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Published Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 164
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Dispute emerges over just who will pay the piper
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Music may seem free when it flows from a radio, the television or an internet hookup, but like everything else someone has to pay.

Many Costa Rican residents have been slow to grasp that concept, and bootlegged CDs and video disks are sold openly on the streets, although sometimes there is police action.

Since 2004 mostly unseen to most residents, there have been organizations that collect fees for this music from television stations, cable television providers, radio stations and even bars and restaurants. Ultimately it is the residents who pay as the costs of music and videos are rolled into retail charges.

One organization represents authors and composers. A second represents those who actually sing or play the music. A third organization, the Asociación Costarricense de la Industria Fonográfica y Afines, represents the recording industry. All want to be paid.

Radio Columbia Estéreo, a holding of Grupo Columbia, just went public Thursday with a claim that the association is a threat to freedom of expression. The dispute between Grupo Columbia and the Asociación Costarricense de la Industria Fonográfica brought into public focus a conflict related to the enforcement of copyrights.

Grupo Columbia operates a string of popular stations in addition to Radio Columbia Estéreo. They are Radio Columbia, Radio 2, Wao, 95.5 Jazz, Noticias Columbia and Columbia Deportiva. The radio feeds also go to other stations.

Asociación Costarricense de la Industria Fonográfica has obtained a court order to take over the assets of Radio Columbia Estéreo because the association and the radio station have not reached a financial agreement. Radio Columbia Estéreo says the association wants 296 million colons, about $545,000. Police and representatives of the association showed up at the station to enforce the court order, called an embargo in Spanish.

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The Asociación Costarricense de la Industria Fonográfica says its 2009 claim is against LARG S.A., which it identified as the owner of Radio Columbia Estéreo. The association cites a 1982 law that allows it to collect for the use of the copyrighted material.

The association said that it tried to negotiate for months without success with radio stations and the Cámara Nacional de Radio. MARCOSA S.A., which operates Radio Puntarenas, reached an agreement, the association said, adding that it has not even been able to get an appointment with executives at Radio Colombia Estéreo since June.

The radio station said in a statement that the money claims of the association are disproportionate and it disputes the way the amount was calculated.

The radio station seems primed to continue the fight in both the judicial and public arena.

The association predicted that Radio Columbia Estéreo and other stations as well as the radio chamber would begin a campaign with false arguments to manipulate the public sector.

Although the radio group seems ready for a fight, the opponent is not without resources. The board of the association contains representatives from Universal Música Costa Rica S.A., Warner Music Centroamérica S.A. and Sony Music Entertaiment C.R. S.A.

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Concert tonight features two local soloists

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional will present two of its own as soloists tonight and Sunday morning along with Mozart and Mendelssohn.

This is the eighth concert of the season, and the performances will be under the baton of director Carl St. Clair.

Eva Trigueros, formerly of El Salvador, and Winnie Camila Berg, formerly of Cuba, are being featured as solo performers. They will collaborate with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E-flat major.”

Ms. Trigueros is a violinist, and Ms. Berg plays the viola. The work contains a movement for each. Both performers have been members of the orchestra for about three years, according to an announcement.

The orchestra also will present Felix Mendelssohn’s “Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90,” the so called “Italian Symphony,” which debuted in London in 1833.

Also on the program is Mozart’s overture to “The Abduction from the Seraglio.”

The performance tonight is at 8 p.m. in the Teatro Nacional with a pre-concert discussion in the foyer at 7 p.m. The Sunday repeat performance is at 10:30 a.m. Tickets range from 4,000 to 18,000 colons with 50 percent discounts for seniors and students.

Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
Workmen will be placing these concrete beams for the new Paracito de Santo Domingo de Heredia bridge adjacent to La Trinidad de Moravia this weekend, so officials are closing the existing temporary bridge from 6 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Monday. This is an $808,000 job.

New law gives disabled more control

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Government officials said Thursday that the disabled will have more control over their lives, thanks to a measure signed into law by President Luis Guillermo Solís.

It was the current second vice president, Ana Helena Chacón, who introduced the bill along with Ofelia Taitelbaum and Lesbia Villalobos when she was in the Asamblea Legislativa in 2009.

The bill gives the disabled personal control as stated in an international convention.  The bill also creates the role of personal assistant to help the disabled in their daily lives but without control of their actions, said Casa Presidencial.

