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Published Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 155
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Expats should brace for a string of strikes this week
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The work week opens today with what is promised to be a massive strike by electrical and telecom workers.

Tuesday taxi drivers will be protesting all over the country, and there is the possibility of massive blockades.

Wednesday traffic police will hold a smaller protest for more officers and against letting officers go on patrol alone. Saturday night one traffic patrol car received fire in Naranjo.

Workers at the Instituto Costarricense Electricidad are members of the Asociacion Sindical de Empleados Industriales de las Comunicaciones. The union promises that 7,000 strikers will take to the streets today in Sabana Norte to march during the morning through San José Centro and then to Casa Presidencial in Zapote.

The union said members are upset by staff reductions and budget cuts made by the administration.

They are asking President Luis Guillermo Solís to intervene. The union promised that essential services will not be affected.

The taxi drivers can shut down the country Tuesday with parked or rolling blockades. The president already has vowed that free passage by citizens will be maintained.

The taxi drivers are angry at the continued presence of the unlicensed Uber ride service in the country and its direct competition. Solís

Asociacion Sindical de Empleados
Industriales de las Comunicaciones photo

Workers at the state power and telecom company are not shy about protesting. This photo is from a previous one.

has called for more discussions with the taxi drivers.

There is a threat of violence. Police officials have intercepted some social media messages calling for confrontations with police and even suggestions of using firearms.

There was a shooting Saturday in Naranjo, and the bullet hit a traffic police patrol car, said the  Unión Nacional de Técnicos Profesionales del Tránsito. The union said that the traffic officer was seeking to break up a drag racing event. The union said that the lack of staff requires officers to patrol alone.

This protest is supposed to be on the Río Virilla bridge Wednesday afternoon.  The union said that protesters would stay out of the Autopista General Cañas roadway and restrict the protest to the pedestrian part of the bridge.

Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
Residents of Golfito created this 110-meter-long mural outside the soccer stadium there as part of the Festival
Nacional de las Artes 2016. The festival opened Friday in the southern part of the country. Our story is HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 155
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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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Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones photo
These are some of the 341 students who participated in the robotics event.

Robotics winners to compete in India

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There were 10 winners at the VII Olimpiada Nacional de Robótica that wrapped up Sunday in Cartago.

The 10 were picked in age groups running as old as 25. Each category had a task for the small robots they created. The younger technicians used their creations to play soccer. Older students designed robots to separate material for recycling or to actually prepare the material for recycling.

University students in the oldest division had to create bowling robots that could see an object and then aim at it.

The winners are headed to a world competition in Nueva Delhi, India, in November. This was the seventh annual competition.

Expensive fire ladder develops legs

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A good tip is to keep an eye on possession in Costa Rica.

Firefighters failed to do that while they were on a roof  in Cartago, and someone walked off with an expensive extension ladder.

In a Facebook post the Cuerpo de Bomberos said this happened in a Cartago neighborhood called Lotes Fecosa. The ladder is of the Alco-Lite brand made in South Carolina.

Possible cases of equine encephalitis reported

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation’s animal health agency said that it is investigating possible cases of equine encephalitis in the area around Ciudad Quesada.

This is another disease carried by mosquitoes. There are at least four types of the virus. Costa Rica experienced an outbreak in Guanacaste of Venezuelan encephalitis in 2009, said the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal.

The disease can cause a range of symptoms in animals. Sometimes there is no symptom, and in other cases there is death.

The animal health agency is looking in the communities of la Abundancia, El
Campo, Cedral and la Tigra. It also warned humans to take precautions with long sleeves and long pants to avoid mosquito bites in areas where the disease may exist.  Lab tests are pending.

Quake rattled northeastern Costa Rica early Sunday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 4.6 magnitude earthquake took place 10 minutes after midnight Sunday in northeastern Costa Rica.

The Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica at the Universidad de Costa Rica said that the epicenter was 6.9 kilometers south of Llanuras del Gaspar de Sarapiqui. There were no reports of serious damage.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 155
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Many expats say that property fraud bill does not go far enough
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expat reactions were mixed over a proposed law that would freeze suspicious property transfers to reduce fraud. Although the measure appears to be the first to recognize the serious problem of land titles here, most who commented on the news story said that the bill does not go far enough.

