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Published Friday Edition
June 23, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 124
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Ex-police head arrested on drug trafficking charges
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The former director of the main Costa Rican police force was arrested Wednesday night for allegedly helping a drug trafficking organization transport cocaine from Guanacaste into México and the United States, according to the Judicial Investigation Organization.

The arrest took place on the road to Orotina, in the province of Alajuela. There, the suspect was caught in a car while escorting a truck that carried 237 kilos of cocaine, judicial agents said.

Along with the former director, a Mexican and two Costa Rican citizen were also arrested. Inside the car and the truck the police found a GPS device, a night vision tool, a nine millimeter pistol, radios and a .45 caliber Beretta pistol.

According to Michael Soto, director of the Judicial Investigating Organization, the investigation against the former director started in May 2016 in the same road. At the time, the police caught a Minivan carrying 430 kilos of cocaine. The minivan belonged to the same group who never carried more than 500 kilos of the drug.

Soto also explained the director's role was mainly a logistic one, for he was in charge of recruiting transporters and determining the times and dates to do the trafficking. The cocaine came from South America, he said.

“This was quite a complicated operation, because the suspect had all the expertise needed to avoid getting caught,” Soto added.

The former director was chief of the Fuerza Pública from July 1, 2007 to April 15, 2008. He left the police definitely in 2013.

Back in 2009, the man had already raised suspicion from authorities. At the time, an airplane carrying 347 kilos of cocaine crashed in Cerro de la Muerte and the pilot died. The former director arrived before judicial investigators arrived at the scene and then the GPS device of the plane disappeared.

The device would have been of use to determine the planes route before the accident. At the time, the suspect claimed he arrived to the place without authorization because the pilot was a good friend of his.

Arrested
                            ex-director
CRHoy.com courtesy photo
Ex-director at moment of arrest. Face removed from original photo.

After he left the Fuerza Pública, he was involved in the investigation about the possible murder of  John Bender, a U.S citizen to whom he offered private security services.

Bender was a multimillionaire found dead back in 2010 as a result of a bullet wound in his head. His wife Ann Bender was the only witness and claimed her husband committed suicide. Prosecutors did not believe that and prosecuted her for homicide. However, she was never proven guilty.

In that case, prosecutors tried to involve the former director as part of a possible homicide but he was also cleared of any charges. A.M. Costa Rica covered that story HERE.

In 2013, the suspect came also into the spotlight when he decided to create and train a group of people who called themselves La Patrulla 1856.

On its Facebook site, the group claimed to be ready to defend the Costa Rican sovereignity from a Nicaraguan invasion. At the time, Nicaraguan forces were settled down in Isla Calero, territory that Costa Rica claimed to be part of the country.

The former director was taken into custody and the Ministerio Público will determine if preventive prison is applied.



Inactive companies may be subject to new taxes
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Inactive companies registered before the Registro Nacional may soon be subject to regular income taxes, should a bill presented before the Legislative Assembly is approved.

The draft is sponsored by the legislators Patricia Mora from Frente Amplio, Marco Quirós and Marcela Guerrero from Partido Acción Ciudanana and Carmen Quesada, an independent legislator.

The initiative would allow the Dirección General de Tributación to monitor commercial companies and societies of persons who are inactive. According to the current law, the Dirección lacks the legal power to request an income declaration to those organizations.

Ms. Guerrerro said there are almost 621,000 companies registered in the Registro Nacional, out of that amount, 489,000 declare no commercial activities and that's something that is not normal, she said.

The plan would assume those companies are making profit unless the contrary is proven.
For that matter, timely notification will be granted to its members, Guerrero explained.

She also said that having an inactive company is not illegal but lots of them are used for tax avoidance and tax evasion, so further control is required in order to adhere to international standards.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, approximately 70 percent of Costa Rican companies are not regularly monitored on taxes due to their inactive status. 


On a report issued in October 2015, the organization says about 3,000 companies were found to engage in commercial activities despite their status between 2011 and 23013.

It is customary that companies are created to protect property from seizure in case of debts, felonies and child support.

Currently, inactive companies do pay an annual fee for its registration and part of that money is used to fund the police corps.


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A.M.
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Second News Page

Published || Friday Edition, June 23, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 124
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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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Committee
meeting
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo      
Gustavo Mata gestures during remarks at meeting.

Security officials meet with legislators

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Meanwhile, in an ironic twist of fate, officials from the public security ministry presented to the legislature’s committee on security and drug trafficking the various actions and projects being undertaken to combat crime throughout the country.

