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Published Thursday Edition
July 13, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 138
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Labor unions lose out in battle over Caja raise
By Rommel Téllez
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

In the war to defend their pockets, workers seem to have lost an important battle before authorities of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and its pension regime masters.

No matter the teacher's strike that took place on June 27 nor the general one that, two days later, meekly hit health, education and administrative services across the country.

Unionized and non-unionized workers who belong to the Caja pensions regime will see their salaries decreased by 0.5 percent this Friday. The Caja has consistently claimed that it needs extra money to guarantee the financial sustainability for the next 17 years.

On June 1, the executive board of the Caja approved a 1 percent hike in the amount of money workers should pay to protect their future income. Half of it applies as of this Friday while the other half will be deducted as of Jan. 1, 2018.

In the end, workers will have automatically deducted 10.34 percent of their payment.
"We will continue to denounce that this is an immoral move to punish the working class for the mistakes politicians have made in the past," said Luis Chavarría, secretar-general of the Unión de Empleados de la Caja y de la Seguridad Social.

However, he admits that a change in the policy is unlikely, as the last chance for it to be revoked is this morning.

"We also need to be serious and I don't think the hike is stoppable at this point," he said. "But negotiations go on and we'll fight with new strategies."

Little by little the words “stop” and “avoid” are heard in the union leader. “Denounce” has taken its place.

Even a last minute study from the International Labor Organization released on Tuesday does not seem to influence the decision today.

The document gained notoriety in local media, as it accuses the School of Mathematics at the Universidad de Costa Rica of using the wrong methodology to evaluate the financial health of the Caja and its regimes.

Union march
Sindicato de Profesionales en Ciencias Medicas photo     
The general strike went out with a whimper instead of a bang.

That allegation from the labor organization stirred much outcry in the public opinion as it was that mathematical model the executive board of the Caja put so much stake on to approve the hike.

"In general terms, the methodology makes assumptions that do not match worker's reality, for example the amount of contributors and what their final retirement money will be," the document of the labor organizations says.

"This is new evidence and we'll  push that it changes what's already being decided," added Chinchilla. "At least the hike scheduled for January 2018."

One last stab to the workers’ objectives was the refusal from the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court to stop the measures taken by the Caja.

Not only will the Constitutional Chamber not get involved, but the review request was not even accepted.

A last resource is a lonely constitutional appeal against the law that allows the Caja to increase the contributions. It was filed by a lawyer named Vicente Guerra on July 4 and still lingers in the judicial files.

Magistrates have no deadlines to review it.
Alea Iacta Est.



Too early to say "mission accomplished" in Limón
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government is declaring an early victory in Limón following another round of shoring up the police presence in the province to deter crime.

A.M. Costa Rica readers have mentioned the Wild West nature of the province and it certainly constitutes a wide range of dense jungle and nature reserves in addition to being one of the more under-developed provinces in Costa Rica.

According to data from the Sección de Análisis y Estadística for the Fuerza Pública as well as that of the Judicial Investigating Organization, there has been an almost 14 percent drop in complaints filed for property crimes. For the government, property crimes include: theft, assault, burglary, vehicle break-ins, robbery, grand theft auto, cattle theft and assaults on houses.

The data concluded that denunciations in relation to property theft declined by more than 20 percent within the first half of the year. The property theft denunciations made in the first half of this year for Limón is, so far, reported as 220 filed.

The data was updated as of June 26 and is comparing the same period during 2016, according to Casa Presidencial. Assaults dropped off as well and vehicle theft reports came to about 115 in 2017, a drop of almost 24 percent from last year.

The police forces in the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública along with judicial agents are chalking this up as a win. This data could be largely influenced by the public security ministry’s beefing up of Limón’s police forces in the area following the brutal murder of a Canadian tourist in Puerto Viejo back in March.

It could also be influenced by a drop or rise in the number of complaints filed to security forces or the judiciary. The data is only looking at denunciations filed instead of actual instances of crime. It does not take into account those property crimes that were not reported to judicial agents or police.

The Canadian, Bruce McCallum, 58, was the presumed victim of a robbery. He was out in the early morning to photograph a sunrise. The death of the Toronto teacher received significant publicity in Canada.

Police
                              detention
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
File photo of men being detained.

Limón is often considered laid back with equally laid back police officers.  Marijuana and other drugs are available freely. But the early morning murder of McCallum threatened to destroy the valuable tourism market. The sweep was coordinated with the local tourism chamber, the Cámara de Turismo y Comercios del Caribe Sur.

Juan José Andrade, the vice minister of  Seguridad Pública, said at the time that 40 police officers were being added to the 40 already assigned to the area.

They were expected to follow the usual procedures of indiscriminate searches of possible drug users, generally anyone who is a younger male. Andrade held a community meeting where he outlined what would happen over the next 100 days. That 100 day mark was reached in June.

Data from the Cruz Roja Costarricense tallied the number of violent incidents for the first half of this year for Limón province to be at 17,161.

