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(506) 2223-1327                                  Published Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 162                                   Email us
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Unions announce massive protest march for Thursday
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Thursday will see another protest by unions whose members are unhappy with the tiny raise proposed for public employees by the government.

The protest will be by the 50 unions that make up the Bloque Unitario Sindical y Social Costarricense. Primary and secondary school teachers will be there, and schools will run with a skeleton crew, if at all.

The unhappiness transcends the 0.08 percent raise proposed by the government. There is a feeling of dread among public employees because they read the newspapers and know about the national deficit and the financial box that President Luis Guillermo Solís seems to be in.

Some of the unions also have issued statements against a proposed value-added tax because they believe such a levy is regressive and will hit the middle and lower income groups hardest.
The government took this into consideration,  and the initial proposal from the Ministerio de Hacienda says that the families that make up the lowest 40 percent of income will receive rebates. But they will be two years in coming, and there is no guarantee that the government system will be efficient.

The Asociación Nacional de Educadores said it is marching to seek a more dignified status for educations and to defend public education.

Other marchers will be from the Asociación de Profesores de Segunda Enseñanza and the Unión de Trabajadores de la Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social. Those with medical appointments for Thursday should confirm them that day because many sections of public hospitals might be closed down.

The route is yet to be announced, but most certainly marchers will visit the legislature and perhaps even Casa Presidencial in Zapote.

This means traffic will be snarled. There might also be mirror protests in other regions.

Boyero heritage to be celebrated with art contest
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Just 10 years ago the boyero, his bueyes and his oxcart were designated as intangible human heritage. To mark the anniversary, there will be an art and design contest on this theme.

The boyeros, of course, are the men who guide the bueyes, those huge oxen who pull the cart. They still are in service in rural areas, but the keeping of bueyes and oxcarts also has become a hobby.

During the 19th century continuous lines of oxen, their drivers and carts filled with coffee stretched from the Central Valley to the Pacific ports over what today is the Interamericana Norte. The Cerro de la Muerte on the highway today got its name from boyeros dying from exposure while overnighting on the journey.

The rail line and motor transport put long-distance oxcart travel out of business.

Yet the brightly and intricately colored oxcarts and their wheels have become the signature emblem of Costa Rica.

That is a curious development because oxcarts in the 19th century were generally drab.  It was an Italian in Escazú who began the tradition of brightly painted carts at the beginning of the 20th century. He was inspired by the traditions of his home country.

The contest this year is sponsored by the Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural of the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

There are three categories and they are named after famous oxcart artisans.

The artisan category is dedicated to Sigifredo Garro Cordero, who is known for building and painting the yokes that fit over the animals' shoulders.

Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
Intricate painting is the order of the day.

The art category recognizes Emilia Prieto Tugores, who was involved in the first parade of oxcarts in 1935.

The design category recognizes Daniel Alfaro Corrales of Sarchí, who designed the modern cart or carreta.

Artists who wish to participate can sign up and get detailed rules at the centro's office on the downtown pedestrian walkway opposite Librería Lehmann. There are money prizes that range up to 1 million colons for first prize in each category.

As might by expected, the oxcart has entered folklore, too. The carreta sin bueyes is not what expats want to run into when lurching home from a night of drinking. The carreta is heard long before it is seen due to the unique sound of iron hoops on cobblestone.

The story is a disrespectful boyero had issues with a priest in Escazú and tried to drive his cart into the church. The oxen declined to do that and presumably ended up in oxen heaven.

The boyero was condemned to prowl the city seeking sinners. He usually is depicted as a man in a coffin upright in the bed of the cart, which is being advanced by a giant Devil hand.

The last Sunday of November is the traditional time for a parade of bueyes and oxcarts in San José. It is the official opening of the Christmas season. The parade will be Nov. 29 this year.

Puriscal mayor seeks regional meeting on crime
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The mayor of Puriscal has called a meeting of citizens for Wednesday at 2 p.m. to consider solutions to crimes in the area.

The letter was directed specifically to the Colonia Americana de Hermanos Norte-Americanos who live in the Barbacoas section of the municipality.

Invitees include the head of the Fuerza Pública, Juan José Andrade, and local police chiefs from Puriscal, Mora and Turrubares. Freddy Porras, president of the Cámera Comercio de Puriscal also is on the list. The location of the meeting is the Catholic church in Barbacoas.

The mayor is Manuel Espinoza Campos.

He said in his letter that there have been a

series of robberies on the Barbacoas-Piedras Negras de Mora route as well as La Guácima. The mayor said he included the central canton of Alajuela in his meeting call.

