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Published Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 200
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Hurricane damage likely to send more Haitians here
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Extensive hurricane damage in Haiti is likely to result in more illegal immigrants slipping into Costa Rica on their way to the United States.

Wire reports say that 1.5 million people in the island nation have been affected by the hurricane, and 350,000 are in need of immediate assistance as most are homeless.

Many of the 4,000 or so illegal immigrants now in shelters and elsewhere in Costa Rica are from Haiti although many claim to be from Africa. The 2010 earthquake has resulted in mass migrations from Haiti.

The president of Costa Rica and Panamá met Friday in Boquete, Panamá, on the topic of illegal immigration, but there were no startling announcements.

Both Luis Guillermo Solís and Juan Carlos Varela said they wanted to continue the current system of controls on migrants and to create a high-level group to come up with some permanent answers.

They also said in an official communique that they sought to deepen the discussions of the causes of this flow and that they are seeking voluntary donations from the region to develop humanitarian actions to handle the flow.

Such communiques usually are steeped in diplomatic speech and seldom address many specifics.

One specific was the reactivation of training for Costa Rican law officers in the methods of motorcycle patrols that the Policía Nacional de Panamá has offered to provide.

Although the communique promised to guarantee humanitarian attention to the migrants and to combat networks dedicated to human trafficking, there were no actions specified.

Haitians
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer John Stephens.
Haitian migrants are desperate to reach the U.S. The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted this overloaded boat in August.

Costa Rican law enforcement disrupted a major human trafficking network last year, and by doing so, disrupted the payments to corrupt officials. Consequently some 8,000 Cubans were trapped in the country when Nicaragua closed its border to them. Costa Rica and other Central American countries arranged an airlift over Nicaragua so that the Cubans could continue on their journey north.

Most of the 4,000 Haitians now in the country arrived in the hands of traffickers who helped them to cross the border into Costa Rica. There has been a significant reduction in the number of Haitian migrants trapped here because trafficking networks still move them north.

A.M. Costa Rica has documented one case where a group of migrants received local help to move up the Caribbean coast to Barra de Colorado by boat. They then walked into Nicaragua under the eyes of the local police and members of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas.

There also are cases where some migrants have obtained Costa Rican passports and identity papers. Some have been rejected by Nicaraguan board personnel who detected the frauds and the fact that the migrants don't speak Spanish well.


Double holiday creates a double dose of confusion
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

U.S. Embassy staffers will have two Columbus days this year. The first, today, is a U.S. federal holiday as well as a holiday in some U.S. states, so the embassy will be closed.

The day does not commemorate Christopher Columbus in Costa Rica. It is called the Día del Encuentro de las Culturas, which recognized the multicultural population of Costa Rica.

The usual day for both holidays is Oct. 12. But U.S. officials have moved the day to today to create a three-day holiday.

Costa Rican law says that when a holiday is in the middle of the week, the celebration is moved to the next Monday. So the celebration here is Monday, Oct. 17.
U.S. Embassy staffers have that day off, too. And for the rest of the national work force, the day is what is called a  feriado de pago no obligatorio. But the pago no obligatorio does not really mean that.

The Ministerio de Trabajo issued a statement Friday in which it noted that commercial enterprises are supposed to give employees a paid holiday Oct. 17. If employees work, they are supposed to be paid double.

Expats who have employees working around the house presumably would be in the non-commercial category. Their employees have the choice of taking the day off.

But if they do, they do not receive pay. That also is true with lower paid agricultural workers.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 200
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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.

Dentistry


Dental
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turtle
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Specialists work on a green turtle that was harpooned on the Caribbean coast. Fuerza Pública and Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas officers got a tip and managed to stop a vehicle in which two men were carrying the wounded turtle. The creature was being treated at a Puerto Viejo rescue center.


Colombian pair linked to drug aircraft

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Drug shipments by air through Costa Rica are less dangerous for smugglers than elsewhere. In Venezuela, the air force shoots down suspicious planes.

That became clear in court filings in Los Angeles with the extradition of two suspected Colombian drug kingpins.

They are accused of shipping thousands of pounds of cocaine from Colombian laboratories to Central American distribution hubs, ultimately destined for sale in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the United States, including more than $70 million in cocaine recovered by international law enforcement.

Several small planes linked to the drug trade have crashed in Costa Rica, and some may have been linked to the operation federal officials say was run by Dicson Penagos-Casanova, 36, and Juan Gabriel Rios Sierra, 34.

In fact, investigators are looking over the wreck of a small plane in Pochote de Paquera. It appears that a pilot wrecked the Cessna 210 on landing at an unregistered air strip. The crash happened Sunday, but the initial police on the scene reported no dead or injured or any kind of drugs. The crash was not far from the area’s main airport at Tambor.

