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Published Tuesday Edition
July 11, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 136
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Units from the university conduct inspections on mosquito breeding-grounds.
Mosquito-borne illnesses could be misdiagnosed
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Mosquito-borne illnesses in Costa Rica could be misdiagnosed for some infected persons as medical specialists enact a clinical diagnosis based on symptoms rather than actual lab tests.

More than 20,000 people in Costa Rica are diagnosed with dengue and chikungunya, but the symptoms of both conditions could be generating some false medical diagnoses for the infected people.

This was all revealed following a new analysis of the Universidad de Costa Rica’s Centro de Investigación en Matemática Pura y Aplicada. According to the university, the center applied a mathematical model between the number of dengue outbreaks and chikungunya cases reported by the Ministerio de Salud between 2015 and 2016.

According to Fabio Sánchez, one of the lead researchers, Costa Rica reported 145 cases of chikungunya in 2014 but for several weeks in 2015, there was no increase in the number of reported cases.

In the same period, however, the number of reported cases of dengue increased considerably and faster than previous years, the university said. The number of chikungunya victims by 2015 was 4,912, while dengue increased from 11,140 cases in 2014 to 17,258 in the same period.

The mathematical model showed that the chikungunya cases decreased during the rainy season when, by all accounts, it should have increased. This is due not only to the climate, but also because the disease was completely introduced in the country, the study said.

"Dengue first came to Costa Rica about 20 years ago,” Sánchez said.

“In 2005 it affected almost 38 thousand people. Chikungunya subsequently appeared in 2014. Dengue, having spent more time in the country, is the main referent of suspicion."

"The similarity of symptoms between the two viruses could cause chikungunya to be diagnosed as dengue. The study warns health authorities about this likelihood, which is critical to providing adequate treatment," he added.

Usually the symptoms between the two, mosquito-borne illnesses do not become prominent until the effects start becoming severe with time.

Sánchez said that the likelihood of a misdiagnosis could affect, in the long run, how the dynamics of dengue and chikungunya are understood, as well as promoting prevention policies and provide a correct medical approach to people who have the disease.

The university said that, since 2009, the country has diagnosed both illnesses with clinical symptoms and blood testing in selective cases.

According to Dr. Eugenia Corrales Aguilar, a researcher at the Centro de Investigación en Enfermedades Tropicales, the country needs to perform lab tests to diagnose with certainty which of the three is actually infecting the patient.

The specialist advised that the patient undergo rapid screening tests and not rely solely on an early, clinical prognosis.

The virology lab at the Universidad de Costa Rica remains the only one in the country that can actually isolate the four types of dengue in order to identify the actual cases of people carrying the virus, the university said.

Esferas de
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo   
Mysterious stone spheres are getting some money to keep rolling along.
Costa Rica receives U.S. cultural preservation fund
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

For the first time, Costa Rica will be receiving funds from the United States’ Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.

The fund is part of a program under the U.S. State Dept. that first began back in 2001 and has since donated more than $55 million to 870 projects around the world, according to the U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica, S. Fitzgerald Haney. For Costa Rica, $38,500 will be going in support of the preservation of the Diquís spheres located in the Zona Sur region.

The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud, along with the U.S. Embassy, said in a joint statement that the money would be used to fund a hydrological study analyzing the behavior of the Earth’s soil and layers around the Finca 6 archaeological site. The surrounding rivers around the site have covered the evidence with sediments.

A.M. Costa Rica confirmed from Ambassador Haney that the funds donated to Costa Rica should be approved under the Trump administration’s plans for the State Department’s budget.

This comes in spite of the administration’s overtures that seek to significantly reduce the departmental budget and slash funding for some Central American countries by at least a third.

Haney said that officials in Washington do understand the importance of these funds in support of not only cultural preservation but also for maintaining a positive presence of the United States abroad. He did not believe that the Ambassador’s Fund was under risk of being cut from the budget under the Trump team.

The study will be conducted between July 2017 and December 2018 so that the Museo Nacional, which maintains administration over the sites, can make more informed decisions on how to redirect those waters, in addition to protecting and preserving the sites.

                              on Stones
Museo Nacional photo   
Rocío Fernández, Sylvie Durán and Haney.