Gustavo Mata, the head of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, requested the meeting days ago, according to a report from ministry press offices. The report said that Mata sought to inform the various deputies about the progress of the ministry under his administration. This meeting amounted to a year-in-review type monologue that included all of the security gains made for 2017 in the realms of equipment and manpower.

Mata revealed that his forces are working to install another radar system in Limón that is expected to control, prosecute and combat marijuana trafficking from as far away as Jamaica and of cocaine from South American countries. He also said that the ministry plans to buy a $7 million vessel equipped with state-of-the-art technology to patrol and detain drug traffickers at sea and those conducting illegal fishing and immigration operations, the ministry said.

That is still not enough for the minister, however. As usual, the security ministry officials to press the Assemblea Legislativa for more men and more money called the meeting.

The same reasons were drawn out: that crime is on the rise and becoming more evasive as well as complex; the ministry is unable to conduct its operations to the best of its ability; that existing police forces are becoming overwhelmed with all the activity needed to combat an increasingly deadly foe.

Mata said that, in last week’s meetings with the United States and Central America, officials announced a plan to eliminate over 50,000 hectares of cocaine plantations in the region. He also mentioned that Colombia and Panamá will be joining Costa Rica in agreements to better patrol the oceans and take down transnational crime operations.

Aside from the speech on money and manpower, the security minister urged the approval of two primary things: joint patrolling with the United States and the support for creating the Ley de Extinción de Dominio.

This law, translated to English as being the extinction of domain, is a legal consequence in relation to illegal activities. Basically translated in layman’s terms, it is a process where ownership is declared in favor of the State by a judicial authority. This ownership is not compensated in any way, shape or form to the former owner of the property.


Blood drive in Palmares Sunday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Palmares will be hosting a blood donation drive this Sunday to meet the needs and strengthen the reserves for the hospitals of the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social.

Donations will be accepted around 8 a.m. until noon at the facilities of Coopevegra R.L., organizers from the Banco Nacional del Sangre said. The Caja hopes to donate at least 120 people during the course of the event.

With each unit of blood received, the needs of four people can be met, the blood bank said. Moreover, Dr. María Eugenia Villalta Bonilla, the medical manager of the Caja, said that voluntary blood donations are the best ways to guarantee a quality transfusion.

Each donor is extracted between 400 and 500 milliliters of blood, or about 10 percent of the total blood flow throughout the body, the Caja said. The body recovers from the loss within 24 hours of losing it with the consumption of various liquids.

To be a donor one must be: at least 18 years old, over 110 pounds, carry a cédula or residence card, had a light breakfast with plenty of water and wait two hours before donating if one consumed eggs and dairy products.


Movistar called most reliable on 4G

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Movistar is the most reliable 4G mobile internet provider in the country, according to the State of Mobile Networks report released by OpenSigal.

The ranking is made by collecting information from 2,722 smartphones equipped with the organization’s app in the three major mobile networks: Claro, Kölbi and Movistar. It compares the performance of the networks in terms of availability, speed and latency, which is a network’s reaction time.

In regards to 4G networks, the study shows that Movistar service was available 73 percent of the time, while Kölbi clients, its closest follower, had access 56 percent of the time representing a 12 point jump from the previous evaluation made in November.

“Movistar’s 4G availability and Kölbi’s quick improvement should bode well for a competitive 4G future in the country,” the document reads. “Unfortunately, limited 4G data was available from Claro-connected devices, so the operator has been excluded from this category.”

“Costa Rica is still in the 4G slow lane,” the research adds.

In regards to 3G performance, the three main operators deliver a 2.5 Mbps average speed, when the global average is current is set at 4.4 Mbps, the report adds.

When it comes to the networks latency, Movistar also provided its users with the shortest lag times in the tests, while Claro and Kölbi remained practically tied up in this category.

“The mobile landscape in Costa Rica is set to change as new spectrum is released in Sutel’s forthcoming auctions,” the document says. “Authorities have now cleared both Movistar and Claro to bid for for more spectrum, which will allow operators increased 4G capacity.”

The Costa Rican telecom market was first opened for competition in 2011, as a consequence of the Central America Free Trade Agreement approved by popular vote in 2007.

Aside from the state owned Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, Movistar and Telefónica became the institute’s first competitors.

At the time, Superintendencia granted a total of 130 Mhz of the radioelectric spectrum, which meant $195 million in revenue.


Bill calls for stricter labor rules

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Stricter fines and measures against employers who do not comply with the labor laws might be enforced  if bill 19.130 is approved in the Legislative Assembly during the discussion that started Wednesday afternoon and will continue next week.

