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July 24, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 145
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Poder Judicial strike causes delays at the morgue
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

At least 21 autopsies were cancelled this weekend as part of the ongoing strike in the Poder Judicial, which caused a crisis among the authorities and families unable to claim the remains of their loved ones.

The bodies were locked up at the Centro de Ciencias Forenses in San Joaquín de Flores, Heredia.

The strike originally began this past Wednesday and seeks to stop the approval of a legislative bill that could increase the amount of working years and cut the pensions judicial workers would receive. Legislators defended the move as necessary to keep pension’s regime financially stability.

According to the Costa Rican Constitution, the delivery of basic public services cannot be halted due to a strike. In the case of the Morgue Judicial, its pathologists stopped all work as of Friday and during the weekend despite the regulations.

The measure left families in limbo on how and when the bodies of their relatives could be picked up for their proper religious rituals and burials. On Saturday night, the Sala Constitutional of the Supreme Court ordered Walter Espinoza, the head of the Judicial Investigating Organization, to do whatever it takes to get the morgue back on operations.

It also demanded a full report on how the situation came to happen in the first place. By Sunday at noon, Espinoza met with the morgue directors and pathologists privately at the Ciudad Judicial, located in San Joaquín de Flores, Heredia.

After the meeting, Espinoza said all the autopsies and similar services provided by the morgue resumed immediately and by today at noon, the delivery of bodies would go back to normal.

However, the Frente Gremial del Poder Judicial, one of several workers associations, denounced that after the meeting, several pathologists had a nervous breakdown and were sent to home on sick leave.

Morgue
                              workers
Frente Gremial del Poder Judicial Facebook photo
Morgue workers apparently distraught following Espinoza meet.

This left the morgue without several doctors to comply with the expected delivery of bodies today.

“They were intimidated and threatened with jail time if they didn’t go back to work,” the Frente said in a statement published on Facebook. “They were really shaken.”

The strike will continue this week indefinitely unless the Legislative Assembly accepts to take into consideration a draft created by the workers.

The worker’s draft seek to keep the retirement age at 62 following 35 years of work, while the Supertintendencia de Pensiones proposes 65 years of age and 35 years of work as well.

The pensions regime of the Poder Judicial has been making headlines in the last 12 months after a study from Universidad de Costa Rica said the financial stability of the system is jeopardized.

Part of the problem, the Universidad said at the time, is that some of higher courts magistrates retire under pensions close to $10,000 a month.

These protests arrived just a couple of weeks after several unions went on general strike to oppose an increase in the contributions paid by workers belonging to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, the countries biggest pensions regime who is also at financial risk, according to Universidad de Costa Rica.


dry
                            corridor
United Nations Food and Agriculture Program      
Increasingly severe and sustained droughts are beginning to effect the entire region.
Sustained drought remains worry in Guanacaste
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Guanacaste is frequently known for two things: its beautiful beaches that are popular expat and tourist destinations and its drought conditions. Lately in the news and among government channels, the province has seen a huge amount of attention on the projects happening to curb the province’s drought issue and further develop it.

According to recent data released by the administration of Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís, more than 453 billion colones has been invested into 52 projects designed to help manage and improve the infrastructure for the province’s water supply. The province of Guanacaste is seasonally drier than the rest of Costa Rica and is particularly prone to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon that inflicts drought-like conditions on it and the wider region of Central America.

In fact, the effects of these dry conditions are so bad that the government has its own contingency program specifically for the province called the Programa Integral de Abastecimiento de Agua para Guanacaste.

The plan calls for mechanisms to be placed to provide for some measure of inter-governmental cooperation to ensure the optimal use of water resources. That and meeting the water demands of the affected communities is also what it is designed for.

It is no secret that lack of a functioning and consistent water supply are what hinders the province’s development in comparison to the rest of the country. Plans such as a grand irrigation strategy for the Río Tempisque and the Arenal region have been put into place with some immediate success but remain incomplete due to a lack of available funds.

The eventual plan for the Proyecto Abastecimiento de Agua para la Cuenca Media del Río Tempisque y Comunidades Costeras, or Paacume for short, is to generate enough water to benefit almost 204,000 people and to irrigate 20,000 hectares of land.

A bold and potentially beneficial project but one that needs a huge amount of funds that the local and national governments simply do not have. 

Currently, the government pledges 75 million colones while the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica pledges to finance Paacume with 425 million. Officials hope to begin constructing the project in 2019 and have it finished by 2022.

Meanwhile, the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados has invested more than 39 billion colones the past couple years toward several of its own infrastructure projects financed when AyA made an emergency decree for the province in relation to water.

fertilizer
Comisión Nacional de Emergencias photo      
Some of the bags of fertilizer being handed out to Guanacaste farmers.

“To solve the problems of shortages, water shortages or salinization, 28 wells have been drilled since 2016 and 12 more in 2017, for an investment of more than 800 million colones,” Casa Presidencial said in a statement.  “Other immediate measures include the new interconnections that have increased the water flow for the population, distribution with tank trucks to 20 communities and the installation of storage tanks, actions with a budget of 45 million colones.”

