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Published Tuesday, June 21, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 121
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As cocaine falls out of favor, U.S. sets other goals
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica’s importance to drug dealers in the United States is declining as cocaine is losing favor and being replaced by heroin made in  México.

That is the opinion of a man who should know. He is William R. Brownfield, U.S. assistant secretary for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs. He will be in Costa Rica today, in part, to distribute this country’s grants from the $750 million the U.S. Congress has allocated for Central American security.

The U.S. Embassy said that Brownfield will announce a multimillion dollar donation for the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas, visit the coast guard station in Caldera and meet with legislative and judicial officials.

Casa Presidencial said that Brownfield will meet with President Luis Guillermo Solís and announce a program that will contribute to helping Costa Ricans lead secure lives free of any violence.

He also will be checking on the progress of a program announced in 2012. It is the  Integrated System for the Improvement of Police Strategy, based on the New York City program, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s CompStat, that resulted in a major decline in criminality there. The United States invested $500,000 in mapping technology so police can follow trends in crime.

Brownfield also was here in 2013 when he announced a $1.6 million program with the Paniamor Foundation to, as the U.S. Embassy characterized it at the time, fight domestic violence in the country and to give support to reduce the demand for drugs and programs that get police to work more closely with the communities they serve.

The heart of the U.S. government’s plan is to stem the flood of Central American illegal immigrants who mainly come from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Brownfield probably also will discuss the thousands of illegal African immigrants who are trying to head north from Central America to enter the United States. The embassy here has been silent on the crises.

His visit comes at a time when citizen concerns about crime are rising because the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz, which runs the prisons, has released thousands of inmates before the expiration of their sentences to reduce prison crowding.

U.S. dollars have been the main glue that keeps Costa Rica’s drug fighting program in operation. The United States is financing a new coast guard station in Golfito, as well as an elaborate police facility to reduce smuggling on the InterAmericana Sur at Kilometer 35. There are many more programs, including training for Costa Rican officers in the United States and the visits by U.S. law enforcement figures here.

Despite all this emphasis on fighting the cocaine trade, Brownfield told reporters in Washington Friday that U.S. cocaine consumption has declined by 50 percent over the last 10 years and over the last five years

U.S. Embassy photo
William R. Brownfield discusses police mapping strategy when he visited a police station in Tibás in March 2013.

the consumption of heroin has increased by more than 200 percent.

He attributed the increase in heroin to the decades-long use of legal pain-killing opioids that eventually bring hooked people to the heroin habit because the white powder is cheaper. He told reporters Friday that since the 1980s opium-based pain medication was prescribed widely in the United States.

“As we moved into the 21st century, we then had a large segment of our society – this is a U.S.-specific response – that had developed a dependency, if not an addiction, to opioid-based pain medication,” he said based on a U.S. State Department transcript of the meeting.

“As that dependency and addiction spread more broadly into communities, those who produce and market heroin spotted an opportunity to develop a market. And what did they do? Despite the fact that they are a criminal enterprise, they did what any good lawful enterprise would do: identify the market and offer their product substantially cheaper than the alternative.”

He said the result is “a genuine, authentic, unquestioned heroin crisis in the United States, something that we have not seen . . . since the late 1940s and the early 1950s.”

He also said that a Chinese-produced additive to heroin called fentanyl comes into the United States mostly from México, and it is “a product that is like 30 to 50 times more potent, more powerful, and more dangerous than is the heroin.” He said that tens of thousands of drug users were dying each year due to the fentanyl.

Brownfield’s job has been complicated by U.S. states where voters chose to legalize marijuana.

“Every time I go down to Mexico and engage in conversations with authorities of the Mexican government in terms of cooperation on this issue, I hear about legalization and, in a sense, how can we ask for cooperation on this issue when states in the union are legalizing marijuana and cannabis in the United States of America,” he said.

Police capture U.S. escape artist in Desamparados
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Posted at 2:25 p.m.

Fuerza Pública officers said Tuesday that they have captured the Michigan escapee who fled the immigration lockup in Hatillo here Sunday night.

The man, John Wesley Saatio, 35, had been living in Jacó after his escape from a Michigan law enforcement officer a year ago.

He was captured June 13 and then remanded to immigration officers even though he was an obvious escape risk.

Police said they found him overnight on a street in the low-income district of Los Guidos

in Desamparados. He faces a 25-year sentence when he reaches the United States.

Saatio has a long record of convictions that include home invasion, probation violation and burglary. He escaped in Houghton County, Michigan, on the state’s upper peninsula June 19, 2015.

Officials here said that after he was arrested in Jacó the man, a registered sex offender, sought refugee status, but that was denied. As a refugee, he would not face extradition to the United States.

