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Published Monday Edition
May 22, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 100
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BREAKING: U.S. citizen dies in auto accident
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Updated Monday at 2:15 p.m.

A 70-year old U.S. citizen died Saturday afternoon along the Caldera highway after colliding with a truck.

The man was confirmed dead Monday morning by agents of the Judicial Investigating Organization.

His wife has been hospitalized at San Juan de Dios after sustaining wounds of the crash, officials confirmed. She is believed to be in critical condition, according to reports.
An initial report said that the Suzuki SUV the man was driving apparently veered into the opposite lane of the highway before colliding head on with a cargo truck.

The couple were traveling about two blocks east of the Caldera highway's bridge over the Río Virilla, according to the Cruz Roja.

The organization also said that two unidentified persons were also involved in Saturday's accident. Globalvía, the company who has the concessions for the project, also confirmed the existence of the accident along Ruta 27, the highway's other name.


Sea
                              Shepherd Vessel
Sea Shepherd photo
The John Paul Dejoria, pictured here, is offering its services to Costa Rica.
Activist group offers to patrol Costa Rican waters
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An environmentalist group is offering its help to park rangers on Isla del Coco in Costa Rica since one of its patrol boats arrived into territorial waters Saturday.

Sea Shepherd is a controversial marine conservation activist group based in the United States.

The group is known for notoriety surrounding its founder Paul Watson as well as its aggressive tactics used in documenting and, some claim, attacking vessels suspected of committing illegal fishing or poaching activity.

Watson, himself, is still apparently listed by Costa Rican authorities for charges of a peligro de naufragio, or danger of shipwreck. This was confirmed by checking the current wanted persons record on the International Criminal Police Organization, or INTERPOL.

At the date of this story's publishing, the search yields two red alerts in INTERPOL's system issued by Japan and Costa Rica.

Red alerts are discarded for many reasons by INTERPOL or the country requesting it.

Some reasons include: the suspect's capture, the charging country drops the alert or the suspect's prosecution for alleged offenses among other reasons.

The group said that its patrol boat, a former U.S. Coast Guard vessel, docked in Puntarenas as a means of introducing itself to Costa Rican authorities, media and the general public.

Sea Shepherd is apparently offering the government its services in manpower and provisions to patrol and protect the marine reserve around Isla del Coco.

This is, in part, to join Costa Rica’s ongoing battle to stop illegal shark finning, the organization claimed. The offer is part of the group’s Operation Treasured Islands Campaign.

Some may interpret an acceptance of such an offer as allowing international vigilantism as well as the risk of a non-profit group assuming police and park ranger duties.

The group claims to have an excellent working relationship with rangers guarding the Galapagos park as well as Isla de Coiba off the shores of Panamá.

“Our overall long term plan is to build a partnership with Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador and France to help protect Coiba, Cocos, the Galapagos, Malpelo and Clipperton Islands,” Watson said in a statement.

“That partnership would entail providing each island with patrol boats and assets to reduce poaching activities to zero."


Legislators approve the Convention on Cybercrime
By Conor Golden,
News Editor for A.M. Costa Rica

The Costa Rican legislature gave the second approval towards ratifying the Budapest Convention, according to a statement made by the science and technology ministry Friday afternoon.

The Budapest Convention, also known as the Convention on Cybercrime, is a series of rules and procedures dealing mainly in the areas of cybercrime.

It was first signed back in 2001 by members of the Council of Europe and was the first international treaty to address Internet and computer crime.

55 states, including the United States and Great Britain as well as Canada, have ratified it aside from Costa Rica, according to the convention’s list.

The treaty deals particularly with infringements of copyright, computer-related fraud, child pornography, hate crimes, and violations of network security, according to the text.

The Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones praised the legislative approval of the ratification.

The ministry said that this would allow authorities to receive access to procedures, tests and collaborative initiatives around the world to detect cybercriminals.

According to Harvard Business School, crimes on the Internet cost the global economy more than $445 billion in 2016.

Costa Rica places seventh in the number of cyber attacks registered in Latin America, the ministry said.

The latest case of a global hack occurred last week when companies and countries worldwide were attacked by a ransomware virus threatening to delete their files if they did not comply within a week to pay over the online currency bitcoin.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad pointed out later that week that its systems did not appear to have been or were under attack by the virus.

