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Published Thursday, June 23, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 123
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Gritty stamps

The Museo Nacional and Correos de Costa Rica marked the two-year anniversary today of U.N. recognition for the pre-Columbian stone spheres with previously-announced commemorative stamps. The issue is unique because printers put pulverized rock from the Delta del Diquís. into the ink for texture.

Tricare takes big hits from stateside fraudsters
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have unveiled what amounts to a $161 million looting of the Medicare and Tricare health insurance systems.

Tricare is the primary health insurance for many U.S. expats, who are military retirees or dependents.

The Tricare managed care program was the primary victim of schemes involving  pharmacies, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, California. “Over the course of just a few years, Tricare paid hundreds of millions of dollars for medications dispensed to patients across the nation, typically creams that supposedly would treat minor pain, scars, erectile dysfunction or general wellness,” said the prosecutorial office.

Five cases announced Wednesday relate to pharmacies and allege losses of more than $100 million, most of which was paid by Tricare over the course of just a few months, the announcement said.

The cases filed in federal court in Los Angeles and Santa Ana are part of a nationwide sweep announced in Washington by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who said criminal and civil charges have been filed against 301 individuals who participated in health care fraud schemes involving approximately $900 million in false billings.

The California cases were filed by lawyers with the Justice Department’s Medicare Fraud Strike Force.

In one case, John Garbino, a marketer who resides in Dana Point, California, was charged with receiving illegal kickbacks after referring prescriptions to pharmacies that filled the prescriptions and billed Tricare, said the U.S. Attorney summary, which added:

One Palmdale, California, pharmacy received more than $46 million from Tricare in only six months. Another pharmacy in Corona, California, received nearly $6 million over the same six-months. Garbino allegedly received illegal kickbacks of as much as 65 percent for
referring prescriptions to the pharmacies.

In another scheme, the Florida-based operator of a telemedicine Web site was charged with health care fraud for allegedly misusing the identity and medical credentials of a physician to submit prescriptions to a pharmacy, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The criminal complaint in this case alleges that two local pharmacies received more than $6.5 million in payments from Tricare in 2015, it added.

In Washington, the U.S. Attorney General’s Office said that criminal and civil charges have been filed against 301 individuals, including 61 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes. The Washington announcement did not reference Tricare. In California there were 22 arrests.

Military retirees here have had a love-hate relationship with Tricare. The most problems that have been disclosed to A.M. Costa Rica over the years involve reimbursements for medical procedures done at Costa Rica hospitals. Some hospitals have required payments from U.S. veterans because payment from Tricare were long in coming. Veterans usually prefer that hospitals and physicians bill Tricare directly.

Tricare insurance is considered by many veterans here as a benefit earned by years of military service.

Medicare, another U.S. federal medical program, does not cover older Americans overseas. But the attorney general’s announcement outlined medical frauds in many states. Defendants participated in schemes to submit claims to Medicare and Medicaid, another federal program, for treatments that were medically unnecessary and often never provided. In addition, individuals were recruited to lend their names to the various frauds.

Since January 2009, the Justice Department’s Civil Division, along with U.S. Attorney’s Offices around the country, recovered more than $18.3 billion in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs, said the Attorney General’s Office.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, June 23, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 123
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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State refinery and union reach deal

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministerio de Trabajo is studying a new contract negotiated by the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo, S.A., and its union.

The refinery has been criticized for many excessive benefits that have been awarded its employees. The central government said that the new agreement reduces 23 of these abusive clauses and eliminates 13.

The union is the Sindicato de Trabajadores Petroleros, Químicos y Afines. The union issued a parallel statement and said that eliminating the contract entirely would only cut the price of motor fuel by two colons a liter. It also said that Costa Ricans were being deceived if they thought the price of fuel would decline if the government’s fuel monopoly was opened to outside firms.

In fact, about half the per liter price of fuel is made up of taxes. The new union contract, called a convención colectiva in Spanish, is supposed to save about 5 billion colons over the three-year term. That is about $9.3 million.

