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Lawmakers take first step to expand Constitution
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers took the unusual step Wednesday of approving a rewrite of the first article of the Costa Rican Constitution.

Some 46 lawmakers who were present voted unanimously to add the words multi-ethnic and multicultural to the article that now reads  "Costa Rica is a democratic, free independent republic." In Spanish the proposal would read Artículo 1.- Costa Rica es una República democrática, libre, independiente, multiétnica y pluricultural.

The summary for the measure says "Today it is not only opportune to recognize the integration and multi-ethnicity of our nation, but it is necessary and an obligation. In addition, it amends an historical error that makes invisible the contribution of the groups that make up this country."

The measure is widely seen as recognition of the black Costa Ricans who mainly live in the province of Limón.

One of the main supporters was Epsy Campbell Barr of the Partido Acción Ciudadana who paraphrased and expanded the words in the summary when she said "It appears  to us that this is the opportune moment to vindicate the fight that has been going on for decades in our country to make visible the situation in which we persons of Afro-descent in Costa Rica live."

The summary of the bill also speaks of many years of hidden discrimination.

President Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, in a statement, applauded the vote by lawmakers. The measure is No. 17150, and it was put forward for
The proposed text

Artículo 1.- Costa Rica es una República democrática, libre, independiente, multiétnica y pluricultural.

this special legislative session by the executive branch. The bill has been in the hopper since 2008.

Despite the widespread support, there is no summary of exactly what this change will do. And the addition of the words multi-ethnic and multicultural say nothing about Limón residents or discrimination. However, they provide an opening for people of all races, nationalities or cultural orientations to assert a constitutional challenge, if the measure passes.

Solís noted in his statement that the next step is to submit the proposed legislation to the Sala IV constitutional court for review. The court almost certainly will find the change valid because it is to the Constitution itself. If so, a second vote will send the measure to Solís for his signature. That may take as long as a month.

The summary notes that international treaties outrank the Costa Rican Constitution, and many of these recognize cultural groups. In addition, a bill that was approved to create the Día de las Culturas, which is known in the north as Columbus Day, addresses the multicultural makeup of Costa Rica.

The Solís administration also would like to change the Constitution to eliminate the favoritism there for the Roman Catholic Church.

Limón celebration features annual parade Sunday
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Limón's annual black pride festival this weekend will cap off a month-long celebration dedicated to the region's black heritage. “Día de la persona negra y la cultura afrocostarricense,” as its called in Costa Rica, ends with a parade that leaves from Parque Vargas at 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon and ends at the iconic Black Star Line.

Serenaded by the sounds of the Limón concert band, festival-goers are able to continue celebrating Limón's cultural roots with parties that include traditional dances, costumes and food.

The Comité Cívico Cultural Étnico Negro de Limón and the country's culture ministry are combining to put on the 16th version of the festival under the theme, “Back to our roots.” Alfredo Chavarría, vice minister of Cultura, said he will attend.
“The important thing of this celebration is to reinvigorate support for African descendants in Costa Rica,” Chavarría said. “In culture, for example, they have given so much in terms of gastronomy, music, literature, art, and all aspects of present culture.”

Today's lineup is headlined with a food festival that shows off the economical and nutritious art of Afro-Costa Rican cooking. Then continuing into the weekend there will also be art shows and recreational activities offered throughout town.

“These celebrations show the need of recognizing those who support the Afro-Costa Rican sector in equality and with respect to economic, social, and cultural support that has given,” read a civic committee release. “This festival started for the sake of the open and necessary fight against ethnic and racial prejudice.”


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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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Searches made at anti-poverty agencies

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Prosecutors and investigators conducted searches at two of the nation's anti-poverty agencies Wednesday as part of a probe into trafficking of influence.

The Poder Judicial said that both the Instituto Nacional de Vivienda y Urbanismo and the Banco Hipotecario de la Vivienda were searched in an effort that took most of the day. The institute is on Avenida 9 in Barrio Amón, San José, and the bank is in San Pedro.

The Poder Judicial said that four persons had complained that they were on the list for housing but that persons connected with the government agencies got the dwellings instead.

The goal of both agencies is to eliminate substandard housing and poverty.

The institute creates housing projects and the bank finances the person who moves there from substandard slum conditions.

The projects involved are Villa Paola and Radial 2 in Guararí, Heredia.

There have been newspaper revelations that relatives of persons employed at the institute obtained some of the subsidized housing for use as rentals. There have been no arrests, the Poder Judicial said.

Sales of iPhone batteries checked

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country's consumer protection agency is seeking information on batteries for the Apple iPhone 5 which are the subject of an international alert.

Apple said that it has determined that a very small percentage of iPhone 5 devices may suddenly experience shorter battery life or need to be charged more frequently. The affected iPhone 5 devices were sold between September 2012 and January 2013 and fall within a limited serial number range, the company said.

Consumers can check the serial number HERE!

