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Published Tuesday Edition
June 27, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 126
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Leaky landfill represents last straw for residents
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A landslide at the main landfill of San José has ignited the anger of about 100 neighbors from Heredia who are sick and tired of the mismanagement of the place.

The incident took place last Friday around 5 p.m when one of the sides of the landfill collapsed, sending several tons of dirt and trash into the Río Virilla, according to Melissa Flores, president of the Asociación de Vecinos de Cariari.

That caused a mayor river pollution and sparked unbearable odors all across  Altos de Cariari, Los Arcos, and Bosques de Doña Rosa neighborhoods, according to Ms. Flores.

“We can't take this anymore,” said Ms. Flores. “We've been bearing this situation for almost ten years and the Friday's incident hurt us all, since we couldn't breath and our eyes itched from the strong putrid smells caused by the incident.”

The situation prompted a field inspection carried out Sunday by the head of the Ministerio de Salud, María Anchía. She was also joined by a vice minister with the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, Fernando Mora, and two legislators William Alvarado and Javier Cambronero.

“We have ordered a joint technical investigation from Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental, Ministerio de Salud, Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo and the Dirección de Aguas,” Mora said to A.M. Costa Rica. “And that's as much as we will say for now.”

Mora also confirmed he had a meeting with several people from the communities.

According to legislator Cambronero, he was surprised to see the garbage reaching the margins of the Pirro river and the mountains of garbage show clearly the place has exceeded its capacity.

According to Ms. Flores, they tried to keep this issue on a low profile because some people were worried the properties would lose value.

“The truth is they already did. Anyone who walks around knows it smells like a rotten village,” said Ms. Flores.

A.M. Costa Rica reader photo/J. Britt Henry
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“In fact we are demanding the closure of this landfill because it already reached its full capacity 10 years ago and it keeps working on permits that include no technical studies, all of them granted by Ministerio de Salud,” she added.

Ms. Flores also said their association has filed several complaints before the environmental authorities in 2007, 2010 and 2014, all of which have received no answer. She also claimed to have filed a constitutional appeal this year before the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court to demand the right to a healthy environment.

“I don't know where people came up with that idea,” said Nelson Sequeira, a spokesperson for Berthier EBI de Costa Rica, the company that operates the landfill on a state concession since 2007.

 “The landfill still has enough space for at least the next four years and the recent incident does not imply absolutely any damage to the environment.”

Sequeira explained that after many years, the soil has become more and more compacted due to the weight of the trash, something that has provided more capacity than expected at the beginning of operations of the landfill.

He admitted the smell is bad right now because of the incident that exposed much of the waste but denied that it is unbearable. “Most of the time the smell is controlled and it may reach the neighbors due to sudden gust of wind,” he added.

Asobúfalo Facebook photo
Now the Costa Rican buffalo are asking: "where's the beef?"
Costa Rican scientists say: "Choose buffalo"
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Buffalo rather than beef. A clear and concise conclusion drawn from a study carried out by the Universidad de Costa Rica after studying the meat of 36 buffalo with a team of 18 scientists.

The researchers found out many advantages of eating buffalo: it is more nutritious and iron enriched than that of cows, it has a lower percentage of fats and calories and it is as soft as beef.

Scientists also valued both the growth and development of water buffaloes in a corral environment, as well as their meat production rates, the characteristics of its flavor, softness and juiciness. The panel found no significant flavor differences, however, they did confirm greater softness and juiciness in the buffalo meat case.

"This goes against that popular belief that buffalo meat is a little tougher," said Juan Herrera, scientist from the School of Animal Sciences from Universidad de Costa Rica.
"The age of the animal is an important factor in the softness and when the buffalo began its production here in the country, they were priorly used to produce milk and killed once they were old.”
Although buffalo produces a little less meat than the beef, it does have advantages for the producer, because the bred animal can be sold with less than 500 kilos which reduces the time for the return of investment, the study says.

Other benefits for the producers are that buffalo sustain adverse weather conditions better since they are adapted for high humidity and flooded areas.

Buffalo also show greater resistance to parasites. In addition, female fertility is longer, up to 25 years and 92 percent efficiency.

According to the study, in the country there are more than 50 producers of buffalo meat.

They have even created their own association called Asobúfalo.

“Since the buffalo is an excellent substitute for cattle, we considered important to carry out the research comparing the two option,” the university said in a statement.