Officials are investigating the circumstances of his escape in Hatillo where he appears to have climbed though the roof.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, June 21, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 121
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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Agencies to stress road safety this week

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anyone who follows the local television news knows that some days the stories are just one body after another. The highway can be unforgiving, particularly for those on motorcycles.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, the highway agency, plans to distribute 1,000 helmets in conjunction with the association of motorcycle importers for the benefit of owners who would like to trade their old helmet for a new one.

This is about a $47,000 donation by the 15 firms that import motorcycles said the Consejo, which is accepting applications on its Facebook page.

This also happens to be the week of road safety, called Semana de la Seguridad Vial in Spanish. Various other governmental agencies, including the traffic police, are calling attention to road dangers.

The Instituto Nacional de Seguros, which provides basic insurance for all motorists as part of their annual registration, began the week with a program Monday at the Hospital Nacional de Niños. There are other programs planned all week.

The state insurance company said that it listed 24,164 accidents with 426 deaths and 27,924 injuries in 2015. The company paid out 31 billion colons or about $58 million.

The insurance firm plans to have employees visit the Escuela Bernardo Soto en Alajuela today and conduct safe driving exhibitions in the Parque Central of Ciudad Quesada Wednesday.

There are similar exhibitions planned for Thursday in la Fortuna and Pital de San Carlos and Friday at the Parque Central in Pérez Zeledón.

A wrap up exhibition is Saturday at Parque la Sabana from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to stress motorcycle safety.

The state company plans to stress with youngsters that they should remind parents not to use the cell telephone while driving.

Man held in Los Chiles in migrant scam

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With hundreds and perhaps thousands of Africans struggling to leave Costa Rica to eventually sneak into the United States, the entrepreneurs are at work along both borders.

Some border residents make quick cash by promising stranded migrants that they can transport them over the border. Sometimes this is true and other times it is bluff.

Another man has been detained for scamming five Africans in Los Chiles. The Poder Judicial said the man was identified by the five persons from whom he took money and did not deliver.

Our reader’s opinion
There is an option to the reality TV duo

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Just to let you know my edition of today's A.M. Costa Rica seems to be missing the content you published on Gary Johnson to go along with this one:  " Editor's note: The following stories profile presidential candidates. . . ."  I would like to offer you this for inclusion in the discussion.
When you cast your vote you are signaling to others what it is you want.
But it is an imperfect signal.  When a vote AGAINST a candidate is received, the vote is perceived the same as a vote FOR the other candidate as well as all of that team’s policies.  There is no way to signal that you want some from column A and some from column B, or that you hate the other guy.
In the 2012 election Obama received 30 percent of the eligible votes, Romney received 27 percent, and the majority of the eligibles, 40 percent, chose to not participate by not casting a vote.  We can have no idea whether that 40 percent signaled acquiescence or disgust or something else entirely with the choices.
When we run articles about national policies and futures, and we only discuss those issues and candidates who are served up to us, we do a grave disservice to what should be a noble undertaking.  At some point, alternatives to doing the same thing we did before and hoping for different results should be discussed.
This year you are again offered a choice on the ballot for presidency of the United States in all 50 states of a candidate from an alternative party.  The Libertarian Party has two former two-term U.S. State governors, Arizona and Massachusetts,  running against the reality TV show that the legacy parties would have you choose from.  Gary Johnson and William Weld are the Libertarian candidates this year.
You may not have heard much about them, and your content providers may not be including them, but if you were in the 40 percent of non-participants in 2012, or if you held your nose and voted against the other guy, you may want to take a look at this experienced governance team that is discussing the issues like adults and with solutions that will probably work at least as well as what has been forced on you recently.
My friend told me he is only discussing issues and candidates that will probably win.  This can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Without airing other issues and options, these alternatives, of course, stand little chance of being chosen.  Sometimes, just knowing that there is someone else trying may give hope to the disenfranchised and the disgusted that perhaps, just perhaps, the future need not be just like the past.
You'll have to look a little bit harder just now to find out about Gary Johnson and William Weld.  It isn't all pretty.  But compared to the clown car the two old parties have offered up,  a vote for Johnson would unmistakably signal to the sclerotic duopoly that there are those out there who want something different.  In 2012, only 3 percent of the eligible votes separated from the government party candidates.  Make them stand up and take notice of you by denying them your vote.
See how good it feels to vote FOR someone and FOR something this time.  You may not win, but since you haven't been getting what you wanted from the old parties either, you may as well keep your dignity.
Chuck Dumas

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, June 21, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 121
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Judicial workers say they will march over possible pension cuts
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial employees will be marching Thursday with the blessings of the Corte Suprema de Justicia.

Unions representing judicial workers are planing the protest march to register their opposition to a bill in the legislature that they believe will reduce their pensions.

In an unusual development, most of the supreme court magistrate voted to approve the action as long as judicial business was not interrupted. Three magistrates abstained.

