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Published Weekend Edition
June 30, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 129
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International arts festival opens with grand concert
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Conor Golden
Packed scene at the Plaza de la Democracia as the crowd calls for an encore.    
                              Sinfónica Juvenil
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Conor Golden 
Cellists of the Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil showed off some spin moves while playing.    
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Conor Golden
Gustavo Santaolalla, renowned Argentine composer and musician, performs onstage.
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Conor Golden   
Octavio Arbelaez Tobón, artistic director for the festival, gets in on the conducting.

Pink eye outbreak reported mainly around Jacó
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

About a 1,000 people from the the canton of Garabito have been affected by an outbreak of conjunctivitis, according to the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social.

Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pink eye, is a highly contagious disease that causes some severe inflammation of the eye sometimes leaking pus and causing a lot of irritation. The first symptoms appear 24 to 72 hours after a person has been infected. It is spread by hand-eye contact, clothing, eye liners, eye drops and other forms of direct contact.

The Caja said an immediate deployment of specialists is already underway to both cure and prevent the disease from spreading.

The outbreak has mostly affected children and teenagers and cases have been reported throughout the canton, but mainly in Herradura, Jacó, Tárcoles, Quebrada Granado and Quebrada Amarilla, according to Alejandro Peralta, the coordinator of Local Epidemiological Surveillance.

The coordinator said some days they have had to care for more than 100 patients at a time, which has resulted in the creation of an special unit to treat the patient and contempt the spread of the disease.

The Garabito health area has granted 226 disability leaves because of the outbreak.
Health experts believe the outbreak is a virus by nature.
Pink Eye
American Optometric Association photo  
Here's what pink eye looks like.

Local alliances have been established between the municipality, the Ministerio del Salud, the local Comisión Nacional de las Emergencias, the education ministry and businesses so that everyone can face the outbreak and take the preventive measures.

The most important preventive measure to curb the spread of the virus is washing one’s hands, according to Peralta.

The specialist also said they are instructing people on preventive measures while visiting their homes as part of the influenza vaccination campaign. Peralta added that health personnel have been urged to reduce the risk of spreading the disease by taking all possible measures.

Saturday marks the beginning of vacations for primary and high school students, something Peralta believes will help reduce the outbreak.
Further analysis is being carried out by the Costa Rican Institute for Research and Health.

Los Suenons


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Less than three percent of workers heed unions call for national strike Thursday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Health workers, teachers, municipal worker and many more public officers marched through Avenida Central Thursday following the call for a general strike that seeks to fight a hike in workers’ contributions to the social security system.

After 9 a.m., workers from several different unions started a slow march in front of Parque La Merced, in San José. Along with boomboxes, masks, flags and other paraphernalia that sent a clear, non-conformity message to all the passerby.

Buses also rode at a slow pace while in the inside workers played 70's revolutionary music from singers like Inti Illimani and Víctor Jara, and chanted oldies like “Hasta Siempre Comandante” by the Cuban Carlos Puebla and “No Nos Moverán” by U.S. folksinger Joan Baez.

The group marched slowly up the street until reaching the headquarters of the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social. There Undeca and Siprocimeca, two of the biggest health workers union met with the Caja authorities and requested a renegotiation of the hikes.

As per an executive decree issued by Caja, workers affiliated to their pension system will pay an extra percent from their salaries as part of their contributions. The hike will be 0.5 percent as of July 1 and 0.5 as of Jan. 2017.

According to Luis Chinchilla, the secretary general for Undeca, it is possible to revoke the decision as long as the political good faith is established.

“We need to go back to the negotiation table and decide, as a people, alternatives to further fund our pensions systems and guarantee its sustainability,” he said.

However his wish may be unlikely, since the recently inaugurated president of the Caja, Fernando Llorca, said he is not willing to run over prior decisions taken by the executive board.

The underwhelming march in San José also affected the health services and hospitals across the country. According to data sent by the Caja, at Hospital San Juan de Dios 60 percent of the operating rooms stopped work, which means 41 surgeries were cancelled and will need to be rescheduled.

In the case of Hospital Calderón Guardia, 39 surgeries were suspended and part of the emergency services were shut down Thursday morning. In Hospital México, 70 percent of all services were suspended, as 350 workers joined the strike.

In general terms, Caja authorities believe less than three percent of the workers joined the call for strike.