The Animal Reproduction Unit and the National Center for Science and Food Technology, both from the Universidad, were also involved in the research.

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The report's findings had good things to say about the country.

Costa Rica ranked internet access head

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica reached a leadership position in regards to internet access in Latin America, according to recent data released by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in its Broadband State in Latin America and the Caribbean 2016 report.

The figures show an increase from 24 percent in 2010 to 60 percent in 2015 in the amount of households with internet access. It also states the country has a 95 percent penetration rate in mobile broadband.

Because of that growth, the country went from the fifth place in Latin America to lead the area, followed by Uruguay and Chile with a 59 percent internet household coverage. 

Geographically, in the five year timeframe, urban areas increased their connections from 300,000 homes to about 700,000. In the case of rural areas, their households increased their connections from 50,000 to 200,000.

The report also shows that Costa Rica is one of the countries with the lowest connection gap between urban and rural areas in Latin America. 66 percent of households in the city have Internet access, while in the countryside that figure accounts for 46 percent.

In the region, only Uruguay shows a better ranking.

As for the pace of Internet access, measured by the number of subscribers, Costa Rica grew by 440 percent in the first half of the decade. The most used connection mode was mobile, which registered a 688 percent increase in that period, while fixed broadband grew 46 percent.

The report notes the country also has acceptable indicators of eligibility, which means a low monthly cost of the service in prepaid mode and low cost smart phone prices. However, speed is the main challenge for all operators. The measures ranked the country in the 10 position in Latin America. 

Night work planned today for Ruta 21

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Night work begins this evening for Ruta 21 between Liberia and Guardia, according to an announcement by the public works ministry.

Officials from the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad said that thermoplastic paint marking will be done on the road continuously for about a month. As long as weather conditions permit, the road will have regulated passage from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The regulated part of the road will be the section between Liberia and the entrance to the La Amistad bridge over the Río Tempisque. The section of the road was previously worked on months ago with a repaving of the asphalt and the stabilization of the cement base. The total investment in the work is around 135 million colones, according to data from the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes.

Heading to
the beach
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo        
The police are heading to the beach or somewhere for vacation.

Police officers going on more vacations

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As of Saturday, all police officers across the country will start enjoying eight more days of vacations per year, as a way to ensure their physical and mental fitness for the job, according to Gustavo Mata, the head of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

The change was approved last May 30 and it began as an initiative of the Sindicato de Trabajadores Estatales, one of the many public officers unions that exist in the country.

Police officers will have their vacations scheduled automatically by their bosses and they may enjoy four days in each semester, in addition to their regular ones.

The Costa Rican law establishes a minimum of 12 days  paid vacations per year for all salaried workers. Additional vacations may be agreed with employers.

“The police officer work is physically and mentally challenging, since it puts his or her life in danger everyday,” said Juan José Andrade, director of the Fuerza Pública. “They are in charge of planning and executing police operations, so we try to encourage better working conditions.”

Shark patrol boat design
Metal Shark design graphic       
Vessels are based on Damen Shipyards’ Stan Patrol 2606 design

U.S. company contracted
for Central American patrol boats

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Louisiana-based shipbuilder Metal Shark was recently selected by the United Staes Navy to build some patrol vessels for some Central American nations including Costa Rica.

A.M. Costa Rica confirmed with records provided by the U.S. Dept. of Defense, the contractor is being awarded around $16.2 million for the construction of up to 13 near coastal patrol vessels. Cumulatively, if the added options are installed with these vessels, then the total price for this contract would be close to $54.5 million, the Defense Dept. said in the contract announcement.

This is supposed to be in support of the U.S. Southern Command’s partner nations and conducted through the Foreign Military Sales program. The contract’s results will be going to the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Honduras. Metal Shark released its own statement that included Costa Rica also as one of the beneficiaries for these vessels.

A near coastal patrol vessel is military jargon for a small naval vessel designed for coastal defense. In other words, it is your basic patrol boat. Construction will be done at Metal Shark’s waterfront shipyard in Franklin, Louisiana, the company said.

The company announced in its own statement that it would be putting on the additional features that include: electro-optical infrared sensors, diagnostic equipment, crew familiarization and test support to its operators.

The new vessels are based on Damen Shipyards’ Stan Patrol 2606 design, the company said. The vessels are to be applicable in counter-narcotics operations, policing, border patrol and search and rescue missions.

Six offers were received to complete this with officials specifically gearing it to a small business. The work is expected to be complete by June 2019, Defense said.

