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Published Tuesday, July 19, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 141
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Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
Workers brought in heavy machinery to patch the highway
Troubled La Uruca-Heredia link is troubled again
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There are many traffic trouble spots in the metro area. But the route from La Uruca into Heredia most certainly is cursed.

This is the stretch where workers are widening a bridge over the Río Virilla. Even in the best of times, the going is slow there. Sometimes the road is simply closed.

Then there was a break in a water main that flooded the highway and adjacent areas.

Then heavy rains slid tons of gravel, rocks and

other construction material from the bridge site into a nearby residential area.

Monday was the first day after the mid-year vacation. Traffic was bad anyway. Then the roadway caved in, thanks to a late morning rain.  A drainage pipe had collapsed.

Road officials did a temporary patch and opened the roadway again about 6 p.m. But hundreds of vehicles had been detoured into the byways that might lead to Heredia.

Trucks still can’t use the roadway because of the delicate nature of the repairs, said officials.

Museo Nacional photo
Playing the marimba usually is a group effort.
The holiday celebration is Sunday at Museo Nacional
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Guanacaste is coming to the Museo Nacional for a Sunday celebration of the  192nd anniversary of the Anexión del Partido de Nicoya.

The event is free for Costa Ricans and legal residents. As usual there will be dancing, food, workshops for children, crafts and music.

Featured is the group Los de la Bajura, meaning those from the lowlands, and the Banda de Conciertos de San José. The popular Los de la Bajura comes from Santa Cruz and is known for the original music. The traditional marimba is one of the group’s instruments.

Guanacaste is special place for Costa Ricans. For some it is the Wild West. The culture, the food, the slang and even the names of common articles are different.

The bomba is a unique Guanacaste rhyming joke, preceded by the word “Bomba,” in case
the audience is not paying attention.

They can be romantic and certainly humorous. And Los de la Bajura  can present them non-stop.

They stem from ancient oral traditions. An expat will need a good ear or a Costa Rican friend close by to fully appreciate the quatrains. Further explanation is HERE!

The museum event starts at 9 a.m. The holiday really is the following day, Monday.

The legal action to join Guanacaste to Costa Rica in 1824 was finalized on July 25 that year. The  Partido de Nicoya was recognized by the Spanish crown as a distinct political subdivision. After independence, the area was autonomous for several years.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 19, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 141
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


Marco Cavallini & Associates
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Licensed by the I.R.S.
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Real estate agents and services

Luis Diego

Luis Diego Castro, Real Estate Agent, offers great quality service and a personalized way to do business with those who may have a Real Estate need, through the best prices possible in the market and a very professional, reliable and transparent intermediation.

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Our reader’s opinion
Police officers are becoming a class apart

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Here in the good ol’ USA not a day goes by that doesn’t have something in the news about cops. Cops shoot someone, someone shoots cop(s), cops on trial, cops get more surplus military gear, corrupt cops, good cops, et al.

The violence involving the police has taken a turn for the worse recently, and a large number of people act surprised, which is stupid. Anyone with a few operative brain cells should have able to see it coming.  Consider these points:

The police departments nationwide have become more and more militarized over the last 30 years. They have a military type hierarchy, use military jargon, and even practice military etiquette in many cases. Cops no longer look like cops a large portion of the time. They look like commandos with the black Ninja suits or the camouflage gear.

They are armed to the teeth with the latest hi-tech weaponry, much of it given to their departments by the federal government. (or purchased for a big discount). They are often accompanied by large, fierce German shepherd-type dogs who will attempt to rip you apart if commanded to do so. And how about those lavish military type funerals for a fallen officer – cops come from miles around to attend those – at taxpayer expense.

The police of our country have in many cases become a separate society, significantly apart from the rest of us; they associate mostly with other cops, they speak “copspeak,” they live in cop neighborhoods. I believe they look down on the “civilians” – that’s the rest of us. They refer to us as “individuals,” not “people.”