In the past, the disabled could not make contracts or vote, Casa Presidencial noted. The new law changes certain sections of the civil code to achieve the goals.

Dance festival begins Sunday night

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Festival Nacional de Danza Contemporánea 2016 begins Sunday with a presentation by the Spanish group La Intrusa. The event will be at 6 p.m. in the Teatro Popular Melico Salazar.

The festival will run for eight days at the same theater and in the Centro Nacional de la Cultura on Avenida 7 with 16 performances. General admission to the events is 5,000 colons.

Earthquake in Acosta felt in many locations

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 4.2 magnitude earthquake near Palmichal de Acosta was felt from San Pedro to Atenas at 7:20 Thursday night, according to the Laboratorio de Ingenieria Sismica.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 164
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Tax agency says that technology is helping to catch fake expenses
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation’s tax collecting agency said that it detected 2,981 fake reports of expense payments to the dead, vagrants, minors and companies either out of business or non-existent over the last five years.

The fake reports were in the annual  D-151 form that taxpayers have to file each November to show major income and expenses. The final tax return due in December is based on this form. It is not rocket science to realize that fake payments to fake individuals or firms can reduce the tax bite.

But the problem is that the Ministerio de Hacienda’s Dirección General de Tributación is getting more technology to catch the fakes.

Costa Rica keeps a pretty good record of deaths, births and marriages on a public data base in the Registro Civil. But the tax
agency said Thursday that there also are non-public data bases that are being used to cross-check the information. The cross-checking began in February.

The tax agency said that the frauds so far in using this system of fake payments has reached 18.7 billion colons, about $34 million. The agency said it would follow up with demands for fines, payments and interest.

The tax collectors still have a along way to go. Despite many forms and inspectors defrauding the government on income tax appears to be a national pastime.

For example, payments to foreign suppliers seldom are checked. In fact, they are not even listed on the D-151.

However, the agency said it would be checking some of these expenses through the customs department to make sure there were deliveries from overseas.

San Ramòn women seek the help of a saint for their unborn babies
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Women of child-bearing age who are worried about the zika virus might be comforted to know that there is a saint for this.

He is San Ramón Nonato, the patron saint of  San Ramón and also of maternity.

The church that bears his name there held a traditional ceremony Thursday to bless women who are pregnant, want to become pregnant or who already are mothers.

The ceremony has been an annual one for 20 years, but the blessing might have more significance now that there is a possibility of contracting the zika virus that can harm unborn children. A church spokesman said that 165 women showed up Thursday. That number is more than those who attended last year, the spokesperson said. The ceremony is called the Hora Santa de las Embarazadas, the “sacred hour of the pregnant women.”

Some who attended the ceremony affirmed that they have received the saint’s help in the past.

Meanwhile, the Ministerio de Salud said that a child that was born Aug. 5 in the  Hospital San Carlos suffered from microcephaly. Health officials said they believe the mother contracted the zika virus while she was in Nicaragua in the early months of her pregnancy.

This is the first such case in Costa Rica.

In the United States two cases of the zika virus have been identified in Miami Beach, one of the world's most popular tourist spots, U.S. media reported Thursday.

The mosquito-borne virus, first detected in Brazil last year, is relatively mild in most cases. However, pregnant women who

Parroquia de San Ramón photo
A priest holds a monstrance containing a consecrated Eucharistic against the stomach of a pregnant woman.

are infected with zika risk giving birth to babies with the congenital defect. Microcephaly causes an abnormally small head and developmental problems.

The first local transmission of the zika virus in the United States was detected in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, in the southern state of Florida, earlier this month.

Florida's Department of Health said there are 35 cases of likely local transmission in the state, including the two new cases that were identified Thursday outside of the Wynwood neighborhood.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 164
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Rigorous investigation provides support for young isthmus theory
By the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute news staff

Long ago, one great ocean flowed between North and South America. When the narrow Isthmus of Panama joined the continents about 3 million years ago, it also separated the Atlantic from the Pacific Ocean. If this took place millions of years earlier, as recently asserted by some, the implications for both land and sea life would be revolutionary.

Aaron O'Dea, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and colleagues writing in Science Advances firmly set the date at 2.8 million years ago.