The Cruz Roja includes in this deaths such as by: knife, guns, vehicle collision, fire or electrical shock. Compared by provincial population, of which Limón is the least populous province, that rate is the same as San José’s province.

Manpower increases in Limón were reported by A.M. Costa Rica in 2011, 2015, 2016 and most recently in March 2017.

This has been in keeping with the past two administration’s of Laura Chinchilla and Luis Guillermo Solís policies of flooding the streets with officers. The security groups of Costa Rica seem to believe that that correlates with a reduction in crime.



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A.M.
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Second News Page

Published || Thursday Edition, July 13, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 138
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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.
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Retired priest accused of sex abuse

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Archdiocese of San José announced Wednesday afternoon that it had received a complaint against one of its priests on allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

“We have begun the canonical process on the priest denounced before the competent authorities, trying at all times to clarify the accusations with accuracy and celerity,” the brief statement from the archdiocese said. “We are respecting the confidentiality of the alleged victim.”

The Church noted that the accused priest is very advanced in age and has not exercised a pastoral office in the past several years. The institution said that he is in poor health and resides in a senior living center.

According to this statement, the facts go back at least three decades prior to the present. It is unknown if there is more than one victim. Judicial and police authorities have yet to comment on the recent announcement. Given that it is an ongoing investigation and the nature of the Church in keeping these matters very controlled, it is unlikely a comment will be given anytime soon.

The Archdiocese of San José concluded that it firmly rejects any act that constitutes abuse against minors.


Labor court extends its jurisdiction

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The new Labor Tribunal of San José has extended its jurisdiction to the cantons of Escazú, Mora, Santa Ana and Pavas.

Officials said the purpose is to improve the court's services before July 25, when the new Reforma Procesal Laboral is enforced.

The Tribunal will be made out of 18 judges, two coordinators and 30 judicial technicians. It will take control of the labor cases previously held by the the Tribunales de Goicoechea.

All labor files with codes 1178 and 0173, will be transferred to the new headquarters in San José, which will be located south from Parque Central in San José. New cases will also be processed at the same location.

The Office of Reception of Documents in Goicoechea will continue in operations until Aug 31.

The line for clarification is 2211-5300 and 2211-5301.


Caja's finances office has new hours

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social is changing its hours of operation for the financial services section at the central offices in San José.

By August 7, the offices will be open continuously from 7 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon, according to Gustavo Picado Chacón, the financial manager. Picado said that is part of a series of initiatives promoted by management to facilitate access. This also includes changes that will allow users to carry out certain procedures without physically appearing in the offices, the Caja said. These include: payment of employer-employee quotas, disability deposits and employer registration among others.

The Caja claims that these measures have significantly reduced the flow of people coming into the offices and reduced waiting times at the capital’s headquarters.


Murcia
Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social photo         
Miguel Murcia at work in the clinic.

Ataps drowns while fetching vaccines

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social is mourning the loss of one of its technical assistants in primary health care died this week after drowning in the Río Chirripó.

For 21 years, Miguel Murcia Céspedes dedicated his career to promoting health and preventing rural diseases from turning into outbreaks. His last day of work alive was vaccinating the indigenous population against influenza. When he went back for more vaccines, the force of the Chirripó dragged him and his medical satchel, the Caja said.

María Eugenia Villalta Bonilla, the medical manager for the Caja said that this Ataps, for the acronym in Spanish describing these technicians, was a born community leader, knowledgeable of his people and honored the institution with his work on behalf of the native tribes people he served.

During his career, Murcia worked in the communities Sinoly, Alto y Bajo Cuen, Koloy, Konotaba and Tolokicha. These are communities out in the southern part of the country where harsh conditions and difficult terrain come with the job. The Caja said that Murcia’s coworkers described him as humble, helpful and very cooperative.

“Crossing the river always gave anxiety and fear, however when it was time to cross it, Miguel said to me ‘Doctor, I will help you cross’ and I remember his instructions very well: ‘you go along with me, but a little further back and grab on from the back of my shirt,” recalled Dr. Vivian Aragón Gómez, who worked with Murcia.

Gustavo Ugalde, the nursing supervisor, said that Murcia was a respectful and quiet person who fulfilled what he was responsible for in some of the most remote areas of the country.


News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English



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A.M.
Costa Rica

Third News Page
U.S. Tax
Published || Thursday Edition, July 13, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 138
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Modern take on Verdi opera with U.S. singer in lead role to premiere
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A modern version of Giuseppe Verdi’s famous opera, “La traviata,” will include a U.S. director and U.S. lead that is backed up by an international cast and more than 100 musicians.

Equally as dramatic as Italian operas come, the show will feature nine lyric singers, 40 members of the Coro Sinfónico Nacional and 65 musicians of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional.

These musicians will all be under the director of U.S. conductor Arthur Fagen, according to the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud. Meanwhile it is an Argentine, José Darío Innella, who will be the stage director for this performance.

The Compañía Lírica Nacional will open the premier on Sunday, July 23 at 5 p.m. in San José’s Teatro Popular Melico Salazar. Tickets are currently on sale, the cultural ministry said, and can be purchased online.