According to the bill, the Registro Nacional would have the power to investigate suspicious property transfers and freeze them for a time. There also would be access to a judicial data base that presumably would hold the names of crooked lawyers and notaries.

Notaries are presumed to act with honesty when they record the transfer of a property. In Costa Rica, that transfer does not have to contain the signature of the seller, and the notary creates what amounts to a deed. This is filed with the Registro Nacional.

If the notary creates a fake property transfer, there is no way for the Registro to know this unless the individual had been charged with doing the same thing in the past.

One expat also questioned the estimate of the prevalence of property frauds offered by the bill’s sponsor, Rafael Ortiz Fábrega. The lawmaker said that just 1 percent of the transactions at the Registro are fraudulent. The expat said that he personally has had two cases of fraud involving his properties during the time he has been in Costa Rica.  Even so, 1 percent would be a large number.

Lawmakers have generally ignored the problem of property fraud for years. Some skeptics claim this is because many are lawyers and that lawyers are the ones who profit from the fraud one way or another.

Others point out that the lawmakers have done nothing to fight another type of property fraud, the invasion by squatters.

Someone who owns a home in Costa Rica probably will not be targeted by fraud while still living. And there are ways to protect individual homes. But large ranches or other tracts of underdeveloped land are ripe for invasions or fraud at the Registro. This has created a drag on investment.

Even politically aware Costa Ricans are victims. One man who represented the country at the United Nations found that one of his ranches had been transferred without his knowledge to an unknown party.

Presumably the crooks were hoping that the elderly diplomat would die, and then they could emerge as the property owner along with some fabrication about when the man sold them the property. On a more ominous note, some persons have died violently, and the heirs learned that the dead individual’s property had been transferred to others shortly before the death.

Over the last 15 years, U.S. Embassy officials have been largely silent on the problem, although there is one woman there who sends condolence emails when expats experience a judicial reverse.

30,000 spectators reported
at southern zone arts festival

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The culture ministry said that 30,000 spectators enjoyed the Festival Nacional de las Artes 2016 during its first weekend.
The festival began Friday in Ciudad Neily, Golfito and some nearby towns.

A sponsor of the festival along with the ministry is the Junta de Desarrollo Regional de la Zona Sur. The development agency reported a spike in visits to the Depósito Libre Comercial de Golfito it runs. Some 600 artists are scheduled to make presentations during the run of the festival.

An agency of the Universidad de Costa Rica has 40 staffers in the area to count and record the visits by spectators, said the ministry. In the past the festival mainly has been in the metro area, and the ministry said that residents of the southern zone expressed their gratitude for the event taking place there instead of  341 kilometers or about 211 miles away.

festival parade
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
Torches and performers light up the night at the festival.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 155
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surf crowd
Federación de Surf/Randall Ortega
The beach was crowded with enthusiastic surfing fans.
World surfing event draws a crowd of supporters to Jacó
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There are 26 national teams that began competition Sunday at the World Surfing Games in Jacó, said the sponsor, the International Surfing Association.

The field of 96 men completed a marathon day of 24 heats in tricky, two- to four-foot surf with thousands of spectators present to witness the world-class competition and support their nations, said the association.

The four male surfers from Costa Rica survived the first round heat, the association said.

The Federación de Surf de Costa Rica estimated the crowd at 30,000. The federation said that Anthony Fillingim, Carlos Muñoz, Noe Mar McGonagle and Tomás King had no trouble in the first round. Costa Rica is the defending world champion.

The two Costa Rican women competitors begin their efforts today, said the federation.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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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
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Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 155
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Earl blamed for 38 deaths
along México’s Caribbean

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Mudslides triggered by what was left of Tropical Storm Earl killed 38 people along Mexico's Caribbean coast, officials said Sunday.

Most of the deaths were reported in the eastern states of Veracruz and Puebla, where heavy rains sent rocks and mud cascading down mountains and hills, burying homes and flooding roads.