The bill is supported by an unusual alliance among lawmakers Sandra Piszk from the traditionally right-leaning Partido Liberación Nacional and Patricia Mora, from the leftist Frente Amplio.

The initiative seeks to reform several articles of the current Código de Trabajo, which was first issued in 1948 and has been changed several times through the decades.

Some of the changes include the creation of a Labor Inspection Administrative Court, which would work independently from the Ministerio de Trabajo. This court would be part of the executive branch and would not replace the powers of the judicial courts of law.

However, fines and economic sanctions imposed by the labor inspectors can only by appealed in the administrative field, meaning the labor court.  The bill also grants inspectors the power to make their orders effective immediately when employer’s are requested to stop a certain behavior. Other orders are granted shorter deadlines than those in the current law.

In addition, the inspector may order a business to shut down in cases where minimum wages are not paid and the employer has been warned more than once.

The approval of the law faces hard opposition from the libertarian party. Legislators Natalia Díaz and Otto Guevara have said some of the regulation are contrary to constitutional liberties.

“It provides the inspectors with excessive discretion on how to apply the laws and it also endangers the privacy private businesses are entitled to,” Guevara said.

By that he means the power labor authorities would have to seize documents from non-compliant companies for investigation purposes, even if those documents are not strictly labor related such as suppliers lists and collection bills. Guevara also said some of the fines are too high and they might endanger the financial health of smaller  companies.

On the other side, Patricia Mora, one of the proponents said this initiative will be specially supportive of agricultural and blue-collar workers. She also added that foreign workers will be less vulnerable to abuse due to their temporary status.

She said the libertarian opposition to the bill seeks to benefit big corporations, where most of the abuses happen.

“Otto only says what the private businesses tell him to say,” Ms. Mora said.


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A.M.
Costa Rica

Third News Page
U.S. Tax
Published || Friday Edition, June 23, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 124
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Minister closes long, bitter history of prison's "Tombs" section
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The justice minister, Cecilia Sánchez, ceremoniously handed over six keys and three doors to the famous “Tumbas,” the Spanish word for tombs, in a final closing gesture on a dark history within La Reforma prison.

Ms. Sánchez closed the Tumbas back in August 2016 saying that they violated the human rights of the prisoners who were held there. The area of La Reforma prison has a notorious history.

It was first used as the maximum security section of the prison for some of the system’s worst offenders and hardened criminals. When a new facility was built in 2005 for maximum security, the section then became the solitary confinement section for inmates violating prison rules.

According to a statement from the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz, the minister did not like the idea of human beings being locked up for 23 hours a day in small, dark cells without proper ventilation. Some of the inmates kept in confinement were there for more than four years, she said.

The Mecanismo Nacional de Prevención de la Tortura had urged the closing of the Tombs for at least 15 years saying that they served as deposits of people during that time. Ms. Sánchez ordered their closure last August 2016, the justice ministry said.

“This act is very relevant and significant for us because the ámbito F, which was known as the old maxim, was a place of terror,” Ms. Sánchez said.
Tombs door
Ministerio de Justicia y Paz photo
Ms. Sánchez speaks as Tumbas door in foreground.

“It reproduced the conditions that were experienced in the Penitenciaría Central, when that was a center of violence and crime."

"Having closed that space filled us with deep satisfaction and the delivery of these keys and doors has the symbolism of having closed a very dark stage in the history of the Costa Rican penitentiary system," she added.

Both the keys and doors will undergo a restoration process to protect them and make them available to the public shortly, the ministry said.


Caja praises over 38 years of service by Dr. Juan Jaramillo Antillón
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Dr. Juan Jaramillo Antillón was recognized by the board of directors for the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social Wednesday for a lifetime of service in medicine and in health.

The 82-year old former surgeon was recognized by Dr. Fernando Llorca Castro at his old offices in Hospital Calderón Guardia where he tried to improve the working conditions.

Dr. Jaramillo graduated in 1959 with the highest honors at the medical school of the Universidad Autónoma de México, the Caja said. For at least 38 years, Dr. Jaramillo worked as the head of the clinic, services and was a sectional head at Hospital México and Calderón.

Additionally, he served as the health minister for the country under the administration of President Monge between 1982 until 1986, the Caja said.

He was the recipient of the Premio Nacional Magón from the culture ministry for his extensive publications that included: 34 books, 37 essays, 79 magazine articles both national and abroad as well as over 220 news articles, the Caja said.

Dr. Jaramillo reflected in his remarks that, three years after moving to the Hospital México, when it was inaugurated, the directors asked him to return to Calderón to take over the surgery headquarters.