"Recent scientific publications proposing the isolation of the two oceans between 23 to 6 million years ago rocked the generally held model of the continental connection to its foundations," said Jeremy Jackson, emeritus staff scientist at the Smithsonian. "O'Dea and his team set out to reevaluate in unprecedented, rigorous detail, all of the available lines of evidence, geologic, oceanographic, genetic and ecological data and the analyses that bear on the question of when the Isthmus formed."

"The timing of the connection between continents and the isolation of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans is important for so many reasons," O'Dea said. "Estimates of rates of evolutionary change, models of global oceans, the origin of modern-day animals and plants of the Americas and why Caribbean reefs became established all depend upon knowing how and when the isthmus formed."

The team of researchers from 23 institutions, including nine current or emeritus staff scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and 13 current or previous Smithsonian post-doctoral fellows concluded that records from marine and terrestrial fossils, volcanic and marine rocks and the genes of marine animals split by the formation of the Isthmus all tell the same story. Three key pieces of evidence defined when the land bridge was finally in place:

-Analysis of the family trees of shallow-water marine animals such as fish and sand dollars from the Pacific and Caribbean (Atlantic) sides of the isthmus show genetic mixing until after 3.2 million years ago.

-Surface waters from the Pacific and Caribbean mixed until about 2.8 million years ago, as seen in deep-ocean sediments.

-Massive migrations of land animals between North and South America began sometime before 2.7 million years ago.

The first paper to propose an earlier connection, published by Camilo Montes, professor at the Universidad de los Andes, and Smithsonian staff scientist Carlos Jaramillo in 2015, asserted that tiny particles called zircons found in northern Colombia arrived there 15 million years ago via rivers from

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute graphic
Butterfly fish, sand dollars and cone snails that today live on the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Central America are very closely related. Genetic sequencing shows that only 4 to 3 million years ago, each pair was a single species

the Panama Arc along a land bridge. The authors of the new paper reveal that, in fact, there are several possible sources for these zircons, all of which require less convoluted travel to arrive at their resting place in the Magdalena basin.

The second paper to propose an earlier isthmus by Christine Bacon, post-doctoral fellow at the University of Gothenburg, suggested that molecular data from terrestrial animals and plants corresponded with geographic splits in marine animals, assuming the correspondence must have been due to a land bridge.

The new study questions their use of a universal rate of evolution. "Different species evolve at different rates" Harilaos Lessios, a coauthor, said. They also question their use of genetic splits for land animals as evidence of the continental connection because "a land bridge would not cause genetic divergence, but would, on the contrary, allow greater genetic mixing between the continents."

In addition, the new paper mentions that Ms. Bacon's study omitted several important published genetic analyses, which skewed their results and when included, eliminate the main line of evidence that marine and terrestrial events coincided.

The authors concluded, "Our review and new analyses aims to clarify the issue by bringing together expertise from a wide array of different lines of evidence. Given all the available evidence, we strongly caution against the uncritical acceptance of the old isthmus hypothesis.

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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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Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 164
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Obama administration admits
Iran cash payment was ransom

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For the first time the Obama administration on Thursday clearly and publicly said a cash payment of $400 million to Iran was used as leverage to ensure the release of a group of American prisoners being held by Tehran.

Earlier this month, President Barack Obama denied that the payment to Iran on the same day as a hostage release was some nefarious deal, pointing out that the transfer was announced in January, a day after implementation of the U.S. nuclear deal with Tehran.

Thursday State Department spokesman John Kirby repeated the administration's position that the negotiations to return the Iranian money, the result of an aborted arms deal in the 1970s with the U.S.-backed shah, were conducted separately from the talks to free four U.S. citizens in Iran.

"We had concerns that Iran may renege on the prisoner release,'' Kirby told reporters, citing years of mutual mistrust between the two countries. "Obviously when you're inside that 24-hour period and you already now have concerns about the endgame in terms of getting your Americans out, it would have been foolish, and prudent, irresponsible, for us not to try to maintain maximum leverage.

"So if you're asking me was there a connection in that regard at the endgame, I'm not going to deny that," he added.

The prisoners were The Washington Post's Tehran bureau chief, Jason Rezaian; Marine veteran Amir Hekmati; Christian pastor Saeed Abedin, and a fourth man, Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari, whose disappearance had not been publicly known before he was freed.

The cash transfer and the release of the hostages, both on January 17, came at the same time as Iran's deal with the United States and five other world powers restraining Tehran's development of nuclear weapons, along with the lifting of sanctions that had hobbled Iran's economy.