The country’s national emergency management system has also been mobilized in the province as well with an investment of 21.97 billion colones since 2014. 47 percent of those funds were directed towards the drought situation, according to data from the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias.

These are mainly used for what the committee calls the rehabilitation of the agricultural sector in the province. That simply means providing machinery and advice to various farmers and producers in agriculture for the region.

These investments have been welcomed by the drought-stricken region but do not constitute a long-term solution to the province as more effects from El Niño and the Central American Dry Corridor continue to shrivel up the northern Pacific sector of Costa Rica as well as much of the wider region to the north.

The devastating El Niño event that began in 2015 was one of the worst on record and its impact continues to be felt in the dry corridor, compounding the damage from two consecutive years of drought. These weather phenomena occur cyclically and are often associated with severe weather events.

As a result, some 3.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance with 1.6 million moderately or severely food insecure in the hard-hit countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Some 10.5 million people, about 60 percent of whom are in poverty, live in the dry corridor, a region characterized by extensive deforestation, soil degradation and water scarcity. The dry corridor runs from southern México south to Guanacaste in Costa Rica.



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A.M.
Costa Rica

Second News Page

Published || Monday Edition, July 24, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 145
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.
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RESIDENCY IN COSTA RICA
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 Accountants

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Nicaragua accused of moving markers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Nicaraguan soldiers almost moved some border markers at México de Upala, in the northern area of the country, in order to gain some extra territory. These were the allegations denounced by several neighbors and also Pedro Quintana, representative of the Defensa de la Milla Fronteriza, a civic organization aimed at monitoring the norther border of the country.

According to Quintana, people of the area fear this incident could become a Nicaraguan military camp.

"I live in Mexico de Upala, with the San Ramón, La Cruz and San Antonio communities,”said Quintana “It is rumored that there are soldiers from Nicaragua and a lot of movement during the day."

Costa Rica and Nicaragua have an open case in the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Both countries await a sentence to define the maritime and terrestrial boundary between both nations.

On Dec. 16, 2015, the International Court of Justice ruled that the Costar Rican construction of the  road did not cause environmental problems on the San Juan River. That same day, the high court also ruled that Calero Island is a territory belonging to Costa Rica.

The litigation dates back to 2010, when Nicaragua dredged a canal under the authorization of Edén Pastora, with the intention of diverting the water from the San Juan River to the lagoon Los Portillos, an action that Costa Rica interpreted as an operation to shorten its territory and attack their sovereignty.

The court condemned Nicaragua to pay compensation for the damages caused to Costa Rica and granted a one-year term for both countries to agree, however, that period expired on Dec. 16, 2016.

Currently there are two processes open before the International Court. The first is the delimitation of the maritime and land boundaries with Nicaragua, and the second issue is to claim the payment of the $6.7 million compensation by Nicaragua for the damaged caused by the dredging of Calero Island.

Back in February of this year, the International Court of Justice united in a single process all the cases between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.


Liberia-Guardia road gets line painting

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The demarcation of almost 20 kilometers of road between Liberia and Guardia is currently underway as a complement to the improvement of Ruta 21 between November and February.

The route represents an important transit point for the entire province of Guanacaste as it is the one that passes by the Daniel Oduber international airport as well as connects to Ruta 18 at the Río Tempisque. According to Reynaldo Mata, the director for the Chorotega district of the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, an investment of around 3.3 billion colones will allow tourists adequate conditions to safely pass on it.

“We are betting on big investments that will allow us to have roads in excellent condition in the long-term,” he said. “In fact, the road demarcation that is being executed in this project is done with thermoplastic paint, which has a life expectancy of three to five years.”

The line-painting represents an additional 135 million colones, according to data from the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes. A further 1.724 billion colones are being put into use since last April for new asphalt between Liberia and La Cruz on the Interamericana highway that is also known as Ruta Nacional 1.

“It is a stretch through which there is a large number of heavy trucks that enter or leave the country through Nicaragua,” the CONAVI representative said. “This has wear to it such as where the surface of the base is exposed but with this reconditioning, we hope to improve those conditions for the user.”

The project will receive its own line-painting once the asphalt laying is complete and properly set, the ministry said.


La Reforma new facilities
Ministerio de Justicia y Paz photo            
The ramshackle guard shed sits in front of the new post.

La Reforma receives new facilities

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The prison police and technical personnel at La Reforma prison received some new facilities for technical care, security checkpoints and also dormitories for staff.

According to the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz, the work was opened up Friday after taking around seven months to be built. The funds were provided in-house by the ministry’s facilities, procurement and property board. Total investment came to be about 322 million colones which gave La Reforma personnel eight cubicles, meeting rooms, accessible bathrooms and dormitories for 32 policemen as well as an administrative post.

Additionally, guards at F-block received an actual security watchtower that has its own bathroom instead of the ramshackle shed they had prior. The justice ministry said that F-block has 300 prisoners currently incarcerated within the section.


