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Published Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 138
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Casa Canada

Really bad wiseguys linked to cocaine trade here
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The presence of the Italian Mafia here extends much further than the silent ownership of a few sportsbooks.

And it appears that the traditional Sicilian Mafia is overshadowed by a much more powerful and pervasive criminal organization based across the Strait of Messina in Calabria on the Italian mainland.

While much of the cocaine smuggling operations that takes place in Costa Rica have been attributed to the so-called Mexican mafia or Colombian Marxist rebels, the full extent of the Calabrian ‘Ndrangheta mostly is hidden from view.

The Calabrian organization is among the most powerful and richest criminal groups in the world, but its interest did not turn to international drug smuggling until the early 1990.  Costa Rica seems to be a transit point for cocaine eventually destined for Europe.

In October Costa Rican agents with the assistance of Italian police, detained seven persons involved with two produce shipping companies. The companies were sending cocaine to Europe hidden in containers of fresh vegetables.

Prosecutors linked the operation to the 'Ndrangheta, in part because of another Costa Rica connection disclosed the previous May. That case involved a family that operated an Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Corona, Queens, New York. Two of the family members are on trial this week in Brooklyn federal court.

Among the allegations are orchestrating two shipments of cocaine packed in Costa Rica into containers holding cassava, known as yuca here.

On trial are Gregorio Gigliotti and his son, Angelo, who operated the Cucino a Modo Mio restaurant. Gregorio’s wife and Angelo’s mother, Eleanora, has been separated from the case over claims of mental illness.

She has been characterized as a vicious mob mom in the New York media due to conversations federal agents recorded. Federal prosecutors also linked the family to the 'Ndrangheta. Both husband and wife are immigrants from Calabria.

Other crime sources say the operation also

pizza place
Cucino a Modo Mio photo
Cucino a Modo Mio restaurant in Queens

involved the Bonnano and Genovese crime families, two of the five Sicilian Mafia families in the New York metro area.

“The arrival of 'Ndrangheta in Costa Rica points to the increasing sophistication of the country's homegrown criminal networks, and their burgeoning role in the transnational drug trade,” said the InSight Crime site in reporting the October arrests.

The Calabria crime organization has the resources, and at least one of those submarines that were constructed in Colombia to move drugs was financed by the 'Ndrangheta.

In the Queens restaurant case, prosecutors allege that much of the cocaine shipped there from Costa Rica was to be repackaged and shipped on to Italy.

Mrs. Gigliotti was accused of bringing $400,000 in cash to Costa Rica to pay for the drugs. She made a second trip, also in 2014, to deliver an additional $170,000, prosecutors have alleged.

The October arrests in Costa Rica followed the confiscation of cocaine shipments at several ports in Europe.

Although linking Italian criminals to pizza restaurant may seem like something out of the movies, there was a similar New York case in the 1980s that also involved drug shipments to Italy. During the height of the Mafia wars in the eastern United States in the early 1970s, would-be gangsters were smuggled in through Canada and given jobs in New Jersey, New York and Philadelpia pizza restaurants.

That way mobsters had a continual source of individuals without identities and criminal records to perform contract murders. After doing so, the aspiring gangsters would themselves be murdered leaving an unidentifiable body for the police.

The 'Ndrangheta has  strong presence in Canada and is believed to have orchestrated some of this human smuggling.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, July 14, 2016, 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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Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo
The Consejo de Seguridad Vial is paying 359 million colons, nearly $660,000, to have yellow lines painted on center island curbs and exterior borders of the  Circunvalación. The theory is that if there are yellow limes motorists will not make U-turns across the median of the key highway, said the agency.

Father and brother sentenced in incest
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Only infrequently does the crime of incest reach the public as news. It did Wednesday when a father and his brother admitted guilt in having sexual relations with a 12 year old.

This type of crime is more common than expats might realize because many cases never come to court and because when they do, the accounts are not published.

Consequently, organizations like the U.S. State Department make continual unsupported allegations of sex tourism with Costa Rican minors while ignoring the reality of incest.