Critics, especially those who oppose the Iran nuclear deal, have termed it a ransom payment. Republican lawmakers also criticized the action, saying it undermined the longstanding U.S. opposition to ransom payments.

Iranian media reports have quoted senior defense officials as saying they considered the cash as a ransom payment.

On the day of the transfer, non-U.S. currency cash in euros and Swiss francs among others was stacked on wooden pallets and flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane.

It was the first installment on a $1.7 billion settlement stemming from the failed U.S. weapons pact with Iran in 1979 just before its last monarch, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, was toppled. The U.S. dispatched the cash in foreign currencies because any transaction with Iran in dollars is illegal under U.S. Law.

Ms. Stein
Voice of America/ G. Flakus  
  A painting of Jill Stein is displayed at Green Party

Green Party candidate says
she has chance to be president

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Green Party candidate Jill Stein says she has a chance to become the next U.S. president despite the big task of overcoming what is largely a two-party system when it comes to national elections.

During a CNN town hall event Wednesday, Ms. Stein called Democrat Hillary Clinton's record very troubling and described Republican Donald Trump as someone who "bashes immigrants and is a xenophobic and racist loudmouth."

“I will have trouble sleeping at night if Donald Trump is elected," she said. "I will also have trouble sleeping at night if Hillary Clinton is elected.”

In 2000, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader won just under 3 percent of the vote in an election that many believed Democrat Al Gore lost to Republican George Bush because those voters chose Nader. When asked about that prospect this year, Stein did not see her candidacy that way.

“Not splitting the vote, but potentially flipping the vote so that we who are the underdog deserve to be the top dog and actually could be the top dog if we stand up with the courage of our convictions."

A big part of her belief in her chance of winning is a plan to attract what she called a winning plurality of 43 million young people who are trapped economically by student loan debt. Ms. Stein wants to abolish that debt through action by the Federal Reserve that would then allow people to spend money in other areas of the economy instead of making loan payments.

“It’s terrible for them, it’s terrible for our whole society, because it’s always the younger generation that leads us forward to create the economy of the future and to lead the social changes that we urgently need right now.”

She also wants to create jobs through transitioning the nation's energy industry to completely renewable sources by 2030. Regarding the military, Ms. Stein wants to cut spending by 50 percent, end the use of drone attacks and close all U.S. bases abroad.

“Make higher education free, and healthcare as a human right, and create a welcoming path to citizenship, end police violence, and a foreign policy that’s based on international law, human rights and economic justice, not military and economic domination that’s blowing back on us so catastrophically," Ms. Stein said of her platform Wednesday.

One hurdle Ms. Stein must overcome is that Trump and Clinton are well known publicly and as the nominees for the major parties they get lots of exposure. Ms. Stein released an open letter calling for the two candidates to participate in debates with her and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

There are four planned debates, but the commission that runs them requires a candidate to get 15 percent support in five national polls in order to be eligible. The latest polls put Johnson at about 8 percent and Ms. Stein around 3 percent, so currently neither would take part.

"The presidential debates are the single most important election events in the presidential campaign," the letter says. "They should provide voters with multiple opportunities to see all the candidates on the ballot across the country discussing important issues in an unscripted manner so the people can make informed decisions."

Ms. Stein said on CNN that changing the system to allow her and Johnson into the debates would be decided in the court of public opinion.

“We have a right to know who our choices are," she said. The first debate is scheduled for Sept. 26.

Trump admits he regrets
some insulting rhetoric

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In a rare public confession Thursday, Republican presidential nominee Trump said he regrets some of the sharp-tongued and insulting rhetoric that has become his trademark during the campaign.

"Sometimes in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words . . . and, believe it or not, I regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain," he told supporters in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Moments later, the familiar Trump returned when he called President Barack Obama a liar for denying that a recent $400 million payment to Iran was ransom for hostages.

He also accused Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton of being a bigot, saying she sees African-Americans only as votes and disregards the opportunities they deserve.

Trump directly appealed to black voters, saying Democratic administrations and liberal polices had failed them. He promised blacks amazing results if he is elected.

"What have you got to lose by trying something new?" Trump asked.

Blacks traditionally have voted for Democrats since the Great Depression of the 1930s, after decades of backing Republican candidates.