Wounded dog rescued by policeman

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A wounded dog came crawling up to the security booth at the local Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje in Upala on Thursday afternoon. The dog apparently had a machete taken to it with numerous cuts along its back.
poor pooch
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo    
Wounded dog.
According to a report from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, a police officer was walking by the area and moved in quickly to assist the injured animal. The officer, Ricardo Hernández, called in to his superior and requested permission to take the battered dog to a local veterinary clinic.

The police captain agreed and the vet immediately rushed the dog into emergency care given the seriousness of the wounds.

The ministry said that the surgery lasted three and a half hours due to the nature of the wounds. The dog is one or two years old and sustained sharp, deep cuts on his back down to the muscle tissue as well as on his head along with lesions on the eyelids and a previous infection on one of its paws. The police report said that the dog is in recovery and will be able to walk again despite the serious injuries.

The local Fuerza Pública is currently seeking the dog’s owner and the perpetrator who committed the abuse.


Our reader’s opinion
ICE customer service?

We have three businesses: a B&B, restaurant, gallery, and a house that all need internet. We have been told by ICE that, because we are on the end of the line for DSL, the most we could ever get was 2mgs. If we have ever gotten better than 1.0, it is a rarity.

However, when you go to run a speedtest and it will not even load, you know there is a problem greater than just not having fast internet. This happened to us. On June 21, we reported to the ICE hotline, 1119, that our phone did not work and our internet was very slow. The following week a new splitter was put in by a tech, and our phone then worked, but still the internet was weak.

We were not able to get a signal to speedtest. The other line for the restaurant was very slow and same result for the speedtest. We have reported both on 1119 and going personally to the local office in Nuevo Arenal. We have since called 1119 a total of 4 to 5 times, call daily to the local office, physically gone to the local office, and techs have come out 3 times and said it is an ICE problem.

Techs are contract labor for the order takers at ICE. In fact, ICE came once and worked on a pole, the internet was fast for about an hour at 1.6 mgs. Then it stopped altogether but the phone still worked. A tech came to “fix” the internet and he spent two hours going back and forth from the router to the outside pole at the restaurant, talking on the phone to his girlfriend, and by the time he left, there was no internet, and that is how it has remained since.

He said when ICE fixes the problem at the pole, then both internet lines will work again. When calling 1119, they say they know about the problem but cannot give a date to fix it.

Because of our location, we cannot see a tower, Cable Tica does not service here, and we are currently looking at other services. ICE knows that they are the only game in town at this point, and their apathy is astounding to me. Everyone is nice, both in the office and on the phone, but there is no repair or a date that something will be done.

Meanwhile, I have to carry on business by packing up my computer and going to a place that has internet, and apologize to the people staying in the B&B for not having internet. I am using someone else's internet for this letter. But...obviously I am sure that ICE feels it is a personal problem.

I have seen on various forums and on Facebook that once you report something there will be a fix in 24 hours, or 3 days, in the case of 1119. Those three days have come and gone numerous times, so do not believe that if you are told. It is just a statement to placate the customer.

Sorry for the rant, but I am frustrated, to say the least. I will continue to call and go to the local office until someone does their job. Obviously this does not make a difference, but at least it makes me feel like I am doing something. Hey, I have been paying religiously for this internet, never late, never missing. What are the odds they will give me a credit for the lines I have for at least one month? I am waiting until I get internet before I broach that subject.

Rob Balch
Nuevo Arenal


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A.M.
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Third News Page
U.S. Tax
Published || Monday Edition, July 24, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 145
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Process of pottery on display at Chorotega artisan fair this Tuesday
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The ceramics from Chorotega are celebrated as being among the oldest cultural legacies in Costa Rica. The making of these crafts dates back more than 4,000 years ago with the oldest pottery discovered so far in Guanacaste being dated to 2,000 B.C.

In the context of the anniversary of the annexation of Nicoya to Costa Rica, the Asociación de Desarrollo Integral de Guaitil de Santa Cruz is sponsoring the Fería Cultural Artesanal Chorotega on Tuesday.

“The fair aims to attract tourism to the area, which has declined significantly since the end of the last decade,” said Mariana Arce Mercado, a spokeswoman with the Beca Taller that is also sponsoring the event. “Previously, these activities have been discontinued. The idea is that people come to know the communities and can live the experience of producing the ceramics.”

The Beca Taller is a part of the Dirección de Cultura, which is a subset within the wider cultural ministry. According to a statement sent out by the ministry, the fair begins with the Ruta del Curiol that takes place from 4 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. The guided tour will allow interested participants to climb the San Vicente hill where the clay and material is extracted for the production of the pottery.

To participate, interested groups or individuals must register in advance. The cost is 5,000 colones per person, which includes breakfast and transportation to the foot of the hill. To register, one needs to call at 8886-3438 or email HERE.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Santa Cruz’s Plaza de Guatil, workshops will be set up displaying the processes of detailing, painting and etching the pieces, the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud said. Of course, some of the pottery is available to buy along with food, dances, folklore sessions, mascaradas and other handicrafts.