Health order issued against La Carpio

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

The Ministerio de Salud issued a sanitary order in La Carpio landfill, due to its collapse earlier this week due to an apparent overuse of its capacity.

By issuing the order, the ministry temporarily closed the two sectors neighboring the Río Pirro while the rest of the landfill continues to work as usual.

As of next week, officials from the Tribunal Ambiental Administrativo will inspect the place, issue a report and mandate whatever changes are required to ensure the landfill walls do not collapse again and work according to its capacities.

"This is a measure that will determine if further actions in the future are required," said María Anchía, current health minister.

"The collapse of one of the walls is an isolated incident that do not represent the operations of the landfill," said Nelson Sequeira, spokesperson for Berthier EBI Costa Rica, the concessionary  company. "We are open to any inspection and willing to cooperate as the environmental responsible company we are".

The landslide that occurred last Friday angered at least 100 neighbors from the Los Altos de Cariari, Los Arcos and Bosques de Doña Rosa communities, all of them in Heredia.

The situation prompted a field inspection carried out on last Sunday by Ms. Anchía, Fernando Mora, the vice minister for coasts and wetlands as well as William Alvarado and Javier Cambronero, legislative deputies.

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

According to Melissa Flores, the president of the neighbors association, they tried to keep this issue on a low profile because some people were worried the properties would loose value.

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

69,000 licenses coming up for renewal

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

69,000 drivers licenses are coming up for renewal between Saturday and Sept. 30, according to data from the public works ministry.

The law states that drivers licenses can be renewed three months before its expiration date, the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said. The majority of the licenses expiring are type B, at over 80 percent, with 17 percent of motorcycle licenses coming up.

The ministry issued a statement encouraging people to renew their license at any of the 13 Educación Vial offices located in: Uruca, Pérez Zeledón, Montecillos de Alajuela, San Ramón, Ciudad Quesada, Limón, Guápiles, Liberia, Nicoya, Puntarenas, Río Claro, Cartago and Heredia.

Those offices are open regularly from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. with no appointment necessary, officials said. License renewal can also be done at the 39 main offices of the Banco de Costa Rica. For those interested in renewing there, one must schedule an appointment prior either through the web or by calling. It should be noted, however, that the bank charges a $7 commission fee.

Renewals are issued depending on the driver history. The cost is around 10,000 colones but if the user has less than four points on their license, then the cost is halved, the ministry said.

To renew, the user needs to pay the charge, present a digital medical report that is less than six months old since the date of issuance and an identification document that is updated and in good condition. The ministry recommends this process be done at the renewal applicant’s nearest location.

Raids reveal prostitution ring in Jacó

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The organized crime unit from the Ministerio Público carried out four raids Wednesday which allowed the arrest of a woman apparently in charge of running female sex workers along with three men who sold drugs in the Jacó community, in Puntarenas.

A fifth raid took place in La Uruca, San José. Judicial authorities discovered in the latter raid drugs ranging from marijuana to cocaine and synthetics.

Apparently, the group offered sexual services to foreigners with a high purchasing power and who stayed at very luxurious places, a judicial report said. The case came to the attention of the authorities following a complaint filed by a woman, who claimed to have been a victim of sexual exploitation.

News from the Spanish-language press
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Published || Weekend Edition, June 30, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 129
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Costa Rican saxophonists attend their own international festival
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

While the Festival Internacional de las Artes is happening, another international festival is reaching its end today.

The Festival Internacional de Saxofón ran this week consisting of recitals, forums, master lessons and musical exchange. All the focus is on one instrument: the saxophone. Seventeen saxophone players from the Universidad de Costa Rica’s School of Musical Arts participated in the festival held in the Colombian city of Cali.

“Cali is a city that takes music seriously,” a statement from the Universidad de Costa Rica said. “Recognized for having one of the most intense cultural agendas in the region and internationally famous for its label as the ‘World Capital of Salsa,’ this city in southwestern Colombia hosts the second Festival Internacional de Saxofón Bellas Artes.”

Javier Valerio, the professor at the university’s music school, said that it was a great opportunity for the students to interact with saxophonists from all over Latin America.

It also provides the time and place to show off some skills on the instrument.
The university said that, in addition to individual performances and quartets, the Ensemble of Saxophones are going to be a part of the Concierto de Grandes Soloistas.
UCR Saxophone players
Universidad de Costa Rica photo
Students joined saxophonists from around the world.

