A.M. Costa Rica
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Published Friday July 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 129
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U.S. Embassy photo
U.S. Marines present the colors Thursday at an Independence Day bash put on by the U.S. Embassy.

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The weekend is one for celebration, ranging from an Independence Day animal benefit in Atenas to the the annual U.S. expat picnic Sunday and to a host of private events in San José and on the Pacific coast.

Today also is Canada Day, but the Canadian Club of Costa Rica' said that it has planned no special observance and encourages Canadians to celebrate the nation’s 149th birthday in their own way.

The U.S. Embassy hosted an Independence Day reception for Costa Rican friends and diplomats Thursday with an emphasis on national parks in both countries.

The Atenas event Saturday is put on by individuals to benefit a local animal clinic. Details are HERE! The organizers also said they plan to mark Canada Day, which is today.

The Sunday picnic usually attracts 3,000 persons to the Cervercería Costa Rica picnic grounds west of San José.

More details on that are HERE!

The American Colony Committee that organizes the picnic also said that Avenida Escazú, the shopping complex, plans a fireworks display Sunday night starting at 6 p.m.

Independence Day really is Monday, and the U.S. Embassy will be closed that day. But all of the one reported activities are on the weekend.

The Sportsmen’s Lodge has announced an Independence Day party all day Saturday with dancing and music in the evening. The location is in San José.

Croc's Casino Resort in Jacó plans what is being called an all-American weekend starting today and running through Tuesday.

Fireworks also are planned there.

Formula Kart, the restaurant and go-kart facility in Curridabat, also said it plans a celebration.

Los Sueños Resort and Marina, also on the central Pacific coast in Playa Herradura, is planning a celebration on Monday, starting at 2 p.m. with face painting for kids. Fireworks are promised at 7 p.m.

Other restaurants and nightspots that cater to U.S. tourists and expats also plan activities.

For those insisting on a more relaxed celebration absent eating, drinking and dancing, local theaters are showing ”Independence Day: Resurgence.

This is a sequel to the 1996 movie. Sneaky predatory aliens are confronted and beaten again.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday July 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 129
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Jacó youth to learn in anti-crime program

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police and local Jacó businesses are teaming up to keep at-risk adolescents off the streets by offering jobs and teaching a trade.

The program called “Emprendiendo Una Vida Sin Violencia” (undertaking a life without violence) is the creation of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública. The idea is that young people who are following an entrepreneurial path are less likely to lead a life of crime.

The vice minister of public security, María Fullmen Salazar, said the program is viewed as an alternative form of crime prevention by encouraging entrepreneurship in young people.

The communities of Quepos and Bahía Ballena are launching similar programs.

U.S. Coast Guard win docking OK again

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica lawmakers have approved the docking and port stays of U.S. Coast Guard vessels.

The U.S. and Costa Rica are working together to develop counternarcotic operations under a joint patrol agreement. But the agreement to allow the boats to dock require periodic legislative approval.

Lawmaker Luis Vasquez Castro said the permission to dock is crucial in Costa Rica’s fight against drug trafficking and corruption.

“And I say this from my position as representative of the province of Limón, an area that is vulnerable where the drug scourge painfully threatens youth,” Castro said.

Lawmaker Mario Poveda Redondo said assistance from the U.S. is important because of the technological advances the U.S. Coast Guard brings with it to detect the movement of drugs off the coasts.

Not all legislators agree that it’s a good idea to essentially allow carte blanche to other nations in the use of Costa Rican ports.

José Ramírez Aguilar argued that with or without the help of other nations, about 90 percent of the cocaine destined for the United States has been moving through Costa Rica this year. In 2012 that number was only 80 percent.

In October 2015, lawmakers fought bitterly after a U.S. Coast Guard aircraft was not permitted to land in Costa Rica.

Tolls increase today on Caldera highway

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Motorists will pay a little more beginning Friday for the privilege of driving on Costa Rica’s Ruta 27.

The toll increase is minimal (10 colons) for normal vehicles, although multi-axle commercial trucks will see a 50-colon increase at some stations.

The increase was the decision of Globalvia, the company that runs the 48-mile highway as a concessionaire. According to the firm, its contract allows it to make adjustments in toll fees based on the behavior of the dollar against the colon.

Police are on the wrong side of law

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Sometimes police are on the wrong side of the law.

Four San José municipal police officers have been detained on burglary allegations.

Investigators also disclosed that one of 20 persons detained in a major narcotics sweep in Guanacaste is a police officer.

And judicial agents said Thursday that they had detained a Fuerza Pública officer in Santa María de Dota on the allegation that he beat up a man who was attending a funeral last March.