Among other crimes was the robbery of a jewelry story in the center of Puriscal last month. Over the last two years, the local office of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and supermarkets were held up, according to news files. There also have been home invasions in Guácima.

Pursical has long been an area that attracted expats because of the climate and the rural lifestyle.

Such meetings have had a lot of success elsewhere. The discussions focus the attention of police officials on the area and police patrols are beefed up.

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New airport section to be inaugurated

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Government officials including President Luis Guillermo Solís will be at Juan Santamaría airport today to inaugurate the new G boarding area.

The new construction increases by about 18 percent the terminal area and will permit the handling of larger aircraft.

In all there will be two boarding areas of some 3,100 square meters, about 33,400 square feet, and additional operational space of about 2,900 square meters, some 31,200 square feet. The new construction is east of the current terminal.

Court helps father in registering son

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A father in Pococí had a problem. His son was born in the United States but the father lost the original birth certificate. Such a document is needed to be registered as a Costa Rican.

Neither the child nor the father were named in the Sala IV decision that was released, but the court ordered the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones to register the boy.

The father said he could not return to Florida to obtain an authenticated birth certificate because he had been deported and that he lacked U.S. credentials to obtain a birth certificate online.

He also said that the civil registry in the election tribunal has the capability to do DNA testing to show that the boy was his.

The court noted that nationality is a fundamental right and that the boy is Costa Rican regardless of where he was born.

There is no three-strikes rule here

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anyone interested in the efficiency of the court system need only ask a man with the last name of Briceño. He was detained for robbery for his 27th time Monday afternoon.

The Fuerza Pública said that a police patrol just happened to be passing by when the man got off  a San José-Heredia bus.  The driver alerted police to a stickup.

Officers reported that a man pulled a gun on the driver and took 22,000 colons, about $42, and also relieved passengers of cell telephones. Police said they recovered the cell phones from the suspect.

All the arrests of the 34-year-old man have been for various types of robberies.

Our readers' opinion
Caja plus private is the way to go

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

To Caja or not to Caja . . . that is not the question, because if you are a permanent resident, then you join, period.

But is it necessarily a bad deal . . . for either side?  Elderly residents are likely to need more services, true, but they are also more likely to be able to pay for them privately.  And will, if they can.

I'm one of the poorer cases.  I moved here in 2000 and joined, voluntarily, because I thought it was a good deal.  No matter what they tell you about the Instituto Nacional de Seguros and other private insurers, every last single one of them is looking for a way to avoid paying if you have even so much as a hint of a prior medical condition.  Go ahead, take your time, but find me an elderly retiree who has never had a prior medical condition.

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social is great for routine needs as well as emergencies.  My son slashed his cheek on a sharp cactus one time, and I fell on a sharp piece of concrete and ripped a gash in my arm another time.  Both were sewn up in short order, no charge for that or the follow-up meds.  Earlier, I fell down two flights of concrete steps and wound up spending 10 days in the Caja hospital while they evaluated my condition, admitted to the emergency room after a long ambulance ride.  I had an MRI in Hospital México, where I was transported to and from by ambulance, back to San Carlos, where a cardiologist ran a treadmill stress test.  And ran a Holter test, as well.

The cost of those things in the United States would have been astronomical.  The cost, via INS, would have been significant, and I would have been in their office arguing over everything for months, even after my deductible.  My out-of-pocket cost for all of this on the Caja?  Zero.

The problem with the Caja can be boiled down to one thing, from my point of view: the time it takes to get a non-emergency appointment.  And, at least here in our clinica, the lack of specialists.  Our local doctor, who has dual practice, recommended an ultrasound for something recently.  He said that he could prescribe it on the Caja but it might take several years to get an appointment. Otherwise, it could be done in his office the next week, but I'd have to pay for it.  At a price which was a small fraction of what it would be in the U.S.

So, since medical insurance is supposed to be for the unexpected, not the anticipated, we make use of both systems.  We use the Caja when it makes sense to do that, and we pay our private doctor when we need something else.

We don't pay for a private insurance policy because (1) they cost a lot, (2) they have significant deductibles, and (3) they are almost always going to find a prior condition at our ages.  Besides, who needs the grief of dealing with them?

Insurance is the price you pay for something you hope you will never have to need. It isn't a way to cut your expected medical expenses.  When you think of it that way, then the Caja is a good deal.

Also, for us it provides several medications we require on a continuing basis (We are old folks, after all) which are included in our premium and lower in cost than on the open market.  They do not carry the latest and newest drugs that we need, true, but what else is perfect?