When I lived in Ventura County, California, we knew a guy who was going through the Ventura County Sheriff’s Academy. Now there was a military type outfit if there ever was one: the drills, the marching/running songs, the language used and the culture the instructors were instilling in the cadets. In a way it was unsettling. One instructor even openly referred to non-police officers as “the assholes.” Police departments still “protect,” but mostly they protect themselves. “Serve”? Fading fast in many cases.

The police of this country are now largely unapproachable, mostly for the reasons given above. Successful and respected PDs have, among other things, adopted community policing, where instead of cruising around in a patrol car they are out in the open, riding bicycles, walking a beat. They are face-to-face with the people they are supposed to protect and serve. There are many opportunities for conversation and interaction, and with that goes better understanding on both sides.

I have had friends who were cops. One good friend was a very cool and savvy guy with a lot of experience who was smart enough to realize that when race entered the equation most reason went out the window, so he maintained his cool in some tough situations. Incidentally, he was white. When he was assigned to a largely Hispanic neighborhood he made an effort to learn Spanish. That earned him a lot os respect from the community. Conversely, I had another acquaintance that somehow managed to pass the psych test at the Jefferson County, Colorado, Sheriff’s Office and get into the academy. He became a cop for a local municipal PD.

Now, this guy was certifiable. He had a 44 magnum that he badly wanted to use on someone. How did he get by the psych test? And guess what? They immediately made him an undercover narc.

To try and put this all in perspective, there are some police persons out there who are genuinely interested in doing something good for society. They are in minority these days, but bless them for what they do. I respect the dangers our police face on a daily basis, the harassment and lack of respect from some people. I understand and sympathize about the substandard pay in many cases.

But we need to take a fresh look at our whole concept of policing and get our cops back into the society that many are now rejecting. We need to pay them well so as to attract the best. We need to condemn them when they break the law but also to sing their praises when the job is well done.

Much has been made of the push to restrict gun ownership. One popular theme is to have more restrictions on gun ownership by mentally unbalanced folks. We need to develop tests to screen out unsuitable applicants for police positions before they ever enter the force.
Pete Todd
Laporte, Colorado

Expo to preview wholesale market

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expo Mercado Chorotega Friday will be a preview of coming attractions on the site of the proposed wholesale market in Sardinal. What is to take place is a farmer’s market where information will be distributed about the proposed $52.5 million market.

Lawmakers already have approve a $48 million loan with the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Centroamericana.

The event Friday is organized by the  Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería, the Consejo Nacional de Producción and the Programa de Mercadeo Agropecuario.

Although the proposed project is called a wholesale market, the government also seems to plan retail outlets, too.

The market will be 50,855 square meters or 547,399 square feet. There would be room for 36 stores of 100 square meters (1,076 square feet) each to sell vegetables and 16 additional stores to sell meat.

Lawmakers said at the time the loan was approved that the facility would sell more than 58,000 tons of fruits, vegetables and grains, 5,880 tons of beef and pork, nearly 8,000 tons of chicken and eggs and 1,455 tons of seafood, presumably over a year.

Resident of some 11 cantons would benefit, said lawmakers.

Basically the government is seeking to go into competition with Walmart and its Mas x Menos, Maxi Palí and Palí chains. There is a Palí in Sardinal.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 19, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 141
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Lawmakers continue to hear criticisms of proposed tax fraud bill
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A legislative committee still is wrestling with a proposed law on tax fraud. The thrust of the bill is to prevent tax fraud so the government collects more money.

The measure is in the Comisión de Asuntos Hacendarios where the head of a commercial association appeared Monday. He is Franco Pacheco of the  Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del  Sector Empresarial Privado.

He questioned a proposed section of the law that would require those involved in private transactions like lending to make sure individuals were current with tax filings.

Pacheco said he had serious doubts, according to a legislative summary.

According to Article 18 of the law anyone who seeks to obtain any kind of  authorization, permit or permission from the central government or a municipality would have to show being current with tax filings.