Metal Shark is the government and commercial boat entity of Gravois Aluminum Boats LLC. “Key customers include the United States Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, Army, foreign militaries, law enforcement agencies, passenger vessel operators, pilot associations, fire departments, and other operators worldwide,” the company notes on its website.

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Published || Tuesday Edition, June 27, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 126
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Live jazz tribute concert on the agenda at Teatro Espressivo
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There will be a night of live jazz music happening at the Teatro Espressivo with a special dedicated to renowned saxophonist John Coltrane.

On Thursday July 6, the Max Esquivel Quartet will hit the theater stage to perform an all-Coltrane repertoire  of jazz. Tickets will cost 8,000 to 10,000 colones and can be purchased by calling the theater or by going to its website, organizers said.

This concert is part of the theater’s ongoing series of Música en Tiempo Espressivo that aims to bring audiences varying music groups from all across the country, according to a statement released by the theater.

The Max Esquivel Quartet consists of Esquivel himself on bass, Ian Henderson as the sax tenor, Orlando Ramírez on the drums and Diego Villalobos on vibraphone, which is similar to a xylophone and marimba.

“John Coltrane set a very important standard in the world of jazz, so much so that he has influenced generations of musicians and, although he died in 1967, his presence does not fade,” Esquivel said.

“I do not know any other artist with the depth, authority, and sincerity with which Coltrane gave himself to his music."

"It was total abandonment to what he wanted to communicate. I think it is important to dedicate a concert because personally it is a great inspiration for me, he never stopped fighting for what he wanted to communicate and express," he added.

Esquivel started playing the electric bass around 13, according to the Teatro Espressivo.

He studied jazz at the Los Angeles Music Academy, Florida International University, and graduated in jazz performance from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York.

Max Esquivel
Teatro Espressivo photo   
Max Esquivel will lead the Coltrane tribute quartet.

He has been playing professionally for over ten years and has performed in more than ten countries around the world with artists such as Grammy winner Maurice Brown and two-time Latin Grammy nominee Linda Briceño. He has participated in important jazz and music festivals including: the  Prague Jazz Festival, the Festival Internacional de los Artes and the Bern International Jazz Festival among others.

The art of preparing crepes taught behind bars this past weekend
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Crepes are more common as a breakfast dish in a French café rather than a juvenile detention center but this past Saturday saw nearly 20 prisoners at Zurquí learn how to make the dish.

According to the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz, the lessons and the visit by Chef Sophia were part of a project designed by the ministry to help the juvenile prisoners who don’t receive visits from relatives or friends.

No one knew what the famous French crepe was at the beginning of the lesson much less how to cook it, the ministry said. Chef Sophia said she saw the enthusiasm of the juvenile delinquents in learning how to prepare them and, of course, eat the finished product as well.

One of the group apparently wants to become a chef in his own right and cook up a crepe for his family when he gets out of the detention center.

"The kitchen gives me joy every day, but this Saturday also filled me with some enormous lessons,” she said.
Chef Sofia
Ministerio de Justicia y Paz photo   
Chef Sofia teaches some new students how to make crepes.

“Let it not happen to us like them that we never have to postpone dreams because of the lack of freedom, health or support.”

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Published || Tuesday Edition, June 27, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 126
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Osa team studying use of nature sounds for helping disabled persons
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Osa Peninsula is well known for its diversity of flora and fauna and being among the most biologically-diverse areas in the world. With that diversity comes also a plethora of sounds that local researchers believe can help people with disabilities.

The Osa Sensorial Project, as it is called, initiated a research process with the support of the Universidad de Costa Rica to bring together a team of professionals as well as locals under the geographer and wildlife management expert, Hellen Solís. Some of these professionals also happen to have different disabilities as well, according to a statement from the university.

The team’s goal is to find out the sound frequencies in different ecosystems from the coast and oceans to deep within the reaches of the forest. These frequencies will then be used as tools to see if they can improve the quality of life for people with different disabilities.

Recordings were made at different times of the day and using different equipment such as a recorder that detects ultrasounds, those sounds with high frequencies that the human ear alone cannot hear.

The data was collected at the marine area around Golfo Dulce, Puerto Escondido, on the beach at Parque Nacional Piedras Blancas, in the mangroves at Playa Colibri and in the community around Bahía Drake, researchers said.

The team believes that certain frequencies act on different parts of the human body and relate to different emotions.

