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Published Monday, June 27, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 125
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Members of the U.S. Peace Corp march in Sunday’s sexual diversity parade.

Our story is HERE!

Peace Corps
U.S.Embassy photo

International organization keeps watch on Costa Rica
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

British citizens have voted to leave the European Union, but Costa Rica is working hard to affiliate the country with yet another international organization which seeks to change profoundly life here.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is not new to Costa Ricans. The unelected organization has been a strong promoter of the central government’s plans to raise taxes. In fact, the organization is on record suggesting that the country needs to raise much more taxes.

The Paris-based organization says it provides a setting where governments can compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practice and coordinate domestic and international policies. But it also keeps a scorecard for dozens of performance factors.

The United States, which has been a member for decades says that the organization is a unique forum where the governments of 34 democracies with market economies work with each other, as well as with more than 70 non-member economies to promote economic growth, prosperity, and sustainable development. The organization grew out of the Marshall Fund that helped rebuild war-torn Europe.

In order to enter the realm of most First World nations, Costa Rica has to make substantial changes. No topic is too small. In the next few months experts from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development will visit Costa Rica to fill out what amounts to a report card on the nation’s digital policy and consumers.

That was agreed upon Friday in Cancún, México, when the Costa Rican science and economics ministers discussed innovation and social prosperity regarding the Internet.

The gathering generated a 14-point declaration that promotes digital commerce, online privacy and social inclusion for those who might not be connected now to the Internet. In addition to Costa Rica, 41 countries were involved.

To some extent the organization is promoting a European-style society with a strong central government. Internet privacy and laws that allow individuals to delete unflattering online comments have raised major legal issues in Europe.

The organization’s goals for Costa Rica were laid out by its secretary general in February when he visited. He is economist Ángel Gurría of México.

He stressed the need for action on government finances and noted that the average governmental income for organization member countries was 34 percent of their gross domestic product. Even with tax proposals of the central government, the average for Costa Rica would only be just 20 percent, he said. He also noted that 83 percent of the government’s income already was allocated by law.

Gurría also said that in Costa Rica, the top 10 percent brings in 32 times the income of the 10 percent poorest. The average for organization member states is that the top 10 percent brings in just 10 times that of the 10 percent poorest, he added.

Solis and Guerria
Casa Presidencial archive photo  
President Luis Guillermo Solís and Ángel Gurría display a report on Costa Rica that was delivered in February.

He urged more investment in education, noting that only 40 percent of the work force has finished high school and that in an international math test, Costa Rica scored 56th of 64 countries.

He called for distributing resources more equitably to combat school dropouts. He also urged the inclusion of more women in the work force, noting that just half of the eligible women are working. So he urged more public child care and early child education.

Gurría noted that 40 percent of the country’s employees work off the books in the so-called informal sector. His solution was to make registering a company easier and reducing non-salary labor costs.

He also called for reducing obstacles to competition. He noted that Costa Rican companies show low productivity and that for a more solid and strong economy more competition is needed.

He also called for much more investment in infrastructure, noting the quality of ports, rail lines, highways and airports.

Th organization has called for in the past direct payments to reduce the income gap.

Some critics have called the organization unAmerica, in part because it seemed to support a global tax levied by the United Nations. Others support what is called tax competition in which countries offer lower taxes to attract companies and industries. The organization seeks to equalize tax and has promoted a black list of countries that are considered tax havens.

Some U.S. commentators also have objected to the $70 million a year their government donates to the organization. Finances is not a big issue for Costa Rica. Nine countries provide 66 percent of the organization’s budget of $365 million. Costa Rica might end up paying 1 percent or less a year.

For Costa Rica, the effort  to join the organization seems mainly motivated by the prestige of being a member among mostly First World nations.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, June 27, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 125
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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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U.S. Embassy photo
U.S. Ambassador S. Fitzgerald Haney, wearing an unusual shirt, poses with Gina Chávez, the Austin, Texas, singer.