Universidad de Costa Rica proudly proclaimed that the saxophone competition was won by Andrés Lizano, a graduate of the university.

The ensemble is expected to perform the Costa Rican song “Pasión” among others in the repertoire. In addition to Costa Rica, musicians from Cuba, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Panamá, México, the United States, Spain and France are in attendance.

Sea Shepherd vessel surrounded and harassed off Panamá coast
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some fishermen had their revenge against a vessel of a marine conservation activist group.

Sea Shepherd’s vessel, John Paul DeJoria, was surrounded by five fishing boats Wednesday at the Coiba marine reserve off the western coast of Panamá, according to a statement by the group.

Sea Shepherd said that the crew were threatened by the fishermen who threw things at the ship, while gesturing and shouting. The 110-foot Island class patrol boat was also rammed by one of the five boats surrounding it but sustained minor damage, the group said.

The confrontation ended when the patrol boat left the area, the group said. The fight’s cessation did not apparently cool down the vessel’s captain, Jessie Treverton, as he criticized Panamanian authorities for lack of oversight and policing.

“It’s high time the Panamanian authorities made this incredibly important marine area a reserve not only by name but also in practice,” he said. “This area needs to be a zero take zone and properly policed.”

The group is known for notoriety surrounding its founder Paul Watson as well as its aggressive tactics used in documenting and, some claim, attacking vessels suspected of committing illegal fishing or poaching activity.

Sea Shepherd claims that the crew showed total restraint and did not provoke or retaliate in any way to the fishermen. “Sea Shepherd crews are not intimidated by intimidation, threats of violence and assault,” Paul Watson said. “I am proud of the crew of the John Paul DeJoria for standing strong in the face of these poachers.”

John Paul Dejoria
Sea Shepherd archive photo
The John Paul Dejoria prowling the coasts.

The vessel recently made landfall at Costa Rica’s Puntarenas port back in May to offer its services and assistance to Costa Rican coast guard officials in fighting illegal fishing around Isla del Coco. Ironically, the group said during that time that it had an excellent working relationship with Panamanian rangers guarding the Isla de Coiba.

This part of the vessel’s Operation Treasured Islands campaign with the retired Coast Guard ship patrolling the eastern tropical Pacific, the group said.

Isla de Coiba is considered a UNESCO world heritage site that is surrounded by one of the largest coral reef systems in the Pacific coast.

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Research team finds Andean highlands settlers earlier than thought
By the University of Wyoming press staff

Using five different scientific approaches, a team including University of Wyoming researchers has given considerable support to the idea that humans lived year-round in the Andean highlands of South America over 7,000 years ago.

Examining human remains and other archaeological evidence from a site at nearly 12,500 feet above sea level in Perú, the scientists show that intrepid hunter-gatherers managed to survive at high elevation before the advent of agriculture, in spite of lack of oxygen, frigid temperatures and exposure to elements.

“This gives us a very strong baseline to help understand the rates of cultural and genetic change in the Andean highlands, a region known for the domestication of alpaca, potatoes and other plants; emergence of state-level political and economic complexity; and rapid human adaptation to high-elevation life,” Randy Haas, a postdoctoral research associate in the University of Wyoming’s Department of Anthropology and the team’s leader, said.

The research appears in the July issue of “Royal Society Open Science,” a peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal. Excavations led by Haas at the site in southern Perú produced the remains of 16 people, along with more than 80,000 artifacts, dating to as early as 8,000 years ago.

Evidence from that site, as well as others, has led some researchers to estimate that hunter-gatherers began living in the Andes around 9,000 years ago, but debate has continued over whether that human presence was permanent or seasonal.

The research team led by Haas took five different approaches to test whether there was early permanent use of the region: studying the human bones for oxygen and carbon isotopes; the travel distances from the site to low-elevation zones; the demographic mixture of the human remains; and the types of tools and other materials found with them.
University of Wyoming photo   
Andean highlands may have been sight of year-round human settlement earlier than thought.

The scientists found low oxygen and high carbon isotope values in the bones, revealing the distinct signature of permanent high-elevation occupation; that travel distances to low-elevation zones were too long for seasonal human migration.

They also found that the presence of women and small children meant such migration was highly unlikely and that almost all of the tools used by the hunter-gatherers were made with high-elevation stone material, not brought from elsewhere.