The protest march is the latest that sets public employees against government officials who are trying to rein in a swelling

national deficit. Of particular concern to lawmakers are pension programs that frequently are overlooked even though they may
generate big expenditures. Lawmakers just passed a bill that reduces what has been a 30 percent annual increase in the pensions of some former lawmakers who served before 1990.

Public employee salaries, including those in the judicial branch generally are 30 to 40 percent higher than those in the private sector.

In response to the announcement of the judicial protest, the constitutional chamber of the supreme court quickly pointed out that it has declared unconstitutional 66 clauses in various public employee union contracts in the last 16 years.

The court is not facing an appeal to reduce benefits to workers at the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo S.A. The court said most of the decisions had been based on the reasonability of the union clauses.

Turrialba produces a series of new eruptions and spews ash again
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Turrialba volcano erupted at least nine times since late Sunday. The eruptions ended a quiet spell for the mountain.

Coincidentally the eruptions took place on the first day of a meeting of Latin American earthquake and volcano experts at the Wyndham San Jose Herradura Hotel.

The Red Sismológica Nacional listed eruptions at 11:58 p.m.

Sunday, and at 1:18 a.m., 1:59 a.m., 3:42 a.m., 3:47 a.m., 6:43 a.m., 6:53 a.m., 11:57 a.m. and 2:42 p.m. Tuesday.  There were only a few photos of the events because of the cloudy conditions at the peak of the volcano.

The winds were to the west and southwest with ash falling in Cartago, Curridabat, Guadalupe, Coronado and other points north of the metro area, according to the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica at Universidad Nacional.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, June 21, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 121
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Scripps study says that manta rays prefer to stay close to home
By the University of California, San Diego, news staff
Manta rays, often thought to take epic migrations, might actually be homebodies, according to a new study. Researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, studied satellite-tracked manta rays to shed light on the lives of these mysterious ocean giants.

Manta rays (Manta birostris) spend much of their lives swimming in remote open-ocean environments, such as on seamounts and offshore islands, in search of tiny free-floating plankton, their main source of food. They can live for over 40 years and reach a wingspan of up to seven meters or 23 feet.

The findings, published in the journal Biological Conservation, have important implications for the conservation of the threatened species.

To better understand their travels, the researchers tagged and collected muscle tissue samples from the rays at four different sites in the Indo-Pacific separated by 600 to 13,000 kilometers (373 to 8,078 miles), to see if the local mantas were in fact a network of highly connected subpopulations.

Using the tagging information, which included up to six months of data on their movements, along with genetic and stable isotope analyses on the collected tissues, the researchers found that manta rays remained close to their tagged location and are very likely distinct subpopulations with very limited connectivity between regions.

"These animals are showing a remarkable degree of residency behavior compared to the migrations we were expecting," said Scripps Oceanography doctoral candidate Joshua Stewart, a researcher in the Scripps Gulf of California Marine Program and the study's lead author. "While mantas do make the occasional long-distance movement, it appears that the norm is to stay put. This means that any one population of mantas is highly susceptible to fisheries and other human impacts, but that local populations are also more easily protected."

Populations of manta and closely related mobula rays are in decline worldwide due to targeted fishing mainly for their gill plates, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine, and from accidental catches in other fishing operations.

Scientists had previously assumed manta rays to be long-distance travelers, similar to other large marine

University of California, San Diego, and the Manta Trust/ Joshua Stewart
Scripps researchers are trying to tag a manta ray in the Revillagigedo Archipelago, México.

vertebrates such as sharks, tunas, and whales, largely based upon their size and habitat preference.

"We found that these patterns of residency remain true on multi-year and generational time scales, with both genetic and isotopic separation between populations," said Stewart, also a researcher at the UK-based nonprofit The Manta Trust.

According to the authors, this study demonstrates that oceanic manta rays can be effectively protected by local and regional management strategies, which are often not considered viable for highly migratory species.

"The research we've conducted has shown that perhaps the most effective management strategies for oceanic manta rays will come from the local and national level," said study co-author Calvin Beale of the Misool Manta Project.

The population of manta rays studied in Indonesia appears to reside exclusively in Indonesian waters, where there is a complete moratorium on the landing of manta rays, and local marine protected areas that cover a substantial portion of the population's range.

"If more countries follow suit and protect their local manta populations, the outlook for the species may improve from the current downward trajectory," said Beale.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


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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,
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, June 21, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 121
Real Estate
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Senate declines to approve
Democratic gun proposals

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Eight days after the deadliest mass shooting in American history, the U.S. Senate voted down a series of proposals to restrict those eligible to buy firearms and expand screening of gun purchasers.

Late Monday, Republicans blocked two long-standing proposals that Democrats championed with renewed vigor after Islamic State-inspired shooter Omar Mateen killed 49 clubgoers and wounded 53 others just over a week ago in Orlando, Florida.