Another article requires public or private lenders to first determine that would-be borrowers are current with their tax obligations.

Pacheco questioned the constitutionality of some of these measures.

Another speaker Monday was Rafael Sayagues of Ernst and Young S. A., who said Costa Rica would become only the second country in the world to require corporations to provide tax officials the names of shareholders who receive money. That also is in the bill.

Norway has such a requirement, but that country provides many important necessities for its citizens despite having a high tax rate, he said..

Many business operators are concerned about the lack of confidentiality, although the bill envisions creating a judicial court to handle such concerns.

Another speaker, Sergio García, a tax expert with KPMG Central America, S. A., said that the Costa Rican tax burden was 22.5 percent.

He said this was above the Latin American average.

In official action Monday the Asambea Legislativa approved on first reading No. 19.909, a bill to tighten money laundering rules. When passed and signed, the national laws will be in accord with the standards of the  Grupo de Acción Financiera Internacional.
The assembly also approved on first reading, No. 19.904, a bill that expands the definition of international bribery to include promises as well as actually payments.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 19, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 141
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Melania Trump lauds her husband in an unusual convention appearance
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Republican National Convention moves today to a focus on the economy, a day after Melania Trump told a prime time audience her husband Donald is an amazing leader and the only one who can deliver change for the United States.

Tuesday's speakers in Cleveland, Ohio, include some of the party's most prominent figures, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and former presidential candidates Chris Christie and Ben Carson.

"If you want someone to fight for you and your country, I can assure you he's the guy," Melania Trump said.

The Slovenian immigrant has been largely unseen during the presidential campaign and used part of the address to tell her personal story.  She said she does not take the freedoms offered by the U.S. for granted.

She told the Republican officials gathered inside the arena that Donald Trump is moved by the great honor of being their nominee for president.  She also took a moment to recognize longtime Sen. Bob Dole, a Kansas Republican and the party's only living past presidential nominee to attend the convention.

Her speech did not have the fiery tones of many of the others who gave addresses Monday on the first day of the convention.  Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn followed Trump's speech with sharp criticism of President Barack Obama and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

"There will be no apologies for our American exceptionalism or leadership standing around the world," Flynn said.  "Wake up, America.  You cannot sit this one out."

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani said a vast majority of Americans do not feel safe and warned terrorists, "We're coming to get you!"

Giuliani also mocked Obama's own address at the 2004 Democratic convention during which the then-Senate candidate said there is no liberal, conservative, black, white, Latino or Asian America, but a United States of America.

"It's time to make America one again," Giuliani said Monday.  "What happened to there is no black America, there is no white America, there is just America?"

Sen. Tom Cotton criticized Obama's efforts to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan during his term, saying the U.S. wants a leader "who speaks of winning wars and not merely ending wars."

In one of the final addresses, Sen. Joni Ernst directed scorn at Mrs. Clinton, saying the Democrat is entirely unfit to be president.  Mrs. Clinton will be nominated at her party's convention next week. Sen. Ernst is an Iraqi war veteran.

Voice of America photo
Melania Trump addresses the convention while her image is shown on a large screen.

Monday's speeches began with television personalities. Scott Baio, who starred on "Happy Days" as a child in the 1970s, and Willie Robertson of the reality TV show "Duck Dynasty," both warned the convention audience that America is headed toward dark times.

Robertson repeatedly said Trump "would have your back," telling them the billionaire presumptive Republican nominee would support the average American.

Baio urged America not to support Mrs. Clinton, who he said is "wrecking this country." He said Trump, a former reality TV star, is "doing this from the goodness of his heart and genuinely wants to help."
The convention erupted in chaos just hours after it began Monday as Trump's opponents loudly protested being denied a floor vote on the convention rules.

"Call the roll, call the roll,'' opponents shouted. Practically drowning them out were chants of "USA, USA'' by Trump supporters and party loyalists.