“These results constitute the strongest evidence to date that people were living year-round in the Andean highlands at least 7,000 years ago,” Haas says.

“Such high-elevation environments were among the last frontiers of human colonization, and this knowledge holds implications for understanding rates of genetic, physiological and cultural adaption in the human species.”

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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 
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
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

solar two
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!

Solar device
NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
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More Watts per Panel, Smarter and more Capable Enphase Micro Inverters mean Less Cost and more Flexibility for You.

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Side of Pura Vida

A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page

Salsa Lizano
Published || Weekend Edition, June 30, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 129
Real Estate
About us
Maduro rally
Venezuela government photo          
Nicolas Maduro addresses supporters at rally.

Venezuela court declares
war on its attorney general

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuela's Supreme Court has frozen the assets of its attorney general and barred her from leaving the country because of alleged serious misconduct in office.

A public hearing for Luisa Ortega Díaz has been set for Tuesday morning.

Wednesday's decision by the court, stocked with appointees of embattled President Nicolas Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, came at the request of National Assembly lawmaker Pedro Carreño. Ms. Ortega, a Chavez protégé, has distanced herself from the current government.

At a news conference hours earlier, Luisa Ortega said her country is facing state terrorism and promised to defend the constitution and democracy even with my life, I swear.

She also declared herself an enemy of Maduro's government.

Maduro and the ruling Socialist Party have called her a traitor since March, when she denounced the Supreme Court's efforts to wrest legislative powers from the opposition-led National Assembly.

Ms. Ortega did not refer to the unusual incident Tuesday in which a police helicopter buzzed the Supreme Court and Interior Ministry buildings.

Maduro labeled the helicopter incident a terrorist attack and coup attempt. His political rivals and others have questioned its authenticity, suggesting it might have been staged to give the president an excuse to take even tougher positions against protesters.

Ernesto Villegas, communications minister, said the incident would not impede the socialist government's plans for a July 30 constituent assembly to redraw the constitution.

During three months of near daily anti-government protests, at least 79 people have died in clashes among Maduro's foes, fans and security forces, according to the prosecutor's office.

Experts watch and hope
for a coral reef rebound

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems often called rainforests of the sea. They are habitats for a wide variety of marine life.

So it's good news for the fishing and tourism industries that widespread coral bleaching, a process that turns the reefs white, weak and vulnerable to breaking down, has stopped in all three ocean basins, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, commonly known as NOAA.

The coral bleaching event of the last two years, triggered by high water temperatures, has had far-reaching effects, said Mark Eakin, NOAA research scientist and Coral Reef Program coordinator.

"There are islands in the central Pacific Ocean where the entire coral reef has been bleached," he said. The bleaching drove the fish away, and the people who relied on fish for food or their businesses, their livelihood just disappeared.

He added that in many places, the bleaching began to kill and disintegrate the coral reefs, which protect shorelines from beach erosion and often draw tourists who don diving gear to see the reefs' unique underwater beauty.

Coral bleaching has been a recurring problem in recent decades, as water temperatures have raised worldwide, a result of global warming. One of the worst bleaching events began in late 2014. Since then, more than 70 percent of coral reefs around the world have experienced prolonged high temperatures.

The heat makes coral expel tiny organisms, called zooxanthellae that provide the coral with its nutrients. If the organisms do not return, the coral can starve and die. In time, the coral skeletons crumble, causing the entire reef to collapse

The first global bleaching event noticed by scientists happened in 1998 during a strong El Niño, the phenomenon that makes Pacific Ocean waters warmer than normal, often wreaking havoc on weather patterns.

The latest bleaching also coincided with a strong El Niño. But coral reef are not beyond help, said Jennifer Koss, director of the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program.

She said scientists are taking steps to protect the reefs, in part by identifying coral species that are more resilient to rising ocean temperatures and acidified waters.

According to the NOAA report, areas of the U.S. hit by severe bleaching are Florida, Hawaii, the Pacific territory of Guam and the Mariana Islands.

For now, the bleaching has eased or stopped in most areas. Long-term, scientists will be watching closely to see if the reefs regain their strength. If they don't, the oceans and those who depend on them for a living could be in trouble.

