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Published Wednesday Edition
June 21, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 122
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Domain registry denounces U.S. Embassy
By Conor Golden,
News Editor for A.M. Costa Rica

The United States Embassy in Costa Rica was denounced in a recent letter penned by the head of the country’s domain registry after the registry claimed the embassy was threatening to shut it down.

NIC Costa Rica may not be a famous organization among expats here, but the .cr domain that it manages is.

The group is a branch run by the Academia Nacional de Ciencias and its main objectives, according to its website, are “to promote the sale of their domains and to facilitate and promote the development of the Internet through the contribution of innovative technologies and active participation in the different sectors of the country.”

Since 1990, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority delegated to the academy the responsibility and oversight of the domain names within the .cr hierarchy.

Effectively, this means that the group can buy, sell, manage, take down and control the domain as well as the sites that use it. This is where the conflict with the U.S. Embassy comes in.

According to Pedro León Azofeifa, the president of the academy, the embassy has repeatedly contacted the organization regarding the domain name

For those that do not know, the domain is part of The Pirate Bay operation, which came around the same time as Napster did.

Similar to Napster, the website offers a wide array of digital content from videos, applications, songs to pornography downloads.

Often these downloads are pirated and constitute intellectual property theft. They also run the risk of having viruses or malware.

“These interactions with United States Embassy have escalated with time and include great pressure since 2016 that is exemplified by several phone calls, emails and meetings urging our ccTLD to take down the domain, even though this would go against our domain name policies that are explained in detail below,” Azofeifa said in the letter.

“Moreover, the United States Department of Commerce has urged our local Ministry of Commerce to carry out an investigation as to why our organization does not take down this domain, even though the process they ask  us to follow  goes against our current domain  name polices.”

Azofeifa said that the subsequent investigation request by the ministry yielded no apparent wrongdoing on the part of NIC Costa Rica in its handling of the domain registry nor its policies.

Many investigations into companies sometimes lead to those companies being shut down permanently.
In an interview with A.M. Costa Rica, Azofeifa explained that the policy is simply to go through the right channels, meaning a court order issued by Poder Judicial.

“There is a procedure established in this country and in many others,” he said. “We have taken down domain names before and have cooperated when a judge tells us to do so. The academy does not deal in content.”

Despite these arguments, the pressure and harassment to take down the domain name without a proper process and local court order persists, the president insists in the letter written to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

ICANN, as it is commonly known, was founded in 1998 as a non-profit organization responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of the Internet’s Domain Name System. It also presided as a kind of technical maintenance crew for registries within the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and only recently ended a contract in 2016 with the United States Dept. of Commerce.

NIC Costa Rica has come out on the record as saying that it would eliminate the domain name if ordered to do so by a final judgment issued by the Cortes de Justicia. The letter to ICANN was sent to the Government Advisory Committee, the influential arm of the organization on government policy, on June 7. It was also cc’d formally to U.S. Ambassador S. Fitzgerald Haney.

A.M. Costa Rica contacted the embassy for a request to comment, however officials were not able to respond prior to the deadline. The full letter to ICANN can be viewed HERE.

Moment of
A.M. Costa Rica photo grabbed from YouTube
Just moments before Solís got an unintended source of "pure protein."
The bite that held the attention of the world media
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats surfing the web for news stories about Costa Rica probably could not help but notice that one of the main news updates coming from the wider world about this country was the president swallowing a wasp.

The New York Daily News, the Huffington Post, the Hindustan Times and a whole range of other TV channels and odd websites offered this hard-hitting, investigative story to their readership. It became so prominent that the A.M. Costa Rica staff could not help but give it a spot in the paper too. So here are the facts to the story to clear up any fake news buzzing around.

The incident involving Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís did not appear to be intentional and A.M. Costa Rica is unaware if the family of the wasp is to pursue legal action in the case or has received compensation for the apparent accidental death by consumption.

This strange case was already widely known in Costa Rica circles and perhaps watched live by some viewers on Channel 7’s Teletica news program as the president conducted his tour of the Zona Sur region this past week. It was not apparently enough of a buzzkill for the president, however, as he casually chewed up the morsel.

“I ate it,” he said while shaking his head candidly to reporters.

Thankfully, an aid passed a water bottle to Solís who noted it was pure protein and jokingly said the clip would appear on CNN. The woman seen on the left of the camera, however, gave a more mortified and likely more typical reaction if it was one of us rather than the president.

Well, the clip has also made its way to be a part of Jimmy Fallon’s opening monologue on the “Tonight Show” Monday. In the meantime, the unintended snack became one of the bigger news stories internationally on the country.

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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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Internacional de los Artes
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo      
Traffic will not interrupt the upcoming festival apparently.

Road closings announced for festival

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Festival Internacional de los Artes is rapidly approaching, and authorities have already released the schedule and information on how traffic will be affected in San José, where most of the activities take place.