This comes about the same time that the government is moving forward with its strategy to give the entire population access to the Internet as a means of boosting employment opportunities and lowering the poverty rate.

Several hundred public centers spread across several jurisdictions of ministries began to receive the first of laptops, tablets, computers and other equipment.

The money towards the investment is expected to be at least $20 million, according to Casa Presidencial.

Nevertheless, the science and technology ministry warned that the country’s position online is highly vulnerable and subject to possible future instances of crime over the web.

Interestingly enough, many online gambling and sports betting sites are based here in Costa Rica to service customers in the United States so as to avoid prosecution in the latter country.

Issues of national sovereignty and the regulation of the Internet are becoming hot-button issues within the realms of some observing groups.

Russia has repeatedly refused to join the Budapest Convention on the grounds that it violates the country’s national sovereignty.

Meanwhile, regulating Internet is becoming a growing debate among officials in the U.S. Congress and its counterparts in other countries.

A 2006 addition to the convention’s statutes ratified additional protocol in criminalizing the online spread of racist and xenophobic material through computer systems.

This has come into conflict with some freedom of speech activists who believe such censorship of speech, even hate speech, constitutes a form of tyranny.

"The Internet opens the door to a world where there are also risks, where we can access unimaginable dangers, offenses such as child pornography or abuse of our privacy,” said Edwin Estrada, the vice minister for science and technology.



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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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Prison report offers gloomy findings

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

“If Costa Rica wants to overcome the deficient conditions found in places of detention, it must bet on obtaining, budgeting and executing necessary resources that allow the construction or arrangement of basic minimum infrastructure.”

That was the opening salvo in the most recent report on the state of the penitentiary system by the Mecanismo Nacional de Prevención de la Tortura. The group is a section under the overall direction of the Costa Rican ombudsman. The findings stingingly pointed out enormous deficiencies not just for the prisoners being held in their cells but also for personnel conditions as well.

The report analyzed and inspected the seven prisons in Costa Rica as well as the other detention centers and holding areas for the judiciary, justice ministry, immigration and for security forces.

This is not the first time that A.M. Costa Rica has reported on the state of prisons and detention facilities in the country. The Mecanismo Nacional is also not the only government entity, domestic or international, interested in these cases.

"The infrastructure of most places of detention is exhausted,” said Róger Víquz Gairaud, the director for the group doing the report. “Every time a budget effort is made, it is insufficient. The country must overcome the era of patches and address the basic conditions effectively. The responsibility surpasses a certain administration. It must be a country decision.”

The findings were divided according to who presided over the maintenance of the facilities in question. Among the report’s details came about descriptions of lack of training, lack of budgeting and a general lack of many necessary requirements needed to maintain this essential part of the criminal justice system.

With the municipal police’s detention proceedings, the group found that there was a noted lack of record keeping regarding the detainees within and there was not even a budget designated to pay for detainees’ food. They found that detainees were not separated based on the classification of crime meaning a potential first time non-violent offender could be placed in the same cell as a person suspected of assault or domestic violence.

The report stingingly said that the government had consistently failed to provide the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz, the ministry in charge of maintaining the actual prisons in the country, with an adequate budget for hiring and training more personnel to oversee an already overcrowded system.

The application of pretrial detention on the part of the judiciary was noted by the report as being a primary factor in the prisons being overpopulated with persons not yet found guilty or not of their suspected offenses.

With the Fuerza Pública, recordkeeping again came up to the police force’s detriment. The report stated that process of registering a detainee and their belongings attaches little importance in the actions of the officers.

Even the conditions in which the police are subjected to apparently are in lackluster shape. “Most of the delegations have poor and unsafe infrastructure conditions, with armories at risk, and some have been issued with sanitary orders,” the report said. “This is a problem that has been dragging on for many years, since the Costa Rican state has not been able to execute to date the necessary actions to guarantee optimal conditions to these delegations.”

The staff among the security forces guarding and maintaining the overcrowded system is also stretched to the limit. Employees are overworked and working in substandard conditions, the report said.

Detained foreigners under temporary apprehension for being in the country illegally are being placed in a rented building leaving no room for remodeling or improvement. Immigration police require more training as to how to handle the custody process and the detainees as well.