The four San José officers are accused of breaking into fruit stores during the night and stealing money. They range in age from 31 to 49.

The Policía de Control de Drogas said it had detained 20 persons since March 1 in relation to the Guanacaste drug gang. The last 10 arrests took place this week, and investigators said that the ring mainly was involved in the sale of cocaine in Liberia, Cañas and Bagaces.

The aggression at the funeral took place after police were told that a man was creating a disturbance perhaps because he was drunk. The man who suffered injuries is from Panamá.

The police officer is accused of attacking the man and carrying  him off to jail at the local police station.

Country to rejoin regional organization

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica has taken steps to re-affiliate with the Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana. The country left the organization because officials thought there was lack of support from other member countries in the matter of thousands of stranded Cuban migrants last November.

The goal of the organization is the integration of the countries of Central America. That includes matters like a uniform customs system, among others.

The organization held a summit of government leaders this week.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday July 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 129
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Embassy staffers put out another misleading report on sex trafficking
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. State Department came out with its annual human trafficking report Thursday, and once again the summary involving Costa Rica is internally inconsistent.

As in many prior year reports, the summary, believed prepared locally by U.S. Embassy staffers, overlooked the fact that consensual prostitution is not penalized in Costa Rica. A.M. Costa Rica has brought this omission to the attention of embassy staffers for years with no results.

Consequently the distinction between so-called sex trafficking and the movement of entrepreneurial individuals is blurred. Also blurred is the distinction between coerced prostitution and voluntary prostitution.

The report says that child sex tourism is a serious problem, with child sex tourists arriving mostly from the United States and Europe. But it also notes that “Despite an identified child sex tourism problem, the government did not prosecute or convict any child sex tourists or other individuals who purchased commercial sex acts from children, although the government did collaborate with international partners to  restrict entry to registered sex offenders.”

As A.M. Costa Rica has reported in the past, the largest number of child sex cases involve family members or family friends, but these crimes are not within the scope of the State Department report.

The report covers 2015 but embassy staffers have overlooked the flood of Cuban migrants and those from other countries who have accumulated in and passed through Costa Rica toward the end of the year.

The Costa Rica’s government's efforts to air lift more than 8,000 Cubans to El Salvador certainly comes under the heading of what the report calls movement trafficking.

The report also said 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, despite media reports that some were unpaid, deceived about the type of  employment and working conditions, or compelled to remain in prostitution through threats of violence and other forms of psychological coercion.”

But the report said that the failure to find so-called trafficking victims is not because they do not exist, but “this suggests shortcomings in the methodology or implementation of the interviews.”

The report appears to be referring to a number of raids of San José nightspots where customers were forced to remain and many made to submit to intrusive interviews by volunteers for non-profit agencies that receive support from the U.S. government.

The report also makes no mention of the September arrest of a U.S. citizen, Dave Strecker. The Florida man remained incarcerated awaiting a preliminary hearing on a charge of promoting Costa Rica as a sexual tourism destination, which it

                tourism graphic
U.S. State Department graphic
This is a graphic from the 2016 report

is. Investigators followed Strecker for 12 days in the hopes
that he would be caught in some crime as he visited various nightspots.

Strecker for years has posted tales of his Latin America sex exploits on a Web page, although the server is not located in Costa Rica and the man did his writing elsewhere.

Prosecutors are not inclined to bring the case forward because of the charge’s violations of basic human rights. They also are trying to wear him down for a guilty plea. Some of the man’s friends are trying to find out if the United States was complicit in the case.

The report repeats the statement from the prior year that “Costa Rica is a source, transit, and destination country for men,  women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced  labor. Costa Rican women and children are subjected to sex trafficking within the country, with those living in the north and central Pacific coastal zones being particularly vulnerable.”  The State Department again puts the country on what it calls its tier 2 watch list.

The report may suffer from some deficiencies because embassy staffers usually are told not to go into downtown San José or to other places where much of the prostitution exists. They also would see transvestite prostitutes working various corners after dark. There does not seem to be any input from an organization that represents prostitutes.

The entire report stresses forced labor and forced prostitution.

The State Department said despite sustained anti-trafficking efforts, millions of individuals are bound by “mental, physical, and financial coercion” and manipulation by traffickers who “exploit their vulnerabilities for profit,” according to a wire service report.

“Modern day slavery that still today claims more than 20 million victims on any given time, all 20 million are people . . . they have names, they have or had families,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, calling human trafficking an industry that makes billions of dollars each year, the wire services said.

The summary on Costa Rica is HERE!