The Embassy added that this merely represents part of the commitment for developing the Zona Sur area as it is considered by all accounts to be one of the least-developed and poorest regions of Costa Rica.

“The preservation of the cultural heritage is a task that belongs to us all, and in that line, the support of the United States Embassy to achieve this goal represents an important advance for the pre-Columbian spheres of Diquís,” Sylvie Durán, the cultural minister, said.  “These are sites that hold true treasures with a world-class historical value.”

The Museo Nacional claims the sites to be of significance in studying the cacique societies and their complex socio-political structures prior to the Spanish conquest of the region beginning in the 16th century.

The culture is believed to have thrived between 300 and 1500 C.E., according to Museo Nacional archaeologists.

“The sites contain artificial mounds, roadways and paved areas, funerary areas and their most significant feature is the presence of the characteristic stone spheres, which stand out for their perfection, their variety of size and their location in special locations,” Francisco Corrales, an archaeologist attached to Museo Nacional said in a statement.

“These spheres are an exceptional example of the extraordinary artistic and technical capacity of pre-Columbian cacique societies.”

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Published || Tuesday Edition, July 11, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 136
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Number of people using Caja services
exceeds the Costa Rican population

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Health records from the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social indicate that 5.23 million people accessed its health services. That number also happens to exceed the population of Costa Rican citizens.

According to Manuel Rodríguez Arce, the director of the Expediente Digital Único en Salud that conducts these statistical analyses, the figure exceeds the population of Costa Rica due to attention likely being given to the migrant population who are not registered as residents.

The purpose of this information-gathering is to figure out how to plan and redistribute institutional resources for health services. The module used to record this is called the Sistema Integrados de Agendas y Citas, the Caja said. This is installed within 16 of 29 hospitals.

Rodríguez said that all of the hospitals have the admissions and expenses module that allows authorities to know in a click the current occupancy of the establishment based on type of service or length of stay. This is particularly important when considering the fundamental question: how many beds are available?

Meanwhile, the surgical module is in 89 percent of the hospitals excluding some of the major ones in San José like Hospital Calderón Guardia, México and the Hospital Nacional de Niños. This is basically the primary list for surgeries to figure out who is next. It also helps to detail the nature of the surgery performed, its results and updates.

Blood drive goes to Grecia and Zarcero

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Residents from the communities of Grecia and Zarcero will have an opportunity to donate blood on July 16 and 30, according to a statement sent by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

The call to donate is being made by the Banco Nacional de Sangre, that is seeking to have enough of a blood supply to take care of patients from traffic accidents, those sick with leukemia or those who need a transplant or may face major surgery.

Residents of Zarcero can make their donations July 16 in the Parish Hall from 8 a.m. until noon. On the 30, residents of Grecia may head up to the local Christian center, which will be the donation site on the same schedule, the blood bank said.

Each donor is extracted between 400 and 500 milliliters of blood, which represents only 10 percent of the total blood flow. The body recovers that amount of blood in just 24 hours with proper hydration. All donors must be at least 18 years old, weight over 100 pounds, be in good health and carry the required identity or residence card.

They are also asked to have a light breakfast: coffee or other drinks without milk, bread, cookies with jam, fruit and plenty of water. After the donation, it is advised to drink something hot, to not practice heavy physical activity or sports and not to smoke.

A healthy person can donate every three to four months without endangering his or her health, according to the Caja.

In case donors take medication, have hepatitis, have a tattoo or perforations, are pregnant or menstruating, they should tell the doctor during the interview and he or she will assess if the donation can be performed or not.

Labor group finds flaw in pension study

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new analysis issued by the International Labor Organization found methodological problems in the most recent study about the financial health of the country's main pension regime, administered by the Casa Costarricense de Seguro Social.

The study with the alleged methodological problems was made by the School of Mathematics at Universidad de Costa Rica in 2015. Based on that study, the Caja authorities recently approved a one percent hike in the amount of workers’ contribution to the system. The measure angered labor unions who went on strike at the end of July and are still fuming that there has been no change in the hike. It also caused the resignation of Rocío Pérez as president of the Caja.

They review of the first study was prepared by the Public Finance, Actuarial and Statistics Unit of the Department of Social Protection of the International Labor Organization.