U.S. well represented at diversity march

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The United States was represented Sunday when thousands marched in a sexual diversity parade in San José. Some estimates said as many as 27,000 persons participated.

The U.S. ambassador, S. Fitzgerald Haney, was marching along with embassy staffers and a contingent of U.S. Peace Corps volunteers. With him was Michael Gort, the Canadian ambassador, and Vice President Ana Helena Chacón.

The rainbow flag was much in evidence.

A special guest was Gina Chávez, a bilingual folk singer from Austin, Texas, who also has spent time working with youngsters in El Salvador.

U.S. Embassy staffers have made other displays for diversity. The rainbow flag has been hoisted above the embassy, and Tuesday the building in Pavas will be bathed in rainbow light, staffers said.

In an unrelated development, the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social said Friday that it will adjust its death payment rules to include the surviving member of a same-sex couple.

In New York City, wire service reports said that 32,000 persons marched and perhaps as many as a million persons watched in that city’s parade.  Many said they saw the event as a tribute to those killed two weeks ago in Orlando, Florida. There were many other parades elsewhere.

Argentina’s Messi misses and quits team

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Chile's Francisco Silva sent his penalty kick into the lower left corner of the net as Argentina keeper Sergio Romero dove the opposite way, giving Chile its second straight Copa America football tournament championship.

The two teams had played to a 0-0 draw Sunday in front of more than 82,000 soccer fans in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  This year's tournament was a special edition honoring the one hundredth year of Copa America and featured an expanded field of 16 teams from North and South America.

Sunday's game was a rematch of last year's Copa America final, which also went to penalty kicks after a scoreless regulation and extra time.

Argentina sent reigning world player of the year Lionel Messi to take its first penalty kick, but after sailing his shot over the crossbar he could only tug at his jersey in disbelief.  The next two Argentina players made theirs, but that was not enough to overcome Chile, which put four penalty kicks in the net to win.

Messi announced not long after the loss he was quitting the national team. He told the Argentine network TyC Sports "the national team is over for me. It's been four finals, it's not meant for me. I tried. It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn't get it, so I think it's over.''

The 29-year-old Messi has led Barcelona to four Champions League titles.

French national robbed and stabbed by crooks

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man identified as a French national suffered a stab wound to the stomach when he was confronted by robbers in San Pedro Sunday morning, said the Judicial Investigating Organization. They identified the man by the last name of Well. The robbery took place near the Colegio Monterrey in San Pedro de Montes de Oca, they said.

The man lost his wallet, a cell telephone, apartment keys and other items, said agents. He was taken to Hospital Calderón Guardia.

Gasoline prices are headed up again

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The  price regulating agency blames the summer driving season in the north for increases in the world price of petroleum which will be reflected here in higher motor fuel prices.

The agency, the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públilcos said Friday that super gasoline was going up 84 colons to 602 colons a liter. Plus gasoline will go up 77 colons to 575 colons a liter. Diesel will increase 712 colons to 451 colons a liter.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, June 27, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 125
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U.S. health experts raise questions about zika-microcephaly link
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

If zika causes brain deformations, microcephaly, how come this epidemic is restricted to Brazil, asks a New England medical think tank.

There are 1,500 confirmed cases of  microcephaly in Brazil, but in Colombia, a study of nearly 12,000 pregnant women infected with zika found zero microcephaly cases, said the New England Complex Systems Institute.

The institute describes itself as an independent academic research and educational institution with students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty with additional faculty, students and affiliates from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Brandeis and other universities nationally and internationally.

Although there are at least five cases of pregnant women with zika in Costa Rica, there are no diagnosis of microcephaly, according to the Ministerio de Salud.

Microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome have been attributed

to zika infection. However, the New England Institute study said that the zika-microcephaly link should be reconsidered.

“One possibility that has been raised is the pesticide pyriproxyfen, which is applied to drinking water in some parts of Brazil to kill the larvae of the mosquitos that transmit zika,” the institute said in its report.