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Brain activity while at rest said to predict language-learning speed
By the Office of Naval Research

Ever wonder why some people seem to learn new languages faster? The secret might lie in the brain activity they generate while relaxing.

New findings by scientists at the University of Washington demonstrate that a five-minute measurement of resting-state brain activity predicted how quickly adults picked up a second language. The study, sponsored by the Office of Naval Research, is the first to use patterns of resting-state brain waves to determine subsequent language learning rate.

“This is vital brain function research that could enable the military to develop a more effective selection process of those who can learn languages quickly,” said Ray Perez, a program officer in the office’s Warfighter Performance Department, who oversees the research. “This is especially critical to the intelligence community, which needs linguists fluent in a variety of languages, and must find such individuals rapidly.”

Study author Chantel Prat, an associate professor and faculty researcher at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, wrote that the way someone’s brain functions while at rest predicts 60 percent of their capacity for learning a second language.

For the experiments, 19 participants, adults between the ages of 18 and 31, with no previous experience learning French, visited Prat’s lab twice weekly over eight weeks for 30-minute French lessons delivered through an immersive, virtual-reality computer program called Operational Language and Cultural Training System.

The training system is designed to make military personnel proficient in a foreign language after 20 hours of training. The self-paced program guides users through a series of scenes and stories. A voice-recognition component enables users to check their pronunciation.

To ensure experiment participants were progressing well, the researchers used periodic quizzes that required a minimum score before proceeding to the next lesson. The quizzes also

served as measures for how quickly participants moved through the curriculum.

For five minutes before and after the eight-week curriculum, Prat had participants sit still, close their eyes, breathe deeply and wear an electroencephalogram headset measuring resting-state brain activity from the cerebral cortex, an area of the brain crucial to memory, attention and perception.

“The brain waves we recorded reflect synchronized firing of large networks of neurons,” said Ms. Prat. “We found that the larger the networks were in beta frequencies, the faster our participants learned French.” These are the brain frequencies associated with language and memory.

To confirm this, at the end of the eight-week language program, participants also completed a proficiency test covering the lessons they had finished. Those with the larger beta networks learned French twice as quickly.

However, Ms. Prat is quick to point out that language learning rates were the only things predicted by the recorded brain activity. Participants with smaller beta networks still learned the material to which they were exposed equally well.

“There’s more that goes into learning a new language than speed,” said Ms. Prat. “You also have to factor in motivation, study habits and practice methods.”

The next stage of Ms. Prat’s research focuses on ways to improve and accelerate resting-state brain activity through neurofeedback training. This is a workout regimen that bulks up grey matter with brain games and mental cognition exercises like puzzles. Prat will have participants perform a range of neurofeedback techniques before completing the language program, and evaluate the results.

“By studying individual differences in the brain, we’re figuring out key constraints on learning and information processing, to develop ways to improve language mastery,” said Ms. Prat. “This not only could benefit our nation’s military, but also our industry and educational system. In our increasingly connected global society, it pays to be able to speak multiple languages.”

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

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Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday July 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 129
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Axiom new ad

U.S. military will now accept
transgender men and women

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Pentagon has lifted its ban on transgender men and women serving openly in the military.

"We have to have access to 100 percent of America's population," Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters Thursday.

"Our mission is to defend this country, and we don't want barriers unrelated to a person's qualification to serve preventing us from recruiting or retaining the soldier, sailor, airman or Marine who can best accomplish the mission," Carter said.

He said servicemen and women can serve openly immediately and will no longer be discharged just for being transgender.

He said there are currently an estimated 2,500 transgender people serving in active duty.

The military will begin accepting transgender Americans who meet all of the physical and mental standards “no later than one year from today,” Carter added.

The announcement follows a yearlong study by the RAND Corp. that concluded there would be minimal readiness impacts from allowing transgendered people to serve openly.

The change removes one of the last barriers to military service by any individual. It comes nearly a half-decade after the formal end of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which barred gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. military, and less than one year after all combat positions in the military were opened to women.

More identify as transgender,
new statistical study says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

On a day when the Pentagon announced it is lifting its ban on transgender men and women openly serving in the U.S. military, a research institute in California announced findings that the number of men and women identifying as transgender has doubled over the last 10 years.

Jody Herman, a public policy scholar at the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, said Thursday that the results are from people self-reporting on U.S. government surveys. She said while the study did not examine the factors behind the rise in self-identification, growing social acceptance of transgender people might have influenced the rise in numbers.

"That's one possible explanation," she said, "that it's becoming more mainstream." She says that as social acceptance of transgender identity grows, it is likely that people would be more willing to identify as such on a survey.

