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  Published Wednesday Edition
June 28, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 127
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Trafficking report ignores migrants in Costa Rica
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The 2017 U.S. human trafficking report ignored the many thousands of migrants who crossed Costa Rica in the last year seeking entry into the United States. The annual report reduced the massive migrations to just one sentence:

“Migrants en route to the United States, primarily from Haiti and Cuba, remained vulnerable to trafficking.”

The State Department report made no mention that the United States itself provided temporary housing for the thousands of Cuban, Haitians, Middle Easterners and Africans.

Many, perhaps the majority, were transported by organizations that charged for the services sometimes with the aid of public employees.

The report this year awards Costa Rica an improved ranking to Tier 2 although, as it notes, the government of Costa Rica does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. However, it said the country is making significant efforts to do so.

The report noted that the government did not convict any officials complicit in human trafficking or trafficking-related offenses.

However it noted that charges still are pending against a former mayor and and four others accused in 2011 of establishing a trafficking network, aggravated rape and giving illicit narcotics to minors.

A year ago, the State Department criticized the country for not distributing about $4 million that had been collected to assist trafficking victims.

This year the report noted that Costa Rica in 2016 had obligated $1.15 million for administrative purposes and to prepare a short-term shelter for trafficking victims. The bulk of the money comes from a tax levied on air travelers.

The report said that the Costa Rican government identified and verified 17 trafficking victims in 2016 under the existing trafficking law (12 sex trafficking and five labor trafficking), compared to three sex trafficking victims in 2015 under the same law, and 23 victims (13 sex trafficking and ten labor trafficking) in 2014. There was one trafficking conviction, according to the report.

The report this year seemed to put more emphasis on labor trafficking than in past years. It noted particularly that Panamanian indigenous tribespeople were particularly vulnerable to labor abuses in Costa Rica.

The report made a number of recommendations including that Costa Rica should increase efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict child sex tourists and others who purchase commercial sex acts from child trafficking victims.

The report also said that the government should improve screening of individuals in prostitution for indicators of trafficking, including during raids.

As in prior years, the U.S. State Dept. failed to mention that adult prostitution is not prosecuted here.

U.S. State Dept. image taken from video     
Tillerson gives opening remarks on report.

But the 2017 report did note that the Costa Rican government conducted 25 targeted raids of sites where sex trafficking was suspected and interviewed 934 potential victims (931 women and 3 men), but did not identify any trafficking victims among them.

The U.S. government attributed then failure to find victims to a faulty methodology or implementation of the interviews.

Many of those conducting the mandatory interviews are associated with the Fundación Rahab that has received hundreds of thousands of dollars for the U.S. government in past years for various activities to counter sex tourism and to help failed prostitutes.

The foundation is secretive about it work and its leaders have declined requests for interview in the past.

The foundation also was the complainant in the case of David Strecker, the man who was imprisoned for calling Costa Rica a sex tourism destination. The man known as Cuba Dave has won an appeal of his conviction, but he is still in a prison for senior citizens.

The State Dept. report noted that the government had convicted an individual for promoting Costa Rica as a child sex tourism destination and imposed a sentence of five years imprisonment for the first time in November 2016.

But the report did not mention that the individual was a U.S. citizen and that one of the principal actors in the case was a  U.S.-sponsored organization.

Without further amplification, the report also urges the Costa Rican government to conduct thorough and transparent criminal investigations of alleged government complicity in trafficking offenses.

The report, released Tuesday declared 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, wire services reported.

The annual U.S. State Dept. report downgraded China to its lowest Tier 3 rating, saying it has not met "the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so," the wire report said.

The wire reported these other countries in the lowest Tier 3 category: Belarus, Belize, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, North Korea, Mali, Mauritania, Russia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

U.S. accosts domain registry letter as inaccurate
By Conor Golden,
News Editor of A.M. Costa Rica

The recent spat between the United States Embassy and Costa Rica’s domain registry continues. One side is arguing for proper procedure with undertones of national sovereignty at play and the other arguing for protection from intellectual property theft.

The U.S. government responded to A.M. Costa Rica’s request for comment Tuesday. The response was detailed in a formal, three-bullet statement that said the following:

•    The United States is a strong supporter of multistakeholder Internet governance and remains committed to working globally with governments and non-governmental organizations on these issues.

