factura system.

The system is a centralized place where the government can keep an eye on income for various occupations.

Facturas are what Costa Ricans call receipts. Now businesses and professionals issue these receipts themselves. But the Ministerio de Hacienda says that many professionals and companies are taking the bulk of their money under the table and not reporting it as income.

With the new system, the ministry’s tax inspectors will have a day-to-day look at the income of many professionals and companies.

The project will cost $8.5 million, said the ministry.  The Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia is that canton’s public utility provider.

The firm will work with other firms specialized in this field to develop software, networks, servers and other technological platforms, said the ministry.

The system is supposed to go into service next January, and various sectors of the economy will be hooked up over time, said the ministry.

Basically a professional such as a physician or lawyer will have a device in the office where client data is inserted. The device will be hooked up to a central server that will process the client’s payment and emit a receipt electronically at the professional’s office.

The Ministerio de Hacienda promised that the system will not cost users. It said that some 300 tax paying entities already are hooked up to a pilot system.

The central system raises privacy issues that have not been addressed or discussed. Tax inspectors will be able to see individual medical visits and consultations with lawyers along with statements giving the reason.


Pineapple firm raided over pollution

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some 3,500 residents in Veracruz de Pital, San Carlos, have been drinking water laced with bromacil, a weed killer used extensively in pineapple cultivation.

In an effort to track down the source, judicial agents and prosecutors entered the storage facilities and administrative officers of a pineapple firm to see if it was a contributor to the contamination.

The Poder Judicial identified the firm as Agrícola Industrial La Lydia. Officials said that water used by the local utility company comes from springs, and that the firm has crops within 200 meters of this source.

The Poder Judicial said that there has been an investigation for the last two months and that this week there was sufficient evidence to obtain a warrant from a judge. The judicial agency was quick to point out that there are no accusations, and that the search was designed to generate evidence if any exists.

Pineapple growers have been a principal source of pollution of ground water due to the weed killers and pesticides they use in abundance.


Zika toll for country is now 107

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministerio de Salud said Wednesday that the Jacó region continues to lead the country in confirmed zika cases with 67.

The next largest accumulation of cases is nine in Parrita down the central Pacific coast, the ministry said.

Residents in the canton of Garabito, which includes Jacó, said they are planning another major cleanup effort at the end of this month.

Health workers were reported to be fumigating in the Playa Heradura near Jacó.

The country now has 107 home-grown zika cases, and there are 14 zika sufferers who contracted the disease in another country, said the ministry.


Two murdered in taxi in Desamparados

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An 87-year-old man homebound from a medical visit took the wrong pirate taxi Wednesday.

Judicial investigators said that gunmen caught up with their target, the driver, just 100 meters from where the elderly man boarded the vehicle. The gunmen on a motorcycle killed both the passenger, identified by the last name of Carballo, and the driver, who had the last name of Venegas. He was 26. The shooting happened in mid-afternoon in San Rafael Arriba de Desamparados.

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Chamber federation calls for opening up country's petroleum market
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A federation representing 23 chambers of commerce Wednesday called for the end to the motor fuel monopoly in Costa Rica.

The Federación de Cámaras de Comercio y Asociaciones Empresariales said that the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo S.A. does not represent the best interests of the Costa Rican population who require fuel of quality and at a just price.

The state refinery’s union abuses its contract with the company and obtains exaggerated benefits, the federation said.

The call to free up the motor fuel market comes as a lawmaker, Otto Guevara Guth, filed a constitutional court case seeking to overturn the union agreement due to its disproportionality, he said.

The federation also expressed concern about the impact of
increases in fuel prices that are about to take effect. More are anticipated because of the rising international petroleum price.

The refinery and its union are sacred cows to most politicians because about half the fuel price is taxes and union members are politically active. No one in an official position has expressed the views contained in the statement the federation issued.