Enjoy the good while not worrying about the perfect.
Gregg Calkins
La Fortuna

He's not fond of the Caja care

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
Regarding pinche Gringos on the Caja.  I have lived here 20 years, working legally, paying into the system and Caja and have never used it.  I tried one time when my wife insisted I go and with three trips and many hours while I was in pain and never got to see a doctor.
To live here, foreigners are forced to pay into the Caja.  The rates go up year after year with no recourse, and they don't even use it.   I know hundreds people here that have been paying into this corrupt, non-functioning, dangerous system and never ever use it.  We all learn quick as well if and when you are seriously sick, you cannot end up in a Caja hospital under Caja care.  Too many people we have known have died with the poor care or no care they receive when you end up sick in say San Juan de Dios hospital/morgue.
Greg Lomax

Bilingual evaluation complex, prof says

By the Florida Atlantic University news staff

Bilingual children pose unique challenges for clinicians, and, until recently, there was little research on young bilinguals to guide clinical practice. In the past decade, however, research on bilingual development has burgeoned, and the scientific literature now supports several conclusions that should help clinicians as they assess bilingual children and advise their parents.

In an article recently published in Seminars in Speech and Language, Erika Hoff, a professor of psychology at Florida Atlantic University, provides information on what clinicians need to know about bilingual development in children.

“Two difficult jobs fall to clinicians who see bilingual children. One is the diagnosis of language impairment; the other is providing counsel to parents who worry about the consequences of the bilingual experience for their children’s language development,” said Hoff. “The diagnostic job is complicated because it is particularly difficult to steer a course between overdiagnosing or underdiagnosing language impairment when the client is a bilingual child.”

Overdiagnosis happens when a bilingual child scores below the average on tests designed for monolingual children, and the clinician interprets the score without taking into account the fact that only a portion of the bilingual child’s language knowledge is represented in that score. Underdiagnosis happens when a bilingual child scores below monolingual norms, and the clinician overcorrects for the child’s bilingualism, thereby failing to identify a child whose ability to acquire language is truly impaired.

“The problem is knowing how much to correct for the child’s exposure to another language, and that problem is especially difficult because the amount of exposure to another language varies among bilingual children,” said Hoff.

According to Hoff, there is a widely held but mistaken belief that children’s ability to acquire language is such that once they get to school they will quickly reach the same level of English proficiency as their monolingual classmates, and therefore early exposure to English is not necessary.

To the contrary, the data are clear that poor English skills at school entry now place a child at risk for school failure, he said.

The second widely held belief, which requires qualification, is that immigrant parents will help their children best by speaking English to them, he said. The data are clear that language input provided by nonnative speakers is less supportive of language development than input provided by native speakers, he added.

The data also show, he said, that in a home in which both parents are native speakers of Spanish, the negative effect of English use on children’s Spanish skills is greater than the positive effect of English use on children’s English skills.

“The data are clear than an optimal environment for English language development is exposure rich, grammatically varied English of the sort that is characteristic of educated, native English speakers," Hoff said. "Clinicians can provide minority language-speaking parents with this information, but providing all children access to such language experience will require involvement of larger institutions."

“For example, preschool programs are an opportunity for all children to experience a rich language environment, but the preschool programs need to be of high quality in order for children to show language gains as a result of preschool attendance,” he said.

Conclusions on bilingual development of children in Hoff’s article reveal that:

• Dual language input does not confuse children. They can learn two languages at the same time.

• It is not necessary for the two languages to be kept separate in children’s experience in order for children to acquire two languages without confusion.

• Learning two languages takes longer than learning one. It is normal for bilingual children to lag behind monolingual children in their rate of single language development, and it takes a long time to catch up.

• A dominant language is not equivalent to an only language. Bilingual children often score within the normal range for monolingual children in their dominant language, but they still are not performing as well as they would if they were hearing and learning only one language.

• A measure of total vocabulary provides the best indicator of young bilingual children’s language learning capacity.

• Bilingual children can have different strengths in each language.

• The quantity and quality of bilingual children’s input in each language influence their rates of development in each language.

• Immigrant parents should not be discouraged from speaking their native language to their children.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 162
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Lawmaker blasts conditions on the Cartago-San José railway line
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The San José-Cartago train service is becoming controversial. The cars are overcrowded, and when there are delays there is no air conditioning, said a lawmaker Monday.

Paulina Ramírez Portuguez of the Partido Liberación Nacional said that the trains are not running on time and that she has been getting complaints from her constituents in Cartago. She called for immediate corrections.