The document points out three methodological problems. The first one is an inadequate demographic modeling, which generates a critical overestimation of the future population either affiliated or retired. The second problem would be an incorrect financial modeling affected by the prior methodological problems. The formula to calculate future wages and pensions is not accurate, according to the document.

In addition, the analysis says that the university model generates a considerable overestimation of the accumulation of retirement rights in the future.

“The model simulates the amount of contributors, but only to calculate the contributions, and not to evaluate the acquisition of retirement rights. Both decisions are technically incorrect, "the document said.

The first analysis, now under review,  warned that if urgent measures are not taken, the pensions regime of the Caja may start facing financial trouble as early as 2028. If by that date no new income sources have been secured, the pensions regime will be forced to use its reserve funds, which would be exhausted by 2034.

To deal with this critical matter, the Caja established a negotiations table to propose short and long-term solutions. Some of the ideas proposed by the Universidad included increasing the retirement age to 70-years-old and increasing workers’ contributions by upwards of 27 percent of their income in the next 17 years.

"This report totally disqualifies the official Caja arguments to punish the working people by imposing an unfair increase in the contribution," said Albino Vargas, president of the Asociación Nacional de Trabajadores Públicos y Privados, one of the countries biggest unions.

Now that new information has been disclosed, the unions are demanding the  the board of directors of the Caja to reverse the hike in contributions or at least to cancel half of the increase, which will come into effect in January 2018.

Workers representatives said to have an scheduled meeting with President Luis Guillermo Solís on Wednesday, where they will explain the new findings.

Man detained for impersonating officer

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Out of nowhere, amidst a dispute between tenants and police officers, one man rushed in pretending to be an officer of the fiscal police, while waving a fake ID card to prove his authority in Lotes Volio, San José.

According to a report from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, a real police officer had a hunch and made a phone call. The man did not belong to any police corps anywhere and was detained.

Among his belongings was more evidence of the man's shattered dream of authority: a complete Fuerza Pública uniform.

Police said the man lived in Granadilla, Curridabat. He is 36 years old and was taken to the local prosecutor's office.

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Translated into English

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Published || Tuesday Edition, July 11, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 136
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Artify Jacó spreads local pride and rich imagery in art and murals
By Rommel Téllez of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Seeking to provide a sense of pride for their city and raise awareness of the natural richness around them, a group of three Jacó residents have started the Artify Jacó project, an initiative based on murals and visual arts.

The project started back in 2016, when a temporary resident had the idea of bringing a famous muralist to the city and providing him with a space to showcase his art. The result was a successful one so the rest of the friends decided to continue with it.

“When I was younger, I loved music, painting and arts in general,” said Wendy Greenwald, one of the members of the project. “I now want my kids to have that experience around them, which I know will be inspiring.”

By relying on private donors, Artify has now brought the talent of Jade Rivera, a Peruvian master muralist who started working on his project last Monday at a place that will be later disclosed.

The Artify Project also created an interactive initiative called #findyourwings, which encourages people to take photos of themselves with wing themed backgrounds.

“Our project comes from the community for the community,” added Ms. Greenwald.

"We also pay artists for their work, since sometimes they are asked to work for free and we don't believe that's right. Finally we are apolitical, so the space is open to any one who wants to participate.”

When asked if this project sought to improve the reputation of Jacó in terms of sex industry and drugs, Ms. Greenwald said that's just a part of any city and with the initiative the whole place will become more beautiful.

Artify Jacó
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Lucia Carro    
Abandoned structure turned to art near Miro Jacó.

As of now, the group has not approached the municipality or any other government organization, because things get done faster on their own, she explained.

Any one interested in participating as an artist or a donor of money or supplies, should contact the Artify Jacó HERE.

Health study on Nicoya blue zone began this weekend, Caja says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A detailed study on the health conditions of centenarians began this weekend in the Nicoya peninsula, province of Guanacaste.

The province is considered to be one of the five blue zones of the world, or a place where a significant portion of the population is over 100 years old and in good health.

Other blue areas in the world are the island of Sardinia in Italy, Ikaria in Greece, Okinawa in Japan and Loma Linda in California, according to a study by National Geographic.

NatGeo also created a documentary about the lives of the inhabitants from those places.