The refinery does not really refine petroleum. It has closed its plant that did that. The company obtains gasoline, diesel and liquid petroleum gas internationally and imports it. Most of the distribution is either by the firm’s petroleum pipeline or private carriers.

Costa Rica may have large petroleum reserves in the northern part of the country as well as offshore, but tapping these also is a sensitive political issue. The government has declined to allow a Denver, Colorado, firm, to continue with its plans to drill exploratory holes for petroleum in the northern zone.


There are some weapons on the street that need to see the chop saw
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some firearms need to be destroyed.

The Dirección General de Armamento of the security ministry announced the destruction of more firearms Wednesday.

Since 2010 the ministry’s agency has destroyed 46,131 firearms. When the latest destruction is announced, some expats object. That’s because some of the weapons are of a respected brand, although police agencies almost never put confiscated firearms into service, regardless of their quality.

Now most of the weapons confiscated came from individuals who were carrying them illegally. That’s probably a commentary on the difficulty and time needed to obtain a carry permit.

A Saturday night special of uncertain material and manufacturer can be picked up on the streets for about $100. The better the weapon, the higher the price.

That is why some drug abusers and small-time vendors turn to making their own weapons. They rig together a couple of pipes that can accommodate a shotgun shell.

Police picked up a couple of these earlier in the week when

homemade guns
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
These need to be chopped up quickly!

they conducted raids of drug houses in Guanacaste, Alajuela and San Josė.

The weapons are downright scary, and police said that they most likely would do more damage to their users than any person who is a target.




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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, June 16, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 118
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Really hot drinks believed to be cause of throat cancer, U.N. says
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Letting hot tea or coffee cool off a bit could help drinkers avoid cancer, according to a new study by the U.N. cancer research agency.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, said on Wednesday that there is evidence that drinks consumed at temperatures above 65 C can cause esophageal cancer.

The conclusion comes from analyzing studies from Iran, China and South America where tea and coffee are often served at 70 C or above. That's about 158 degrees F.

In developed countries, causes of esophageal cancer include smoking and alcohol, but cancer is more common in parts of the world where drinks are often consumed at very high temperatures.

Hot drinks are now classified with lead, gasoline and exhaust fumes as possibly carcinogenic.

The findings are good news for coffee drinkers because they suggest the temperature is a greater risk factor than what is being consumed. Coffee had previously been called possibly carcinogenic by World Health in 1991.

The results "suggest that drinking very hot beverages is one
steam
University of Southern California/ VéŽlocia
Steaming hot drinks may not be the way to go.


probable cause of esophageal cancer and that it is the temperature, rather than the drinks themselves, that appears to be responsible,"  Christopher Wild said. He is the director of the  International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The National Coffee Association called the change great news for coffee drinkers.

Worldwide, esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer, causing about 400,000 deaths in 2012.


Vacation, travel and hospitality


HIdden Garden graphic
Put Costa Rica on your walls
The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is the perfect place to find quality Costa Rican and international art for your home or office.  With over 60 artists and 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we have been your source for fine art since 2010.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever. Located just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport (towards the beaches).

Visit our Web site at:  www.HiddenGardenArtGallery.com
Contact us by email: Info@HiddenGardenArtGallery.com
Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
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Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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International shipping available.
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Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

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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Real estate for rent (paid category)

Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry. $650 per month plus electricity. ½ month security deposit. No lease.  The larger apartments are $650 per month. They have larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be best for the prospective tenants to visit
Barrio Amon
the building to see the apartments.   For more information contact: edificiomorazan@gmail.com  or call Hilda at 2221-7161.
8998-7/18/16




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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, June 16, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 118
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Opinion
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Lifestyle
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Axiom new ad

Obama and Dalai Lama
White House photo
This is the photo released by the White House.

Obama and Dalai Lama hold
closed-door session on Tibet

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

No video cameras or reporters were allowed into the White House Map Room Wednesday to document the fourth meeting between Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and President Barack Obama.

