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Published Wednesday, July 6, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 132
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War toys and videos again face ban in legislature
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The proposal to ban war toys is back in the legislature again, and the security minister gave his support for the measure Tuesday.

The minister noted that two men with what later turned out to be a fake firearm robbed a mother and child about 11 a.m. Tuesday in  Río Banano de Limón. The suspects turned out to be men 23 and 25.

The weapon really was not a toy gun even though police called it that. A ministry photo shows it is an older Marksman brand repeater that fires a .177-caliber BB. The weapon would not be covered by the proposed law.

The minister, Gustavo Mata Vega, was before the  legislative Comisión de Asuntos Económicos to discuss bill No. 19.613. The measure seeks to forbid the importation and sale of war toys and establishes fines for stores that sell them.

The measure also would forbid the sale to minors of  video games with a war, military or violent content. The bill also would require public agencies like the ministry to eliminate the use of military language including rank. Also prohibited would be military symbols, combat clothing and other military items.

Saluting senior police officers also would be a no-no.

The bill is nearly identical to one that was introduced in 2007. A.M. Costa Rica noted at that time that the prohibition would extend to any item that represented a weapon or soldier, a military vehicle, a tank, war plane or ship of war. Taken literally, sculptures of horses or elephants would be prohibited because they have been used as devices of war. And a model of a 17th century navy vessel also would be covered, as well as model planes if they resembled a warplane of any vintage.

Mattel, Inc.  also has come out with a Barbie Doll dressed in combat gear.

Mata was clear in his belief that war toys and similar were changing the conduct of children. The bill summary says that war toys and video games incite children to violence and aggressiveness as well as affect their mental health and values.

The evidence offered for this position is a 2006 article by a staffer in the  Spanish Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia. The belief is widely held even though academics generally say there is no evidence that war toys or media inflict harm on children.

The bill would send any money raised in fines to an institutional committee headed by the 
BB gun
Ministrio de Seguridad Pública photo 
This is the BB-gun confiscated Tuesday

Homemade weapon
Ministrio de Seguridad Pública photo 
 This is a homemade weapon fabricated by a
 crook who was arrested this week.

Ministerio de Educación Pública that would use the funds for advertising against war toys and videos. The committee also would be authorized to import other types of toys.

Police would be empowered to confiscate offending merchandise. However, the bill does not forbid persons wearing military-type clothing.

Merchants with war toys in stock would have two years to sell them and would have to place large warnings on the packages.

Video games sold to adults also would have to have a large warning that the effects of the game can damage the mental health and have psychological implications for minors.

Legislative staffers found problems with the bill, including the very broad definition of war toys. Staffers suggested that even a chess set would be covered by the bill because it simulates a battle. They also suggested that light sabers and water pistols would be covered as well as Star Wars videos.

“It is not clear if the toys and mainly the video games of fantasy where the fight is against monsters, mythological beings or aliens and eventually against beings that are not alive such as robots or androids, should be considered warlike, according to the earlier definition,” said the staffers who reviewed the bill.

They also wondered if Super Mario Bros also was violent.

Staffers also noted that a lot of the video games can be downloaded and would not show up in stores.

They also noted that the Boy Scouts, the Salvation Army and even the Jesuits are organized in a military way.

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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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Eviction freeze bill signed into law

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President  Luis Guillermo Solís has signed into law a bill that provides a 28-month moratorium on evictions from public property.

The measure is important to dwellers of coastal communities who might be located in the maritime zone.

The measure does not halt any legal actions, but it does prevent eviction unless the environment is endangered or there is a threat of danger, according to the text.

The bill gives lawmakers time to produce a permanent bill that will protect buildings that have been located for years in what is now considered the maritime zone.

The implementation of the new law is under the control of the  Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía.

Windy weather predicted to continue

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today is expected to be windy, thanks to the continued location of a high pressure area over the Caribbean, according to the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional.

Winds of up to 60 mph were registered Tuesday, and the forecast calls for the same today, particularly in the mountains.

The forecast also predicts that humidity will continue to be reduced and the chances of rain are less.