Still, the report did find some silver linings in its otherwise gloomy findings. It praised the ability of the Judicial Investigating Organization for its process of registration as well as the Fuerza Pública for complying with the guideline of maintaining at least one female officer for a female detainee.

It also praised the security forces for being on time in presenting any detainee before a judicial authority within six hours after their arrest or apprehension.


Platina expected to open this Thursday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This coming Thursday, the Alfredo González Flores bridge over the Río Virilla will finally be opened after five months of construction and commuter headaches.

The bridge is probably more popularly known by its nickname: the platina. This is a name the government of President Luis Guillermo Solís and the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes have been attempting to shed.

The bridge is part of the General Cañas highway and represents one of the most direct as well as important routes between the capital and Juan Santamaría international airport in Alajuela. It was also, prior to its closing for lane expansion in late January, a primary artery for people commuting back and forth to work in San José.

The public works ministry said that the six-lane bridge will now allow up to 100,000 vehicles to cross it day by day and in a faster time. The original structure was at least half a century old, the ministry said, and had no major overhaul applied to it since the January shutdown.

The project is expanding the lanes from four to six in addition to the complete restructuring of the bridge itself. Public works did say that, for several more weeks, work would be carried out to apply the finishing touches but that this will not interfere with daytime traffic.

Villalta confirmed Thursday’s opening of the bridge this past Friday afternoon.


RepairingRuta 2
Instituto de Fomento y Asesoría Municipal photo        
Infrastructure crews repairing section of Ruta 2.

Garabito to receive road repair funds

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The municipal development institute intends to finance about $1.75 million toward the municipality of Garabito so it can improve its road infrastructure.

The investment includes material, machinery and the training of officials for road management, according to a Friday statement y the Instituto de Fomento y Asesoría Municipal. Garabito includes in its jurisdiction the popular beach destination of Jacó in addition to the more than 227.3 kilometers of its 193 total roads.

“IFAM assures the necessary liquidity to the municipality so that it invests in the maintenance of its streets and expedites the construction of the necessary road works and this returns the money when Teosorería Nacional transfers the funds to them "said Yanina Soto, the head of the institute.



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Costa Rica

Third News Page
U.S. Tax
Published || Monday Edition, May 22, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 100
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Costa Rican cocoa seeds being brought to the gourmet shops of Paris
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The cocoa seeds of a small cooperative hit the French market for the development of gourmet chocolates, which are produced by the Paris-based company Ara Chocolat.

This is possible thanks to a partnership between Coopecacao Norte Norte and the Paris company, which has created the brand Upala 72% to commercialize the Costa Rican products for the high demanding Paris consumers.

According to Sabrina Trillos, co-owner of Ara Chocolat, choosing a cooperative as a supplier allows them to buy directly from the producers and thus, make sure they are paid a fair price.

"We are also a small start-up, so we know how important it is for its associates to see their product reach international markets," she said.

"Sometimes, customers arrive to our store looking specifically for the Costa Rican chocolate tablets. If there is none, they just walk away and buy nothing," according to Andrés Zakhour, another co-owner of the company.

He also said the very first purchase from the cooperative was 114 kilograms of dried cocoa seeds, which was grown following specific needs.

The Upala 72% chocolate pieces will be relaunched in October for the International Chocolate Awards set to take place in London.
In the last few years, the cooperative sector has acquired a stronger role in the exportation of cocoa.
Ara Chocolat owners
Instituto Nacional de Fomento Cooperativo photo
Ara Chocolat owners, pictured right, review cocoa seeds.

Along with coffee, bananas and pineapples, it represents one of the main agricultural products sold by the country.

Last year, the Promotora de Comercio Exterior started to knock on the doors of the South Korean chocolate market, who has showed an steady interest in the Costa Rican seeds.

"We woud like to make cocoa as valuable as it was for our ancestors, who though of it as a golden grain," said Karen Ledezma, a small producer associated to Coopecacao Norte Norte.

The Maya and other Central American tribes used the cocoa seeds as currency around 400 B.C. according to Anthropological accounts.


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Even without showing any symptoms, Chagas doubles risk of death
By the Science Daily press staff

Chagas disease, affecting millions of people in Central and South America, is classified as one of the 17 most important neglected diseases by the World Health Organization.