In April the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies said that the medical consensus was that zika caused microcephaly. Pregnant women were advised not to visit areas where zika is prevalent and urged to exercise birth control if they are not pregnant and visiting. The presence of slightly more than 100 cases in Costa Rica is expected to have an impact on tourism.

The New England institute based its study on one published in the New England Journal of Medicine that said there were no cases of  microcephaly among 12,000 pregnant women in Colombia as of May 2. At the same time four cases of  microcephaly were reported there of  women who were not infected.

New construction of tall buildings at la Sabana worries aviation agency
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country’s aviation agency says it will conduct studies east of Parque la Sabana as the first step in giving aircraft security in landing at Tobías Bolaños airport.

The agency, the Dirección General de Aviación Civil said it was concerned because of the high-rise construction in the area of

Parque la Sabana. The headquarters of the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad has been there for years, but the south side of la Sabana has seen a string of new condos go up as has the west side of the park.

The aviation agency said that it would use established international standards in making the study. The airport is west of the park in Pavas.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, June 27, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 125
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Panama officially begins operations of  its wider third canal lane
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Panama officially opened an addition to its canal Sunday for a new generation of super cargo ships, capping a nine-year, $5.4 billion expansion project that will double shipping capacity and impact global trade routes.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela unveiled the refurbished canal as the giant container ship Cosco Shipping Panama made its way through a string of locks on the 77-kilometer Isthmus of Panama. "This the route that unites the world," Varela told a crowd of about 30,000 people who gathered to witness the inaugural trip through the vital waterway.

Various foreign dignitaries, including the presidents of Taiwan, Chile and several Central American nations attended.

"There is evidence that the Panama Canal, with this expansion, is an important player not only for maritime commerce but worldwide," said Panama Canal Authority Executive Vice President Oscar Bazan.  He said that clients will benefit from not only saving time but also money because the canal is a route that shortens distance.

The latest generation of gigantic carriers, more than 46 meters wide and 275 meters long, could not fit through the 102-year-old canal. Unable to reach the U.S. East Coast by sea, many of the mega-carriers from Asia unloaded their goods in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for shipment by rail to the rest of the country and beyond.

Many of the so-called Neo-Panamax ships able to navigate the canal will be stacked with containers nearly 15 stories high. Others will carry cargoes of grain, natural gas and other goods nearly three times larger than before.

Analysts say the canal's annual cargo volume should double over the next decade, stoking hopes among Panamanian officials the tiny Central American country could triple the $1 billion in annual shipping fees it currently collects.

The revitalized canal has also spurred vast construction projects at ports on the U.S. East Coast and Gulf of

Panama boat
Panama Canal Authority photo
The transit of the new lane of the Panama canal Sunday was the official one, but workers have been running tests for several weeks. Here the U.S.-built crane ship Oceanus, is maneuvered through the Pacific-facing Cocoli Locks.

Mexico.The ports of Miami, New York and Houston have
deepened their harbors, expanded rail access and installed gigantic cranes to service the massive ships.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will spend more than $1 billion to raise the height of the roadway on the bridge connecting Staten Island to Bayonne, New Jersey to accommodate the huge carriers. Leaving the clearance of the 85-year-old bridge at 46 meters would, according to economists, risk the eventual obsolescence of the Port of New York, North America's largest seaport.

France began work on the original canal in 1881 before engineering problems and an increasing number of worker deaths from accidents and disease brought construction to a standstill. The United States took over the project in 1904, completing one of the most difficult engineering feats ever undertaken 10 years later.

The shortcut vastly reduced times and costs for sea travel between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, with ships no longer required to round the southern-most tip of South America, the Strait of Magellan to accomplish that goal.

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.

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Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


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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, Monday, June 27, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 125
Real Estate
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Politicians scurry to find
common ground on Brexit

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Aftershocks from Britain’s stunning decision to leave the European Union continued Sunday, as the country’s politics and its relations with the world plunged into deeper uncertainty. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, already in Europe, added previously unannounced stops in London and Brussels to his trip at the last minute.