Beginning July 21, the tickets will be open for sale at the theater itself from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., organizers said.

They are valued at 7,000 to 30,000 colones depending on seating with a 20 percent discount applied at the gate for students and seniors.

While the majority of the main cast is Costa Rican, foreigners will occupy the lead roles. Elizabeth Caballero, a Cuban-American soprano opera singer, will play the leading female role, Violetta Valéry.

Meanwhile, an Italian, tenor singer Massimilliano Pisapia,  will occupy the main male lead as Alfredo Germont.

The cultural ministry said in a statement that six of the seven Costa Rican voices chosen have extensive professional experience in opera excluding the young Kevin Godínez, who in his second year studying singing at the Universidad de Costa Rica. This will be his first participation in a professional opera, the Compañía Lírica Nacional said.

La
traviata moderna
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo      
Some of the supporting cast in costume for the show.

"The production is treated in this opportunity as a contemporary proposal, which emphasizes the false celebrities and the price paid by those who, out of necessity or ingenuity, over-expose their intimacy to ruthless public scrutiny,” Innella said.

“La traviata” first premiered in Venice back in 1853 and was based on “The Lady of the Camllias” by French writer Alexander Dumas Jr. It remains one of the most well-known and well-respected operas in the world that put the Italian Romantic composer Giuseppe Verdi among the pantheon of music giants.

"This year we have ventured to present to the public a fresh, refreshing and current vision of Verdi's wonderful score,” José Manuel Aguilar, the artistic director for company, said. “The plot of 'La traviata' is a simple and very beautiful story, and we believe it is completely adaptable to our day. It is a story of sincere and convulsive love, whose protagonists are affected by social pressure, debauchery, prejudice, excesses, despair and illness.”

The performances will conclude with the Tuesday, August 1 finale at 7:30 p.m., the ministry said.



Fifth international calypso festival begins today out in Limón
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The fifth Calypso International Festival Walter Ferguson will arrive in Cahuita and Playa Negra, in Limón, starting today and running until next Sunday.

The event features the Band Sinem CUN-Limón, Calypso UNA, Kawe Calypso, Calypso Limón Legends, Cahuita Community Band, Cocotee Calypso, Calypso Rice & Beans, Calypso San Andres Raizal Crew, Panama Group, Elkin Robinson from Colombia and other artists.

Activities will begin at 10a.m. and end at approximately 7 p.m. Each day’s schedule will end with a concert by an international group.

Calypso music arrived from the island of Trinidad and reached Costa Rica at the end of the 19th century with the arrival of Jamaican immigrants, according to the Ministerio de Cultura.

"Calypso is very representative expression of our cultural diversity, which defines Afro-Caribbean identity," said Sylvie Durán, Minister of Culture and Youth, "This festival is more consolidated with the efforts of many."

"The Calypso Festival has become an arts management and production school for locals interested in this cultural expression." Duran added. "They have already put Cahuita on the cultural tourism map."

Cantoamérica
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo     
Cantoamérica performs at last year's festival.

It is organized by the Parque Nacional Cahuita, Instituto Costarricense de Turismo, el Comité de la Persona Joven de Talamanca and the Embassy of Trinidad and Tobago, among others.


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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

Published || Thursday Edition, July 13, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 138
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Drinking coffee tied with living longer, researchers at USC say 
By the University of Southern California press staff

Here’s another reason to start the day with a cup of joe: scientists have found that people who drink coffee appear to live longer.

Drinking coffee was associated with a lower risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory and kidney disease for African-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Latinos and whites.

People who consumed a cup of coffee a day were 12 percent less likely to die compared to those who didn’t drink coffee. This association was even stronger for those who drank two to three cups a day: 18 percent reduced chance of death.

Lower mortality was present regardless of whether people drank regular or decaffeinated coffee, suggesting the association is not tied to caffeine, said Wendy Setiawan, senior author of the study and an associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

“We cannot say drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association,” Ms. Setiawan said.

“If you like to drink coffee, drink up! If you’re not a coffee drinker, then you need to consider if you should start.”

The study, which will be published in the July 11 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, used data from the Multiethnic Cohort Study, a collaborative effort between the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and the Keck School of Medicine.

The ongoing Multiethnic Cohort Study has more than 215,000 participants and bills itself as the most ethnically diverse study examining lifestyle risk factors that may lead to cancer.

“Until now, few data have been available on the association between coffee consumption and mortality in nonwhites in the United States and elsewhere,” the study stated.

“Such investigations are important because lifestyle patterns and disease risks can vary substantially across racial and ethnic backgrounds, and findings in one group may not necessarily apply to others.”

Since the association was seen in four different ethnicities, Ms. Setiawan said it is safe to say the results apply to other groups.

“This study is the largest of its kind and includes minorities who have very different lifestyles,” Setiawan said. “Seeing a similar pattern across different populations gives stronger biological backing to the argument that coffee is good for you whether you are white, African-American, Latino or Asian.”