Four Williams Institute researchers, Ms. Herman, Gary Gates, Andrew Flores and Taylor Brown, all public policy experts, compiled their results from the surveys by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that ask respondents if they identify as transgender.

A previous study compiled from data collected in 2003 and 2007 to 2008 estimated that 0.3 percent of the U.S. population identified as transgender. The new results, using a larger sample size, put the estimate at 0.6 percent across the United States, with extremes of 0.3 percent estimated in the sparsely populated, conservative state of North Dakota and 0.8 percent in the Pacific Island state of Hawaii.

Because the transgender question was an optional part of the survey, the earlier study had data only from the states of California and Massachusetts. The latest study, using 2014 data, had responses to the question from 19 states, enabling the researchers to use more sophisticated tools to estimate the transgender population across all 50 states.

The newer method relies on demographic information such as race, ethnicity, age and educational level to predict the likelihood that an individual would identify as transgender in states where that information was not available.

Perhaps not surprisingly, younger people, those between the ages of 18 and 24, were more likely than older people to identify as transgender. They were also more likely to be of racial or ethnic minorities and to have lower incomes.

In some cases, the demographic factors explained results that might otherwise seem surprising. The conservative southern state of Texas, for example, had a transgender population on the high end of the scale, at 0.6 percent. But 38 percent of the Texas population is Latino, according to the Pew Research Center, and Latinos are more likely than whites to identify as transgender.

It might be worth noting that a study of transgender identification does not equal a study of sexual orientation, although those identifications can coincide.

"Transgender people can be of any sexual orientation," Ms. Herman said. "But you do of course see LGBT together quite a bit,"the acronym that represents "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender."

She explained that those groups might be referenced together because they tend to experience the same types of discrimination, even when they don't overlap.

There has been some research to suggest that people who are homosexual or bisexual are discriminated against because they don't express gender in a traditional way, “and you hear about trans people experiencing discrimination because of anti-gay bias," she said.

Herman says researchers might do another follow-up study in the future, although nothing has been scheduled. Ms. Herman says five more U.S. states added the transgender question to their surveys for 2015, and if more follow suit, "that would certainly be a reason to re-do the study."

Was the study done in service to any particular policy goal? Ms. Herman says while the mission of the Williams Institute is to study law and policy issues centered on sexual orientation and gender identity, the researchers' goal is only to provide data.

"We try to be timely and put out research that can dispel myths with facts and figures. We try to inject policy debates with solid, rigorous research," she said. "To the extent that people can get the information they need, that's great. That's the mission of the Williams Institute."

British political parties face
convulsions over leadership

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The contest to replace David Cameron as Conservative Party leader and Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining their strategy on how to grapple with the huge consequences of last week’s Brexit vote. 

The race, however, will be without the colorful Boris Johnson, the tousle-haired former London mayor, who, after falling out with his Leave campaign colleague, Justice Minister Michael Gove, unexpectedly decided not to contest the party leadership.  Johnson said he doubted he could unify the party split between pro- and anti-EU camps. 

Johnson’s withdrawal shocked political circles and dismayed Britain’s tabloid journalists, who were counting on him for lively copy.  His withdrawal, some Conservatives said, was linked to an extraordinary private email by Gove’s wife, the well-connected journalist Sarah Vines, to her husband.  It laid bare the distrust between the top two Leave campaigners and the email leaked to the media helped propel Gove to throw his hat in the ring.

In the email, Ms. Vines also hinted at the shadowy involvement in the Conservative leadership contest of press baron Rupert Murdoch, who owns a chunk of the British press, and Daily Mail editor Lord Dacre. 

Vines argued they “instinctively dislike Boris.”

With Johnson out, Theresa May, the strong-willed interior minister who reminds many in the Tory party of Margaret Thatcher, is now the favorite to replace Cameron.  Just before Johnson’s withdrawal from the race, she presented herself confidently as the unity candidate in a feisty, no-nonsense speech that included well-aimed slaps at Johnson.

May backed the Remain camp in last week’s referendum, but on Thursday reached out to the party’s euro-skeptics.

“Brexit means Brexit,” she said, adding, “The campaign was fought, the vote was held, turnout was high, and the public gave their verdict.

“There must be no attempts to remain inside the EU, no attempts to rejoin it through the back door and no second referendum," she added.

May ruled out also a rerun referendum or a plebiscite on the terms of Brexit once negotiated with the European Union and ruled out an early general election. 

