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Published Monday Edition
June 19, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 120
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U.S. citizens win Costa Rica Ironman triathlon
Kevin Collington
Ironman 70.3 Costa Rica Facebook photo

Kevin Collington, pictured, and Leanda Cave were the winners of the first Ironman 70.3 Costa Rica triathlon held in Guanacaste’s Playas del Coco, according to a Facebook post by the Costa Rica Tourism Board.  Both are apparently U.S. nationals. The Ironman is a triathlon competition where athletes from all over the world gather to push themselves to the limits, according to the group’s website. it includes a swimming, cycling and running element.

Costa Rican delegation gives mild reaction to U.S.
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The foreign ministry’s delegation to the Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America left the United States with some generalities but not much else to say.

Costa Rica’s foreign minister, Manuel González, was among the representatives of the two-day conference held in Miami, Florida, that was hosted by the U.S. and included key Trump administration officials such as Homeland Security chief John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The presidents of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador along with the foreign minister for México joined them.

González offered a vague statement that “the administration of President Trump sends a very important political message to a region that, for many years, has been neglected and seen increases in crime rates, violence and immigration.”

Following the meeting, the foreign minister primarily sought to emphasize that the Central American region is not divided into triangles, according to a statement provided within a release by the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Cultos.

The words of the Costa Rican foreign minister were meant to unify a region that some analysts would conclude Costa Rica has desperately tried to keep its distance and identity from since splitting away from the Federal Republic of Central America in the early 19th century. He also emphasized the United States’ role as being the primary destination of migration as much as drug trafficking.

This comes at a time when the administration under President Donald Trump is preparing to propose some serious budget cuts to the U.S. Dept. of State particularly in the areas of foreign aid, some of which is extended to Costa Rica particularly towards the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

Within the confines of the Trump budget plan, some countries in Central America should expect almost a 30 percent plummet in funds to the region should the plan pass without any editing done.

In the same breath, Tillerson along with Vice President Mike Pence assured the region’s leadership that the U.S. remains committed to its allies in the region as well as to continue and even increase the stakes in the fight against transnational crime and illegal immigration.

foreign ministers
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto photo
González poses with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Pence has made overtures announcing his intention to visit Central America, a move the foreign ministry believes is likely to include a trip to Costa Rica.

While foreign ministry officials did not say if González met with Pence, he did meet with Tillerson and extended an invitation to visit Costa Rica.

As if to emphasize the point further, González added: “The U.S. Secretary of State has extensive information on Costa Rica, our identity and our closeness with the United States.”

Some examiners may take a careful look at the foreign minister’s comments and assume that he is diplomatically tip-toeing through the entire process in an effort to maintain Costa Rica’s close balance with the U.S. and keep the funds as much as material support from going dry.

Expats would know that the country itself faces its own illegal immigration situation with thousands of undocumented Nicaraguan nationals living and working in the country.

That is added with the officials from the government repeatedly going on record saying that the country’s crime and drug problems are worsening.

As of now, the drug trafficking situation has not transformed Costa Rica quite from its current status as a transit point rather than a drug producing country to the scale of countries like México, Colombia and Perú.

The government of Costa Rica seeks to maintain its position of receiving money, material and support for combating drug trafficking from the United States government and other allies.

The question that lawmakers in the latter must decide now is: how much?

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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.
U.S. Income Tax

Tax time
U.S. Income Tax Services
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ax Accountant Licensed by the I.R.S.
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The IRS has become more aggressive and if you have not filed, you must do so. 

However, there are solutions to problems and your situation may be better than you think.

If your filing is not up to date, Streamlined Filing can be used with no penalties.
Including disclosure of foreign corporations to avoid serious problems.

If tax payment is holding you back, the IRS has options to solve payment problems.

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Consult with a U.S. licensed Tax Attorney in Costa Rica concerning your I.R.S. Issues

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Sixth baby born with Zika confirmed

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministerio de Salud confirmed the birth of the sixth baby infected by the Zika virus, this time in the province of Guanacaste.

Children infected by Zika will likely develop microcephaly, a disease where the head is smaller than usual. However, the syndrome may also include blindness, deafness and difficulties in motor development and learning. The problem is associated with babies whose mothers contracted the virus during their pregnancy.