Ceramics
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo

Making pottery
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photos    
The association invites all to join in on the history and process behind making these intricate ceramic pieces.


University seeks funding for bank note system for visually impaired
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Universidad de Costa Rica is seeking funding to continue the development of a singular device designed to allow blind or visually impaired people to identify the different denominations of cash notes based on their size.

The project kicked off in 2013 and was originally funded by a private bank. 18,000 cards were donated at the time and the success so impressive that Universidad seeks new partners to continue with it.

The device has a rectangular shape and the standard size of a credit cards. It includes several slots that fit the size of bank notes of different denominations.

The cards are free and will be distributed through the Patronato Nacional de Ciegos and in the different branches of the university throughout the country.

The card was designed by Erick Hidalgo, director of the School of Plastic Arts. Hidalgo himself has a visual limitation in his left eye so he tried to provide a solution for people like him.

Cash identification
cards
Universidad de Costa Rica photo   
Card system designed to help blind with their money.

According to data from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos, as of 2011, 10.5 percent of the population suffer some degree of disability. Half of them are blind or severely damaged vision problems. That’s a total of 251,464 people.


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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

Published || Monday Edition, July 24, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 145
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Costa Rica becomes sixth country to make plasma capture device
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Due to the success of its plasma development project, the Instituto Técnologico de Costa Rica will build a specialized lab for plasma research by 2018.

The lab will have spaces for the study of plasma for the fusion, medicine, agriculture and industry departments.
"The entire building has two levels. The first stage will be built in an area of ​​approximately 285 square meters” explained the architect Karina Solano.

According to Ms. Solano, the capacity of the first stage will allow for 10 people and, by the end of construction should allow up to 30 people. The investment is $350,000 and the lab will be located in the southern sector of the institute's Central Campus.

On June 29, 2016, the institute performed the first discharge of high temperature plasma with an experimental device called a stellarator. The discharge lasted 4.5 seconds at a temperature of 300,000 degrees Celsius. It was the most complex research ever done in the country in the area of ​​physics.

“Plasma is the fourth state of matter, a soup of positively and negatively-charged particles," said Ivan Vargas, coordinator of the Plasma Laboratory for Fusion Energy and Applications at the institute.

The Institute developed the stellarator of Costa Rica 1 to take advantage of that state of matter as a source of clean energy.

"This device tries to reproduce the energy that is produced in the stars through a process called fusion," explained Vargas. "In stars, the force of gravity and high temperatures allow the nuclei of the atoms to merge, thus releasing energy."

Plasma confinement
device
Instituto Técnologico de Costa Rica photo
Specialized plasma confinement device adorned with Costa Rican flag and all.

The stellarator is designed to produce and magnetically confine the plasma to more than 300,000 degrees Celsius.

"The first step is to extract all the gas that is contained in the device," explained José Asenjo, the institute's electronic engineer.

 "Then we inject the hydrogen, which is the fuel that we are going to heat at very high temperatures to convert it into plasma, then it is exposed to a microwave emission to achieve that conversion. In total, 13.76 liters of plasma are generated."

The energy of one gram of plasma is enough for the electricity of 80 households. The project has six years of research and to date over half a million dollars have been invested.

Thus, Costa Rica is the sixth country in the world to develop such a device after the United States, Japan, Germany, Australia and Spain.


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Dark
Side of Pura Vida

A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page


Salsa Lizano
Published || Monday Edition, July 24, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 145
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Venezuela opposition calls
for two day national strike


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuela's opposition announced a two-day national strike this week aimed at pressuring President Nicolas Maduro to cancel a controversial July 30 election for a new congress.

"We are calling out the entire people, all groups in society, for a 48-hour strike" on Wednesday and Thursday, lawmaker Simon Calzadilla said.

Calzadilla said a protest march on Friday, following the strike, will demand that Maduro officially scrap the vote.

The president, however, remains defiant in the face of ever-increasing protests and international pressure.

"The imperial right wing believes it can give orders to Venezuela," Maduro said, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to impose economic sanctions on Caracas unless the vote is aborted.

"The only ones who give orders here are the people," Madura said during his weekend television commentary, broadcast late Saturday. "This time next week Venezuelans will be voting for a Constituent Assembly."

Protesters in Caracas marched toward the embattled nation's supreme court Saturday, chanting slogans denouncing Maduro's plan to rewrite the constitution. National Guard troops used tear gas in at least one location, blocking protesters with clouds of white gas and rows of officers on motorcycles.

A 23-year-old violinist who has become a symbol of anti-government protests in Venezuela, Wuilly Arteaga, was hit in the face and injured during clashes between protesters and security forces.

Speaking from a hospital in Caracas, Arteaga said, "No matter what, we will continue to fight." He gained fame for playing his instrument in the middle of ongoing violent clashes in the Venezuelan capital.

Violence during four months of anti-government unrest has taken more than 100 lives, injured thousands, left hundreds in jail and further damaged an economy in its fourth year of a debilitating decline.