May also said any subsequent free trade deal with the bloc could not include freedom of movement, a likely deal-breaker for European leaders.  They are insisting any trade deal include the right of EU citizens to live and work in Britain and Britons accorded the same opportunity in EU states.

The other 27 EU member states signed a tough statement Wednesday hardening their conditions for allowing Britain access to the EU market after departure.

At the explicit demand of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the statement included the non-negotiable principles of the European Union, free movement of capital, labor, services and goods.

“Access to the single market requires acceptance of all four freedoms, the statement said.

Asked by the BBC if the European Union would shift on freedom of movement, the Anglophile Swedish prime minister, Stefan Löfven, said, “It is a non-starter.”

The Conservative leadership competition features five candidates, including Pensions Minister Stephen Crabb, who was raised in local authority housing by a single mother, an unlikely Conservative background.

As the contest got under way, there were other worrying signs that jilted EU leaders are prepared to squeeze Britain on Brexit negotiations.  May said the negotiations won't be able to start until the end of the year.

In a bid to maneuver Paris into a position to be able to grab international banking business, French President Francois Hollande is seeking EU rules that would threaten London’s status as the continent's financial capital.  He wants to require banks and clearing houses involved in euro-denominated trading to do so only in the eurozone countries.

With any informal negotiations being ruled out by EU leaders before Britain’s formal notification of departure, the pre-talks positions of the British and Europeans are being pegged out very publicly via television interviews and statements to the press.

This is adding to an escalation in tension, and in the war of words, between the continent’s leaders and the British. But, as tempers flare, the two sides appear to be talking past each other.

Anger is not only rising when it comes to EU leaders versus the British.  An open rebellion by 80 percent of Labor’s lawmakers against leftist party leader Jeremy Corbyn is turning more toxic.

Despite a vote of no-confidence in his leadership being passed earlier this week by lawmakers, Corbyn has rebuffed all appeals to resign, including from former Labor leaders Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.

Corbyn is surrounded by former members of the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party and Stalinist groups, including the Communist Party of Great Britain, says Labor lawmaker Mike Gapes.  They also stock the constituency parties.

“They have hijacked the party and don’t care what happens to it, nor if Labor gets trounced in elections,” he said.  “They believe in so-called revolutionary defeatism, electoral defeat doesn’t matter for them as long as they recruit a few more members for their cadre,” he said.

Gapes added, “The Labor Party hasn’t a God-given right to exist.  We are fighting an existential battle, and if Corbyn remains as party leader, we will face a wipe-out at the polls.”

Several anti-Corbyn lawmakers have been forced to call the police over death threats made by far-left party activists. Corbyn is expected to face a leadership challenge from Anna Eagle, a minister in Gordon Brown’s government.

U.S. House plans to vote
on terrorism-firearms ban

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives will vote next week on a bill aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists.

A week after Democrats staged a nearly 26-hour sit-in demanding a vote on gun control measures, Speaker Paul Ryan told fellow Republicans of the vote in a conference call Thursday. 

Ryan said the House would vote on a broad bill that will include measures to prevent radicalization and recruitment by extremist groups, as well as a provision to stop suspected terrorists from buying guns.

Ryan called it just common sense' to keep firearms from terrorists, but said it must be done while protecting the right to own guns.

Democrats held their daylong protest on the House floor, demanding a vote on gun control legislation in the wake of the shooting rampage that killed 49 at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The killer, Omar Mateen, who was shot by authorities during the siege, was an American who pledged allegiance to a leader of the Islamic State extremist group, according to a transcript of his phone calls with officials during the incident.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office said Ryan might well offer National Rifle Association-backed legislation that would put the burden on the government to prove that someone on a terror watch list should not have a gun. Ms. Pelosi's spokesman, Drew Hammill, warned that a vote on an NRA-written bill "just isn't going to cut it.''

The House next week will also take up a bipartisan bill by Pennsylvania Republican Tim Murphy that seeks to address gun violence by overhauling the mental health system. 

Republicans believe terrorism and mental illness, not access to guns, have been leading causes of most mass shootings.

Protective ozone layer
is reported to be healing

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

More than 30 years after scientists first found a hole in the Earth's protective ozone layer, they are seeing signs that it is beginning to heal.

A study released Thursday in the journal Science says the hole is getting smaller. Researchers attribute the good news to the declining release of chlorofluorocarbons into the air.

"It isn't just that the patient is in remission,'' said the study's lead author, Susan Solomon of MIT. "He's actually starting to get better. The patient got very sick in the ‘80s when we were pumping all that chlorine'' into the atmosphere.