Kerry plans to meet with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and other officials as part of a process of maintaining ties with Washington's top ally in a new era when Britain is less engaged with Europe.

U.S. President Barack Obama had urged Britain not to quit Europe. The two countries’ special relationship, a phrase first used by the late prime minister Winston Churchill,  had enabled the United States to have a greater voice in the European Union through Britain.

The Obama administration has reacted with concern to the Brexit referendum and what it will mean for relations with London and with the EU.

“The United Kingdom and the European Union will remain indispensable partners of the United States even as they begin negotiating their ongoing relationship,” President Obama said in a statement Friday.

In London, Kerry will find a political situation in flux. Having lost his mandate in the referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation Friday and has clearly indicated he will not be the one to negotiate the formalities of Britain’s separation from the EU.

Cameron is to name a negotiating team to begin the process, but the formal notification that would start the disengagement may not come until after October when a new prime minister, of Cameron’s Conservative party, is expected to take over.

Brexit has also sent Britain’s Labour party into turmoil, with calls growing for party leader Jeremy Corbyn to resign. Party members accuse him of having failed to galvanize support within Labour to defeat Brexit.

Meanwhile, founding member states of the European Union are pressing for Britain to leave quickly.

This week will see much shuttle diplomacy as officials work to contain Brexit fallout.

Before London, Kerry will meet with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini Monday at EU headquarters in Brussels. The top U.S. diplomat was in Rome Sunday to discuss the stalled Middle East peace process.

In London, Kerry will begin a process of shoring up a relationship in a drastically new landscape, and with a group that was deeply offended by what it viewed as President Obama’s meddling in Britain’s internal affairs.

Some British voters who cited sovereignty as their main reason for voting to leave the EU said Obama helped them make the decision when he visited Britain in April and warned them against voting for a Brexit, telling them Britain would go to the back of the queue on trade deals if they voted out.

“We wanted our democracy back. We wanted to take control of our country,” said London voter Trevor Bayley. “I think your president unwittingly had a part to play in that. He tried to shore up the establishment vote, and people didn’t like to be told what to do.”

Tuesday Cameron travels to Brussels where the EU’s other 27 member states will for the first time meet without Britain.

British vote is resonating
in U.S. election campaign

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence Trump is unfit to be president.

Brexit’s surprise victory left the Obama administration scrambling to put the best face on an outcome it didn’t want.

“One country has made a decision,” said Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday in Rome.  “Obviously, it was a decision the United States had hoped would go the other way.  But it didn’t.  And so we begin with a fundamental respect for voters."

But Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appeared to welcome the outcome, speaking in Scotland one day after the Brexit referendum.

“People want to take their country back,” Trump said Friday at a golf resort bearing his name.  “They want to have independence, in a sense. . . . I really do see a parallel between what’s happening in the United States and what’s happening here.  People want to see borders.”

Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign pounced on Trump’s assertion that British monetary turmoil might benefit his Scottish business venture.

“Every president is tested by world events.  But Donald Trump thinks about how his golf resort can profit from them,” intoned a new Clinton campaign advertisement.  “In a volatile world, the last thing we need is a volatile president.”

But if the Brexit vote illuminated public discontent on one side of the Atlantic, Republicans said similar sentiments exist on the other side, as well.

“What you saw in England, at least from what I read, is that people got tired of being dictated to by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, on ABC’s “This Week” program.  “And of course we have a lot of that here in this country.  A lot of the president’s bureaucrats expanding regulations in a way that slows our economy and makes it difficult to have growth.”

A new poll shows Clinton leading Trump by 12 points, but most voters want a new direction for America.  Democrats insisted the electorate is not blinded by unease and discontent.

“The differences between Secretary Clinton and Donald Trump in terms of temperament, in terms of judgment, in terms of values couldn’t be more stark.  And they are on display once again over the last two weeks,” said Labor Secretary and Clinton ally Tom Perez, also speaking on “This Week.”