Earl made landfall in Belize, Guatemala, and southern Mexico last week as a Category One hurricane and weakened as it moved inland.

Meanwhile, forecasters have posted a tropical storm warning for southwestern Mexico from Manzanillo south to Cabo Corrientes as Tropical Storm Javier blows through the Pacific.

Meteorologists have not said whether they think it will strengthen into a cyclone.

Iran reports executing
man involved with U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Iran has executed a nuclear scientist who was convicted of giving top secret information about Tehran's controversial nuclear program to the United States.

The execution of Shahram Amiri was confirmed Sunday by Iran's official news agency, IRNA. "Through his connection with the United States, Amiri gave vital information about the country to the enemy," said judicial spokesman Gholamhosein Mohseni Ejehi.

Ejehi said a court had sentenced Amiri to death, a sentence that was upheld by Iran's Supreme Court.

Amiri left for Saudi Arabia in 2009 and relocated to the United States a year later. U.S. officials said they paid Amiri about $5 million to leave Iran and provide information about Iran's nuclear program.

 A U.S. official said in 2010 that the U.S. received useful information from Amiri.

Amiri, a university researcher who worked for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, fled the United States later in 2010 without the money and was welcomed home by Iranian officials as a hero before being arrested. He told Iranian officials he was detained in the United States after being abducted in Saudi Arabia by two U.S. Central Intelligence Agency agents.

Iranian officials have contended that its nuclear program was developed for nonviolent purposes. The United States says uranium particles found during an investigation last year at an Iranian military base were probably remains from Iran's secret nuclear weapons program.

Nevertheless, the United States and five other countries reached an agreement last year requiring Iran to limit its nuclear program so that nuclear weapons cannot be developed. In exchange, economic sanctions against Iran were lifted.

Both major candidates plan
speeches in rust belt Detroit

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The economy is expected to be the focus of the presidential campaign this week when both top candidates make major speeches in the same city on their plans for the country if they are elected.

Republican Donald Trump will speak Monday, and Democrat Hillary Clinton will appear Friday in Detroit, the struggling midwest city that is headquarters of the U.S. automobile industry.

"I will be the greatest jobs president that god ever created," Trump has said.

His plans are expected to include large corporate tax cuts for business and industry and to renegotiate trade deals that he says give all the advantages to countries such as China and México.

The former U.S. speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, whose support of Trump has been lukewarm, was asked on Fox News Sunday if Trump's plans are economically sound.

"Of course not . . . no candidate's numbers add up," he said.

Mrs. Clinton has said she will put forth the biggest jobs creation program since World War II, focusing on rebuilding crumbling infrastructure, such as repairing and building roads, bridges, and airports. She said she will pay for it by making sure the wealthy and corporate America pay their fair share of taxes.

Trump's sharp tongue surfaced again Sunday. He tweeted that the "media is going crazy. They totally distort so many things on purpose."

Also Sunday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination, said whoever wins the election must stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Speaking to CNN, Kasich called Putin a thug who is trying to revive the long-dead Soviet Union.

Kasich said Putin has got to return Crimea to Ukraine and that the U.S. cannot show weakness to someone who has become very aggressive towards the West.

Trump has faced charges of being someone who admires Vladimir Putin and ignoring allegations of brutality against his political opponents.

Trump questions mental health
of Mrs. Clinton over her lies

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is questioning the mental health of his Democratic opponent, former U.S. secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The brash real estate tycoon told a rally in New Hampshire on Saturday, "She is a totally unhinged person.  She's unbalanced."  Trump mocked her comment that she short-circuited in answering a question about her truthfulness in her handling of national security material on the unsecured, private email server she used while she was the country's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013.

Trump told the crowd he has "a winning temperament."

The Clinton campaign, in response, said, "It's unfortunate that Trump's only method of dealing with his own disastrous week is to lash out with more absurd personal attacks."