In the case adjudicated Wednesday, the father and his brother each received 30 years in prison for the crime.

The Poder Judicial said that the father would have relations with his daughter at night while his wife was sleeping. The uncle, the father’s brother, used to visit the home while  the parents were working.

Both men admitted guilt in an abbreviated process. Both lived in Horquetas de Sarapiquí.

Both men became fugitives when they fled March 9 in the middle of a trial. One was captured a short time later, and one surrendered.

The crime came to light May 5, 2012, when the wife awakened in the night and realized her husband was not in the bedroom with her. The Poder Judicial said that the woman questioned the girl later that day and then both filed a criminal complaint.

Such crimes are so common that judicial victim advocates maintain a room filled with stuffed animals and toys for the purpose of having a place to question young victims.

This type of crime sometimes becomes newsworthy when the victim is young and pregnant. Also this month there was a case of a 14 year old impregnating his 11-year-old sister.

Commercial confidence takes a slight dip

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new report said that the commercial sector confidence in the country’s economy has declined slightly.

The report is from the Cámara de Comercio de Costa Rica and covers the second quarter of 2016.

The chamber reported that the average of its survey put confidence at 93 points, seven points lower than the first quarter of this year and 12 points lower than a similar survey covering the last quarter of 2015.

The chamber said that the average was higher than for the same period a year ago when the index was 79. Some  of the variation is seasonal, the chamber said.

The index was as high as 131 in the first quarter of 2010.

The confidence is measured by four variables, said the chamber. They are the perception of the economy, the condition of the firm, employment and sales.

As to employment, 17 percent of the firms contacted in the survey said they would hire more workers in the next three months. Some 62 percent said there would be no change in the work force.

The chamber coupled the announcement of the results of the survey with a call for the government to stop pushing for new taxes, which, it said, has a negative effect on confidence.

More two-day festivals this weekend

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The two-day Enamorate de tu Ciudad programs this weekend will be the last of the season.

In addition to San José the street festival will be in the central parks San Marcos de Tarrazú, Santa María de Dota, San Pablo de León Cortés and Paraíso de Cartago. This is the first season that the event was outside of the capital.

The program, put on by the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud, features music, dancing, visual arts, story telling and even chess. The hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

A special aspect of the weekend in Paraíso will be visual artist Francesco Bracci and his display of 25 photographs of the area, said the ministry.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, July 14, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 138
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Law to censor convict's criminal records goes into effect
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministerio de Justicia y Paz said Wednesday that a new law has gone into effect that will expunge the criminal record of many lawbreakers.

The law, No.  9361, restricts the judicial archives from including many convictions in a criminal record report. The report, called a hoja de delinquencia, is often requested by employers to assess the moral background of a job candidate.

The expressed purpose of the law is to allow convicts to get a job without letting employers know about their past.

Many court files already are secret, so employers will have to rely on private sources such as credit bureaus to learn about convictions.

The new law says that the record of a convict is expunged immediately upon completion of prison penalty less than three years. When the penalty is from three to five years, the archives have to expunge the record a year after the sentence is completed.

When a penalty is from five to 10 years, the expungement takes place after three years. After serving a penalty of more than 10 years, a convict has to wait five years for a clean record.

A special rule applies to those convicted of organized crime links, terrorism, murder and violation of public duties, said the ministry. These individual have to wait 10 years before obtaining a clean record. That also includes persons convicted of sex crimes with minors, according to the ministry.

The law also gives a judge the ability to reduce the waiting time in cases  of individuals characterized as being in vulnerable situations with dependents.

The law is not expected to have much impact because there are plenty of private sources to learn the criminal history of an individual, such a newspaper archives. Plus only about 15 percent of criminals ever actually are convicted and sentenced, according to statistics released by the Power Judicial.