But afterward a photo emerged, first on the Dalai Lama's Instagram account and then released by the White House, of the two men facing each other, locked in an embrace that spoke volumes about the warmth of their relationship.

In an interview, Myles Caggins, National Security Council spokesman for Asia, said the meeting was personal in nature.

"In this case, personal because the president, as he hosted the Dalai Lama in the Map Room of the residence, greets him as an individual who is a leader, who is internationally recognized as a leader for religion and a cultural leader of Tibet. But in contrast, an official visit or a state visit would include the normal trappings of the parade on the South Lawn, potentially a meeting in the Oval Office and a state dinner, potentially."

Earlier, China warned Obama against meeting with the Dalai Lama, saying it could damage mutual trust. China sees the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist.

Obama refers to the Dalai Lama as a good friend. But China fears these meetings between the two send the wrong message to Tibetans.

"If such meeting goes through, it will send a wrong signal to the separatist forces seeking Tibet independence, and it will damage mutual trust and cooperation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters Wednesday in Beijing.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the president has warm personal feelings for the Dalai Lama, and thanked him for his letter of condolences to the families of those hurt and killed in Sunday's mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub. Earnest said the president also appreciated the spiritual leader's commitment to nonviolence and his efforts to reduce the impact of climate change.

After the meeting, the White House released a statement saying: "The president and the Dalai Lama discussed the situation for Tibetans in the People's Republic of China, and the president emphasized his strong support for the preservation of Tibet's unique religious, cultural and linguistic traditions and the equal protection of human rights of Tibetans in China. The president lauded the Dalai Lama's commitment to peace and nonviolence, and expressed support for the Dalai Lama's Middle Way approach."

The Dalai Lama has advocated for a middle way, not asking for independence from China for Tibet, but for more autonomy.

Dialogue between the Dalai Lama and China's central government stopped in 2010. Tibetans re-elected their prime minister in May, and they maintain hope that talks with China to give Tibet more autonomy can continue.


U.S. senator promises to talk
until action taken on guns

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

After more than three years of floor speeches imploring congressional action to combat rampant gun violence in America, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, took more drastic action Wednesday.

“I’m at my wit’s end. I’ve had enough,” Murphy said at the start of a bid to hold the Senate floor indefinitely that stretched throughout the day and into the evening and was expected to extend well into Thursday.

Three days after the Orlando, Florida, attack at a gay nightclub, Murphy pledged to continue speaking until Democrats and Republicans agree to take action on gun violence. The killer in Orlando made two recent firearms purchases legally on the strength of his security guard permit.

He had been interviewed previously by FBI agents due to his outspoken comments on the Islamic State.

“The failure of this body to do anything, anything at all, in the face of continued slaughter isn’t just painful. It’s unconscionable,” Murphy said. “I’ve had enough of the ongoing slaughter of innocents, and I’ve had enough of inaction in this body.

“I’m prepared to stand on this floor for, frankly, as long as I can,” he added.

The mild-mannered, soft-spoken Democrat joined the Senate one month after a lone shooter killed 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in his home state of Connecticut in December 2012. Murphy has been the Senate’s most persistent advocate of gun control ever since.

Murphy wants the Senate to take up legislation barring those on the FBI’s terror watch list from buying firearms. He also seeks an expansion of background checks for gun purchases.

Under Senate rules allowing unlimited deliberation, a senator can hold the floor and speak indefinitely. The tactic is called a talking filibuster when used to block or delay consideration of a bill. In this case, Murphy is holding the floor to demand legislative action, not to block it, and thus his protracted remarks technically do not constitute a filibuster.

Dozens of Democrats joined Murphy in a carefully orchestrated maneuver to help him retain control of the chamber. Senators made remarks under the guise of asking a question of Murphy, giving him a break from speaking without having to yield the floor.

“We’re in a new world, a world where lone wolves can get hold of guns and do huge damage,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat. “We have to change and adapt to that world.”

Most Republicans remain adamantly opposed to any new federal restrictions on Americans’ right to purchase and bear arms. Since the Orlando incident, however, a few have said they are willing to examine limited reforms.