Previous research by USC and others have indicated that drinking coffee is associated with reduced risk of several types of cancer, diabetes, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, Type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

“Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that play an important role in cancer prevention,” Ms. Setiawan said. “Although this study does not show causation or point to what chemicals in coffee may have this ‘elixir effect,’ it is clear that coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet and lifestyle.”

About 62 percent of Americans drink coffee daily, a 5 percent increase from 2016 numbers, reported the National Coffee Association.

As a research institution, University of Southern California has scientists from across disciplines working to find a cure for cancer and better ways for people to manage the disease.

The Keck School of Medicine and the univeristy’s Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center manage a state-mandated database called the Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program, which provides scientists with essential statistics on cancer for a diverse population.

Researchers from the center have found that drinking coffee lowers the risk of colorectal cancer. But drinking piping hot coffee or beverages probably causes cancer in the esophagus, according to a World Health Organization panel of scientists that included Mariana Stern from the Keck School of Medicine.

Coffee facts
University of Southern California graphic



Coffee
Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para Agricultura photo    
Coffee is a good in the morning and in life apparently.

In some respects, coffee is regaining its honor for wellness benefits. After 25 years of labeling coffee a carcinogen linked to bladder cancer, the World Health Organization last year announced that drinking coffee reduces the risk for liver and uterine cancer.

“Some people worry drinking coffee can be bad for you because it might increase the risk of heart disease, stunt growth or lead to stomach ulcers and heartburn,” Ms. Setiawan said. “But research on coffee has mostly shown no harm to people’s health.”


Ms. Setiawan and her colleagues examined the data of 185,855 people aged 45 to 75 at recruitment. Participants answered questionnaires about diet, lifestyle, and family and personal medical history.

They reported their coffee drinking habits when they entered the study and updated them about every five years, checking one of nine boxes that ranged from “never or hardly ever” to “four or more cups daily.” They also reported whether they drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee. The average follow-up period was 16 years.

Sixteen percent of participants reported that they did not drink coffee, 31 percent drank one cup per day, 25 percent drank two to three cups per day and 7 percent drank four or more cups per day. The remaining 21 percent had irregular coffee consumption habits.

Over the course of the study, 58,397 participants, or about 31 percent, died. Cardiovascular disease (36 percent) and cancer (31 percent) were the leading killers.

The data was adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, smoking habits, education, preexisting disease, vigorous physical exercise and alcohol consumption.

Ms. Setiawan’s previous research found that coffee reduces the risk of liver cancer and chronic liver disease. She is
currently examining how coffee is associated with the risk of developing specific cancers.


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Published || Thursday Edition, July 13, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 138
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Refugees admitted to U.S.
exceed cap set by president


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The number of refugees allowed into the U.S. this fiscal year has exceeded 50,000, the cap set by President Donald Trump in his executive order restricting travelers and refugees to the U.S.

But after months of uncertainty and legal wrangling, it remains unclear how many more refugees the U.S. Supreme Court will allow into the country under a recent exemption for those who have a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”

As of mid-day Wednesday the total number of refugees admitted was 50,086.

While the cap has been reached, the number of refugees may continue to grow. Pending its review of the travel ban later this year, the Supreme Court allowed parts of the executive order that had been suspended by judges in lower courts to go into effect; this included the temporary ban on refugees, except for those who have evidence of close family ties to the country.

Guidelines issued by the U.S. State Department and Department of Homeland Security define bona fide “close family’ as a parent (including parent-in-law), spouse, child, adult son or daughter, fiancé(e), son-in-law, daughter-in-law, and sibling. The agencies will not recognize grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles” or other extended family members as close family.”

An acceptable relationship with an entity has to be documented, the State Department determined, and could include a job offer or enrollment in a university.

But government officials have said that relationships with the refugee agencies that agree to work with newly arrived refugees would not count as “bona fide.”

Refugees already fill out a form on family relations during the vetting process for admittance to the U.S. The new guidance requires additional documentation of the family ties and another review of a refugee’s case file by government officials, delaying the process for those individuals.

Kay Bellor, vice president of programs at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, says about one third of the refugees the resettlement agency has committed to receiving by the end of September have claimed a close family tie.

That leaves thousands more refugees who have already been through the vetting process to come to the United States without a new country to call home.

Resettlement agencies began the fiscal year anticipating the arrival of up to 110,000 refugees, as determined by then-President Barack Obama.

The Trump administration, citing national security concerns, first issued a travel and refugee ban in January. But the White House failed to provide evidence of those concerns and has faced lawsuits across the U.S., as it has struggled to implement restrictions on those groups.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear the two travel ban-related cases when it reconvenes in October.


Native American art
Library of Congress photo        
Skokomish woman from Washington state holding a woven basket.

Native American artists seek
crackdown on counterfeiters

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Search the Internet for "Native American Art” and you’ll find dozens of sites offering tribal jewelry, paintings and crafts at low prices. But as much as 80 percent of these products aren’t authentic at all; they are manufactured in Asia or the Middle East.