According to Mario Calderón, director of Policía de Tránsito, the main changes will take place on the day of the opening of the Festivak, next June 27. That day, there will be partial closures=happening along Avenida Segunda.

The road will work as usual until 4 p.m. but from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., only buses will be authorized in the area and after 11 p.m. it will be totally closed until 5 a.m. next Wednesday. On that same day, Avenida Segunda will work normally during the day until 5 p.m. Afterwards only buses will be allowed until midnight.

Then the road will be open only to buses on June 29 from 12 a.m. to 2 p.m. From there until midnight the road will be completely closed.

On Friday June 30, Avenida Segunda will be reopened at 5 a.m. and the transit will go back to normal.

In the case of bus stops,  those for San Pedro, Tres Ríos, Curridabat, Sabanilla y Paraíso will be moved to Avenida 1 and Avenida Central, between Calle 15 and Calle 23. Essentially, get ready for Avenida Segunda to be effectively shut down over the course of the week.
The bus lines San José Barrio México y San José Barrio Luján, will move through Calle 7 until Avenida 10. The rest of the bus stops located close to Asamblea Legislativa and Plaza de la Democracia will remain without further change.

That includes the following: Sabanilla, Santa Marta, Cedros, Calle Siles, Curridabat por San Pedro, Cipreses, San Vicente y Montufar, Carmiol, Bario Pinto,Vargas Araya.

Many of the other buses will also run on its same schedule, organizers said.

Some same-sex couples can inherit their partner's pension in case of death

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Members of the education workers retirement regime will be able to inherit the pensions of their same-sex partner in case of death, the labor ministry confirmed.

The Magisterio Nacional is the biggest association of workers in the education field. Their retirement system follows different rules than those of the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social and Poder Judicial.

The announcement came after the Procuraduría General de la República found no legal impediment to extend the benefit to same-sex couples. The Procuraduría is the state's office that represents the legal affaires of the government.

In its ruling, the Procuraduría said that excluding same-sex couples, who have freely decided to share their lives, from the possibility of subsistence is against the principles of equal treatment and human dignity protected in international agreements and the constitution. The ruling was issued on June 16 and it is filed under number C-132-2017.
“The answer provided by the Procuraduría help us determine the best way to implement this right, which strengthens the respect for human rights and social justice,” said Juan Alfaro, labor vice-minister.

The pensions regime of the Magisterio Nacional has 40.011 beneficiaries, according to data provided by the Ministerio de Trabajo.

Employer union walks out on meeting

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Determined to not take part in the following negotiations regarding the financial future of the social security system, employer's representatives have stopped showing up to the official comittee meetings unless the executive branch sends clearer signs of what its position is.

According to several statements, the Unión de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado, the employer's largest union in the country, wants to know whether president Luis Guillemo Solís supports the recent hike in worker's contributions to the social security system.

Employer's also question how autonomous the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social really is and if its executive board will make decisions based on political grounds rather than technical ones.

The group refers to the recent resignation of former Caja president María Sáenz, pushed by President Solís.

Under her management, the Caja approved a 1 percent increase in the contributions workers should pay to their pension plans, despite the government saying that further discussion was required before making a decision.

“The approval of the hike in contributions is a technical matter and not a political one,” said Luis Mesalles, current vice-president of the employer's union and one of its representatives before the committee.

The employers have also said the hike in the contributions is not a topic to be discussed on a negotiation committee. Mesalles adds that was one of the first conditions on which they joined the conversations was, indeed, not to talk about it.

On Monday, none of the employer's representatives showed up to the meeting either. On an audio statement, Mesalles explained he sent a note in advance to the committee warning about their absence so that the meeting could be called off.

However, the meeting took place as usual with only government and workers representatives, according to Martín Rodríguez, spokesperson of the health worker's union called Undeca.

“Employer's are banning themselves from the conversation and no one is pushing them away,” Rodríguez said. “Their three empty chairs remained there unoccupied while we focused on discussing the future of our pensions.”

Rodríguez said there is no minimum attendance required to vote on decisions made by the committee and if employers are not interested in being there, those empty spaces could be taken over by representatives of observing organizations, such as the Catholic Church and the International Labor Organization.

The negotiation committee is expected to issue a draft with the best measures to guarantee the financial well being of the Caja. Once the draft is ready, it will be sent to the Executive Board for its review and possible implementation.

Receiving the
© Fotografía propiedad del ICE      
Helio Fallas, finance minister and first vice president, receives agreement from the Japanese delegation.

Costa Rica gets $240 million for plant

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica and Japan signed a loan agreement Tuesday morning for the construction of a new, $240 million geothermal plant to be built in Liberia.

Representatives from the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad and the Ministerio de Hacienda completed the agreement and signed the letter of guarantee. The event was also attended by Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís and the Japanese ambassador to Costa Rica, Yoshiaki Ito.