Fernando Morales, director of the Hospital Nacional de Geriatría y Gerontología, explained that during the weekend a group of geriatricians and gerontologists traveled to Nicoya to start the research and thus explain the longevity of this population.

The health authorities have already identified 42 centenarians who will undergo a complete medical check-up.

Some of the tests are electrocardiograms, blood tests, nutritional studies, blood pressure, hearing and visual tests as well as cognitive cognitive studies.

The evaluation was carried out in the houses of the volunteers by a team of 12 doctors with the help of portable technology to allow a faster checkup. The research also involves professionals in statistics, psychology and nutrition. The study is expected to include four more visits to the Península de Nicoya.

The Centro de Enseñanza e Investigación en Salud y Seguridad Social and the health offices from Nicoya, Hojancha, Santa Cruz, Nandayure and Hospital La Anexión are supporting the effort.

In addition, the investigation has received support from the  Fundación Costarricense para la Enseñanza y la Investigación en Gerontología y Geriatría, as well as the the support of the universities of Harvard, Boston and Denmark.

According to Morales, the research involves several months of preparation. The goal is to finish the study in 2018. In the country there are 626 people older than 100 years, according to data from Ministerio de Salud.

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Published || Tuesday Edition, July 11, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 136
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Exposing baby cacao plants to adult microbes reduces infection
By the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
press staff

Those who crave brownies or hot cocoa may be happy to hear that heroes too small to be seen may help to protect the world’s chocolate supply.

Scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panamá found that exposing baby cacao plants to microbes from healthy adult cacao plants reduced the plant’s chance of becoming infected with the serious cacao pathogen, Phytopthora palmivora, by half. The researchers’ study was published in “Proceedings of the Royal Society B” on July 5.

“When human babies pass through the birth canal, their bodies pick up a suite of bacteria and fungi from their mother. These microbes strengthen their immune system and make the baby healthier,” said Natalie Christian, doctoral student at the University of Indiana and lead author of the paper.

“We showed that an analogous process happens in plants: adult cacao trees also pass along protective microbes to baby cacao plants.”

Researchers have investigated the interactions between plants and their microbes for the past 20 years. They were the first to show that in tropical forests, where cacao grows, every leaf is home to hundreds of different fungi and bacteria, and that applying helpful microbes to leaves in field treatments protected cacao from disease. Researchers found that specific fungal species, such as Colletotrichum tropicale, protect plants from the pathogens and insects that eat them.

Research has also shown that, as with humans, microbes stimulate plants’ ability to defend themselves and has demonstrated the magnitude and extent of endophyte effects on host genetic expression.

The team first grew cacao plants from sterile seeds in sterile chambers so that they had no resident fungi in their leaves.

Then they divided the baby plants into groups, placing dead leaves from healthy cacao plants in one set of pots, mixed leaves from the forest floor in another set and no leaves in the third set, giving different sets of microbes the first chance to land on and colonize the virgin leaves of the young plants.

Cacao seedlings
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute photo     
Exposing cacao tree seedlings to leaf litter from cacao adults significantly reduced seedling pathogen damage.

Then the researchers took the plants out into the forest, mimicking the  natural process by which young leaves are gradually colonized by fungi swirling in the air or contained in water droplets when it rains.

Finally, the team brought the seedlings back into the greenhouse and infected them with the pathogen Phytopthora palmivora, literally, plant destroyer, which accounts for 10 to 20 percent of the loss in cacao production worldwide.

Three weeks later, they took stock of the damage. The plants exposed to healthy cacao leaves experienced significantly less damage than plants grown without the exposure. In addition, the leaves of the seedlings grown with leaf litter from healthy cacao plants showed only half of the damage sustained by plants grown with mixed-leaf litter from the forest floor.

To see if this result could be explained by the microbes inside the leaves, the team used two different methods: the traditional method of placing leaf pieces on agar-coated petri plates to see what fungi grew and directly sequencing the DNA from surface-sterilized leaves.

“Not only did this show us that starting seedlings out surrounded by leaves from healthy adults may vastly improve their health, a result potentially very important to the cacao industry, for the first time, we are beginning to understand how microbial communities assemble on leaves of cacao and other species in nature and what may influence their ability to protect plants,” said Allan Herre, co-author for the study.