Now, researchers have found that even the non-symptomatic stage of Chagas infection, which can last for many years, more than doubles a person's risk of death.

The new study, published in “PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases,” also concludes that deaths from Chagas have likely been under-reported in the past.

Chagas disease is an insect-borne parasitic disease caused by Trypanosoma cruzi.

A bite from an infected Triatominae, or kissing bug, can cause initial swelling, fever, and headaches but symptoms generally fade away after a few months.

Infected people can then live for decades with no more signs of the disease, during which time clinicians have assumed they have no increased mortality. Years later, it's known that cardiac, neurological, and digestive symptoms of Chagas can reemerge.

In the new work, Ligia Capuani, of the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and colleagues retrospectively studied 2,842 Chagas-positive and 5,684 Chagas-negative blood donors in São Paulo from 1996 to 2000.

Since blood donors are routinely screened for symptoms of active Chagas disease, it was assumed that blood samples testing positive for the parasite were from individuals in the indeterminate phase of the disease.

Their records were cross-referenced with the Brazil national mortality information system to determine whether each person had died and, if so, the cause of death.

Among those who tested positive for Chagas, 159 donors, about 5.6 percent, died during the course of the study, whereas only 103, around 1.8 percent, who tested negative for the disease died, representing a more than doubling of the overall death risk.

Chagas map
Wikipedia graphic 
Map displays areas in red where Chagas is endemic.

Moreover, when only deaths due to Chagas or to underlying cardiac abnormalities were analyzed, the different was even greater; those with the disease had a greater risk of death by at least 17.9 times. However, Chagas was often not listed as a cause of death in patients who had tested positive for the disease and died of heart problems.

"The fact that Chagas disease was not reported as an underlying or associated cause of death on the death certificate of 42 percent of seropositive donors that died due to cardiac causes demonstrates under ascertainment of Chagas disease pathogenesis, highlighting its status as a neglected tropical disease," the researchers said.




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Visit our Web site at:  www.HiddenGardenArt.com
Contact us by email: info@HiddenGardenArt.com
Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
Moon Travel Guides & Frommer's

Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tel.  8386-6872 / 2667-0592; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073
International shipping available.
9214-8/2/17


George Lundquist header

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

 (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!
HERE!

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, and Lifestyle Guide. Email : lundquistgeorge@gmail.com
9113-7/4/17

experience Costa Rica
Costa Rica Travel In Paradise Group Tours

Looking for easy booking process for a smooth Costa Rica trip?   We customize wonderful trips to Costa Rica.  We offer you our wealth of knowledge for a great experience . . . a trip of a lifetime!!!

* 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!

Contact us: 
Dial toll FREE from USA or Canada:  1.800.901.0114
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

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!


Household Furnishings

Fine
Furniture of Sarchi

Fine Furniture of Sarchi - Sarchi, Costa Rica
All our handcrafted products are made in Sarchi with pride and quality by artisans who are dedicated to designing, crafting, and delivering our furniture to you. Please visit our website and send us a picture and specifications of what YOU like, or just send us pictures from anywhere you wish. We will quote you right back with a more than competitive price and an on-time delivery date. Delivery and set up available throughout Costa Rica. We have different Costa Rican woods from which you may choose. 
www.FineFurnitureOfSarchi.com
Contact information:
Adolfo's Cell 506-8831-4306
 Tom in the USA 803-261-6000
Email: Info@FineFurnitureOfSarchi.com
9218-8/25/17

U.S. Income Tax

U.S. Income Tax Services
Marlene B. Summers
T
ax Accountant Licensed by the I.R.S.
 
Ms. Summers
Marlene B. Summers
U.S. citizens, plan now for your tax year.  Let me help you pay only the tax  you must!

  If tax payment is a holding you back, the IRS have options that can solve payment problems.  If your filing is not up-to-date, the Streamlined Filing Procedure can be used to mitigate penalties. Including  disclosure of foreign corporations to avoid future problems.  
Take advantage of the foreign earned income exclusion. File current or past due FBARs with no penalties to meet IRS requirements. File your current or amended returns.

Over 10 years in Costa Rica.
Competitive rates.