The archive department in which criminal records are kept has

Ministerio de Justicia y Paz photo
A member of the Policía Penitenciaria affixes an ankle bracelet that will be used to allow prisoners to remain at home instead of in jail. The demonstration was at a bid opening by the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz. Offers to monitor prisoners came from Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia and Radiográfica Costarricense S.A., the only firms allowed to bid.

six months to make the necessary adjustments, said the ministry. That means a large number of records will have to be expunged.

The  Ministerio de Justicia y Paz also is the same agency that has been releasing convicts from prison early to reduce overcrowding.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, July 14, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 138
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Major power generation source found where fresh water meets oceans
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Solar Power is becoming increasingly inexpensive, and efficient.  The same goes for wind power, but a natural limitation of both systems is that on some days the sun doesn't shine, and on some days, the wind doesn't blow.

But researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne say they have found a simple way to produce a lot of energy, anywhere a river meets the sea.

Their work is being published in the journal Nature, and it's an incredibly simple and straightforward idea that uses osmosis to create energy. 

Osmosis occurs when salty water hits fresh water across a permeable membrane. 

Salt ions, atom with an electrical charge, will pass through the membrane until the amount of salt is equal on both sides. 

The researchers wondered if they could figure out how to capture that electrical charge as it moved across the membrane separating the fresh and salty water.  They did it by creating two tiny membranes, just three atoms thick, made of molybdenum disulfide, which is plentiful and easy to produce.  Then they made a tiny hole in the membranes and let osmosis take over and push the electrically charged salt ions through this tiny pore.

What makes this unique is that the pore lets positively charged ions through, while keeping out most of the negatively charged

ions.  A generator attached to the membrane collects this energy.  It sounds simple, but the researchers say it just seems that way.

"We had to first fabricate and then investigate the optimal size of the nanopore.  If it's too big, negative ions can pass through and the resulting voltage would be too low.  If it's too small, not enough ions can pass through and the current would be too weak," said Jiandong Feng, lead author of the research.  Getting that nanopore just right is the big news.

The researchers say a one meter square membrane with nanopores across about 30 percent of its space could produce one megawatt of energy, enough to light 50,000 standard energy efficient light bulbs.

But it isn't easy to drill a nanopore in a three atom thick membrane, and standardizing that process is going to take much more work.

"We can control with sub-nanometer precision pore size when we work with the single nanopore," Aleksandra Radenovic, one of the researchers said.  "To scale the process and have millions or trillions of pores, that would require a different nanopore fabrication process." 

But according to Radenovic that's exactly what they're working on now.  If they can standardize the process of creating these nanopore filled membranes it just might be possible to create huge amounts of energy all the time, wherever salty and fresh water mix.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, July 14, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 138
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Trump says he will reveal
his veep choice this Friday

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Presumptive Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump is narrowing his choice for vice president and plans to make the pick public Friday.

Trump said on Twitter that he would make his announcement at 11 a.m. Friday in New York.

Among the likely choices are Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who appeared at a fundraising event with Trump Tuesday, former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Christie, once a Republican candidate rival of Trump, threw his support behind the billionaire businessman after dropping out of the race earlier this year.

Several news media, including U.S. News & World Report and Politico, say the race is between Pence and Gingrich.

The news magazine U.S. News said sources within the Trump campaign told the magazine that Pence, a former U.S. Congressman, is viewed as reliable and respectable, yet someone they can control.

However, Trump's children, as well as Ivanka Trump's husband, Jared Kushner, seem to prefer Gingrich, according to the online news site Politico, which cited multiple sources involved in campaign deliberations.

However, the Republican candidate also spoke highly of Christie on Fox News Wednesday. Trump and Christie have a long history.

"I tell you Chris Christie is somebody I have liked for a long time," Trump told Fox's Bret Baier. "He is a total professional. He’s a good guy, by the way. A lot of people don’t understand that."

Kushner, who has a large, behind-the-scenes role in Trump's campaign, is not a fan of Christie, who as a federal prosecutor sent Kushner's father, Charles Kushner, to prison a decade ago. The elder Kushner pleaded guilty to 18 counts of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering in 2005. He received a two-year prison sentence under a plea deal negotiated by Christie.