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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, and Lifestyle Guide. Email :

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Fine Furniture of Sarchi - Sarchi, Costa Rica
All our handcrafted products are made in Sarchi with pride and quality by artisans who are dedicated to designing, crafting, and delivering our furniture to you. Please visit our website and send us a picture and specifications of what YOU like, or just send us pictures from anywhere you wish. We will quote you right back with a more than competitive price and an on-time delivery date. Delivery and set up available throughout Costa Rica. We have different Costa Rican woods from which you may choose.
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ax Accountant Licensed by the I.R.S.
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Let’s discuss your tax situation.

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

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

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

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

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

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NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
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Side of Pura Vida

A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page

Salsa Lizano
Published || Tuesday Edition, July 11, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 136
Real Estate
About us
El Bus TV live
Voice of America photo     
Claudia Lizardo reads news report.

Quest for fair information
drives Venezuela’s bus TV

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Claudia Lizardo and her boyfriend were riding a public bus in Venezuela's capital city one day in spring when the vehicle passed an anti-government demonstration, with people running from security forces amid clouds of tear gas.

"There was a lot of anguish in the street," recalled Ms. Lizardo, a 29-year-old creative director for a digital content studio. But she was troubled that other riders seemed impassive. "The people were completely isolated."

Or, maybe they weren't sufficiently aware. She and several others surmised in deciding to address possible information gaps via a truly mobile news platform, El Bus TV. Now, they and imitators elsewhere in Venezuela are boarding public buses, delivering news bulletins while framing their faces with cardboard TV screens.

Getting impartial information can be a challenge in Venezuela, where journalists operate in a restrictive environment, legacy news operations promote government views, and at least half the country's 31 million people lack internet access to seek information on their own.

Venezuela's socialist government began clamping down on independent news media after Hugo Chavez came to power in 1992, according to the U.S.-based website Nieman Reports, and Nicolas Maduro continued the practice when he became president in 2014.

Nieman provided an account as of early June: "Five television channels have been closed and nine removed from cable television subscription services; 62 radio stations have gone off the air because of official prohibitions; and the government has fined media outlets 32 times." That has created an atmosphere of intimidation, censorship and self-censorship among some media outlets, Nieman observed.

Though she personally opposes Maduro's policies, Ms. Lizardo said she and her colleagues strive to present even-handed, fact-based reports in buses predominantly serving poor neighborhoods. She spoke with Voice of America last week about El Bus TV in an interview edited for length and clarity.

VOA: Who operates El Bus TV?

Ms. Lizardo: Long-time journalist Laura Castillo is a co-founder. We teamed up to give more journalistic structure to El Bus TV, which is basically a mobile television newscast.

Laura and I decided that we would go out on the street on May 27, the 10th anniversary of the closing of Radio Caracas Televisión, a very important channel for Venezuelans. We met with four friends in communications: María Gabriela Fernández, Víctor Rodríguez, Nicolás Manzano and Abril Mejía. We've been doing this as honestly as we can. There have been replicas throughout the country, with about 50 people participating.

How do riders respond to El Bus TV?

It is rather strange that a group of people should raise a cardboard frame to tell news on a bus, so we try to do it with the greatest respect and the greatest [commitment to] truth and balance. People have reacted marvelously -- 90 to 95 percent of the time, they applaud at the end of the broadcast.

Some people do not agree with certain information; then there are debates. If someone raises an opinion, another passenger responds and the team is not part of this debate. Bus TV raises the news, both sides of the coin, with statements from both parties.

Often, drivers do not want to charge us.

How frequently does El Bus TV deliver the news?

This has been changing and growing. We originals all have jobs from 9 to 6, so we have been doing this activity in our spare time. We don't do breaking news. The original group usually goes out twice a week, the other teams that have been replicating us do it when they can. There are many students.

Has there been any trouble, theft or violence, against you or other passengers when El Bus TV delivers the news?

Not yet, thank God. We board a bus with a team of five people, not just two, making it more complicated to steal from us.

How do you feel about informing the public during these difficult times in Venezuela?

It's emotional. It was traditional for Venezuelans to have access to simple and truthful information. In that sense, we are returning a little to the roots of journalism – to pure, direct journalism. Contact with people is extremely important to us.