"I always considered that the most important thing in a person's life is to set an example and if it is possible to educate, teach,” he said.

Dr.
Juan Jaramillo
Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social photo    
Dr. Jaramillo, left, reflects on his years of service.

“My life was in that sense to train young and good surgeons, not to be a great surgeon, my interest in going to Calderón Guardia was to be the boss, but above all to be able to form a young group of surgeons.”

For Dr. Jaramillo, the secret to his long career was advice given to him by his father.

“There is no free food. That to be entitled to a remuneration in a job must be done and not only to do it, but to do it well,” he said. 

“I do the simple things in an extraordinary way, but do not think I'm saying that to give self-praise like the bosses of hospital service. No, to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way is to give the example that anything insignificant is important in the institution and in the care of the sick. "


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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

Published || Friday Edition, June 23, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 124
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Costa Rica beetle sports gold color and new study is finding out why
By the University of Exeter press staff

The secrets of why Central American jewel scarab beetles look like they are made from pure gold, has been uncovered by physicists at the University of Exeter.

The ornate beetles, which have a brilliant metallic gold color, are highly valued by collectors. But until now the reasons behind their golden iridescent hue, have not been fully understood.

University of Exeter physicists specializing in color and light have done experiments exploring the origin of the scarab beetles’ striking metallic golden appearance, showing that the golden beetles have a unique optical signature.

The structure of the beetle and its armor uniquely manipulates the way the light is reflected so that it looks like pure gold.

Their results are published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Pete Vukusic, a physicist specializing in light and color, led the research which involved experiments and advanced modeling.

He found that the golden appearance is due to the high reflectiveness of the beetles’ exoskeleton, which also manipulates a property of the light called its polarization: the orientation of the reflected light wave’s oscillations.

The scientists mapped the optical signature of the beetle’s Chrysina resplendens’ color, and found it was unusually optically-ambidextrous, meaning that it reflects both left-handed and right-handed circularly polarized light.

Vukusic said: “The brilliant golden color and distinctive polarized reflection from the scarab beetle Chrysina resplendens sets it completely apart from the hundreds of thousands of other beautiful and brightly colored animals and plants across the natural world. Its exoskeleton has a bright, golden appearance that reflects both right-handed and left-handed circularly-polarized light simultaneously.

This characteristic of Chrysina resplendens appears to be an exceptional and wonderfully specialized characteristic in currently known animals and plants. It will serve as a valuable platform from which bio-inspired optical technologies can spring.”

The golden jewel beetle is prized by collectors because of its resemblance to the precious metal.

Other scarab beetles, valued by ancient cultures such as the Egyptians for use as amulets which were sometimes wrapped in the bandages of mummies, are jewel-like green and blue colors.

The vast majority of brightly colored beetles tend to be green and do not reflect polarized light. These beetles, in comparison to the brilliant golden color of Chrysina resplendens, lack much more specialized aspects of their exoskeleton’s finely detailed structure.

Central American jewel
scarab beetle
National Geographic Education Center photo
This unique bug fetches a price worth its weight in gold!

Ewan Finlayson, research fellow on the project, said: “We were drawn to the study of this jewel scarab not only by its striking metallic golden appearance, but also by its ability to control a less obvious property of the reflected light: the polarization. We have learned that there is great subtlety and detail to be found in these optical ‘signatures’ and in the elaborate natural structures that generate them.”

The golden jewel scarab beetle Chrysina resplendens, mainly found in the Americas, has evolved an exoskeleton that contains intricate nano-structures that are responsible for its appearance.

The spacing of the repeating layers of the nano-structures is found to vary over a specific range through the exoskeleton; a key property that causes the simultaneous reflection of a range of visible colors. It is this fact that explains the very bright reflection as well as the golden hue.

The nano-structured exoskeleton is composed of natural materials including chitin and various proteins. In addition to their brilliant reflectiveness, these structures are remarkable in the way they manipulate the way polarized light is reflected. Their nanostructures produce circularly-polarized light, where the orientation of the light's oscillations rotate as the light travels. The two possible directions of rotation are referred to as left handed and right handed.

The experiments build on the work of an early American scientist called Michelson who, in 1911, looked at the polarized reflection from many different Chrysina beetles, and on the work of Anthony Neville in 1971, who began looking more closely at Chrysina resplendens.

There are around 100 species of Chrysina jewel scarab, which are found exclusively in the New World, mostly in México and Central America.

The species Chrysina resplendens is found in Panamá and Costa Rica. Chrysina scarabs typically live in mountain forests. The larvae feed on rotting logs of various tree species, while the adults feed on foliage. The larval form lasts for several months to a year, and pupation takes a month or two.