The resources given by Japan are part of a sectoral loan granted back in 2013 for the development of geothermal projects in Costa Rica and ratified by the legislature in 2014. These agreements were signed under a 40-year timeframe and at an interest rate of 0.6 percent, according to a statement by Casa Presidencial.

The first of the three geothermal plants, Borinquen I, will enter into operation by 2023, the electricity institute said. The expectation is that it will help give at least 372 megawatts of power to the national grid once fully complete. The finance ministry is acting as the guarantor of the loan from Japan.

Costa Rica is the third largest producer of electricity from volcanoes in the Western Hemisphere after the United States and México.

Caja to provide help to trans persons
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social will start offering hormonal and psychological treatment to transgender people, as a way to avoid physical and emotional complications.

To achieved that, the medical management will set in place an interdisciplinary group of health care  officials and experts who should come up with a care protocol within the next 90 days.

The institutional objective is to assess the physical and emotional problems of the transgender population, which has historically been vulnerable and susceptible to certain kinds of trauma as much as stigmatization.

These services will be offered to all the transexual individual who are properly enrolled in the health care system and whose payment of their dues are up to date. It doesn't matter if the person is enrolled as a salaried or independent worker, as a spouse or who has children under 26 pursuing further studies.

Right off the bat, at least a 100 people will benefit from these treatments, according to José Loría, director of the Caja's executive board.

The director explained the measure seeks to help a minority that usually endures discrimination, aggression, harassment and hostilities. Such hardship prevent them from accessing education and work and getting only social rejection.

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Published || Wednesday Edition, June 21, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 122
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Fiesta de la Música hosting a wide array of concerts this week
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Fiesta de la Música begins today with a series of free concerts in public places all across the country from Caribbean, bolero, rock or classical music.

The initiative is actually not originally Costa Rican but rather French where it began 35 years ago and has since spread globally.

According to the Alianza Francesa, a prominent organization promoting French culture in Costa Rica, more than 120 countries have joined the celebration as of 2016.

In Costa Rica, the Sistema Nacional Educación Musical will present different ensembles with some of the young people taking their first musical steps. Schools in Grecia, Nicoya and Liberia will also be holding concerts today.

The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud is also getting in on the action too. A statement from the organization said that some of the Bandas de Concierto will be hosting its own shows at various public spaces in celebration of the festival.

A Friday show at the Catedral de Limón at 7 p.m. will feature that band performing original calipsos and socas of Caribbean music as well as three cuadrilla dance songs, Alberto Portuguez, the band’s director, said.

Students from INM
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
Students from the Instituto Nacional de la Música will hold concerts as well.

The Museo Nacional and the San José concert band are also teaming up with a special concert dedicated to Spain.That concert will be Sunday in the gardens of the museum at 11 a.m.

Many more concerts will be occurring throughout the next few days, representatives from the cultural ministry said. The various shows scheduled can be found by consulting the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud’s website or Facebook page.

Costa Rica joins in with upcoming event for International Yoga Day
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica will join the worldwide International Yoga Day this coming Sunday with a celebration of its own in collaboration with the Indian embassy.

The Costa Rica India Association and the Asociación Costarricense de Profesores de Yoga along with the Arte de Vivir organization are sponsoring a 9 a.m. yoga session at the Instituto de México in the Los Yoses section of the capital. The event will include a master yoga class, a meditation session that organizers hope will bring together all the followers of the Indian culture. Entrance is free but space is limited, organizers said.

Yoga is touted for its benefits toward flexibility, strength and stability. It thought to be psychologically rewarding as much as physically rewarding as well.

The International Yoga Day was commemorated by the United Nations General Assembly back in 2013. The declaration presents yoga as a physical, mental and spiritual practice going back 6,000 years through history, a statement from the Costa Rica India Association said.

The ultimate goal of yoga is to create a joint transformation of the body and mind. Its origins are in Bharat, India. In Costa Rica, yoga is acquiring a growing following within the country as it matches a pura vida lifestyle recently now being promoted as a new tourist strategy by the Ministerio del Turismo.

Yoga day 2016
Costa Rica India Association photo
Participants in the 2016 installment of the Yoga Day event.

The positions practice will be open to the general public and will be taught by instructors of the yoga instructors association. The meditation session will be hosted by Arte de Vivir. Organizers suggested that interested attendees should bring comfortable clothes and a mat.

The Costa Rica India Association is a non-profit association founded in August 2010 with the aim of spreading Indian culture in Costa Rica as well as promoting the exchange of arts, culture, literature, gastronomy, science, research, Education, trade and technology, between the two nations.

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Insecticide has no impact against resistant mosquitoes, study says
By the Emory University press staff

One of the most common insecticides used in the battle against the Aedes aegypti mosquito has no measurable impact when applied in communities where the mosquito has built up resistance to it, a study led by Emory University finds.