The chemical compounds, once commonly used in aerosols, dry cleaning and refrigerators, were banned when nations around the world signed the Montreal Protocol in 1987 in an effort to repair the ozone hole.

Measurements taken in September revealed the hole has shrunk by about 4.5 million square kilometers, about half the area of the contiguous United States, since 2000.

The hole won't be completely closed until mid-century, but the healing is appearing earlier than scientists expected.

"We can now be confident that the things we've done have put the planet on a path to heal," Solomon said.

Ozone is a natural gas made up of three oxygen atoms. About 10 to 50 kilometers high in the stratosphere, the ozone layer shields Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays.

"There is a sense of mission accomplished,'' emailed University of California San Diego's Mario Molina, who shared the 1995 Nobel Prize for chemistry for his characterization of the ozone problem. He praised the study, in which he played no part.

Juno probe
  NASA graphic 
 This artist's rendering shows NASA's Juno
making one of its close passes over

Juno probe ready to head
for its Jupiter encounter

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Juno space probe is still millions of kilometers and 18 days away from Jupiter, but on July 4, the spacecraft will fire its main engine for 35 minutes as it enters a polar orbit around the gas giant.

The probe, which is the size of a basketball court, will skim the planet's clouds, eventually coming within 4,667 kilometers of Jupiter as it attempts to get a look under the massive planet’s thick cloud cover, hopefully leading to better insight on the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

"At this time last year our New Horizons spacecraft was closing in for humanity's first close views of Pluto," said Diane Brown, Juno program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Now, Juno is poised to go closer to Jupiter than any spacecraft ever before to unlock the mysteries of what lies within."

During the entire mission, Juno will make 37 close approaches to Jupiter, and each one could imperil the craft. For example, under the clouds, there is a layer of hydrogen under so much pressure that it conducts electricity. That, along with the planet’s fast rotation [one day on Jupiter is only 10 hours long], creates a strong magnetic field, creating what NASA calls the “harshest radiation environment in the solar system.”

"Over the life of the mission, Juno will be exposed to the equivalent of over 100 million dental X-rays," said Rick Nybakken, Juno's project manager from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "But, we are ready. We designed an orbit around Jupiter that minimizes exposure to Jupiter's harsh radiation environment. This orbit allows us to survive long enough to obtain the tantalizing science data that we have traveled so far to get."

Juno is also fitted with “radiation-hardened electrical wiring and shielding” as well as a unique titanium vault that protects the probe’s most vital equipment, such as the flight computer. The vault is so strong that it will reduce radiation exposure by 800 times. Without it, “Juno's electronic brain would more than likely fry before the end of the very first flyby of the planet.”

Juno launched on August 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Its July 4 arrival in orbit around Jupiter coincides with the U.S. independence holiday which is celebrated with fireworks displays.

Murder of teen in her bed
stokes outrage in Israel

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States and Israel bitterly condemned Thursday's fatal stabbing of a 13-year-old American-Israeli girl inside her home in a Jewish settlement by a Palestinian.

The girl, Hallel Yaffa Ariel, who had dual Israeli-U.S. citizenship, died in a hospital shortly after the Palestinian teen barged into her house and stabbed her in her bed. A security guard shot the attacker dead.

"The horrifying murder of a young girl in her bed underscores the bloodlust and inhumanity of the incitement-driven terrorists that we are facing," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, describing the scene of the slaying to television viewers.

Displaying a photograph of Hallel's bloody bed and a teddy bear on a chair, Netanyahu called on the whole world to condemn the killing in the same way it condemned terrorist killings in Ankara, Orlando, Brussels and elsewhere.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby called the killing unconscionable.

Hallel lived in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, near the Palestinian city of Hebron. Israeli military officials said the attacker managed to get past a fence surrounding the settlement, but they were unsure how he got into the house.

Israeli authorities sealed off the village where the killer lived and rescinded his family's work permits. Palestinian leaders have not reacted to the stabbing so far.

There has been a relative lull in the wave of Palestinian stabbings and other attacks on Israelis that began 10 months ago when rumors swept through Palestinian areas that Israel was planning to take over an East Jerusalem religious site sacred to Jews and Muslims.

Israel strongly denied the rumors and accused Palestinian authorities of inciting the violence.

But young Palestinians say they are fed up with poverty, unemployment, a stalled peace process, weak leadership and Israeli settlements on land they want as part of a future state.

U.N. Mideast envoy Nicolay Mladenov told the Security Council Thursday that an upcoming report on reviving peace talks would call on Israel to cut back on settlement activity. It will also urge the relatively moderate Palestinian Authority to take back control of Gaza, which is in the hands of Hamas militants.