Nine die in freighter truck
in immigrant smuggling case


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Police in Texas say they found eight people dead early Sunday in the back of a sweltering tractor-trailer in a Walmart parking lot. A ninth victim died in a hospital hours later.

Surveillance footage recorded vehicles pulling up to the truck Saturday night, taking a few people at a time from the trailer, then locking the truck and driving away.

The truck's human cargo was discovered after someone from the transporter asked a Walmart employee for water. That led to a police check, and the discovery of about 30 survivors, including two school-aged children, along with those who died: all adult men. Authorities at a hospital where the survivors were taken said 20 people were in critical condition.

San Antonio's fire chief, Charles Hood, said it was likely no one would have survived another night in the trailer, after a day in which temperatures reached 38 degrees Celsius.

The trailer was a refrigerated freight carrier, but its cooling system was not working.

A 60-year-old man from Florida, said to be the truck's driver, was arrested, and authorities said he would face criminal charges in court on Monday. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly promised a thorough investigation.

There was no word on the nationality of the immigrants aboard the truck. San Antonio is a few hours' drive from the U.S.-México border, but people from a number of Central American countries as well as México patronize people smugglers who bring in illegal immigrants.

"These smugglers have no regard for human life and seek only profits," Secretary Kelly said in a statement Sunday. He pledged that authorities in the U.S., México and Central America will root out these smugglers, bring them to justice and dismantle their networks.


Mexican cartel leader gets
30 years in U.S. prison


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. judge in the state of Texas has sentenced a Mexican drug cartel leader to 30 years in prison.

The judge in Laredo, Texas, also ordered Ivan Velasquez-Caballero, a high-ranking member of the Zetas cartel in México, to pay a fine of $10 million for his drug-related crimes.

Velasquez-Caballero was arrested by Mexican authorities in 2012 and was extradited to the United States to stand trial. He agreed to plead guilty in 2014 to importing and distributing narcotics.

Velasquez-Caballero will be deported to México once he is released from prison.

Earlier Friday, Mexican officials said June had the highest homicide rate for any month in at least two decades. Officials say 2,234 people were murdered in June with the most homicides in Guerrero, a drug cartel stronghold in the south of the country, and in México, surrounding the capital's federal district.

Officials say the one-month total brings the number of homicides in México for the first half of 2017 to a record of 12,155. They say that is a 30 percent increase from the same period in 2016.


Court voids nominations
by Venezuelan assembly


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuela's opposition-controlled Congress appointed a new slate of judges to the Supreme Court on Friday, a move that the high court immediately voided.

The Supreme Court ruled that the National Assembly's appointment of 13 new judges and 20 substitute judges violated the constitution and was an illegal attempt to usurp authority.

The Assembly, which is dominated by the opposition, has been in conflict with the high court judges, who have consistently backed President Nicolas Maduro in the country's political stalemate. Opposition lawmakers see the president's plan to rewrite the constitution as a power grab, while the Supreme Court has supported the effort.

On Thursday, the death toll from four months of anti-government protests in Venezuela topped 100. Officials said four people were killed Thursday during demonstrations in Valencia, on the outskirts of Caracas, and in northern Zulia state.

One of the victims was a 15-year-old boy who was killed in skirmishes with police in Zuila, as opposition protesters engaged in a 24-hour nationwide strike.

Another man died during anti-government demonstrations just outside Caracas after being shot four times. Authorities said two other men died during demonstrations related to the strike.

In cities across Venezuela on Thursday, tree limbs, wires, trash and furniture were transformed into roadblocks as Venezuelans heeded the opposition call to strike against the Maduro government.

Groups of masked young men set fire to a handful of blockades and hurled stones at riot police, who fired back tear gas.

In Caracas, astride a motorcycle and wearing a black helmet, Luis Carmona said he was not going to be swayed by Maduro's overtures.

"What we have here is hunger," he said, "and they think they are going to buy us off with that little bag of food? No, sir. We are going to keep in the street every day."

The announcement of the additional deaths came after a senior Venezuelan diplomat at the United Nations said he had resigned, citing systematic persecution of civilians, state terrorism and violations of the constitution by the Maduro government.

Speaking to The Associated Press on Thursday night, Isaias Medina said Venezuela is a failed state, adding that this is a fugitive government and a complete dictatorship. Maduro does not have the right to be in that office.

Medina, an international lawyer specializing in environmental issues, who was a minister counselor at Venezuela's U.N. mission, called on Maduro to leave the office so that a new government can take place and do their job. Venezuela's U.N. ambassador said Medina was fired for acting dishonestly.

The 24-hour strike was meant as an expression of national disapproval of Maduro's plan to convene a constitutional assembly that would reshape the Venezuelan political system to consolidate the ruling party's power over the few institutions that remain outside its control. The opposition is boycotting a July 30 election to select members of the assembly.

Maduro said on national television that he'd press ahead with plans to rewrite the nation's constitution and that hundreds of Venezuela's largest companies were functioning at 100 percent despite the strike. The claim could not be immediately confirmed.

Violence during four months of anti-government unrest has injured thousands, left hundreds in jail and further damaged an economy in its fourth year of a debilitating decline.