The study is the first to show how vital insecticide-resistance monitoring is to control the Aedes mosquito, which carries the viruses that cause Zika, dengue fever and yellow fever.

The journal “PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases” published the research.

“The results are striking,” Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec, a disease ecologist at Emory and first author of the study, said.

“If you use the insecticide deltamethrin in an area with high-deltamethrin resistance, it’s the same as if you didn’t spray at all. It does not kill the Aedes aegypti mosquitos. The efficacy is not different to a control.”

The results of the randomized, controlled trial are important because some public health departments in places where Zika and dengue viruses are endemic do not necessarily monitor for insecticide resistance.

“The recent epidemic of the Zika virus has raised awareness that we need to focus on what really works when it comes to mosquito control,” Vazquez-Prokopec says. “The data from our study makes a bold statement: Any mosquito-control program involving spraying insecticides needs to be based on knowledge of the current levels of insecticide-resistance of the local mosquitos.”

It is not difficult to determine levels of insecticide resistance, he adds. Public health workers can use standardized bioassays to coat a bottle with an insecticide in a specific dose. They can then introduce mosquitos from the area to be monitored into the bottles and observe the number of them killed after 24 hours.

Officials from the Costa Rican Ministerio de Salud confirmed to A.M. Costa Rica that this type of insecticide is no longer used in the ministry’s eradication efforts for mosquito breeding-grounds.

The health ministry insisted this is due to its frequent studies on the subject, which found the basic finding in this one: the insecticide no longer worked in eradicating the local mosquito population.

The current study, conducted in three neighborhoods of Merida, México, measured the efficacy of indoor residual spraying against adult Aedes aegypti mosquitos in houses treated with either deltamethrin, to which the local mosquitos expressed a high degree of resistance, or bendiocarb, another insecticide to which the mosquitos were fully susceptible, as compared to untreated control houses.

The bediocarb-treated areas showed a 60-percent kill rate for Aedes aegypti mosquitos during a three-month period, while the deltamethrin-treated areas and the control areas showed no detectable impact on the mosquitos.

Insecticide spraying
Emory University photo   
Mexican insecticide spraying not doing much to protect.

It’s a natural biological process for mosquitos to mutate in response to insecticide exposure, Vazquez-Prokopec says. These mutations can occur at the molecular level, preventing the insecticide from binding to an enzymatic target site. They can also happen at the metabolic level , when a mosquito’s metabolism up regulates the production of enzymes that can neutralize the toxic effects of an insecticide.

Even more worrying are so-called super bug mosquitos, that show resistance to more than one insecticide.

For the past 20 years, there has been a rise in resistance to insecticides in mosquitos, particularly in the Anopheles genus, some of which transmit the malaria parasite. Anopheles mosquitos only bite between dusk and dawn, so the use of bed nets in areas where malaria is endemic have long been a method to reduce the opportunity for mosquitos to transmit malaria.

More than a decade ago, bed nets treated with pyretheroids,  a class of pesticides that includes deltamethrin, were rolled out in Africa in a big way to fight malaria. Pyretheroids are commonly used because they are odorless, cheap, long-lasting and have low mammalian toxicity.

The widespread use of insecticide-treated bed nets eventually led to a rise in resistance to pyretheroids by the Anopheles mosquito. The nets, however, still provide a physical barrier between people and mosquitos so they retain some benefit.

A similar rise in resistance is being seen in the Aedes mosquito in some areas. But the Aedes mosquitos bite during the day, making bed nets ineffective and insecticide spraying campaigns more critical to their control.

Previous research led by Vazquez-Prokopec showed that contact tracing of human cases of dengue fever, combined with indoor residual spraying for Aedes mosquitos in homes, provided a significant reduction in the transmission of dengue during an outbreak.

The insecticide-resistance study adds to the growing body of knowledge of what works, and what doesn’t, to control the Aedes mosquito in order to lessen the impact of a mosquito-borne disease outbreak, or to prevent one altogether.

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Published || Wednesday Edition, June 21, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 122
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U.S. and Venezuela reps
clash at OAS summit

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuela’s political crisis loomed over the Organization of American States’ General Assembly meeting Tuesday, as heavy as the rain soaking this resort city.

Foreign ministers from OAS’ 34 member nations failed to reach agreement the previous day on a joint statement of how to help stabilize the South American country, rocked by more than two months of anti-government protests in which more than 70 people have died.

One proposal, introduced last month at a special OAS meeting on Venezuela, would involve assembling a contact group of representatives to work with the socialist-run country on restoring peace and democratic norms.

"This is a moment of challenge for this organization to prove its relevancy … to take a modest step that has been proposed," John Sullivan, the U.S. deputy secretary of state, told the assembly Tuesday. "If we can’t take that step forward here, we seriously impair our ability to go forward as an organization."

Venezuela’s foreign minister, Delcy Rodriguez, accused the United States of seeking intervention to benefit from her country’s oil reserves.

