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Published Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 150
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As in other times, some pilgrims are seeking supernatural medical intervention.
Pilgrims today are following a very ancient path
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The pilgrimage symbolizes the difficult path of life upwards to a Christian heaven or, perhaps, a Buddhist nirvana. Those Costa Ricans who were on the trail Sunday or who will be on the trail today are involved in an activity that may well be at least 22,000 years old.

Such journeys, mostly by foot, are a phenomenon found in almost all societies, past and present, according to one expert.

Pilgrimages can be religious, political or secular, as in the case of  travels to Disneyland. Those that get the most attention are religious, and these date back before history.

The megalithic site Göbekli Tepe in Turkey might well have been the destination of pilgrims as much as 13,000 years ago. The later Stonehenge most certainly was.

Perhaps even older than Göbekli Tepe are some pilgrimage sites in India.

Anthropologist Martin Gray said “In India we find the oldest continually operating pilgrimage tradition in the entire world. The practice of pilgrimage in India is so deeply embedded in the cultural psyche and the number of pilgrimage sites is so large that the entire subcontinent may actually be regarded as one grand and continuous sacred space.” He wrote an authoritative book on sacred sites worldwide.

The ancient Greeks had many pilgrimage sites and for various reasons.

Says pilgrimage expert Matthew Dillon:

"The pious need for initiations, cures and oracles drew Greeks to panhellenic sanctuaries where they invoked the gods to meet their particular needs. The wide range of questions asked at oracles, the cures sought at healing sanctuaries, and the need for reassurance about the life after death, indicate the very great degree to which the Greeks viewed the gods as intervening in the lives of individuals and in the affairs of the state. "

The Canadian Museum of History points out that among the ancient Greeks, a pilgrimage to Olympia to see the athletic events and to participate in the sacrifices to Zeus and other festivities was something of great importance and many people attended several times. Because it was a pagan festival it conflicted with the growth and spread of Christianity and Roman emperors, who were Christian, banned the Olympics around 400 AD.

Less well documented is the economic impact of pilgrimages. One NBC news report quoting Manchester University scholar Ian Reader said that religious travel generates at least $8 billion a year for shrine-centered economies and provides employment for thousands.

There probably was an economic factor when Muhammad ordered that every Muslim visit at least once the prophet’s hometown. Some sources say that the Mecca pilgrimage is thousands of years older than the Seventh century founder of Islam.

A curious fact is that pilgrimage and economics figured in one of the major advances of the Western world.

Johannes Gutenberg formed an investment group to produce religious relics for pilgrims to Aachen, Germany, but the event featuring homage to the Emperor Charlemagne was postponed by a flood.  Gutenberg, instead, created moveable type and the printing press to satisfy his investors in 1439.

The best-known pilgrimage in the English-speaking world is that to Canterbury and the  tomb of the 11th century archbishop there Thomas Becket. Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the lengthy collection of stories that were attributed to pilgrims and now called the  “Canterbury Tales.”

The 14th century Middle English text has caused anguish for modern students.

In the Spanish-speaking world the Camino de Santiago probably is the best recognized. The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, and the presumed resting place of St. James, the apostle, was one of the major destinations in the Middle Ages along with Rome and Jerusalem.

In Latin America, European priests tried to use the native religions to promote Christianity. Churches frequently were built on sites that had been sacred before the arrival of Colombus.

Then there were the reports of visits by the Virgin Mary that left some tangible evidence. Every country in the Americas has at least one such site.

That includes the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles in Cartago where thousands of pilgrims or romeros are headed today.

The tangible evidence there is a small stone carving of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus in her arms. It is said to be of divine origin or at least of divine intervention.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 150
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Our readers’ opinions
The political process is a circus

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Although I was born on the mainland in the U.S., after discharge from the military I lived in Alaska for 30-plus years until retirement.  Alaska is approximately 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) from the nearest U.S. point, Washington State.  In addition, Alaska has 51 native tribes, many who have closer ties to relatives in Russia than to anyone in the United States.

The European Union has 28 countries in their membership and covers 1,670,000 miles (4,325,280 kilometers).  The United States has 50 states and covers 3,800,000 miles (9,841,954 kilometers).  In addition to the separation of Alaska from the mainland U.S., Hawaii is approximately 2,500 miles (4,023 kilometers) from the mainland.  In the last 200 years Europe and its neighbors have witnessed countless armed internal conflicts, while the United States only one.