The convention's presiding officer, Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas, abruptly put the rules to a voice vote, and then declared that the effort had fallen short.

This discord inside the convention site mimicked the chaos on the streets, where several hundred Trump supporters and opponents held rallies a kilometer apart as the four-day convention opened.

There was a heavy police presence with officers from other states joining their colleagues in Cleveland. The deadly truck attack in France and the ambush killings of five police officers earlier this month in Dallas and three more in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, over the past weekend have heightened fears of violence in Cleveland.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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Put Costa Rica on your walls
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Visit our Web site at:
Contact us by email:  
Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
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Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tel.  8386-6872 / 2667-0592; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073
International shipping available.

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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

George Lundquist

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About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 19, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 141
Real Estate
About us

Axiom new ad

Afghan slasher hurts three
in attack on German train

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

German news agencies are reporting multiple casualties aboard a train in southern Germany after an ax-wielding man went on a rampage before being shot to death.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann described the attacker as a 17-year-old Afghan national who lived in the German town of Ochsenfurt.

Earlier reports, quoting Wurzburg police, said the attacker struck on a regional train about 9 p.m. local time with blunt and slashing weapons described by witnesses as an ax and a knife. The assailant was later shot dead as he attempted to flee the scene.

Police said at least three passengers suffered serious wounds.

Authorities have not speculated on a motive for the attack. They say the train route between Ochsenfurt and Wurzburg has been closed.

Baton Rouge killer identified
as U.S. Marine and Iraqi vet

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A former U.S. Marine has been identified as the gunman who shot and killed three police officers and wounded three others Sunday morning in the southern U.S. city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a city already on edge following the point -blank shooting earlier this month of a black man by the police.

Military officials say Gavin Long of Kansas City, Missouri, on his 29th birthday, was the masked gunman who opened fire on the officers with a rifle. He served in the Marines from 2005 to 2010, earning the rank of sergeant. Long was deployed to Iraq from 2008 to 2009.

Long “came here from somewhere else to do harm to our community, specifically to lawmakers in our community," said Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards during a press conference Monday, describing the killer’s acts as pure, unadulterated evil.

State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson said police are confident that he was the only gunman at the scene actively involved in the attack. "His intentions were accurate, they were engaging and they were all aimed at police officers," Edmonson said.

Edmonson says police have recovered two rifles and a 9-mm pistol believed to be used in the attack

Police said Long appears to have used social media extensively, including up to the time of the attack.

Long's online identity was the name Cosmos. His Web site,, features his blog and podcasts about nutrition, fitness and personal transformation, as well as information about his personal coaching fees and links to his books sold on Amazon.

One of the ramblings posted on his Twitter account on July 13 read:  "At what point do you stand up so that your people don't become the Native Americans . . .  EXTINCT?"

His postings sometimes described violence as an answer to what he viewed as oppression of African-Americans.

He says on the site that he had a "spiritual revelation that resulted in him dropping out of college, selling his two cars, giving away all of his material possessions, packing two suitcases and journeying to Africa, his ancestral homeland."

A tweet on his account Saturday, the day before he gunned down police in Baton Rouge read: "And just bc you shed your physical body doesn't mean that you're dead."

The director of the Center on Extremism for the Anti-Defamation League, Oren Segal, said there was no information linking Long to any extremist groups, but the league and others were investigating Long's use of aliases.

Long died in a shootout with police after killing two Baton Rouge police officers, Montrell Jackson and Matthew Gerald, and one officer of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, Brad Garafola.

A fourth officer, a deputy sheriff, remained in critical condition after undergoing emergency surgery. Two other officers received hospital treatment for non-life threatening wounds.

Superintendent Edmonson said events began to unfold Sunday at 8:40 a.m. when an unidentified caller told police someone was carrying a rifle as he walked along a main roadway in the city. Nearby, as police approached the suspect a short while later, gunfire erupted behind a storefront where authorities believe the officers and the gunman were shot.