"I think the only way they can impose their will is with their Marines, who would be met with a swift response in Venezuela," she said.

Ms. Rodriguez, who walked out of the summit Monday, berated diplomats who endorsed oversight for her country and President Nicolas Maduro’s government. Perú and other countries that have condemned Venezuela’s government form part of the litter of lap dogs of imperialism, she said.

The Venezuelan foreign minister again emphasized that her country would go through with its plan to exit the OAS, a two-year process that it announced in April to protest what it considers OAS interference in the country’s internal affairs.

Anti-government street protests have roiled Venezuela almost daily since April 1, just after the country’s Supreme Court tried to strip the National Assembly of its legislative powers. Maduro’s political foes have called for him to schedule long-overdue elections, free political prisoners and allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Monday brought the most recent fatality in clashes among Maduro opponents, government security forces and its backers. A 17-year-old man was shot in the chest during a demonstration in Caracas’ Altimara neighborhood.

In that capital city on Tuesday, Diosdado Cabello, a Venezuelan lawmaker and Maduro supporter, said the government would go ahead with its plan to have a citizen assembly rewrite the constitution beginning in late July.

Cabello said one proposal for the citizen assembly would be to strip parliamentary immunity from any congressional representative opposing the government.

Also Tuesday, Maduro announced new leadership for Venezuela’s defense ministry and national guard. The president said General Antonio Benavides Torres, leading the guard, would undertake new responsibilities and battles.

Venezuela’s political crisis has overshadowed an OAS assembly agenda that includes regional challenges such as drug trafficking, illegal migration and limited leadership opportunities for women.

Record heat recorded
worldwide, group says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Meteorological Organization reports the planet Earth is experiencing another exceptionally warm year with record-breaking temperatures occurring in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the United States.

At least 60 people have been killed in the devastating forest fires in central Portugal. The World Meteorological Organization says one of the factors contributing to these run-away wildfires are high temperatures that have exceeded 40 degrees Celsius.

Extremely high temperatures also have been recorded in Spain and in France, which issued an Amber alert, the second highest alert level on Tuesday. WMO reports near record heat are also being reported in California and in the Nevada deserts.

Meteorologists report North Africa and the Middle East are experiencing extremely hot weather with temperatures topping 50 degrees Celsius. But WMO spokeswoman Claire Nullis says the hottest place on Earth appears to be the town of Turbat in southwestern Pakistan, which reported a temperature of 54 degrees Celsius in May.

“It seems like this is a new temperature record for Asia. If it is verified, it will equal a record ... which was set in Kuwait last July. So, we will now set up an investigation committee to see if that indeed is a new temperature record for the region,” Ms. Nullis said.

WMO Senior Scientist Omar Baddour says the world heat record of 56 degrees Celsius was recorded in Death Valley in the United States in 1913.

“It is very difficult to break a world record because it is not easy to have all the conditions in terms of pressure, invasion of air together at one place. So, the concern now is we are close to cross that record. We are now 54. We are not that far.”

The WMO says it expects global heat waves will likely trigger more deadly wildfires. If necessary precautions are not taken, it warns many people will die from the heat, as happened in 2003, when heat waves across Europe killed 70,000 people.

Scientists predict climate change will cause heat waves to become more intense, more frequent and longer.

Lawmakers explain claim
Trump violates Constitution

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Members of the U.S. Congress met with reporters Tuesday to explain their claim that President Donald Trump violated the Constitution for accepting funds from foreign governments through his businesses without congressional approval.

Last week nearly 200 Democratic lawmakers filed suit against the president in federal court over the payments that hundreds of Trump businesses have received from foreign governments since the presidential inauguration five months ago. The legal action contends Trump and his representatives have concealed the extent and the amount of the payments.

“The Constitution of the United States says Congress must consent,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal said at Tuesday's news conference. “We cannot consent to what we don't know. We cannot consent to what Donald Trump has concealed, and he owes the Congress that disclosure.”

Congressman John Conyers of the House Judiciary Committee said he and other Democratic colleagues have written to Trump on multiple occasions, seeking information about the foreign payments. They have not received a response, Conyers said, adding: “Look, it boils down to this: he either doesn't know or doesn't care.”

At issue is the Constitution's foreign emoluments clause, which prohibits public officials from receiving payments and other gifts from foreign governments with congressional approval.

The founders of the United States, who drafted the Declaration of Independence from Britain and the U.S. Constitution more than 200 years ago, worried that wealthy foreign countries would bribe public leaders of the new nation, Sen. Tom Udall said, so they included the emoluments clause in the Constitution to preserve and protect the country's sovereignty.

Similar lawsuits have been filed against Trump in recent months, including an action brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia, home of the nation's capital.

The suits claim that Trump's acceptance of payments from foreign and U.S. governments through his hotels and other hospitality businesses put competitors at an unfair disadvantage and incentivized governments to give Trump's businesses special treatment.