Study says malaria education
boosts student performance

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

New research suggests that the ability of children in Africa to perform well in school could be dramatically improved through the provision of basic malaria education and treatment.

Most malaria prevention programs focus on children under 5. Infections are less fatal among older children, but many harbor malaria parasites without displaying any symptoms of the disease. If such a condition is left untreated, a young victim's health often deteriorates, said lead researcher Dr. Sian Clarke of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The research involved nearly 2,000 schoolchildren in Mali, led by Save the Children and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, alongside the National Institute for Public Health Research in Mali.

About half the children were given a malaria control package delivered by their teachers, which included prevention education, insecticide-treated nets and anti-malarial treatment. Malaria infection rates fell from 80 percent to just five percent, and cases of anemia were almost halved compared with the control group.

Save the Children has helped expand the program to 400 schools in Mali. It was the second African country to host the trial.

"The first study was done in Kenya, an area of year-round transmission," Clarke said. "This study was done in Mali, an area with malaria concentrated in just a few months. And the fact that we saw similar results in both settings would suggest that where malaria is a significant problem and the levels of infection are high, then you might expect to see a similar impact in other settings."

Aid workers say preventing anemia in Malian schoolgirls is particularly important because of high teenage marriage and pregnancy rates. Anemia during pregnancy can lead to a low birth weight and a higher risk of child mortality.

France on path to make
a new Silicon Valley

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

France is known worldwide for its wine, food and culture, but under its new president, the French are aiming to be the new global hub for tech startups.

President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants to build a version of Silicon Valley in France. His administration has launched pro-business initiatives that are loosening government restrictions and encouraging entrepreneurs to launch their startups in the country.

“The tradition has been in Europe and in France to invest in big, traditional companies and not specifically tech startups. So we will dedicate a €10 billion fund to the investment in tech startups in France,” said Mounir Mahjoubi, France's Secretary of State for Digital Affairs.

Both public and private investments will factor into Macron's vision of France as a, country of unicorns, the term popularly used for tech startups valued at $1 billion or more, said Mahjoubi, who recently was in New York City for “La French Touch” conference, where he discussed France's strategy for attracting the tech world's best and brightest.

In the French tech world, all eyes are on the privately financed Station F, which is set to open this summer in Paris. Billed as the world's biggest startup campus, the 34,000-square-meter space already has major tech companies like Microsoft, Facebook and Ubisoft signed on. The companies will develop their products, as well as host and mentor startup founders in incubator programs. One thousand individual startups are expected to set up shop at Station F.

Silicon Valley has attracted tech talent from all over the world. Now France hopes to do the same for those beyond its borders. Initiatives like the “French Tech Ticket” and more recent “French Tech Visa” are designed to bring startup founders, employees and investors to the country through a combination of mentorships, grants and subsidized workspaces. The French Tech Visa fast tracks a process for participants to obtain a renewable, four-year residence permit.

Not to be left out are the locals in France's poorer, outer suburbs, the banlieue. The new administration is aiming for social diversity through inclusion initiatives that foster entrepreneurship, said Mahjoubi.

The encouragement of entrepreneurship is a novel sentiment in a country where traditional attitudes and strict labor laws have long dominated work culture. With a national unemployment rate of 9.5 percent, venturing out on one's own to start a business can seem too risky.

But with the success of French unicorns like ride-sharing service BlaBlaCar and network provider Sigfox, attitudes appear to be shifting; 68 percent of French people aged 18 to 25 aspire to run their own business one day, according to a 2015 Ernst & Young survey.

Firms worldwide reel
from massive cyberattack

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Several companies around the world continue to report outages and damage from Tuesday's massive Petya cyberattack that hit firms in more than 60 countries.

Heritage Valley Health System, a network of medical offices in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania reported Thursday it still could not provide lab or diagnostic testing to patients. The company said some surgeries had to be canceled and its satellite offices had been closed since Wednesday.

The large Danish shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk, one of the largest companies hit by the cyberattack, said it had restored operations at some of its terminals, but others remained inoperable.

A.P. Moller-Maersk said it couldn’t be specific about how many sites were affected, but noted some terminals are operating slower than usual or with limited functionality.

Europol director Rob Wainwright called Tuesday’s hack another serious ransomware attack. He said it bore resemblances to the previous ‘WannaCry’ hack, but it also showed indications of a "more sophisticated attack capability intended to exploit a range of vulnerabilities."