There have been several raids of illegal landing strips in Guanacaste and also some locations chopped out of the jungle for helicopters.

The indictments in Los Angeles focus on two air shipments in January and May of 2015 with a combined 2,880 kilograms (approximately 3.2 tons) of cocaine, which has a black market wholesale value of approximately $72 million, said prosecutors. Both shipments were ultimately recovered by international law enforcement after two aircraft crashed. The January 2015 cocaine shipment was shot down by the Venezuelan air force shortly after takeoff.  Soon thereafter, Dutch law enforcement recovered kilogram-sized packages of cocaine that were floating in the Caribbean Sea near Aruba. The May 2015 aircraft crashed into the Caribbean Sea near the Colombian port of Barranquilla after its engine failed.

The indictment also outlines intercepted communications in which Penagos and Rios coordinated the cocaine shipments and discuss the two downed aircraft, including sharing an article from a Honduran newspaper reporting on the January 2015 shoot-down and speculating on whether the May 2015 crash was also the product of intervention by the Venezuelan military, prosecutors said.


Courts in Limón will be beefed up

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Judiciary has moved to put two more judges in the Circuito Judicial de Limón and to beef up security in the building that houses the courts there. That decision came Friday from the Presidencia de la Corte Suprema de Justicia in the wake of high-profile shootings in the Caribbean community.

Judicial officials also said that they would make an effort to speed up prosecution of drug cases. The shootings are believed to be linked to drug gang conflicts.

The court building also houses the Ministerio Público, the Judicial Investigating Organization and the Defensa Pública. Judicial employees there are frequent targets of threats.


Home invasion suspects remanded

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators say that a retired Corte Suprema magistrate was tricked by the daughter of a former employee. The former magistrate is Álvaro Fernández, 73, who was left for dead by intruders at his Poás de Alajuela home. The man suffered 12 stab wounds.

The Poder Judicial said that two men and a woman accused in the crime have been remanded to preventative detention. They were detained Thursday in Grecia and Tacacorí de Alajuela by judicial investigators.

The crime happened Sept. 12 when two men and a woman arrived at the magistrate’s home about 7 p.m. They said they were seeking a legal referral.
The magistrate said he let them in because he knew the woman, the daughter of an ex-employee.

After a brief conversation, the trio turned on him, hit him in the head with a pistol and knocked him to the floor where he was stabbed multiple times.



Deadline reset for political letters

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some U.S. states already have begun absentee voting, so A.M. Costa Rica is moving up slightly the deadline for letters to the editor expressing a political preference in the Nov. 8 general elections. Originally the deadline was Oct. 14. The new deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 12.

Readers are invited to express their preferences for U.S. president and other national offices. After Oct. 13, letters of a political nature involving the Nov. 8 election will not be published.


Time to register to vote

The U.S. Federal government’s overseas voting agency has issued a reminder that Nov. 8 is the presidential election.

“It is time for Americans living, working or traveling abroad to take steps to vote,” said the agency,” the Federal Overseas Voting Program.

Helping overseas Americans is difficult because each state has its own rule, and expats are supposed to vote in the U.S. state where they last were a resident.

Many overseas voters will receive absentee ballots from their registered county of residency. Others may elect to file a federal absentee ballot just for federal offices.

In addition to the federal program, the Overseas Voting Foundation can assist voters. The Web site gives deadlines for each state, plus other information.



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A.M. Costa Rica

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 200
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faroles
Ministerio de Educación Pública photo
Here are some of the winners in the education ministry’s faroles contest
Farol contest displayed creativity of public school students
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The simple street lantern has evolved into complex works of art.

Witness the Ministerio de Educación Pública’s faroles contest. There were 300 entries this year, and nearly all were elaborate miniatures of Costa Rican life.

These are the lanterns school children carry in parades on the day before the Día de la Independencia. They are school projects
with no small measure of parental input. That is why
parents were pictured in a photo of this year’s winners.

This was only the second year of the contest, but the faroles have been part of the independence celebration for years. Students in primary and secondary grades participated, and the prize in each category was a plaque and 25,000 colons, a bit less than $50.

The faroles originally were modeled after what colonial fathers would have carried when they met in the streets to discuss the news of independence in 1821.


Ministry says that every vendor will have to use electronic invoicing
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The tax collecting ministry said Friday that every citizen will have to have access to a system that can emit electronic invoices.

That statement was contained in a Ministerio de Hacienda statement issued in anticipation of approval of a tax fraud bill.
The lengthy memo listed a number of changes that the bill would effect upon passage. The bill itself is being reviewed for constitutionality by the Sala IV.