Upala damage was to 25 homes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The national emergency commission said that 25 families were affected by the series of earthquakes that took place in the canton of Upala in the northern zone late Saturday and Sunday.

There were 25 homes in five communities that suffered damage, the commission said after a survey of the area. The communities are  El Macho, Altamira in Bijagua, Armenias, Guacalito in Canalete and Cuatro Bocas in Aguas Claras.

There also were some landslides, cracks in roadways, collapsed utility poles and damage to the water systems, said the commission.

The commission said that as a result of the quakes five persons were treated for nerves and one person suffered injuries when a television set fell.

Poás sends up a column of water

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Volcán Poás emitted a column of vapor and rock up to 200 meters above the level of the crater lake about 2:27 p.m. Tuesday.

That is the second time in a week that the volcano has done that.  The Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica said that the cause was overheating of underground water. There did not appear to be magma within the erupted material, the Observatorio said.

Our reader’s opinion
He is weeping for the United States

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

As a simple retired common person and veteran, here’s my personal reaction to Hillary and Bill’s actions of the past couple of weeks!

I honestly feel that the Clintons and Obama believe, and likely are, above the laws of the land, and, of course, us common folks. Bill’s meeting with the attorney general, Hillary’s response to the FBI interview, and now the ride to Florida on Air Force One, tell me that they are actually thumbing their noses at the rest of us, you news folks included!

I would love to watch a recording of Barack Obama and Hillary on the trip to Florida. They are likely sitting around drinking liquor that is beyond my budget, snacking on expensive treats, and laughing! Presumed conversation would be “Those actual citizen voters have no clue that they cannot do anything about our agenda.”

Remember this, the Democracy in the USA no longer exists, I saw that seven years ago, and moved to Costa Rica! Y’all get exactly what you deserve!

Hillary leaves no electronic evidence, much less a paper trail, Obama has none (all sealed), and there is no actual hard copy of voting records for a human recount! No one can prove anything in this century, and the Democrats and Republicans have arranged this for their own personal grips on power.

I support Mr. Trump, as he may actually poke a finger in the eye of political correctness, which I believe to be the root of most of your problems.

I weep for the U.S.A. that I was raised to believe in!
Glenn Klima

News from the Spanish-language press
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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, July 6, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 132
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Government gears up for yet another international campaign
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The central government is gearing up to formally support a candidate for secretary general of the United Nations. The candidate most likely is Karen Christiana Figueres Olsen.

The 59 year old is a long-time Costa Rica politician, the daughter of a legend and the sister of a former president.

Since 2010 she has been the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Casa Presidential plans a Thursday morning session at the Teatro Nacional for what it called the launching of a global candidacy.  The Luis Guillermo Solís administration has not said it is backing Ms. Figueres. But the Partido Liberación Nacional already has endorsed her candidacy. She is not yet among the 11 announced U.N. candidates.

Typically the secretary general is not from one of the countries that are permanent members of the Security Council, which makes the recommendation to the General Assembly.

There is a campaign to make the next secretary general a woman. The current holder of the office,  Ban Ki-moon, leaves Dec. 31.

Ms. Figueres has an uphill battle. Four woman already have joined the seven men in announcing their candidacies. They are Natalia Snegur-Gherman of Moldova, a former deputy prime minister; Helen Clark, a New Zealand politician; Irina Bokova, head of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and  Susana Malcorra of Argentina, a current under secretary general.

n addition, there are dozens of persons who may seek the office.
Karen Christiana Figueres Olsen

Just in Latin America there is speculation that involves Michelle Bachelet of Chile; Alicia Bárcena Ibarra, head of the  U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, and fellow Tica Rebeca Grynspan Mayufis, formerly of the  United Nations Development Programme.

German Chancellor  Angela Merkel also might be interested.

Los Chiles imposes a moratorium on expansion of pineapple fields
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Legislative sources reported Tuesday that the Municipalidad de Los Chiles  has imposed a five-year moratorium on the expansion of pineapple operations..