Saturday was Trump's first visit to the state of New Hampshire since the pivotal Republican primary election there in February, which Trump won by a wide margin.  But a poll in the northeastern state last week showed Mrs. Clinton with a 15-percentage point lead over Trump three months ahead of the national November election to replace President Barack Obama when he leaves office in January.

A new Washington Post-ABC News national poll Sunday showed Mrs. Clinton with 50 to 42 percent lead over Trump, double the four-point advantage she held in mid-July before both the Republican and Democratic national conventions.  The news organizations said, however, that nearly six in 10 voters remain dissatisfied with the choice between Clinton and Trump.

The Boston Globe reported Trump also attended two fundraising events Saturday in Massachusetts, in wealthy resort areas on Nantucket Island and on Cape Cod.  Donors were expected to contribute $2,700 or more to attend the gatherings, one of which was at the home of Bill Koch, brother of Charles and David Koch, wealthy long-time donors to Republican causes who have refused to endorse Trump.

Friday, Trump endorsed some of the country's top Republicans running for re-election, as a gesture of party unity after several national surveys showed the billionaire businessman falling behind Mrs. Clinton.

Trump endorsed the re-election campaigns of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sens. John McCain and Kelly Ayotte.  He had delayed giving those three Republicans his public support, in Ryan's case, saying he was not quite there yet.  Trump drew criticism from other high-ranking Republicans for his reluctance to endorse other Republicans who have voiced lukewarm support for his candidacy.

A Reuters/Ipsos survey released late Friday showed Mrs. Clinton's lead over Trump narrowed to less than three percentage points, a drop from eight points in its previous survey four days earlier.  But a McClatchy/Marist poll, showed Mrs. Clinton widening her lead over Trump to 15 points nationwide, 48 percent to 33 percent.  And another poll by Fox News showed Mrs. Clinton with a 10-point lead.

The nonpartisan Web site, which calculates an average of results from multiple opinion polls, reports Clinton has a seven-point lead over Trump, 47.5 percent to 40.5 percent.

U.S. may host dark networks
of radicals ready to strike

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

After years of undercover work, the U.S. is starting to pull back the veil on what appear to be loose-knit, perhaps deeply rooted networks of would-be terrorists who support each other even as many prepare to act alone.

Heightening the concern, these complex webs of connections and support seem to span several years and often cut across the ideological lines that delineate one terror group from another.

“Increasingly, the FBI’s had a lot of these,” according to a law enforcement official familiar with one of the more recent cases. “I think it is going on nationally.”

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said it was clear that “a lot of this predated ISIL,” using an acronym for the Islamic State terror group.

Concern has reached all the way to the White House. After a meeting with national security officials late Thursday at the Pentagon, President Barack Obama said, “It’s conceivable that there are some networks here that could be activated.”

“We have to do a better job of disrupting networks,” he added.

Yet former counterterror officials warn that doing so promises to be difficult, because what holds these networks together cannot be undone simply by trying to dismantle a single terror group.

“The differences between al-Nusra and ISIS and al-Qaida and al-Shabab, for the regular people, it’s a distinction without a difference,” said Seamus Hughes, deputy director of George Washington University's Program on Extremism. “What’s really underlying it is the ideological underpinnings that drive these people.”

In many cases, researchers say, for the members of these groups, it comes down to a willingness to embrace violence to fill holes or gaps in their lives.

“If ISIS is eliminated tomorrow and moves on, there are going to be other groups that pop up, and these individuals are already primed,” said Hughes, who previously worked at the National Counterterrorism Center. “They’ll latch onto the next foreign terrorist organization.”

Perhaps no case illustrates the dangers as much as that of Nicholas Young, 36, a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit police officer from Fairfax, Virginia, arrested this past week for trying to help Islamic State acquire mobile messaging accounts for use in recruiting new members.

The arrest appeared to be the culmination of years of undercover work that most likely began in late 2010, when FBI agents interviewed Young about an acquaintance.

“Six years is a very long time for an active FBI investigation,” Hughes said. “They were clearly concerned.”

According to an FBI affidavit, the acquaintance in question was Zachary Chesser, who had been arrested earlier in 2010 after trying to travel to Somalia to join the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab terror group.