Previous summaries said that only major businesses would be involved with electronic invoices, called factura electrónica after the Spanish name for invoices.

The Dirección General de Tributación said that every taxpayer would have to have an account so that any financial transaction would be run through a central data base to which tax inspectors have access. This is expected to create expenses for small business and freeze transactions when the internet goes out of service.

In addition, the bill makes changes in tourism rentals in that the bill restates the rule that rentals for under a month are subject to the 13 percent sales tax. Landlords, too, would have to have electronic invoicing.

The central government wants to raise the tax rate, but that is in another bill. The ministry also said that it would continue efforts to stimulate consumers to demand invoices.

The big change for businesses is the creation of a secret list of shareholders that will be open to access by the ministry and the Instituto Costarricense sobre Drogas.  This would have to be filed with the Banco Central de Costa Rica each year and whenever there are significant changes in the shareholders.

This part of the bill may run into constitutional problems because it demands access to private affairs. The ministry says this is necessary to catch tax cheats, even though most big businesses already have their shareholder list on file if they do business with the government. That is an anti-corruption measure that has been in force for years.


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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

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Trump says he will appoint special prosecutor for Mrs. Clinton
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services
with staff reports

Donald Trump said he would name a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton once he took office. She belongs in jail, he told her during the presidential candidates’ second debate.

He cited the supposed 33,000 emails Mrs. Clinton had destroyed. They were generated during her time as secretary of State and most likely were covered by the Freedom of Information Act that prohibits such destruction. Trump also made much of the Federal Bureau of Investigation report on the emails that said Mrs. Clinton behaved irresponsibly. Mrs. Clinton again said she made a mistake in using a private internet server.

She denied any of her emails contained secret government information or were hacked.

Trump also continually called her a liar and brought up the secret texts of  speeches she made to Wall Street interests that have just been released by Wikileaks. The texts show that what Mrs. Clinton said stands in sharp contrast to the positions she has taken during this year's U.S. political campaign.

WikiLeaks released the Clinton transcripts Friday, two days before the second debate. But they were at first overlooked in the intense news coverage of the recorded video showing Trump's unguarded comments about women.

An email said to have been sent in January by Mrs. Clinton's campaign research director included excerpts from 15 of more than 100 speeches she gave after leaving the State Department, appearances that together netted her more than $21 million.

In a 2014 speech to Goldman Sachs executives, Mrs. Clinton described herself as being out of touch with middle-class American life, "kind of far removed" from her own solid middle-class upbringing. During another meeting with Brazilian bank executives, Mrs.Clinton is said to have confided that she has a dream of a "hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders," a position that does not resemble her more recent campaign oratory.

To investment bankers from the Goldman Sachs Group and other prominent financial firms, Mrs. Clinton said she views the financial industry as a partner with government on policy issues.

Mrs. Clinton cited efforts by Abraham Lincoln to have Congress pass the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery as a precedent for presidents to say one thing and believe another.

Trump ridiculed the Lincoln reference.

Trump entered into the debate Sunday night at Washington University in St. Louis in serious need of a strong performance.

Some top Republicans urged Trump to drop out of the race after the 2005 tape surfaced in which he made comments about women, saying he can grope them because he is a star.

Trump apologized for the candidly-recorded comments in 2005, calling it locker-room talk and that he is not proud of it. He said he is embarrassed and hates what he said, insisting he has great respect for women and that it is time to talk about more important things.

He also denied ever sexually assaulting a women just because he felt his celebrity status allowed him to.

Mrs. Clinton said while she has disagreed with the policies of

Trump
              and Mrs .Clinton
Commission on Presidential Debates/Mark Abraham
Donald Trump turns his back on Hillary Clinton during the second debate Sunday night.

previous Republican candidates, this is the first time she has questioned a candidate's fitness to serve as president.

Despite his apology, Mrs. Clinton said the tape shows exactly who Trump is. She also pointed out that Trump has insulted and denigrated minorities, Muslims, and prisoners of war.

Trump accused Mrs. Clinton's husband, former president Bill Clinton, of sexually abusing women in the White House and said as a defense attorney, Mrs. Clinton defended the accused rapist of a 12-year-old girl.

Trump and Mrs. Clinton also battled over the future of President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

Mrs. Clinton, acknowledged that the law has raised premiums and prices of drugs, but she vowed to fix it, unlike Trump, who promised to replace it.

Mrs. Clinton said she would appoint Supreme Court justices who have real world experience trying cases, while Trump said his choices would be people who are well thought of and would respect the U.S. Constitution. He cited the late justice Antonin Scalia as an example.