Also Thursday, the charitable foundation started by Bill and Hillary Clinton announced it would stop accepting corporate and foreign donations if Hillary Clinton was elected president in November.

Former president Bill Clinton told foundation staffers at a meeting Thursday that the organization would take money only from U.S. citizens and charities without ties to any government.

The ex-president also said he would resign from the board if his wife became the next commander-in-chief. He said there should be no questions surrounding the foundation, which has raised about $2 billion to improve the lives of people in developing nations.

Some Republicans have alleged that large donors to the foundation won special access to Hillary Clinton or senior aides when she was secretary of state, charges she has always denied.

U.N. reported admitting
guilt over Haiti’s cholera

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For the first time since a deadly cholera epidemic broke out in Haiti in 2010, the United Nations has admitted that its peacekeeping troops played a significant role in the spread of the disease, which has killed nearly 10,000 people in the Caribbean nation and infected hundreds of thousands of others.

A spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the United Nations needs to do much more to address the cholera epidemic in Haiti, and promised a significant new set of U.N. actions to respond to the crisis, probably in two months or less.

Thursday's developments came 10 days after completion of a confidential report that is said to have sharply criticized U.N. involvement in the crisis.

Philip Alston, a law professor who advises the U.N. on human-rights issues as a special rapporteur, wrote the report, which will not be released until next month's General Assembly session at U.N. headquarters.

The New York Times said the document states clearly that cholera in Haiti "would not have broken out but for the actions of the United Nations."

Haiti was considered cholera-free before the beginning of the outbreak.

The disease broke out in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that killed about 200,000 people on Jan. 12, 2010. Cholera victims suffer from dehydration caused by severe diarrhea or vomiting. Many of the Haitians afflicted with the water-borne disease were already in a weakened state following the earthquake and the loss of their homes.

Haiti's cholera epidemic was traced back to a U.N. facility on the Artibonite River, near a base for Nepalese peacekeepers in the town of Mirebalais. Nepal was in the grip of its own cholera outbreak at the time its troops arrived in Haiti.

Haitians have tried to sue the United Nations for its part in creating the epidemic, but the U.N. has claimed diplomatic immunity.

Rapporteur Alston wrote that the United Nations’ handling of the cholera crisis has been "morally unconscionable, legally indefensible and politically self-defeating," since the U.N. insists its member states must respect human rights but disclaims any such responsibility for itself.

U.S. swimmers face charges
after a change in their story

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Brazilian police say they might charge U.S. Olympic swimmers with vandalism and giving false testimony after the swimmers admitted they fabricated a story about being robbed at gunpoint.

Swimmers Ryan Lochte, Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and James Feigen initially told police they were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning on their way back from a party outside Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro.

But two of the swimmers, Conger and Bentz, admitted to fabricating the story after they were detained at the airport late Wednesday while attempting to head back to the United States. Feigen also is still in Brazil, while Lochte returned to the United States Monday before any of the news emerged.

Fernando Veloso, head of the civil police of Rio, told reporters Thursday that security cameras revealed the swimmers actually visited a gas station early Sunday morning, and that witnesses said they damaged a bathroom, were confronted by an armed guard and left before police arrived.

Brazil's Globo TV on Thursday aired security video of the swimmers showing them arriving at the gas station in a taxi, entering the building, leaving, and later sitting on the curb with their hands up, as instructed by one of the staff members at the gas station.

Veloso said the men left $20 and 100 Brazilian reals to pay for the damage to the bathroom, which included broken mirrors and damage to the door. The police chief also said Lochte was physically outraged during the incident and was probably drunk. But he said Lochte could not be held solely responsible for the incident.

"That would be a premature assumption of guilt," Veloso said.

Despite the visible ire of the police, Rio Games organizers defended the swimmers, insisting, "Let's give these kids a break."

Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada told reporters, "They competed under gigantic pressure . . . . They had fun, they made a mistake, life goes on."

Kurdish People’s Protection Units photo  
 American volunteer William Savage is pictured
 during a training session.

U.S. volunteer is casualty
fighting with Kurdish troops

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Reginald Savage had an uneasy feeling when he last contacted his American son fighting alongside Kurdish forces against the Islamic State in Syria.

"I then knew that I wasn't going to see him again," the father said of his last email exchange in late July with William Savage, who was on the frontlines in northern Syria.