“What we need to do here is do everything we can to make sure that terrorists are not able to buy guns, at least not legally,” said Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, adding that those on the terror watch list need to be able to challenge the FBI’s assessment if a law is passed that prevents them from buying firearms.

“So there’s an obvious opportunity here to work together and find a solution,” Toomey added. “Let’s sit down together and figure out how we achieve this.”

“I take the gentleman’s offer very sincerely,” Murphy responded. “Our hope is that, by holding the floor today … will provide the impetus for our sides to come together and find that common ground.”


Terrorist database contained
800,000 names in 2014

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Terrorist Screening Database is a consolidated list of information about people known or reasonably suspected of being involved in terrorist activity. Maintained by the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center, the list is a counterterrorism tool that helps government agencies identify known or suspected terrorists who are trying to get visas, enter the United States, board aircraft or engage in other suspicious activity. It connects law enforcement agencies, homeland security, intelligence communities and select international partners.

The list was created in 2003 after the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaida executed four coordinated attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. The attacks claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people and have become commonly known as 9/11. A report by a congressionally mandated independent panel, known as the 9/11 Commission Report, recommended the establishment of the list after finding government agencies neither shared terrorism information in a timely manner nor appropriately tracked terrorists.

Known or suspected terrorists are added to the list after being nominated and screened by U.S. government agencies. The nominations are based on credible information developed by homeland security, intelligence agencies, law enforcement operations, consulates and U.S. embassies. After several layers of review by multiple government agencies, a nominating agency is required to provide an objective factual basis to believe someone is a known or suspected terrorist, according to the FBI.

In 2014, there were about 800,000 names on the list, according to congressional testimony provided in September by Terrorist Screening Center Director Christopher Piehota.

People are not added to the list based solely on ethnicity, national origin, race, religious affiliation or civilities related to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble and to petition the government to resolve grievances. People nominated for inclusion to the watchlist undergo several rounds of government quality assurance reviews and audits. Regular reviews are conducted to ensure compliance with standards across government agencies. The Terrorist Screening Center employs an attorney who is dedicated to the privacy and civil liberties of nominees.

Being on the terrorist watchlist does not alone disqualify an individual from buying guns or explosives, according to a 2013 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. People purchasing guns from federally licensed firearm dealers must undergo background checks.

They can be denied the purchase of guns if they fall into any one of 10 categories of people. The categories include convicted felons, drug abusers, people with mental illness and undocumented immigrants. Being a known or suspected terrorist is not on the list of prohibited categories of people, so it is possible for those on the watchlist to legally buy firearms or explosives.

Also, people who buy guns from unlicensed dealers online or at gun shows are not required to undergo background checks.

How many guns have been sold to people on the terrorist watchlist?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of the western state of California received statistics in March from the Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm. From February 2004 through 2015, 2,477 names of those who wished to buy guns or explosives were on the list. Of those, 2,265 or 91 percent successfully purchased guns.

The FBI conducted 23 million background checks for guns last year, the most ever.

The Terrorist Screening Database is a consolidation of multiple smaller subsets of the watchlist, including the Department of Homeland Security's No Fly and Selectee list, which allows the selection of passengers for additional inspection at airports. Other lists are the Department of Justice's Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File and the Interpol Terrorism Watchlist.

 
New threat advisory issued
after shooting in Orlando


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says it has issued an updated terrorism threat advisory taking into account this week's mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday that security officials are particularly concerned about homegrown violent extremists who could strike with little or no notice, especially since the Orlando attacks.

"Increased public vigilance and awareness continue to be of utmost importance," the updated advisory said.

Recent attacks in San Bernardino, California, Paris, Brussels and now Orlando indicate that terrorists "will consider a diverse and wide selection of targets for attacks," the Homeland Security notice said. It was labeled a bulletin, the lowest of three levels of alert messages.