The WannaCry hack sent a wave of crippling ransomware to hospitals across Britain in May, causing the hospitals to divert ambulances and cancel surgeries. The program demanded a ransom to unlock access to files stored on infected machines.

Researchers eventually found a way to thwart the hack, but only after about 300 people had already paid the ransom.

The most recent hack has been largely contained, but now some researchers are questioning the motivation behind the attack. They say it may not have been designed to collect a ransom, but instead to simply destroy data.

Russian anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab similarly noted that the code used in the hacking software wouldn’t have allowed its authors to decrypt the stolen data after a ransom had been paid.

"It appears it was designed as a wiper pretending to be ransomware," Kapersky researchers Anton Ivanov and Orkhan Mamedov wrote in a blog post. “This is the worst-case news for the victims even if they pay the ransom they will not get their data back.”

The computer virus used in the attack includes code known as Eternal Blue, a tool developed by the NSA that exploited Microsoft's Windows operating system, and which was published on the internet in April by a group called Shadowbrokers. Microsoft released a patch in March to protect systems from that vulnerability.

Trump’s revised travel ban
took effect Thursday evening

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States implemented on Thursday night new travel rules requiring visa applicants from six majority-Muslim nations to have a close relationship with a family member or business in the U.S. in order to be eligible to be admitted to the country.

Senior administration officials earlier Thursday outlined how consular officials should proceed with the visa applications for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The new rules took effect at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Anyone in transit to the U.S. with travel scheduled before July 6 will be allowed to enter. Those with travel booked after that date will be addressed later, according to senior administration officials.

Previously scheduled visa application appointments will not be canceled, administration officials said, but all new applicants would have to prove their bona fide relationship to a family member or business in the U.S. in addition to passing traditional screening.

“We expect business as usual at ports of entry starting at 8 p.m.,” the officials said, anticipating a smooth rollout. Implementation of a first version of the travel order in January was met with protests at airports around the country.

A 120-day ban on refugees and yearly cap of 50,000 total refugees coming to the United States also went into effect Thursday evening; however, any refugee who can prove a relationship to a family member in the U.S. may be allowed entry.

However, shortly before the travel ban was to take effect, Hawaii filed an emergency motion in federal court, asking a judge to clarify that the ban can't be enforced against fiancés or those relatives not mentioned in the administration's guidelines. The judge did not immediately rule on the motion.

Senior administration officials said 49,009 refugees had been admitted to the U.S. in fiscal 2017 as of Wednesday night, nearing the cap three-quarters of the way through the fiscal year, which begins in October. But the cap is likely to be exceeded as additional refugees are accepted on the basis of family ties. Officials said about half of refugees admitted to the U.S. have family members in the country.

Acceptable close family relationships include a parent, spouse, child, adult son or daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling who is already in the United States.

Relationships that do not meet the requirement include grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, cousin, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, fiance or other extended family.

An acceptable business relationship has to be formal, documented, and not created for the purpose of evading the travel ban. Something like a hotel reservation would not meet the requirement.

Some U.S. immigration lawyers said many of their clients from the six affected countries were still filled with uncertainty. A number of attorneys planned to set themselves up at international airports, ready to offer help, as they did when the original executive order was put in place.

Trump says the order is necessary to protect national security, with the entry freezes meant to give the government time to strengthen vetting procedures.

White House defends Trump
on his new Twitter attacks

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The White House is defending President Donald Trump's deeply personal social media ridiculing of a well-known television commentator Thursday.

"I don't think it's a surprise he fights fire with fire," deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. "He's not going to sit back and be attacked by the liberal media, Hollywood elites, and when they hit him, he's going to hit back."

Trump, on Twitter, lambasted Mika Brzezinski, who co-hosts the “Morning Joe” television talk show with her fiancé, Joe Scarborough.

"I heard poorly rated @MorningJoe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore)," Trump wrote in a two-part message.

"Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!"

The couple said at the time that they had gone to Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida to arrange an interview with the incoming president less than a month before his inauguration.

There was quick and firm criticism by members of Congress of the president's comments on the television co-host's appearance. Most notably, senators from the president's own Republican Party chastised him.

"This has to stop — we all have a job — 3 branches of gov't and media. We don't have to get along, but we must show respect and civility," tweeted Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins.