Young told investigators he was shocked by the charges and that it would be his religious and personal duty to have told someone if he suspected Chesser of any terror-related activity.

But something got the FBI’s attention, and investigators kept him in their sights.

“From the law enforcement perspective, the hope is that if you follow this individual, he lights up the system and you get to see if there are any networks you need to be worried about,” Hughes said.

It would seem Young "lit up" the system.

By January 2012, Young was in regular contact with an undercover law enforcement officer. 

That March, the undercover officer reported on a meeting with Young and two other men to discuss the fundamentals of marksmanship.

One of the two other men then joined the undercover officer and Young at a restaurant for the first of what were to be several shared meals over the coming months. They talked about jihad, martyrdom and evading authorities.

Both men at the March meeting would later be arrested on the same day, Feb. 17, 2012.

One of them, who was not named in court documents, was arrested on charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The other man, Amine El-Khalifi of Alexandria, Virginia, was arrested in a sting operation as he attempted to carry out a shooting and suicide bombing at the U.S. Capitol in the name of al-Qaida.

Even after those arrests, investigators continued to watch Young, who confided he had twice traveled to Libya a year earlier to fight with the Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade, an al-Qaida-linked group trying to overthrow then-Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

By 2014, Young was expressing growing admiration for the Islamic State, advising an FBI informant on how to reach the terror group. Thinking the informant had successfully joined the ranks of the Islamic State, Young tried to send him the mobile messaging gift cards just last month. That act led to his arrest.

Law enforcement officials refuse to say whether the six-year investigation of the former Metro Transit officer will yield more arrests, but a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Washington field office said it is likely that more cases are on the way.

“Because of the national significance of Washington, D.C., and the vast number of potential geographic and human targets, northern Virginia and the surrounding area are likely to continue to experience arrests of individuals who have provided material support to designated terrorist organizations,” said the FBI’s Lindsay Ram.

Ten people have been arrested in Virginia on terror-related charges since March 2014, according to Hughes of the George Washington University extremism program. Only New York (18) and Minnesota (13) have seen more terror-related arrests in that period of time.

“A lot of these cases have to do with in-person . . . recruitment or radicalization, where they reinforce each other,” Hughes said.

Still, law enforcement officials warn against underestimating the power of social media, as evidenced in Thursday’s arrest of Erick Jamal Hendricks, 35, of Charlotte, North Carolina, charged with trying to recruit members for a sleeper cell, a group of willing terrorists who remain inactive and out of sight until they are called upon to join a plot.

Court documents show the FBI was able to link Hendricks through social media to several other U.S.-based Islamic State followers.

One of them, Amir Said Rahman Al-Ghazi, 38, was arrested in June 2015 after trying to buy an AK-47 assault rifle from an undercover agent.

Another, Elton Simpson, was killed in May 2015 along with Nadir Hamid Soofi, when the two tried to attack an event in Garland, Texas, where amateur cartoonists were drawing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

The FBI says Hendricks had been in touch with Simpson via social media about a week prior to the Texas attack, and even connected Simpson with an undercover FBI agent who was in Garland at the time.

For Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracy, evidence that Hendricks and Simpson knew each on social media is especially worrisome.

“One thing that we know is that Junaid Hussain, who was functioning as an external operations connector/official for the Islamic State, was in touch with Elton Simpson,” Gartenstein-Ross said. “Rather than being informal, there may have been a formal ISIL hand in helping to connect these disparate individuals together.”

Some of Hendrick’s claims may lend additional credence to those concerns.

During a conversation on social media in April 2015, Hendricks told an undercover FBI agent he was in contact with senior people.

“Does the head give orders?” the agent then asked.

“Only advice,” Hendricks replied.

“The networks are definitely broader, they’re definitely thicker and they’re definitely more interconnected than we’ve ever seen before,” Gartenstein-Ross said.

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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.