Real estate-related services (paid category)
Container homes
New shipping containers for sale:
20 ft. (model year 2015) Containers:  $3,500
40 ft. HQ (model year 2015) Containers: $5,000
We also have a 40-ft. HQ Shipping Container Home
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Solr array
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If you are looking for information on condos, homes, lots, commercial real estate or development properties our award-winning team of professional agents are ready to help you buying property in Costa Rica. We have over 18 years of experience to educate our buyers in all aspects of purchasing property. Call us or email us today for more information on how to purchase that perfect piece of Costa Rica Real Estate.

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The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at:

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Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
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The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
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Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
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Rich Coast
Costa Rica Real Estate
    2.47 acre ocean view property w/ 2 houses & 2 unfinished apartments $249k!!!
    2 houses and pool furnished, great rental potential walk to the beach $327k w/ owner financing
    2-bedroom furnished condo 400 feet from Jacó beach $179,000

and lots of other great properties! Property listings in Escazú, Herradura, Jacó, Manuel Antonio, Dominical and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate.

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Real estate for sale (paid category)

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq. ft. of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out. The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the backyard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden. This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town. Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small. The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate. Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José. Just reduced to $199,000. Call Jeff: 8725-8176. Email:


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

Jacó Beach - Super Views - Priced Right
This is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home located at about 100-foot elevation one mile from the beach.  Remodeled 2 years ago. Everything is new including total new kitchen, windows, floors, AC units, electric, plumbing, etc.  Super fenced yard for dogs.  Very low electric bill even with the AC.  This is a zero lot line property but with room to expand up and out.  Very secure & private.  Police chief next door. $149,900.  Call Glenn at 506 6214-0056.

Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $895K U.S.  Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

House for Sale in Escazu Downtown
Condo near downtown Escazú Centro, Country Day School and Paco Shopping Center. 2 floors, 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. Maid's quarters, patio, 24-hour guard,   clubhouse and pool  Price $170,000 or best offer Call Lewis at 506 2288-2250 or 506 8828-6749.
Email: or

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

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


Luxury condominium apartments for sale in Escazú
The property located in Trejos Montealegre, has three apartments for sale. Excellent location, 400 meters east of Avenida Escazú, next to Village (new commercial and office project), Plaza Tempo, Wal-Mart, CIMA Hospital. To enter and exit Trejos Montealegre no need to pay toll. The condominium is few minutes from San José

♦ Apartment No. 1: 180 square meters, 3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, TV room, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar and island kitchen furniture, garage, electric gate.
♦ Apartment No. 2: 180. square meters,  3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, TV room, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar and island kitchen furniture, garage, electric gate.
♦ Apartment No. 3: This is the largest one. 250. square meters,  3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar  island kitchen furniture, 2 garages, electric gate. Total property measures 529 square meters.  Unique opportunity to buy it for $ 750,000 (Seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars).  For more information contact Adrian, cell phone  506-8598-9898  Email:

Pavo onr
FOR SALE - $270,000
Exceptional 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom, fully furnished luxury apartment for sale at the exclusive Terrazas de Escazú highrise complex in Escazú near La Paco Commerical Center.  Situated on the third floor, this apartment has an exceptional layout with stunning views of the Central Valley. 140 m2 bright and spacious floor plan with open sky terrace with 180-degree unobstructed view of the Escazú mountains and Central Valley.  One covered parking spot with additional guest parking available. HOA fee:  $250/month. Held in Costa Rica corporation for easy property transfer. Building features: 12-meter atrium with controlled access entrance to the building, surrounding landscaping, lower level pool, communal rooftop terrace and small rooftop gym. 24-hour security. Contact: José Granados in Costa Rica, phone 506- 6051-5249  email:
paco two

first image
B&B for sale in Costa Rica $650,000

I believe this is the finest area of Costa Rica in which to live and, with a lock on 80percent of all tourists visiting Costa Rica, to invest. There are birds and flowers of every description, terrific neighbors, incredible views, wonderful weather with a healthy climate, visits by sloth, deer, monkeys, a very good business that can expand and grow, if desired, or simply a beautiful place to live. Please look at my Web site and the guest reviews, the people's reaction to the property, and you'll see just what a wonderful opportunity this is

There is about 7,000 square meters of land included (over 1 3/4 acres) as well as another smaller home and an apartment above the carport, designed as maid's quarters but usually rented out to tourists. The rear of the property is bordered by a small and very clean spring-fed creek/river. Across the river there is jungle, which makes for a great deal of all around privacy and which will never be developed. Restaurants, a supermarket, services, and many natural attractions are just a short distance away. The property was appraised at over $1.7 million (US) a few years ago, which might indicate what an incredible bargain this is.