We are completely independent, do not respond to the interests of any party or political personality. This is a serious journalistic exercise to really give the news in a balanced way. We haven't gotten any negative reaction from the government.

12 illegal immigrants saved
from sweltering box truck

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Police in the U.S. state of Texas have rescued 12 migrants from a sweltering box truck and charged three people with human smuggling.

The rented truck had been parked for hours at a Houston strip mall, until passersby heard people, 10 men, one woman and a teenaged girl, who were locked inside banging on the truck's walls and crying for help.

Temperatures were above 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Farenheit, inside the vehicle. Police who rescued the group said they were exhausted and soaked in sweat, but would recover.

"Thirty more minutes and this could have been a dozen homicide cases," said Harris County First Assistant District Attorney Tom Berg. "The quick action of the Houston police is commendable."

All the migrants are believed to have come from Latin America, and could be deported once they regain their health. They are in custody, awaiting action by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

The three people charged with human trafficking in the case face criminal charges punishable by up to 20 years in prison. They are each being held on $300,000 bond.

At least nine confirmed dead
in Perú bus crash Sunday

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

At least nine people were killed and 25 others injured when a tourist bus flipped on its side and plunged off a cliff in Perú Sunday night, authorities said.

Perú's Ministry of Health said in a statement on its website that the accident happened about 2 kilometers from the presidential palace in Lima. The bus had likely been traveling at excessive speed, the ministry said

The double-decker bus, carrying about 50 passengers, including children, was driving on San Cristobal hill to give the tourists a panoramic view of the city.

Authorities are working to confirm the identity of the victims, but media reports say at least two children were among the dead.

At least two foreign nationals, a Canadian and a Chilean, are thought to be among the injured.

Bus and other vehicle accidents in the South American country are commonplace due to its mountainous terrain

FARC disarming
United Nations photo       
U.N. worker holds surrendered FARC weapon.

U.N. helps Colombian rebels
transition to new civilian life

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Monday aimed at helping Colombian rebels return to civilian life after a peace deal halted 52 years of guerrilla warfare. The conflict has killed more than 250,000 people and displaced more than 7 million.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, or FARC, founded in 1964 as an armed wing of the Communist Party, began laying down its weapons on June 27. The concession was part of a historic peace agreement reached by the rebels and the Colombian government. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos received the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring about the deal.

The resolution establishes the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia, which will begin once the current U.N. mission to oversee the cease-fire and disarmament process expires September 17. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has 45 days to make recommendations on the scope of the new mission.

Britain drafted the new U.N. resolution, recognizing that as 10,000 rebels begin new lives as civilians, the peace process is entering a challenging new phase.

"Experience from our own history in Northern Ireland has taught us that the hardest part remains ahead," British diplomat Stephen Hickey told the Security Council. "A sustainable and lasting peace will depend on the FARC's successful reincorporation into civilian life."

Many members of FARC remain vulnerable, camped out in the same tents and hammocks they lived in during the war. U.N. envoy Jean Arnault told the council last week that some FARC members are dealing with a deep sense of uncertainty about their physical safety after being stripped of their weapons.

FARC draws its strongest support from the country's rural regions. Speaking at the U.N. on Monday, Colombian Foreign Minister Angela Holguin stressed the importance of bringing economic and civic prosperity to the countryside, calling it our main challenge.

"The development of political participation, greater equity and better justice will be fundamental to become the country that we want to be," she said.

As part of the peace deal, thousands of jailed rebels will be released and given amnesty and the FARC will be permitted to establish a political party. Farmers in FARC-controlled areas, longtime cocaine-producing regions, will be given incentives to switch to other crops.

U.S. expected to scrap
business visa program

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Donald Trump's administration is postponing and plans to drop a program to provide visas for foreign entrepreneurs who launch companies in the United States.

The visa program, proposed last year by former President Barack Obama, was intended to give entrepreneurs who are not eligible for other types of visas permission to live in the U.S. for 30 months to get their enterprises up and running.

Leading figures in the technology industry had lobbied strongly for the visa program as a way for immigrants to come to the U.S. to start companies, contribute to the economy and create more jobs. The Dept. of Homeland Security has estimated that nearly 3,000 entrepreneurs would be eligible for such visas each year.