Out of the six cases already confirmed, two happened in 2016 and four in 2017, according to data provided by the Ministerio de Salud.
The underdevelopment of the head as well as the Guillain-Barré syndrome that causes temporary immobilization are the two most severe versions of the disease. However, in 80 percent of the cases, symptoms are not evident.

As of March, the Congenital Infection Clinic of the Hospital Nacional de Niños keep 60 of these children under surveillance for their first two years because, they face the risk of developing other conditions in the future.

In total, the health ministry registers 906 reported cases of Zika throughout the country in the first 22 weeks of 2017. Out of those, only 175 have been confirmed by laboratory.

The highest incidence rates take place in the cantons of Siquirres, Orotina and Matina.

This disease is transmitted by the sting of the female mosquito Aedes aegypti which often lay their eggs in places such as old tires, bottles and plastic debris; places with a high concentration of standing water.

The Aedes aegipty is also the vector of dengue and chikungunya. In 2017, 1,072 dengue cases had been registered and 163 of chikungunya.
In symptomatic cases, Zika produces an outbreak on the skin and a bit of fever and general malaise. Compared with the symptoms caused by dengue or chikungunya, Zika is more benevolent in its initial manifestations.

Almost 2 million mosquito hatcheries have been destroyed, after visiting 326,000 homes and sprayed 140,824, according to Ministerio de Salud records.

Pesticides should be exported to Dominican Republic, study says

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new study by the Promotora del Comercio de Costa Rica has determined that local fertilizer and pesticide companies should take advantage of the opportunity to export to the Dominican Republic.

The report says that, although the Dominican Republic is smaller than Costa Rica, 49 percent of its area can be used for agricultural production, making it a strong consumer of pesticides and fertilizers.

In addition, the document stresses that the Dominican Republic is highly dependent on raw material both for the formulation and distribution of agrochemicals. Its 2016 imports exceeded  $195 million while exports reached $22 million.

The analysis adds that, although the Dominican Republic has strong suppliers such as China, the United States, Colombia, Canada, Germany and México, Costa Rica has the possibility of increasing its participation which currently comes in the 12th place.

"During the study data collection, the Dominican Republic expressed great need for pesticides and organic fertilizers, bio-controllers, biological, botanicals and in general products for non-conventional agriculture, areas in which Costa Rica has important opportunities to position itself,” said Karina Lopez, Procomer Market Research coordinator.

Some of the main agricultural products grown in the Dominican Republic are: sugar cane, rice, tobacco, coffee and others. For all those needs, Costa Rica could very well comply as a exporter and event in the consulting services field.

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo          
Morales and Zamora pose with their mounts.

Officers trained on equestrian care

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two officers of the mounted police for the Fuerza Pública were among the first trained by Colombian police officials on the art of equestrian blacksmithing.

The course is taught by the Escuela Nacional de Carabineros with the presence of 14 different trainers from Colombia, the ministry said. The two officers chosen, Juan Morales and Yoser Zamora, are in Colombia to improve their performance in blacksmithing and veterinary aspects so that they can attend to the Fuerza Pública’s mounted police unit.

The officers received vital training in the areas of horse hoof anatomy, first aid as well as basic veterinary skills, according to a report from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública. This is the first part of the course, however.

The members of the Policía Montada will next learn how to iron, in cold and hot, a technique to counteract infections of their mounts and substantially improve the performance of the horses in their human-partnered activities. According to the Colombian experts, the hardware allow horses to have a better equilibrium and balance by correcting as much as preventing any malformations they have on their legs.

reality system
Ministerio de Justicia y Paz photo       
The new virtual reality set provided by the U.S. government.

Embassy gives prison police VR set

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The United States Embassy recently donated a new toy for officers attached to the Policía Penitenciaria: a virtual reality system.

The new system will allow prison police to practice in simulated scenarios involving kidnappings, hostage crises and other types of emergencies in the prisons, according to a statement by the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz.

The past two weeks qualified professionals trained at least 10 instructors and gunsmiths on how to use the equipment and pass along the techniques to other officers in the system, the ministry said. The virtual reality system includes the software and three scenes to produce a 180-degree scenario that mimics weather conditions and trajectory of ammunition among other characteristics. Additionally, it recreates real spaces inside the prisons of Costa Rica as a module.