After the adult emerges it lives for about a further three months, although this span probably varies between species.


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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
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Salsa Lizano
Published || Friday Edition, June 23, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 124
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Census Bureau count says
U.S. becoming more diverse

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

All races and ethnic groups grew in the U.S. over the last year, but the Asian and Hispanic populations continued to be the fastest growing, according to the annual count released Thursday by the Census Bureau.

The census reports that across all races and ethnic groups, the non-Hispanic white population grew the slowest.

"The non-Hispanic white alone group grew less than one-hundredth of one percent and only gained about 5,000 people,” Lauren Medina, a census demographer, said in a news release.

The census’ National, State and County Population Estimates by Age, Sex, Race and Hispanic Origin report says that as of July 1, 2016 the U.S. Hispanic population was 57.5 million, an increase of 2 percent since the last study a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the Asian population grew to 21.4 million at the fastest growth rate of all ethnic groups at 3 percent.

The report comes from the census’ State Data Center Program, which works with data coming from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the island areas. This information comes from networks of state agencies, universities, libraries, and regional and local government.

The study estimates that all groups had more births than deaths in the last year, except non-Hispanic white people, who have experienced a decrease in births by 163,300 nationally.

Monica Gomez Isaac, executive director of the Institute for Immigration Research at George Mason University, said the increase in the Hispanic and Asian populations can be attributed to higher birth rates and that's projected to grow.

As a result, she said, the U.S. population is becoming more ethnically diverse.

However, she said that 50 years ago, immigrant populations grew for different reasons.

The abolishment of national origin entry quotas from the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act made it possible for a greater diversity of immigrants to be admitted into the country especially from Latin American and Asia.

Geographically, the new census data shows the majority of Asians and Hispanics reside in states in the U.S. West.

California has the largest Hispanic and Asian population with 15.3 million and 6.6 million, respectively.

Texas had the highest numeric increase in Hispanic population at 233,100 people while 57 percent of the Hawaiian population is of Asian origin.

The Census Bureau makes a count of everybody living in the U.S. and its territories every 10 years. The count is mandated by the Constitution and will next take place in 2020.

The Bureau mails surveys to every U.S. household with questions that include number of residents, their ages and ethnicity.

Census surveys also allow people to select more than one race when responding to questionnaires. As a result, some residents may be one race or a combination of races. The question of Hispanic origin can reflect people of Hispanic, Spanish or Latino origin.

The White House for fiscal year 2018 already enmeshes the 2020 count in some controversy because of a historically low budget request. The Census Project watchdog group says that just when the bureau should be ramping up for the census, it has to cut back on field tests.


Executive order could swell
U.S. visa waiting times


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The wait for visitor visas to the United States could get a little longer.

White House and State Department officials said Thursday that a new executive order revoking an Obama-era guideline on processing times at consulates was made in the interest of vetting and national security.

It was not immediately clear how much longer the process will take for the millions of tourist, student, and business visa seekers who apply to travel to the country every year.

The brief order, which was issued without comment from the White House or State Department, deletes a subsection of a 2012 order that sought to expedite the processing time for non-immigrant visas, including those needed by students and tourists.

The original order issued by then-president Barack Obama called on the State Department to ensure that 80 percent of non-immigrant visa applicants are interviewed within 3 weeks of receipt of application.

The new order comes amid months of efforts by the Trump administration to wield executive powers over certain immigration policies and implement what officials refer to as extreme vetting.

In a statement later Thursday, the State Department referred to national security and the vetting process, saying that removing the guideline provides additional flexibility to determine when longer processing times may be appropriate, including for security screening.

The administration recently expanded the visa application process to include social media handles used during the last five years, and additional biographical information for the last 15 years meaning the consular officials can ask for a would-be visitor's Facebook profile, and a list of everywhere they've traveled for more than a decade.


Asia’s plastics industry
prompts pollution fears


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A booming plastics and packaging industry in Asia, including China, is being driven by rising incomes and consumption, with analysts saying a growing middle class will add to the rise in plastics demand across the region. But it comes along with a rising environmental alarm over plastic pollution in rivers and oceans.

Online plastics industry websites paint a picture of growth and trade and investment worth billions of dollars to Asian economies.

China has been a regional leader in plastics production rising over the past six decades to capture more than a 20 percent share of global plastics production. Southeast Asia accounts for a further 20 percent of global output.

Economists at Australia’s ANZ Bank say global plastics consumption have roughly tripled over the past 20 years.