Phone (506) 2289-6590 or (506) 8750-2316
Email: marlene.summers@gmail.com
9186-6/30/17

A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
Business
wanted
Real estate wanted

Real estate rentals (paid category)

San Jose Penthouse

Beautiful Penthouse Fully Furnished for Rent
Central San José downtown 

Including electricity, rate ₡355.000 (colones) or $650 per month.  2-bedroom / Laundry in bldg /  apartment. with king-sized bed in the master bedroom and large closets and desk.  It has 2 bathrooms, large kitchen and separate large living room. The apartment is on the top floor of the building with a commanding view of San José.  American-style apartment with elevator in a very secure building in Barrio Amón. Total eastern wall is windows for commanding view of area. The fully equipped kitchen has all the amenities included. All linen, towels, bedding are included. Three televisions, cable television, high-speed internet, WiFi. It includes plenty of hot water and all your electricity is also included in the rent. Shared free laundries on four floors of the building. Convenient to Parque Morazán, 100 mts. north of downtown Holiday Inn, Del Rey and other downtown hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, National Registry.  1/2 mo. security deposit. No lease required.

For personal inspection and more information call Hilda or Frank at (506) -7279-0252, 7148-1518, 7256-8378. Not calling for deals not related.
9217-5/11/17


Tropical Homes logo
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 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email: info@sellmytimesharenow.com
9049-7/31/17


Real estate-related services (paid category)

COSTA RICA SOLAR
solar one

solar two
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
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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.
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    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 
9118-6/26/17







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Page 5 is HERE!     
Page 6 is HERE!     The sports page is HERE!
Opinion is HERE!   Classifieds are HERE!  Plus useful links
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What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details




A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
Published || Monday Edition, May 22, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 100
Calendar
Opinion
Classifieds
Real Estate
Lifestyle
Food
About us
 
Brazil’s president rejects
calls for him to resign


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Brazil's President Michel Temer insisted he will not resign despite a corruption scandal that appears to implicate him through a recorded conversation.

In a speech to the nation Saturday, Temer said Brazil will not be derailed by the corruption case. He said he would ask the country's high court to suspend the investigation against him until it could verify that the supposedly incriminating recording had not been altered.

Temer contended the recording was altered and doctored, and that the country needs him to stay on to usher Brazil though economic reforms.

Brazil's top prosecutor accused Temer of corruption and obstruction of justice Friday, according to a court filing released by the supreme court.

The charges by Attorney General Rodrigo Janot followed the release this week of an audio recording said to show that the president tried to slow or halt a massive corruption investigation known as Car Wash.

The secretly recorded conversation, first disclosed by one of Brazil's most prominent newspapers, O Globo, indicates that Temer approved monthly hush-money payments to a jailed politician, Eduardo Cunha.

Once a powerful member of Temer's ruling party, Cunha is now in prison for having taken bribes. He is said to have compromising information about other politicians linked to the bribery scandal.

Temer took over as Brazil's president just one year ago after his leftist predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached, but now his center-right administration is under siege. He faces an investigation by the supreme court as well as the potential collapse of his base in congress, opening the way to impeachment proceedings.

The president denied any wrongdoing in a televised address Thursday and rejected calls for his resignation by thousands of demonstrators in the capital, Brasilia, and in Rio de Janeiro.

Temer's PMDB party and its coalition partner, the PSDB Social Democrats, are still backing him despite impeachment calls by opposition lawmakers.

In an editorial Friday that recounted the history of the corruption scandal enveloping Temer, O Globo said he has lost the moral, ethical, political and administrative conditions to continue governing Brazil and suggested it was time for him to resign.


Venezuela protest
Voice of America photo
Opponents of Maduro wave national flag
as thousands gather in Caracas.


Saturday’s protests mark
50th day against Maduro

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Tens of thousands of people marched Saturday in the Venezuelan capital and elsewhere in the restive country, facing police tear gas as they protested against the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Saturday's protests marked the 50th straight day of anti-government street demonstrations, some of which have been accompanied by disorder. Nearly 50 people have been killed.

In Caracas, where many residents face severe shortages of such daily necessities as food, medicine and toilet paper, marchers carried signs with some reading "No More Dictatorship" and "Millions Against Dictatorship" as they moved toward the city center.

Protesters blame Maduro and his economic policies for soaring inflation and the continuing shortages. They have also demanded fresh elections and freedom for jailed protesters.