Mrs. Clinton hit out at Trump over taxes. Asked by an audience member what they would do to get the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share, Mrs. Clinton said it was amusing to hear from Trump, the man who probably has not paid taxes in 20 years.

Trump said he was proud of knowing the tax code well enough to take advantage of it and pointed out that some of Mrs. Clinton's wealthy donors have done the same thing. He cited depreciation deductions in the tax code. These allow him to postpone the payment of taxes into future years.

Mrs. Clinton said she would not put ground forces into Syria, saying that would not be a smart strategy.

She called Aleppo a catastrophic situation, and that Russia is determined to destroy the city in an effort to keep Bashar al-Assad in power, and said she supports efforts to hold Russia and the Syrian regime accountable for war crimes in the ongoing Syrian civil war.

Trump said he disagrees with his running mate, Mike Pence, who called for strikes on Syrian government targets, but Trump saved most of his comments on Syria for President Barack Obama.

Trump said the world laughed when Obama declared a line in the sand in Syria. He also said Mrs. Clinton does not know who the rebels are in Syria. He blamed much of the current situation in the Mideast on her and Obama.


Vacation, travel and hospitality


HIdden Garden graphic
Put Costa Rica on your walls
The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is the perfect place to find quality Costa Rican and international art for your home or office.  With over 60 artists and 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we have been your source for fine art since 2010.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever. Located just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport (towards the beaches).

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International shipping available.
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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
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See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!
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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.
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* FAMILY VACATIONS. Our travels take into account the different ages of your family enjoy the most from your Family vacations. Click HERE!

* GROUP TOURS. Whether for a church group, couple of friends, Scout troop or a family group. We provide excellent quality service in your Group Tours. Click HERE!

* EDUCATIONAL TOURS. Tours for universities to schools to elementary schools. We have professionals to help you discover the secrets of Costa Rica in a fun way. Costa Rica Educational Tours. Click HERE!

* GUIDED TOURS. General holiday planning giving you the best value for your investment Costa Rica vacation Packages. Click HERE!

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CR local phone:  +506-2274-3231
Cells:  +506-8380-5919  and +506-8302-5877
Email:  info@travelinparadisecr.com
Web:  www.travelinparadisecr.com
8995-4/17/17

Howard book
Want to live in Costa Rica?
Read this book!


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with 35 years experience helping people.
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9042-5/4/16

Howard
                        rollover
Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
Find out for yourself on Live In Costa Rica's POPULAR 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.

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
   * Find out how to live affordably
   * See how other expats live. Meet other expats who have made
          the move.
   * Access the country's affordable health care system
   * Informative two-day seminar given by local experts in their
          relevant fields.
   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 36-year resident, citizen,
          and the author of "The New Golden Door to Retirement
          and  Living in Costa Rica – the Official Guide to Relocation”
   *    ATTRACTIVE DISCOUNTS ON TOURS
 
Click HERE  to learn all about our Association of Residents (ARCR)  approved tours at www.liveincostarica.com
9042-5/4/16

Here's reasonable medical care
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



Need a book about Costa Rica?


Check out our special selections available at Amazon logo

HERE!

A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
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Real estate-related services (paid category)
COSTA RICA SOLAR
Solr Costa Rica
NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!

Solar device
NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
Solar collector
BUY NOW! Your solar hot water system, so in three months, we can calculate a lower install price for your PV system.  Perfect for homes and hotels. Save up to 40% of your electric bill.
More Watts per Panel, Smarter and more Capable Enphase Micro Inverters mean Less Cost and more Flexibility for You.

    We aren't Cheap...Neither are our Products. Call to Compare.
    More Flexible, Reliable-and Fully Guaranteed!

    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
    SEE our new PACKAGE DEALS.
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CALL TODAY!
Office: 506-2446-0543
Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398
OUR EMAIL:
 andrefurlong@gmail.com
Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
VISIT OUR WEB:
www.crsolar.net 
9027-12/17/16

Real estate rentals (paid category)

Tropical Homes

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. Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442
9055-2/23/17

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
Timeshare
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
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9049-7/31/17

Real estate for rent (paid category)

challet
Charming Chalet for Rent
Mountain forest and fresh air. Charming two-bedroom and two-bath chalet style home. Near downtown Heredia away from the noise and traffic in the quiet mountain setting of Monte de la Cruz. Room for parking on a large manicured garden property. Fully furnished with loft and laundry room. Property is gated. No smokers, must have references, and no more than an occupancy of two.  $550 per month. One month deposit.  Please call Leda at:  2267-6306  to make an appointment to view.
9069-110/12/16   




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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 200
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Lifestyle
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Axiom new ad

Matthew loses hurricane status
and moves into mid-Atlantic


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The storm formerly known as Hurricane Matthew has lost its hurricane status, weakening to a post-tropical cyclone as it neared the end of a week-long charge through Caribbean islands and along the U.S. Atlantic coast that killed nearly 1,000 people, most of them in Haiti.