“With this virtual system, our police will be training in the use of their weapons of regulation,” Pablo Bertozzi, the director of the prison police force, said. “The training is being jointly done with officials of the Fuerza Pública, who receive instructions from accredited officials who provided us the same Embassy of the United States.”

One instructor, Miguel Chinchilla, noted that the hostage-taking module allows for students to become familiar with real situations where they will need to negotiate rather than shoot first. “The instructor can handle the scenario with a hostage and, depending on what the student does, can change the situations, whether the hostage shoots or surrenders.”

Our reader’s opinion
We need your letters, readers

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

We need letters of support for our Alvaro Ugalde Marine Preserve. I am attaching the bill and the supporting document.
NOW it is time to send the messages of endorsement for the bill 20.333.  These messages, written in the form of emails, should be sent in Spanish to the following person:
Sra. Hannia Duran, Comision de Ambiente, Asamblea Legislativa, email her HERE.
In the message, it is necessary to include the name of the bill, “Ley de creacion de la Reserva Marina Alvaro Ugalde Viquez”, and the number “Expediente Nº 20.333”.  The messages can be very short. Just one paragraph.

Sierra Goodman
Drake Bay

Editor’s Note: Sierra Goodman of Drake Bay is a long-time defender of dolphin and whales. She is the owner of the Divine Dolphin and coordinator of the Marine Protected Area for Osa Peninsula campaign.

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All-women's march planned today in Siquirres to protest pineapple
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Rural Women Network has denounced the imminent opening of a pineapple plant in the Louisiana community of Cairo, in Siquirres, Limón.

They will hold march today from the village of Louisiana up to the Municipalidad de Siquirres.

According to a statement, water from the area has been contaminated with agrochemicals used by pineapple companies around this place in the past.

"Women have been affected by health problems from contaminated water, we have had to take care of our sick families because of agrochemicals," said the group in a press release.

“As women, we know and we have lived the destruction that these companies cause, so we are not willing to allow one in our community.”

According to the women's group, the Louisiana area includes a wetland where there are protected trees and many wild animals, such as the Guacamayas, arrive to eat there.

Also in the area are the Peje, Louisiana and the Reventazon rivers. A pineapple production plant would affect these sources of water and bring problems of flies that would hurt livestock, they said. The women's group claims to have met with representatives of communities that have had to deal with pineapple problems in the past.

In addition, protesters claim to have tried to communicate with the Municipality of Siquirres several times but without obtaining a response.

Piña muerte
Federación Conservacionista graphic
The pineapple is rapidly becoming a negative symbol.

For this reason they request clear and transparent information.

"As a Network of Rural Women we will continue to plant without agrochemicals, we will continue to defend the native seeds and chickens, we demand that the government respect our right to live a life free of contamination and not be indifferent to the poisoning of the country.

Festival IntegrArte brings together communities and refugees
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Festival IntegrArte finished up Sunday at the Centro Nacional de la Cultura to much fanfare and celebration of the contributions that varying refugee groups have contributed to Costa Rica.

“During the first day of the festival, hundreds of people approached the Fería de Emprendimiento where they verified the innumerable contributions of the refugee population to the national culture and economy,” a statement by the Costa Rican chapter of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees proclaimed. 

“Puppets, storytellers, theatergoers and dancers reminded the audience of the diverse and multicultural Costa Rica that we are.”

The concerts by popular music groups Son de Tikizia and Malpaís drew at least a thousand people, organizers said.

Festival IntegrArte
UNHCR photo   
Some festival-goers enjoy a little hula-hooping.

The refugee agency was the main organizer for the event and believed it demonstrated the commitment that Costa Rican society has toward supporting the rights of refugees.

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Higher presence of toxins in Costa Rica's corn, researchers say
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Laboratory of Analysis on Mycotoxins of the Center for Research on Grains and Seeds of the Universidad de Costa Rica, has discovered a higher presence presence of mycotoxins in the country’s corn.

Mycotoxins are toxic substances, caused by the presence of a fungus, that effect both humans and animals, even in low concentrations. Currently, researchers study the presence of eight of them in comics típica like rice, beans and peanuts.

In the case of corn, another fungus called fumonisin has been found. The fungus is listed as a possible carcinogen and is not regulated in the country. According to the study made the last year, there is a high prevalence of this toxin mainly in corn kernels.