The opposition has called on Venezuelans to take to the streets again on Saturday in a show of support for the new Supreme Court justices they are trying to appoint.


Trump son-in-law expected
on Capitol Hill for testimony


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The probe into Russian meddling in the U.S. election crosses into new territory this week as congressional committees seek information from two of Donald Trump’s family members, including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is expected to make the first of two appearances on Capitol Hill Monday.

A man often seen but rarely heard, Kushner is one of President Trump’s closest advisers, tasked with pursuing a peace deal in the Middle East and heading an effort to modernize the federal government.

In closed-door sessions, Kushner is slated to answer questions before the Senate and House intelligence committees. Both are expected to seek information about Kushner’s Russia contacts, including a December meeting with Russia’s ambassador and, last June, with a Russian attorney and other figures connected to Moscow.

That meeting has been the focus of great attention since the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr, released emails expressing eagerness for what he believed the Russian attorney would provide: harmful material about Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 opponent.

Trump Jr. and campaign manager Paul Manafort also attended the meeting, and were initially scheduled to appear this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee. But that testimony has been postponed based on an understanding that the two men will provide the committee with records and information.

With the Russia probe now scrutinizing those closest to Trump, questions have arisen about any possible presidential pardons. Trump's legal team noted the Constitution grants the president broad pardoning powers, but insisted that nothing is being contemplated.

At the same time, the White House insisted the news media’s focus on the Russia probe is misguided.

“The top three issues that Americans care about are immigration, health care, and jobs,” said White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, also on This Week. “The top three issues that the media cares about are Russia, Russia, and Russia.”

Aghanistan
map
Voice of America map      
Map displaying the province being taken over.

Taliban capture two districts
in central Afghanistan

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Heavy fighting is raging in central Afghanistan where officials say the Islamist Taliban has captured two key district headquarters and is assaulting government outposts in nearby areas.

Insurgents stormed Taywara district in Ghor province early Sunday, after seizing control of the border district of Kohistan in the adjoining northern province of Faryab, according to Afghan and Taliban officials.

Ghor’s governor Nasir Khazay said thousands of Taliban fighters participated in the pre-dawn attack on Taywara and faced strong resistance from Afghan forces before overrunning it.

A government spokesman in Faryab said around 700 Taliban insurgents overnight attacked Kohistan and swiftly captured key installations, including the police headquarters, before establishing control over the entire district.

Abdul Karim Youresh said that as many as 200 Afghan security forces have been cornered in a remote village in the district also known as Lawlash, and urgently need reinforcements.

Insurgents are attacking government positions in eight other districts of Faryab, according to Afghan media.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed rebels inflicted heavy casualties on government forces and killed dozens of them in the fighting for the control of the two districts.

It was not possible to independently verify the claims and Afghan officials would not discuss casualty details saying clashes were still underway in the area.

Taliban insurgents have also besieged the Khanabad district of the northern Kunduz province. Afghan officials, meanwhile, have confirmed insurgents ambushed and killed at least 35 Afghan forces in the neighboring northeastern Badakhshan province Friday.

Clashes are also raging in volatile southern Helmand province where an American drone strike mistakenly killed at least 15 Afghan security forces during Friday’s clashes in the Gereshk district.

The Taliban has intensified insurgent activities across the country as U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is about to complete its much-awaited comprehensive review of Afghan policy.

The new policy may involve intensified U.S. military operations, including the addition of several thousand troops, to enable Afghan security forces reverse insurgent gains.

At the start of this year's fighting season, the Afghan government was in control of less than 60 percent of territory while the Taliban controlled or influenced the rest, according to U.S. military assessments.

The Trump administration is also expected to take a tougher posture towards neighboring Pakistan that Washington blames for the military stalemate in Afghanistan.

U.S. military officials maintain Taliban insurgents and their dreaded ally, the Haqqani network, are using sanctuaries on Pakistani soil to sustain the Afghan insurgency. Islamabad denies the charges.

On Friday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters that the Pentagon has withheld 50 million dollars in military assistance to Pakistan because the country was not taking enough action to counter activities of Haqqanis.


114 Somali prisoners
released from Ethiopia


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

More than 100 Somalis, recently released from Ethiopian detention facilities and handed over to the Somali government, arrived in Mogadishu on Saturday, government officials said.

The 114 prisoners smiled and some of them kneeled as they got off the plane and kissed the soil. Parents and relatives waiting for them at the airport cheered and burst into tears.

Government officials told local media that the Somali prisoners had been held in Ethiopian jails for various offenses, including illegal entry.

Jamaludin Mustafa Omar, the Ethiopian ambassador to Somalia, who was with the prisoners, said the move was a sign of the good ties between the countries.

"Some of these prisoners had 20-year sentences, and their release represents the strengthening relationship between our two countries," Omar said.

The release of the Somali prisoners followed talks between Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre and his Ethiopian counterpart, Hailemariam Desalegn, on the sidelines of the recent 29th African Union Heads of States summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Somalia's ambassador to Ethiopia, Mohamed Ali Nur, who also accompanied the prisoners, thanked Ethiopia for giving them amnesty.