•    The United States is committed to working with its government counterparts while respecting the lawful practices and policy development of ccTLD operators.

•    The allegations outlined in the letter are not accurate and we plan to engage directly with relevant parties to clarify this matter.

The problem began with the creation of a .cr domain website The website domain is part of The Pirate Bay operation, which came around the same time as Napster did.

Similar to Napster, the website offers a wide array of digital content from videos, applications, songs to pornography downloads. Often these downloads are pirated and constitute intellectual property theft. They also run the risk of having viruses or malware.

The .cr domain is under the overall control of an organization called NIC Costa Rica. The group is part of a branch run by the Academia Nacional de Ciencias. Academy President Pedro León Azofeifa penned the letter in which he alleges an embassy staffer, acting as representative of the United States Dept. of Commerce, repeatedly contacted him requesting the domain be taken down.

NIC Costa Rica has come out on the record as saying that it would eliminate the domain name if ordered to do so by a final judgment issued by the Cortes de Justicia.

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

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

That investigation, he clarified, found no wrongdoing on the part of the academy or NIC Costa Rica in its handling of the domain registry.

In a previous interview with A.M. Costa Rica, Azofeifa explained that the policy is simply to go through the right channels, meaning a court order issued by Poder Judicial.

A.M. Costa Rica attempted to follow-up with Azofeifa on the U.S. government’s statement but was referred to Rosalia Morales, one of the legal persons within NIC Costa Rica.

A visit to the NIC Costa Rica headquarters in San José could not find a person available for comment prior to this story’s publication.

The original letter was dated June 7, 2017, and was addressed to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. It can be viewed HERE.

ICANN, as it is commonly known, was founded in 1998 as a non-profit organization responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of the Internet’s Domain Name System.

It also presided as a kind of technical maintenance crew for registries within the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and only recently ended a contract in 2016 with the United States Dept. of Commerce.

The letter to ICANN was sent to the Government Advisory Committee, the influential arm of the organization on government policy. It was also cc’d formally to U.S. Ambassador S. Fitzgerald Haney.

However, Alexandra Dans, the senior communications manager for ICANN in Latin America, said:

“ICANN has a limited role with regards to ccTLD registration policies. In addition, ccTLDs are not subject to a contractual relationship with ICANN. ICANN supports the multistakeholder model of Internet governance and an interoperable Internet. We are not in a position to comment if any particular name should be suspended since this is outside of our organization’s role.”

ccTLD is an acronym for a country code top-level domain like .cr.

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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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Teachers strike
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Rommel Téllez       
Teachers union packs San José's Paseo Colón Tuesday morning.

Teachers union goes on strike!

By Rommel Téllez of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Hundreds of secondary school teachers as well as administrative staff working for the Ministerio de Educación Pública went on strike Tuesday to protest their working conditions.

The strike was organized by the Asociación de Profesores de Segunda Enseñanza, one of several unions inside the ministry, and its purpose was to call the attention on several issues they consider teacher considers are affecting the quality of their teachings.

Their first claim is a work overload that’s causing many teachers to burn out. In a statement, union leaders said professors have to deal with a ridiculous amount of administrative work and reports no body ever reads but steal time from what’s important.

Amalia Carballo, one of the marchers, said it is hard enough to work with groups of 35 to 40 people but then add more paperworks that somebody else could be doing.

“I understand they want to be very strict and follow up very close all pedagogical objectives are well delivered , but so much reporting and rating does not leave much time to cover the subjects.” Ms. Carballo said.

The march also demanded the Ministerio to include the members of their organization among the beneficiaries of the collective bargaining signed in 2013.

According to a press release sent by the ministry, at the time of that agreement, the Asociación was not registered as a union before the Ministerio de Trabajo and that’s the reason why its members do not enjoy the benefits.

The Asociación also marched for a halt in the increase of the of the contributions workers affiliated to Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social should start paying as of July.

With that in mind, the ministry said it has absolutely no power to interfere in that decision since the teachers pensions regime belongs to the Magisterio Nacional, a completely different and independent retirement system.

Finally, the high school teachers also marched for better wages for teachers sent to faraway areas and the reimbursement of unpaid salaries of teachers who took part in another march back in September 2015.

According to preliminary data sent by the education ministry, Tuesday’s march affected mostly San José, Pérez Zeledón and Santa Cruz. In those places, an average of 50 percent of the staff joined the strike.