Terrorists' use of the internet as a recruiting tool "to inspire individuals to violence or join their ranks" remains a major concern, the advisory said.

The Department of Homeland Security also is concerned about threats and violence targeting particular communities and individuals, "based on perceived religion, ethnicity, nationality or sexual orientation."

The advisory was released just a day before a previous version issued in December was set to expire. It remains in effect until mid-November, when Homeland Security is expected to issue a new assessment ahead of the U.S. holiday season.


Iran sues U.S. to get back
$2 billion in frozen assets

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Iran has filed a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice to recover $2 billion worth of assets frozen in the United States.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani made the announcement in remarks Wednesday on state television. The tribunal also confirmed that the suit was filed, on Tuesday.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced in April that the frozen funds would be used to compensate the victims and families of victims of the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon, and other attacks that have been linked to Iran.

Iran has denied any role in the attacks and rejected the court ruling, calling it theft.

Iran's claim says the U.S. legal proceedings violate a 1955 "treaty of amity" between the two countries that covers economic relations and consular rights. It has called on the United States to make full reparations to Tehran for violating its legal obligations.

More than 1,000 Americans have joined a suit blaming Iran for providing material support to Hezbollah, the Shi'ite Islamic military group behind the Beirut bombing and the bombing of Saudi Arabia's Khobar Towers in 1996.

The plaintiffs include people whose family members were killed in the attacks, as well as people who were injured.


Discovery of crashed craft
gives some hope to families


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Nasser Hammad, heading home for a family vacation in Egypt, disappeared without a trace last month when EgyptAir Flight 804 plunged into the Mediterranean Sea on a flight from Paris to Cairo.

Discovery of the plane's wreckage on the sea floor, announced Wednesday, as raised hope that an explanation for the doomed jet's mysterious disappearance, and the loss of all 66 people aboard, eventually may be found.

Hammad's brother Tarek said in a telephone interview, "We can't even prove he is dead until now to sort out post-death legal matters for his family and five children."

The friend of another crash victim, Mahmoud Elsayyad, who was traveling to Egypt to see his three children, complained that authorities have told the families little more than wait and see what will happen.

"They are in heaven, I agree," said the friend, named Arafat. "But why are we being kept in hell?"

Relatives and friends of the other victims also have spoken of their frustration about a lack of information, but Egypt's announcement late Wednesday that the wreckage has now been located deep in the Mediterranean may lead to closure for the families.

A research vessel with deep-water search capabilities spotted several main locations of wreckage and photographed the discoveries, the committee investigating the Airbus A320's disappearance announced in Egypt.

The M.V. John Lethridge, a British-built vessel capable of searching waters up to 6,000 meters deep, has investigators aboard who are mapping the wreckage sites, officials said. The 1,850-ton ship is owned by Global Marine Systems, based in Britain, and sails under a Panamanian flag.

Egyptian officials are preparing to move fast to recover the wreckage,  in particular, the jet's flight recorders, in the hope of pinpointing what brought the plane down on May 19. No possible cause for the crash, including terrorism, has yet been ruled out. 

The jet's data and voice recorders are equipped with battery-powered sounders to guide searchers, but there are fears the battery-powered signals will fade out by about June 24. To recover the equipment up to 3,000 meters below the surface of the sea, investigators hope they can track the faint "pings" to within a few meters of the recorders' location.


New cyber task force seeks
to disrupt the Islamic State


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Pentagon has launched a new cyber task force to counter the Islamic State group, and officials say it is creating advantages both in cyberspace and on the battlefield.

The task force, JTF-Ares, was developed in May and is in its initial operation phase, U.S. Cyber Command spokesman Joe Holstead said.

The military has carried out several cyber offensive operations against Islamic State militants, which experts say have produced many coalition successes in the last few months.

“There’s no bang, and there’s no explosion, but it does give you a military advantage,” said James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

During Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s latest news briefing at the Pentagon, he said the U.S. military was looking to accelerate the cyber war against the Islamic State in order to physically and virtually isolate the terror group.