Democracy is always in state of compromise.  There has never been a society, religion, country, etc. who was one hundred percent united in thought.  If, in the future, there will be a group of multiple races who think identical, then I would not wish to live there.

I am 76 now, when I read one of your readers stating that the candidate should be from heartland America I am confused.  With our complexity, the heartland has hundreds of definitions.  Many of the heartland areas are doing all that is possible to disenfranchise voters who do not meet their ideal.

I believe there was a time (during mine and older generations of leadership) that America thought about people, about helping, about welcoming with open arms, about respecting other points of views. GONE.  I believe it unlikely these values will fully  return.

Almost everyone plays to the media now, and the pro and con commentators of a very big industry.  There are news media that admit lying and misleading in court without penalty.

The U.S. has now privatized most prison functions, therefore big money, therefore more persons in prison.

The U.S. now has one of the best military units in the world, fully voluntary and highly trained.  When you have thousands of employees who are highly trained, you must use that expertise or lose it.  Therefore more combat action than really necessary.  The U.S. defense budget is more than all allies combined.  What other industry can you say the U.S. has that would come close to that?

The U.S. has a health insurance industry that employees hundreds of thousands and makes millions in profit, yet there are persons who do not have health coverage or go bankrupt because their costs were not covered.  Then you have fellow Americans doing everything possible to deny coverage to those who cannot be otherwise covered.

In such a complex and diverse society, it is a wonder if you can have a candidate who garners close to 50 percent of the vote.  Even then, there is always a vast percentage that will oppose anything you try to achieve.

What provides discredit to the national political structure is the campaigning. Sanders was most vehement against Clinton, now endorses her.  During the 2008 process Sarah Palin was the vice president candidate for the Republican Party.  Being from Alaska, I thought how stupid that was when so many other possibilities were available.  Now there is Trump, when there are so many other possibilities.

Yet, the U.S. continues to allow big money, lobbyist and playing to the media and their consultants to dominate.  Until this changes, the political process will remain a circus.

This current election has a choice that is probably more different than any other in the U.S. history, a choice that affects the entire world.  I hope the voters choose wisely.
Bob Piazza
Birri, Santa Barbra de Heredia

Here are 17 reasons not to vote for Trump

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
My observations about Donald Trump, his campaign, and his characteristics are as follows:

1. He claims to be a great businessman, but he inherited a real estate empire from his father and got an additional $2 million from his father to make his own investments. Plus he lucked out by coming into real estate development during a period when the U.S. economy was booming.

2. He seems to be proud about how his bankruptcies have left the contractors with unpaid bills and the workers with unpaid wages.

3. He refuses to release his current income tax form, most likely because he knows the information will be embarrassing and will expose his rip-offs of the taxpayer. He first said that he could not release it while being audited, but now he is no longer being audited.

4. He criticizes U.S. companies that manufacture products overseas, but at least five of the products that he markets are manufactured in foreign countries, including México and China.

5. He raves about bringing jobs to U.S. citizens and immigrants taking away jobs, but he brought Polish workers into the country to build one of his hotels and currently employs workers who are not U.S. Citizens.

6. Another person wrote the entire book “The Art of the Deal” that Trump claims to have written, and that person states that writing the book was a major mistake, does not endorse Trump, and refers to Trump as a sociopath.

7. He claims to be patriotic, but he got two student deferments while in college and one medical deferment after college in order to stay out of the Vietnam war.

8. His campaign has been based on instilling fear and on character assassination with no detailed policy statements, and it is uncertain whether or not he would follow stated GOP policy statements or represent conservative Republican values.

9. He has no detailed plans for carrying-out any of the activities that he proposes, and has no idea of how such activities will be worked into the U.S. budget.

10. There is no way to understand his opinion on anything because he continually contradicts his own statements.

11. He is totally uninformed and uneducated with respect to foreign affairs. When questioned, he did not know who the Kurds are and did not know the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims. In the speech that he claimed addressed foreign affairs, he contradicted himself seven times.

12. He espouses the U.S. Constitution, but many of his stated intentions go against the Constitution. It is likely that he has never read the Constitution in its entirety, and it is likely that he cannot quote the Second Amendment or any other amendment that he advocates.

13. He has an extremely narcissistic mental condition that is likely to affect all of his decisions and could be disastrous to the U.S. foreign relations.