In the rest of the country, up to 5 percent of the teachers stopped working.

As soon as more data arrives, the regional directorates of the ministry will issue an order to deduct the equivalent of one day work from the pay check of the marchers.

This is the first mass event of a shaky week in San José. Next Thursday several trade unions will also strike at 9 am from Paseo Colón up to Asamblea National, so those those roads will be blocked to vehicles at least until noon.

Ruta 32 closing again today for work

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Ruta 32 will be closed again today and Thursday for more line painting, according to the latest statement by the public works ministry.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes issued what is becoming a weekly release related to the closing of the road between the Río Frío and the toll station. Ministry officials did say, however, that this will represent the final closure of the road before kids in the public schools get out for their vacations.

The work will be done between the usual hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., according to Mauricio Sojo of the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad. The painting will only be done unless weather conditions permit it. Otherwise, the road will be open for traffic to pass through. So far, this has not been necessary and fair weather conditions have allowed the work to progress, the ministry said.

Drivers who usually use or may need to use that route should consider alternative options while the road is closed for travel. The total investment for this painting is 140 million colones, the ministry said.

Drivers may want to avoid San José

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As of today, entering the center of San José will be a forlorn decision, since several events going on will alter the flow of traffic and the availability of two of the main roads: Paseo Colón and Avenida Segunda until July 9, 2017.
According to Mario Calderón, director of Policía de Tránsito, the main changes are related to the preparation and the opening of the Festival Internacional de las Artes, which kicks off on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Plaza de la Democracia.

Today, Avenida Segunda will work as usual until 5 p.m..  Afterwards, only buses will be allowed until midnight. Then the road will be opened again.

On June 29, both Paseo Colón and Avenida Segunda will be open to traffic until 2 p.m. However, it is unlikely vehicles will make it through, due to a national strike and a march set to start at 9 a.m. exactly in those two points that will then move up toward the Asamblea Legislativa buildings close to Parque Nacional.

The march has no scheduled end time. Because of the preparations for the arts festival, those roads will be closed again at 2 p.m. In a nutshell, do not count on the San José’s main arteries during the whole day but do expect traffic jams around.

On Friday, June 30, Avenida Segunda will be reopened at 5 a.m. and the transit will go back to normal. However, it is important to keep in mind that Instituto del Aqueductos y Alcantarillados keeps cracking streets open in order to replace old pipes. This week they have closed the Calle Central Alfredo Volio, in the intersection with the Teatro Popular Melico Salazar.

It should also be taken into consideration that this coming Friday 30 is pay day for most Costa Rican workers, a situation that normally boosts the amount of cars of cars in the streets.

The bus lines San José Barrio México y San José Barrio Luján, will move through Calle 7 until Avenida 10. The rest of the bus stops located close to Asamblea Legislativa and Plaza de la Democracia will remain without change.

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

The schedule of the buses remain the same.

New policy on violence against women

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Last Tuesday, government officials presented the new National Policy for the Protection and Prevention of Violence against Women 2017-2032, aimed at creating a change in the machismo culture, promoting non-violent masculinity which, in turn, would generate equality and greater well-being for women.

This policy mainly addresses the mandates established in the Inter-American Convention to Prevent, Punish and Eradicate Violence against Women, known as the Convention of Belém do Pará, according to Alejandra Mora, president of the Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres.

The new policy will work with children and adolescents to promote a cultural change towards non-violence and equality, so it will develop a joint work with the Ministerio de Educación Pública.

In addition, the policy will work to promote new non-violent and egalitarian masculinities and specific strategies to address violence in the media, as well as avoid using the body of women in advertising.

The new strategy promotes greater visibility, denunciation and repudiation of impunity in the area of ​​sexual violence, sexual harassment in employment and teaching, as well as street harassment, the document reads.

"Unfortunately, there is greater social and political resistance coming from conservative groups that question the importance of equality and the human right of women to live without violence," said Ms. Mora.

In Costa Rica, there are 132 daily requests for protection measures and two femicides occur per month, according to data from Poder Judicial. The Fuerza Pública has dealt with 44,000 cases of violence against women in 2017.

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Published || Wednesday Edition, June 28, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 127
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International arts festival opens Thursday with 140 performers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Plaza de la Democracia will play host to the opening concert for the 2017 Festival Internacional de los Artes this Thursday at 6 p.m.