One measure would block those on a variety of federal terror watchlists, including those barred from flying, from buying guns. Another would expand mandatory background checks for firearms purchases to include gun show and internet sales.

Both measures failed to get the three-fifths backing required to be attached as amendments to pending legislation in the Senate.

"I'm mortified by today's vote," said Democrat Chris Murphy, who commandeered the Senate floor for 15 hours last week to demand legislative action on gun violence.

"What am I going to tell 49 grieving families?" asked Florida Democrat Bill Nelson. "Sadly, what I'm going to have to tell them is the NRA won again." He was referring to the National Rifle Association gun rights lobbying group.

Republicans said they could not vote for any proposal that did not provide a means for those wrongly placed on the terror watchlist to contest the government's determination, alleging the Democratic measure would deny Americans their constitutional right to bear arms without due process of law.

"We all agree that terrorists should not be able to purchase a weapon," said Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican of Texas. "The question is whether we are going to do so in a way that's constitutional."

"Our colleagues want to make this about gun control when what we should be making this about is the fight to eliminate the Islamic extremism that is the root cause for what happened in Orlando," Cornyn added.

Democrats, meanwhile, defeated two Republican proposals. One would deny gun sales to terror suspects, but only if the federal government promptly demonstrates to a judge's satisfaction that an individual is too dangerous to be sold a firearm. Another proposal would simply notify U.S. law enforcement when someone investigated for terrorism in recent years buys a gun.

Democrats said both Republican proposals are too weak to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of evil-doers.

Monday's votes continued a pattern of legislative defeat for gun control measures in the aftermath of high-casualty shooting rampages in the United States. The Senate also blocked gun reform proposals after the 2012 slaughter of 20 elementary schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, and after last year's terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people.

"We shouldn't be talking past each other and voting on things we know are going to fail," complained Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican of Pennsylvania, who has been working with a small group of moderate lawmakers on a compromise gun control bill in hopes of attracting bipartisan support.

Toomey said legislation to be unveiled shortly will accomplish two goals.

"Number one, terrorists shouldn't be able to buy guns legally. That shouldn't be terribly controversial," the Republican senator said. "But it also shouldn't be controversial that if an innocent American is denied his or her right to buy a gun because they are alleged to be a terrorist, they ought to have an opportunity to clear their name."

"Governments make mistakes. The federal government makes mistakes all the time," Toomey added.

Democrats fumed late Monday over continued congressional inaction after yet another mass-shooting, and pledged to make the issue a central point of contention in this year's elections.

"Another missed opportunity. Today we couldn't even agree to prevent known and suspected terrorists from buying guns," lamented Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who authored the Democratic terror watchlist proposal that has now been voted down twice in the chamber.

"We're going into an election season, and Mr. and Mrs. America, you have to stand up. And you have to say, I'm going to vote only for people who will do something to close the terror gap'," Sen. Feinstein added.

"This country is under attack," said Murphy. "Terrorists today are using assault weapons rather than IEDs or airplanes to attack Americans."

Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky accused Democrats of using the Orlando tragedy "as an opportunity to push a partisan agenda or craft the next 30-second campaign ad."

 The killer in Orlando purchased two firearms legally even though he had been questioned several times by FBI agents after he was reported for making inflammatory comments in favor of the Islamic State.

U.S. Supreme Court lets
states keep gun restrictions

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Supreme Court has left in place two state bans on certain assault-style, semiautomatic rifles.

Pro-gun advocates had filed a challenge to the assault weapons bans in Connecticut and New York, but the court on Monday refused to hear the challenge.

The bans were passed after a gunman with an AR-15 rifle killed 20 children and six educators at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.

Seven states and Washington, D.C. have enacted bans on so-called assault weapons. Automatic weapons are already heavily regulated under federal law.

Major heat wave grills
southwestern U.S. states

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Excessive heat warnings have been issued across much of the U.S. Southwest, as well as southern California, where dangerously high temperatures have already led to the deaths of at least four people.

New wildfires erupted Monday west of Santa Barbara, California, while other blazes burned across Arizona and New Mexico.

California's power grid operators warned people to conserve electricity to counter the rising demand for air conditioning, urging consumers to wait until after dark to run major appliances.

Four people died from the heat Sunday in Arizona. All were outside, either hiking or mountain biking, when they suffered from heat exposure. At least three of those who died were in their teens or 20s.

Many cities in California reported record highs Sunday and Monday, with temperatures rising well above 38 degrees (100 F). The desert city of Palm Springs saw a high of 48 degrees (118 F).

Forecasters expect Monday to be the peak of the heat wave, with temperatures dropping somewhat by Tuesday.

Kerry to meet employees
seeking harder Syrian policy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he plans to meet with department employees who submitted a cable calling for a more muscular U.S. Syria policy, although the State Department has stopped short of saying that Kerry agrees with their position.