Counterdemonstrations have also escalated since Maduro's call earlier this month for a new constitution.

More than 2,000 protesters have been jailed since early April, when the demonstrations began, weeks after Maduro dissolved the national assembly and lifted lawmakers' immunity from criminal arrest and prosecution. Activists say at least one-third of the detainees remain jailed.

The European Union called on the Maduro government and opposition groups this week to begin an urgent, constructive and effective dialogue aimed at resolving the political crisis.

Ahead of Saturday's marches in Caracas and the western city of Cristobal, activists had predicted a gathering in the capital larger than that on April 19, when hundreds of thousands of marchers swept through the city. However, witnesses said the eventual turnout fell well short of last month's showing.


Pentagon scientists show
new technology of defense


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Robot teammates and snake arms that can find a crack .005 millimeter long were just two of the U.S. military's latest technological innovations on display at the Pentagon this week.

The Defense Laboratory Enterprise showcased more than 80 exhibits on its biennial Lab Day on Thursday. The enterprise is a network of 63 defense laboratories; warfare centers and engineering centers that operate across the United States, and the event provided the Defense Department community with an up-close look at projects in various stages of development and readiness.

Imagine a soldier comes across a suspicious object that they have never seen before. As they stop to explore, they immediately see an enemy fighter and have to spring into action without time to fully raise the weapon's sight up to their eye. And they are unable to see another enemy lurking around the corner.

With Soldier Visual Integrated Technology, the soldier can better see their surroundings and needs less time to react to dangers accurately.

Ronald Geer, a staff sergeant assigned to the Army's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, said SVIT wirelessly links three pieces of technology on the soldier: a reticle eyepiece, a thermal device on the gun and a communications system attached to the chest.

The connectivity also allows soldiers to use their guns to see what's around a corner without having to move their bodies into harm's way.

SVIT updates in real time as well, providing a way to virtually mark obstacles or enemy weaponry so that other soldiers can see what the SVIT user views.

Jokingly called a snake on a plane by some at the Air Force Research Laboratory, R.A.N.D.E., pronounced as Randy, is a robotic arm that can wriggle through an opening as small as 7 centimeters to inspect the interior of aircraft wings or other structures without dismantling them.

Senior Materials Engineer Charles Buynak said that any sensing device can be attached to R.A.N.D.E. to look for minute structural defects.

A controller drives the system from an Xbox 360 home video game console. Buynak said that makes R.A.N.D.E. easy for young operators to use. Another reason is that the Air Force wanted to take advantage of technologies already available.

Aborigines win long battle
for return of tribal lands


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

After a 30-year battle, indigenous groups on Australia’s Cape York Peninsula are celebrating the return of more than 160,000 hectares of tribal land. It has been handed back to three aboriginal clans by the Queensland state government.

It was opposition to the world’s first commercial space terminal in the mid 1980s that galvanized the Indigenous land rights movement in the Cape York Peninsula. Aboriginal campaigners said plans to launch U.S. satellites using Soviet rockets from the site at Temple Bay in northern Australia would have destroyed sacred sites. Conservationists also argued the plan would harm the area's unique biodiversity.

After a long fight stretching back decades, more than 160,000 hectares of land have been returned to traditional tribal owners.

Andrew Picone, the northern Australia campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation said it was the first time indigenous campaigners had joined forces with environmentalists.

“Back in the 1980s when the spaceport was first proposed traditional owners launched their own campaign against that spaceport and they had their own legal proceedings as well,” he said.

“They asked for support from the conservation movement because we were also interested in the natural and cultural values of the Cape, so it was one of the first alliances you could say between Indigenous groups and the conservation movement.”

About a third of the land returned to indigenous control will be used to create Australia’s newest national park. This will be owned and jointly run by aboriginal groups and should provide jobs in eco-tourism to communities that have had high rates of unemployment.

As all are economic dividends there are significant spiritual benefits, too. Indigenous leaders say the land handover will give them unfettered access and control of sacred sites.

Aboriginal Australians revere the land, and consider it to be the Mother of creation that is full of secrets and wisdom.

The Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was an historic day after formally handing control of the land on Cape York back to indigenous groups.

There are now 28 aboriginal-owned and jointly managed National Parks on Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula, covering more two million hectares.