Vietnam has reported an average growth of 18 percent in the plastics industry, with bags a leading export.

Within the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations, or ASEAN, plastics and plastic products netted the region almost $40 billion in export revenues in 2013.

Thailand is a regional leader in plastics per capita consumption of plastics at 40 kilograms. Malaysia reports 35 kilograms per person and Indonesia is at 17 kilograms per person.

But the plastics and food packaging industries have a dark side. Plastic pollution in rivers and oceans has at times creating floating islands, and with floating debris and micro-plastics ingested by marine life.

In February, United Nations Environment declared war on plastics pollution, launching an unprecedented campaign targeting sources of marine litter, micro-plastics in cosmetics and excessive waste of single-use plastics by 2022.

A research paper published in the Nature Communications journal by the Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch Foundation, said between 1.15 and 2.41 million metric tons of plastic waste entered the oceans each year. “The top 20 polluting rivers, mostly in Asia, account for 67 percent of the global total,” the journal read.

China’s Yangtze River reported considerably higher plastic concentrations than any other sampled river worldwide dumping 330,000 metric tons of plastic into the East China Sea. India’s Ganges river is also of major concern to environmentalists.

The U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres recently warned that unless steps are taken to curb the pollution, plastics could outweigh fish by 2050.

Environmentalists estimate more than eight million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean, impacting ecosystems, killing around one million sea birds, some 100,000 sea mammals and millions of fish.

A U.N. Oceans Conference in early June called on nations to take steps on plastics consumption with China, Thailand, and Indonesia and the Philippines committing to reduce plastics consumption.

New Zealand-based environmental activist Anna Dawson spent three months in the Philippines in 2016. She cycled 2,000 kilometers on a bamboo bike scouring and cleaning beaches of plastics and supporting local communities to reduce plastics use.

Ms. Dawson says the food industry should be a target to reduce plastics use.


Study says olive oil protects brain from Alzheimer's

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The benefits of a Mediterranean diet are widely chronicled, but new research shows extra-virgin olive oil, a key part of the diet, may protect against cognitive decline.

Specifically, researchers at Temple University in Philadelphia say extra-virgin olive oil protects memory and learning ability and reduces the formation of amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, classic markers of Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers say olive oil reduced inflammation and triggers a process called autophagy, which helps broken down cells to flush intracellular debris and toxins. This includes amyloid plaques and tau tangles, the latter of which is associated with memory loss in Alzheimer’s.

“Brain cells from mice fed diets enriched with extra-virgin olive oil had higher levels of autophagy and reduced levels of amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau,” said senior investigator Domenico Praticò.

For their study, the researchers looked at mice with three traits of Alzheimer’s: memory impairment, amyloid plaques, and neurofibrillary tangles. The mice were put into two groups. The first group got a diet enriched with extra-virgin olive oil, while the other group received a normal diet.

The olive oil was given to the mice when they were only six months old and before any symptoms of Alzheimer’s set in. While there was no difference in the appearance of the mice, at age 9 months and 12 months, the mice in the olive oil group performed significantly better on tests designed to evaluate working memory, spatial memory, and learning abilities.

An analysis of the brain tissue of the mice revealed more differences. Next, researchers plan to see what happens to mice who are given olive oil at 12 months, when they are already showing symptoms.

The study was published online June 21 in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.


Senate GOP health care plan
draws critics from all sides


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

After weeks of closed-door negotiations, Senate Republicans unveiled a draft bill to overhaul America's health care system and replace Obamacare, drawing criticism from Democrats and expressions of concern from some moderates as well as conservatives in their own party.

In what is seen as an attempt to make good on a longstanding Republican pledge to voters, the legislation would end the health care law's requirement that most Americans buy health insurance, phase out federal subsidies for purchasing a plan, and scale back funding for Medicaid, which covers health care costs for the poor and disabled.

The Republican plan provides tax incentives to help Americans pay for health care and repeals most Obamacare taxes on higher-income Americans. Democrats have blasted the bill as a tax cut for the rich masquerading as a health care plan.

“It cuts health care for those who need it most just to give a tax break to those who need it least,” said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat.

McConnell is pressing for a Senate vote on the bill next week, before Congress adjourns for the July 4 Independence Day holiday. Democrats objected to rushing a vote on a bill written in secret without a committee hearing on its merits.

Republicans countered that a more deliberative, bipartisan process would have been possible if Democrats had joined them in the push to end Obamacare.

Millions of Americans have gained health care coverage since Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law in 2010. And some of Obamacare's popular provisions, such as allowing young people to remain on their parents' health care policies until the age of 26, are retained in the Republican proposal.