Asked by reporters Monday if he had read the so-called Dissent Channel cable, Kerry acknowledged that he had and said, "It is very good."

He said he planned to meet with at least some of the 51 mostly mid-level diplomats who have called for targeted air strikes against the Syrian regime.

The diplomats' request, submitted through the department's internal Dissent Channel, became public last week after it was leaked to several news organizations.

Their call for air strikes as a means of exerting pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime to pursue a political settlement stands in stark contrast to the administration's current policy, which has focused on ousting terrorists and backing a stalled U.N.-led effort for talks between the government and the opposition.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Kerry believes the diplomats have presented a well-crafted argument. He stopped short, however, of saying Kerry backs their proposals.

"I would not characterize his comments today as being indicative of a full-throated endorsement of the views on this particular Dissent Channel message," Kirby said.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday he was uncertain whether President Barack Obama had read the cable. He added that while the administration had not yet seen the desired results in Syria, it did not want to repeat mistakes made by previous U.S. administrations.

"The United States will not be successful, nor will anyone else, in imposing a military solution on the problems inside of Syria," Earnest said. "That, I think is a basic lesson that we learned after the 2003 invasion of Iraq that was ordered by the previous administration.”

There is widespread dissatisfaction with the current situation in Syria.

A February cease-fire with multi-national support has eroded.

Also, U.N.-facilitated talks between the regime and opposition have stalled, partly due to opposition complaints about ongoing regime strikes on rebel targets. In addition, international relief workers have had limited success in delivering aid to besieged areas.

Obama launches proposal
to revitalize manufacturing

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama announced the creation Monday of a new initiative that intends to help revitalize the U.S. manufacturing industry by spurring innovations in a sector described as smart manufacturing.

Speaking before business leaders at the annual SelectUSA Summit in Washington, Obama said a coalition of 200 partners will receive $140 million in public and private funding to radically improve the efficiency of manufacturing by developing smart sensor and digital technologies that dramatically cut waste, save energy and streamline manufacturing processes.

The Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition received $70 million from the Department of Energy and $70 million in private donations. The coalition, comprised of industry, academic and non-profit representatives, will lead the new Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute in partnership with the Energy Department. Software innovations will be available on an open source platform, making them accessible to business of all sizes.

"No country can match our competitiveness in cutting-edge manufacturing. No country is home to entrepreneurs or more super-computing. No country has done more to build a culture of making and tinkering, and entrepreneurship and risk taking, and of innovation and invention," the president said.

Nearly six million manufacturing jobs were lost in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010 as companies closed factories and relocated to foreign countries with lower costs. That number represented more than one third of the entire American manufacturing workforce.

Since February 2010, more than 800,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs were created as the auto industry grew and manufacturing costs escalated in foreign countries.

The new manufacturing hub, headquartered in the western U.S. city of Los Angeles, California, is the ninth of 15 such projects Obama wants to create.

During a week focused on innovation, Obama will also attend a global entrepreneurship summit at Stanford University, when he will participate in a panel discussion with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg and others.

Russians fete athletes
despite Olympic ouster

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Authorities held a small festival Saturday in Moscow to support Russia's Olympic team, a day after the nation's track and field athletes were effectively banned from the Rio Olympics for failing to adequately clean up systemic doping.

The All-Russian Olympic Day included sporting events, demonstrations and games for the public, as well as speeches by past Olympic medalists.

Russian Olympic Federation President Alexander Zhukov attended the festival and spoke to the media about the importance of sports in Russia.

When asked about Russia's athletics team being banned from the Rio Olympics, he at first refused to comment. “Everything that you needed to know was announced by the Olympic Committee. I made an announcement. You probably read it,” Zhukov said, before adding, “We will continue to work to let our clean athletes participate in the Olympic Games."

There was some hope that the International Olympic Committee might overturn the ban by the sport’s governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federations. But within minutes of Zhukov’s comments, the committee said it fully backed the  decision and would uphold the ban.

Germany’s ARD television first revealed allegations of state-run systemic doping in Russian athletics. An independent World Anti-Doping Agency report backed up the claims by whistleblowers.

Russian officials acknowledge that doping is a problem in Russia that they are trying to clean up, but they deny it is state-run and say Russia is being singled out unfairly and for political reasons.

Saturday's Olympics-themed event, to some degree, seemed to help lift sagging spirits over the scandal’s consequences for Russian athletics.

The festival allowed children and families to test their skills at judo, fencing and arm-wrestling, among other events. A 5-kilometer race attracted a couple hundred runners.

After completing the race, runner Valeriya, a financial broker, acknowledged to a reporter that the Olympic spirit in Russia had been affected by the ban.

"Of course,” she said, “Russia has always been one of the strongest countries. We're always in the top five.  But now when we have a whole group of sportsmen disqualified, I'm afraid it will impact on the results. So, it will not be like we expected it to be."