At a Senate committee field hearing July 7 in Sante Fe, New Mexico, U.S. Senators Tom Udall, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Martin Heinrich, both New Mexico Democrats, heard testimony from tribal artists who described the scope of the problem:

“Time and time again, I hear from my fellow Indian artists about their art and craft work being knocked off by non-Indians and sold as Indian-made,” Southern Cheyenne artist Harvey Pratt said. “When Indian artists are undercut by the sale of fake Indian art, the integrity of authentic Indian art and artists suffers. We are being robbed economically, culturally, and spiritually.”

Native American art is big business, not just in the United States but worldwide, and an important driver of tribal economies. For nearly a century, Sante Fe has hosted an annual seven-day Indian market, where as many as 1,000 Native artists from tribes across the country offer their work for sale.

“The Indian market itself has an $80 million economic impact just from that one-week period on the state of New Mexico and the city of Sante Fe,” said Dallin Maybee, Northern Arapaho/Seneca lawyer and chief operating officer of the Southwestern Association of Indian Arts, which organizes the event. “And that’s just here in Sante Fe. The Native American art industry generates millions of dollars a year throughout North America.”

The First Peoples Fund estimates a third of all Native Americans are practicing or potential artists. Many live in isolated areas below the poverty line and depend on art sales to survive.

“But with all these knock-offs that have flooded the market, Indians can’t sell their product,” Pratt said. “So what ends up happening is that artists just quit making art, because they can no longer make a living doing it. And what this means is that they lose touch with their traditions.”

Before last week’s hearing, Udall acknowledged the fake Indian art business is a serious problem that has been going on for decades, despite laws designed to fight it.

Passed in 1935 and twice amended, the Indian Arts and Crafts Act bans the display or sale of art misrepresented as “Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian or Indian Tribe or Indian arts and crafts organization.” It established an Indian Arts and Crafts Board under the U.S. Interior Department, which works to promote and protect the rights of Native American artists who belong to federally-recognized tribes.

Next week, a federal jury in New Mexico is scheduled to hear the case against four individuals alleged to have manufactured Native American-style jewelry in the Philippines and passed it off as genuine in shops and galleries. If convicted, they could face $250,000 in fines and/or five years in prison.

But arrests like this are the exception, not the rule, and, as Udall noted, only two enforcement officers are dedicated to investigating tribal art forgers and fraudsters.

U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement officials today are trained to spot and identify looted cultural artifacts and pirated electronics coming into the country, but Pratt complains no such program is set up to deal with counterfeit Indian art, and few have enough expertise in tribal art to identify fraudulent items.


Kremlin’s Sputnik Radio
to broadcast in Washington


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Russian state-funded Sputnik Radio has started its first broadcasts in the Washington, D.C., area, in an effort to reach more Americans with what it calls alternative news.

Sputnik, which says it gives voice to minority views outside mainstream media and supports an anti-establishment agenda, broadcasts on the 105.5 W288BS frequency.

Critics say Sputnik functions as part of a Kremlin propaganda machine aimed at undermining Western institutions.

Sputnik Radio staffers say its broadcasts into the Washington area will allow Americans in the nation's capital to listen to them and not just to what is being said about them.

"People heard a lot about us. Unfortunately, they could not really listen to us," said Sputnik bureau chief Mindia Gavasheli. "And, people who were reporting about us quite often wouldn't even bother to listen to us and present how they see us, present what we do, accurately."

Sputnik's Washington bureau opened its doors to the news media this week, in attempt to dispel what they said were misunderstandings as well as constant attacks from U.S. corporate media.

Sputnik and other Russian state-funded media say that while they promote anti-establishment views outside mainstream media, they don't produce Kremlin propaganda.

"Since I work here, obviously I don't feel this way," Gavasheli said. "Nobody tells me what to do. We get together with our guys every day for editorial meetings, and we decide what we're gonna do, how we're gonna do, who we want to invite, and so on and so forth. No one tells us how to do that, right?"

Many who study Kremlin media, like Robert Orttung, a professor of international affairs at George Washington University, disagree.

"At the end of the day, that's the purpose of these broadcasters, that's the purpose of Russian foreign policy in general, is to undermine our democracy, undermine the faith of the American people in their own institutions," Orttung said.

Sputnik fired its former White House correspondent Andrew Feinberg in May, who then became a vocal critic.

"And, it's definitely propaganda," he said of Sputnik's product. "The idea that they are being attacked by corporate media is ridiculous. They're being called out for reporting half truths and, in some cases, lies."

Sputnik rejects the comments as those of a disgruntled former employee. But, Feinberg is not the first to work for and then turn against Kremlin-funded media. A few former reporters for RT, previously known as Russia Today, quit their jobs over coverage of Russia's gay rights and its military actions in Ukraine and Syria.

Russia's state media are not the only authoritarian government outlets operating in the U.S. China's media presence is big.

Russian state-funded media promote the notion that President Vladimir Putin's Russia is a benevolent and moral power simply seeking to maintain peace at home and promote a multi-polar world. They have well-qualified journalists among their ranks. But they also seem to attract a number of idealists, anti-establishment activists and conspiracy theorists.