The Sala IV constitutional court has agreed to hear an appeal that the contract is unreasonable. The agreement reached Wednesday might make that appeal void.

Among the benefits that are eliminated in the new contract is a two-day leave with pay for employees upon the marriage of a son or daughter and a five-day paid leave for making a household move, said Casa Presidencial.

The refinery also has been subjected to criticism because it has many employees but does not refine any petroleum. All the motor fuel is imported, and the refinery is just a distributor.

Colombia and FARC agree to a cease-fire

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Colombia and leftist rebels agreed to a cease-fire Wednesday, ending hostilities in a 50-year-long guerrilla war that killed about 220,000 people.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and rebel leader Rodrigo Londono will sign the cease-fire today in Havana, where peace talks have been held for four years. The Obama administration was sending its special envoy to the peace talks, former diplomat Bernard Aronson.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the presidents of Chile and Venezuela, peace talks co-sponsors with Cuba, will also be there.

"Tomorrow will be a great day," Santos wrote on Twitter. "We're working for a Colombia in peace, a dream that's beginning to become reality."

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the United States welcomed the news and congratulated Santos.

The cease-fire is the last major step before both sides sign a final peace agreement. Santos said he expected that to take place July 20 after a final few minor issues are worked out. It will then be put to the Colombian people in a referendum.

The deal also includes land reform provisions and will give former rebels some political power. Former fighters for the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionaries de Colombia, known as the FARC, can also avoid jail time in exchange for community service and travel restrictions.

Both sides had expected to sign the final agreement in March. But questions remain on exactly how the final deal will be ratified and given legal force so that it won't unravel should a more conservative government succeed Santos, who leaves office in 2018. The two sides also must decide who will preside over a special war crimes tribunal to consider charges against fighters on both sides.

The Marxist Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionaries rebels launched their uprising as a poor people's rebellion in 1964 and grew into a dangerous fighting force. The rebels turned to drug trafficking and kidnapping to pay for its guerilla war.

But the rebels failed to overthrow a succession of Colombian governments, including some which had U.S. military aid.

A 15-year, U.S.-backed military offensive thinned the rebels' ranks and forced its aging leaders to the negotiating table in 2012.

The peace talks have been bumpy and extended much longer than Santos or anyone else anticipated. But if a final deal is reached, it will end Latin America's last major insurgency, one accused of being a major supplier of cocaine to the U.S.

Still, the much smaller and more recalcitrant Ejercito de Liberación Nacional  has a toehold in some areas and could fill the void left by the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionaries. The Ejercito de Liberación agreed to a peace process with the government this year, but those talks have yet to start because of Santos' insistence that the group renounce kidnapping.

U.S. donating two patrol boats

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The major donation that the U.S. Embassy has promised turned out to be two 110-foot patrol boats for the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas. The boats, which are expected to be delivered next year, will expand the range and speed of coast guard coverage in the Pacific, said the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

The donation was announced by William R. Brownfield, U.S. assistant secretary for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs. The estimated value is $19 million.

Although the crafts clearly are expected to run down drug smugglers, the ministry said they also would be used to make rescues and suppress pirates. Some 50 Costa Rican crew members will spend time in Baltimore, Maryland, to learn how to handle the boats, said the ministry.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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 San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, June 23, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 123
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Only 20 new zika cases confirmed over past week, health ministry says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation’s confirmed zika virus cases have reached 127 with the bulk, 77 cases, being in the canton of Garabito, which contains the community of Jacó.

The Ministerio de Salud figures show a modest increase from the previous week when there were 107 reported cases with 67 in the Jacó area. The slight increase probably is due in large part by efforts by health workers to spray sections of Jacó where the bulk of the affected patients live.

A citizens organization, now called JacoZikaSafe, also is waging an awareness campaign. The organization has scheduled a cleanup of potential mosquito breeding spots for June 29 and 30. Since there is no vaccine for zika, other methods are needed to keep the spread of the virus in check.