However, the researchers do not ring the alarms yet since this is a preliminary result after only one year of analysis of samples. It can even be a particularity of some specific crop. On a release, experts said aflatoxins and fumonisins are very common in the tropics, since the climatic conditions provide high temperatures and high levels of humidity.

In fact, researchers at the laboratory urged the population not to worry too much, since there is still a lot of material to analyze and so far have not obtained a conclusive result. The purpose of this research is to generate enough scientific information to call for  required regulations that may contribute to control these toxins in the future, according to researchers.
Another axis of the project is help control the impact of these toxins on their crops. This can be achieved to some extent with biological control and genetic manipulation, researchers said. Regarding biological control, some practices include choosing grains, controlling plant stress, properly handling insects in the field and in storage, and not feeding animals with grains that are discarded.

Corn examination
Universidad de Costa Rica photo
Scientist examines seedlings for possible toxicity.

This last measure is of high importance, the researchers said.

Animals are quite susceptible to these toxins and, in addition, they can be transmitted to human consumers via  milk and meat.

The study was carried out with 250 samples of grains, and was made possible thanks to a new equipment recently acquired the lab that allow the analysis of eight types of mycotoxins at the same time.

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Fine Furniture of Sarchi - Sarchi, Costa Rica
All our handcrafted products are made in Sarchi with pride and quality by artisans who are dedicated to designing, crafting, and delivering our furniture to you. Please visit our website and send us a picture and specifications of what YOU like, or just send us pictures from anywhere you wish. We will quote you right back with a more than competitive price and an on-time delivery date. Delivery and set up available throughout Costa Rica. We have different Costa Rican woods from which you may choose.
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ax Accountant Licensed by the I.R.S.
Ms. Summers
Marlene B. Summers
Let’s discuss your tax situation.

The IRS has become more aggressive and if you have not filed, you must do so.  However, there are solutions to problems and your situation may be better than you think.

If your filing is not up to date, Streamlined Filing can be used with no penalties.  Including disclosure of foreign corporations to avoid serious problems.

If tax payment is holding you back, the IRS has options to solve payment problems.

You can file current or past due FBARs without payment to meet IRS requirements.

If you have yet to file, do it now as there is still time.

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Phone (506) 2289-6590 or (506) 8750-2316

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

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email:

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NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
Published || Monday Edition, June 19, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 120
Real Estate
About us
Colombia offers reward
in deadly mall bombing

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is offering a $35,000 reward for information leading to the capture of those who set off a bomb Saturday in a luxury shopping mall.

Three people were killed and nine wounded in the blast in the women's bathroom at Centro Andino in central Bogota.

"In the face of cowardly acts like yesterday’s, Colombians must unite and be supportive," Santos said Sunday. "We will not allow what has been achieved so far to be stopped by a handful of extremists, cowards or those who do not want the reconciliation of the Colombian people."

The bomb blew up next to a toilet while the mall was packed with shoppers getting ready for Father's Day.

Those killed included a young French woman who was volunteering at a school in a poor Bogota neighborhood.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blast. Suspicion has fallen on the country's second rebel group, the National Liberation Army, which refused to join the FARC rebels in signing a peace deal with the government.

But the ELN, which is negotiating peace, condemned the bombing and attacks on civilians. It was behind a February attack that killed a policeman.

Venezuela’s top court rejects
bid to try senior judges

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuela’s Supreme Court has rejected a request from the country’s attorney general to put on trial several senior judges accused of favoring socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

The court dismissed the proposal Friday as unfounded. It said Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz did not identify any alleged misconduct of the judges. Ms. Diaz has accused the judges of breaching the constitution. The legal challenge was the latest in a series of court challenges made by Ms. Diaz.

Earlier in the month, she filed a legal challenge to President Maduro’s call to convene a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution. Ms. Diaz said the plan is unconstitutional and illegal because it is the sovereign people who have the power to demand a revision.

The Supreme Court rejected the challenge Monday.

The electoral chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice declares that the challenge filed by Luisa Ortega Diaz is inadmissible because it is an inept accumulation of pretensions, the court said via Twitter.