But even Democrats acknowledge Obamacare's shortcomings, from spiraling costs of health care plans to a dwindling number of health care providers participating in exchanges across the nation.

While Democrats insist Obamacare can be fixed and improved while retaining its core structure, Republicans have insisted on repeal and replace as the only solution.

Now, Republican unity is being put to the test. Within hours of the proposal's unveiling, several Republicans signaled misgivings.

Nevada's Dean Heller, a moderate up for re-election next year, promised to read the proposed legislation, but, in a statement, said, “I have serious concerns about the bill's impact on the Nevadans who depend on Medicaid.”

At the same time, four conservatives said they are not ready to vote for the bill.

Republicans Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin issued a joint statement saying, “It does not appear this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise we made to Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care cost.”

With Republicans numbering 52 in the 100-member Senate, they can afford to have only two members not vote to pass the health care bill, given what is expected to be unified Democratic opposition.

If the Senate passes the Republican plan, focus would shift to the Republican-led House of Representatives, which last month passed its own health care bill that Trump is reported to have labeled mean.

If the House passes the Senate bill intact, it would go to the White House for Trump's signature. But ultra-conservative House members are already hinting at dissatisfaction with the Senate proposal.

Health care accounts for roughly one-sixth of the United States' economy.


President Trump says he has
no recordings of Comey


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday he did not record his conversations with former Federal Bureau of Investigation chief James Comey.

Comey has said the president urged him to curb the agency's investigation into Russia's meddling of the 2016 presidential election, which Trump denies.

Trump wrote on Twitter: "With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are 'tapes' or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings."

The tweet ended weeks of uncertainty about whether the president had installed a White House taping system and recorded two private conversations he had with Comey.

“I don’t know it was a game,” White House Deputy Chief Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said when asked why the president waited 41 days to clarify there were no tapes of his conversations with Comey.

“You guys asked for an answer, he gave you one,” added Ms. Sanders at an off-camera briefing shortly after the president tweeted on the topic.

When asked whether the president believes members of the intelligence community are colluding with Democrats, Ms. Sanders responded the president was referencing his belief they’re trying to delegitimize his win in the election process.

Some lawyers have raised the question about whether that tweet could expose the president to an obstruction of justice case as Trump’s words might be interpreted as pressure on Comey not to discuss their conversations.


Germany will clear
gay men’s convictions


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

German lawmakers on Thursday approved a plan to annul the convictions of thousands of gay men sentenced for homosexuality under a Nazi-era law that remained in force after World War II.

The parliament's lower house voted unanimously for the bill, which calls for canceling convictions under what's known as Paragraph 175.

The legislation criminalizing homosexuality was introduced in the 19th century, toughened under Nazi rule and retained in that form in both East and West Germany. In all, more than 68,000 people were convicted under various forms of Paragraph 175 in both German states before it was scrapped in 1994.

The vote Thursday also foresees compensation of $3,340 for each conviction, plus $1,670 for every year of jail time.

An estimated 5,000 of those found guilty under the statute are still alive.

In addition to individual compensation, the government plans to give an annual $557,500 in funding to a foundation that is documenting the stories of men convicted under Paragraph 175.

In October, the British government announced that thousands of men convicted under now-abolished laws outlawing homosexuality would receive posthumous pardons, while those still alive will be eligible to have their criminal records wiped clean.


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9189-9/2/17


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9220-8/15/17


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 toddscolorado@gmail.com. In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 506-7187-8577.
CODE: 9216-8/11/17


Puriscal home
GORGEOUS MOUNTAIN & OCEAN VIEW HOME
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
HEALTH CONDITIONS REQUIRES QUICK SALE
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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUEAmahIU9A
Community Web Site: http://www.altigua.com
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email gary_one@msn.com
9173-9/1/17

colinasdelsol
COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit trees.
* Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.
* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $40,000 USD
* Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
* 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches
* 10 minutes to Medical Facilities
* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
* 5 minutes to Vista Ridge Golf Club

Contact:
In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:  jsandimurray@colinasdelsolcr.com
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: jimday50@aol.com or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here: www.colinasdelsolcr.com
9056-2/28/17

Etlinger Farm
rollover
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 www.etlingerafarms.com and photo album can be found at www.ticorico.com
9196-4/25/17

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

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need. The price of our listing Rancho Ricco is $799,000. More information
go to www.ranchforsalecostarica.com  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:  darin_ricco@hotmail.com
9183-6/13/17

rollover
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  www.whynotcostarica.com. 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 tim@whynotcostarica.com 
9143-2/3/17

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: manager@crbusiness.biz.