The Minsterio de Obras Públicas admitted to a persistent bump Monday and said that workers will try to resolve the problem by replacing a rail where the train track crosses the
Circunvalación in San Pedro. That will be Saturday from 6 a.m. to noon.
The lawmaker noted that Guillermo Santana, head of the rail agency, appeared before lawmakers recently. She said that he did not have any short-term solutions.

"Today the train service between Cartago and San José is deficient and does not meet any standard of quality," said the lawmakers. She said passengers will begin to avoid the line.
She also cited mechanical problems that sometimes require passengers to leave the train.

Passengers have complained about having to stand up for the trip because there was not enough rail cars.

The rail line was extended to Cartago during the presidency of Laura Chinchilla, also of Liberación Nacional.

Pair captured at Naranjo supermarket where safe was cracked
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers detained two suspects at a supermarket in Naranjo where the floor safe had been burned open.

Safe cracking is a dying art with the increased use of electronic transfers and credit cards. 

But a gang of crooks have been targeting supermarkets where there are large amounts of cash.

Investigators will be trying to determine if the burglary at the  CooPro supermarket in the Alajuela community is the latest in a series by the same gang or a copycat crime.

The gang typically enters a supermarket via a hole in the roof and then uses an acetylene torch to open the safe.

That is what happened Sunday night.

Police have been keeping a close eye on such locations due to the string of burglaries. A week ago burglars left a supermarket without managing to open the safe because police arrived.

Investigators also may have been tracking the gang, although the number is believed to be at least four.

The Fuerza Pública identified one of the suspects by the last name of Lacayo and said that the second man had no papers and said he did not remember his own name.

Police acknowledged that the pair would be asked about other jobs.

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
They managed to open this one.

Lawmaker expresses concern about the arrival of Uber ride service
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

First there were pirate taxis and now there is Uber Technologies, Inc. The San Francisco, California,-based firm uses a smartphone app to enlist local drivers to convey passengers.

Uber has begun to develop its service in Costa Rica, and the government and licensed taxi drivers are not happy.

The company is claiming it is a private enterprise outside of government control. But maybe not for long.

The situation came up in the legislature Monday when Rolando González Ulloa said that fellow lawmakers should analyze the service.
Licensed taxi drivers have to be heavily insured and present their vehicles for inspection twice a year.

Porteadores have been protesting with blockades because the government has reduced the permits it will issue. The government really plans to run them out of business.

There already are smartphone apps that can contact taxi drivers in Costa Rica. Uber has been the target of protests all over the world, yet it has amassed billions in market value.

The company also has a policy of jacking up the prices in peak hours. Costa Rican taxi drivers have fixed rates issued by the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos. The conflict almost certainly will end up in court.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Researchers weigh possibility that Jamestown explorer was Spanish spy
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Skeletal remains unearthed at Jamestown suggest the first permanent English settlement in the Americas might have been infiltrated by an undercover priest working to undermine the English on behalf of Spain.

The remains of explorer Capt. Gabriel Archer, 34, were found along with those of three other men. All four are thought to have been prominent leaders in the early colony.

The remains were discovered among the ruins of a structure thought to be the first Protestant church built in the New World. In unearthing the remains, Jamestown researchers also uncovered evidence there might have been more to the expeditionary leader than previously thought.

“Gabriel Archer might have been a Catholic agent working on behalf of the Spanish Catholic authorities and seeking to undermine the colony from within. There is that possibility,” said James Horn, president of Jamestown Rediscovery, which led the dig. “It’s certainly a theory we can’t discount.”

At the heart of the mystery is a small silver box researchers believe is a Roman Catholic reliquary — a container that holds holy objects, such as fragment of clothing or even the remains of a saint.

The item was buried with Archer when he died in late 1609 or early 1610 during a period when starvation, disease and famine devastated the colony. It’s possible the item was simply a treasured personal object, but its discovery raises a number of questions.

“How did it get into Gabriel Archer’s grave, who put it there and does it have meaning in terms of a broader Catholic presence than we might have anticipated in early Jamestown?” Horn said.

The Jamestown settlers were members of the Anglican faith, of the official Church of England. The English were keen to establish a foothold for Protestantism in the colonies, in part to counteract the Spanish, who were aggressively converting the indigenous people in their colonies to Roman Catholicism.

Catholic Spain claimed all of the Americas at that time, and would have naturally had a vested interest in the goings-on in the new English colony in order to assess what threat, if any, Jamestown posed to Spanish interests.

Whether Archer, whose parents were Catholic, worked for the Spanish is unproven, but there’s evidence he was a major conspirator challenging authority in the colony during the first few years.