Ms. Diaz is a former ally of Maduro who has turned against him and the ruling Socialist Party. The prosecutor, close to the late socialist President Hugo Chavez throughout his administration, said she considers Chavismo as a philosophy of life and that his legacy is being destroyed.

Ms. Diaz said Monday her family has been threatened and followed by intelligence agents since she split with the government.

More than two months of almost-daily street protests in Venezuela, primarily against the socialist government, have led to dozens of deaths. The president has grown increasingly unpopular as the country suffers crippling shortages of basic goods, including food and medicine.

U.S. fighter jet downs
Syrian regime warplane

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane Sunday after it reportedly bombed U.S.-backed fighters battling Islamic State.

The Pentagon said Sunday a Syrian SU-22 dropped bombs on coalition-partnered fighters near the town of Tabqah.

A U.S. Super Hornet immediately responded and shot down the Syrian plane. There is no word on the pilot’s fate or any other casualties.

Earlier, Syrian forces attacked coalition fighters in Ja'Din, wounding a number of fighters and driving them from the town. Coalition aircraft stopped the pro-regime forces from advancing on Ja'Din.

The coalition contacted Russian commanders to set up a de-confliction line to prevent the fighting from worsening.

The Pentagon says its actions Sunday were within the rules of engagement and collective self-defense of coalition forces.

The Pentagon says the coalition's mission in Syria and Iraq is to defeat Islamic State.

"The coalition does not seek to fight the Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces, but will not hesitate to defend coalition or partner forces from any threat."

At least 61 declared dead
in Portugal forest fires

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A massive forest fire in central Portugal has killed at least 61 people, many of them burned to death in their cars. At least 59 people are reported injured in the fire that erupted amid an intense heat wave and rainless thunderstorms.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa declared three days of national mourning, starting Sunday.

"Unfortunately, this seems to be the greatest tragedy we have seen in recent years in terms of forest fires," he said. "The priority now is to save those people who could still be in danger."

Costa said the death toll was lowered from the previously reported 62 victims because one person had been counted twice. However, he added that there's no point in feeling joyful for that, because surely we will find more victims as we progress. Police are searching charred areas of the forest and isolated homes for more bodies.

Officials say hundreds of firefighters have been dispatched to battle the blaze in the mountainous area of Pedrogao Grande, about 150 kilometers northeast of Lisbon. Spain and France are sending aircraft to assist in efforts to douse the flames, authorities say. The European Union also is mounting an emergency assistance campaign.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the former prime minister of Portugal, said he was shocked and horrified at the many lives claimed by the fires. The U.N. chief commended the government, firefighters, emergency responders and civil society organizations that are sparing no efforts to battle the wildfire and help people in need.

Jorge Gomes, secretary of state for the interior, said the flames moved with great violence. He said it was difficult to determine whether the people who burned in their cars were fleeing the flames or were taken by surprise.

Japanese Defense Ministry photo        
Injured crew member is carried on stretcher.

Navy calls off its search
for seven missing sailors

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. has called off its search for seven missing sailors after finding bodies in the sleeping compartments of the USS Fitzgerald, the Navy destroyer that collided with a massive merchant vessel off the coast of Japan early Saturday.

"The search and rescue is over," U.S. 7th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin told reporters Sunday. U.S. authorities tacitly acknowledged there were no survivors, although Aucoin declined to say how many bodies had been recovered until relatives of the dead sailors are notified.

Aucoin said that seawater gushed into sleeping compartments and that part of the ship's right side was caved in.

"The damage was significant. There was a big gash under the water," Aucoin said at the Yokosuka naval base, home of the U.S. 7th Fleet. He spoke with the docked Fitzgerald behind him, after tugboats towed it ashore in the hours after the collision 104 kilometers southwest of Yokosuka, in a busy shipping channel.

He said a significant portion of the crew was sleeping when the destroyer collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship, the ACX Crystal. Aucoin said the Fitzgerald is salvageable but that repairs will likely take months.

There was no immediate explanation for the collision.

Three other U.S. crew members were injured in the accident, including the vessel's commanding officer, Bryce Benson, with all of them undergoing treatment. Aucoin said, without elaborating, that Benson is lucky to be alive.

Benson was in stable condition with a head injury. The two other sailors suffered cuts and bruises. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a sympathy message to U.S. President Donald Trump, saying, "We are struck by deep sorrow. I express my heartfelt solidarity to America at this difficult time."