It can also include a franchise for Best Western Hotel, if interested in growing with the tourism business, and a small hobby farm bordering Arenal National Park with spectacular views of Lake Arenal, is also available. All is available at an excellent price for the right person (people) and a package price can certainly be arranged. Email me at: For more photos and info click HERE!


Ocean View Property for Sale in San Ramón
1.5-acre lot with spectacular ocean views. Ready to build. Mild climate year round with an average temperature a cool 74 degrees. Spectacular panoramic views of
                                for sale
the ocean and port of Puntarenas during the day, breathtaking views of Esparza at night. Fully titled and owned under a Costa Rican corporation. Price reduced to $45,000. Short-term owner financing available. For more info: Contact: Frank

Jacó beach unique home. First time offered
This house has never been listed.  It is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home approx. 100 feet above sea level on the only hill in Jacó one mile to the beach.  Totally remodeled to a Gringo house.Has great fenced yard for dogs and a huge screened porch with  great views all around, including a small ocean view.  New in the last two years includes: new kitchen with granite counter, cedar cabinets, all new windows, tile, water system, updated electric & plumbing, superb new AC units (low electric bill), This is half of a duplex with a platted yard.  Other side is the chief of police.  Secure & private.  $169.900. Call Glenn at 506-6214-0056 or

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)

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

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday July 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 129
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
El Niño left many problems in its wake

Special to A.M. Costa Rica
with staff additions

Urgent action by the international community and governments in the dry corridor of Central America is essential to help build resilience, food security, and restore livelihoods damaged by drought and other extreme-weather effects of El Niño, United Nations leaders said Thursday.

The devastating El Niño event that began in 2015 was one of the worst on record and its impact continues to be felt in the dry corridor, compounding the damage from two consecutive years of drought. As a result, some 3.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance with 1.6 million moderately or severely food insecure in the hard-hit countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

To raise awareness and coordinate responses to both the protracted El Niño-related crises in the dry corridor and the possibility of a related La Niña event in the second half of 2016, U.N. agencies and other partners met at the Rome headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The meeting included the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme with the aim of mobilizing the international community to support the efforts of governments, U.N. agencies and other partners.

In opening remarks, José Graziano da Silva stressed that "the challenge facing the dry corridor is not only climate change: it is also extreme poverty, and food and nutritional insecurity," adding: "We need to change the traditional response strategy and tackle the structural causes of poverty and food insecurity in Central America's dry corridor, and not settle for simply mounting a humanitarian response every time an emergency situation occurs." He is director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Some 10.5 million people, about 60 percent of whom are in poverty, live in the dry corridor, a region characterized by extensive deforestation, soil degradation and water scarcity.

These conditions are exacerbated by El Niño and its counterpart La Niña which occur cyclically. However, in recent years extreme weather events associated with these two phenomena, such as droughts and floods, have increased in frequency and severity.

The dry corridor runs from southern México south to Guanacaste in Costa Rica.

Guanacaste has suffered from the drought, too, but another impact on Costa Rica has been the flow of Central American refugees from the north. Refugee applications in Costa Rica have increased to 800 in 2015. That number is five times greater than three years ago, said officials.

U.N. refugee officials are holding a two-day session in Costa Rica next week. The sessions will be at the Hotel Real Intercontinental Wednesday and Thursday.

Like refugees to the United States, many claim they are fleeing violence, but hunger and lack of employment also play a big role.

A poor choice of cargo for the trip

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The first indication that something was amiss might have been when police asked themselves why is this truck hauling bananas to Honduras.

That is kind of like the proverbial carrying coal to Newcastle. Honduras has plenty of bananas.

The Policía de Control de Drogas looked further and found 39 one-kilo packages of cocaine hidden in the body of the truck.

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Free trade pact with Colombia begins Aug. 1

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The free trade treaty between Colombia and Costa Rica goes into effect Aug.1, officials point out at the XI Cumbre de la Alianza del Pacífico in Chile.

María Claudia Lacouture, the Colombian minister of Comercio, Industria y Turismo, said that of that date 98 percent of the products of both countries will compete on an equal basis.

Costa Rica and Colombia signed the agreement in May 2013.  The last step was for both countries to agree on an official starting date.

Colombia is well known for its clothing. It also is the world’s fourth largest producer of coffee, but Costa Rica would not seem to be a big market for that. Costa Rica is likely to export a lot of processed foods.

Both countries are anxious for equal legal status for their investors.