Holstead said the new task force is a part of that acceleration effort, using both operations and intelligence professionals from all military branches to improve efficiencies and unify cyber efforts for a “focused and sustained cyberspace campaign in support of the broader counter-Islamic State efforts in Syria and Iraq.

A defense official confirmed Wednesday that specific cyber tools were being developed and integrated into the coalition battle, but declined to give details because of operational sensitivities.

Carter has said the U.S. is using cyber attacks to interrupt Islamic State command and control, to cause the militants to lose confidence in their networks and to overload their networks so that they can't function. Some penetrations have interrupted supply chains or sent enemy combatants to the wrong places, according to Lewis, who directs a strategic technologies program.

Col. Chris Garver, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said Tuesday that the coalition had reaped the benefits from this disruption of networks through both cyber attacks coming out of U.S. Cyber Command and kinetic attacks on the ground.

“Just as when we attack a radio station, the disruption by cyber attacks fits into that,” Garver said in a phone interview from Baghdad. “It’s harder to count than the bombs we drop, but it certainly has an effect.”

Garver told reporters last week via teleconference that the coalition had seen changes in the terror group’s communication structure as multiple attacks on its networks forced the use of other means of transferring information.

Islamic State leaders communicate with their fighters by cellphones, push-to-talk radios, internet applications and emails. On the battlefield, the coalition has focused on bombing their headquarters to destroy large amounts of communications devices at once, but strikes do not always happen immediately.

“We may be listening, we may be watching,” Garver told reporters, “and we may not hit that right away because we want to keep using that to gather intelligence.”

Garver added that the same concept was true in cyber warfare.

“Say you’ve identified a jihadist Web site," he said. "You can zap it, or before you lay waste to it and let them know it’s been hacked, you may choose to infiltrate their networks without ever letting them know you’re doing it.”

Before launching an attack against the Islamic State or the Taliban, either a physical attack or a cyber raid, U.S. defense officials must follow a process that leads them to decide whether such action outweighs the intelligence benefit that could be gained by continuing to listen and watch the enemy, according to experts and an official inside the department.

“It's a question every time,” Lewis said.

Lewis said cyber attacks against the Islamic State are relatively new because U.S. Cyber Command previously lacked the capacity to launch these types of assaults.

He said the military had increased its expertise by putting a lot of resources into developing both the doctrine and the workforce that could carry out these attacks.

“It’s a matter of prioritizing, and if it’s a priority, you find a way to get the experts and tools you need,” a defense official said.



  


Real estate-related services (paid category)
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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And a 40-ft HQ Reefer basic home model: $12,000.
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Our Web site is www.containerhomes.net
9018-8/25/16

SellATimeshare.com
Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Buy, sell or rent a timeshare at SellATimeshare.com. 
9004-4/26/17

COSTA RICA SOLAR
Solr array
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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


Re-Max
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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8935-2/7/17

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Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at: info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com
8927-1/28/17

Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
Pacific Coast. 
For more i
nformation 

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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.
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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!
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8906-2/21/16


Rich Coast
                                  Rollover
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.

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8953-8/29/16

Real estate for sale (paid category)


San Rmon
                                  rollover
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: mmpeace@hotmail.com 
Check out slide show HERE!
9024-9/4/16

Kennedy
                                  graphic
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.
9022-9/8/16

Penthouse
                                  rollover
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 www.ThePenthouseCostaRica.com  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email crstratton@ymail.com
9017-12/1/16

Excazu
                                  condo
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:  visoer1937@gmail.com or oervis@hotmail.com
9011-8/11/16

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

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need.  More information
go to www.ranchforsalecostarica.com  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:  darin_ricco@hotmail.com
9023-9/13/16

Condo
                                  rollover

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:  parqueos@gmail.com
8936-8/6/16