Parrita also showed an increase in cases, according to the health ministry’s figures. There are now 12 cases in the central Pacific community instead of the nine the week before.

Some 17 other cantons have from one to four cases. The ministry figures were current as of Wednesday.

So far there are no reported complications with pregnant women or any cases of brain damage in adults due to the virus, said the ministry.

An abortion advocate organization, the Center for Reproductive Rights, said that the zika crisis was generating requests for women for abortions even when they are in countries with legal prohibitions.

The organization cited a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine to show that women will “take whatever steps necessary to control their fertility, health and lives.”

The report in the prestigious medical journal said that contacts from Latin America to a specific women’s Web site had increased. Those who operate the Web site direct women to medicines or professionals if they choose to have an abortion.

JacóZikaSafe recycling campaign poster.

The study was mainly by Texas, Dutch and British academics. The methodology was complex, but the study seemed to say that 67 women from Costa Rica contacted the Web site either through email or another way since the zika problem became major news last year.

“We cannot definitively attribute the rapid acceleration in number of requests to worries about zika,” said the study. “However, the geographical pattern of increase is strongly suggestive.”

All Latin countries, except Chile, showed increases in informational contacts regardless of the laws. The Aedes mosquito does not breed in Chile, the study said.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, June 23, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 123
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Science seems to be driving public policy on plastic pollution in oceans
By the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Capt. Charles Moore introduced the world to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the mid-1990s. Since then, there has been increasing interest from scientists, the public and policy makers regarding plastic debris in the environment. A focus article in the July issue of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry's journal, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, outlines the current research, identifies research gaps on plastic debris and reviews some of the weight of evidence regarding contamination, fate and effects of the material.

The public's interest in the issues and economic impacts of plastic debris has led to an increase in activity from both scientists and policy makers. The article makes these points:

Over the last several decades, scientists have generated substantial evidence regarding the widespread contamination of plastic debris. It's not only an eyesore that can disrupt local tourism and fishing, plastic debris can harm or even kill an organism via entanglement, ingestion or smothering. Scientists were able to quantify the amount of debris in the plastic gyres, showing contamination in every ocean, which led to the prohibition of discharging trash into the sea.

The effects of microplastics and nanoplastics are less obvious, and therefore much of the related research is still in its infancy.

Most recently, studies about microbeads in personal care products and fiber particles from textiles that wash down household drains have raised concerns among the public. Bans on microplastics in personal care products have already been introduced in the United States, the European Union, Canada and Australia, even as the chemical and biological effect on individual organisms is not fully known.

Other examples of how science has already been used to inform policy change and mitigation include legislation banning or taxing single-use, lightweight plastic bags from stores in parts of North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia. In other cases, safer alternatives exist and are within reach, such as waxed paper straws that may eliminate the flurry of plastic straws that make it into the environment every day. Additionally, best management practices, the support of circular economies and public awareness campaigns are underway worldwide.

As new scientific understanding breeds new questions, scientists are working to fill data gaps regarding the fate and effects of plastic debris and the mechanisms that drive these processes. In parallel, policy makers can continue to enforce positive change by addressing mismanagement, determining locations where mitigation may be most critical and deciding what legislation regarding product bans or waste management may be most effective.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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Click photo for another video

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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About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, June 23, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 123
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About 150 to 200 people gathered outside the Capitol late Wednesday to show their support for House Democrats.

House Democrats holding
sit-in to promote gun control

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The call went up from the House floor again and again: “No Bill. No Break.”

House Democrats going into the 11th hour of a sit-in calling for gun control legislation heard House Speaker Paul Ryan was making his way to the floor and increased the chant they had repeated throughout a day of speeches calling for legislative action in response to the Orlando attack, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

Members of the public watching up in the galleries chanted back the lines that have trended on social media since earlier Wednesday, asking for the House of Representatives to vote on gun control legislation before leaving for the Independence Day holiday break. 