Those relationships are established with an array of support from other studies and research related to this subject, Ms. Solís said to Universidad de Costa Rica.
Sensorial Project Team
Universidad de Costa Rica photo    
Some of the Osa Sensorial Project team members.

“In Puerto Escondido, for example, the frequency is related to alertness, connections between mind and body, on an axis of sleep and state of relaxation,” a statement by the university said. “The Golfo Dulce-Piedras Blancas frequency is related to a relaxed body, stress relief and intelligence improvement.”

“In the mangrove of Playa Colibri the frequencies are related to states of alertness, active thought, energy and action; inn Rancho Quemado with euphoria, learning, sleep spindles and concentration; Finally, in Drake, the frequencies are related to states of alert, problem-solving in fear and defense mechanism,” the research added.

The desire for the team now is to use this study as a basis for the future creation of a rehabilitation center that uses the local natural resources, the university said.

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Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom

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Fine Furniture of Sarchi - Sarchi, Costa Rica
All our handcrafted products are made in Sarchi with pride and quality by artisans who are dedicated to designing, crafting, and delivering our furniture to you. Please visit our website and send us a picture and specifications of what YOU like, or just send us pictures from anywhere you wish. We will quote you right back with a more than competitive price and an on-time delivery date. Delivery and set up available throughout Costa Rica. We have different Costa Rican woods from which you may choose.
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U.S. Income Tax Services (paid category)

Tax Time
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Marlene B. Summers
ax Accountant Licensed by the I.R.S.
Ms. Summers
Marlene B. Summers
Let’s discuss your tax situation.

The IRS has become more aggressive and if you have not filed, you must do so.  However, there are solutions to problems and your situation may be better than you think.

If your filing is not up to date, Streamlined Filing can be used with no penalties.  Including disclosure of foreign corporations to avoid serious problems.

If tax payment is holding you back, the IRS has options to solve payment problems.

You can file current or past due FBARs without payment to meet IRS requirements.

If you have yet to file, do it now as there is still time.

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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
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centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email:

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solar one

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NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!

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NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
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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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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
Published || Tuesday Edition, June 27, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 126
Real Estate
About us
At least six people dead
after capsize in Colombia

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Colombian officials say at least six people are dead and 31 missing after a four-story ferryboat with about 170 passengers capsized on the Penol-Guatape reservoir, a popular tourist destination near city of Medellin, Sunday.

Speaking to reporters at the reservoir, the head of disaster relief for Antioquia province, Margarita Moncada, said that 99 people were rescued and 40 others managed to swim to safety by themselves.

Recreational boats and jet skis rushed to the scene, pulling people from the boat as it was sinking.

Rescue teams, including air force pilots and firefighters were searching for survivors at the reservoir, where the Almirante ferry sank.

Visiting the scene of the accident, President Juan Manuel Santos said the boat did not appear to be overloaded.

The cause of the accident is unclear. Some survivors said they heard a loud noise just before the boat began to sink.

Monday is a holiday in Colombia so the reservoir and nearby town were more crowded than usual.

Venezuela asked to probe
allegations of López’s torture

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A rights group and the wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López are demanding that Venezuelan authorities investigate allegations that he is being tortured in a military prison.

On Saturday, Amnesty International released a statement asking that authorities cease any act that endangers his physical and psychological integrity and his life. The statement noted the special gravity of López’s case, saying he had been isolated for roughly three weeks and denied access to visits by relatives.

López, a leader of the Popular Will party and former mayor of Caracas’ Chacao district, is serving a 13-year sentence in Ramo Verde military prison for allegedly inciting violence in a 2014 anti-government march that left 43 people dead. The United Nations, numerous rights groups and international leaders including U.S. President Donald Trump have identified him as a political prisoner and called for his release.

López reportedly shouted from inside the military prison that he was being tortured, according to a video released Friday by his wife, activist Lilian Tintori. In the video recorded from outside the prison, a man is heard shouting, "Lilian, I am being tortured. Denounce!"

Ultimas Noticias, a newspaper aligned with socialist President Nicolás Maduro, on Saturday published photographs showing López receiving medical attention and a bag of food.

On Sunday, Ms. Tintori said she had not been able to meet with her husband since early June. She accused authorities of manipulating or falsifying the photos, saying they were taken three months ago, based on his haircut and clothing.

As of Sunday, Maduro’s administration had not responded to the torture allegations.