Organizers from the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud said that Argentine musician and composer, Gustavo Santaolalla, will be joined on stage by more than 140 artists and choir singers from the Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil, the Coro Juvenil del Instituto Nacional de la Música and the Oberlin Choristers of the United States.

This is the opening salvo in a series of 154 shows taking place in and around San José from the capital’s Parque Central to the Antigua Aduana building. The arts festival goes until July 9.

For this particular performance, the groups have been working on the set since June 3 at the Centro Nacional de la Música in Moravia.

“For the Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil, it is a great privilege to share the stage with maestro Santaolalla, one of the most important Argentine musicians, composers, and producers, winner of two Oscars, 14 Latin Grammys and two Grammys,” Gabriel Goñi, the director general of the music institute, said.

The Argentine is certainly staying busy. Reports from the cultural ministry said, Santaolalla is producing music for a new documentary with British blues-rock god Eric Clapton, doing soundtrack for the video game The Last of US and the music for Season 2 of the Netflix series, Making a Murderer.

Gustavo Santaolalla
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo    
Gustavo Santaolalla in action on stage.

Aside from the choirs, the concert will also feature tango and aerial dancing.

The aerial dancing show, entitled “Pedaling towards the sky” of Belgium, will include a 90-ton crane so it can be seen from multiple parts of the capital, organizers said.

"The design of these three shows facilitates visibility from different angles of the center of San José,” Ada Acuña, the director of the Centro de Producción Artística y Cultural.

“In addition there will be projection screens in closed circuit, so that the attendees can appreciate them without having to move from their site. We ask you to join us around 4 p.m. and save your best space to enjoy this wonderful inauguration.”

Evolution of the brain with anthropological twist mark lecture series
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The principal museums in San José are playing host to a series of free conferences this week lectured by U.S. Professor Daniel White, a biological anthropologist and professor of community health and behavior at the New York Polytechnic Institute.

The series, entitled “The evolutionary history of our brain,” outlines the evolutionary origins, anatomy, pathologies and functions of the human brain, according to a statement from the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

White puts into perspective how the size and shape of the brain changes and how it varies between monkeys and humans. He also examines the relationship to neurological evolution with the development of language, art and culture.

The next lecture is today at 6 p.m. at the Museo de Jade with a specific focus on how humanity has successfully carved the hard rock of jade or the conceptualization and exploration of the universe in relation to the aforementioned themes.
“No doubt the answer to this question is complex, but it places as central and unquestionable factor to the development of the human brain,” a statement from the cultural ministry said. “This talk explores the evolutionary origins, anatomy, paleontology and perceptual functions of this extraordinary organ that has conceived high intellectual prowess.”

Daniel White
Museo Nacional photo     
White is taking a peek into the evolution of the brain.

The last conference will be Thursday at 2 p.m. in Museo Nacional. White received his doctorate from Albany University in 2005.

This represents his third visit to Costa Rica with the other two being a participation in the investigation of the archaeological site Las Mercedes, Guácimo de Limón and a human biology study in Zona Sur, the ministry said.

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Published || Wednesday Edition, June 28, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 127
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Discovered Mexican parrot species evolved from Costa Rican bird
By the PeerJ press staff

The newly identified Blue-winged Amazon parrot has a loud, short call and evolved from the White-fronted parrot quite recently, about 120,000 years ago.

In 2014, during a visit to a remote part of the Yucatán Peninsula in México, ornithologist Dr. Miguel Gómez Garza came across parrots with a completely different color pattern from other known species.

The Amazon parrot has some of the most species within its genus that span all across Latin America. The parrot genus has species such as the: Red-lored Amazon, Yellow-naped amazon, the southern mealy amazon and the northern mealy amazon in Costa Rica.

Even the White-fronted parrot, which is the ancestor of this bird discovered, has a subspecies found in northwestern Costa Rica. This bird is known as the Lesser white-fronted amazon, or Amazon albifrons nana.

A study published Tuesday in the open-access journal PeerJ names these birds as a new species based on its distinctive shape, color pattern, call and behavior. The paper compares and contrasts the distinguishing features of this species with many other parrots.

The new parrot, Amazona gomezgarzai, referred to as the Blue-winged Amazon because of its primarily blue covert feathers, is characterized by its unique green crown that contrast to blue in other Amazon parrots.