A trans-Atlantic shockwave rattling a lackluster U.S. economic recovery could be a wild card in the election.  The Obama administration is stressing the need to minimize disruptions stemming from Brexit

Thai tiger farm disclosure
highlights wildlife trade

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Tougher law enforcement and regional cooperation to combat wildlife and timber trafficking is needed in South East Asia, says the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime.

The call comes as Thailand steps up investigations on tiger farms, after a high profile raid uncovered tiger parts and trophies at a Buddhist temple in western Thailand.

Thailand has long grappled with a reputation as a key transit and destination point for trafficked wildlife from as far away as Africa to the poaching of its own Indochinese tigers.

In 2007 Thailand adopted the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species on Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, resolution calling for an end to the intense breeding of tigers for commercial use.

But Edwin Wiek, founder of Wildlife Friends Foundation, says the tiger populations in farms and zoos have sharply increased from just 660 in 2007 to almost 1,500 tigers in 2016 in some 30 farms around Thailand.

“Thailand, just like Laos and Vietnam and China have basically not kept their promise” under the CITES agreement, says Wiek.

Tiger bones and penises are in high demand in markets in Southern China and Vietnam to be used in traditional medicine. Bones are also made into pills and sold for up to $300 in the United States.

Renewed attention on the tiger farms and their potential dark side of trafficking to lucrative markets in China and Vietnam, followed raids on a famed tiger Buddhist temple or Wat Pa Luang Maha Bua, in western Kanchanaburi province in late May.

More than 140 tigers had been held at the temple grounds and zoo, of which 15 tigers and cubs were daily brought before tourists for contact and photo opportunities and interaction with visitors.

The scandal surrounding the temple erupted as department of national parks officials were removing the tigers to new temporary holding centers, uncovered 60 frozen and bottled cub carcasses and pelts, a cache of other endangered species parts, together with tiger skins in the abbot’s private residence.

“The first images coming out of those dead cubs and the amount of them was absolutely shocking. Over 60 in total is a shocking amount,” Wiek said.

“But when you are inbreeding tigers, just breeding without responsibility, you are inbreeding generation after generation, you create an extremely weak specimen and a lot of those animals will not make it,” he said.

Other live tigers were found at a house 50 kilometers away in a fenced compound police alleged was used to hold the tigers before slaughtering them for their skins, meat and bones.

“It is very clear that there has been at least a small group of people involved in illegal wildlife trafficking from the temple. That is pretty clear, but it is not as bad as some people have said, where it’s like a whole syndicate or something. I don’t believe that,” Wiek said.

Also found were hundreds of talisman’s made from tiger parts, hornbills, tiger cub carcasses, skeletons, and stuffed bears.

Tanya Erzinlioglu, a volunteer and worker of six years at the tiger temple, said while she may have held suspicions, her main priority had been the welfare of the tigers under her care. But Ms. Erzinlioglu's said her fears were realized when three tigers disappeared in December 2014.

“Until the three tigers I never really saw anything untoward. Obviously once the three tigers suddenly disappeared then that suddenly changed everything because then there was concrete proof in what might have been going on, but I had not seen it,” she said.

The temple was a high profile tourist attraction with estimated annual revenues of more than $3 million a year.

Investigations are underway into the other zoos and tiger holding centers in Thailand. Wildlife protection groups say Thailand’s policy of licensing zoos, clearing them to breed tigers has helped to stimulate trafficking instead of curbing it.

Jeremy Douglas, Asia representative for the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said to curb wildlife trafficking will require strong law enforcement. Analysts have often blamed lax law enforcement or corruption for the trafficking to thrive.

“The concern we’re most concentrated on is the disruption of the supply chain towards the markets,” Douglas told a reporter.

“That’s really important that there’s a strong law enforcement and criminal justice response in place to identify this as a crime, investigate this as a crime, investigate the networks involved through the supply chain and ultimately disrupt supply that goes into markets,” he said.