Ryan could barely be heard calling for a vote as House Democrats chanted and waved a sea of white papers bearing the names of gun violence victims. They booed Ryan and called out, “Mr Speaker, give us a vote.” 

During the 15-minute vote, Rep. Ted Deutch called out to “My Republican friends,” but could not finish speaking as he was shouted down. Democrats responded by singing the Civil Rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” while Republicans looked on silently. 

The chaotic vote capped an intense and unprecedented day on the House floor.

For a second consecutive week, Democrats in the U.S. Congress commandeered a chamber to demand action on gun violence that has shattered numerous American communities, most recently in Orlando, Florida.

House Democrats took to the floor en masse Wednesday, led by civil rights icon John Lewis of Georgia, and pledged to remain there in a sit-in until legislation is brought forward to stem carnage from firearms.

"Over the last 12 years, gun-related crimes claimed more American lives than AIDS, war and illegal drug overdoses combined," Lewis said in a letter to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan announcing the protest. "We urge you to lead the House into action and work with both sides of the aisle to pass common sense solutions to keep American children and families safe."

Republicans initially responded with gavel-banging and demands for order on the floor. When Democrats refused to disperse, Republicans recessed the chamber and turned off the microphones. Although lights continued to shine, proceedings ceased to be televised, because video is fed from the chamber only when it is in session.

Democrats responded by launching their own broadcasts, using the mobile application Periscope on their cellular phones. A non-profit U.S. cable outfit that covers congressional proceedings, C-Span, began broadcasting the Periscope feeds.

Wednesday's House disruptions followed last week's action by Senate Democrats on the other side of the Capitol. Led by Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Democrats spoke on the Senate floor for 15 consecutive hours, at which point Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed to bring gun control measures up for a vote.

Wednesday, several senators walked across the Capitol to join their House colleagues in a show of support.

Lewis, an African-American, took part in the 1965 civil rights march from Selma, Alabama, that came to be known as Bloody Sunday when state troopers attacked with clubs and tear gas. Lewis suffered a wound to his head.

​Lewis and others used sit-ins to great effect in the 1960s to protest racial segregation at lunch counters and public facilities.

Wednesday, some House Republicans responded to the Democratic protest with derision.

Rep. Steven Russell of Oklahoma told reporters that the Democrats' action amounted to grandstanding and absolute theatrics.

"I'm really disappointed that that's what our institutions are eroding to," Russell said. "I think we can do better."

The sit-in drew attention from Speaker Ryan's long-awaited unveiling of a Republican alternative to President Barack Obama's signature domestic legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Ryan was away from the Capitol for much of the day, rolling out the Republican proposal at a Washington public policy research institute.

Some Sanders supporters
decline to back Mrs. Clinton

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Democratic Party unity was the target when Hillary Clinton, the party's presumptive nominee for the presidential election, met with fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill. But some rank-and-file Democrats who campaigned against Mrs. Clinton are still skeptical about voting for her in the November general election, and that could put the party's united front at risk.

Mackenzie Hiltz, a 20-year-old woman from Vermont, home state of Sen. Bernie Sanders, says talk of party unity will not affect her choice when it comes time to vote.

Asked whether she will vote for Mrs. Clinton, as former Sanders supporters are being urged to do, Ms. Hiltz was firm: "Absolutely not. I truly believe she is in it for the money, and I don’t care if she gets the nomination."

Ms. Hiltz said she feels Mrs. Clinton has changed her positions on key issues over the years, and does not have the same passionate concern for ordinary Americans' problems that Sanders displayed.

Among Sanders supporters overall, Ms. Hiltz is not alone in her beliefs.

A Bloomberg Politics survey this month of likely general-election voters said 45 percent of those who have supported Sanders do not intend to vote for Mrs. Clinton, and nearly half of that group told pollsters they will vote instead for Republican Donald Trump.