Baton Rouge was the scene of a fatal police shooting of a black man nearly two weeks ago.

The shooting death of Alton Sterling was partially recorded on a cellphone and widely circulated on social media.

Sterling’s death triggered intense protests that stretched for days in Baton Rouge. A day later, a Minnesota man was fatally shot during a traffic stop. The following day, five Dallas police officers were shot and killed by a heavily armed gunman.

Mideast terrorists preached
low-tech attacks for years

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For years, al-Qaida and the Islamic State groups have been urging followers in Western nations to carry out attacks with whatever weapons come to hand, suggesting items as simple as a rock, a car or a fist.

By killing 84 people in the French port city of Nice Thursday with a rented truck, Mohammed Bouhlel demonstrated just how lethal that crude technique can be.

"It's a frightening moment," said Daniel Benjamin, a former counterterrorism coordinator the U.S. State Department, now director of the John Sloan Dickey Center at Dartmouth College. "How many easy and simple ways can we identify to kill people?"

With Western intelligence and law enforcement having improved their capabilities since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, terrorist groups are finding it more difficult to mount the large-scale, complex attacks such as occurred in Bali, Madrid, and London. Instead, counterterrorism officials say homegrown extremists are increasingly using low-tech means to cause mayhem.

"What we have seen over time is that either lone actors or small insular groups continue to gravitate toward simple tactics that do not require advanced skills or outside training," Nicholas Rasmussen, director of National Counterterrorism Center, told the House Homeland Security Committee.

The use of a vehicle as a weapon of terror has a recent history. So-called car-ramming assaults by Palestinian militants have killed dozens in Israel in recent years.

Less lethal have been a series of smaller-scale attacks in France, Britain, Canada and the United States, where Iranian-American Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar drove his car into a crowd of students on the campus of the University of North Carolina in 2006. Nine people were injured in the incident.

"What's kind of unusual about this attack is that such a large vehicle was used against such a large crowd, you had such a huge death toll," Scott Stewart, the vice president of tactical analysis at intelligence advisory Stratfor said about Nice.

Bouhlel did not have to look hard to find inspiration or how-to tips online to carry out his attack.

As early as 2010, al-Qaida urged followers to use a pick-up truck to mow down the enemies of Allah.

And in a January, 2015 address, Islamic State spokesman, Mohammad al-Adnani, exhorted sympathizers to kill Westerners with whatever means available, "whether an explosive device, a bullet, a knife, a car, a rock, or even a boot or a fist."

Larossi Abballa, a 25-year-old Frenchman and former jihadi recruiter, used a knife in January to stab a police officer and his companion in a suburb of Paris.

For U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, a Nice-style attack represents a long-feared nightmare with few desirable countermeasures.

"What are you going to do? Take people's cars away?" Colin Clarke, a political scientist at Rand Corp., said.

Large security barriers and dump trucks have been used in the past to protect government buildings, and Stewart said "people are going to consider using those sorts of things or large vehicles to block streets during large events in the future.

Copycat attacks are likely to materialize, as extremists of all kinds, from militant environmentalists to violent white supremacists to troubled loners looking for a meaning in life resort to rudimentary tactics to carry out acts of terror, counterterrorism officials and experts say.

"We expect some will try to replicate the violence and potentially capitalize on the media coverage and attention that attacks like the one in Florida generated," Rasmussen said.

Anti-American sentiment runs
high after failed Turkish coup

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

With anti-American sentiment seemingly running high in Turkey in the aftermath of a foiled coup attempt, the U.S. is calling on Turkish political leaders and all sides to exercise restraint from fiery rhetoric, while expressing confidence that ongoing military cooperation between Washington and Ankara will continue.

“We are not concerned about our ongoing cooperation with Turkish security forces, especially within the anti-ISIL coalition,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Monday, using an acronym for Islamic State.

There are concerns that what have developed into fairly strong ties between the U.S. and Turkish militaries will begin to fray, especially since some Turkish officials already have accused the U.S. of providing some support to the alleged coup plotter, allegations U.S. officials have denied.