For instance, Sputnik's webpage this week showed a front-page column headlined "Trump, Putin Up Against US Deep State," which argued that "the US Deep State comprising the military-intelligence nexus and their political media machine in Washington does not want to normalize relations with Russia."

The same writer, Finian Cunningham, in June wrote, "US global power depends on its presumed economic prowess and military force. With its economy in long-term decline, precipitated by the teetering dollar, the US rulers are relying increasingly on militarism to project power. That tendency is pushing the world to war."

It went on to say, "Fortunately, Russia and China may have sufficient military power to deter the desperate, waning American empire from trying to incite catastrophic war."

Sputnik disavows responsibility for such editorial comments, despite displaying them prominently.

Sputnik's shows are critical of U.S. society, politics and foreign policy, but not Russia's. Their hosts, like Fault Line's Garland Nixon, a member of the board of American Civil Liberties Union and a critic of President Donald Trump, dismiss mounting allegations in Washington concerning Russian interference in Trump's 2016 election.

Co-host Lee Stranahan, a former investigative reporter with right-wing Breitbart News, also rejects concerns that Sputnik is contributing to a Kremlin campaign against the West.

Sputnik says people should read, listen and judge for themselves whether it is alternative news or Kremlin propaganda.


New test may detect
pancreatic cancer early


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Researchers have developed a blood test that could help with the early detection of pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest forms of the disease.

Doctors usually are unable to diagnose cancer of the pancreas until it is too late. Most patients die within a year.

The new test uses stem cell technology to look for markers in the blood of people who, because of diabetes or family history, are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.

Scientists took late-stage cancer cells from a patient and used technology to genetically regress those cells to a stem cell state.

They were able to return those cells to an early cancerous state and find what are called biomarkers in the blood to detect the disease early enough for treatment.

The researchers say the new test has an 87 percent accuracy rate in identifying someone with stage 1 or 2 pancreatic cancer, and a 98 percent rate in ruling out the disease in those who are not sick.

The study appears in the journal Science Translational Medicine.


Trump visiting Paris, France,
for Bastille Day celebrations


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Donald Trump, who in the past has disparaged Paris as an unsafe city because of terrorism, heading to the French capital. He will mark the French national holiday, Bastille Day, on Friday after holding counterterrorism talks with President Emmanuel Macron and marking the 100th anniversary of U.S. troops entering World War I.

Air Force One, the presidential jet, lifted off on schedule Wednesday evening from Joint Base Andrews, outside the nation’s capital.

Before departing the U.S., the president gave several interviews at the White House, including an extended conversation with Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network, a prominent figure in conservative political and religious circles.

In contrast to reports from U.S. intelligence agencies that Russian President Vladimir Putin intervened in last year’s U.S. elections to increase Republican Trump’s chances of victory, the president said he believes Putin had hoped Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would win the race.

According to excerpts of the interview released Wednesday evening by CBN, the president said the Kremlin would have preferred to see Clinton win the White House, because Russian officials thought she would decimate the U.S. military once in power.

As he pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 international Paris accord to control greenhouse gas emissions, Trump said he was elected to represent “Pittsburgh, not Paris.” Nevertheless, he subsequently accepted President Macron’s invitation to attend the country’s annual mid-July celebrations.

During his two-day visit, Trump will meet with Macron, whose political fortunes have soared this year. The U.S. president also will lunch with military officials, tour the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte and join in Bastille Day celebrations Friday.

The two leaders are scheduled to meet Thursday before speaking to reporters.

“We will talk about all the issues which are of interest to us both, including those about which we have disagreements when we have them, but also a lot of the issues on which we are working together — the terrorism threat, the crises in Syria and Libya, and a lot of issues which are of interest to us both,” Macron said.

A senior U.S. official told reporters the White House expects the civil war in Syria and U.S.-French cooperation both there and on other counterterror issues to take up most of the discussion, while there could also be some follow-up to last week’s G-20 summit in Germany.

France is part of the U.S.-led coalition that has been carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq since late 2014. A large majority of those strikes this year have taken place in Syria, where the militants have their de facto capital in the city of Raqqa.

Trump and Macron are both in their first year in office and have shown policy differences when it comes to international efforts to combat climate change. But they also share certain goals, such as reducing the number of workers in their respective governments.

On Friday, Trump and his wife, Melania, will attend the annual Bastille Day parade, which will include both French and U.S. military personnel.

A French government spokesman, Christophe Castaner, said, “Sometimes Trump makes decisions we don’t like, such as on climate, but we can deal with it in two ways: we can say, ‘We are not going to talk to you,’ or we can offer you our hand to bring you back into the circle. Macron is symbolically offering Trump his hand.”


Senegalese supporters
Voice of America photo         
Supporters wait for former President Wade.

Senegal’s ex-president
makes political comeback

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Senegal’s former president, Abdoulaye Wade, is making a comeback. The 91-year-old politician returned to Senegal this week for the second time since his 2012 defeat, and will be on the campaign trail for the next two weeks traveling around the country to boost his party’s chances in the legislative elections at the end of this month.