Rep. James Clyburn, who was in the group of Democrats who met with Mrs. Clinton, said, “That is a problem for the party."

Clyburn, who is from South Carolina, said he hopes the Vermont senator will try to change his supporters' minds. “I would love to see Mr. Sanders endorse, go all in, and I think he will.”

Sanders, who was not at Wednesday's meeting, appeared to be coming to terms with his political situation following months of primary-election battles with Mrs. Clinton across the country. “It doesn't appear that I'm going to be the nominee," Sander told a television interviewer, "so I'm not going to be determining the scope of the convention."

He was referring to the convention platform, the formal statement of a U.S. political party's principles and goals, presented during the national meeting in each presidential election year. Rep. Elijah Cummings told reporters ideas for the platform were not specifically discussed with Mrs. Clinton, but he predicted a final draft would be completed this weekend.

“We’re trying to meld the positions of Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and by the way, that’s coming along very good so far,” Cummings said.

Sanders' faithful hope the main economic message the senator stressed throughout his campaign will live on: ending corporations' excessive influence on government, and bringing the country's big banks under control, even breaking them up, if necessary.

But for die-hard supporters like Mackenzie Hiltz, even a move by Mrs. Clinton to adopt the Sanders program might not be enough. “I just don’t believe that she’ll make use of Bernie Sanders' ideas and follow through,” Ms. Hiltz said.

Members of Congress at the Clinton meeting said she acknowledged the difficulty of winning over supporters of her opponent from the primaries. Rep. Javier Becerra of California, one of those said to be under consideration as her possible vice-presidential running mate, said: “I especially appreciated her remark that there are people who won’t vote for her, but she is prepared to vote for them and work on their behalf.”

Mrs. Clinton is clearly positioning herself as a candidate of inclusiveness, Becerra said. "She’s going to go out there and talk to everyone in America. Not just Sanders supporters, but she’s going to talk to those who are not supporting Democrats because, as she said, she wants to be the candidate for everyone.”

House Democrats said their meeting with Mrs. Clinton took place in a calm, relaxed atmosphere. The second-ranking Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer, said there was "unity, enthusiasm and confidence in our candidate."

Revolt by GOP delegates
eyed by some Trump foes

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

When Talmage Pearce attends the Republican National Convention as a delegate next month, he is supposed to vote for Donald Trump.

Pearce is a Republican delegate from Arizona, which Trump won easily in a March primary election, capturing all 58 of the state’s delegates.

But Pearce, who works as an insurance agent in the central town of Mesa, said he can’t vote for Trump in good conscience.

“I don’t believe any of the conservative positions he’s touted during the campaign are sincere,” Pearce said.

He also takes issue with how Trump “insulted, blackmailed, and bullied” his opponents on his way toward the GOP nomination.

Pearce is one of a number of Republican delegates nationwide who refuse to vote for Trump at the convention, despite being pledged to do so.

At this point, it’s not clear whether the delegate insurgency is widespread enough to deny Trump the majority of delegates he needs to clinch the nomination.

Currently, Trump has 1,542 delegates. He only needs to win 1,237 to get a majority. That means 306 delegates would have to revolt.

Some reports suggest hundreds of delegates have already joined the last-minute effort to oppose Trump at the convention. Others put that figure at only a few dozen.

In either case, the Republican National Committee faces a dilemma: how does it count the votes of delegates who, though pledged to Trump, refuse to vote for him?

Its response could determine whether the party splits. It could also undermine longstanding principles guiding the U.S. model of representative democracy.

At issue is a patchwork of state laws and party regulations that purport to require delegates to follow the will of primary voters in their state or district.

These laws vary widely by state. Some require delegates to be bound to a particular candidate only on the first round of voting. Others bind delegates for multiple rounds.

The state laws are obscure. The truth is, no one has paid much attention to them over the years. That’s in part because no one has needed to. Delegate voting at conventions is almost always a formality.