The action took place at a meeting of the Concejo Municipal. Specifically the council members said that no more permits would be issued for five years while the implications for hydrology is studied.

Chemicals used in pineapple culture are showing up in the water supplies. Among other supporters of the moratorium are lawmakers from the Partidoo Frente Amplio. The party reported the municipal action.

Municipal staffers are supposed to work with experts to determine the impact of pineapple production. However, it is possible that the municipal action will be challenged in court.

Some cases on exposure to chemicals already are in court.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, July 6, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 132
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U.S. coaches will teach American football basics this weekend
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Coaches from the United States will conduct an American football training clinic Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Parque la Sabana.

There is also a youth clinic on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for boys and girls from 10 to 15 years, also in la Sabana, and a clinic for American football coaches, also on Saturday, at 2 p.m in San Pedro.

The training clinic is under the name of  the University of
American Football. It is an academy that brings professional coaches of the United States to train and teach players and coaches in Costa Rica.

Head Coach Chris Adamson and other coaches of Viewpoint School in Los Angeles, California will teach basic football skills. There is a 5,000-colon participation fee that includes a T-shirt, gifts and a chance to win prizes, said the organizers.

Costa Rica has both male and female American football leagues.

The clinic is a new program. More informaiton is HERE!

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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Put Costa Rica on your walls
The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is the perfect place to find quality Costa Rican and international art for your home or office.  With over 60 artists and 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we have been your source for fine art since 2010.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever. Located just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport (towards the beaches).

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Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

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

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


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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, July 6, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 132
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Mrs. Clinton is off the hook
in FBI probe of her emails

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation says it is recommending no criminal charges be brought against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while she was secretary of State, lifting a major political and legal hurdle for the presumptive 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.

FBI Director James Comey sharply condemned Mrs. Clinton, who served as the country's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013, and her colleagues at the State Department for what he said Tuesday was their extremely careless handling of classified material they sent to each other via a private email server she established at her home in New York.

But Comey said FBI investigators in an extensive probe of thousands of Clinton's emails could not find evidence that she clearly, willfully sought to violate U.S. laws and that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case against her based on the evidence uncovered in the weeks-long investigation.

The FBI's probe of her use of the private email server, instead of a government server with tight security controls, culminated last Saturday with investigators and government prosecutors questioning her for three and a half hours at FBI headquarters in Washington.

Comey's statement came a week after a political uproar over an encounter Mrs. Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, had with the country's top law enforcement official, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, on an airport tarmac in Phoenix, Arizona.

Both Bill Clinton and Ms. Lynch said they chatted for half an hour, although not about the email case, but subsequently regretted doing so while Lynch was overseeing the email investigation.

Republicans and Democrats alike criticized Ms. Lynch's airport get-together with Bill Clinton.

Following Comey's announcement, Hillary Clinton's spokesman said the campaign is pleased the FBI will recommend no charges.

Shortly after learning of Comey's conclusion, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump denounced it on Twitter:

“FBI director said Crooked Hillary compromised our national security. No charges. Wow! #RiggedSystem”

During a rally in North Carolina, Trump called the FBI's conclusion disgraceful.

"I don't know about you, but I've always felt that Hillary Clinton would escape criminal charges for her dangerous and illegal behavior because I always knew, and I always see, and it's so sad, that our system is in fact rigged," Trump said.  "It's totally rigged.  It's corrupt."

Paul Ryan, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, said Comey's conclusion "defies explanation. Declining to prosecute Secretary Clinton for recklessly mishandling and transmitting national security information will set a terrible precedent."

When she first acknowledged use of the private email server more than a year ago, Mrs. Clinton said she did so for convenience, so that she would not have to carry two phones, one to handle government business and one to use for personal matters. But she quickly acknowledged that mixing official State Department business with personal emails was a mistake.

Well after she left office in early 2013, she deleted about 30,000 emails she and her lawyers deemed to be personal and turned another 30,000 official government-related emails over to the State Department, as she was required to do in any event because of government record-keeping regulations. But Comey said many more emails were discovered, as well.