One campaign source, speaking to Politico on the condition of anonymity, put it best: "Trump is going to pick whoever he's going to pick."

The Republican National Convention will be held July 18 to 21 in Cleveland.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is also interviewing potential vice presidential picks. She is expected to announce her choice next week.

Among the people being mentioned for the role is Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia.

Clinton insiders told The Hill on Wednesday that Kaine checks off all the boxes as a candidate: a strong surrogate on the campaign trail, but someone with whom Mrs. Clinton can see herself working with once in office.

Also on a list of possible vice presidential choices are Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Housing Secretary Julian Castro.

The Democratic National Convention takes place July 25 to 28 in Philadelphia.

Trump closing the gap
in some states, polls say

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

New polling in key battleground U.S. states is showing Republican Donald Trump gaining ground on Democrat Hillary Clinton, four months before November's presidential election.

Quinnipiac University said Wednesday its recent surveys showed Trump, a real estate billionaire seeking his first elected office, with a 42 to 39 percent lead in the southeastern state of Florida, reversing an eight-point Clinton edge from three weeks ago.

The pollster said Trump has pulled to a 43 percent to 41 percent edge in the eastern state of Pennsylvania, where Mrs. Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of State, had previously been up by one point. The two candidates remain tied in a third state, Ohio, in the Midwest.

As Trump heads to the Republican national convention next week in Cleveland, Ohio, to officially claim his party's presidential nomination, Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown says the candidate is "on a small roll in the three most important swing states in the country."

Some of the polling was conducted in the days after the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded last week that Mrs. Clinton was extremely careless in the way she handled classified information on her private email server while she was the country's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013, but that she would not be charged with criminal violations.

Nationally, an average of various polls shows Mrs. Clinton, seeking to become the first female president in the U.S., with about a four-point advantage over Trump.

U.S. presidential elections, however, are not decided by a national popular vote, but rather contests in each of the 50 states and the national capital, Washington, with each area's influence on the outcome contingent on its population and the number of senators and representatives it has in Congress.

U.S. election analysts say Mrs. Clinton has an early prospective edge in the electoral college, where a majority of 270 of the 538 electors is needed to win the presidency.

But the three states where Quinnipiac polled are among the most closely contested in the quadrennial U.S. presidential elections, all states won by the country's Democratic president, Barack Obama, in both 2008 and 2012. Whoever wins at least two of the three this year is likely to be Obama's successor when he leaves office in January.

Special relationship is seen
threatened by British exit

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

One of the first phone calls Theresa May will make as Britain’s new prime minister will be to U.S. President Barack Obama. Earlier this week, a White House spokesman said with Ms. May as Britain’s new leader, there was confidence in Washington that the special relationship between the two countries would not only be protected but advanced.

That was music to the ears of British media that are always quick to take the temperature of the so-called special relationship and fret at any suspected transatlantic coolness.  But past and current British diplomats aren’t so sure that as Britain shapes its future outside the European Union, the intimate ties between Washington and London that stretch back to World War II will remain as close.

They worry more than ever about their access to Washington power after President Obama’s dire warnings over Brexit in the run-up to last month’s referendum in which he warned Britain would be diminished, if it left the EU and would be at the back of the line behind the Europeans when it comes to negotiating future free trade deals.

“Germany will increasingly become more important,” worries a former British ambassador to the U.S. “Outside the EU, we will be of less importance to Washington, Berlin and Paris more so,” he fears.

Another envoy, currently an ambassador to a European country, says that by exiting the European bloc, Britain has jettisoned one of its key roles as far as Washington is concerned, namely, acting as America’s deputy within the European camp, cajoling and lobbying on behalf of the U.S. That was seen most dramatically in the run-up to the Iraq invasion when then-British prime minister Tony Blair backed George W. Bush and rallied European doubters, although he had no luck with the French.