14. He claims to be religious, but is not an active member of any religion and cannot state a verse from the Bible correctly even though he said that the Bible is his favorite book.

15. He likes to draw attention to his current wife, but has nothing to say about his two former wives.

16.  He claims to be educated when referring to his college degree specializing in real estate.

17.  He often has difficulty completing a sentence that is grammatically correct, has a very limited vocabulary and is so unfocused that he often drifts to a completely unrelated topic in the middle of a statement. In one statement he invented a word that he pronounced as "bigly" when he tried to describe something as being "enormous" or "colossal."
If a U.S, citizen has reasons to dislike both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, but looks at her/his vote as being for the lesser of two evils, how would that person rationalize a vote for Trump in view of the above observations? If a U.S. citizen decides not to vote or to vote for the Libertarian or other party as a protest, will that person be content knowing that either Donald Trump of Hillary Clinton will be their next president?

Armond T. Joyce
Llorente de Tibás

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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Third News Page

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 150
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Truckers are unhappy with internal competition from foreign drivers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Truckers are upset because foreign drivers are transporting loads within Costa Rica.

That is one of the complaints truck operators brought to Casa Presidencial Friday in a rolling protest.

Like many other illegal activities, the central government does not seem to be able to execute the laws. The local truckers said they have no problem with foreigners bringing loads into and out of the country.

But, clearly, foreign truckers do not have the right to work internally in Costa Rica, they note.

Executive branch personnel have been meeting with the truckers and the Asociación Nacional de Empleados Públicos y Privados on this and other issues for months. The truckers also are upset by the long lines at border crossings caused by slow clearance at customs, they said.

Casa Presidencial said that there have been advances in the speed of customs clearances at the borders and the development of a system for payment of fines by foreign truckers who are ticketed for infractions in Costa Rica.

The truckers have been voicing complaints since June, and the government said that there have been 24 meetings on the topics.
There also was a meeting with trucking leaders Friday morning after a parade of rigs showed up outside Casa Presidencial.

Battle continues to rescue
turtles targeted for meat

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The arrival of sea turtles on the Caribbean coast means free meat for some residents. Crew members of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas managed to save one turtle from hunters in the Pacuare section of Limón province. They made two arrests and liberated the turtle.

Last week they managed to liberate four captured sea turtles that were headed for slaughter, they said.

But police and members of the Guardacostas have been too late in other cases. One motorist was found carrying turtle meat in his car last week, and a similar batch of turtle meat was confiscated from the refrigerator of a Limón bar.

Of course there is a continual fight to reduce the illegal sale of turtle eggs.

In another animal-related development over the weekend,  Fuerza Pública officers reported they rescued a cougar cub whose mother had been shot by illegal hunters in San Gerardo de Santa María de Dota.

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
 Member of the Guardacostas estimates the size of the turtle

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 150
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More cocaine confiscated on the high seas and on the highways
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Law officers broke up the high seas transfer of 745 kilos of cocaine and detained seven persons last weekend. The law enforcement action took place in the Pacific some 60 miles off Cabo Blanco, the same place where last week more than a ton of cocaine was confiscated from another small boat.

In the latest case, the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas, the  Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea and the Unidad Especial de Intervención came upon cocaine being transferred from one boat to two smaller ones, said the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

One boat has a Colombian captain and crew, said the ministry. The two smaller boats had two-man crews from Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The cocaine appears to have been headed for the Costa Rican mainland for shipment north over land.

Meanwhile Sunday, the Policía de Fronteras and the Fuerza Pública chased and managed to stop two cars carrying 45 kilos of cocaine
near Paso Canoas. The vehicle occupants fled.
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
This is the cocaine confiscated last weekend

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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Put Costa Rica on your walls
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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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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.

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

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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George Lundquist

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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, Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 150
Real Estate
About us

Axiom new ad

Leading candidates keep
tight schedules on Sunday

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Sunday is a traditional day of rest, but not if you are running for president of the United States.

Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was in Columbus, Ohio, the last stop on a three-day tour of Ohio and Pennsylvania, two industrial states political experts say are going to be key battlegrounds in the November election.

"Donald Trump poses a serious threat to our democracy," she told the crowd, urging people not to listen to what she called her Republican rival's rhetoric and demagoguery.