But the laws also were effectively neutralized by a series of decades-old rulings by the Supreme Court, which found it is unconstitutional for states to put legal restraints on private political parties.

“The enforceability of these laws is doubtful,” said Bradley Smith, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission. “The Supreme Court has made clear that a political party can have its own sorts of rules as to whether delegates have to vote in a particular way.”

Several other election law experts confirmed to a reporter that the Republican National Committee has the right to determine whether to allow a delegate revolt, regardless of what state laws say.

“This one is for the party to decide,” said Heather Gerken, a professor who specializes in election and constitutional law at Yale Law School. “There is very little support for the claim that a delegate revolt would be illegal.”

So if the Republican Party has the legal authority to do as it chooses, what will it decide to do with delegates like Pearce, who vote their conscience in the first round, despite being pledged to Trump?

In an interview, a senior member of the national committee’s convention rules committee hinted that at least some of the faithless votes will, in fact, be counted against Trump.

The national committee already has decided that it will abide by some state laws: in certain states, all delegates will be bound to a particular candidate. That, the committee member said, is based on state laws and party rules, and cannot be changed.

“But the trouble is that some states are different,” he conceded. He did not elaborate on which states he was referring to.

If a revolting delegate comes from a state that does not have rules binding delegates to a certain candidate, however, how will the party treat that vote?

“It depends on the rules,” he said. “We’ll enforce the rules.”

That statement appears to leave the door open for Trump to lose at least some of his pledged delegates. Is it enough to deny him the nomination? No one knows.

As the convention draws closer, though, a diverse and influential range of figures within the Republican Party is working behind the scenes to make sure it is.

One of those figures is Curly Haugland, an unbound Republican delegate from North Dakota who is also a member of the convention rules committee.

Haugland is a controversial figure within the party. The self-proclaimed rules guru has for years tried to convince delegates they are all unbound and can vote for whoever they want.

He’s even co-authored a book, entitled “Unbound: The Conscience of a Republican Delegate,” that he is hoping to distribute to every GOP delegate before the convention.

In Haugland’s view, it is simply a matter of fact that GOP delegates are unbound.

Republican delegates, according to Haugland, are like a pen full of sheep. “In the RNC’s model, they’re all bound up by a fence. But the fact of the matter is, there is no fence,” he said.

National committee officials have repeatedly denied that Haugland’s theory has any legitimacy, but they could not be reached for comment on this story.

In recent weeks, another Republican group, called Free the Delegates, has sprung up in an effort to deprive Trump the nomination. Its strategy is related, but differs slightly, from Haugland’s.

The group is hoping to persuade the rules committee, which meets a week before the convention, to pass a conscience clause that would formally change the rules to allow delegates to either abstain or vote for a non-Trump candidate.

For that to happen, 57 out of 112 members of the convention rules committee would need to agree to the clause. The proposal would then head to the convention floor, where it would have to be passed by a majority of delegates.

It’s not clear who an alternative candidate would be. No major candidate has emerged as the obvious choice.

Current Republican National Committee rules require the GOP nominee to have won at least eight states in the primary election process (although that rule also could change). As it stands now, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is the only candidate that would qualify.

But if the party nominates anyone other than Trump, what would that mean for the future of U.S. democracy? Trump, though controversial, won 14 million votes. That’s more than any other Republican presidential primary candidate in history, and it’s not even close.

Does it mean the months-long, state-by-state primary process, on which candidates spent hundreds of millions of dollars, was meaningless? A lot of Trump supporters think so.

“The idea that delegates are going to vote against the will of the people is absurd,” said Hildy Angius, a delegate from Mohave County, Arizona, who said she is glad to support Trump at the convention.

Another Arizona delegate, Lori Urban, says she’s also sticking by Trump. “If it’s 500 rounds, I am only voting Trump,” Ms. Urban said by phone.

“Apparently people don’t listen to the will of the voters of this country, and therein lies the problem,” she said, before hanging up the phone abruptly.