This new parrot occupies a similar area in the Yucatán Peninsula as the Yucatán Amazon, Amazon xantholora, and the White-fronted Amazon but it does not hybridize with them.

A very distinctive feature of the new taxon is its call, which is loud, sharp, short, repetitive and monotonous; one particular vocalization is more reminiscent of an Accipiter than of any known parrot.

The duration of syllables is much longer than in other Amazon parrot species. In flight, the call is a loud, short, sharp and repetitive yak-yak-yak. While perched, the call is mellow and prolonged.

Blue-winged Amazon parrot
CCBY photo   
A male blue-winged Amazon parrot.

This species lives in small flocks of less than 12 individuals. Pairs and their offspring have a tendency to remain together and are discernible in groups. Like all members of the genus Amazona, this parrot is a herbivore. Its diet consists of seeds, fruits, flowers and leaves obtained in the tree canopy.

The analysis of mitochondrial DNA genes indicates that the blue-winged Amazon has emerged quite recently, or about 120,000 years ago, from within the Amazon albifrons population. During this time, the taxon differentiated sufficiently to be clearly recognizable as a new species.

There is no conservation program currently in effect to preserve this parrot but its small range and rarity should make its conservation a priority, researchers said.

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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.

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Salsa Lizano
Published || Wednesday Edition, June 28, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 127
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U.N. declares end to the war between FARC, Colombia

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United Nations declared the war between Colombia and FARC rebels formally over Monday after the rebels completed their disarmament.

U.N. monitors say they have the entirety of the FARC's registered individual arms stored away, except for a handful of weapons being used for security at rural demobilization camps.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC commander Timochenko will hold a formal ceremony marking the end of the fighting at one of those camps Tuesday.

Colombia and the FARC rebels signed a peace accord last year, ending more than 50 years of an uprising against a series of Colombian governments, killing more than 200,000 people.

As part of the accord, many of the former rebels will avoid prison as they transition into civilian life, and FARC will transform itself into a political party.

The government also has opened peace talks with the country's second rebel group, the National Liberation Army.

Body of missing reporter
discovered in México

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The charred remains of a missing reporter have been found in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, bringing to seven the number of journalists murdered in that country this year.

Salvador Adame, director of the local television station 6TV, was abducted May 18 in the city of Nueva Italia, 400 kilometers west of Mexico City.

State officials said Monday that Adame's burned remains were found in mid-June and were identified with DNA testing.

Adame's abduction came after prominent journalist Javier Valdez was pulled out of his car and killed in broad daylight in Culiacan, in México's Sinaloa state.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says 40 journalists have been killed in México since 1992 for reasons confirmed as related to their work. An additional 50 were slain during the same period under circumstances that have not been clarified.

At least four of the reporters killed this year were murdered in direct retaliation for their work, according to the CPJ, making México the most dangerous country in the Western Hemisphere for media workers.

On Monday, federal prosecutors in México said they would ask for help from the FBI and other international groups in investigating reports of high-tech spying against journalists and human rights defenders in México.

Senate Republicans struggle
to keep health care bill alive

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Senate Republican leaders struggled Tuesday to keep alive their effort to overhaul the country's key health law, postponing a vote after an independent analysis concluded that 22 million people would lose their insurance over the next decade if their proposal were adopted.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told his Republican colleagues he would delay a planned vote this week until after the weeklong recess centered on the July Fourth national holiday.

Several Republican lawmakers had said they would not even vote to start debate on the party's proposal, which forced McConnell to drop his plan to hold a final vote by week's end before lawmakers left Washington for the holiday.

"Legislation of this complexity always takes longer than anyone wants," McConnell said after agreeing to the delay. "We think we're going to get legislation that's better than the status quo."

However, Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, the leader of the minority Democrats, said, "The Republican bill is rotten to the core." He said Democrats would work with Republicans to improve the existing law if they abandoned their effort to cut health care spending for the poor and curb taxes on the wealthy.

Some Republican opponents of the health law changes said the plan would cost too many poor Americans their insurance, while others thought the changes did not go far enough in overturning key provisions of the seven-year-old law championed by former president Barack Obama and popularly known as Obamacare.

Senate Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate. With all Democrats opposed to repealing the existing law, Republicans can lose only two supporters in order to pass their proposal, with Vice President Mike Pence prepared to cast the deciding vote in the event of a 50-50 deadlock.