Mrs. Clinton visited factories in the two states where she said hard-working Americans are still making things, and said Trump should be ashamed of using factories in places such as México, Slovenia, and Bangladesh to make products with the Trump name on the label.

Clinton admitted she is up against powerful forces, but did not refrain from telling the audience that the wealthy and Wall Street will finally pay their fair share of taxes to pay for her plans to create new jobs.

Meanwhile, Trump is charging the Democrats with rigging the debate schedule in September and October so that two of the three debates are held at the same time as National Football League games.

Football has a fanatical following in the United States and could attract a bigger television audience than the debates.

Trump initially told ABC television's “This Week” broadcast that the NFL sent him a letter complaining about the schedule. But after the NFL denied sending a letter, a Trump aide said the candidate learned of the conflict from a source close to the league.

The non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates says it began working more than a year and a half ago to pick suitable dates to avoid other big events and religious holidays. It says it is impossible to avoid all sporting events.

Trump holds campaign rallies Monday in two of the cities Mrs. Clinton just visited, Columbus and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Clinton will be in Omaha, Nebraska, and Boulder, Colorado.

While Trump boasts that television ratings showed more viewers watched his nomination acceptance speech than Hillary Clinton's, Mrs. Clinton got a seven point post-convention bump in the polls.

The Morning Consult organization reported Sunday that Mrs. Clinton leads Trump in voter preference 43 to 40 percent. Trump enjoyed a similar bump after the Republican convention and he briefly led the polls.

The survey also shows 17 percent still are undecided.

Dead Muslim soldier’s dad
remains critical of Trump

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The father of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan has called on Republican leaders to repudiate Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for comments seen by many as attempts to degrade the sacrifices of his late son and those of Muslim Americans in general.

Speaking Sunday on national television, Khizr Khan described Trump as "totally unfit for the leadership of this beautiful country."  He also described the party nominee as possessing a black soul and called on Republicans Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan to speak out against their candidate.

The senior Khan and his wife, Ghazala, first came to prominence at last week's Democratic nominating convention when the couple memorialized their son, who was killed by a suicide bomber in Iraq, and then strongly endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Khan, a Pakistani immigrant, said in an emotional speech that his family would never have been allowed to immigrate to the United States under Trump's proposed immigration policies.

Khan added in a television interview Sunday that Trump lacked empathy and had sacrificed nothing and no one during his life, escalating a war of words on social media that soon reached a fevered pitch as Senate Majority leader McConnell and House Speaker Ryan sought to distance themselves from the controversy.

In statements, the congressional leaders condemned any criticism of Muslim Americans who serve their country.  They also rejected Trump proposals for a ban on Muslims seeking entry to U.S. territories, but did so without mentioning Trump by name.

Earlier, in an interview aired on ABC News, Trump said, "I think I've made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard," creating "thousands and thousands of jobs. I think those are sacrifices, I think when I can employ thousands and thousands of people, take care of their education, take care of so many things." 

The Republican contender also questioned why Ghazala Khan stood by her husband while he spoke at the convention and said nothing.  "Maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say," Trump said on Twitter.

For her part, Ghazala Khan, writing in The Washington Post, said "walking onto the convention stage, with a huge picture of my son behind me, I could hardly control myself. What mother could?" She said her husband asked her if she wanted to speak, "but I told him I could not."

"Donald Trump said he made a lot of sacrifices," she concluded. "He doesn't know what the word means."

Trump's opponent in November polls, former U.S. secretary of State Hillary Clinton, again accused Trump of trying to inflame divisions in American society.  Speaking in Ohio, she said her opponent had a total misunderstanding of American values.

Separately, leading U.S. veteran group organizer Paul Rieckoff called Trump's move to equate the sacrifice of creating jobs with those of people who had lost a son in combat insulting, foolish and ignorant.

By midday Sunday, Trump, the real estate tycoon seeking public office for the first time,  sought to reframe his comments.

"Captain Khan, killed 12 years ago, was a hero, but this is about Radical Islamic Terror and the weakness of our leaders to eradicate it," Trump said in one tweet.

In another comment, Trump said, "I was viciously attacked by Mr. Khan at the Democratic convention. Am I not allowed to respond? Hillary voted for the Iraq war, not me!"

As a U.S. senator, Mrs. Clinton voted along with other lawmakers in approving the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq that toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.  The invasion led to an eight-year war that many Americans came to oppose, including Mrs. Clinton. The premise for the U.S. invasion, that Saddam Hussein had amassed weapons of mass destruction, turned out to be unfounded.