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: jsaba00@hotmail.com.
8997-6/22/16
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: grantchy@yahoo.com For more photos and info click HERE!
8996-7/20/16

anothiner

Grecia
                                  rollover
UNIQUE OFFER !!!!
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
FINANCING AVAILABLE !!!
 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
Email:

Spanish language contact:
Luis Gustavo Jiménez
Phone: (506) 2494-0016
Cell phone: (506) 8707-4016
Email:

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
land
                                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: www.condojaco.com Contact: Frank condojaco1@gmail.com
8942-9/1/

updated
                                  photo
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 goodbuyflorida@yahoo.com.
8933-5/2/16

Cohen
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.
www.hotel4salecostarica.com
www.hotelsescazu.com
hotelescazu@aol.com
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
410-975-6703
In Costa Rica 8307-0164
8916-7/22/16

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, June 16, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 118
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Brazilian president now corruption figure

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Brazil's interim president Michel Temer has been linked to one of the country's biggest corruption scandals in testimony by a key witness made public Wednesday.

Sergio Machado, former chief executive of state oil company Petrobras, said that Temer had asked for money from the company to fund political campaigns for himself and other members of his party.

The oil executive said that Temer had met with him to ask for $431,000 to finance the campaign of congressman Gabriel Chalita.

Machado also said he had arranged bribes for Temer and 10 other politicians, some of whom are members of Temer's center-right PMDB party.

Other witnesses have accused Temer of financially backing two corrupt Petrobras executives so they could oversee the scheme.

Temer has denied all involvement in the Petrobras scheme, a sweeping scandal in which contractors overbilled the company by some $2 billion. His office said Machado's testimony, a plea deal made public by the supreme court on Wednesday, absolutely lacks truth.

Michel Temer's center-right coalition has ruled for barely a month following the impeachment of Brazil's former president Dilma Rousseff. The Brazilian Senate voted to impeach Rousseff on charges that she used accounting tricks to hide the Brazilian budget deficit when she ran for re-election in 2014.


Body of young alligator victim found

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The sheriff of Orange County, Florida, said the body of the 2-year-old boy killed by an alligator Tuesday has been found.

Sheriff Jerry Demings told reporters Wednesday in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, that the body of Lane Graves was found intact near the area where the alligator dragged him into the water. Demings said the alligator drowned the little boy.

Demings said the Nebraska toddler was on vacation with his parents and siblings at a Disney World hotel. Tuesday night, Lane was wading in water near the shore of a man-made lake used mostly for boating when the attack occurred.

In a statement given to the sheriff, the Graves family thanked members of the public for their prayers in the hours following the attack.

Disney officials closed beaches at the resort after finding and killing four other alligators in the lake during their search for the boy. There was no sign that any of the four was involved in the attack.

More than 50 law enforcement personnel searched the Seven Seas Lagoon, which reaches a depth of about 4 meters, outside Disney's Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando.

Demings said there have been no other recent reports of similar alligator attacks in the area.

Last October, a 61-year-old swimmer was the first victim killed by an alligator in Florida since 2007.
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From Page 7:

Minimum wages to go up a mere 0.5 percent

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Consejo Nacional de Salarios approved a general half a percent raise in the national minimum salaries for private workers at a meeting Wednesday.

The announcement came from the Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social.

The increase was less than the 2.3 to 3.5 percent sought by worker representatives. Employers had suggested no raise.

The new salaries will take effect July 1.

The Consejo also approved a 2 percent raise for domestic employees, who are among those getting the lowest monthly salary.

The minister of Trabajo, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, presented the proposal that finally was accepted unanimously by the Consejo.

The Consejo heard that annual inflation actually was minus .43 percent and that inflation in May was negligible at just 0.03 percent.

The Consejo also heard that in Costa Rica there are about 141,000 domestic employees who earn the legal minimum of 251,239.04 colons a month. That is about $470. They are at the bottom of the minimum salary list that fixes pay for many wage categories.

That is why they received a bigger increase.

The ministry will be publishing on its site a list of the new salaries.