“He’s involved in just about every plot to overthrow the

Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation photo
Silver reliquary and fragments of coffin wood found in the grave of Capt. Gabriel Archer.

leader of the colony during the period he was in Virginia, 1607 to 1609,” Horn said. “So that could be connected to the fact that this effort to undermine the colony was not simply his own personal dislike of some of the people in charge, but rather much more intentional.”

Adding to the mystery is the fact that Archer was buried with his head to the east, an honor usually reserved for clerics. The remains of Robert Hunt, the first known Anglican minister in the New World, were found along with Archer’s and he, as expected, was buried with his head facing east. But why would Archer, an explorer and expeditionary leader, be buried with his head to the east?

“Was it simply an error?” Horn said. “Or does it indicate he might have been more than he seemed and that is he was in fact a secret Catholic priest operating in Jamestown?”

Before coming to the New World, Horn says Archer was a student at Cambridge, which was known as a place where young Englishmen were recruited to the Catholic priesthood. Researchers will now take their search to Cambridge to see if there is evidence Archer was among those recruited to the Spanish cause.

In their quest to solve the mystery of exactly what Capt. Gabriel Archer was up to in Jamestown, researchers will also take their investigation to Spain. They’ll be looking for proof that Spanish authorities recruited Archer and sent him to stir up trouble in the New World.

“If Jamestown had failed, if Virginia had collapsed, there’s no telling whether the English would have tried to continue to settle the mainland,” said Horn. “They might have decided not to.”

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

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Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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The vacation homes at Manuel Antonio Estates offers luxury, comfort and peace of mind. We have numerous homes from 2 bedrooms to 8 bedrooms ocean view with private pool,  all within walking distance of the town’s shops and restaurants and just a few minutes to the best beaches and the famous Manuel Antonio national park. While the homes are secluded and hidden among the rainforest, the surrounding area offers adventures like zip lines, whitewater rafting, mangrove kayaking and many more. All of the homes are available for short-term rentals, Fully equipped, Pool, concierge,  parking, cable TV, and Internet. We are happy to assist with all your need for the perfect Costa Rican vacation, Call us for your family vacation package.
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A.M. Costa Rica's
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Manuel Antonio
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 162
Real Estate
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living the dream

Coldwell Banker

U.S. says Chinese agents
are acting contrary to law

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States is holding firm in its insistence that Chinese agents must stop pressuring Chinese fugitives to head back home.

The State Department Monday refused to comment directly about allegations first reported by The New York Times, but it made clear such activity is not permitted without giving notice to the U.S. attorney general.

“It’s a criminal offense, actually, under U.S. law for an individual other than a diplomatic or a consular officer-attaché to act in the United States as a law enforcement agent of a foreign power without that notification,” said State Department spokesman John Kirby.

He said the U.S. and China do communicate regularly on what he termed matters of mutual concern including fugitives and anti-corruption through the U.S.-China Joint Liaison Group on Law Enforcement Cooperation.  But he said Washington also has been clear with Chinese officials on how the process must work.

“It is incumbent upon them to provide U.S. officials with significant, clear and convincing evidence to allow our law enforcement agencies to proceed with investigations, removals and prosecutions of fugitives,” he said.

The Justice Department issued its own warning Monday about any potential covert Chinese operations.

“If such unreported activity were to be taking place on U.S. soil, we would vigorously enforce our laws,” said spokesman Marc Raimondi.

Earlier Monday, Chinese state media criticized Washington’s moves, calling on U.S. officials to show sincerity in anti-corruption cooperation with China.

The commentary from Xinhua also said the U.S. order that Chinese agents associated with the country’s anti-corruption campaign, known as Operation Fox Hunt, is regrettable.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s efforts to hunt down fugitives, some of whom fled with money and other assets, have been popular with the Chinese public.  The New York Times reported that since 2014, more than 930 suspects have been repatriated, including more than 70 who have returned voluntarily this year, but that the intimidation tactics being used by Chinese agents have increasingly drawn the ire of U.S. officials.

U.S. sources also told The Times that many of the Chinese agents likely entered the U.S. on tourist or trade visas, trying to hide their real intentions.

Word of Operation Fox Hunt comes amid heightened bilateral tensions and just weeks before President Xi’s state visit to the U.S.

Still, given the stakes, a New York University School of Law professor, Jerome Cohen, says both the U.S. and China are likely to handle the disagreement with care.

“I don’t think, at this point, we’re likely to see any great ramifications for U.S. business or Chinese business,” he said. “These are mostly specific problems of limited numbers of individuals.”

American officials have refused to disclose the identities or numbers of Chinese being sought, although they acknowledge some are wanted for political crimes. 