Thousands gathered at Dakar’s international airport to welcome the former leader.

“Gorgui is great,” chanted the crowds as Wade made his way through the city. Gorgui is a term of endearment, meaning "old man" in the Wolof language.

Wade's caravan weaved its way to the headquarters of Senegal Democratic Party, or PDS.

Wade was a popular opposition figure in Senegal when he won the presidency in 2000; however, he lost his controversial bid for a third term in 2012. Wade conceded defeat to President Macky Sall and retired to France.

At the PDS headquarters, Wade addressed the cheering crowds in Wolof. He remains head of the party.

“I heard Senegal is suffering,” he said, “and this hurts me. If no one solves this, I will take care of it. My party and other parties have formed a force that will make Macky Sall leave,” he added.

The PDS is hoping for a comeback with the July 30 parliamentary elections.

There are 165 seats to be filled in Senegal’s National Assembly. Political parties and coalitions put forward lists of candidates for the regional and national levels. Voters cast their ballots by party, not for individual candidates. Wade tops the list for the main opposition coalition.

The former president’s supporters, however, do not expect him to actually take a seat in parliament.

Binetou Fofana is a member of the ‘Mouvement Karim President’, which is advocating for Wade’s son, Karim, to become Senegal’s next leader in 2019.

She says Abdoulaye Wade has only returned to campaign for his party, and she does not believe he will sit at the National Assembly even if his ‘Wattu Senegal’ coalition wins enough seats.

Karim Wade received a presidential pardon last year after serving half of a three-year jail sentence on a corruption conviction. He remains abroad where he has lived since his release.

This year, 47 political parties and coalitions have put forward lists of candidates for the National Assembly. This includes the ‘Manko Taxawu Senegal’ coalition, whose list is headed by Dakar Mayor Khalifa Sall, jailed in March for embezzlement.


More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

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SANCTUARY OF PEACE!!! Price $750k call for viewing. phone 506-8831-8086  Email kentandlee@outlook.com
9236-7/19/2017


Costa Rica
Penthouse

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 www.ThePenthouseCostaRica.com  
U.S. contact: Carl Stratton, cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email crstratton@ymail.com
Costa Rica contact:  Dan Wise, phone numbers:  2232-4063 / 2232-8610  Email: danwisellawyer@yahoo.com
9132-6/1/17


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
          property
   • Homes, condominium & luxury homes
   • Eco lodges and hotels
   • Green properties and waterfalls
   • Farms and developments
   • Sustainable and green living communities.
   • Property management in the Jacó area

Romantic Country Bungalow Click Here
Dream Property River Click Here

www.ecorealtorscr.com    info@ecorealtorscr.com
Telephone: +506 2637-6285
cell: +506 8825-6556  
Skype: ecorealtorscr
Facebook: ecorealtorscr
In front of Subway at Plaza Herradura, Jacó Green NAR designee, member of the CCBR, CRGAR
9124-4/19/17


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
Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
www.RichCoastRealty.com
9189-9/2/17


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: mmpeace@hotmail.com  (please link that email)
Check out slide show HERE!
9220-8/15/17


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 toddscolorado@gmail.com. In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 506-7187-8577.
CODE: 9216-8/11/17


Puriscal home
GORGEOUS MOUNTAIN & OCEAN VIEW HOME
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
HEALTH CONDITIONS REQUIRES QUICK SALE
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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUEAmahIU9A
Community Web Site: http://www.altigua.com
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email gary_one@msn.com
9173-9/1/17

colinasdelsol
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

Contact:
In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:  jsandimurray@colinasdelsolcr.com
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: jimday50@aol.com or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here: www.colinasdelsolcr.com
9056-2/28/17

Etlinger Farm
rollover
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 www.etlingerafarms.com and photo album can be found at www.ticorico.com
9196-4/25/17

horse ranch
rollover
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 www.ranchforsalecostarica.com  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:  darin_ricco@hotmail.com
9183-6/13/17

rollover
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  www.whynotcostarica.com. 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 tim@whynotcostarica.com 
9143-2/3/17

Business for sale or lease (paid category)






Hotel in
Escazú

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. Up to 40% financing / get residency through investor status / includes a corporation that is 27 years old and offshore banking account with  Banco National / possible 50/50 partnership. Super location in front of the Bosques de Escazú  Condos  / Monthly rentals available


Send an email hotelescazu@aol.com Call for more info:
Free US phone 877-778-8515  or 410-975-6703 
In Costa Rica phone: 506- 8307-0164
9142-7/27/17


Sabana
Sur house
Commercial Building for Sale in Sabana Sur
A two story building w/14 areas for offices, call center, storage or residence. Building has been completely remodelled  Transportation within 50 mts. passenger train, buses and taxis. Park, gymnasium, tennis club and National soccer stadium 2 - 3 block walk. 24 hour security, many restuarants, clubs and social facilities nearby. Approximately 325 mts. construction $350,000. 
Contact :
 James Holley E-mail  jimmy6902001@yahoo.com
9245-7/8/17


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: manager@crbusiness.biz.