The storm also flattened communities and wrecked agriculture in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas.

Haiti has declared three days of national mourning, President Jocelerme Privet's office said, in solidarity with the parents and friends of the victims of Matthew and residents of the region who are suffering from the hurricane's impact.

Matthew is moving northeastward over North Carolina's Outer Banks with maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour, half as strong as they were a week ago, but substantial enough for U.S. meteorologists to continue warning of the storm's danger.

Serious flooding and power outages affecting hundreds of thousands of people continued along the U.S. east coast from Florida north to Virginia, at least 15 people were killed in the storm, according to media reports Sunday.

"Our state is facing major destruction and, sadly, loss of life,'' said North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.

Matthew was the most powerful storm to hit the U.S. coast in nearly a decade, and one of the longest-lasting major hurricanes on record. One preliminary analysis puts damage estimates in the U.S. in the billions of dollars.

(One A.M. Costa Rica reader said the St. Augustine, Florida, area suffered a lot of damage.)

The hurricane was at its most powerful when it ravaged the Caribbean nearly a week ago with winds of 235 kilometers per hour. Although more than 900 deaths have been reported in Haiti, many areas of that impoverished country have not yet been thoroughly surveyed.

Haiti says 1.5 million people have been affected by the hurricane and 350,000 are in need of immediate assistance as most are homeless.

The U.S. military has been deploying aid to Haiti by air and sea, food and medicine as well as equipment, including heavy-lift helicopters, bulldozers, water-delivery vehicles and mobile operating rooms.

The United Nations Children's Rights & Emergency Relief Organization says the conditions in Haiti are perfect breeding grounds for waterborne diseases. Marc Vincent, the U.N. representative in Haiti says, "Every day that goes by increases the threat of cholera."

As Matthew passed over Haiti it also raked the eastern tip of Cuba. Few reports of casualties or damage have emerged since Tuesday, but the island nation is expected to need massive quantities of relief supplies.

The Dominican Republic, which lies on the eastern half of Hispaniola Island, bordering Haiti, also felt Hurricane Matthew's power. The storm later coursed through the Bahamas before traveling north along the U.S. east coast, slowly weakening, but remaining just offshore until it made landfall in South Carolina Saturday.

The catastrophic damage this week in Haiti was made worse because the impoverished country is still recovering from a devastating earthquake in 2010. Thousands of people who have been living in flimsy shelters since the earthquake saw those washed away by the hurricane, which also destroyed a bridge that is the only link between a large portion of southern Haiti and the rest of the country.

Officials have warned the list of casualties will likely climb, perhaps significantly, as rescuers manage to reach remote villages.

Video images from Haiti showed entire landscapes of metal shanties that lost their roofs in the winds and driving rains, along with downed trees and fields of mud from overflowing rivers.

One Haitian town with a population of 30,000, Jeremie, was destroyed, according to one report.

The International Red Cross has issued an emergency appeal for $6.9 billion in relief aid for Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.


Pioneering womb transplants
generate possibility of hope

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

When the young Australian cervical cancer patient learned she had to lose her womb in order to survive, she proposed something audacious to the doctor who was treating her: She asked if she could have a womb transplant, so she could one day carry her own baby.

This was nearly two decades ago, when the Swedish doctor Mats Brannstrom was training abroad to be a physician.

“I thought she was a bit crazy,'' Brannstrom said.

But Brannstrom didn't dismiss her idea. Instead, after he returned to Sweden he began a series of painstaking research projects to learn whether it might be possible to transplant a womb, despite criticism that the unheard-of procedure was dangerous, medically unnecessary, and impossible.

Brannstrom went on to become the first doctor to deliver babies, five so far, from women with donated wombs. No other doctor in the world has succeeded, despite attempts in the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and ongoing efforts in China, Britain, France, the Czech Republic and elsewhere.

The first of Brannstrom's patients' babies was born in 2014 and the fifth arrived in January. Another is due in early 2017.

Brannstrom is working with doctors at Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic to help women beyond Sweden get access to the procedure. Doctors at Baylor University in Texas, including two former members of Brannstrom's team, announced this week they performed four womb transplants. One was successful, but not yet ready to attempt a pregnancy.

And scientists, many of whom were both doubtful and critical before, now believe Brannstrom's work could help them extend the use of organs for those who need transplants and learn how embryos implant in the uterus after conception, a poorly understood but critical stage in pregnancy.