“It's not unexpected that you're going to hear fiery rhetoric, passionate rhetoric and not just from the political leadership, but on all sides,” Toner said, “we would caution against rhetoric that escalates tensions, and rather support de-escalation.”

While Turkish officials are expected to attend a conference in Washington later this week on the U.S.-led coalition’s fight against Islamic State militants, the failed coup and the ensuing purge of the military and judiciary is putting a strain on Turkey’s military ties with the U.S. and with the NorthAtlantic Treaty Organization.

U.S. forces have been flying against the Islamic State terror group out of Incirlik Air Base and has about 3,000 military and civilian personnel based in Turkey, while NATO has a Spanish air defense unit stationed near Incirlik, in the town of Adana, and an Italian air defense battery in Kahramanmaras.

Zika infection by contact
studied in Utah caregiver

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. health officials say they believe that a man who recently died while infected with the zika virus in the state of Utah passed the disease to a caregiver beforehand, raising questions about how the virus is spread.

Officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the caregiver, a family contact, tested positive for the virus but appears to have recovered from the infection.

They are investigating how the disease could have spread between the two people. Officials say the type of mosquito that mainly spreads the virus in not found in the high-altitude area where they live. Also, officials say the two individuals did not have sexual contact, another way the virus is spread.

The Wall Street Journal said the caregiver was the man's son.

The man who died caught the virus while traveling abroad. He was the first person in the United States to die after becoming infected. Officials say the exact cause of death is not clear because the man was elderly and had an underlying heath condition.

Health care for U.S veterans
reported as mostly favorable

By the Springer news staff

The quality of health care provided to U.S. military veterans in Veterans Affairs facilities compares favorably with the treatment and services delivered on the outside, according to a new study.

In fact, Veterans Affairs facilities perform better in some cases when it comes to the safety and effectiveness of the treatment provided. Those findings are from a systematic review of 69 studies which weigh up the quality of health care provided in Veterans Affairs facilities compared to other settings.

The review was led by Courtney Gidengil of the RAND Corp. in the United States and appears in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, published by Springer. 

The Veterans Affairs health care system is America’s largest integrated health care system and provides comprehensive services to eligible U.S. military veterans who have enrolled. But the quality of care delivered by Veterans Affairs has been a long-standing concern. The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 mandated an independent assessment of the health care capabilities and resources of the Veterans Health Administration.

Dr. Gidengil and her colleagues systematically reviewed 69 studies conducted in the past 10 years that evaluated the quality of care provided by Veterans Affairs compared with other health care settings. The review updates and expands on a similar one conducted in 2009.

“Updating the results of the prior review up to 2015 is critically important given the ongoing interest in the quality of care provided by the Veterans Health Administration,” explained Dr. Gidengil.

“The results show that, in terms of safety and effectiveness, VA facilities compare favorably with others,” says Dr. Gidengil in summarizing the results. “Rates of surgical complications and availability of services had the least favorable results, but these results were mixed rather than consistently poor.”

Twenty-two of the 34 studies on safety and 20 of the 24 studies focusing on effectiveness showed that the same if not better quality of care is provided in Veterans Affairs facilities. These studies took into account safety measures and best practices that aim to avoid the illness, injury or death of patients receiving care, such as complications after surgical procedures. There was nothing unfavorable in the death rate of Veterans Affairs patients undergoing surgery or those residing in Veterans Affairs nursing homes.

University football player
gets 15 years in rape case

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A former Vanderbilt University football player was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison for taking part in the brutal gang rape of an unconscious student in 2013.

The man, Corey Batey, was sentenced Friday in Davidson County Criminal Court, near the Nashville,Tennessee, university where the rape took place. Fifteen years was the minimum sentence. Batey was found guilty of charges including aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery.