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

CENTURY 21 JACÓ BEACH
Century 21

A Name You Trust,
Professionalism You Deserve

Tom Ghormley and the dream team!
Owner/Broker
in CR since 1979

Buying? Selling? Renting?
We Can Do It!
Let us help you live your dreams!
Beachfront, Views, Mountains,
Beaches, Houses, Condos,
Hotels, Restaurants, Projects,
Commercial, Investments and more

 Century 21 Jacó Beach
Playa Jacó, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
U. S. A. phone numbers:  (213) 283-5168 
or Toll Free: (877) 746-3868
Costa Rica phone number: (506) 2643-3356
Email: info@c21jaco.com
Web: www.c21jaco.com
9215-3/22/18


Remax
Tamarindo
www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com 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:  info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com  or click here www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com
9145-1/2918


ReMax
Playas del Coco
We are an award-winning Team of Professional Agents working with Costa Rica’s #1 Selling Real Estate Agency RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties. Get to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST us and let us help you find YOUR Pura Vida! We have over 30 years of experience to educate our buyers and sellers in all aspects of Real Estate.  For Information on condos, homes, lots, farms, ranches, commercial or development property
CONTACT US TODAY with NO OBLIGATION whatsoever.

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

Playa Matapalo Click Here!
Toll Free 1-877-293-1456
Email: michael@costarica-realestate.com

9174-2/7/18

Real estate-related services (paid category)

Related

Costa Rica
Solar

COSTA RICA SOLAR
Serving Atenas and Surroundings Areas

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

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

OUR EMAIL:
andrefurlong@gmail.com
Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
VISIT OUR WEB:

9177-6/19/16

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 BuyaTimeshare.com help you find a buyer or renter.
9203-4/19/2018

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San José, Costa Rica || Thursday Edition, July 13, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 138
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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

U.S. group spreads cheer at hospital
Apex performs
United States Embassy photo       
The U.S. fusion pop band, APEX Music, visited the oncology rooms in Hospital México Tuesday afternoon. The trio appeared in different sectors of the hospital to raise the spirits of the patients fighting cancer. This is part of their support to Proyecto Daniel in helping teenagers fight cancer across Costa Rica’s public hospitals. According to the U.S. Embassy, the group said they were touched by the joy and positive spirit of the people.


Cruz Roja releases violence data report

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Cruz Rosa Costarricense has provided life support in about 190,000 cases around the country, according to data provided to A.M. Costa Rica.


Statistics from Jan. 1 to July 11, reveal that the province requiring most help from the Cruz Roja was San José with a total of 62,365 incidents, followed by Alajuela with 43,597, Cartago with 20,453 and Heredia with 19,705.

The three provinces with the least incidents were Puntarenas with 18,191, Limón with 17,161 and Guanacaste with 10,181.

The total number of incidents taken care of by the Cruz Roja as of Tuesday was 191,653.

In regards the violent deaths Cruz Rojas has had to deal with across the country, the figures show a total amount of 720. The first cause aggression with a firearm of stabbing, of which 56 people have died so far.

130 deaths were caused by vehicles collisions and in 94 cases people died after being hit by a car. 39 people died when their vehicles overturned.

January was the deadliest month of 2017 so far, with 136 victims dead by the same three causes: crashes, overturns and people being hit by a car.

Support for people in critical condition accounts for 1,779 cases in the same time period in the whole country. In this category, 699 of the cases come from car crashes, 373 from firearms or stabbing aggressions, 209 from vehicles turnovers and 177 cases from people hit by cars. March is the month were more people was supported in critical condition. That month, the amount of incidents were 325.




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From page 7:

Credit card debt has ballooned by 51 percent

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

In five years, the number of credit cards has increased by 60 percent, while the amount of debt in them has grown 51 percent.

These are the results of the last quarterly study of Credit and Debit Cards, carried out by the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio, with information as of April 30, 2017.

According to the Ministerio, the debts of credit card users amounted to 3.66 percent of GDP. In addition, the number of credit cards grew 11 percent compared to April 2016. That means that in the country there are around 2.5 million cards currently.

Another finding of the research is that delinquency in credit card payments is on the rise.

Unpaid debts between one and 90 days old rose from 6.25 percent in the first quarter of 2016 to 7.67 percent in April 2017.

Unpaid debts older than 90 days accounted for 4.5 percent of the total.

“The use of these means of payment above the economic capacity of each person or an erroneous financial discipline, can cause a greater debt and problems in obtaining future credit, said Carlos Mora, Ministro de Economía, Industria y Comercio. "It is important that cardholders take care of their credit record.”

The Ministerio recommends that all cardholders limit their number of cards and pay all purchases made in a month, within the terms established by the contract.

Late or minimum payment imply that the person must assume a high interest rate. 76 percent of all cards charge an annual interest rate in colones that ranges between 40 and 50 percent , while 77 percent of credit cards in dollars charge an interest rate between 30 and 40 percent.