Currently, China and the U.S. have no formal extradition treaty. And senior State Department officials have previously told Chinese state-run media that increased U.S. cooperation will depend on China’s commitment to the rule of law, including providing relevant evidence.

But Cohen said there could be more at stake.

“Besides the human rights questions, are there U.S. reasons for wanting to keep people in the United States because they can provide a source of valuable information? Maybe some of them are already cooperating,” he said.

Woman spurns propaganda job
and wins damages in Russia

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Russian court has awarded symbolic damages to an online Russian writer who claimed her employer's main goal was churning out Internet propaganda favorable to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

In a ruling Monday, the court in St. Petersburg set the damages at one ruble, the penalty sought by plaintiff Lyudmila Savchuk. The writer went public earlier this year with claims that her company, Internet Research, flooded the Internet with pro-Putin and pro-Kremlin propaganda that routinely appeared on Russian and Western news Web sites.

Savchuk filed her lawsuit in May and later described her work experiences to Western news agencies and a host of European news outlets.

In June, she told the German news magazine Der Spiegel that she infiltrated the secretive St. Petersburg company as part of a loose-knit network of activists called InfoPeace.  She said her fellow propagandists, known in cyberspace as trolls, bombarded Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and several Russian networks with Russian language posts. 

She also cited English language and Ukrainian targets, but said she did not personally participate in those forums.

Ms. Savchuk told Britain's Telegraph newspaper that within hours of the February assassination of Russian opposition leader and human rights activist Boris Nemtsov, she and her fellow employees were online in force to discredit Nemtsov, who once served as a post-Soviet deputy prime minister.

She said part of those attacks were aimed at manufacturing claims that Nemtsov, a staunch Putin critic, was killed by his own friends rather than by government hitmen, as many Russians suspect.

In her lawsuit, Ms. Savchuk sought moral damages from the company, along with compensation for unpaid wages and the closing of the company.  However, the court ruling left the company still operating.

There has been no public response from Internet Research to Ms. Savchuk's claims or to the lawsuit.

Officials say Clinton server
had 305 classified emails

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A report filed with a U.S. federal judge says a review of the emails of former secretary of State Hillary Clinton has found that as many as 305 of them could contain classified information.

The State Department filed the report Monday following a review by intelligence officials assigned to analyze the emails from Clinton's private server, which she used to send and receive messages during her tenure as secretary of State. Clinton is now the front-runner for the Democratic Party nomination for president.

The agency said the 305 emails with potentially classified data account for about 5 percent of the messages analyzed so far.

A lawsuit was filed against the State Department forcing it to review the emails on Mrs. Clinton's private server. Those found to possibly contain classified information will be recommended to other federal agencies for further evaluation.

Mrs. Clinton has insisted she never sent any information that was classified, and that she never received any information from others that was marked classified at the time.

The former secretary turned over her private email server last week.  She has been pressured by Republican lawmakers to relinquish the server ever since it was revealed in March that she used her personal email account to send official messages.  Critics have accused her of trying to hide controversial communications in her private account, including those concerning the deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012. 

Mrs. Clinton has said she has turned over 55,000 pages of emails to the State Department and has authorized the agency to make them public. 

The FBI has launched an investigation into the security of Mrs. Clinton's private email server after the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community said he found at least four emails that were classified at the time they were sent, including two that were deemed to be top secret, the government's highest classification level. 

Her campaign spokesman, Nick Merrill, has said Mrs. Clinton has pledged to cooperate with the government's security inquiry, and if there are more questions, they will be addressed.

Man who thrilled youngsters
as Batman killed on highway

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A man who lived near the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore and thrilled thousands of children by impersonating the fictional hero Batman at hospitals and charity events was struck and killed on a high-speed interstate highway late Sunday.

The story of Leonard Robinson's death appeared on U.S. regional newswires by Monday afternoon. By evening, the story of the 51-year-old philanthropist had spread across the country to Europe and beyond.

Police say Robinson, in full Batman regalia, was about halfway home from a weekend festival in Charleston, West Virginia, when he developed car trouble and stopped to check the engine of his replica Batmobile. He was killed when a car sideswiped Robinson's vehicle as he stood over the engine.

Festival official Sharon Sumpter-Dietz said that Robinson had met hundreds of children at the festival over the weekend and at visits to daycare centers and a library.

"He always told the children how much he valued them and how good they were," she said.

Robinson's Batman exploits gained national attention in 2012, when a police officer near Washington, D.C. stopped his vehicle for a license plate infraction and Batman emerged from the car. 