In a motion earlier this month seeking dismissal of one of the private lawsuits, the Justice Department contended the plaintiffs failed to show that their businesses suffered any specific harm to their businesses. Government attorneys said Trump is only prohibited from accepting gifts from foreign governments if they were specifically linked to his role as president.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said partisan politics motivated the suits filed by Maryland and Washington, D.C.

When Trump entered the White House in January he turned over control of his global business empire to his two adult sons and a senior executive and placed his financial assets in a trust controlled by Donald Trump Jr. and the senior executive. The president can resume control of the trust at any time, and he can withdraw cash from the trust whenever he wants.

Critics contend this arrangement falls far short of divestiture of Trump's assets, or placement of his properties and investments in a blind trust whose proceeds and transactions he can neither influence nor countermand. Such arrangements have been the norm for U.S. presidents for decades, but the structure of Trump's business empire, tightly held and without stockholders' scrutiny, also is quite different from his predecessors' holdings.

The president's finances also have drawn scrutiny because he has refused to release copies of his income-tax returns, departing from another well-established custom of American public office-holders. Without such information the general public and news media lack detailed, verified financial information about the president's income, assets and debts.

Turkey feels the strain
as largest host for refugees

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

This U.N. World Refugee Day sees Turkey designated for the third consecutive year as the country that hosts the most refugees. While Ankara continues to stand by its policy of welcoming refugees, tensions within the country appear to be on the rise.

On Sunday, a factory dispute involving the factory owner and Syrian employees triggered rising hostilities between Syrians and Turks, along with violence that raged into the night in a suburb of the western city of Sakarya.

There appears to be little remorse among some of those who took part in the violence.

The majority of the 3 million Syrians in Turkey live outside refugee camps. Many eke out a living in the main cities and the more prosperous western provinces.

Most cities and towns now have large Syrian populations and in many of them, tensions have been rising for some time.

Ankara's policy of providing welfare to the refugees, including free health care and education, also has added to the resentment. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the cost to Turkey of hosting the refugees had surpassed $25 billion.

Tensions are now being exacerbated by rising unemployment, particularly among the young, running at more than 23 percent, which is close to being decade high.

Last month, Istanbul, which is home to the largest Syrian population, witnessed some of the worst violence. Days of violent clashes against Syrians in an Istanbul suburb occurred after Syrian and Afghan refugees allegedly stabbed to death a Turkish youth who was trying to prevent the youngsters from harassing a girl. The violence was only quelled by a large police intervention involving water-cannon trucks and armored cars, and the evacuation of scores of Syrians from the district.

Salih Arslan, the uncle of the murdered Turkish youth, voiced frustration that the concerns of Turkish residents are being ignored.

In the southern city of Adana, authorities have removed many Arabic signs in a bid to lower the visible presence of Syrians, but the government defends its policy of offering sanctuary, with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu vowing no change in policy.

Erdogan's foreign affairs spokesman tweeted, "On this #WorldRefugeeDay, Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world. This is not a burden but a badge of honor for us.”

But with thousands of refugees returning to Syria, albeit temporarily for the coming Eid religious holiday, analysts suggest that Ankara is hoping this could be a sign the burgeoning refugee crisis might be starting to ease.

U.N. says Somalia famine
is averted for right now

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A senior United Nations official says famine has been averted in Somalia for now. He warns food shortages still loom and could result in a catastrophic situation if international support wanes.

The United Nations reports Somalia, for now, has averted the worst but that the country remains fragile and famine continues to stalk its people.

The World Food Program country director in Somalia, Laurent Bukera, says 3.2 million people are in trouble. He says some 350,000 children are malnourished, including 70,000 severely malnourished.

Bukera says 700,000 people have fled their homes in search of food and water, and hundreds of thousands of livestock have died for lack of water and grazing land. He says more than 600 people died of cholera because they were too weak from hunger to fight off the disease.

Despite the bleak picture, Bukera says aid agencies have been able to prevent the worst. Unlike 2011, when 250,000 people died of famine, he says aid agencies, supported by the international community, have managed to avert a famine.

“At the moment, we are in need of close to $300 million for the next six months," he said. "Without that, we will have to drop the assistance to 2.5 million people and that includes close to one million children and pregnant and lactating women.”

Yemen struggles to hold
Cholera outbreak at bay

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization reports the cholera outbreak in Yemen has spread to practically every part of the war-torn country. Suspected cases of cholera and acute watery diarrhea now top 170,000, with 1,170 deaths.

WHO reports cholera has spread to 20 of Yemen’s 22 governorates in just two months. Spokesman Tarik Jasarevic says aid agencies are scaling up their operation and refining their response.

He says it is not possible to cover the country at all times, so WHO and the United Nations Childrens Fund workers are going to so-called hotspots, the most affected areas, to treat cholera victims who are most at risk.

He calls the situation a very challenging one.