In early May, López was rumored to have died, and the government released a proof of life video.

U.S. expected to list China
with worst human traffickers

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States is set to declare China as among the world's worst offenders in human trafficking and forced labor, placing it alongside countries the U.S. has long disparaged: Iran, North Korea and Syria.

The designation, expected to be formally announced by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, could further aggravate tensions between Washington and Beijing at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump had sought to enlist Chinese President Xi Jinping in an effort to curb North Korea's nuclear weapons development.

Last week, Trump said in a Twitter comment that while he appreciates China's efforts in dealing with Pyongyang, it has not worked out.

It was not immediately clear what led Tillerson to downgrade China in the State Department's annual assessment of human trafficking that covers more than 180 countries. Last year's report said Beijing was not doing enough to curb state-sponsored forced labor, and did not meet minimum standards for fighting human trafficking, even though it was making progress.

The 2017 report lists China as a Tier 3 human trafficking and forced labor offender, the lowest ranking, according to officials familiar with the ranking. The 2016 report placed China on a Tier 2 watch list deserving special scrutiny in the last year.

A year ago, the report described China as a source, destination and transit country for forced labor and sex trafficking. Internal migrants in China were particularly vulnerable, the report said, with some people forced to work in factories and coal mines with little governmental oversight. It also said men, women and children from other Asian countries and from Africa are being exploited, while girls and women from rural areas often were recruited for sex trafficking in cities.

Countries placed in Tier 3 can be penalized with sanctions barring them from participating in cultural exchanges with the U.S. But past U.S. presidents have granted waivers to the worst offenders and Trump could do the same.

There was no immediate reaction from Beijing about the planned U.S. action.

Indonesia is blowing up boats for illegal fishing

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Foreign fishing in Indonesian waters has long been a concern for the government, for which it has recently taken a literally explosive approach: blowing up illicit fishing boats. But Susi Pudjiastuti, the country’s wildly popular Minister of Marine Affairs, lobbied the United Nations last week to declare illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing an organized crime, signaling growing frustration and a new approach from Jakarta.

That said, even if the U.N. takes this step, Indonesia faces an uphill battle in protecting its fisheries. As the world’s largest archipelagic nation, it has somewhere between 15,000 and 17,000 islands and many kilometers of unsecured coastline. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo created a task force to address illegal fishing in October 2015, which reports directly to him and gives the Navy, the National Police and the Maritime Security Agency wide jurisdiction to deter illegal fishing by any means necessary.

But the fleet and law enforcement personnel are still small given the scale of the problem, which costs Indonesia, by one estimate, $3 billion a year.

Task forces, or Satgas, are almost a punch line in Indonesian governance because they are created for a wide variety of issues and often with unclear mandates. But the fishing task force feels different, according to Mas Achmad Santosa, head of the illegal fisheries task force.

“This is the first time for Indonesians that the president has set up a task force and it actually works well,” Santosa said. “Every element needed for enforcement is there: investigators, prosecutors under the attorney general’s office, and several experts from fields like money laundering and environmental law.”

There are about 60 dedicated members of this task force, but they work closely with the above institutions so their effective numbers are larger, Santosa said.

The task force only directly prosecutes cases with elements of serious crime, said Santosa, and they have prosecuted 42 such cases over the last year.

“But our fleet is far from sufficient, we must admit,” Santosa said. “Compared to our oceans, which are huge, the technology is limited.” They only have four patrol boats, for instance.

Since Jokowi took office in 2014, Indonesia has blown up over 300 illegal fishing boats, taking out 81 near Ambon over a single weekend last April. The eye-catching strategy has become something of a local tourist attraction. Its symbolic impact, though, could be larger.

“Blowing up boats is just one of our treatments. But we hope it creates a general deterrent effect,” Santosa said.

Indonesia's Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, known as Bu Susi, is a high school dropout turned entrepreneur with a knack for viral photo opportunities such as smoking on a paddleboard and sleeping in an airport and a no-nonsense style that has raised the profile of her relatively obscure ministry.

Foreign fishing is concentrated in Maluku, Sumatra, and the Indian Ocean, according to the maritime ministry. Beyond that, there are also illicit Indonesian vessels that engage in what Santoso calls unsustainable fishing that will destroy ecosystems. So international cooperation is not a silver bullet; the task force’s inroads on domestic fishing will be equally important, and somewhat harder to attack in such a spectacular manner.