With the EU developing a common security and foreign policy, “Britain won’t be able to help influence it, reducing our leverage with Washington,” the envoy says. And he argued that last week’s long-awaited Chilcot report with its damning indictment of the reasons the Blair government gave for joining the U.S. in invading Iraq is fueling fears that Britain is in danger of becoming a less dependable ally for the Americans.

“Chilcot will have a chilling effect on future British prime ministers when it comes to joining the U.S. in overseas interventions,” he predicts.

“I will be with you, whatever,” Tony Blair was revealed to have promised Bush in a secret letter sent eight months before the joint invasion.

A major factor in Blair’s decision to offer unequivocal support to Bush was a fear that Britain would lose influence in Washington and damage the special relationship, if it withheld its support for the post-9/11 invasion.

But, unlike when the special relationship was forged in World War II between Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, Washington was far less ready to accept British political counsel about how to go about garnering international support for the invasion, according to John Chilcot, the former top British civil servant, whose seven-year-long inquiry heaped blame on British politicians, intelligence officials, diplomats and generals for their role in the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq.
The diplomats worry that the 1962 remarks of Dean Acheson, a former U.S. secretary of State, about Britain’s position in the world, will start becoming true, albeit belatedly.

In a speech at West Point, the U.S. military academy and to the anger of the British media,  Acheson said, “Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role. The attempt to play a separate power role, that is, a role apart from Europe, a role based on a special relationship with the United States, a role based on being head of a Commonwealth which has no political structure, or unity, or strength, this role is about played out.”

Even before Brexit, the U.S. foreign policy establishment was questioning Britain’s reliability as the go-to-country for support. The 2013 vote by British lawmakers rejecting taking military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government to deter the use of chemical weapons took Washington aback.

France has been far more active in Africa and the Middle East against jihadists than Britain, note U.S. officials, who, like Obama, are keen now to refer to France as America’s oldest ally.

While no one doubts Britain will remain a key player in transatlantic relations, and an important contributor to European security, few British diplomats appear to think it will be, as in the past, the key player.

Virginia school board seeks
quick bathroom rule decision

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A school board in the eastern state of Virginia has filed an emergency appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to halt a ruling that allows a transgender student, born a female, to use the boys’ restroom next school year.

The Gloucester County School Board is trying to prevent Gavin Grimm from using the bathroom that matches his current gender identity when school resumes later this year, saying it will put parents' constitutional rights in jeopardy.'

Grimm sued the school district last year for the right to use the boys’ restroom after the school board enacted a policy limiting bathroom use to the one corresponding with a person’s biological sex rather than the gender with which the student identifies.

Grimm was born female but identifies as male.

"Depriving parents of any say over whether their children should be exposed to members of the opposite biological sex, possibly in a state of full or complete undress, in intimate settings deprives parents of their right to direct the education and upbringing of their children,'' attorneys for the school board wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is defending Grimm, has argued that forcing him to use the girls' bathroom is a violation of Title IX and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 

The issue is one that has been hotly debated in schools, courts and state legislatures across the U.S.

The Obama administration in May directed the nation’s public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity or risk losing their federal funding. Twenty-one states have sued to overturn the directive.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Grimm in April. The court reinstated Grimm's Title IX claim and sent it back to the district court for further consideration.
The school board wants the Supreme Court to put Grimm's district court case on hold until the justices decide whether to review the appeals court decision. The board says it plans to file its petition for Supreme Court review by late August.

Being fat cited as a risk
of cutting years from life

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Doctors have known for years the health risks of being overweight, but a new study shows that being too fat can cut as much as 10 years off a life.

The study in The Lancet, a medical journal, looked at the histories of 4 million nonsmoking adults in 32 countries from 1970 to 2015.

The experts found that those who were overweight died one year earlier than their life expectancy and moderately obese people lost three years off their lives.

The study's lead author, Emanuele Di Angelantonio of the University of Cambridge, said the severely obese can expect to die 10 years prematurely.