Replacing lost fluids right away can easily treat cholera. But patients can die within hours if the disease is left untreated. Jasarevic says cholera is being transmitted through contaminated water so it is critical to provide people with a clean water supply.

Jasarevic says the WHO and UNICEF are providing water purification tablets and are chlorinating water in an effort to keep contaminated water sources at a minimum. He says both agencies also are providing money to health workers as an incentive to have them treat cholera patients. He notes health workers have not received a salary in six months.

F-15s in Iraq
U.S. Air Force photo       
F-15E's fly over northern Iraq.

Iran likely flew the drone
U.S. downed, officials say

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. officials said they were close to confirming that the Iranian-made drone shot down by an American fighter jet early Tuesday was being operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, multiple U.S. sources said that the drone was being operated from a Revolutionary Guard ground control station inside Syria. The station is located near Hama, according to one official.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said an F-15E Strike Eagle shot down the Shahed 129 drone about 12:30 a.m. local time as it approached an established coalition combat outpost near al-Tanf, where the U.S. is training local fighters battling the Islamic State group.

While the U.S. and Russia have used an established hotline to deconflict air operations in Syria and prevent miscalculations between the two major powers, Davis said that because of the urgency of the threat, the deconfliction line was not used prior to the action against the drone.

The downing of the drone came on the same day Australia announced it would temporarily suspend airstrikes by its forces in Syria, after Syrian ally Russia threatened to target planes from the U.S.-led coalition operating in the skies over Syria in response to the downing of a Syrian fighter jet by the U.S. Air Force on Sunday.

A statement from Australia's Defense Ministry said it would monitor the air situation in Syria and decide whether to resume airstrikes there in due course. The ministry said strikes in neighboring Iraq, where the U.S.-led coalition campaign is also operating, would continue.

The Pentagon spokesman said the Syrian SU-22 jet had attacked U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces positions near the towns of Ja'Din and Shuwayhan.

Davis added that the U.S. on Sunday gave the plane several warnings, including multiple communications through the deconfliction line, launching flares and even performing a head-butt maneuver, where a U.S. plane flies just in advance of another plane to create heavy wake, in order to get the Syrians to leave.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called the shoot-down an act of aggression, but the U.S. said it would continue to protect its interests in Syria.

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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

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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.  

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

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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!
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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.
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* 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches
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* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
* 5 minutes to Vista Ridge Golf Club

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

For more information Click Here:

Etlinger Farm
Beautiful farm in excellent location
At only an hour's drive from San José, minutes from Guápiles, and boardering Braulio Carrillo National Park, Etlingera Farms is one heck of an amazing farm. We purchased this 77-acre farm 10 years ago after many trips, and an exhaustive search. It has a little bit of everything we were looking for and a whole lot of beauty. Our average elevation of 600 meters helps to keep Bella Vista cool year round. This farm is nearly level with a semi-modern 2-bedroom house. A fairly rustic 2-bedroom caretaker's home. And, a comfortable, 1-bedroom cabin where we stay. We have 2 large barns, a chicken coop, and a 3-stall pig pen. There are two tilapia ponds and 2 hectarias, (approximately 5 acres) of different species of bananas. The property boarders Rio Blanco in the rear and has 300 meters of public road frontage. Water, electricity, and telephone are all serviced by public utility. Etlingera Farms was reforested with several thousand wood trees of different tropical varieties. We truly believe this farm is spectacular. Our neighbors are selling for as much as $20 per meter. We are negotiable, motivated and open to offers. Our location can be found by searching Etlingera Farms on Google Maps. Our webpage is and photo album can be found at

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

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need. The price of our listing Rancho Ricco is $799,000. More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:

Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call # 509-570-1928 or email 

Business for sale or lease (paid category)

Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Century 21

A Name You Trust,
Professionalism You Deserve

Tom Ghormley and the dream team!
in CR since 1979

Buying? Selling? Renting?
We Can Do It!
Let us help you live your dreams!
Beachfront, Views, Mountains,
Beaches, Houses, Condos,
Hotels, Restaurants, Projects,
Commercial, Investments and more

 Century 21 Jacó Beach Realty
Playa Jacó, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
U. S. A. phone numbers:  (213) 283-5168 
or Toll Free: (877) 746-3868
Costa Rica phone number: (506) 2643-3356

Tamarindo The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices. For more information, please contact our local phones: 506-2653-0073 Tamarindo / 506-2201-9056 Flamingo ~ Toll Free: 1-866-976-8898 or email:  or click here

Playas del Coco
We are an award-winning Team of Professional Agents working with Costa Rica’s #1 Selling Real Estate Agency RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties. Get to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST us and let us help you find YOUR Pura Vida! We have over 30 years of experience to educate our buyers and sellers in all aspects of Real Estate.  For Information on condos, homes, lots, farms, ranches, commercial or development property

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

Playa Matapalo Click Here!
Toll Free 1-877-293-1456


Real estate-related services (paid category)