The Dirección de Apoyo al Consumidor of the economics ministry said it wants an accounting from telephone companies within three days to see if the companies have distributed phones with the defective batteries. The agency said it will try to identify the affected consumers.

Coffee project generates energy

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Energy from Coffee Wastewater project by UTZ Certified has proven that it is possible to generate energy, tackle climate change and protect water resources by treating discharges from coffee mills. The project started in 2010 with the goal of addressing environmental and health problems caused by the wastewater produced in the coffee industry.

Tailor-made coffee wastewater treatment systems and solid-waste treatment mechanisms were installed in eight coffee farms in Nicaragua, 10 in Honduras and one in Guatemala. The positive environmental and economic impact of the project on over 5,000 people in the region has inspired UTZ Certified to replicate the initiative in other countries.

Latin America produces around 70 percent of the world’s coffee and is the continent where 31 percent of the world’s freshwater resources are located. Yet coffee production generates a great amount of wastewater that is regularly released untreated into rivers, affecting aquatic fauna and flora as well as downstream communities. Additionally, coffee wastewater comes along with tons of organic waste and high toxicity which affects the soil and generates considerable amounts of greenhouse-gas emissions, particularly methane.

The Energy from Coffee Wastewater project has been implemented in a range of differently sized farms. The achieved results of the project range from preventing local deforestation of native trees to better indoor environments for families who replaced firewood with domestic gas stoves for cooking. Additional outcomes included treatment of essentially all water used in coffee processing and 50 percent less water used during coffee processing;

Significant amounts of biogas also are created to power households and coffee mills.

“Coffee production is only environmentally sustainable when water is used efficiently and polluted water from the wet-mill process is treated. Local ecosystems do not have the capacity to clean the large amounts of contaminated fluids,” said Han De Groot, executive director at UTZ Certified.

UTZ Certified is currently introducing the technology in Peru and Brazil.

UTZ Certified is a program and label for sustainable farming of coffee, cocoa and tea. The UTZ Certified Program includes requirements for managing water in the coffee industry. Farmers must put in place a water quality analysis and monitoring program, so corrective actions can be applied when needed.

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Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 170
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Moratorium on modified crops would cost 1,000 jobs, opponent says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A spokesman for agricultural firms told a legislative panel Wednesday that a proposed ban on genetically modified organisms, if passed, would cost the country about 1,000 jobs.

He is Martín Zúñiga, executive director of CropLife Latin America, a trade association.

He testified before the Comisión de Asuntos Agropecuarios, which is considering a bill that would institute the moratorium. It is No. 18941.

Zúñiga also questioned the wording of the bill because it says that the moratorium would be in effect until there is a scientific consensus that genetically modified organisms pose no risk. He said that science is not designed to demonstrate a consensus.

He added that throughout the world there are 18 million farmers who plant 175 million hectares of land with modified seeds. Such crops also benefit the environment because they reduce the use of pesticides.
Some modified crops produce their own substances that chase away or kill harmful bugs.

Zúñiga also said that the moratorium would reduce research in agriculture. By approving the moratorium, the country would reject one aspect of technological development predicted in science for the next 50 years.

CropLife Latin America represents a network of 22 associations in 18 countries of Latin America, including Monsanto and Dow Chemical, the firm says on its Web site.

Environmental activists began fighting genetically modified crops when Monsanto wanted to put in a test plot of modified corn that resists one of the firm's herbicides. The environmentalists said they were concerned that the pollen from the modified corn would pollute traditional Costa Rican corn strains.

They encouraged most of the cantons in the country to pass bans on modified crops, even though there is a significant use of modified seeds all over the country in soybeans, cotton and other crops beside corn.

President goes on stage tonight to talk about his months in office
By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

For the first time in Costa Rica's history, the president will give a report on his first 100 days in office. After lawmakers denied President Luis Guillermo Solís his request to take the floor in the Asamblea Legislativa last week, the president is now set to go over his self-review tonight at the Teatro Popular Melico Salazar.

Solís is expected to look back on his already eventful first few months in office, and also lay out plans and predictions for the remaining three-plus years. His two-hour talk should feature mentions of the teacher strikes that he inherited when he took the job in May, the country's lingering fiscal problems that include the public deficit, and his decision to allow vendors to keep their marketplace in downtown San José despite the municipality's claim that his action was illegal.

It will be interesting to see if the president discusses the evolving crisis with tourist leaders, who say additional taxes on tours and activities will cripple the industry. Besides admitting that he mistakenly signed a proposal to have the tourism industry be relegated to the economy ministry, Solís has not mentioned much in the way of fortifying Costa Rican tourism from the 13 percent tax.

Solís said the decision to do the country's first 100-day report follows his administration's commitment to transparency and open dialogue. He  has promised that the report will point to solutions for inefficient public institutions, corruptive practices, overspending,
100 days graphic

and the overall mismanagement of government funds.

“This report is for the people of Costa Rica, the active, democratic, and vigilant citizenship that makes up our great heritage and for which makes me proud to be their leader,” Solís said.