Four cases of zika found
in southern United States

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Zika-carrying mosquitos are believed to have reached the U.S. mainland, with at least four cases of local transmission reported in Florida.

U.S. health officials sounded the warning on zika months ago, and confirmation of its arrival prompted a new round of finger pointing between Democratic and Republican lawmakers who have yet to approve funds to fight the virus or the mosquitos that spread it.

“I call on GOP Congressional leadership to #doyourjob & interrupt recess to immediately address #Zika public health crisis,” tweeted Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a Democrat.

For most Americans, mosquitos are a summertime annoyance. Florida must now treat them as a public health menace.

“Four people in our state likely have the virus as a result of a mosquito bite,” said Florida Gov. Rick Scott. “This means Florida has become the first state in our nation to have local transmission of the Zika virus.”

Residents and visitors along America’s Gulf Coast are expressing varying degrees of apprehension.

“It does concern me for my children and my grandchildren,” said Jimmy Stewart in Galveston, Texas. “But I don’t know if it’s going to do you any good to be real worried about it because, if it’s here, it’s here.”

The Florida cases confirm what health officials predicted earlier this year: that zika, which can cause abnormalities in newborns, would one day be contracted from mosquitos found in large swaths of the United States.

Congress adjourned in mid-July and will not get back to work until September.

In February, the Obama administration requested $1.9 billion to fight zika. The Senate initially agreed to $1.1 billion of new spending. But negotiations between the Republican-led House and Senate yielded a bill with stipulations Democrats could not support concerning an abortion provider, the environment, and the display of the Confederate flag.

“What did the Republican leadership in Congress produce? Unfortunately, it produced a package that is totally partisan and destined to fail, and they knew it,” said Richard Durbin of Illinois after banding together with other Democrats to block the Republican-backed legislation.

“It’s inexplicable and unacceptable to not be able, on a bipartisan basis, to address this important public health care crisis,” lamented Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. “Every pregnant woman in America is following this issue. We need to act.”

Experts expect zika-carrying mosquitos to spread beyond Florida.

“Miami has a very similar climate as Houston,” said Todd Price, an infectious disease specialist. “Miami has the same mosquitos as Houston, and across the Gulf Coast. And so this is of urgency.”

Lawmakers will continue the battle over zika funding when they return to Washington in September. For now, local and state governments must do the best they can to monitor and control mosquito populations with existing resources.

Austin, Texas, is the scene
of two shootings Sunday

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A shooting early Sunday in a crowded entertainment district in the southern city of Austin, Texas has left one person dead and three others injured.

Chief of Staff Brian Manley of the Austin Police said an unidentified gunman began shooting into the crowd after an initial disturbance, creating a chaotic scene.

A search is underway for the suspect and the motive for the attack was not immediately clear.

Police are asking the public for information, including videos, in an attempt to find the gunman, who is believed to be in his 20's.

Moments after the shooting, Manley said a man opened fire several blocks away during a confrontation in a parking garage. Bystanders tackled the gunman, who was hospitalized for injuries sustained when he was apprehended. No one was believed to have been shot in that incident.

Police originally thought the two shootings were related. But Manley said the initial investigation found they were two unrelated incidents.

The recent targeting and killing of police officers during a peaceful march in Dallas, protesting police brutality, has police forces across the country, especially Texas, on high alert.

Skydiver without parachute
falls 7 kilometers safely

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Safety tests on the net that would catch Luke Aikins indicated that the risk-motivated American skydiver might not survive the seven kilometer jump without a parachute.

To come out alive, he had to navigate throwing himself from a plane above California's Simi Valley Saturday, reaching terminal velocity, 193 kilometers an hour, in a fall that lasted about two minutes, and land inside the 30 meter by 30 meter net awaiting him just above the desert floor.

"If I wasn’t nervous, I would be stupid," he said ahead of the jump Saturday. "We’re talking about jumping without a parachute, and I take that very seriously. It’s not a joke."

At least one trial run with a dummy failed with the weight crashing through the net.

After two years of planning, trials and errors, though, the 42-year-old stunt man leaped from a Cessna along with three other skydivers who had parachutes and who recorded the descent and carried gear Aikins needed early in the jump, like an oxygen mask.