Batey is one of four former football players accused of taking part in the rape of the woman, now 24, who was an undergraduate at the time. She said in court she only learned about what had happened to her while she was unconscious after seeing pictures the football players took of the incident.

One of the suspects also took video, which he sent to friends.

"I've seen with my own eyes what I was when Mr. Batey was done with me: a piece of trash, face down in a hallway, covered in his urine and palm prints, a photograph he took himself," the victim said in court. "Three are no words to describe the horror of the images from that night and how it feels to watch yourself be dehumanized."

Batey's mother also addressed the court, saying the act was out of character for her son. The Nashville newspaper, The Tennessean, quoted her as saying "I couldn't believe it was my son. I really couldn't . . . because I know how he cares about people."

Judge Monte Watkins, presiding over the case, called it "one of the saddest cases that I have ever encountered, and I've been in the legal business for 32 years."

Of the other three men charged in the case, two have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial. Another was found guilty in June and is set to be sentenced September 30. He faces a sentence of 15 to 25 years.

The sentencing comes shortly after another rape case involving an unconscious woman on a college campus inspired outrage. Former Stanford University athlete, swimmer Brock Turner, was convicted in June of sexual assault and sentenced to six months in a county jail.

Voice of America photo  
One of the replica trams in Rio.

Rio bringing back trams
for the Olympic tourists

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction.

So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games.

There’s something special about old trams, such as Istanbul’s Nostalgia Tramway, which returned to the city more than 25 years after it was closed.

In Rio de Janeiro, an extensive network of tram lines, including the Santa Teresa line, operated for more than a century. As spare parts became harder to find, workshops kept the cars running with patches and improvisation.

But one by one, the lines closed until only Santa Teresa's was left. A brake failure in 2011 that injured 50 and killed six people finally forced officials to shut it down, as well.

Responding to pressure from locals and wishing to attract tourists, authorities reopened the line last year, with replicas of the old cars with modern safety features.

Along with a magnetic brake, two pneumatic brake systems ensure that the cars will stop when needed.

At the end of the line, a conductor still has to manually move the trolley pole from one side of the car to the other.

In other parts of Rio, the old trams were replaced by light rail, fast, silent and air-conditioned.  Light rail is expected to handle much of the Olympic traffic.

“All the drivers are being trained both on board and in the simulator for every kind of emergency situation,” says tram training manager Alexandre Soares.

But a visit to one of Rio's many souvenir shops reveals that the light rail line hardly inspires local artists.

It’s easy to see that a nostalgic ride on the Santa Teresa line, through Rio’s narrow streets and across the Carioca Aqueduct, is something that stays in one's memory much longer than a quick ride on the modern light rail.
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Pavo onr
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paco two

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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: 
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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.

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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.
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Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
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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.
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B&B for sale in Costa Rica $650,000

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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

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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:

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, July 19, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 141
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
ancient animals
Voice of America graphic
Some of the mammals that roamed North America two to eight million years ago.

Exploding stars had ancient impacts

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scientists know that two massive stars exploded about 300 light years from Earth less than 10 million years ago. Both explosions, the first between 8.7 and 6.5 million years ago, and the second about 3 million years later, happened during the age of large mammals, mastodons, ground sloths, bears, and the ancestors of humans. During this time, the Earth was going through major geological and environmental changes. There were even some minor extinctions.

Scientists have long wondered if those two explosions played a role in any of these terrestrial changes. Physicist Brian Thomas of Washburn University in Kansas modeled the effects of the supernova to try to find out.

A supernova is the explosive death of a massive star. These interstellar bombs don’t just spew visible light in all directions. They also emit high-energy light such as gamma rays and more massive particles, known as cosmic rays. These pieces of cosmic shrapnel can do damage to planetary atmospheres and lifeforms too close to the action.

Since nothing travels faster than light, Thomas and his colleagues first looked what would happen when the light output from the blast reached Earth. Luckily for the lifeforms during this time, the dangerous gamma rays were relatively weak. But the visible light was equivalent to the brightness of the full moon and remained so for a few weeks.