Among the invited guests will be legislators, municipal and district authorities, corporate leaders, university heads, and representatives from native groups. The President is planning to answer questions from these attendees, as well as from those posed by citizens not in attendance who can post pertinent questions on social media outlets.

The event begins at 7 p.m. and will be televised on Sinart Channel 13 and Radio Nacional 101.5 FM. A live stream is also supposed to be made available on

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 170
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Marijuana-using couples report less domestic violence, study says
By the University at Buffalo news staff

New research findings from a study of 634 couples found that the more often they smoked marijuana, the less likely they were to engage in domestic violence.

The study, conducted by researchers in the University at Buffalo, appeared in the online edition of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

The study attempted to clarify inconsistent findings about domestic violence among pot-smoking couples that primarily has been based on cross-sectional data from one point in time.  Looking at couples over the first nine years of marriage, the study found:

* More frequent marijuana use by husbands and wives (two-to-three times per month or more often) predicted less frequent intimate partner violence perpetration by husbands.

* Husbands’ marijuana use also predicted less frequent intimate partner violence perpetration by wives.

* Couples in which both spouses used marijuana frequently reported the least frequent intimate partner violence.

* The relationship between marijuana use and reduced partner violence was most evident among women who did not have histories of prior antisocial behavior.

The study’s lead author is Philip H. Smith, a recent doctoral graduate and now associate research scientist in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University. 

It is based on research data collected by lead investigator Kenneth Leonard, director of the university's Research Institute on Addictions. 

“These findings suggest that marijuana use is predictive of lower levels of aggression towards one’s partner in the following year.” Leonard says.  “As in other survey studies of marijuana and partner violence, our study examines patterns of marijuana use and

the occurrence of violence within a year period. It does not examine whether using marijuana on a given day reduces the likelihood of violence at that time.

“It is possible, for example, that — similar to a drinking partnership — couples who use marijuana together may share similar values and social circles, and it is this similarity that is responsible for reducing the likelihood of conflict.

“Although this study supports the perspective that marijuana does not increase, and may decrease, aggressive conflict,” he says, “we would like to see research replicating these findings, and research examining day-to-day marijuana and alcohol use and the likelihood to IPV on the same day before drawing stronger conclusions.

"While couples who reported marijuana use also reported less marital aggression, previous research with these couples found that couples who smoked marijuana were not less likely to divorce. In addition, the current study does not address the potential impact of parental marijuana use on children in the family and other problems associated with daily marijuana use. The most frequent use reported by couples in this particular study was once a week."

Vacation, travel and hospitality

Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
Find out for yourself on Live In Costa Rica Tours

When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

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Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

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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.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

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

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


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Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom

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oranic farm
$800 plus utilities, 2-bedroom, 2-bath house, fully furnished, elecricity and Internet included, cable TV available. Inside organic farm, safe and secure. In the country but close to town. Santa Barbara de Heredia,  Email for more info and pictures. Long term, NO DOGS.

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.
We are offering homes for every budget and every need.
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Beautiful house for rent in Heredia
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Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

HP Cattle rentals
Mountain homes or farm for rent
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We offer for rent a gorgeous two-bedroom mountain chalet and a one-bedroom mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude and within a working horse ranch just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance. From our homes one can hike to the Barva volcano crater-lake.  Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and breathtaking views of the Irazú volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of cloud forest bird species to include the resplendent quetzal.  The homes are incomparable in beauty and attention to detail within the Barva highland area.  We are only 35-55 minutes from Costa Rica’s three principal cities (Heredia, Alajuela, and San José), less than two hours from the central Pacific beaches, and three hours from the Caribbean beaches. Enjoy the tranquility of the mountains while maintaining quick access to the conveniences of the city and rapid access to other eco-tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Additionally, we can board your horses at a reasonable fee.  We can also offer our clients rental of a small and fully functional farm complete with stables, pasture, and office space.
Mountain chalet: $750.  Basic mountain home: $400.
Boutique mountain home: One-bedroom $850. Two-bedroom $1,000.
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Apartments Lemur
Apartment Lemur for rent
San Francisco de Dos Rios, El Bosque, furnished, 2-bedroom, 1-bath apartment, quiet area, free cable TV, WiFi. large patio area, swimming pool, parking, security. Close to San José. $440/month. Retired persons preferred. Call 8375-6838.

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80 stations, water, washer
 and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:

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A.M. Costa Rica's   Fifth news page

cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 170
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Another American reported
to be killed in Syrian fighting

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A White House official says the U.S. is working to confirm reports of a second American killed while fighting alongside militants in Syria.

In a statement late Wednesday, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the White House is aware of indications that an American citizen associated with the Islamic State group was killed but was not yet in a position to say whether they are true.

Ms. Hayden confirmed Tuesday the death of one American, Douglas McCain, and said the government is continuing efforts to "disrupt and dissuade individuals from traveling abroad for violent jihad."