Animal welfare groups have welcomed Thai government moves to strengthen legal protection for all wildlife, including tougher penalties including a minimum jail term of four years for trafficking with greater direct involvement by non-government groups to assist in the care of confiscated wildlife.

Immune procedure for MS
brings astonishing results

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Canadian researchers have succeeded in getting patients with an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis out of wheelchairs and moving again. The protocol is risky, even potentially deadly, but the outcomes have been astonishing and are being closely watched by other neurologists.

Multiple sclerosis is the leading crippler of young adults with an estimated 2.3 million people around the world affected by the neurological disease. In those with MS, the immune system mistakenly attacks the fatty outer layer of brain neurons, called myelin, a situation that over time that can lead to paralysis. 

But what if the faulty immune system could be replaced with a new one? Would it still attack the brain's myelin sheath?

That’s in essence what researchers at the University of Ottawa asked, and answered.

Neurologist Mark Freedman, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital and professor at the university, said investigators identified two dozen patients with an extremely aggressive early form of MS, for whom all disease-modifying drugs had failed.

“Three, four years into your disease, if you saw the wheelchair imminent into your future and someone offered you an alternative, you might consider it," Freedman said. "That’s the kind of population we went after." Critics, he said, argued that the chance of success was poor because such patients are very resistant to treatment.

Researchers, describing their work in the journal The Lancet, used strong chemotherapy drugs to destroy the patients’ immune systems. At the same time, investigators collected stem cells from each patient’s bone marrow, purified them, and eventually transplanted the cells back into the participants to repopulate their immune systems.

“Theoretically," Freedman explained, "the brand-new immune system no longer carries that memory" of attacking the brain's myelin sheath. Whatever caused the attacks in the first place still isn't known, but the new immune system " won’t have that same problem again.”

The results were as breathtaking as they were unexpected.

“Two and three years after the transplant, many of the patients who had significant disability started to recover, recover quite a bit," Freedman said. "So we had patients who were already walking with a cane go back to a life where they were working, they were skating, they were skiing, they’re running, they’re doing everything.”

But the procedure is not without significant risk. One of the 24 patients died from complications.

Paul Wright, chief of neurology at North Shore University Hospital in Long Island, New York, found the results very encouraging but agreed that doctors should move cautiously and take the findings with a grain of salt.

“A lot of the patients had febrile illnesses, where they developed fevers from infections," Wright said. "One patient died. So it’s not without risk and not without extreme concern, even though it still is promising.”

In Wright’s opinion, more studies need to be done. But in Canada, Freedman’s group has now treated an additional 20 patients with aggressive MS and plans to continue.

HIV antibodies suggest ways
to neutralize the disease

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scientists have isolated potent HIV antibodies, immune system fighter proteins targeted specifically against the virus, that have implications for the prevention and even destruction of the virus that causes AIDS.

The powerful, broadly neutralizing antibodies are produced by an extremely small group of HIV-positive individuals. The antibodies have kept them alive and in some cases thriving for many years without the use of antiretroviral drugs.

Scientists have harnessed these super antibodies, which recognize and disarm many different strains of HIV, and have mass-produced them with the aim of giving them to normal HIV patients. 

Using the latest technology to cull and replicate the most potent antibodies, researchers tested the neutralizing proteins in a group of 13 individuals. All of the participants had been on antiretroviral drugs for a long time.

Antiretrovirals suppress HIV, but don't kill certain cells that act as reservoirs and harbor the virus. That means the virus can roar back to life when the drugs are stopped, in a process called viral rebound.

Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers said that among people who did not receive the new antibody, called 3BNC117, viral rebound occurred in about two and a half weeks. Those who did receive it were able to delay rebound by as long as almost 10 weeks in some cases. 

Michel Nussenzweig of Rockefeller University in New York, a corresponding author of the study, said 3BNC117 might one day be able to destroy the virus that causes AIDS.