What followed was a hilarious sequence of events that included the police officer asking the costumed action hero if he could take photographs of him.  Robinson complied, and dash camera video of the event filmed from the police car went viral on the Internet. 

Robinson began visiting hospitalized children in 2001, masquerading as his son's favorite superhero. His father said Robinson averaged about 18 visits a year to hospitals, schools and charity events, providing toys and autographs, while discouraging his rapt audiences from bullying and other bad behaviors.

Robinson operated a successful commercial cleaning business in Baltimore and sold it to a larger company, allowing him to devote much of his time and money to the children. The Washington Post in 2012 said Robinson spent $25,000 a year of his own money on Batman-related gifts for children. 

Robinson's Web site said Robinson's mission was "to entertain ill and terminally-ill children by appearing to them as Batman and teaching them" that "there is always hope.. no matter how long their health battles may be."

DC Entertainment, the Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., unit that owns the Batman character, posted a message on the official Batman Facebook page: "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Leonard Robinson, who shared his love of Batman with everyone around him.''

Oil firm gets U.S. approval
to drill in offshore Arctic

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Obama Administration has given Royal Shell Oil permission to drill in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska’s northwest coast.  This is the first time gas and drilling operations have been given the go-ahead since an exploratory well was drilled in 1991.

In a statement released Monday, an administration environmental official pledged to monitor the work around the clock.  Brian Salerno said “Activities conducted off shore Alaska are being held to the highest safety, environmental protection, and emergency standards.”  

The news was greeted with cries from environmental groups, which have lobbied hard to prevent drilling in the Arctic, and protect the polar bears, walruses, whales and seals, already threatened by climate change and shrinking sea ice. 

“Granting Shell the permit to drill in the Arctic was the wrong decision, and this fight is far from over,” said the Sierra Club executive director, Michael Brune, in a statement. “The people will continue to call on President Obama to protect the Arctic and our environment.”

The Arctic region is estimated to hold 20 percent of the world’s untapped oil and gas.

Trump gets star treatment
arriving for N.Y. jury duty

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrived Monday at the New York Supreme Court as part of a pool of potential jurors for an upcoming trial. The flamboyant businessman currently leads opinion polls in the race for his party's presidential nomination, and it was a true Trump scene outside the New York courthouse.

It was like a rock star arrived. Hundreds of cameramen and reporters lined the path to the entrance of New York’s Supreme Court.  

Trump walked up the steps like the true celebrity that he is, stopping to say a few words, signing an autograph here and there, and finally winding his way through the crush with State Supreme Court guards as ushers. 

Several in the crowd of onlookers commented on Trump, his run for president, and his jury duty.

“I do not think I want him to be on my jury panel . . . because I think that he is persuasive in a negative way,” said one man who was watching.

“It is going to be a landslide. Get used to it America. America is going to be great again. Donald Trump, I am a veteran. I love you, bro," said another man who was looking on.

“I am from Italy, and I hope Donald Trump will be the next president of the U.S.A.,” said yet another who watched the real estate mogul walk into the courthouse.

Trump's driver, Eddie Diaz, had his view of his boss’ presidential run. “He is a great guy. I tell you he is going to make a great president. Hopefully. "

When Diaz was asked if he would continue to drive for him if he becomes president, he replied, “If he takes me with him to the White House, I am going."

Monday's scene found Trump turning his jury summons into another campaign appearance.


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Grecias two
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Escazu condo
Builders, Investors Opportunity
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Unique opportunity, 6 units 80% finished luxury condo project. Best location in Escazú. Condos have amazing views and privacy.  There is option to build 5 more units in the same complex. Project located only 5 minutes away from Multiplaza, CIMA Hospital  and Escazú's best amenities. All permits in place.

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private ranch home
Small private ranch for sale
This exceptional private ranch sits on a 9+ hectare lot and supports 15-20 horses. Only 2 hours south of San José, on the road to Puriscal. Roomy stalls all with drains, water hookup, lights and fans, grooming and shoeing área. Two-story house all furnished and cowboy house. Don't miss your chance on that turnkey operation.  Offered at $889,000.
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Ringle resort
on one big lot in Esterillos Oeste, (Central Pacific)
Located on a breezy hill just 4 minutes walk to the beach, surf and tide-pools, only 20 minutes drive north to Jacó nightlife and shopping or south to the rural town of Parrita.

First, a 2-storey, 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1½-bathroom house with big kitchen and living room.  Full-width verandah with eating and sitting areas, overlooking lawn, pool and gazebo. Sitting balcony at upper, bedroom level.  Carport. and laundry. 