The Peoples Coalition for Fishery Justice has urged the maritime ministry to revise regulations that they say hinder the development of the local fishing industry.

Tillerson expected to remove
countries on child soldier list

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to take Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, and Iraq off a list of countries that use or recruit child soldiers, in an announcement set for Tuesday, according to media reports.

The Reuters news agency reported last week that by delisting those countries, Tillerson is overruling recommendations from State Department experts and senior diplomats. Reuters also cited officials as saying the announcement is expected to be made as part of the department's annual Trafficking in Persons report.

The list, created through the Child Soldier Prevention Act, prohibits offending nations from receiving certain kinds of U.S. military aid.

In response, Human Rights Watch on Monday called on Tillerson to keep Myanmar and Iraq on the list.

Taking Burma and Iraq off the list when they continue to use child soldiers, is both contrary to U.S. law and harms children still in the ranks, said Jo Becker, the group’s children's rights advocacy director. Ms. Becker also said that unless Tillerson reverses his decision, he will gravely damage U.S. credibility in ending the use of children in warfare.

Myanmar has been on the list since its inception. Despite recent efforts to reduce recruitment, the country has yet to pass a law to criminalize the use of child soldiers and has refused to give U.N. observers access to ethnic armed groups.

Iraq was added in 2016. That year, Human Rights Watch reported that government-backed tribal militias were recruiting children from displaced persons camps in Iraq in the fight against Islamic State. Despite Iraq being on the list, then-U.S. President Barack Obama issued a waiver to allow $3 billion in military aid to flow into that country last year.

Spyware to tap into
phones puts users at risk

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Governments around the world are using surveillance software that taps into individual smartphones, taking screenshots, reading email and tracking users’ movements, according to security experts and civil liberties groups.

The rise of so-called spyware comes as electronic communications have become more encrypted, frustrating law enforcement and governments’ surveillance efforts.

Over the past several years, private companies have begun selling advanced software that first appears as a text message with a link. When a person clicks on the link, the phone becomes infected. A third party can then read emails, take data and listen to audio, as well as track users’ movements.

The companies that sell this spyware exclusively to government agencies insist that the software must be used only in a legal manner, to fight crime and terrorism. However, security researchers and civil liberties groups contend that some governments use the programs to track human rights activists, journalists and others.

A recent story in The New York Times focused on activists and journalists in México who have received text messages and emails with links that, if clicked on, would infect their devices with spyware. In some cases, the messages appeared to come from legitimate sources, such as the U.S. Embassy.

The Mexican government says it does not target activists, journalists and others with spyware unless it has prior judicial authorization.

In recent years, there’s been a rise in software sales in what is known as the lawful intercept market, said Mike Murray, vice president of security intelligence at Lookout, a mobile security company based in San Francisco, California.

Countries that can’t make their own surveillance software can now buy sophisticated surveillance tools, Murray said.

Lookout, which makes security software and services, receives monthly information from more than 100 million phones in 150 countries.

The use of nation-state spyware used to be limited to a handful of governments, said Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit digital rights group. But now that the price of the spyware has come down, countries can spend a few hundred thousand dollars to get the same capability.

Ms. Galperin spent three weeks in México last year training activists. One tip she gives: Users who are not certain that a link in email or a text message is safe should forward it to a separate account, such as Google’s Gmail or Google Docs, to prevent infection.

“We should be very concerned,” Galperin said. “Surveillance malware is incredibly powerful. You have full control of the machine. You can see everything the user can see, and do everything the user can do.”

Social media giants join
to fight terrorist content

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Social media giants Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft say they are forming a working group to remove terrorist content from their platforms.

The global technology companies announced Monday they are creating the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism which will help them share technical solutions to remove terrorist and extremist postings.

The companies are facing growing pressure from governments around the world to quickly remove hateful content. They have previously begun working together to create fingerprints for videos or pictures with extremist information that can be shared across social media platforms.

The tech firms say the new forum will also help them to commission research to fight terrorist speech as well as to work with counter-terrorism experts.

The forum will formalize and structure existing and future areas of collaboration between our companies and foster cooperation with smaller tech companies, civil society groups and academics, governments and supra-national bodies such as the European Union and the United Nations, the companies said in a statement. “The scope of our work will evolve over time as we will need to be responsive to the ever-evolving terrorist and extremist tactics.”

Last week, European heads of state called on tech companies to develop new technology to automatically detect and remove extremist content. Germany has proposed a new law that would fine social media firms up to $56 million if they do not quickly remove extremist postings.