Trump himself has said that any delegate revolt would be illegal. Although that’s clearly not the case, according to most legal experts, he does have other options.

If the delegates deny Trump the nomination, his main recourse would be political rather than legal, according to Gregory Magarian, a constitutional law professor at the Washington University of Law.

For example, Trump could mount a third-party presidential run, riling up his supporters against the replacement GOP nominee, says Magarian.

“I doubt very much he cares about the electoral prospect of the GOP if he isn’t the nominee,” he said. “His records . . . he would scorch the earth.”

Paris bar
Voice of America/LK. Bryant  
Bar in Paris shows one of many British influences

British EU exit vote today
has many leaders worried

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Le weekend, le sandwich, le business, le feeling.  Pints, pubs, rugby and Marks & Spencer.

A centuries-old love-hate relationship with Britain has left an indelible mark on France, so it’s no surprise that today people here are closely eyeing - with much worry and some anticipation another potential Britishism: Le Brexit.

“At stake is more than the future of the United Kingdom in the European Union.  It is the future of the European Union," French President Francois Hollande said on the eve of Britain's referendum, warning a British exit from the EU would be irreversible.

As Britons vote today on whether to remain in the EU, that sentiment is being echoed by many mainstream leaders across the 28-member bloc, as they nervously eye a possible exit.

“Certainly there’s a lot of apprehension among those who really care about the European integration process,” says Fabian Zuleeg, chief executive of the Brussels-based European Policy Center.

Yet the broader European reaction is complex and conflicting, as is the possible fallout of a British departure.  Some analysts suggest an exit will deliver at least a short-term blow to economically fragile EU members like Greece and Portugal, and those like Ireland and Germany with strong trade ties to Britain.  Europeans working in Britain also worry about losing jobs and pensions.

“France will have a lot to lose, because Britain is France’s second-biggest trading partner after Germany,” adds Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, Paris office director of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, noting Britain also helps counter economic powerhouse Germany.)

Others describe broader threats of a British exit to Europe’s international standing and dreams of an ever closer union.

“I think the biggest loss would be the EU’s global weight,” says Manuel Lafont Rapnouil, head of the European Council on Foreign Relations’ Paris office. “With this idea that you can get out of it, rather than finding compromises to respond to challenges, the EU would become less formidable, less attractive.”

Polls show a majority of European citizens oppose a Brexit, even if few are fond of Brussels.

Many Europeans disapprove of the bloc’s economic management and the way it handled the migrant crisis, according to a study by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center.  Another survey by German research organization The Bertelsmann Foundation found that while citizens in the biggest EU states would back staying in the bloc, if similar referendums were held in their countries, only a slim majority of French and Italians would do so.

“There’s been nothing positive about the EU.  They tell us how the euro is good for us, but we French have lost more than we’ve gained,” says Paris-area car dealer Didier Ajuelos.

Still, Ajuelos reluctantly throws his weight behind Brussels.

“In today’s world, you’re stronger together than out on your own,” he says.

Many European nationalist parties, however, are broadly cheering on a British departure.

“Vote Brexit, and we’ll handle the champagne,” France’s far-right National Front youth wing urges on its Facebook page.

“It will give the British freedom, and it will show other countries that it’s possible to renegotiate EU treaties or to leave altogether,” says leader Gaetan Dussausaye.

A Brexit vote may indeed give Euroskeptics reason for hope, analyst Zuleeg believes, but only if Britain negotiates a good deal after leaving the bloc.

“But if the U.K. suffers economically and politically, then I think it’s not an example other countries would follow,” he adds.

Some analysts predict those remaining will make Britain pay dearly for leaving the EU.  With the anti-EU National Front surging ahead of next year’s French presidential elections, France will likely lead the pack, the German Marshall Fund’s Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer says.

“Paris will push to ensure that consequences are felt swiftly and severely to avoid encouraging anti-EU forces,” she says.