Meanwhile, the mother of an American journalist being held by Islamic State militants has pleaded with the group's leader to let her son Steven go free.

In a video released Wednesday, Shirley Sotloff said Steven is an honorable man who should not be punished for U.S. government actions.

"I've learned that Islam teaches that no individual should be held responsible for the sins of others. Steven has no control over the actions of the U.S. government. He is an innocent journalist. I've also learned that you, the caliph, can grant amnesty. I ask you to please release my child," said Mrs. Sotloff.

The Islamic State group beheaded American journalist James Foley earlier this month, and is threatening to kill Sotloff if the United States does not stop carrying out air strikes on militants in Iraq.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama administration officials have been in contact with the Sotloff family, but did not give specifics on what advice the family was given on the wisdom of releasing the video.

"As you know, this administration is deeply engaged and doing everything we can to seek the return of every American who is currently being held in that region," said Earnest.

Also Wednesday, Peter Theo Curtis, an American writer who had been held hostage by Syrian militants for two years, said Wednesday he was overwhelmed with emotion after learning how many people across the world had worked for his release.  He also expressed gratitude for the many people who have welcomed him back to the United States since he returned this week.

U.S. reports more air strikes
against Islamic militants

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. military says it launched further air attacks Wednesday against Islamic State militants near Irbil and the strategic Mosul Dam in Iraq.

The United States Central Command said in a statement that U.S. forces launched three air strikes using fighter, attack, and remotely piloted aircraft to support Iraqi security force operations.

"The strikes were conducted under authority to support Iraqi security force and Kurdish defense force operations, as well as to protect critical infrastructure, U.S. personnel and facilities, and support humanitarian efforts," the statement said.

The Central Command says the strikes destroyed an Islamic State Humvee, a supply truck, three armored vehicles, and also severely damaged a building used by the militants.

U.S. Central Command reports that since Aug. 8, it has conducted a total of 101 air strikes across Iraq. 

Women becoming backbone
for Islamic State efforts

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A few months after the militant group Islamic State took over the Syrian city of Raqaa and set up checkpoints, it encountered a problem: The militants' enemies were escaping the city disguised as women.

Male fighters could not physically check women who were dressed in traditional long robes and had their faces covered with veils. Their response was to launch the all-female al-Khansaa brigade. The brigade, named for a famous poet who was an early follower of the Prophet Muhammad, has taken other roles as well, including policing Raqaa to make sure women comply with the Islamic State's code of conduct.

Members move around Raqaa in groups, often carrying weapons. They stop and interrogate any woman who is without an escort, check couples to make sure the male chaperone is a relative allowed to travel with the woman and ensure that women are dressed according to Islamic State requirements.

The brigade also helps counter a public relations problem for the Islamic State.

“So we have an example of three Iraqi women who were raped by ISIS, who then committed suicide. This is bad press for them,” explained Mia Bloom, author of several books on women and terrorism.

Such bad press could hamper efforts to recruit women who are committed to the Islamic State's conservative ideology to come to Raqaa to marry their fighters. Humera Khan is with the Washington social activist group Muflehun, which works to counter violent extremism. To set up a society of like-minded people, Khan says, Islamic State needs families, it needs its fighters to settle down and stay in the area; it needs wives who will encourage their men to go on jihad, and mothers who will indoctrinate their children.

To this end, women of Islamic State and similar groups play up their sisterhood and camaraderie on social media. They create support groups, exchange recipes and discuss their friendships. They guide new recruits on what to do and what to expect.

“They give them tips on how to get to Syria without detection,” says Khan, noticing the contradiction to their own rules that women cannot travel without a companion. It is not the only way in which Islamic State breaks its own rules for convenience. 

Traditionally, Muslim women ask permission of their male guardian, or vali, for marriage. Khan recalls the case of a British woman who went to Syria to get married. She called back to get permission from her father, but when the father denied permission, Islamic State leaders offered her a substitute vali.

Social media also facilitates marriages between Islamic State fighters and women living outside Iraq and Syria. Khan follows Twitter accounts that belong to women in Europe who act as conduits and advertise on behalf of male fighters looking for wives and vice versa. 

The Islamic State group is not alone in trying to create a female community to support its fighters. In 2004, the first Web magazine for women called al-Khansaa was launched. Despite the name, it is not linked to the al-Khansaa brigade. The magazine was aimed at creating a support community for wives of jihadi fighters. 

It gave beauty tips and advice, says Bloom, such as “don’t get fat while your husband’s away, don’t spend all the money, be supportive of his desire to embark on the jihad.”

In 2011, al-Qaida introduced another magazine called al-Shamikha, meaning The Majestic Woman. Its slick treatment earned it the nickname Jihadi Cosmo, referring to the American version of Cosmopolitan magazine. Its beauty and skin care tips conformed to the militants' strict ideology, like staying indoors or keeping the face covered to avoid sun damage. The first issue included interviews with the widows of militants and advice on how to marry a fighter, or raise a son to want to fight.