Poll says Russians view
Stalin as greatest figure

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A recent poll of Russian opinion shows that a majority of the population thinks former dictator Josef Stalin was the greatest figure in history.

Current President Vladimir Putin came in a joint second with beloved Russian writer Alexander Pushkin.

The poll was conducted in April by the Levada Center, a Russian independent research organization not affiliated with the Russian government. The poll asked participants to make an order of the 10 greatest individuals of all time.

The order was not limited to Russian figures.

The poll said 38 percent chose Stalin as their top individual, with Putin and Pushkin coming in a close second with 34 percent. Former Soviet statesmen Mikhail Gorbachev came in last with 6 percent.

The results were vastly different than that of a similar poll done in 1989, where 12 percent chose Stalin.

It is estimated that more than 1 million people were killed during the Stalin regime, with millions more dying in forced labor camps or as a result of mass deportations and starvation.

In a 2012 poll, Stalin led with even higher numbers, indicating that his victories in World War II were more memorable than the countless executions under his rule.

Britain will allow Europeans
to remain after Brexit

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

British Prime Minister Theresa May has tried to reassure millions of Europeans living in Britain that their lives and those of their families will not be disrupted when London leaves the European Union in 2019.

May's post-Brexit residency proposals offer EU nationals settled status in Britain with broadly the same rights as native-born English, Scots and Welsh, and the same access to health care, education, welfare and pensions. EU settlers would be subject to British law without recourse to the European Court of Justice.

Five years of residence in Britain is required for Europeans who wish to apply to stay on in the country in the future, according to the government proposal. Those already living in Britain but for a shorter period can remain until they are eligible to apply for settled status. European nationals living permanently in Britain would lose that status, in most cases, if they stay outside the country for more than two years.

May delivered essentially the same proposal last week in Brussels to EU leaders, who said it did not meet all necessary criteria. The European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, said Monday that a number of limitations remain worrisome and will have to be carefully assessed.

More news of the Americas
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Beautiful Home and Land for Sale

Atenas home
Atenas Best climate, best views. Top of the mountain, Nestled on a two acre coffee farm with tropical gardens and fruit trees. 1200 meters. 

This home has 3 bedrooms and 3 baths with outdoor bathtub in master bedroom, Solar hot water, well, pool, indoor courtyard with fountains, living room has a fireplace. All rooms have outside sitting areas.

Private and secluded, cannot be seen from the road.
SANCTUARY OF PEACE!!! Price $750k call for viewing. phone 506-8831-8086  Email

Costa Rica

Costa Rica Penthouse For Sale

 Enjoy the most spectacular views in the valley in this 5 -story Penthouse.  One of a kind property on top of the Corobici / Crowne Plaza Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel plus other businesses.  Large Living Room, Elevator goes directly inside Penthouse.  Private hot tub deck and Dance floor with Spectacular views!!!  All exterior walls are glass or have windows. Commercial license is in place.  Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $695K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,500 per month on an annual basis.  This is a private condo residence and is Not associated with the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  

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

Costa Rica's first Realtor specialized
in eco properties, eco consulting and green living.

Eco graphic
   • Specialized in the Central and South Pacific.
   • Great network of Realtors, to find your dream
   • Homes, condominium & luxury homes
   • Eco lodges and hotels
   • Green properties and waterfalls
   • Farms and developments
   • Sustainable and green living communities.
   • Property management in the Jacó area

Romantic Country Bungalow Click Here
Dream Property River Click Here
Telephone: +506 2637-6285
cell: +506 8825-6556  
Skype: ecorealtorscr
Facebook: ecorealtorscr
In front of Subway at Plaza Herradura, Jacó Green NAR designee, member of the CCBR, CRGAR

Rich Coast Realty
Rich Coast Realty
Real Estate and Construction in the Central Pacific
Three-bedroom furnished house in gated beach community, walk to the beach, $235k. Ocean View Property, can be subdivided into four view lots, 10 minutes from the beach. Only $40,000! Beachfront Lots from $35,000!Contact us with any questions you have about buying property in Costa Rica, Construction, Residency, etc.
12 years’ experience in Costa Rica Real Estate.

Have a Property For Sale? Contact Us!
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

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

Santiago de Puriscal
A little piece of paradise near Santiago de Puriscal,
Costa Rica.