Mrs. Clinton said she never sent or received emails that were marked as classified documents. But Comey said FBI investigators found that 110 emails in 52 email chains contained classified information at the time they were sent, with eight of the chains having top secret information.

Comey said investigators do not believe that Mrs. Clinton's emails were hacked by hostile, foreign interests. However, he said hostile actors gained access to private commercial interests that Mrs. Clinton corresponded with and that her extensive use of personal email outside the United States and in the territories of extensive adversaries makes it possible they gained access to her personal accounts.

One Democratic strategist, Robert Weiner, said, "The Republicans have had a myth for a long time, and it was more wishful thinking than reality, that Secretary Clinton did something wrong. The reality is that she did not send or receive anything marked classified at the time and she had no malicious intent to hide anything from the American people. It was sent as a matter of convenience.

"This might have been a wrong decision for judgment, but it was absolutely not an illegal decision. The FBI made precisely the right statement," Weiner said.

A Republican strategist, Paris Dennard, said he was disappointed, but not surprised, by Comey's conclusion, but thinks the American public will not accept it.

"You can say that she doesn’t get the charges," Dennard said. "But in the court of public opinion and the American people, they know what the truth is. That’s why she continues to suffer when it comes to the American people looking at how they view her as being someone who they can trust and someone who has credibility."

National polling shows Mrs. Clinton with about a 5 percentage-point edge over Trump four months before the Nov. 8 election to pick the successor to President Barack Obama, who leaves office in January. Polls typically have a margin of error of about 3 percentage points higher or lower.

Ex-Guantanamo inmate
picked up in terror sweep

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A former detainee at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is among 30 people Turkish authorities say they have arrested in connection with last week's terrorist attack at Istanbul's Ataturk airport.

A source inside the small North Caucasus Muslim diaspora in Turkey said that Airat Vakhitov, who spent two years in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility after he was captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2001, was arrested Tuesday. Reporters have no confirmation of his arrest from Turkey's government.

Tuesday Western media quoted Turkish government officials as saying the nation's security services had arrested 30 people suspected of involvement in the terrorist attack, which Ankara believes was the work of the Islamic State group. According to Turkish government sources, 11 of those arrested are Russian citizens.

Salman Sever, spokesman for the Association of the Russian-Speaking Mujahidin in Turkey, which also goes by the name Union of Honor and to which Vakhitov belongs, confirmed Vakhitov's arrest in an interview.

"We hope Airat will be released soon," Sever said.

Russia's security services have accused Vakhitov of fighting in Syria and Iraq alongside terrorist groups, as well as recruiting foreign fighters for the Islamic State and other groups, and raising funds for terrorists.

Vakhitov, 39, is an ethnic Tatar from the city of Naberezhnye Chelny in the Russian republic of Tatarstan.

In late 2001, Vakhitov was detained by U.S. troops in Afghanistan among other Taliban fighters and transferred to Guantanamo Bay, where he spent two years before the U.S. government handed him and six other Russian citizens over to Russia in 2004. Shortly after arriving home, Vakhitov was released by a Russian court, which found no evidence of his alleged terrorist activities.

Congressional report blasts
medical care for veterans

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Health care operations at the Department of Veterans Affairs still show profound deficiencies and require urgent reform, according to a report to be released Wednesday by a congressional commission charged with fixing the troubled agency.

Congress created the Commission on Care in 2014 as part of a $16 billion reform law meant to overhaul Veterans Affairs, after an audit revealed that some veterans of military service had to wait as long as 90 days to see a doctor. Some veterans were reported to have died while waiting for an appointment.

The commission's report says the Veterans Affairs delivers high-quality care, but the care is inconsistent among the health care centers for veterans. Problems with access to care also remain, it says.

"America's veterans deserve a better organized, high-performing health care system," the commission wrote.

President Barack Obama in a statement released late Tuesday said he would review the report closely.

"We will continue to work with veterans, Congress and our partners in the veteran advocacy community to further our ongoing transformation of the veterans' health care system," Obama said. "Our veterans deserve nothing less for their sacrifices and their service."

Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald said many of the panel's recommendations are in line with ongoing efforts to transform the VA into what McDonald calls a veteran-centric organization.

Three members of the 15-member board declined to endorse the 292-page report, The Arizona Republic reported. Two of those members issued a statement saying the findings and recommendations fall far short of what is needed to fix the health care system, the newspaper said.

The congressional commission cites a variety of issues still plaguing the system, including inadequate staffing, inefficient use of staff and antiquated facilities.

The scandal was first revealed in an audit of Veterans Affairs health care facilities in 2014. At the time, it was reported that 100,000 veterans had experienced delays of more than 90 days while waiting for appointments at veterans' medical centers. A number of officials were accused of altering paperwork to cover up the long waiting periods and other problems.

In fallout from the scandal, four senior executives were fired in October 2014.

The 2014 law, the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act, aimed to make it easier and faster for former U.S. service members to get medical treatment.

It also provided funds for veterans to see private doctors if they were unable to be examined at a Veterans Affairs hospital, allowed for the hiring of more doctors and nurses and made it easier to fire incompetent bureaucrats.

The Veterans Health Administration treats nearly 9 million veterans at 1,700 facilities around the country.

Mega Millions lottery fails
to produce a Tuesday winner

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Mega Millions lottery jackpot continues to grow, reaching a staggering $508 million for Friday night's drawing, making it potentially the seventh largest in U.S. history.

The game's prize has rolled over 35 times since the last winner was picked March 8.

There was no winner again Tuesday night when the winning numbers were  29, 64, 46, 53, 73 and 10 as the mega.

"This is our longest roll ever, by far,'' said Paula Otto, executive director of the Virginia Lottery and lead director for Mega Millions, which is managed by a consortium of lottery organizations. The previous record was 22 rollovers.

The highest jackpot drawn in the country was a $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot won in January by players in three states.

If no winner is picked Tuesday for Mega Millions, the jackpot is expected to grow by another $50 million.

Mega Millions is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Players pick five numbers between 1 and 75, and one Mega number from 1 to 15.

The odds of matching all six numbers are 1 in 258,890,850.

Pasta gets some high marks
from Italian research team

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Great news for pasta lovers. A study by researchers in Italy suggests it doesn’t make people fat and may even reduce the chances of obesity.

Writing in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, researchers say the Mediterranean diet staple “contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference and better waist-hip ratio."

The findings from the Department of Epidemiology at the Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care Mediterranean Neurologic Institute in Pozzilli, Italy, were based on an analysis of the diets of more than 23,000 people.

"In popular views, pasta is often considered not adequate when you want to lose weight. And some people completely ban it from their meals,” said Licia Iacoviello, head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology at the institute. “In light of this research, we can say that this is not a correct attitude.”

Iacoviello, however, added that pasta should be consumed in moderation as part of a diet that includes a variety of Mediterranean staples such as fresh vegetables and fruits, unrefined grains, nuts, olive oil and legumes, among others.

Many studies have shown that a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Opinions on new Chinese law
appear to be a mixed bag

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Hong Kong group advocating for workers' rights in mainland China says the country has taken a step forward by passing a new law to regulate overseas non-governmental organizations.

Hong Kong-based China Labour Bulletin is one of the overseas non-governmental organizations covered by the law, and its positive view of that Chinese law contrasts with strong criticisms from human rights activists and even the U.S. government.

Beijing approved the Law on the Management of Overseas NGO Activities Within Mainland China in April. When it takes effect on Jan. 1, the non-governmental organizations will come under supervision of the Chinese Ministry of Public Security.

The law gives the overseas non-governmental organizations two options. One is to register a representative office in mainland China with the ministry. The second is for the non-governmental organizations to declare that they are operating in the country temporarily with a Chinese partner organization or sponsor.

“I think we need to see the NGO law for what it is,” said Shawn Shieh, China Labour Bulletin’s deputy director, while visiting Washington last week. He called the law “an attempt to regulate a sector that has not been regulated before in any comprehensive way."

Shieh said overseas non-governmental organizations have been looking to Beijing for guidance on what they can and cannot do since the 1990s, when he said they started coming to China in significant numbers.