Aikins fell spreadeagled, then rolled onto his back moments before impact. The net stretched low to cushion his fall as he entered record books as the first netted free fall from that height. 

He lay motionless for several moments as the net was lowered to the ground. Then, Aikins sprang to his feet, arms victoriously in the air, and hugged his wife.

"I'm almost levitating, it's incredible," he said after landing.

Access to firearms is seen
related to suicide numbers

By the Columbia University Medical Center
news staff

Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center and New York State Psychiatric Institute have found that legislation reducing access to firearms has lowered firearm suicide rates in other countries. This finding is based on evidence from around the world on the relationship between firearm ownership and firearm suicide rates.

The report was published recently in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

To reduce firearm suicide rates in the United States, the authors recommended several measures, such as targeted legislation to limit firearm access to individuals at risk for suicide, using smart gun technology, offering public education on firearm suicide, and research to evaluate the effectiveness of prevention methods.

According to the authors, half of suicide deaths involve a firearm. In 2014, of the more than 33,500 firearm deaths in the United States, over 21,000 were the result of suicide. About 38 percent of U.S. households own at least one gun, making firearms widely available to those at risk of suicide.

Their findings and recommendations were based on a review of case-control, ecological, and time-series studies from the United States and other countries. The researchers extrapolated from gun control measures implemented elsewhere in considering what might be possible and effective in preventing firearm suicides in the U.S.

Studies in the U.S. showed that greater firearm availability is associated with greater risk of firearm suicide. Globally, four studies in other developed countries found that per capita gun ownership correlates with national firearm suicide rates.

Over the three-year period from 2000 to 2002, the 15 states with the highest household firearm ownership, 47 percent, had almost twice as many suicides, 14,809, as the six states with the lowest firearm ownership, 15 percent, with 8,052 suicides. This difference in overall suicides is largely accounted for by the difference in firearm suicides, 9,749 compared with 2,606. Non-firearm suicides, 5,060 compared with 5,446, and the total populations of the two sets of states were comparable.

While states vary widely in the stringency of their firearm laws, recent studies are encouraging about the potential benefits of targeted and multifaceted firearm restrictions, including purchasing permits, waiting periods, safe storage, gun violence restraining orders, background checks, and registration guidelines. All of these measures have been associated with lower firearm suicide rates and lower overall suicide rates.

Smart gun technology, such as fingerprint recognition, limits use of a gun to the owner and permitted users. Mandating that new guns use the new technology and instituting trade-in programs to replace old guns with safer ones can prevent a household’s firearms from being used for suicide by family members or others with access to the firearm.

Safe storage methods, keeping guns unloaded, methods of identifying individuals at risk of suicide, and changing the belief that a suicide is inevitable are among the public health messages that may help reduce firearm suicide rates. Social marketing initiatives to change public perceptions, similar to the successful campaigns to prevent driving while impaired, encourage seat belt use, and promote smoking cessation, may also prove valuable in reducing firearm suicide rates.

“These findings illustrate the influence that social policy can have on medical conditions, in this case suicide,” noted Jeffrey Lieberman, chairman of the department of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center.

Study said prejudice prevails
despite level of intelligence

By the Society for Personality
and Social Psychology news staff

 When it comes to prejudice, it does not matter if you are smart or not, or conservative or liberal, each group has their own specific biases. In a recent study, psychologists show that low cognitive ability, based on measures of intelligence and verbal ability, was not a consistent predictor of prejudice. Cognitive ability, whether high or low, only predicts prejudice towards specific groups. The results are published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

“Very few people are immune to expressing prejudice, especially prejudice towards people they disagree with,” says lead author Mark Brandt of Tilburg University, The Netherlands.

Brandt and Jarret Crawford of The College of New Jersey analyzed data from 5,914 people in the United States that includes a measure of verbal ability and prejudice towards 24 different groups.

Analyzing the results, the researchers found that people with both relatively higher and lower levels of cognitive ability show approximately equal levels of intergroup bias, but towards different sets of groups. People with low cognitive ability tended to express prejudice towards groups perceived as liberal and unconventional, such as atheists, gays and lesbians, as well as groups of people perceived as having low choice over group membership, such as ethnic minorities.

People with high cognitive ability showed the reverse pattern. They tended to express prejudice towards groups perceived as conservative and conventional, such as Christians, the military and big business.