The study said being fat is far more dangerous for men than for women.

Experts have already linked obesity to heart disease, stroke and cancer.

The authors recognized how hard it is for many people to lose weight and keep it off. They said it is much easier for overweight people to slim down to normal weight before they reach middle age, rather than later in life.

Chinese agent is sentenced
for defense contractor hacks

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. judge on Wednesday sentenced a Chinese national to 46 months in prison for conspiring to hack into the computers of major American defense contractors and to smuggling the information to China.

Su Bin pleaded guilty of conspiring with two unnamed hackers in China to export U.S. military information to the Communist nation from October 2008 to March 2014.

“Su assisted the Chinese military hackers in their efforts to illegally access and steal designs for cutting-edge military aircraft that are indispensable to our national defense," said John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security.

Su told his co-conspirators, military officers in China, whom to target, which files to steal and why the information they stole was significant.

Court records say the men targeted fighter jets such as the F-22 and the F-35, as well as Boeing's C-17 military cargo aircraft program.

Su was arrested in Canada in 2014 and brought to the U.S. He had faced 30 years in prison before reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors in March.

Japanese emperor reported
ready to retire from throne

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Japanese Emperor Akihito is reportedly planning to abdicate the throne in favor of his son within the next few years, Japanese media reports.

The 82-year-old monarch, who has suffered in recent years from a number of health problems, reportedly told members of the imperial household staff of his intentions.

Akihito has been cutting back on his official duties and increasingly transferring them over to his son, Crown Prince Naruhito, 56.

Kyodo news agency quotes government sources saying that a living succession will require a revision to the law.

The current role of the Japanese emperor is largely that of a symbol of the state and holds no political power.

The last Japanese emperor to give up the throne was Emperor Kokaku, who abdicated in 1817.

Telehealth called solution
to those without access

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

One of the hardest parts about being sick is getting up and getting to the doctor. It's a First-World problem for most Americans who live in cities or suburbs, but what if the doctor is 40 kilometers away, or 400 kilometers?

Soon, the solution may be just a mouse click away. It's called telehealth, and it links patients and doctors using computers or mobile devices. Some researchers think it will revolutionize health care in the next decade.

Telemedicine is now used to some extent to monitor heart patients and to connect doctors and distant emergency rooms. 

In the United States, veterans benefited from 2 million telemedicine visits in 2014 through the government’s health care service for them.

But in the next decade, telemedicine or virtual care will evolve into telehealth, say the authors of an article in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Utilizing computers or mobile devices, doctors and nurses could be available 24 hours a day at relatively low cost to assess emergency situations, like heart attack or stroke.

Ray Dorsey, a neurologist at University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York, says telehealth technology could benefit people in other countries. He said that in developing parts of the world such as China or India, telehealth will be increasingly seen as "a means to provide unprecedented access to care where previously care has just largely been inaccessible.”

The increasing use of smartphones worldwide has the potential to revolutionize medical care. In the world of telehealth, patients will be able to communicate with health care specialists directly from their homes, and school nurses will be able to talk with doctors directly and get information about why a child is not feeling well.

“And it’s an evaluation in a timely, convenient way without having to go to the emergency room or an urgent care center, or even a pediatrician,” said Dorsey. “I think in the future it will increasingly be applied to chronic conditions to help reduce costs.”

For example, telehealth could help doctors keep an eye on patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes or Parkinson’s disease. 

The technology also could be combined with wireless, wearable devices to watch over serious disorders such as congestive heart failure.

In the article, Dorsey and co-author Eric Topol with Scripps Research Institute in California predict a number of trends in the evolution of telehealth. 

It will be driven by the need to make health care more convenient and cost-effective for patients and doctors alike.

It will expand the traditional use of telemedicine from general doctors to specialists such as psychiatrists, neurologists and dermatologists.

The biggest challenge, according to Dorsey, is the digital divide, where those who need health care assistance the most don’t have access to a computer or smartphone.