The so-called startup visa program was to have taken effect next week, but the department will issue a notice Tuesday postponing implementation of the International Entrepreneur Rule until March 14, 2018.

A draft of the notice posted online by the Federal Register said Homeland Security plans to rescind the rule, but is requesting public comments before issuing a final decision.

The program would permit non-U.S. citizens to stay in the country for renewable 30-month terms if they have $250,000 in capital investments or win $100,000 in government grants to support their proposals.

The president of the National Venture Capital Association, Bobby Franklin, said Monday the administration's decision was extremely disappointing.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has said it decided to delay the rule to ensure it is consistent with an executive order Trump issued during his first days in office, limiting federal officials' authority to grant permission for foreign nationals to remain in the U.S., except on a case-by-case basis.

White House team defends
Ivanka Trump sit-in at G-20

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

One unintended consequence of President Donald Trump’s appearance at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg was a renewed focus on the blurring of lines between his official duty and family. This was caused by Ivanka Trump representing the president during at least one working session of the summit in Germany.

But for the White House, the G-20 summit was nothing out of the ordinary.

"The president set the stage in Europe," White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told an interviewer on Fox News Sunday. "The leaders of the G-20 came to the president. He was a star in Hamburg and no one can take that away. And the fact of the matter is, I think he’s placing America first."

Some, however, see Trump placing family first. He is being chastised for exiting at least one and possibly as many as three G-20 sessions last week, at least part of the time, and having his daughter occupy his chair until he returned.

Critics are calling Trump's decision to have his daughter sit in for him unprecedented and a breach of diplomatic protocol.

"There is no precedent for a head of government’s adult child taking a seat. It was insulting to the others present and sent a signal of disempowerment regarding senior government officials," said Lawrence Summers, who was U.S. Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration. Summers discussed the incident with the Financial Times and The Washington Post.

The president went on the defensive Monday, attempting to redirect the focus, via Twitter, to his opponent in last year’s general election, Democrat Hillary Clinton:

"If Chelsea Clinton were asked to hold the seat for her mother, as her mother gave our country away, the Fake News would say CHELSEA FOR PRES!"

The former secretary of state’s daughter quickly tweeted a retort to Trump: "Good morning Mr. President. It would never have occurred to my mother or my father to ask me. Were you giving our country away? Hoping not."

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the principal deputy press secretary at the White House, calls the criticism of Ivanka Trump an outrageous attack.

Trump’s daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, are official advisers to the president. But what is more troubling for critics of the president and even some of his supporters is the fuzzy line between official White House business and the Trump family real-estate firm. That is raising ethical concerns and questions about transparency.

Three lawsuits by various parties have been filed, alleging that President Trump violated what is known as the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, since businesses that he owns receive payments from foreign governments.

The Trump administration has termed the legal filings without merit and contended the plaintiffs have no standing to sue, because they have not suffered due to the transactions listed in the lawsuits.

New roadmap provides
lifeline for migrant kids

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Thousands of unaccompanied and separated refugee and migrant children risk exploitation, trafficking, abuse and violence because European asylum countries have failed to protect them, according to three leading humanitarian organizations.

To remedy this situation, the United Nations' refugee agency, UNHCR, the U.N. Children’s Fund, UNICEF, and International Rescue Committee have devised a “Roadmap for Action” to protect vulnerable children arriving and staying in Europe.

UNICEF has said the underlying causes that prompted children and their families to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea remain, as millions of people are still affected by the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Launched Monday, the Roadmap was developed in consultation with 100 practitioners, including guardians, psychologists, social workers and lawyers, as well as authorities from several European countries and the European Union.

The Roadmap highlights the need to identify children, register them through child-friendly procedures and build a relationship of trust with them as early as possible. Another key recommendation is to ensure that a well-trained guardian takes immediate responsibility for the child.

Data show that since July 2015, more than 130,000 unaccompanied and separated children have arrived in Europe. The United Nations reports more than 5,000 children traveled to Greece, Italy, Bulgaria and Spain during the first quarter of this year and that nearly 70 percent of them were by themselves.