He also said Beijing is promising to support non-governmental organizations who have questions about the registration process, indicating that it values their presence.

“I think the Chinese government’s recognition that overseas NGOs play an important, valuable role in the country is not a bad thing,” Shieh said.

Beijing has said the law is intended to clarify the non-governmental organizations’ legal rights and obligations in mainland China.

Chinese leaders also have said the measure has a national security element, banning overseas non-governmental organizations from engaging in activities deemed harmful to Chinese national interests.

Such language has angered human rights activists. One group, Chinese Human Rights Defenders, has called for the law to be repealed, saying Beijing will use it to suffocate China's already beleaguered independent organizations.

The Obama administration also has expressed concern. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said last month the law will create an unwelcome environment for overseas non-governmental organizations in China, while the U.S. National Security Council said in April it will further narrow the space for Chinese civil society.

China Labour Bulletin deputy director Shieh offered a different perspective, saying he does not see Beijing’s new non-governmental organization registration system narrowing the space for his group to operate.

"Chinese public security probably already knows a lot about what we and other NGOs are doing,” he said. “They talk to our partners and take them ‘out to tea’, which is a euphemism for basically interrogating individuals about their activities. So I do not think the law’s notification requirement is adding anything new to what the authorities already know."

U.S. bond yields reported
at record lows for the day

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Yields on long-term U.S. government bonds and notes fell to record low levels Tuesday, as global investors went on a buying spree in the hope of escaping the turbulence that has roiled financial markets following Britain's Brexit vote to leave the European Union.

U.S. Treasury 10-year notes closed at 1.37 percent, after touching an intraday low point of 1.357 percent. The previous low rate for the benchmark notes was 1.404 percent in July 2012, during a sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone.

In a widespread round of descending yields, rates on 10-year government debt also fell to historic lows in Germany, Switzerland, France, Denmark, Sweden and Britain itself. For many investors, however, U.S. bonds and notes seemed to be the safest alternative.

Because interest rates are inversely proportional to bond prices, Tuesday's fluctuations meant bonds were trading at prices high above their face value.

The yield on 30-year U.S. Treasury bonds sank to 2.138 percent, another record. Similar price trends prevailed in trading for 5- and 7-year Treasuries.

The return to record low yields on U.S. government securities, just six months after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised its benchmark short-term interest rate for the first time in a decade, stunned investors and policymakers alike, financial reporters said.

Most investors had been anticipating a rising trend in T-bill yields this year. But after Tuesday's trading, market experts analyzing federal funds futures data said they now expect the Fed to keep interest rates steady for some time to come, possibly throughout 2017.

Robots now parking cars,
greeting hospital visitors

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Industrial robots started replacing humans long ago in tedious and dangerous jobs, such as welding thousands of identical parts for vehicles. Today, more sophisticated robots are capable of precisely lifting and moving huge loads, such as railway engines, or sorting merchandise for rapid shipment from massive warehouses.

Skeptics say robots’ future as autonomous drivers might be a bit murky, but they can handle parallel parking like a pro. A robot valet named Geta can easily maneuver a car into a tight space that many drivers would bypass as too risky.

Marco Wu, head of Yeefung Automation Technology, the Chinese firm that developed Geta, says the robot can safely park a car in about two minutes.

"The robot can go everywhere without tracks, which is free and versatile and will reform parking in the future," he said.

Geta looks like a platform on wheels. Directed by a laser guidance system, it slides under a car, lifts it up and rolls it into an available parking space before lowering it and rolling away. Wu says that, besides saving maneuvering time, Geta needs up to 40 percent less space when it positions a car, which could be crucial, especially in big cities.

Another more human-like robot recently began working as receptionist at a hospital in Ostend, Belgium. Pepper, built by Zora Bots, can speak 19 languages and analyze voice tones and facial expressions. Its job is to greet patients, provide basic information and show them to appropriate rooms. With a full battery, the robot can work for up to 20 hours.