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

CENTURY 21 JACÓ BEACH
Century 21

A Name You Trust,
Professionalism You Deserve

Tom Ghormley and the dream team!
Owner/Broker
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
Email: info@c21jaco.com
Web: www.c21jaco.com
9215-3/22/18


Remax
Tamarindo
www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com 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:  info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com  or click here www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com
9145-1/2918


ReMax
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
CONTACT US TODAY with NO OBLIGATION whatsoever.

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
Email: michael@costarica-realestate.com

9174-2/7/18

Real estate-related services (paid category)

A-1 graphic
A1 MASTER BUILDERS COSTA RICA
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
     Email: hotelescazu@aol.com
     For more info also see our sites:
    www.a1masterbuildercostarica.webs.com
    www.hotelsescazu.com
    www.hotel4salecostarica.com
    www.wind-solar.webs.com 
9142-7/27/17
Related

Costa Rica
Solar

COSTA RICA SOLAR
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!

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

OUR EMAIL:
andrefurlong@gmail.com
Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
VISIT OUR WEB:

9177-6/19/16

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 BuyaTimeshare.com help you find a buyer or renter.
9203-4/19/2018

Real estate services
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A.M.
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Published || Friday Edition, June 23, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 124
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News from the BBC up to the minute





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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

INA
new machinery lab
Casa Presidencial photo     
Some of the new hardware for practicing students in the lab.

New lab for industrial-minded students

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Students studying industrial electronic and mechatronics received a new computer manufacturing laboratory at the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje’s specialized electronics center in Heredia.

According to Casa Presidencial, the new lab has 10 workstations, each with a specialized function. There is a: base station, bearing insertion, shaft insertion, cover insertion, robotized assembly or disassembly, card dispenser, card machining, laser marking, quality control and automatic warehouse.

Once the students graduate, the students will have all the skills and abilities to grow in companies requiring strict quality standards, the government said. They will leave highly qualified to support in equipment maintenance, machinery and production as well as have the capacity to design and problem-solve in the industrial sector.

The equipment for this lab was donated from Germany at a cost of around $710,000. It is completely automated and has the same characteristics as those machines in transnational companies, Minor Rodríguez, the executive president of the institute, said.

The specialized electronics center has the capacity to train at least 350 technicians annually. The job represents a blending of mechanical, electronic and computer skills with a perfect labor insertion usually in multinational companies of the medical and makeup sectors, the institute said.


Health ministers meet discusses
low costs for drugs needed


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The health ministers from Central America and the Dominican Republic as well as representatives from international organizations met this week to discuss a model on drug financing.

The Consejo de Ministros de Salud has been conceptualized and developed as an initiative of the regional health sector to reduce costs of medicines for health institutions. According to the Ministerio de Salud, the commitment was reaffirmed Thursday.

María Esther Anchía, the Costa Rican health minister, said that: “Costa Rica will propose to the countries convened in this regional forum, to work on a joint strategy for the reduction of drug use with a public health approach, being a phenomenon that is hitting our countries with devastating consequences such as organized crime, violence, premature deaths that impact the health of our peoples.”

Ms. Anchía stressed that a joint strategy is necessary for the entire region. Also in attendance at this meeting were the deputy ministers of health for Honduras, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and the ministers for Belize and Panamá, Salud said.

The regional group is the governing body of the health sector at the regional level within the framework of the Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana.



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From page 7:

Health groups head to human resource fair

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Making new business partners is the goal in mind for participating Costa Rican health groups going to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2017 fair in New Orleans.

Hospital CIMA, Hospital UNIBE, Prisma Dental and PROMED will be participating this week, according to a statement from the Promotora del Comercio Exterior de Costa Rica. The institution’s export director, Álvaro Piedra, said that the fair is a platform for Costa Rican health centers to generate rapprochement with human resources representatives of large U.S. employers. In addition, it is an opportunity to continue showing the quality and talent of Costa Rica in areas like health services, he said.

Among the main services provided at the SHRM fair are: orthopedics for knee and hip surgeries, bariatric surgeries, spinal surgeries, alternative medicines, dental treatments and minimally invasive surgeries.

The idea among the Costa Rican employers is to encourage medical treatments in the country. The hospitals participating are private health institutions, while Prisma Dental is a private dental group. PROMED is the employer’s chamber of health services in Costa Rica.

Margarita Penón of Prisma Dental said that the goal for her company’s participation in the fair is to make connections with foreign companies that can send their collaborators to get dental treatment in Costa Rica and expand the market.

Costa Rica is considered among the top destinations for medical tourism.