Russian Olympic champions went on stage to support Russia's Olympic team as those in sports federations other than the banned team prepare for the Rio Games. Many did their best to try to lift Olympic spirits.

After doing a backward flip in front of an audience of hundreds, retired gymnastics champion Svetlana Khorkina said that Russia's Olympic spirits had not been affected by the ban at all. While her words were not very convincing, her enthusiasm was palpable when she spoke on stage.

“Guys, on this All-Russian Olympic Day, be happy, be healthy and come to the central sports club of the army. It's a club of champions!” Ms. Khorkina said.

Australia wants security
for its athletes in Brazil

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Australian Olympic Committee has called for more security in Rio after a paralympian and her physiotherapist were robbed at gunpoint Sunday.

“The RIO organizers need to introduce the extra security precautions as soon as possible before an athlete gets hurt. We have written to them today asking them to address this issue,” said Kitty Chiller, chief of mission of the Australian Olympic Team.

Paralympian Liesl Tesch was riding a bicycle along with physiotherapist Sarah Ross in a Rio park when two men, one brandishing a gun asked them for money. When the women said they had none the men allegedly pushed them to the ground and stole their bicycles.

Tesch, 47, is a highly decorated paralympian who has competed in wheelchair basketball and sailing.

Crime has been on the rise in Rio. Earlier this month, a Brazilian competitive shooter just shy of making the Olympic team was shot in the head in an armed robbery.

The Australian Olympic committee statement said “This is not an isolated incident, athletes have been mugged while training or competing in Rio test events, and we want our athletes protected."

The Rio Organizing Committee has promised an increased security presence ahead of the Olympic games which will begin Aug. 5, and the force will remain active for the Paralympics beginning Sept. 7.

Salvadoran family hopes
court will back Obama

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Rosario Reyes says gangs, always lingered in her neighborhood in El Salvador, but she became even more afraid after her brother-in-law was assassinated in a shooting on his way home from work. Gang members shot him 12 times during a robbery.

She feared for her life, that of her husband Ramon, and the lives of their two children, Ricardo and José. Although her brother-in-law was not a gang member, the family began to receive threats.

The Reyes then decided to move to a place where they could find safety.

Ramon left El Salvador in 2002 and a year later, Ms.  Reyes began the difficult journey to meet him in Maryland. This path included days of traveling until she crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.

"My husband and I, we were afraid. We wanted to get away from the criminality," she said.

Ms. Reyes and her family are among the 4 million undocumented immigrants who could be allowed to live and work legally in the United States without the constant fear of deportation.

A decision could come this week if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of President Barack Obama's immigration actions in the landmark case United States v. Texas.

The case focuses on Obama's 2014 Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, and the expansion of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA.

The measures would protect young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. They would also extend deportation protections to undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years. Both actions would allow them to work legally for a period of two years subject to renewal.

A lawsuit brought by 26 states, led by Texas, as well as congressional Republicans, challenged the executive orders and argued that Obama did not have the power to effectively change immigration laws.

A federal judge in Texas agreed to hear the challenge brought by those states and these executive orders have been on hold since 2015.

In April, the Supreme Court heard both sides in the case.

Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller, arguing for the lawsuit, called the president's order one of the largest immigration changes in American history, saying the program defers deportations and changes a person's immigration status since it allows undocumented immigrants to obtain work authorizations.

U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr. argued the government's case. He said the phrase lawful presence, that means being in the United States legally, could be removed from the language in the executive orders without changing their impact.

The president said he took the executive actions after Congress failed to overhaul the immigration system.

According to the Federal Registry, Obama has issued 244 executive orders between 2009 and 2016. George W. Bush issued 292 executive actions during his two terms as president.

Supreme Court justices could side with Obama's administration policies and allow the 4 million immigrants who qualify under the executive actions to live and work legally in the U.S.

The high court could also agree with a lower court's ruling, which froze the immigration actions, and these executive orders would likely remain stalled.

The third possibility is a tie. With the death in February of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, only eight members are on the bench. The lower court's ruling would stand if the outcome ends in a tie.

Ms.  Reyes' third child, Victor, was born in 2008 in Maryland. He is the only family member who is a U.S. citizen. Because of Victor, both parents qualify for deferred action.

Even a favorable ruling by the Supreme Court, the 38-year-old mother's plight would still not be over. She had to leave her other sons, José and Ricardo, with her mother when she left El Salvador for the U.S.