“People have thought for a long time that one way to think about a cure strategy would be to do something called kick and kill — that is, to activate the viruses that are in the latent reservoir and then use an agent like an antibody, for example, that would be able to see the activated cells that are starting to produce the virus and kill them,” Nussenzweig said.

Nussenzweig and colleagues are planning experiments using a cancer drug that unmasks the virus hidden in reservoir cells, and then killing them with 3BNC117.

One of the benefits of the antibody is that it doesn’t seem to have any side effects, according to Nussenzweig. 

“They were made originally by human beings and we have not modified them at all," he said. "So they are completely natural products and should not have major side effects. In fact, the people who received them so far, and it’s a small number, have not reported any significant problems.”

Nussenzweig said a large clinical trial in Africa, using a similar neutralizing antibody developed by the vaccine center at the National Institutes of Health, is underway to see whether injections of the protein can protect women at risk of infection.

Texas woman talks British
after routine jaw surgery

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A woman in Texas woke up after jaw surgery with a British accent.

The woman, Lisa Alamia, 33, was only scheduled to have corrective surgery to fix an overbite at Houston’s Methodist Sugar Land Hospital last December, but when the surgery was over, she woke up with the very rare foreign accent syndrome.

"I was very shocked," she told ABC News. "I didn't know how to take it. I was very confused. I said 'Ya'll' all the time before the accent. Once I got the accent, I started noticing I'd say, 'You all.'"

Her kids thought she was joking.

“My daughter laughs at the way I say tamales. I used to be able to say it like a real Hispanic girl,” Alamia told KHOU. “Now, I cannot.”

Globally, foreign accent syndrome has only been documented 100 times in the past 100 years and is usually the result of a brain injury. In Ms. Alamia’s case, however, neurological tests were all normal.

“This is a fascinating and very rare case,” said neurologist Toby Yaltho at the Houston Methodist Sugar Land Neurology Associates, in a release. “Most neurologists work their entire careers and never come across FAS.”

There is no cure, but the accent has been known to diminish over time.

Rio’s drug testing lab shut
an Olympic Games approach

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Rio de Janeiro has hit another bump in the road as it struggles to get ready to host the Summer Olympics in just six weeks.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has suspended the city's official drug-testing laboratory, barring it from performing any tests for six months.

The anti-doping agency said Friday that the lab has committed procedural errors and is in nonconformity with the International Standards for Laboratories.

No further details were released. The lab has 21 days to appeal the decision.

Rio Games spokesman Mario Andrada said this is not a big deal because test samples can be flown daily to labs in the United States and Europe.

Andrada said organizers are 100 percent committed to clean games, meaning a zero tolerance for athletes who use drugs to enhance their performances.

The drug-lab suspension adds to the problems Brazil is facing as the Aug. 5 opening of the Summer Olympics draws closer: the president's impeachment, the zika virus outbreak spread by mosquitoes, an economy in shambles, and widespread pollution in the waters around Rio, including some Olympic venues.

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
for sale: $23,000

And a 40-ft HQ Reefer basic home model: $12,000.
Both with kitchen, bathroom, fully finished electricity. Turnkey.
Our Web site is
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. Buy, sell or rent a timeshare at 

Solr array
SOON with the coming of new power company regulations, we'll be installing PV (photo voltaic) for solar electricity. Yes, at last!
* PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!
Solar device
NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
Solar collector
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.
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Office phone: 506-2446-0543
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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
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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!
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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!


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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Business for sale or lease (paid category)

Great opportunity for investor
Amount  $250,000, 100% ROI. Trucking company parts manufacturing and sales in Florida, proof of funds required. Call Jack Budd at La Habra, Calif., U.S.A. Phones 714-871-5821, 714-930-5265. Email:

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:

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, June 27, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 125
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Millions of tiny footsteps after yummies

I love things that leaf cutter ants don’t like (yes, leaf cutters again). The

Victoria Torley
problem is, I also like things they do like, such as ylang ylang and angel  trumpet. What prompted this complaint? They were marching down my ylang and across the yard.
It never ceases to amaze that six tiny little feet (multiplied by, of,  300,000 bodies) can cut a four-inch swath across the yard, but they do.
It must be that those 300,000 little bodies are making five trips per day – each. That’s . . . . Wait, let me call Metric Man to do the math.