On Saturday, Trump said in a Twitter message, "Thoughts and prayers with the sailors of USS Fitzgerald and their families. Thank you to our Japanese allies for their assistance."

The ACX Crystal sailed into Tokyo Saturday afternoon with minor damage to its bow. None of the 20-member crew on the Philippine-flagged container ship was reported injured.

Aucoin said the Navy will launch an investigation into the collision because he believed that it is owed to the families and the Navy to understand what happened.

"Unfortunately, we don't have the details regarding the conditions during the final moments, but hope that the investigation may shed some light on that matter," Aucoin said.

The Fitzgerald and the ACX Crystal, a ship nearly four times the size of the destroyer, collided early Saturday. The 29,000-ton Philippine ship is 222 meters long, while the 8,315-ton Navy destroyer is 154 meters long.

The U.S. Navy said the collision occurred about midship on the starboard side, damaging two sailor-berthing stations, a machinery room and a radio room.

According to Jiji Press news agency, the ACX Crystal captain said his ship was sailing in the same direction as the U.S. destroyer and then collided.

Such collisions between two ships are rare. Yukata Saito of the Japanese coast guard said conditions were clear at the time of the collision.

"The volume of ships is heavy in this area and there have been accidents before," Saito told Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.

Terrorism fears prompt
Australian gun amnesty

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The increased threat of terrorism and a flood of illegal firearms into Australia have prompted the government to offer its first national gun amnesty since a massacre at a former penal colony more than 20 years ago. In 1996, 35 people were killed by a lone gunman at Port Arthur in Tasmania. That tragedy prompted tough gun control measures.

It is estimated there are more than a quarter-million illegal guns in Australia, although government officials concede the exact number is impossible to gauge. A recent proliferation of illicit weapons and the potential impact on national security, as well as concerns about organized crime, have prompted the government in Canberra to introduce a three-month amnesty, starting July 1.

It will give Australians the chance to hand in their unwanted weapons without fear of prosecution. Anyone caught with an illegal weapon outside that period faces fines of up to $212,000 or up to 14 years in prison.

Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan says a deadly siege at a cafe in downtown Sydney in December 2014, the murder of a police accountant in Sydney a year later, and a fatal shootout this month in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton are evidence that an amnesty is needed.

A similar deal followed the Port Arthur shootings in the mid 1990s, which also restricted possession of automatic and semi-automatic firearms.

Thirty-five people died when a lone gunman, using a semi-automatic rifle, attacked a former penal colony at Port Arthur, a popular tourist destination on the island state of Tasmania. It was the worst mass shooting in Australia's history.

Officials say the tough gun control measures brought in after the Port Arthur shootings have prevented further mass killings.

Thousands march in Madrid;
call Spain to accept refugees

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Several thousand protesters marched Saturday in Madrid, urging the Spanish government to keep its commitment to accept refugees.

Spain has pledged to allow 17,300 refugees from such war-torn countries as Syria, Iraq and Libya to settle in the country, as its part of a Europe-wide commitment to do more to help alleviate the continent's migration crisis.

Amnesty International reports that Madrid has relocated or resettled only 1,304 people, less than 10 percent of its pledge. Throughout Europe, most countries have similarly small accomplishments, based on the pledges to take in refugees they made to the European Commission in 2015.

The protest in Spain by dozens of nongovernmental organizations, including Amnesty International, was called just ahead of World Refugee Day on Tuesday.

In 2015, the European Commission set a deadline of September 2017 to resettle or relocate 160,000 refugees throughout Europe. That number was later amended to 98,000 refugees after finding fewer people than expected were eligible for the program. As of early June, however, only about 21,000 asylum-seekers have been relocated.

Of the many European states that committed themselves to accepting refugees, only Finland and Malta have met their obligations.

Hungary, Austria and Poland refused to make a commitment to accept refugees, and Britain chose not to participate in the joint action. In addition, four European Commission members consisting of the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovakia accepted only very limited commitments.

In Madrid, protesters marched in 40-degree Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures Saturday, chanting, "No human being is illegal," and holding banners that read "Bridges not walls" and "Enough is enough."