Kurdish forces announced late Wednesday that Savage, 27, a native of Maryland and North Carolina, was killed last week in Syria during clashes between U.S.-backed forces and Islamic State fighters in the city of Manbij. He was the sixth foreign volunteer, and the second American, to die fighting with the Kurds against the Islamic State.

Volunteers like Savage normally receive only food and lodging in return for their service. He was helping civilians flee from the battle as a Kurdish-Arab alliance advanced on Islamic State fighters, the People's Protection Units said in a statement.

Savage "was targeted by the gunfire of the thugs" from the Islamic State group, according to the Kurdish-language statement released Wednesday. It said the young American died suffering from severe wounds.

The Kurdish People's Protection Unit is a key element of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which has U.S. backing in its fight against Islamic State militants in northern Syria.

Manbij was cleared of Islamic State fighters last week, two days after Savage's death. The 73-day-long battle left more than 4,000 Islamic State fighters and 264 U.S.-backed fighters dead.

Joining the People's Protection Unit in January of 2015, Savage was one of dozens of American citizens who have volunteered to serve with the Kurdish group. He was known by his Kurdish nom de guerre, Amed Kobani.

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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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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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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 164
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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
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo
Workers with heavy equipment form the firm Estrella-Hernán Solís continue to clear the route of the Circunvalación Norte, while other technicians and doing soil tests on the cleared area. Highway officials said that 63 families already had been relocated from the low income Triángulo de La Solidaridad.

Prison upheld for Maduro’s chief foe

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Human Rights Foundation has called on the government of Venezuela to release opposition leader Leopoldo López, again calling him a prisoner of conscience. López was detained while leading a demonstration in Caracas.

Thursday morning López was formally notified of a Venezuelan appellate court's decision to uphold the 14-year sentence he was given in September 2015, said the foundation.

“Today, a kangaroo court of appeals sanctioned Nicolás Maduro’s desire to have Leopoldo López spend the next 12 years of his life in a military prison. Exactly the kind of decision one would expect from the brutal militaristic regime that has brought Venezuela into an unprecedented humanitarian crisis,” said Garry Kasparov, foundation chairman. “López’s imprisonment and the repressive tactics used by the police, armed forces, and paramilitary groups against the opposition make it clear that the Maduro regime has lost any remaining democratic legitimacy. The free world must continue to bear witness,” added Kasparov.

The foundation said that during the appeal process, judges Evelin Dayana Mendoza, Jimai Montiel Calles and Nelson Moncada Gómez of the court of appeals of Caracas ignored last year's confession by the now-exiled lead prosecutor, Franklin Nieves, who said he had been pressured to falsely charge López.

The court also violated López's right to a defense attorney of his choosing by rejecting two Spanish lawyers serving on López’s international defense team, including former Spanish minister of justice Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, the foundation added, noting that López’s trial and appellate proceedings have been riddled with due process violations.

The trial and appeal process consisted of over 70 hearings that took place behind closed doors, in violation of the right to a public trial. Out of over 700 hours of trial proceedings, López’s legal team had just three hours to argue in his defense. In an ostensible display of bias, the trial judge allowed 108 witnesses and 30 exhibits presented by the prosecution, while allowing only two of the 60 witnesses proposed by the defense, and declaring the bulk of the evidence exonerating López inadmissible, the foundation noted.

López’s arrest and incarceration have been condemned by multiple institutions worldwide, including Amnesty International, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the European Parliament.

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From Page 7:

Uber joins Volvo to develop a self-driving car

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Ride-hailing service Uber will team up with Swedish automaker Volvo to develop a self-driving car, the companies announced Thursday.

The two have agreed on a $300 million alliance in which Volvo, owned by China's Geely, will provide SUVs for Uber to use in testing their autonomous driving models.

Uber unveiled its first driverless car last May, which had been testing in the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Volvo has been testing self-driving vehicles since 2014 in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, where the company is based.

Uber stressed the safety record of Volvo cars and cited figures on the number of traffic fatalities, saying that autonomous vehicles could severely decrease these dangers.

But many drivers and riders may be skeptical of the technology, particularly after a man was killed using a self-driving mode on a Tesla car in Florida earlier this year.

In April the companies were founding members of a coalition pushing a unified legal code for self-driving cars in the United States, along with Uber's rival Lyft, automaker Ford, and Google.