But Bloom says Shamikha went a little further in terms of women’s roles in jihad. Readers were encouraged not just to be good wives and mothers to their jihadi men, but also to pitch in as propagandists and fundraisers.

While women who support the ideology of these groups are mostly confined to traditional roles in their societies, women who are considered outsiders are often used as a tactical tool.

Boko Haram is known to have coerced kidnapped women to become suicide bombers, through torture, threats of rape, or threats of violence against their families. An Iraqi extremist group, Ansaar al-Sunna, used the culture of shame associated with women’s sexuality. Its fighters first raped women, and when the women were rejected by their families and their communities, approached them and offered suicide bombing as a way to eradicate the shame brought on their families by the rape.  

“And in the process you reinvent yourself as a martyr, a shahida, and 72 of your closest relatives get into heaven right away,” Bloom explained.

Bloom fears that hundreds of school girls kidnapped in April by Boko Haram may suffer a similar fate. “If they’ve been raped or sexually molested, the same honor code will apply that was used in Iraq.”

Blackwater security guards
await verdict in murder case

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The case of four former Blackwater security guards charged with killing Iraqi civilians is in the hands of a federal jury in the U.S. capital, Washington, DC.

Both sides presented closing arguments Wednesday.

The four defendants allegedly killed 14 Iraqis and wounded 18 at a traffic circle in Baghdad in 2007.

The defense argued that the four shot their weapons in self defense against gunfire from insurgents. It said Iraqi police deliberately took evidence away from the scene that would prove guards were under fire.

Prosecutors say the defendants deliberately gunned down civilians trying to flee a car bomb apparently targeting a U.S. State Department official.

One of the guards is charged with first degree murder and faces life in prison. The other three are charged with manslaughter and could go to prison for at least 30 years.

Domestic violence victims
may be eligible for asylum

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Women fleeing spousal abuse in their home countries could be eligible for asylum in the United States for the first time, following a ruling this week.

The Justice Department's Board of Immigration Appeals ruled Tuesday that a Guatemalan woman who escaped repugnant abuse by her husband can qualify for asylum, after police in Guatemala did not respond to her reports of weekly beatings, attacks and rape.

To seek asylum in the U.S., applicants must prove that the government in their home country was involved in their persecution, or was unable or unwilling to stop it.

They also must show they were persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group -- in this case, the group of "married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship."

The ruling does not make asylum automatic in these cases. But it could open the door for spousal abuse victims from Guatemala and other countries to seek it.

Girl kills her instructor
in Arizona Uzi mishap

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A 9-year-old girl learning to shoot an Uzi submachine gun accidentally shot her instructor in the southwestern U.S. state of Arizona.

Instructor Charles Vacca was standing next to the girl Monday at a shooting range in Mohave County, south of Las Vegas, when she squeezed the trigger. The recoil wrenched the Uzi upward, and Vacca was shot in the head.
He later died of his injuries.

The identities of the girl and her family have not been released. Prosecutors say they will not file charges in the case.

The gun range says it allows children as young as eight to fire guns under adult supervision.

Penance Hall photo
Promotion shot of the firm's product.

Made in U.S.A. is slogan
for Kickstarter startup

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

America has lost 3.8 million manufacturing jobs since 2000 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The apparel industry was especially hard hit as more and more U.S. clothing companies turned to low wage workers in Indonesia, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

Yet many of those brands advertised themselves as being all-American. That didn’t sit well with Joshua Steinman, Turner Swicegood and Jay Gaul. The three friends wanted to create something that was actually what it purports to be; an all-American product that is made entirely in the U.S.A. by American workers.

“We don’t really make a lot of things in this country anymore," Swicegood said. "It’s a service-based economy; it’s a financial-based economy. There’s not a lot of things that you can touch and feel that are being made by American hands, and so we wanted to reach back to that tradition and be a part of reviving that.”

So three years ago the young entrepreneurs formed a small company to make luxury American dress socks with the finest quality materials available in the U.S., in vibrant, eye-catching colors and simple designs for the modern man and woman.

Today, their one-of-a-kind creations are being manufactured at an American knitting mill in North Carolina, which is just one of a seven-step manufacturing process that has been integral to the making of their socks, and the fulfillment of their collective dreams.

Steinman, an active duty U.S. naval officer, came up with the idea of luxury socks during a tour of duty overseas.

“For a while I had to work wearing a suit and tie every day and I wanted to wear something that was going to make me stand out, so I made sure to always wear flashy socks to work,” he said.

So he got the reputation as the person who always wore exciting socks and came to be known as the sock guy.

But he didn’t actually like any of the socks that he wore because he said, they kept falling down.

“I felt they weren’t made especially well,” he said, “so after that assignment was over, I started thinking about what would it mean for me to get socks that I really did like, and that was the genesis of Penance Hall.”
Two guiding principles drive the company’s philosophy.
Their socks have to be made with the finest quality materials and, although they could be produced more cheaply overseas, have to be made in America.