Second, a completely private single-storey. 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1-bathroom home with big back yard at a lower level on the same, big fully titled 1,100M2 lot.. Full security bars at all doors and windows, plus locking vehicle access and pedestrian gates at the street. In a very safe neighborhood, with private and natural surroundings

Well maintained, fully and tastefully furnished and equipped, hot water, local phone, cable TV/DVD and high speed wireless internet   The houses have been rented for both long-term and vacation for $100/$80 per day and $1,500/$1,200 per month respectively. See this place, you will love it! Then make an offer. E-mail or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.

Coffee farm
Organic coffee farm for sale
34,000 meters square zoned ARC. 130 meters paved road frontage. City water and irrigation runes through property. Year round spring. Bananas and many fruit trees on property. Approx. 1.5K from Sarchí Center, 40K from airport. Plans and permits ready for 2-bedroom house. Proposed subdivision plans are also included. @$15US per meter for total $510,000. Email or

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

Goetl in Palo Seco

Charming small oceanfront hotel for sale in Playa Palo Seco
Ideal oceanfront location with back up to a mangrove estuary. The
charming small hotel has a fully equipped kitchen, bar and restaurant and is exceptionnally well maintained. Located on a very private beach of the central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica 35 minutes north of Quepos-Manuel Antonio and 45 minutes south of  Playa Jacó. The main building is a two-storey house with 12 bedrooms. The lot measures 3,054 M2. Beautiful gardens around the large pool and exceptional flora and fauna. Well mentioned in tourist guides like Lonely Planet and Guide Ulysse. Offered at $1,250,000. USD
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq ft of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out.  The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the back yard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden.  This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town.  Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small.  The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate.  Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José.    Just reduced to $239,000.  Call  Jeff: 8824-8113 or 8725-8176.  Email:

Aerial Ocean and Volcano Views with Boutique Coffee! 33 Acres $495,000. Click HERE!

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

For sale: Titled beachfront lot 1/2 acre (1,750m2) near Jacó $89,000. Just one hour drive from San José.
Panoramic ocean view lot 1.25 acres (5,000m2) 25 minutes from Tamarindo  $25,000.
Panoramic ocean view lot  5,400 sq. ft. (500m2)  $6,500. Financing available.
For rent two-bedroom house  five minute walk to water $350 a month.
Call 6261-7932 Or email See this Web site:

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
Web site:

The farm is at the highest point on a stunning ridge bordered by pristine Costa Rican primary forest on all sides of the property, with active wildlife all throughout the area. On each of its gently rolling terraced lomas you get a glimpse of Volcán Arenal from a distance. This property has four different lagunas, a working organic farm and nursery, mature fruit trees, sheep corral, ideal for grazing horses with stunning views from all the hillsides. The Northern Zone of Costa Rica is the country's best kept secret, providing a perfect home base location to travel the country's many destinations while still maintaining the best climate at 400 meters above sea level.

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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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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 162
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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

Voice of America photo     
   Demonstrators in Sao Paulo's financial center protest against
   Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff.

Brazilians take to streets against president

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets across Brazil Sunday, calling for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff  because of a corruption scandal, as well as the country's sputtering economy and rising inflation.

Much of the public anger toward Ms. Rousseff stems from revelations of a kickback scheme at state-run oil company Petrobras, which prosecutors call the biggest corruption scheme ever uncovered in Brazil. At least $800 million was paid in bribes and other funds by the nation's biggest construction and engineering firms in exchange for inflated Petrobras contracts.

Dozens of political figures, including close allies of the president, and former Petrobras executives are under investigation.  Some of the alleged wrongdoing took place while Ms. Rousseff was chairman of the Petrobras board. She is not being investigated.

Adding to Ms. Rousseff's woes is the country's ailing economy.  Brazil once enjoyed one of South America's most robust economies, but it is now sliding into recession.

Sunday's protests were the third staging of nationwide anti-Rousseff demonstrations.

"The government sees these demonstrations as part of normal democracy," said Edinho Silva, the president's spokesman.

The president's ever expanding political crisis comes as Brazil is preparing for next year's Summer Olympics.

Less than a year into her second term, the once popular president garnered only single digit support in recent public opinion polls.

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From Page 7:

Cartago firm installs robots for production

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Cartago building materials firm Plycem inaugurated a $6.5 million automated facility Monday.

The firm uses fibercement to make trim boards and also siding, among other products. The company said it installed German Kuka Robotics machinery to automate the plant.

The firm is part of the Mexican consortium  Elementia, which is listed on the exchange in that country. Costa Rica hosts the regional corporation offices, and there are production facilities in Honduras and El Salvador