A-1 graphic
SMALL and LARGER jobs welcome !!!. We can build from any plan you bring us all work done by USA codes master electric and plumbing Better quality and lower prices than USA. We do it all Right  + Reasonable.
Call us: Toll Free 877-778-8515   
     Text from US: 804-313-6382 
     CR phone: 506-8307-0164
     For more info also see our sites: 

Costa Rica

Serving Atenas and Surroundings Areas

BUY NOW! Your solar hot water system, so in three months, we can calculate a lower install price for your PV system.  Perfect for homes and hotels. Save up to 40% of your electric bill. More Watts per Panel, Smarter and more Capable Enphase Micro Inverters mean Less Cost and more Flexibility for You.  Fully Guaranteed!

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



Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Already own a timeshare and looking to sell? Stop saying “sell my timeshare” and let help you find a buyer or renter.

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Published || Wednesday Edition, June 21, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 122
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Musmanni bread
Florida Ice & Farm Co. photo      
The melocohón bread in the new biodegradable bag.

Musmanni goes green with paper bags

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some frequent shoppers at the local Musmanni or the minisúper MUSI may notice that the stores are replacing its plastic bags and going paper instead.

According to a statement from representatives at the Florida Ice & Farm Co., popularly known as FIFCO, June marks the start of the new packaging to reduce the impact that the brand has on the environment. FIFCO has been running on an environmentally-friendly brand campaign for some time.

Reports were issued recently that the company’s main Costa Rican beer, Imperial, will be back on the shelves in San Diego advertised as the world’s first clean-water beer. “We want to lead with brands that make the world a better place and through initiatives like these, we are leaving a positive footprint in our society and our environment,” Gisela Sánchez, the director of corporate relations, said.

Although the cost of the new, biodegradable bag is 2.5 times more expensive than the old one, prices at the establishments will remain uninfluenced by this, the company said. As if to sell the company further, Musmanni baked goods are also produced in a carbon-neutral facility as of 2014.

It even has a relatively new bread option called Melcochón Cero, a fat-free, sugar-free low-sodium bread, the company said.

FIFCO acquired Musmanni back in 2012 and subsequently launched a retail business called mini súpers MUSI. Both these stores are found scattered throughout the entire country.

Public environmental meeting today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Environmental Affairs Council for the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement will be holding its eleventh session in San José today and Thursday.

The Thursday meeting will be a public one at the Marriott Hotel in San Antonio de Belén, according to the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía. It will go from 10 a.m. to noon and will review the progress that the member nations have had in implementing the CAFTA-DR Environmental Cooperation Agreement. Issues such as solid waste, environmental impact assessment, energy efficiency, environmental legislation and air quality are likely to be topics at this meeting.

Since 2006, the United States has dedicated more than $89 million to support environmental cooperation among the free trade agreement members, the ministry said. So far, more than 137,000 people have been trained on energy efficiency and environmental issues. This has aided in the improved management in more than 1.3 million hectares of land and in support of 714 small businesses for cleaner energy practices, the ministry said.

More information from the U.S. State Dept. on the conference can be found HERE.

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From page 7:

Canadians come to Costa Rica for suppliers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

From June 18 to 21, eight Canadian companies are visiting Costa Rica in search of local suppliers in the information technology field. The products sought are software development, mobile application development and web page design, among others.

To find them, national entrepreneurs attend the B2B Technology Forum event, which takes place at the Tryp Sabana Hotel in San Jose.
Canadian buyers will have 70 meetings with each of the Costa Rican companies that went though the  Gateway to Trade training, a program organized with the financial support of the government of Canada and the collaboration of the Promotora del Comercio Exterior.
During the B2B Technology Forum, there will be a business conference between the Canadian companies and 21 Costa Rican startups that completed the Gateway to Trade program.

In addition, an educational tour will be made to the Costa Rican Technological Institute, the Cenfotec and other organizations to show the diversity, specialization and skills of the information technology sector in the country.

"We now have a better perspective of the Canadian market and we know that Costa Rica has all the ingredients to make its way into high technology services," said José María Calvo, a member of the Double Digit company.
"We want to create business opportunities that are of value to Canadian entrepreneurs as well  to us and then create long-term business links with Canada," said Yeudi Molina, President of Start X Company
According to Álvaro Piedra, director of exports for the promoter, the Costa Rican companies visited Canada in the first stage of the program and there they showed the national talent.

Now, the task is to continue positioning the country in this market and to enhance the opportunities.

Other Costa Rican companies that participate in the program are: ARKKOSOFT, Arweb, Cecropia, DNAMIC, DotCreek, DoubleDigit and Fair Play Labs.
The Canadian delegation includes the companies: Age Age Inc, DMG 360, Heuristext, Magnet Forensics, Odscore, One More Story Game Inc., Sandbox Software, Speekfeel Corp., as well as the  Innovation Guelph agency.