Years later, Ricardo, the eldest son, embarked on the same journey to see his parents again. Jose, the middle child, stayed behind in El Salvador and their mother said she has not seen him since he was a year old. He is now 14.
Real estate-related services (paid category)
Container homes
New shipping containers for sale:
20 ft. (model year 2015) Containers:  $3,500
40 ft. HQ (model year 2015) Containers: $5,000
We also have a 40-ft. HQ Shipping Container Home
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Office phone: 506-2446-0543
Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

If you are looking for information on condos, homes, lots, commercial real estate or development properties our award-winning team of professional agents are ready to help you buying property in Costa Rica. We have over 18 years of experience to educate our buyers in all aspects of purchasing property. Call us or email us today for more information on how to purchase that perfect piece of Costa Rica Real Estate.

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

Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
Pacific Coast. 
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Axiom two
The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
For more information
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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!
We will be happy to give all the information you need. Contact:

Costa Rica Office: +506.4001-2343
Mobile: +506.8367-2466
USA Office: +1.786233-1579

Rich Coast
Costa Rica Real Estate
    2.47 acre ocean view property w/ 2 houses & 2 unfinished apartments $249k!!!
    2 houses and pool furnished, great rental potential walk to the beach $327k w/ owner financing
    2-bedroom furnished condo 400 feet from Jacó beach $179,000

and lots of other great properties! Property listings in Escazú, Herradura, Jacó, Manuel Antonio, Dominical and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate.

Have a Property For Sale? Contact Us!
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

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

Jacó Beach - Super Views - Priced Right
This is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home located at about 100-foot elevation one mile from the beach.  Remodeled 2 years ago. Everything is new including total new kitchen, windows, floors, AC units, electric, plumbing, etc.  Super fenced yard for dogs.  Very low electric bill even with the AC.  This is a zero lot line property but with room to expand up and out.  Very secure & private.  Police chief next door. $149,900.  Call Glenn at 506 6214-0056.

Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $895K U.S.  Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

House for Sale in Escazu Downtown
Condo near downtown Escazú Centro, Country Day School and Paco Shopping Center. 2 floors, 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. Maid's quarters, patio, 24-hour guard,   clubhouse and pool  Price $170,000 or best offer Call Lewis at 506 2288-2250 or 506 8828-6749.
Email: or

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

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


Luxury condominium apartments for sale in Escazú
The property located in Trejos Montealegre, has three apartments for sale. Excellent location, 400 meters east of Avenida Escazú, next to Village (new commercial and office project), Plaza Tempo, Wal-Mart, CIMA Hospital. To enter and exit Trejos Montealegre no need to pay toll. The condominium is few minutes from San José

♦ Apartment No. 1: 180 square meters, 3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, TV room, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar and island kitchen furniture, garage, electric gate.
♦ Apartment No. 2: 180. square meters,  3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, TV room, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar and island kitchen furniture, garage, electric gate.
♦ Apartment No. 3: This is the largest one. 250. square meters,  3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar  island kitchen furniture, 2 garages, electric gate. Total property measures 529 square meters.  Unique opportunity to buy it for $ 750,000 (Seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars).  For more information contact Adrian, cell phone  506-8598-9898  Email:

Pavo onr
FOR SALE - $270,000
Exceptional 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom, fully furnished luxury apartment for sale at the exclusive Terrazas de Escazú highrise complex in Escazú near La Paco Commerical Center.  Situated on the third floor, this apartment has an exceptional layout with stunning views of the Central Valley. 140 m2 bright and spacious floor plan with open sky terrace with 180-degree unobstructed view of the Escazú mountains and Central Valley.  One covered parking spot with additional guest parking available. HOA fee:  $250/month. Held in Costa Rica corporation for easy property transfer. Building features: 12-meter atrium with controlled access entrance to the building, surrounding landscaping, lower level pool, communal rooftop terrace and small rooftop gym. 24-hour security. Contact: José Granados in Costa Rica, phone 506- 6051-5249  email:
paco two

first image
B&B for sale in Costa Rica $650,000

I believe this is the finest area of Costa Rica in which to live and, with a lock on 80percent of all tourists visiting Costa Rica, to invest. There are birds and flowers of every description, terrific neighbors, incredible views, wonderful weather with a healthy climate, visits by sloth, deer, monkeys, a very good business that can expand and grow, if desired, or simply a beautiful place to live. Please look at my Web site and the guest reviews, the people's reaction to the property, and you'll see just what a wonderful opportunity this is

There is about 7,000 square meters of land included (over 1 3/4 acres) as well as another smaller home and an apartment above the carport, designed as maid's quarters but usually rented out to tourists. The rear of the property is bordered by a small and very clean spring-fed creek/river. Across the river there is jungle, which makes for a great deal of all around privacy and which will never be developed. Restaurants, a supermarket, services, and many natural attractions are just a short distance away. The property was appraised at over $1.7 million (US) a few years ago, which might indicate what an incredible bargain this is.

It can also include a franchise for Best Western Hotel, if interested in growing with the tourism business, and a small hobby farm bordering Arenal National Park with spectacular views of Lake Arenal, is also available. All is available at an excellent price for the right person (people) and a package price can certainly be arranged. Email me at: For more photos and info click HERE!