He says, it’s 300,000 times 5, but I forgot that they have to make a trip out from the nest and a trip back to the nest. So that’s 300,000 x 5 x2 for a total of 3,000,000.

THREE MILLION??  Three million trips across the same trail. Then he laughed. Laughed! What was funny? He says, “Make it times 6 little feet and gives you 18 million tiny little footprints.” I really, really hate math.

What I do like is things that leaf cutters don’t like. Take the Sanchezia, for example. The ants don’t like it, and the cows that wander our road from time to time don’t like it either. Why do I mention cows? Cows love hibiscus and the last owner planted hibiscus all over our property. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we have cows. (A word in their favor – they are easier to chase than ants.)

Back to Sanchezia, a nice big shrub, long green and yellow foliage and red-yellow flowers for humming birds. And the ants won’t eat it.

So, what else do ants leave alone so far? Lantana is one. You find it growing wild, but it comes in a nice variety of colors and has an herbal fragrance. Look for different colors at local viveros.

Ants don’t seem to like lemon grass or vetiver, although I haven’t had much luck with lemon grass as a repellant. Leaf cutters seem to avoid bromeliads although other ants live in them and they bite, so be careful. Shrimp plants seem to be ant-free, and I very seldom see ants on butterfly white ginger, lilies, and never on zinnias.

Plants with fuzzy leaves, like lamb’s ear and dusty miller appear to be safe. Also angel’s hair artemisias, sage, mulleins, and licorice plant have been safe thus far. The lovely daisy bush has not been munched on by ants, and so far my porter weed is safe. If you need something for shade, most of the lacier ferns, begonias, the Costus pictus and its relatives and orchids.

So, if you are looking for plants that ants aren’t fond of, I hope that helps. Of course, I make no guarantees about cows.

A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley

Plant for the Week

The genus Crinum includes 180 varieties of lilies that aren’t really lilies. Crinum are members of the family Amaryllidaceae or amaryllis (yes, that is very technical, and we will probably still call them lilies) and they are quite striking. The genus loves moisture and full sun so plant for both. Crinum are self-propagating from bulbs which are easily split and moved. Most Crinum are fragrant and some have purple leaves. This plant, given to me by a friend, weighed about 50 pounds (23 kilos) and was well over 5 feet (1.3 meters) from top to bottom. Not all Crinum grow that large, but do plant where your bulb has some space to grow.

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From Page 7:

Puerto Rico suspends bond interest payments

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The governor of Puerto Rico has expanded an emergency debt moratorium on some notes issued by the U.S. territory’s infrastructure financing authority.

Alejandro Garcia Padilla made the decision late Friday, saying it was necessary to protect the government’s ability to provide essential services at a time when the economic outlook is worsening. The move was needed, he said, to ensure the public health, safety, education and well-being of Puerto Rico's residents.

Padilla enacted a moratorium on other financing authority debt in April and has declared fiscal emergencies at the Government Development Bank and Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority.

Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation creating a board to oversee a restructuring of the island's debt, giving way to suspension of any past or future lawsuits related to the nonpayment of some of Puerto Rico’s debts.

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the measure before Puerto Rico is scheduled to make July 1 debt payments of nearly $2 billion. President Barack Obama’s administration has backed the measure as a compromise.

During a forum in Washington earlier in the week, Padilla repeated that Puerto Rico does not have the money to cover the bond payments that come due on July 1 and would have to default.

Puerto Rico, with 3.5 million U.S. citizens and a 45 percent poverty rate, has $70 billion worth of debt that it says it cannot repay in full.

Padilla urged the Senate Friday to approve the pending legislation related to the restructuring of Puerto Rico's debt.