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said, "Please just stop. This isn't normal and it's beneath the dignity of your office."

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, said, "Mr. President, your tweet was beneath the office and represents what is wrong with American politics, not the greatness of America."

Brzezinski on Thursday's program discussed fake Time Magazine covers that had been hanging on the walls at several of the president's golf courses, as initially reported by The Washington Post.

Trump has long described major news outlets as fake news for stories he does not like about his five-month tenure in the White House.

Trump defends his frenetic activity on Twitter, which is sometimes scathing and includes regular attacks on the mainstream media, as his way of reaching people directly, without filters.

The co-hosts of the popular morning cable TV program previously had a cordial relationship with the new president, but they have become critical of Trump since he took office and publicly questioned his mental health.

More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

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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.

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   • 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 
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)

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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

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Published || Weekend Edition, June 30, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 129
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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

Image grabbed from Facebook video       
The fire Wednesday night blew up on the evening news.

Cause of massive fire remains unclear

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The fire that raged at the Instituto Costarricense de la Electricidad’s substation Wednesday night is over but the cause of the fire remains unknown.

About 10 units and 35 firefighters were at the Instituto Costarricense de la Electricidad facilities in El Porvenir de Desapamparados in San José. According to a Facebook statement issued Wednesday at around 7:30 p.m., the Benemérito Cuerpo de Bomberos de Costa Rica reported that the fire has been contained but that residents needed to avoid the surrounding homes.

Inspectors from the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz, a subsidiary of ICE, were visiting the affected houses Thursday afternoon. The idea is to carry out a technical inspection of the damage and consult with nearby residents. They will also be handing out, onsite, claim forms for any damages caused by the incident as well.

Firefighters from the Pavas, Central, Desamparados and Barrio Lujan were reported present at the time of the fire by the Bomberos Facebook page. The Bomberos have not yet released any report on injuries, deaths or damage related with the fire at the substation.

Video postings show that the smoke plume from the fire reached a substantial height to be seen from a distance. Power outages were reported in the Mercedes and Sabanilla area of the Montes de Oca municipality but it is unclear if those are in relation to the substation being knocked offline due to the fire.

In a statement issued Thursday afternoon by ICE, power was fully restored to all sectors by 5:30 in the afternoon.

According to a report issued Thursday morning by the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, more than 80 police officers arrived on the scene in order to prevent thefts and robberies from occurring in the wake of Wednesday’s fire. Police said that no property crimes were registered through the course of and after the emergency.

The Ministerio de Hacienda reported late that intent service at the Aduana Postal was temporarily interrupted Thursday until later that evening, it was announced that power had been restored and normal services resumed. Finance officials assume it is likely due to events related with the fire.

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From page 7:

Costa Rican companies put best food forward

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican companies showed off some of the best food products in their arsenal for what is touted as the most important specialty food fair in the Americas: Fancy Food Show.

Each year, the Fancy Food Show hosts around 2,550 entrepreneurs from around the world with more than 180,000 products to choose from for the 25,000 food buyers, according to a statement by the Promotora de Comercio Exterior.

Among the Costa Rican products on display for the food fair included: Costa Rica Coffee Spiri, the Pro Group, Rome Prince, JINCA foods and What Salsa among others. “The magnitude of the event makes it strategic for the country’s food industry because they attend specialized buyers, who seek added value and innovation in products, aspects that Costa Rica continues to develop and that companies offer to buyers,” Álvaro Piedra, the export director for PROCOMER, said.

Well-known buyers go to the fair, according to the agency. These include: Whole Foods, Amazon, Goya foods and Nassau Candy among other in attendance.

Data acquired from PROCOMER said that, from January 2017 to May 2017, Costa Rica’s food industry ranked third in exports by sector with a 16 percent share and 6 percent growth over the same period in 2016. Total exports within the first five months of the year were $702 million with over half being for sugar.

PROCOMER is selling the products to U.S. buyers under a national identity rather than one based upon a particular company. The strategy is called Marca País.

"The United States is a strategic market for the Marca País in tourism, foreign investment and exports, so this activity allowed us to fully expose this country project,” Daniel Valverde, the director for the brand, said. “In addition, it allowed us to communicate how Costa Rica and the companies that carry the label of the brand, follow the most innovative trends in sustainability, as well as the benefits that an international buyer obtains when buying from suppliers licensed with Marca País.”