In March, UNICEF welcomed a decision by Italy's parliament to pass a law aimed at supporting and protecting the record number of foreign unaccompanied and separated children who arrived in that country. Nearly 26,000 did so in 2016, with the numbers expected to climb this year.

The aid agencies report that most unaccompanied children arriving in Europe were boys between the ages of 15 and 17. The majority who made it to Greece in the first three months of 2017 were from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq.

They reported that 94 percent of the 3,714 children who arrived in Italy were unaccompanied or separated. Most originated from Guinea, Gambia, Ivory Coast and Bangladesh.

Lucio Melandri, UNICEF migration coordinator, observed that these youngsters encountered violence throughout their journey; but, those who were particularly vulnerable, he noted, were the children who were overlooked in the national systems.

More news of the Americas
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Beautiful Home and Land for Sale

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

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

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

Costa Rica

Costa Rica Penthouse For Sale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit trees.
* Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.
* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $40,000 USD
* Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
* 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches
* 10 minutes to Medical Facilities
* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
* 5 minutes to Vista Ridge Golf Club

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

For more information Click Here:

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

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

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

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

Business for sale or lease (paid category)

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

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Century 21

A Name You Trust,
Professionalism You Deserve

Tom Ghormley and the dream team!
in CR since 1979

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

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

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

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Published || Tuesday Edition, July 11, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 136
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Costa Rica partners with U.S. college

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government of Costa Rica signed a memorandum of understanding with Minnesota State University in order to foster education and training in business and industry as well as exchange research.

Manuel González Sanz signed the memorandum as representative for Costa Rica and Marilyn Wells signed on behalf of the university. The witness of honor was Vice President Ana Helena Chacón who commented she was pleased with the signing as a means to strengthen human talent, according to a statement from Casa Presidencial.

Within the agreement and beyond the general platitudes, the memorandum is expected to foster both a student exchange program as well as exchanging teachers and employees in governmental, non-governmental and community organizations. It also calls for added networking between public and private officials as well as those in academia, the government said.

“Starting with Vice President Ana Helena Chacón Echeverría's vision for women's rights, equality and social development, we look forward to strengthening our existing partnerships and providing new opportunities for sharing in the areas of education, economic development, industry, academic research and culture,” Ms. Wells said after the signing.

“We recognize the broader benefits of internationalization and share common goals.”

Science and Tech Camp
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Students gather together for a science workshop activity.

MICITT opens science camp this week

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This week, students from all over the country are participating in Costa Rica’s first national Science and Technology Camp sponsored by the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones.

The camp is being held at the main campus for the Tecnológico de Costa Rica in Santa Clara de San Carlos. The science ministry said that young people are participating in talks, workshops and laboratories on applied robotics, electronic processors, energy efficiency and biomass among other themes.

The first of the camps is for young people aged 15 to 17 while the second one is for 50 young adults aged 18 to 22. The latter is being held over the weekend. “We want to provide a space for feedback from those who participated in one of the MICITT Camp editions and also give the opportunity for young people to live the experience and motivate themselves to choose non-traditional careers,” Yarima Sandoval, the director of human capital, said.

“The camps can give young people the ability to create possible solutions to real problems. We want them to question, to investigate and to look for new solutions to the problems of our communities that are part of society and economy based on knowledge.”

The capstone to this weeklong camp will be the free fair held on Sunday at the main campus for the institute.

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From page 7:

10,000 products found undeclared at Caldera

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

About 10,000 products from China were not declared by their importers based on a new announcement from the finance ministry.

According to the Aduana de Caldera and the Dirección de Fiscalización for the Servicio Nacional de Aduanas, who conducted the joint operation, the estimated amount of taxes levied against these undeclared goods are upwards of 20 million colones. This represents the amount of goods retained during June, officials said.

Among the products are: cosmetics, cleaning supplies, hearing aids, medicines, clothing and shoes as well as foods that did not have the proper sanitation passes. The goods were seized by the Aduanas de Caldera in order for importers to correct their declarations and pay out the corresponding taxes.

The Ministerio de Hacienda also reports that, as part of the operations, about 600 hearing aid units and 3,000 units of batteries along with 3,800 backpacks were seized after being labeled falsely. This is in violation of the intellectual property law in Costa Rica. Those goods were handed over to the Ministerio Público for the subsequent investigation.