Negotiable price. Thirty thousand seventy square meters. The house is seven hundred fifty squared meters, built three years ago. Five bedrooms plus servant's room with bathroom. Each bedroom includes private bathroom. Master's room includes Jacuzzi and hidromassage. Two main living rooms plus visitor's parlor and hall, two furnished kitchens, all ceramic. Nineteen rooms total counting three offices, eight-car garage. Has 220-volt current with three distribution panels. First-quality water plus well, decorated stone walls, recreational area, second house eighty squared meters, hot water systems, cable, telephone, light system throughout property, river, part forest..

For health situation, the owner make a INCREDIBLE DISCOUNT!!!!

ORIGINAL PRICE: $1.800.000    OFFER PRICE: $1.200.000
 For more information click HERE!
To see more photos click HERE!  To see house video click HERE!

English language contact:
Christian Arce
Phone: (506) 2494-0016
Cell phone: (506) 8309-0173

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

Ocean View Property for Sale in San Ramón
1.5-acre lot with spectacular ocean views. Ready to build. Mild climate year round with an average temperature a cool 74 degrees. Spectacular panoramic views of
                                for sale
the ocean and port of Puntarenas during the day, breathtaking views of Esparza at night. Fully titled and owned under a Costa Rican corporation. Price reduced to $45,000. Short-term owner financing available. For more info: Contact: Frank

Jacó beach unique home. First time offered
This house has never been listed.  It is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home approx. 100 feet above sea level on the only hill in Jacó one mile to the beach.  Totally remodeled to a Gringo house.Has great fenced yard for dogs and a huge screened porch with  great views all around, including a small ocean view.  New in the last two years includes: new kitchen with granite counter, cedar cabinets, all new windows, tile, water system, updated electric & plumbing, superb new AC units (low electric bill), This is half of a duplex with a platted yard.  Other side is the chief of police.  Secure & private.  $169.900. Call Glenn at 506-6214-0056 or

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, June 21, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 121
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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
Venezuelans back in lines over recall

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Supporters of Venezuela's opposition waited in long lines Monday to verify their signatures as part of a lengthy process to request a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro.

Thousands of people turned out to processing points across the country to have their fingerprints scanned, part of a requirement by the election council that those who signed for a recall vote against the president return to polling stations to verify their signatures.

Opposition leaders submitted 1 million signatures for the recall, far more than the 200,000 needed to proceed to the next step. They argue that the latest requirement to verify petitioners' signatures is part of an effort by President Maduro to stall the referendum.

The verification process continues through Friday.

If enough signatures are validated, the opposition must then try to collect the signatures of 20 percent of the electorate, around 4 million people, before a referendum can be held.

The opposition blames the socialist policies of Maduro for food and medicine shortages, soaring inflation and increasingly frequent power cuts.

Maduro was elected in a close vote in 2013 following the death of socialist leader Hugo Chávez.

The oil-rich country once was awash in money, but oil prices have fallen and so have the fortunes of Venezuela.

Venezuela's opposition is seeking to hold a recall referendum by the end of the year which, if successful, would trigger a new election. The timing is important because if the referendum is not held until 2017, and Maduro loses, he would be replaced by his vice president, effectively leaving the Socialist Party in power.

Canada passes assisted suicide rewrite

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Canada's Senate Friday passed a bill that would allow terminally ill people to end their lives with assistance from a doctor.

The bill passed easily, 44-28, ending a political deadlock between the upper and lower houses. It will become law after royal assent by the governor general, a step that is largely a formality.

The limitation of doctor-assisted suicide to those who are terminally ill had been a point of contention in lawmakers' debates. Some senators wanted to broaden the criteria under which people could seek a doctor's help to die, but the House, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, argued for strict limits.

The legislation also would allow medically assisted suicide only for those who qualify for government-funded health services in Canada, a measure to prevent people from traveling to Canada to die.

Canada's Supreme Court struck down an old prohibition against doctor-assisted suicide in 2015 and gave the government one year to draft legislation regulating the practice.

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From Page 7:

Swiss line plans two weekly direct flights

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Swiss airline Edelweiss says it will offer for the first time in May 2017 direct flights between Zurich and Juan Santamaría airport in Alajuela.

The airline will schedule two flights a week, it said Monday. The airline is a member of the Lufthansa Group.

Costa Rica officials were happy. About 300,000 persons enter Costa Rica from Europe each year by air, and the direct flight makes their trip quicker and easier. Outgoing travelers will not have to concern themselves with U.S. Immigration rules which generally require visas for Costa Ricans even if they are just passing through a U.S. airport.

The flights to Switzerland will be red eye. The Tuesday flight will leave at 11:35 p.m. and the Friday flight is scheduled to leave at 6:20 p.m.