But at least four Republicans said they would vote against even starting debate on the plan, while others had also expressed reservations about the proposal, leaving their votes in doubt.

Opposition to the Republican overhaul grew Monday after the independent, nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said 22 million people would lose their health insurance over the next decade under the Republican plan, only a million fewer than the estimate made by the CBO for the bill the House of Representatives narrowly approved last month. The CBO said Monday that the Senate bill would reduce the federal deficit by $321 billion by 2026, compared with a $119 billion reduction for the House version.

The White House criticized the CBO as having a history of inaccuracy in estimating the effects of health care laws. It further reiterated that President Donald Trump was committed to repealing and replacing Obamacare, saying the program has failed the American people for far too long.

Both the House and Senate proposals would end the requirement that Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine. They would phase out subsidies to help lower-income people buy insurance, curb taxes on the wealthy and cut hundreds of billions of dollars in funding over the next several years for the government's health care program for the poor and disabled.

If the Senate eventually approves its version of an overhaul, either the House would have to pass the same bill or reconcile its version with the Senate's before Trump could sign it into law.

New cyberattacks spread
from Ukraine to the U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A wave of cyberattacks that hit Ukraine and Russia is spreading beyond the borders of those countries, wreaking havoc on government and corporate computer systems in Europe and across the Atlantic.

Banks, government offices and airports in Ukraine were among the first to report the cyberattack. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Pavlo Rozenko tweeted a photo of his black computer screen with a warning massage, saying the government's headquarters had been shut down.

Multiple international firms reported being affected Tuesday. They include America's Merck pharmaceutical company, Russia's Rosneft oil giant, the Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk, British advertising giant WPP and French industrial group Saint-Gobain.

IT experts have identified the virus as a type of ransomware, a program that is often used to hold data hostage until a payment is delivered.

The U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security said it is monitoring the attacks and is in contact with its international and domestic partners.

British Defense Minister Michael Fallon spoke earlier at a conference hosted by the Chatham House policy institute in London. He did not address the attack, but discussed how Britain is responding in general to cybersecurity concerns.

Europol's European Cybercrime Center has told anyone affected by Tuesday's attack to report the crime to national police and encouraged them not to pay any ransom requested by hackers.

U.S. Supreme Court ruling
on travel ban raises queries

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A day after the U.S. Supreme Court gave the go-ahead to a narrow version of President Donald Trump’s executive order limiting travel, it remains unclear how it will be implemented.

The narrower version approved by the nation’s highest court allows the administration’s 90-day ban on travelers from six mostly-Muslim countries to take effect, as well as a 120-day halt on all refugee admissions to the U.S.

However, the court also ruled the so-called travel ban could not be enforced to keep out foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.

With the order likely to go into effect later this week, 72 hours after the court in Washington handed it down, immigration lawyers are seeking information about what constitutes a bona fide relationship and who would make such decisions.

The Supreme Court defined such relationships as family connections for individuals, admittance to a U.S. school for students, and a job offer for workers. Immigration attorneys have said the court's language is not sufficiently specific.

The human-rights group Amnesty International has sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and State, asking what instructions will be given to Customs and Border Patrol agents at airports and border crossings.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, known for his conservative judicial philosophy, wrote in a dissent to the majority travel-ban ruling that the current state of the ban would prove unworkable. Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch joined in Thomas' opinion.

“Today’s compromise will burden executive officials with the task of deciding – on peril of contempt – whether individuals from the six affected nations who wish to enter the United States have a sufficient connection to a person or entity in this country,” Thomas wrote.

However, the Department of Homeland Security said in a public statement that implementation of the executive order would be clear, specific and transparent.

Immigration lawyers and rights groups, many of whom camped out at airports offering legal help to immigrants and refugees after Trump's initial executive orders were signed, say they are preparing to do so again if their questions are not answered.

European Union fines
Google $2.7 billion

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

European Union antitrust regulators fined Google $2.7 billion Tuesday for unfairly boosting search results for its online shopping service.

The EU said Google began efforts in 2008 to boost the service now known as Google Shopping by making its results show up higher in search results, while demoting the search results of rival companies.

The result, according to regulators, was the most highly ranked rival services appeared on average on the fourth page of the results, an area few consumers ever reach.

EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Google has created many innovative products, but in this case abused its market dominance in internet searches.

Google said it will review the EU decision as it considers an appeal to the decision.

"When you shop online, you want to find the products you are looking for quickly and easily. And advertisers want to promote those same products. That is why Google shows shopping ads, connecting our users with thousands of advertisers, large and small, in ways that are useful for both," Kent Walker, a Google senior vice president, said in a statement.

Vestager said Google denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate, and denied European consumers a genuine choice of service.

In addition to the fine, Google is required to give rival comparison shopping services equal treatment, and the company must explain how it will accomplish that.

Public domain photo       
Dancer performing at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.

Native American Pow wows
celebrate patriotism, unity

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It’s pow wow season in the United States, a time when Native American nations, bands and tribes gather to connect, celebrate tribal histories and cultures, and express their patriotism. On any given weekend this summer, a pow wow is taking place somewhere in the country, an expression of unity within and between Native communities.

Pow wow derives from an old Algonquian word that referred to a gathering of spiritual healers celebrating successful hunts, battles or trade. In 1883, the government banned old heathenish dances, worried they would stimulate the warlike passions of tribal youth.

Tribes found ways around the ban, which was lifted in the 1930s. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of northwest Montana held pow wows as Fourth of July celebrations. Other tribes held pow wows as cultural displays for non-Natives.

Becky Olvera Schultz, an artist and writer of Azteca and Kickapoo heritage, said all pow wows revolve around dance, and central to dance is the drum.

The drum groups sing music of many different types, from war songs to religious. Many are sung in vocables, syllables without meaning that allow songs to be understood and shared between tribes.

Drums may include members of different tribes. Some well-known groups are in high demand and travel from one event to another to perform.

All pow wows open with the Grand Entry into the dance arena.

“The veterans head the Grand Entry, carrying flags and eagle staffs,” Ms. Schultz said. Wrapped in animal skin and trimmed with eagle feathers, the staff is a sacred symbol of its tribe or nation.

Dignitaries, chiefs, princesses, elders and pow wow organizers follow the veterans during the Grand Entry.

"Then come the male dancers, in different categories and age groups, and then the women dancers in theirs,” explained Ms. Schultz. Once everyone is assembled in a central arena, a song is sung to honor the veterans and a prayer is said to open the dancing.

All activities are presided by an emcee, who announces events and introduces dancers.

Men, women and children dance in several categories, which have evolved as a blend of traditions from different tribal nations.

The men’s Fancy Dance, for example, is a colorful and energetic dance in which men wear feathered bustles. Men’s Grass dancers wear regalia trimmed with fringe or ribbons, which represent the movement of windblown prairie grass.

Women may dance the Fancy Shawl, wrapped in fringed shawls.

Alorha Baga, a member of the Rosebud Lakota tribe, is a competitive jingle dancer who now lives in California. She said jingle dancing originated in the early 20th century as a healing dance among the Northern Ojibwe, or Chippewa tribe.

The jingle dress is decorated with beadwork, ribbons and the rolled lids of old tobacco tins. Suspended by ribbons, they produce the sound for which the dance is named.

“Part of our teaching of pow wow dancing is making sure that our children and even adults know how these dances came to our tribes, their origins and their histories,” she said.

Pow wows may take place over two or three days, attracting large crowds and generating substantial income.

Igbos tribal leaders defy
call to leave Nigeria

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Eze Joseph Emmanuel Chukwudimma Obilome sits on a velvet-covered throne in what he calls the palace, which is actually a bungalow, a sturdy single-story home with a heavy iron gate and some wooden and copper statues.

Obilome is a traditional leader, known as an eze, of the Igbo community in Plateau state, one of the 19 states that make up northern Nigeria. From his throne, he raises his right arm and speaks in a strong voice.

The declaration is a demand that the Igbo people leave northern Nigeria. It was issued recently as an open letter to acting President Yemi Osinbajo, signed by a coalition of leaders from northern youth groups.

In the letter, which the Nigerian media has tagged as the Igbo Quit Notice, the youth leaders insisted the Igbos leave the north by October 1 and return to their ancestral homeland in the southeast. They also called on the government to allow the southeast to peacefully secede and revive the long-dormant Republic of Biafra.