“There will be consequences, and the U.K. will lose some advantages,” agrees Lafont Rapnouil of the European Council, although he believes it’s too early to predict the fallout.

Along with anger, Britain’s referendum has also sparked calls for reforming the EU.
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. 
For more i

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
Click HERE!

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
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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!
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq. ft. of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out. The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the backyard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden. This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town. Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small. The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate. Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José. Just reduced to $199,000. Call Jeff: 8725-8176. Email:


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, Thursday, June 23, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 123
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Shannon’s Caracas mission is questioned

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Obama administration is defending a decision to hold a high-level dialogue with Venezuela at a time when the South American country’s government is accused of committing widespread human rights abuses and undermining democracy.

Thomas Shannon, U.S. undersecretary of State for political affairs, met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Wednesday, a week after Secretary of State John Kerry and his Venezuelan counterpart announced plans to relaunch talks in a bid to reduce tensions between the two countries.

The talks in Caracas came a day before Organization of American States representatives will discuss a proposal that could lead to Venezuela’s suspension from the 35-member regional bloc.

Venezuela has been grappling with an economic crisis that has resulted in high inflation and unemployment, food shortages and a decline in oil production.

At the same time, Maduro’s government is accused of imprisoning thousands of political dissidents and stifling the rule of law as well as freedom of the press. Maduro’s opponents are seeking a recall referendum this year.

“The situation in Venezuela today is truly heartbreaking,” said U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, a South Carolina Republican who is chairman of a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee.

In a Wednesday hearing, Duncan questioned why the U.S. was pursuing high-level engagement with the Maduro administration when it had a blatant record of controlling all facets of the government.

U.S. engagement should not be viewed as a reward, said Annie Pforzheimer, the acting deputy assistant secretary for the Western Hemisphere bureau.

Ms. Pforzheimer told the House panel that Shannon would raise the United States' strong concerns about the Venezuelan government during his visit, which also included meetings with the country’s opposition and civil society.

“The purpose of the trip is to help foster constructive dialogue that hopefully will lead to solutions to challenges facing Venezuela,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday.

It’s not our fault, Sala IV insists

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala IV constitutional court is blaming a lower-court judge for freeing a man in January who is the principal suspect in cutting the throat of his female companion Tuesday.

The Poder Judicial fired off a statement Wednesday denying that the Sala IV ordered the man to be freed. Instead, it remanded the case to the Juzgado Penal del Primer Circuito Judicial de San José. The suspect is HIV-positive and had had an operation on his lung. So the court determined that he needed a ventilated room and other conditions that could not be found in prison.

So Tuesday about 4:30 a.m. The 26 year old engaged the 21-year-old woman with the last name of  Monjaret in an argument at her La Carpio home that ended with her death. The woman had two children, 2 and 6.

Police said the suspect tried to kill himself, but he later was reported stable in  Hospital México.
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From Page 7:

Retirement seminar set for September

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

International Living plans another seminar for potential expats in Costa Rica in September, perhaps providing a needed boost for tourism and real estate.

The firm based in Ireland is known for its showcasing of retirement locations, and there have been other seminars in Costa Rica.

International Living sometimes overstates the facts and hardly ever discusses residency requirements in its bulk emailings. The company boasts of 500,000 readers.

Costa Rica is touted correctly as a place where “the weather can't be beat. The climate is perfect in Costa Rica, a place where you won't need heat or air conditioning —translating to huge savings on utility costs.”

However, the firm overlooks some of the problems and recent scandals with the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social by saying that “a couple might spend $150 to $200 a month for a comprehensive health care plan that includes doctor's visits, hospitalization, prescriptions, and more.”

It also cites a couple living happily here on $1,400 a month.

Health care is a good point to selling seminar seats because the cost of medical insurance is a major concern for U.S. retirees. Those who are serious usually seek additional and unbiased information before deciding to relocate.

Some local real estate, insurance and relocation professionals make an effort to be included in the seminar schedule.