So every component that goes into their product from the sheep that provide the ultra-fine wool, to the custom-formulated dyes, to the factories that weave them into socks is all American.

Even the boxes that the socks are packaged in are made in the U.S.A., in a factory in Pennsylvania.

“So we paired the best machines in the world with the best fibers in the world, and it just so happens that we were able to do both of those things in America,” said Steinman.

The partners financed the bulk of their enterprise through an Internet site called Kickstarter, which allows people to crowd-fund businesses.
“On Kickstarter we said, ‘This is what we’re trying to make,’” Steinman said.  “We told the story of the socks and then gave people the opportunity to pledge a small amount of money in exchange for socks in the future.”
Their message resonated with the global online audience and with help from a slick promotional video they raised over $50,000 in a single month; about $13,000 more than their stated goal, making it one of the most successful fashion projects in Kickstarter history, according to the partners.

The funds allowed them to produce 5,000 pairs of socks.

That first run of Penance Hall dress socks is ready to be shipped to about 1,000 customers worldwide who pledged during the Kickstarter campaign and new customer orders will be filled in the coming weeks.

“We wanted to maintain a strong brand identity that was centered in American production,” said Swicegood, “and we wanted to maintain control of the company by not taking outside investment…instead by doing crowd funding via Kickstarter, we were allowed to do that.”

“It was really exciting to see that we had customers from all across the U.S. but then also all across the world who are going to get these socks in the next couple of months,” he added.
If their pricey socks sell well online, the partners hope to expand their clothing line and make them available in stores in the U.S. within the next 10 years. 
Real estate-related services (paid category)

Best Kitchen
Best Kitchen Depot is the leading kitchen and bath company in the Central American market. We represent the most fast-growing American solid wood cabinet manufacturers. All our products boast the three major industry certifications: Carb2, KCMA environment stewardship and KCMA
construction certifications. We also have state-of-the-art design
capabilities and our delivery lead time is the best in the country.
Please visit our Web site at: and then email or call (506) 2261-0287 or (506) 8383-3104.   

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Swimming pool at night
A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.
For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 4030-5480 or 8339-2112.

Remax logo
Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert

Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.

Moran Arenal
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
Great lake front, river front land, farms, homes, condos and commercial property. Some with owner financing
This is far and away the most beautiful place in all Central America — cool climate. Try our two-day, all-inclusive discovery tour for $299.

Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
Moran logo

Costa Rica,

Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.

Visit our Web Site:

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
(506) 2494-0016  
English calls :  (Luis David) Phone: 
(506) 8331-5228

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
house 865
Beautiful chalet in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather, 1.040 m2 of land, Price $135.000. Click HERE!
House 868
Beautiful house  in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather, 810 m2 of land, Price $178.000. Click HERE!
House 866
Beautiful large house  in Grecia, with the best fresh natural weather,1.006 m2 of land, Price $290.000.  HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Beautiful home and separate apartment
The land is 289 square meters with  329 square meters of construction. Three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 2 floors, covered parking, with room for  a second parking space. A first floor patio and a second floor balcony with view. Attached apartment rented for $500 per month. Live free. House valued, @ $330,000. asking price with agents is $295,000. With no agent, asking $280,000, negotiable. Must see to appreciate,  Contact: Wayne Winstead,, 8820-1501/8379-7947

Farm montage

Guanacaste, Liberia Farm
$64,000 NEGOTIABLE and owner financing available.
9 hectares (24 acres). Riverfront property and amazing views of 3 volcanoes.


Beach Front Home - Central Pacific Coast
Pristine condition, recently renovated. The best surfing and boogie boarding in the country. The most magnificent ocean and sunset view. New 20-year, fully registered concession on one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Easy access from San José (1 hour 25 minutes) located between Jacó and Manuel Antonio, in Esterillos Oeste.  2 or 3 bedrooms. Center room can be living room. House with 2 1/2 baths. Separated rancho with kitchen and large entertainment patio. Landscaped garden with no water shortage. Has both municipal and well water with automatic watering system. Direct access to the beach as no road is in front of property. Protected land on one side of the property for additional privacy.  Alarm system and complete shutters for security while away. Lot approximately 1,725 square meters, Asking price: $385.000.  Contact to Paul at local phone 506- 2637-8858  Cell phone 506- 8823-8550 .  US Mobile 908-400-9772  Emails:  and

New 5,000-sq. ft. home in the middle of coffee plantation
Superb mountain views and privacy. 3.3-acre property on top of mountain. 15 minutes from local shopping. One hour from all San José has to offer. Two hours from the beaches and attractions at Quepos. Balconies for each bedroom, two large decks with stunning mountain views, octagonal gazebo, extensive rock walls and landscaping. Surrounded by trees. New home never lived in. Very quiet mountain location in exclusive coffee farm area. Two-story open dining and living room with guest bath. Spiral staircase leads to common area for parties, etc. Has room with bar and another spiral staircase leads to the skydeck. This is a balcony high up above the house that has extensive mountain views. All ceilings are wood accented with large beams. Balconies are tile and the decks are stained teak. Decks have balustrades. The second floor balcony and common area have custom wrought iron. All services available from satellite Sky TV, to high-speed Internet. All block and steel construction. Many hiking trails and rainforest zone a few miles away. If nature, quiet life and privacy is your thing, this could be for you. Juan Santamaria SJO Airport 1 hour 15 minutes away. $470,000. Picture gallery emailed on request to serious inquiries. Contact Jim Alfaro,   Cell 8714-8274.