“Based on the research on light pollution,” Thomas said, “we found that the amount of light we would get from the supernova would probably be enough to have a small effect but not a dramatic effect.” The extra light pollution possibly disrupted the sleep or hunting patterns of nocturnal animals for a brief period.

Not far behind the light came the cosmic rays. Since these particles are more massive, they can penetrate the ground and water pretty easily. They generate radioactive particles as they enter the atmosphere. The dose of radiation from this cosmic fallout would have been equivalent to the dose delivered by a single CT scan. So Thomas says the biological effects, if any, would have been minor.

The most significant effect occurred in the atmosphere. The cosmic rays would have increased the electrical charge of the lower atmosphere. It’s similar to when feet are dragged on the carpet and a static charge builds up. This extra charge needs somewhere to go, so someone touching a metal doorknob creates a spark. The only place the atmosphere has to discharge is the ground below.

So, lightning strikes would have increased significantly over a period of 20,000 years. Thomas isn’t sure what effects this would have on the environment or climate. That is going to be addressed in future work.

Edward Davis, a fossil curator at the University of Oregon, says that while the paper, published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, presents an interesting idea, “they’re trying to piggyback their event on top of an established environmental change and it’s not clear to me that there is a gap that needs to be filled by an additional causality.”

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From Page 7:

Silicon Valley culture called foreign to Latins

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

One key ingredient to a successful tech startup in Silicon Valley is embracing a culture of openness and a free exchange of ideas, according to many entrepreneurs in the area. It is a mentality that is much less common in some parts of the world.

Colombian native Tania Zapata is the co-founder of a successful tech startup in San Francisco called Torre. She has firsthand knowledge of how much more difficult it is if an entrepreneur does not seek help and solicit the thoughts of others.

"Building a company is not something that you can do on your own," Ms. Zapata said. "We tried when we started, and I think that we also fell into a lot of mistakes just because we weren't asking for help. We weren't reaching people. It's very difficult. So it's much better to do it as a group."

Ms. Zapata's road to Silicon Valley is an unusual one.

"I used to work in radio, and I decided to start my own business as a voice actress, and what I found was that the industry offline was very cumbersome. It was very difficult for me to connect directly with somebody that needed my voice," she said.

Ms. Zapata felt the process of connecting voice actors with work was broken. With her husband, who was a tech entrepreneur from Colombia, they created an online business that connected voice actors with clients. That was more than 13 years ago.

The business evolved over time to what it is today: a creative services Web site. It goes beyond voiceovers, helping clients find writers and translators in many different languages. Her company is profitable and has offices in San Francisco and Bogota.

Ms. Zapata's journey in entrepreneurship taught her the value of the Silicon Valley culture. It is one of sharing, networking and cooperating among people and startups. This type of trust has helped many companies become better and succeed, though Ms. Zapata says that in Colombia and other countries in Latin American, it often is hard for people to share ideas.

"I think that's a Latin American mentality or, I would say, a Colombian mentality," she said. “We don't ask for help. We always think people are going to say ‘no’ immediately so we don't even ask. We don't try. Why would this person help me? I think that's very problematic."

Ms. Zapata said the ecosystem for startups is still young in Colombia and other Latin American countries, which makes it a challenge for entrepreneurs to find investors.

"I think in Latin America we tend to be a little more conservative,” she said. “We're definitely risk adverse. When you talk to investors, for example, technology is not something they consider, in general. They want to see a product. They want to see something they can touch."

She tries to mentor some of the entrepreneurs, and she also created a so-called incubator that provides seed funding for startups from emerging markets.

"What we want to make sure is we help the companies with experience, with knowledge, connecting them with people that we had already met that have helped us that can also help these companies not fall into the same mistakes that we fell," Ms. Zapata said.

She said she helps other new entrepreneurs because for her and her husband, life is only meaningful when she can give back to others and help make a positive impact in their lives.