The Igbos, who are predominantly Christian, are said to be the most widely dispersed ethnic group in Nigeria. Millions live in the Muslim-majority northern states. Many own businesses like hotels, internet cafes, schools, mechanic shops and restaurants.

Obilome and 19 other Igbo leaders in northern Nigeria met last week to formally respond to the Igbo Quit Notice. Obilome says it was a unanimous decision to remain in the north as long as the state and federal governments will guarantee their security.

Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of the northern state of Kaduna, has assured Igbos in his state of their safety and called for the arrest of the people behind the Igbo Quit Notice. But it's been more than two weeks and no arrests have been made.

The Igbo Quit Notice has sparked fears of a possible repeat of Nigeria's brutal 1967 to 1970 civil war.

More news of the Americas
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Beautiful Home and Land for Sale

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

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

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

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Rich Coast Realty
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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.
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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
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       * 2-car closed garage w/large paved driveway
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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.
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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 
or Toll Free: (877) 746-3868
Costa Rica phone number: (506) 2643-3356

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

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

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

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


Real estate-related services (paid category)

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

Costa Rica

Serving Atenas and Surroundings Areas

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

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



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

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Published || Wednesday Edition, June 28, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 127
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

water gel container
Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica photo                 
Is this algae the future, environmentally friendly water bottle?

No need for a water bottle apparently

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

No need for a water bottle if just the water is needed.

With that idea, a group of students from the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica developed a reddish membrane out of brown algae to hold and contain water.

The product had them win the first place on the 14 Project Fair of the Technical Program in Business Administration of the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica. The winners were Carolina Sanabria, Earle Muñoz, Lady Ortiz, Carlos Rodríguez, Shakira Chaves and Brian Castro.

"You can bite the membrane, take the liquid and then eat the membrane, or you can drink the water and discard the membrane. There is no problem in throwing it away, because it is 100 percent biodegradable," explained Ms. Chaves.

The product is aimed at athletes and lovers of physical activity.
"We are very excited about this award, because we have worked very hard on it. We also want to thank the Instituto because this program has given us all the necessary knowledge to go ahead and undertake major projects," Ms. Chaves added.

The second place was awarded to the Key Pack project. A device designed to organize everyday keys. Key Pack is equipped includes a led light that facilitates its use in places with little or no lighting.
The Frost Fruit project won the third place. It consists of frozen and packaged fruits and vegetables which are easy to prepare in a smoothie, thus promoting a healthy diet that fits the fast pace of life. 

As a final graduation project, students of the Technological Program of Business Administration of the Instituto are encouraged to propose an entrepreneurship initiative, by which they will apply the tools learned in their careers.

However, The goal is not just graduation, but students to develop their own business by listening to recommendations from visiting companies and the general public.

In total, the students of the program presented 78 projects, among which are ideas like DueX, an initiative to design, build and distribute camping goods.

Aduana confiscates three tons of shoes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Aduanas seized another load of interesting items. This time shoes and over three tons of them.

The shoes were apparently seized by customs officials in the wake of allegations that they were counterfeit footwear of a well-known brand, according to a statement from the Ministerio de Hacienda. Over 10,200 pairs of shoes were captured and reviewed by an apparent representative of the shoe brand being falsified.

This act could incur a prison sentence of up to five years or a heavy fine for violating intellectual property rights in Costa Rica.

Since the beginning of the year to Tuesday, the finance ministry lodged 82 actions for its part with 44 of those complaints being sent on to Ministerio Público, according to William Céspedes, the director-general of Aduanas. This case is one of the latter examples. Officials with the judiciary are continuing the investigation.

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From page 7:

Counterfeit money caught in Costa Rica rises

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The border police have seized nearly 50 million colones within six months of the year largely thanks to the kilometer 35 checkpoint near Guaycará, according to a report from the public security ministry.

The latest incident took place last Saturday when border officials intercepted, including the driver and three teenage women, traveling south. In that case, the driver carried on him about 7.1 million colones and one teenager carried 1.42 million colones in her purse, police said. Prosecutors in Golfito ordered the impounding of the vehicle as well as seizing the money, the ministry said.

According to data from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, the border police seized about 18.3 million colones last year along with $24,241. That number is almost met only halfway through this year.

The director of the Policía de Fronteras, Allan Obando, said that the success so far has been mainly in the officers trained by U.S. customs officials and the use of state-of-the-art technology when inspecting vehicles.