Escazú condo
Spectacular furnished luxury 3-bedroom condo in Escazú
Turnkey unit has 2.5 baths, 2 balconies, 2 parking spaces, 1 bodega. A STEAL @ $250,000. Community Amenities include pool, jacuzzi, gym, sauna, racquetball, 24/7 security, concierge. No car needed: walk to supermarkets, banks, restaurants, shopping. INVESTORS: Possible long-term tenant For photos and how to contact us, go to:

Jaco condo
JACÓ BEACH - House in gated beachfront community
Titled, fully furnished turnkey single home, security 24/7. REDUCED TO $325,000. Casa Mariposa is 2100 SF with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 1-car garage Private back yard, central A/C, kid friendly, pet friendly community This is the ONLY gated beachfront development of houses on Jacó Beach. For photos & contact information, go to:

Condo montage
Cariari luxury condo for sale
This is not an ordinary condo.
Completed one year ago, a $45,000 renovating made it an exquisite dwelling. As soon as you walk in you know it is a special home. No detail has been overlooked, even minuscule ones. The owner has a need to move on, and someone lucky will be the beneficiary of the fine detailed work. The home itself has three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms plus a maid’s quarters with its own bathroom. Also, it has a living room, dining room and a gorgeous kitchen with a kitchenette. There’s also a small outdoor patio. Being the end unit of this four-home condo complex, there’s parking space for three vehicles.  Approximately 240 sq. meters. All this near the Cariari Golf and Country Club and its renowned Tom Facio golf course. The club also has amenities such as a fitness centre, exercise room, Olympic swimming pool, sauna, 12 tennis courts and many other benefits. Tel:  8384-9608 or 2293-9054  Price $214,500.


Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

A perfect ranch in Cariari, Guápiles
Fertile 42.5 hectares (about 105 acres) with a clean river and a natural spring of good water. Perfect for cattle or horses. Property faces a main road and contains corral and living quarters. Special price: $200,000 for a quick sale.. Call (506) 8383-3104 or write

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.

Twice the Security & Prestige for Half the Cost

The only private guarded development in El Castillo
• 50% off for limited time only   • $26/square meter
• Neighbors are $80/square meter  • Incredible view
Clubhouse, pool, equestrian, country club
Only 2 remaining
Secure a spot in a million dollar neighborhood for under $100k
 Free architecture services
•  Full commission paid to brokers   • Financing available
Email or call the 24-hour recorded message for full info   CR: 4000-1983 (English/Español)
USA: 619-800-8550 (English only)

Tiliran property
Turnkey commercial/apartment building for sale in San Luis, Tilaran, Guanacaste. In a corporation. 100 percent occupancy and all permits in place. Great opportunity to gain investor status residency. New construction - 2012. Consists of three studio apartments upstairs with lake view and 4 storefronts on ground level, including laundry service, soda, consignment store. Comes with purchase or start your own business while you live in one of the apartments. $308,000. Please email

Ad three graphics
Tropical lots located walking distance to a beautiful white sandy beach
Only $49,999 with interest-free financing
These lots are located in a gated, private community with low HOA dues and offer amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to Playa Conchal and Pirates beaches.  And only 20 minutes to the resort town of Tamarindo and an hour from Liberia International airport. Reserve your lot with only a $1,500 deposit.  We are offering Interest-free financing for 5 years for a limited time only. Contact: Christian 
U.S. (732) 962-6525 or CR (506) 8349-2025

ad two grpahic
For Sale: Fully Furnished OCEAN VIEW CONDOMINIUM
Reduced $199,999
Gorgeous 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo with private terrace offering spectacular ocean views and built energy green. This condo is located in a gated community with low HOA dues and offers amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to a beautiful white, sandy beach. Only 20 minutes to the resort town Tamarindo and an hour from Liberia airport.  Luxury finishings: Pella double pane windows, AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom cabinets. Contact or email 
U.S. (732) 962-6525 or CR (506) 8349-2025

Ad one grpahics
For Sale by Owner: Playa Conchal ocean view home reduced $339,999

Casa de Eden is  2,600 square feet with 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, outdoor shower, private outdoor terrace and pool located only minutes from Playa Conchal.  The home is in a private, secure, gated community surrounded by nature and close to the resort town of Tamarindo, only an hour from Liberia airport.  The home is being offered fully furnished with: AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire Professional series stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, internet, cable. 
Contact  U.S. (732) 984-7549
or CR (506) 8349-2025.