In the end, they say, telehealth won’t replace office visits, but it could fill in the gaps, enabling medical personnel to meet the growing burden of chronic disease and increasing access to badly needed health care worldwide.
Real estate-related services (paid category)
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New shipping containers for sale:
20 ft. (model year 2015) Containers:  $3,500
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If you are looking for information on condos, homes, lots, commercial real estate or development properties our award-winning team of professional agents are ready to help you buying property in Costa Rica. We have over 18 years of experience to educate our buyers in all aspects of purchasing property. Call us or email us today for more information on how to purchase that perfect piece of Costa Rica Real Estate.

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

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Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
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The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
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Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
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    2.47 acre ocean view property w/ 2 houses & 2 unfinished apartments $249k!!!
    2 houses and pool furnished, great rental potential walk to the beach $327k w/ owner financing
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and lots of other great properties! Property listings in Escazú, Herradura, Jacó, Manuel Antonio, Dominical and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate.

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Real estate for sale (paid category)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)

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

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, July 14, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 138
Real Estate
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Red Sismológica Nacional photo
The Volcán Turrialba gave another eruption of ash at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday. A monitoring camera on the summit of the volcano showed that the eruption continued through early today. This is becoming a daily occurrence.

Study says drugs hamper moral judgment

By the Springer publishers news staff

Regular cocaine and methamphetamine users can have difficulty choosing between right and wrong, perhaps because the specific parts of their brains used for moral processing and evaluating emotions are damaged by their prolonged drug habits.

This is according to a study among prison inmates by researchers at the University of New Mexico and the nonprofit Mind Research Network. The findings of the study, which was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, are published in Springer’s journal Psychopharmacology.

Research has shown that stimulant users often find it difficult to identify other people’s emotions, particularly fear, and to show empathy. These aspects play an important role in moral decision making. Other studies have pointed to structural and functional abnormalities in especially the frontal regions of the brains among stimulant users. These areas are engaged when moral judgments have to be made.

There is strong link between drug use and criminal behavior, and up to 75 percent of inmates in the United States have substance abuse problems. It is not known whether the criminal behavior is in part a result of the drugs’ effects on brain function.

Researcher Kent Kiehl’s team is the first to examine how the neural networks and brain functioning of chronic cocaine and methamphetamine users in U.S. jails relate to their ability to evaluate and decide about moral situations or scenarios. Poor judgment about moral situations can lead to poor decision making and subsequent antisocial behavior.

The researchers recorded the life history of substance abuse of 131 cocaine and methamphetamine users and 80 non-users incarcerated in New Mexico and Wisconsin prisons. The participants’ brains were scanned while they completed a moral decision-making task in which they evaluated whether certain phrases were morally wrong or not.

Compared to the non-users, the regular stimulant users had abnormal activity in their brains during moral processing.

“This is the first study to suggest impairments in the neural systems of moral processing in both cocaine and methamphetamine users,” says lead author Samantha Fede. “Although further research into the connectivity of systems in stimulant use is needed, this provides promising initial understanding of fronto-limbic deficits in stimulant users.”

The research team acknowledges that people who are prone to regular stimulant use might already struggle with moral processing even before they begin to use drugs such as cocaine.

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From Page 7:

U.S. bill would restrict loans to Nicaragua

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Ten members of the U.S. Congress for both political parties have introduced a bill to oppose loans to the government of Nicaragua until the country takes steps for free and fair elections.

The measure is called the  Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act. The bill, if passed, would direct the administration to oppose loans for Nicaragua from international financial institutions until the secretary of State certifies the government is taking effective steps to hold free and fair elections, promote democracy, strengthen the rule of law and respect the right to freedom of association and expression.

The bill also directs the administration to advocate for an electoral observation mission to be sent to Nicaragua in 2016 and 2017 in accordance with recommendations made by the Organization of American States.

The non-profit Freedom House said that the government of President Daniel Ortega restricts the basic rights of its citizens, and limits the work of media and the political opposition. It said it supported the bill.