Christian Lele, 27, from Cameroon, climbed a border fence between Morocco and the Spanish territory of Melilla in 2014. Taken to several refugee centers, he ended up in Madrid, where he now works as a gardener.

Lele said he was at the march as a sign of solidarity with others who are hoping to relocate in Europe.

Also Saturday, a vessel operated by the Spanish aid group Proactive Open Arms arrived in the port of Pozzallo, in southern Sicily, with more than 600 migrants rescued from the Mediterranean Sea.

The migrants had set out from Libya, the most common departure point for those trying to reach Europe by sea.

By mid-June, the International Organization for Migration said more than 77,000 migrants had crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year. The overwhelming majority, nearly 85 percent, arrived in Italy, with smaller numbers of migrants landing in Greece, Spain and Cyprus.

During the same period, the organization said, 1,828 migrants died or disappeared at sea. During all of 2016, nearly 215,000 migrants arrived in Europe by sea; more than 2,900 died.

The smugglers enlisted by migrants trying to reach Europe often place their human cargo in unseaworthy vessels. European ships rescue most of the people who arrive in Europe once they reach international waters.

Judge declares mistrial
in Cosby assault trial

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A United States judge has declared a mistrial in the sexual assault trial of celebrity comedian Bill Cosby after jurors could not reach a unanimous decision about Cosby's guilt.

The jury deadlocked after more than 50 hours of deliberation in Norristown, Pennsylvania, over charges that he drugged and then molested a woman in 2004.

Prosecutors said immediately that they would retry the Cosby Show star, and he remains charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault.

The jury seemed exasperated at times over the course of the week as it repeatedly asked the judge for clarifications of evidence or to hear testimony from the trial again.

On Thursday, the fourth day of deliberation, jurors told Judge Steven O'Neill they were deadlocked, but he instructed them to keep working to try and reach a unanimous decision.

On Saturday, after they reported to O'Neill they were at an impasse and would not be able to reach a consensus, he was forced to call a mistrial.

The 79-year-old Cosby is charged with drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand, a former director of operations of the Temple University women's basketball team.

He allegedly gave her pills that paralyzed her and left her unable to resist when he started touching her in his Philadelphia home. Cosby could go to prison for the rest of his life if found guilty.

More than 50 women claim Cosby sexually assaulted them in incidents dating back to the 1960s, when he emerged as a major comedy star. Most of the alleged incidents occurred too long ago to be prosecuted now.

Ms. Constand's complaint is the only one that has come to trial. Cosby has denied all the charges.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Beautiful Home and Land for Sale

Atenas home
Atenas Best climate, best views. Top of the mountain, Nestled on a two acre coffee farm with tropical gardens and fruit trees. 1200 meters. 

This home has 3 bedrooms and 3 baths with outdoor bathtub in master bedroom, Solar hot water, well, pool, indoor courtyard with fountains, living room has a fireplace. All rooms have outside sitting areas.

Private and secluded, cannot be seen from the road.
SANCTUARY OF PEACE!!! Price $750k call for viewing. phone 506-8831-8086  Email

Costa Rica

Costa Rica Penthouse For Sale

 Enjoy the most spectacular views in the valley in this 5 -story Penthouse.  One of a kind property on top of the Corobici / Crowne Plaza 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 plus other businesses.  Large Living Room, Elevator goes directly inside Penthouse.  Private hot tub deck and Dance floor with Spectacular views!!!  All exterior walls are glass or have windows. Commercial license is in place.  Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $695K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,500 per month on an annual basis.  This is a private condo residence and is Not associated with the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  

Go to  
U.S. contact: Carl Stratton, cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email
Costa Rica contact:  Dan Wise, phone numbers:  2232-4063 / 2232-8610  Email:

Costa Rica's first Realtor specialized
in eco properties, eco consulting and green living.

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   • Specialized in the Central and South Pacific.
   • Great network of Realtors, to find your dream
   • Homes, condominium & luxury homes
   • Eco lodges and hotels
   • Green properties and waterfalls
   • Farms and developments
   • Sustainable and green living communities.
   • Property management in the Jacó area

Romantic Country Bungalow Click Here
Dream Property River Click Here
Telephone: +506 2637-6285
cell: +506 8825-6556  
Skype: ecorealtorscr
Facebook: ecorealtorscr
In front of Subway at Plaza Herradura, Jacó Green NAR designee, member of the CCBR, CRGAR

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

Have a Property For Sale? Contact Us!
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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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
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San José, Costa Rica || Monday Edition, June 19, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 120
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

An ode to my favorite odors

Sometimes it’s all about fragrance. Sometimes you step into a vivero and your nose goes a little wild – and so do you.