“There are a variety of belief systems and personality traits that people often think protect them from expressing prejudice,” says Brandt. “In our prior work we found that people high and low in the personality trait of openness to experience show very consistent links between seeing a group as different from them and expressing prejudice towards that group. The same appears to be true for cognitive ability. ”

“Whereas prior work by others found that people with low cognitive ability express more prejudice, we found that this is limited to only some target groups,” says Brandt. “For other target groups the relationship was in the opposite direction. For these groups, people with high levels of cognitive ability expressed more prejudice. So, cognitive ability also does not seem to make people immune to expressing prejudice.”

The authors would like to see if their findings will replicate in new samples, with new target groups, and additional measures of cognitive ability.

“We used a measure of verbal ability, which is essentially a vocabulary test,” says Brandt. “Although this measure correlates pretty well with other measures of cognitive ability it is not a perfect nor a complete measure.”
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

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

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

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

House for Sale in Escazu Downtown
Condo near downtown Escazú Centro, Country Day School and Paco Shopping Center. 2 floors, 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms. Maid's quarters, patio, 24-hour guard,   clubhouse and pool  Price $170,000 or best offer Call Lewis at 506 2288-2250 or 506 8828-6749.
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Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
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We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need.  More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:


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

♦ Apartment No. 1: 180 square meters, 3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, TV room, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar and island kitchen furniture, garage, electric gate.
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first image
B&B for sale in Costa Rica $650,000

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

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

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


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

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Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
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In Costa Rica 8307-0164

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)

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

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 150
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Here are some plants you can munch on

Every now and then, I get lazy. It happens. Then suddenly a reader will send a note and get me moving again. Henry asked about the moringa and
Victoria Torley
katuk, both widely grown in Costa Rica. Thanks, Henry.

The problem with katuk and moringa is that neither is native to Costa Rica. The word moringa is from the Tamil language and both plants originate in Southeast Asia. Still, they have been introduced into just about every area where the climate
permits and the leaves and fruits are frequently found in local markets so they are definitely worth discussing.

The thing I really like about both these plants is that the leaves can be used in a mixed vegetable dish. In this disguise, Metric Man doesn’t notice them. He also doesn’t notice them in salads and, since he avoids veggies whenever he can, this is a great way to get him to eat them. And they are so good for you: High in vitamins, especially A and C, plus B complex, plus trace elements, and protein.

Wow, not bad for a fast growing nice looking little plant. Did I say little?  Katuk grows to 2.5 meters (9 feet) and moringa can grow to 10 meters (33 feet). Katuk is usually grown as an annual but moringa? Trim it to size or let it grow to a tree.

Enough about tall things, what about vines? The Passiflora genus (passion flower), with over 500 species and flowers of many different colors, also produces a great fruit. The three most common are the sweet granadilla, giant granadilla and purple passion fruit.

The first has a hard rind and is usually sipped from the rind or split and the pulp spooned out. The giant granadilla has an edible rind and can be eaten fresh from the vine or made into jams. It is also a terrific addition to smoothies. The purple passion fruit is also great in smoothies and other beverages although the seeds can be an astringent.

And how about cacti? The hylocereus cosarricensis, or pitaya, is a native of Costa Rica. If you have a cacti or succulent garden, this night bloomer is highly fragrant and then you can harvest and eat the fruits. Oddly this cactus is a tree climber so you will need to provide it with the support of a trellis as it grows. You may be able to harvest the dragonfruit four or five times a year, depending on your climate. The pitaya likes a nice hot dry place to live.

So there you are, local and introduced plants that are both interesting and edible. I promise not to neglect them in the future.

Plant of the Week

Despite multiple invasions of the caterpillars from Hell, my passion flower vines produced a lot of fruit. This variety will be yellow when ripe and can be picked from the vine or gathered from the ground. Washed and dried, they can be refrigerated for two or three weeks, or you can freeze the pulp or juice for later use. Great in a smoothie!

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!
A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley

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From Page 7:

Some new Hyundais lacked air bags

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Grupo Q said it is recalling 202 2016-2017  Hyundai Santa Fe models because the front seat passenger is not protected by an air bag.

The Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio said that this is a violation of Costa Rica law that covers the imported vehicles.

Grupo Q has operations in other countries but the defective Santa Fe models appear to have been sold in Costa Rica.

The ministry notes that the law requires that notices of such recalls be provided its  Dirección de Apoyo al Consumidor.