To figure out if womb transplants were even feasible, Brannstrom first asked Rana Akouri, then one of his doctoral students, to start experimenting in rodents in 1999. He said he picked Ms. Akouri because of her delicate surgical skills. A mouse uterus is only less than an inch long (about 2 centimeters). The surgery was so complex, Ms. Akouri needed four custom-made tools to perform the microscopic operations.

After nearly two years, Ms. Akouri noticed in the belly of one of her mice a slight bulge. Too impatient to wait, she performed a cesarean section that evening and found two tiny babies inside.

“I called Mats at 10 p.m. and told him, ‘one of our mice is pregnant!’” she said.

That night, Brannstrom said, was the first time he thought that a womb transplant in humans might actually be possible.

“If it hadn't worked in mice, we would have quit,” he said.

Over the next decade, Brannstrom and his team performed hundreds of uterus transplants in rats, sheep, pigs and monkeys. Because Sweden forbids experiments in non-human primates, Brannstrom and 10 other doctors and nurses flew to Kenya nearly 20 times to perfect things like their surgical technique and the use of immune-suppressing drugs in baboons.

Brannstrom described the less-than-ideal conditions in Nairobi. Among other things there were no regular showers and power failures during surgery.

In 2012, it was time to try the surgery in humans. He obtained ethical permission to perform womb transplants in nine Swedish women. He then held an information session one evening in the southern city of Gothenburg, where the operations were to take place.

“We were quite frank in telling them, ‘This is not an infertility treatment, you're participating in a scientific trial,’” he said. “We're going into the unknown.”

Of the nine women who had the transplants, two had their wombs removed when complications arose. Five women had healthy babies and the last two are trying to get pregnant.

At the time, many fertility experts considered it an outlandish pursuit.

“I thought this was crazy, a high-risk surgery for no reason,” said Tommaso Falcone of the Cleveland Clinic in the U.S. But a trip to Sweden to see Brannstrom's clinic changed his mind. Falcone is now at the forefront of the Cleveland Clinic's womb transplantation project. He and colleagues performed the first such operation in the U.S. in February, although the organ had to be removed after the patient developed an infection.

Falcone predicts that Brannstrom's work will lead to a better understanding of embryo implantation. And he marveled at the fact that babies have been born from organs once flushed with a cold solution rendering them technically dead before being placed into the recipient.

“Miscarriages are happening all over the place but here you have these dead uteruses that can carry a baby,” he said.

Other experts thought it was astonishing that wombs of some post-menopausal women were able to grow healthy babies after being transplanted. Doctors typically expect younger organs to work better, but in the case of womb transplantation, organs from older women appeared rejuvenated after being dosed with hormones.

“All of a sudden, you have this old organ doing things that you only expected a young uterus to do,” said Stefan Tullius, chairman of transplant surgery at Harvard Medical School, who said that could lead to insights into extending the use of other organs.

Until now, Brannstrom has only used live donors, considered by some to be unethical because it means putting a healthy woman at risk for a procedure that isn't life-saving. The wombs are intended to be kept for a maximum of two pregnancies and are then removed so that patients can stop taking anti-rejection medicines.

Brannstrom believes doctors in other countries will soon deliver more babies from women with transplanted wombs and predicts that the surgery will one day become routine.

Emelie Eriksson, who received a womb transplant and then had a baby boy in 2014, said she could never thank Brannstrom enough.

“I think I need to thank him a thousand times more,” she said. “He's my hero. He made it possible for me to have a child.”


Santos says he will donate
Peace Prize money to nation


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says he will donate his Nobel Peace Prize winnings to the victims of the 50-year-long war between the Colombian government and marxist rebels.

Santos was awarded the more than $900,000 prize Friday for reaching a peace deal with the rebels earlier this year.

He said Sunday he will donate the money to projects, foundations or programs that deal with victims and reconciliation.

He also vowed to see peace with the rebels even after Colombian voters narrowly rejected the deal in a referendum last week.

"We're going to persevere. We will persist, persist, persist and persist until we implement the agreement that was signed. If we have to make adjustments to what we have already agreed, we will make those adjustments."

Santos spoke at a ceremony in Bojaya, where rebels threw a grenade into a church when they tried to take control of the western town in 2002, killing more than 100 civilians. In all, the five-decade conflict has killed more than a quarter million people.

Colombians who voted against the peace deal say they are angered that under the accord, Fuerzas Armadas Revollucionarias de Colombia fighters would avoid prison and other strong punishment for such massacres and other terrorist acts.


Issue of higher minimum wage
on the November Maine ballot

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Steve Corman believes it is his responsibility to pay a living wage to his employees at Vena’s Fizz House, a bar and restaurant in Portland, Maine.