Victoria Torley
 I wonder what people think
 when they see me with my nose
 in the air, sniffing and turning
 my head to get a sense of the
 direction for the scent. Not that I
 am the only one. I have seen
 other “sniffers” at the local
 viveros, following their noses, 
 losing the scent then reacquiring

Sometimes you can ask an employee: “What is that perfume?” and sometimes they know. Sometimes it is so distinctive that they can lead you right to it. Then again, you may find yourself sniffing a dozen roses before you find the rose that drew you to that nursery section. It’s a mystery.

For me, the first one was Dafne odora, an amazing fragrance - and lots of it - pulling me through the rows of shrubs. Sadly, odora is also difficult to keep alive so I only had a few seasons of it in Georgia. Our tropical butterfly white ginger, on the other hand, can scent the yard and never stops spreading! Good stuff.

Orchids can be “good stuff” for the nose. The gongora orchid I have blooming now gives off a scent of oil of clove while other orchids smell like lilies or lilacs. There are even competitions at some orchid shows based entirely on the fragrance of the flowers. I’m not ready for that yet.

There are daytime scents in my yard. The ylang ylang always stops visitors when it is in flower and no wonder, since it is an ingredient in Chanel #5 perfume. Sadly, the tree is a favorite of leaf cutter ants as are the roses, producer of another favorite garden scent. Very frustrating.

Then there is the angel trumpet with its long horn shaped flowers. I have one right outside my bedroom window and it makes the most wonderful fragrance every evening when it’s in bloom and it blooms almost year round. Why evening? Bats and moths that have the long tongues it takes to reach inside the flower pollinate the flowers.

Then there are the tropical irises. Not as flashy as our bearded iris but just as fragrant. So far I have collected three colors – blue, yellow, and white. As an added plus, they are great re-bloomers. As a minus, they make a terrible cut flower and only last a few hours when placed in a vase.

Finally, my favorite fragrance. The lilies are enormous flowers in solid colors or stripes with bulbs that can weigh 20 kilos and take two men to transplant. They are blooming now and I love them.

A.M. Costa Rica photo/Victoria Torley       

Plant for the Week

The genus Abutilon, which I have mentioned before, contains about 200 species and ranges from shrubs to trees. Locally, it is called the flowering maple due to its leaf shape. I mention it again because I just located a lovely one with double ruffles and wanted to share it. The plant is easy to grow from cuttings and should be planted in full sun once roots develop. After that, stand back and watch it shoot up. As you can see from the picture, bees love it.

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From page 7:

Costa Rican trade delegation heads for Japan

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An official delegation from Costa Rica are on, what is being called, a high-level work tour in Japan beginning today in order to seek new markets for investment, trade and technical support to increase capacity in the country.

The official delegation will be headed by Alexander Mora, the foreign trade minister, along with other members of the Ministerio del Comercio Exterior and the Coalición Costarricense de Iniciativas de Desarrollo. The tour will include promoting the country for investment and attending meetings with potential technological manufacturing investors as well as those in the high-end service sector and information technology, the ministry said.

The delegation will also meet with the foreign affairs minister and deputy minister of the economy for Japan along with the Japan International Cooperation Agency and Japan Foreign Trade Organization. The former is an entity found in over 150 countries and assists and supports developing nations using grants and other financial assistance, Comercio Exterior said. The latter group is dedicated to promoting free trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world.

“Strengthening trade ties with Japan is part of our central government’s efforts to diversify our economy and strengthen both trade and political ties,” Mora said in a statement. “The objective pursued by this work tour involves multiple aspects such as the promotion of investment in the country, platform events with potential investors, as well as one-on-one meetings with companies already established to strengthen relations.”

The work tour will last all week until Friday. According to foreign trade officials, Costa Rica is currently a strategic partner for Japanese companies operating from the country to service its mainland operations such as: Bridgestone, Panasonic, MicroVention Terumo, TradeStation, Fujitsu, Toyota, among others.