Lundquist photo
More photos HERE!
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$179,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

2, 900 sq feet under roof, 1,250 sq feet inside walls, 2 bedroom, 2 ½ baths, laundry room, three separate patio areas, covered carport, shade trees, in upscale, secure project.  This project has river with protected areas & walkways. It is only 10 minutes on all paved roads to Santiago de Puriscal, 45 minutes to La Plaza Mall/Hospital CIMA and SJO airport, and 1 ½ hours to Pacific Beaches. It has recently upgraded public water supply and dependable ICE electric and high-speed internet.
Please come visit our projects and meet four new homeowners who have recently moved into their new “live in the view” homes to verify how happy they are and that they all came in under budget. CONTACT: George Lundquist  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
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Business for sale or lease (paid category)
Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 170
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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
Ecuador's press takeover criticized

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Inter American Press Association has called the takeover and closing of the Ecuador newspaper Hoy, ordered by the state superintendence of businesses, allegedly due to financial problems, a violation of freedom of expression that restricts people’s right to enjoy a wide spectrum of information.

The superintendence, a state agency charged with controlling the operations, dissolution and liquidation of entities facing financial difficulties, Tuesday intervened at Editores e Impresos Edimpres S.A., the company that publishes the newspaper Hoy and edits other news media. The company’s lawyer, Diego Ordóñez, told local media that the superintendence representatives arrived without prior notification and proceeded with the forced liquidation of company assets.

Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the press association's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, offered his organization’s solidarity with Hoy’s executives and employees as they face an uncertain future.

“We note with sadness,” Paolillo said, “how with the closure of Hoy’s activities another voice of dissent is silenced in Ecuador, and the public’s right to enjoy plurality of information and have access to differing streams of thought is once again trampled upon.”

The superintendence ordered an immediate halt to all the operations by the company, including the print, online and other editions, and limited it to collect amounts due and pay its debts. Hoy, founded 32 years ago, posted its last update on its Web site Tuesday afternoon.

The company, whose name appears on a superintendence list announcing the dissolution of 700 companies in Ecuador, had begun a process of voluntary liquidation due to the loss of at least half of its capital over the last two years. However, according to Ecuadorean law it is not required for a company in a state of liquidation to suspend its operations, as on occasions it manages to overcome the crisis and return to normal operation.

Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, warned that the loss in the press freedom space has negative consequences for democratic institutions.

June 29 Hoy, whose editor and publisher is Jaime Mantilla, announced the suspension of its print edition and the continuation of the online version and weekend activities. Mantilla said that the decision was the result of an ongoing advertising boycott of the newspaper and the cancellation of printing contracts, among other financial setbacks.

The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications, including the parent firm of A.M. Costa Rica, from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida.

lot oif booze
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo 
Wow! This is the haul of intercepted alcohol

Truckload of alcohol intercepted

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers said they determined Wednesday morning that the paperwork presented by a truck driver was false. So they confiscated some 2,500 cases of alcohol.

Police said officers stopped a truck near Paso Canoas and immediately called in the tax police from the Ministerio de Hacienda.

Costa Rica maintains a high tax on alcoholic beverages, so smuggling from Panamá is a continual problem for police.

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From Page 7:

Another medical device firm picks Costa Rica

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

U.S.-based Theragenics Corp. will open a manufacturing plant in Costa Rica to produce medical devices. Company representatives from the brand that is a worldwide leader in vascular medicines said they will begin operations here in the next few months.

An initial contract promises 50 jobs for Costa Rican professionals who would be put in charge of manufacturing operations. President Luis Guillermo Solís said this international source of employment for the country's workers is a positive sign that points to more jobs and international investment in the future.

“We appreciate the trust that Theragenics is showing by investing in Costa Rica,” Solís said. “We know that the national labor force will successfully supply the business with its demand for personnel.”

The plant will be located in Coyol de Alajuela and the entire 17,200-square foot property should be ready by the end of 2014. It will be licensed under the subsidiary name Theragenics Costa Rica Limitada.

“The opening of our plant in Costa Rica expands our presence and our capacity for manufacturing that we didn't have before,” said Frank Tarallo, president of Theragenics. “Costa Rica is a country that understands and supports the medicinal supply industry, and our plant will turn in the same quality, dedication, and service that have been our base for years.”

Costa Rica has long been a hotbed for medical supply companies and last year the sector of life sciences generated more than 17,200 high-quality jobs, according to a report from the foreign trade ministry.

“That Theragenics has chosen our country to install a manufacturing plant of vascular supplies shows the strength and prestige that Costa Rica has in high-quality manufacturing,” said Alexander Mora, the foreign trade minister. “We feel proud that Costa Rican hands will be producing equipment of great satisfaction that will be used around the world.”