Even though he’s still trying to grow his business and make a profit, Corman sees the hotly contested issue of minimum wage increases as a moral question, not just an economic one.

That’s why he supports a question on the ballot in Maine this election, one that would allow voters to directly affect their state’s economic future. Maine’s ballot question is one of many across the country that would increase the minimum wage and comes at a time when income inequality and job growth hold a central place in the public discussion.

If Question 4 passes, the minimum wage in Maine will gradually increase up to $12 an hour by 2020 and bring the wages of tipped employees, who are paid much less under federal law, up to the level of all other minimum-wage workers by 2024.

Multiple minimum wage proposals have failed in the Maine state legislature, but under the state’s unusually open ballot referendum system, citizens with enough grass-roots support have brought the proposal up for a vote of the people this November.

Workers across the nation have demonstrated for higher wages, arguing the system can be unforgiving of mistakes or gaps in education.

The Fight for $15 campaign, advocating for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour nationwide, has been vocal this election season.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made Fight for $15 a leading issue in his candidacy, pushing it onto the Democratic Party platform. Hillary Clinton, the eventual nominee, has repeatedly said on the campaign trail that no minimum wage worker should work full time and still live in poverty. She says she supports Fight for $15.

The Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, maintains that increases in the minimum wage works best at the state and local levels, allowing for adjustments tied to the economic conditions in specific regions. He has said he would support an increase in the federal rate of up to $10 per hour.

Analysts differ on the economic impact of minimum wage increases on state and local economies. Many argue a raise would allow workers to funnel more money into the economy, while others say it would hurt business owners, causing a negative impact on their spending and forcing them to raise prices.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Buy, sell or rent a timeshare at SellATimeshare.com. 
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COSTA RICA SOLAR
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NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
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Solar collector
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Andre 506-8314-8090
Paul 506-8898-9398
OUR EMAIL:
 andrefurlong@gmail.com
Paul.Furlong@CR-Solar.com
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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


Remax
                                  Tamarindo

www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices.
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If you are looking for information on condos, homes, lots, commercial real estate or development properties our award-winning team of professional agents are ready to help you buying property in Costa Rica. We have over 18 years of experience to educate our buyers in all aspects of purchasing property. Call us or email us today for more information on how to purchase that perfect piece of Costa Rica Real Estate.

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Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
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For more i
nformation 

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The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
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Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
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AXIOM DEVELOPMENT GROUP SRL
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Mobile: +506.8367-2466
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Rich Coast
Rich Coast Realty
REDUCED by $30k! Three-bedroom furnished house in gated beach community, walk to the beach, $235k.
Ocean View Property, can be subdivided into four view lots, 10 minutes from the beach. Only $40,000!!
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Three-bedroom house and pool near the beach in Herradura, $199k.
Contact us with any questions you have about buying property in Costa Rica, Residency, etc. 12 years’ experience in Costa Rica real estate.
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USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
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Real estate for sale (paid category)


San Rmon
                                  rollover
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: mmpeace@hotmail.com 
Check out slide show HERE!
9070-12/5/16

New graphic
For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant. Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning. Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing. Up to 40% financing / get residency through investor status / includes a corporation that is 27 years old and offshore banking account with  Banco National / possible 50/50 partnership. Super location in front of the Bosques de Escazú  Condos  / Monthly rentals available
www.hotel4salecostarica.com
www.hotelsescazu.com
hotelescazu@aol.com
Call for more info:
Free US phone 877-778-8515  or 410-975-6703
In Costa Rica 506- 8307-0164
Bruce Cohen

Pavo onr
FOR SALE - $240,000
Exceptional 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom, fully furnished luxury apartment for sale at the exclusive Terrazas de Escazú highrise complex in Escazú near La Paco Commerical Center.  Situated on the third floor, this apartment has an exceptional layout with stunning views of the Central Valley. 140 m2 bright and spacious floor plan with open sky terrace with 180-degree unobstructed view of the Escazú mountains and Central Valley.  One covered parking spot with additional guest parking available. HOA fee:  $250/month. Held in Costa Rica corporation for easy property transfer. Building features: 12-meter atrium with controlled access entrance to the building, surrounding landscaping, lower level pool, communal rooftop terrace and small rooftop gym. 24-hour security. Contact: José Granados in Costa Rica, phone 506- 6051-5249  email: jsaba00@hotmail.com.
Jay Saba
paco two

Kennedy
                                  graphic
Jacó Beach - Super Views - Priced Right
This is a three-bedroom, ine-bath home located at about 100-foot elevation one mile from the beach. Remodeled 2 years ago. Everything is new including total new kitchen, windows, floors, AC units, electric, plumbing, etc. Super fenced yard for dogs. Very low electric bill even with the AC. Very secure & private. Police chief next door. Very easy & inexpensive to expand this house as all neighbors have done. $149,900. Call Glenn at 506 6214-0056.
9060-11/3/16

Penthouse
                                  rollover
Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to www.ThePenthouseCostaRica.com  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email crstratton@ymail.com
9017-12/1/16

horse ranch
                                  rollover
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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: manager@crbusiness.biz.