16 acres (approximately).  Price: $425,000 USD

We are selling our beautiful finca that has been in the family for 37 years. It is located 3 miles (5 km.) northwest of Santiago de Puriscal in the village of Desamparaditos. We are looking for a discriminating buyer who would appreciate the location, views, flora and fauna. Excellent for artists, writers and nature lovers. Fantastic birding. Very private but not isolated. Have surveyed plans for possible subdividing.

For more information:  In the U.S.A. call the owners: Pete & Debbie Todd: 970 -221-1457 or 970-581-4826 or email In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 506-7187-8577.
CODE: 9216-8/11/17

Puriscal home
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
This is a gorgeous, new, 3-bedroom luxury home on 2.2 flat acres in a secure, gated community, high in the hills of Puriscal, with stunning, 180-degree views of the ocean, city and mountains of the Central Valley in Costa Rica. Centrally located in the heart of Costa Rica, you are never more than an hour from the Pacific beaches while being much less than that to the culture, shopping, services and night life of the San José, Escazú, Santa Ana and the whole Central Valley. The Altos de Antigua gated community sits at an altitude of 2,800 feet with mild temperatures year round. Features wide paved roads and cement culverts throughout, a large community pool & spa with changing rooms & showers. The community association fees are $42 a month ($500 annually).
This property is currently being offered for $355,000.00 U.S.
Purchase adjoining 2.2 acre investment lot with the home sale for $35,000.00 U.S. or separately for $55,000.00 U.S.
    Summary of House Features:

       * Completed 2012 to North American standards
       * 3 large bedrooms, 2 full baths
       * Custom designed kitchen w/granite countertops
       * Frigidaire Professional appliance package
       * State-of-the-art solar hot water
       * Eco-friendly Toshiba LED lighting
       * LG Multi-Split air conditioning system
       * House & perimeter security alarm system
       * 2-car closed garage w/large paved driveway
Video Tour:
Community Web Site:
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email

COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* 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

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

For more information Click Here:

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

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

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

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

Business for sale or lease (paid category)

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

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Century 21

A Name You Trust,
Professionalism You Deserve

Tom Ghormley and the dream team!
in CR since 1979

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

 Century 21 Jacó Beach
Playa Jacó, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
U. S. A. phone numbers:  (213) 283-5168 
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Published || Tuesday Edition, June 27, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 126
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Blessing ceremony
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo     

New police bikes baptized for duty

With a little dab of holy water, the newest bicycles for the Fuerza Pública were blessed into service this past Saturday. These bikes along with a motorcycle were donated by the Cámara de Comercio in Zona Sur’s Golfito. 15 officers have been trained to ride the new wheels of the police force as well. Some of the solemn-looking officers can be seen in the photo above.

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo     
Some of the spurs used in cockfighting discovered by police. 

Police find feathery surprise in bags

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Desamparados police made a unique discovery at Higuito de San Miguel Monday: roosters hidden in handbags.

According to a report from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, the Fuerza Pública were tailing a car after observing two men raising some bags. Police stopped the vehicle and searched the contents of the bags where they discovered 19 roosters hidden and also some 81 razor-sharp spurs used for cockfighting.

The roosters were handed over to the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal and the two suspects in the car, one 70 years old and the other 23, were detained.

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From page 7:

Development bank increased loans by third

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sistema de Banca de Desarrollo gave cumulative loans of more than 277 billion colones to small businesses in 2016, according to its latest report. The figure represents an increase of 34 percent more by comparison in 2015.

The highlight of these funds was that a third of the money was allocated to districts of the country considered to have a low rating on the Índice de Desarrollo Social, or Social Development Index in English. The report also noted that over 54 percent of the money was given to regions outside the Central Region.

Moreover, 25 percent of the resources were given to projects that had, at its head, a woman. 52 percent was directed to an agricultural project and 72 percent devoted to micro-entrperenuers, the bank said in a statement. On average, each project was loaned 9 million colones, or around $16,000.

The report is an annual requirement mandated by the Consejo Rector of the bank system. The Sistema de Banca para el Desarrollo has the intended goals of: aiding different institutions and entities to boost the country through innovation, the generation of opportunities and the strengthening of the entrepreneurial capacities of micro, small and medium producers.

"Under the approach that the SBD is a public policy aimed at correcting the distributional imbalance offered by the country's style of development over the last 20 years, resources have been channeled to communities with low socio-economic development that generates employment and thus reduces poverty levels,” the report said.