Greek island of Kos hit
with aftershocks after quake


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Two aftershocks hit the Greek island of Kos on Saturday night, just a day after a 6.7 magnitude earthquake killed two people and injured nearly 500 others.

The first aftershock, of 4.4 magnitude, hit the island about 8 p.m. local time and was followed 16 minutes later by a 4.6-magnitude tremor, the Athens Geodynamics Institute reported.

The fresh tremors meant more worrying for residents and tourists on the island, as hundreds chose to spend the night sleeping outside, too scared to return to their homes or hotel rooms.

Officials on the island were assessing damage to cultural monuments and infrastructure, such as the port's 14th-century castle and other older buildings affected by the quake.

The island's port was among the damaged structures, along with a minaret from an old mosque.

The port was closed and ferry services were canceled until further inspection. Passengers were rerouted to nearby islands.

Kos Mayor Giorgos Kyritsis said that most of the residential buildings affected were old, predating earthquake building codes.

One that collapsed dated to the 1930s, Kyritsis said. "There are not many old buildings left on Kos. Nearly all the structures on the island have been built under the new codes to withstand earthquakes,'' he added.

Greek authorities said the two tourists killed were from Turkey and Sweden but did not disclose their names.

At least five people were seriously injured and were flown to a hospital on the Greek island of Crete.

The earthquake was the second in the region this year to exceed a magnitude of 6.0, a level that can cause considerable damage.


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Penthouse

Costa Rica Penthouse For Sale

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

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


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

Eco graphic
   • Specialized in the Central and South Pacific.
   • Great network of Realtors, to find your dream
          property
   • Homes, condominium & luxury homes
   • Eco lodges and hotels
   • Green properties and waterfalls
   • Farms and developments
   • Sustainable and green living communities.
   • Property management in the Jacó area

Romantic Country Bungalow Click Here
Dream Property River Click Here

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


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

Have a Property For Sale? Contact Us!
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
www.RichCoastRealty.com
9189-9/2/17


San Ramon home
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: mmpeace@hotmail.com  (please link that email)
Check out slide show HERE!
9220-8/15/17


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

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

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

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


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

       * Completed 2012 to North American standards
       * 3 large bedrooms, 2 full baths
       * Custom designed kitchen w/granite countertops
       * Frigidaire Professional appliance package
       * State-of-the-art solar hot water
       * Eco-friendly Toshiba LED lighting
       * LG Multi-Split air conditioning system
       * House & perimeter security alarm system
       * 2-car closed garage w/large paved driveway
 
Video Tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUEAmahIU9A
Community Web Site: http://www.altigua.com
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email gary_one@msn.com
9173-9/1/17

colinasdelsol
COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

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

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

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

Etlinger Farm
rollover
Beautiful farm in excellent location
At only an hour's drive from San José, minutes from Guápiles, and boardering Braulio Carrillo National Park, Etlingera Farms is one heck of an amazing farm. We purchased this 77-acre farm 10 years ago after many trips, and an exhaustive search. It has a little bit of everything we were looking for and a whole lot of beauty. Our average elevation of 600 meters helps to keep Bella Vista cool year round. This farm is nearly level with a semi-modern 2-bedroom house. A fairly rustic 2-bedroom caretaker's home. And, a comfortable, 1-bedroom cabin where we stay. We have 2 large barns, a chicken coop, and a 3-stall pig pen. There are two tilapia ponds and 2 hectarias, (approximately 5 acres) of different species of bananas. The property boarders Rio Blanco in the rear and has 300 meters of public road frontage. Water, electricity, and telephone are all serviced by public utility. Etlingera Farms was reforested with several thousand wood trees of different tropical varieties. We truly believe this farm is spectacular. Our neighbors are selling for as much as $20 per meter. We are negotiable, motivated and open to offers. Our location can be found by searching Etlingera Farms on Google Maps. Our webpage is www.etlingerafarms.com and photo album can be found at www.ticorico.com
9196-4/25/17

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

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need. The price of our listing Rancho Ricco is $799,000. More information
go to www.ranchforsalecostarica.com  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:  darin_ricco@hotmail.com
9183-6/13/17

rollover
Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here  www.whynotcostarica.com. If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call # 509-570-1928 or email tim@whynotcostarica.com 
9143-2/3/17

Business for sale or lease (paid category)






Hotel in
Escazú

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú

Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant. Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning. Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing. Up to 40% financing / get residency through investor status / includes a corporation that is 27 years old and offshore banking account with  Banco National / possible 50/50 partnership. Super location in front of the Bosques de Escazú  Condos  / Monthly rentals available


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


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


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

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

CENTURY 21 JACÓ BEACH
Century 21

A Name You Trust,
Professionalism You Deserve

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

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

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


Remax
Tamarindo
www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices. For more information, please contact our local phones: 506-2653-0073 Tamarindo / 506-2201-9056 Flamingo ~ Toll Free: 1-866-976-8898 or email:  info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com  or click here www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com
9145-1/2918


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

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

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

9174-2/7/18

Real estate-related services (paid category)

Related

Costa Rica
Solar

COSTA RICA SOLAR
Serving Atenas and Surroundings Areas

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

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

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

9177-6/19/16

Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Already own a timeshare and looking to sell? Stop saying “sell my timeshare” and let BuyaTimeshare.com help you find a buyer or renter.
9203-4/19/2018

Real estate services
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A.M.
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Rica
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Published || Monday Edition, July 24, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 145
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News from the BBC up to the minute



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eeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
We have a small SUV...