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Some of our other titles:
A.M. Panama
A.M. Colombia
A.M. Guatemala
A.M. Honduras
A.M. Cuba
A.M. Nicaragua
A.M. Venezuela
A.M. Central America
A.M.
Dominican Republic

A.M. Ecuador A.M. El Salvador
A.M. Bolivia

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A.M.
Costa
Rica
sixth
news page


San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 200
Calendar
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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
honeycomb
University of Maryland/Kristen S. Traynor
Worker bees store pollen and honey above the capped brood cells.

Bee colones full of pesticides, study finds

By the University of Maryland news staff

Honey bee colonies in the United States have been dying at high rates for over a decade, and agricultural pesticides, including fungicides, herbicides and insecticides, are often implicated as major culprits. Until now, most scientific studies have looked at pesticides one at a time, rather than investigating the effects of multiple real-world pesticide exposures within a colony. 

A new study is the first to systematically assess multiple pesticides that accumulate within bee colonies. The researchers found that the number of different pesticides within a colony, regardless of dose, closely correlates with colony death. The results also suggest that some fungicides, often regarded as safe for bees, correlate with high rates of colony deaths. The study appeared online in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

The researchers followed 91 honey bee colonies, owned by three different migratory commercial beekeepers, for an entire agricultural season. The colonies began their journey in Florida and moved up the East Coast, providing pollination services for different crops along the way. They also spent time in locations meant for honey production, as well as holding areas where beekeepers prepare large numbers of colonies for upcoming pollination contracts.

A total of 93 different pesticide compounds found their way into the colonies over the course of the season, accumulating in the wax, in processed pollen known as bee bread and in the bodies of nurse bees.

All three measures correlated with a higher probability of colony death or queen failure.

The study results also suggest that some fungicides, which have led to the mortality of honey bee larvae in lab studies, could have toxic effects on colony survival in the field. In the current study, pesticides with a particular mode of action also corresponded to higher colony mortality. For example, the fungicides most closely linked to queen deaths and colony mortality disrupted sterols, compounds that are essential for fungal development and survival.

“We were surprised to find such an abundance of fungicides inside the hives, but it was even more surprising to find that fungicides are linked to imminent colony mortality,” said Kirsten Traynor, a postdoctoral researcher in entomology and lead author on the study. “These compounds have long been thought to be safe for bees. We’re seeing them at higher doses than the chemicals beekeepers apply directly to the colonies to control varroa mites. So that is particularly concerning.”

The research team did not find a significant contribution from neonicotinoid pesticides. These compounds, derived from nicotine, are currently some of the most common pesticides in use globally. Because of their ubiquitous use, neonicotinoids have received significant media attention for their potential role in honey bee declines.
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From Page 7:


Seven plead guilty in fake tax return scam

 By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Seven defendants have pleaded guilty in a fake tax return scheme that involved some expats in Costa Rica. In all, 7,000 U.S. taxpayers were victims.

Federal prosecutors said this is a large-scale international identity theft scheme that laundered more than $14 million in fraudulently obtained tax refunds by using bogus Republic of Armenia passports.

Prosecutors in Los Angles, California, said that 11 defendants now have been charged as a result of the investigation, and seven defendants have pleaded guilty. One is a fugitive, and three are pending trial.

Ten of the defendants are accused of using fraudulent foreign passports to commit identity theft by opening numerous bank accounts and mailbox addresses with the stolen identities. According to the criminal complaints, they used fraudulent passports from the Republic of Armenia, Georgia, and the Czech Republic that had the names of identity theft victims but the defendants’ photographs. The mailboxes and bank accounts were opened across Los Angeles and Orange counties.

“Stolen identity refund fraud schemes have become a significant, nationwide problem that victimize the United States government, individuals who are identity theft victims and all taxpayers who end up paying for these fraudulent schemes,” said U. S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “These defendants created a complex, international scheme in an effort to conceal their fraud, but it was not sufficient to shield them from discovery and prosecution.”

Expats are particularly vulnerable because they can file tax returns later than most Americans. Once crooks have full names and Social Security numbers, they can create online accounts with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in the names of victims. Then they file fake tax returns showing that large refunds are due. The money usually is deposited in the bank accounts set up under the fake names.