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

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

Ocean View Property for Sale in San Ramón
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Business for sale or lease (paid category)

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

Live the dream!
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 155
Real Estate
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Dirty clothes make the gardener

Metric Man says we need a new washing machine with four wash cycles: delicate, normal, heavy duty and “Good Lord, What is THAT?” Since I am
Victoria Torley
not a meticulous gardener, that could be anything, but it’s probably just good old ground-in dirt.

On laundry day, look at a gardener’s clothes, and you know what kind of soil he has. Black stains mean good rich black soil. Red stains are from clay. Green is from weeding in the grass, and, if
you have to shake the pants before washing, it’s probably sandy soil. Those red spots? They are compliments of thorns on skin. And who’s kidding. Laundry day is just about every day.

That’s right, for us gardeners the old rhyme (and if you are not 60+ you won’t have heard it), “Monday, wash day” has absolutely no meaning. Nope, we just shower and plop those clothes right into the hamper – or right into the washing machine if they are also a bit wet. Can’t seem to garden without, a bit wet right now. Even if the sun was bright when you started out, chances are that you were a bit wet when you got back. The weather is that uncertain.

The other day, I must have had THAT on my gardening pants because even after washing they were still dark with grime and a bit stiff. When that happens, I do what any red-blooded gardener would do, I douse the grime with laundry soap, attack it with a scrub brush, and throw the pants back into the washer. They were still a bit brown when they came out, but the stiffness is gone.

The trouble with laundry in the rainy season is the electric bill. Yes, we hang things on the line on the deck and out of the rain (sounds a bit tacky, I know) but they still need time in the drier. Towels? As gangsters say, “fogehd aboud it.” They take forever, and we use a lot of towels.

I do have one really good tip about staying cleaner and it is great for the knees. Get yourself a yoga mat, cut it into nice wide strips and kneel on it while you are working. Saves the clothes and the knees and makes the laundry a little less nasty. Just rinse the mat strip when you are finished and use another one while it dries.

Oh, and try to get a nice bright color on that yoga mat. I keep losing mine.

A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley

Plant for the Week

A few weeks ago, I talked about giving a tree a haircut but there was no room for the picture so now it’s better late than never. The bright green in this picture is the matapalo vine, a relative of the strangler fig, growing on a citrus tree. Instead of sending its roots down to the ground, the matapalo simply wraps them around the individual branch, cutting off nutrient exchange. Get it out of your trees as soon as you see it! Find the roots and cut them individually or sacrifice the branch if necessary, but get it out of the tree.

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:

Man in Costa Rica named in big Mafia bust

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man reported to live in Costa Rica, Laurence Keith Allen, 46, has been indicted in New York on a charge of illegal gambling. Others in the indictment are accused of extortion, arson, racketeers and other crimes.

Most of those indicted are members or associates of four of the five New York crime families and one from Philadelphia, said federal officials.

As far as gambling, a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York said that members of the enterprise, playing different roles in the sports gambling operations, utilized gambling Web sites based in the United States and abroad to keep track of wagers and proceeds.

In all 46 men have been charged, and three, including Allen, had not been arrested yet. The case reinforced the belief that at last some of Costa Rica’s gambling operations are connected directly to the La Cosa Nostra or Italian Mafia.

Allen’s role was not specified except that he also was included in a list of men who face having property forfeited.

The indictment reads like something out of a Damon Runyon or Mario Puzo novel. In addition to legal names, the federal indictment listed nicknames. There is Tugboat,  Mustache Pat,  Harpo, Fish,  Tony the Cripple, Anthony the Kid, and, of course, Vinny.

The crimes alleged are anything but humorous. The gangsters worked together to engage in a multitude of criminal activities throughout the East Coast of the United States between Springfield, Massachusetts, and Southern Florida, said the federal government.

“The indictment reads like an old school Mafia novel, where extortion, illegal gambling, arson and threats to whack someone are carried out along with some modern-day crimes of credit card skimming,” said Diego Rodriguez, FBI assistant director-in-charge.

“These mobsters seemed to use every scheme known to us, from arson, to shake-downs, violence, health care fraud, and even untaxed cigarettes to keep the racket going,”  said William J. Bratton, New York City police commissioner.