We have a small SUV, a Kia Sportage. We used to have a big Nissan but it broke and no one seems to be able to fix it. So we have a Kia. Me? I wanted a pickup truck. A nice 4door with a big open bed, but we have a Sportage. Yes, the Kia has much better gas mileage, about double what we used to get, and yes, it can carry quite a bit, but Metric Man has some objections. Mostly, he wants it to be clean.

Can you imagine telling a gardener to keep a car clean?


Victoria Torley
  If we had a pickup, he wouldn’t
 notice the dirt because it
 
wouldn’t anywhere near the
 passenger section. Imagine what
 I could  put in a pickup. Why, I
 could go to La Garita and visit a
 dozen different viveros. I could
 come home with small trees and
 large shrubs and flats of this and
 that, but we have a Kia.

If we had a pickup, Metric Man would never notice the odor of manure. I gather my manure myself – after all we have cows in the fields around us and they make plenty of manure. Seems a shame to pay someone for it when you can gather it (properly dressed and gloved) yourself. Throw some of it on the compost heap with the cut grass and veggie scraps or put it in a bag to make compost tea, but no. Metric Man doesn’t want manure in the back of the Kia. He seems to think it smells funny.

If we had a pickup truck, transporting a small pig would be no problem. Just toss it into the back and drive away. I once put my caretaker’s Easter pig in the back of the Nissan…which didn’t work out too well.

Now and then I see a branch by the side of the road with orchids and bromeliads that need new homes covering it. Can I get a big branch into a Kia? I don’t think so. Instead, I have to salvage what I can and put it in the trunk. Then, even if I have the plants bagged, the trunk is dirty and I have to get out the vacuum. Or maybe I just toss the plants in the vacant front seat and have to vacuum that. I don’t like to vacuum, it reminds me too much of housework. I don’t like housework.

Well, anyway, we have a lovely Kia Sportage. Metric Man says the ride is smoother than the ride of a pickup. He’s got me there and the gas mileage is great. Score two for him, and he doesn’t mind if I make two trips to the vivero.

It really is a nice car.



Porcelain flower
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Victoria Torley       

Plant for the Week

Today, my car carried the Hoya carnosa, commonly called hoya, wax flower, or porcelain flower. Mine came from our local “Vivero Mi Jardin.” I love it there. And I can’t wait for it to bloom. The hoya is a vine with small bouquets of highly fragrant flowers that attract bees and butterflies. Plant on a trellis in sun or partial shade, or try it in a hanging basket on the patio. It’s also easy to propagate from woody cuttings, leaves, and corms.


If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor. And, for more garden tips, visit HERE!



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From page 7:

ICE claims potential damage to institute

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad has requested a precautionary measure on the basis of a report from the Controlaría that intends to impose requirements and provisions regarding the administrative procedure not provided in the telecommunications modernization act. The institute claims that this would cause a loss of around 5.895 billion colones for it.

The report is part of an audit by the country’s comptroller that researched the process of obtaining goods and services from the institute. ICE claims that the report failed to accredit or highlight any act adversely affecting the country’s treasury.

“The report intends to include all bidding requirements in direct contracting of small amounts, which, in addition to being contrary to the law, contradicts votes of the Sala Constitucional that establish that controls of the tenders and formalities should not be followed in direct contracts of minor amounts,” said Luis Acuña, the director of ICE’s institutional procurement.

ICE broke down the almost-6 billion colones loss point by point in a statement released to the public. The majority of the losses, it said, would come from the impact it would have on customer recovery at 3.6 billion colones.

“ICE estimates that implementing the measures proposed by the comptroller would delay the acquisition of goods and services necessary for the timely care of our clients by five months,” the institute statement reads. “This would generate a large leakage of customers in the telecommunications sector.”

On the other hand, the comptroller said that 59 suppliers had a familial relation of some kind with an ICE employee. The institute retorted that that number apparently represents less than a percent of the total offers received.

“Nevertheless, it requires that any affidavit rendered by the bidders regarding these prohibitions, must be corroborated, which goes against the principle of good faith that is fundamental in administrative procurement procedures,” ICE said. “By imposing this entanglement, procedures are lengthened and disadvantages the institution in a competitive environment, which would incur more expenses, deteriorate its image and slow its development.”

ICE claims that certain laws designed to strengthen the institute have actually hurt it in terms of market losses and finances. A.M. Costa Rica reported more on the institute’s claims HERE.