Standing just over a meter high, Pepper is not considered intimidating to children, and it rolls along at a slow pace that allows even elderly patients to keep up. Developers say Pepper's main job is to make people feel better in a hospital setting.

Real estate-related services (paid category)
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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:

Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
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For more i

Axiom two
The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
For more information
Click HERE!

Axiom three
Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
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    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)

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

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:

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

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, Wednesday, July 6, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 132
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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
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona  photo   
The bean is a major Costa Rican food source

Researchers find drought-resistant beans

By the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

A combination of characteristics is the key to success for the genetic improvement of beans to make them resistant to droughts, according to a new study. The research can improve crop yield in Central and South America, Africa and Mexico, said a summary from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

The International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia  also was involved.

The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is the most important food legume in the tropics. It is an inexpensive source of proteins and minerals for almost 400 million people, mainly from Africa and Latin America. It is generally cultivated by small farmers and subject to conditions limiting their productivity. Drought affects 60 percent of bean crops around the world and can cause from 10 percent in productivity losses to a total of 100 percent in some cases.

Researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the Bean Programme at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia have identified drought-resistant genotypes and the morpho-physiological characteristics related to this resistance. The experiments were conducted in Palmira, Colombia, from June to September in 2012 and 2013, and the results were recently published in Frontiers in Plant Science.

For researcher at the university Plant Physiology Laboratory and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture José Arnulfo Polanía,

"The experiments demonstrate that there is no dominant morph-physiological characteristic but rather a strategic combination of several characteristics which confers this resistance to drought onto specific varieties of beans," said researcher José Arnulfo Polanía. "We determined which specific characteristics belonged to each area, depending on whether or not the land retained moisture and whether the droughts were intermittent or ongoing." He is with the university plant physiology laboratory and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture

The study has revealed this strategic combination of characteristics, the key to succeeding in the genetic improvement of drought resistance. After evaluating 36 advanced bean lines, obtained by crossing different varieties, and taking into account the results of different parameters related to the use of water, growth and production, the lines of drought-resistant beans were classified into two groups: water savers and spenders.

The water saver genotypes were identified for having several characteristics which allow them to save water: less opening of the stomas, small leaves, moderate growth, and efficiency in remobilizing carbon from the leaves and stems to the formation of sheath and grain. These genotypes are suitable for cultivation in semi-arid regions where extreme droughts are common and the land does not retain much moisture, as can be found in areas of Central America, Africa and the south of Mexico.

In contrast, the water spender genotypes include a system of deep roots which maximize water extraction, allowing them to grow more, combined with an efficient remobilization of their reserves through the stem and leaves to the formation of sheath and grains, thus producing more grain even under stressful drought conditions. These are appropriate for areas with intermittent droughts, on soils which can retain moisture. These areas correspond to Central America, South America and Africa.

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From Page 7:

Development firm donates endangered trees

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Axiom Development Group, a luxury residential, commercial, urban, recreational and resort development firm, has donated of 100 mountain almond trees for reforestation along the southwestern Pacific coast of Costa Rica.

The donation is particularly significant due to the endangered and protected status of the mountain almond tree, scientifically known as Dipteryx Panmensis, said the Uvita firm in its announcement. The trees form an important part of the natural habitat of Central America’s great green macaw, which is another endangered species that the regeneration process will help to protect, it said.

The donation is in keeping with the company’s commitment to taking sustainable development to new levels, the initiative adds new meaning to the concept of giving back to the community, the company said.

The 100 trees were delivered to Pedro Porras, director of Parque Nacional Marino Ballena. He is charged with the protection of 270 acres of land and 13,300 acres of ocean along Costa Rica’s southwestern coast, the firm noted.

"Our strategic vision from the beginning has been to integrate our development projects into the environments in which we build,” notes Michael Himes, a founding partner of Axiom Development Group, along with Blake Delatte. “Our projects in the Costa Ballena region have taken that concept to new heights, and this initiative takes us one step beyond the definition of rain forest preservation.”

The 100 trees come from the company’s own nursery at its Élan at Ballena Beach development. The nursery holds 22,000 native plants and approximately 1,000 trees.