WHO optimistic on trapping
Ebola outbreak in Congo


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization’s regional chief for Africa reports prospects for rapidly controlling the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo are good.

While not underestimating the difficulties that lie ahead in bringing this latest outbreak of Ebola to an end, Matshidiso Moeti said she is very encouraged by the speed with which the government and its national and international partners have responded to this crisis.

WHO has reported 29 suspected cases, including three deaths since Ebola was discovered in a remote region of the country on April 22. This deadly virus causes fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea. It spreads easily through bodily fluids and can kill more than 50 percent of its victims.

This is the eighth recorded outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1976. The outbreak was first detected in Bas-Uele Province, a densely forested area in northeastern Congo near the border with the Central African Republic.

Moeti calls the remoteness of the area a mixed blessing.

She said that there was little likelihood of a rapid expansion of the outbreak to other localities due to population movement as happened in West Africa. “Although, we are keeping a close eye on the Central African Republic…where we are concerned that there is insecurity there.”

She said it was difficult to operate and carry out surveillance or investigations in this area because the road network leading there was not very well developed and they had to drive long distances, not in a car, but a motorbike.

To remedy this, she said the government had fixed up a landing strip to enable helicopters to fly in the experts and material needed to deal with this crisis.

Ms. Moeti, a South African physician, replaced Luis Gomez Sambo of Angola as the WHO’s regional head for Africa in January 2015 after he was criticized for his lackluster leadership in handling the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The World Health Organization has come under scathing criticism by the international community for its slow and inept response to that unprecedented epidemic. By the time it declared the Ebola epidemic at an end in January 2016, the deadly virus had killed 11,315 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

During a recent visit to Kinshasa, Matshidiso Moeti said she saw how the hard lessons that have been learned from this tragic experience were being applied in the Congo.

Ms. Moeti is leading a reform process to transform the WHO in the African Region into what she called a more responsive, accountable, effective and transparent organization.

She said that this process was a component of WHO’s global reform effort and she would be rolling out the plan during a side-event on May 22, the opening day of this year’s World Health Assembly.

She said the reform program focused largely on how to improve measures for more quickly and efficiently tackling emergencies and communicable diseases.


Largest Muslim group's head
calls for a secular Indonesia


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Weeks after Jakarta elected a governor whose campaign called for Islam to dominate politics and society, the leader of Indonesia's, and the world's, largest Islamic organization has appealed for strengthening secular values.

The remarkable request went out to hundreds of people representing Indonesia's ethnic and religious diversity, who attended an interfaith dialog held by the Alliance of Arek Suroboyo on Thursday in Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city after Jakarta.

K.H. Said Aqil Siradj, chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, demanded a return to Indonesia's founding principle, now on the official seal called "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika," or "Unity in Diversity.” He also called to maintain the nation's philosophical roots, codified in the Pancasila, a governing document, and the 1945 Constitution. Other religious and community leaders echoed his remarks.

The gathering convened with the stated goal of strengthening support for the secular values of nationalism and patriotism, and Said Aqil Siradj's remarks countered the growing movement to transform Indonesia into a nation ruled by Sharia, or Islamic law.

His organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, was founded in 1926 in Surabaya to counter the rise of Wahhabism, the puritanical Islam favored by Saudi Arabia. Nahdlatul Ulama has more than 40 million members.

Since 1980, Saudi Arabia has been using education to quietly spread its form of Islam in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation.

The impact of that effort may have played a role in the religious tensions surrounding the Jakarta governor election, won on April 19 by Anies Baswedan, who turned to Islamic hard-liners for support. His opponent, incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Chinese Christian better known by his nickname, Ahok, was accused of blasphemy for reciting a verse from the Quran.

After a trial that ran during the campaign, he was sentenced earlier this month to two years in prison. According to Said Aqil Siradj, radical rhetoric spreads through sermons delivered during Friday prayers.

Indonesia is a nation of more than 17,000 islands, at least 300 ethnic groups and about 740 languages and dialects. And while about 88 percent of the Indonesia's 260.6 million people are Muslim, the government recognizes five other official religious traditions: Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism.

"Indonesia's independence came about because all tribes, all religions, fought for it," said Tofan Hidayat of the Chinese-Indonesian Society of East Java, referring to the overthrow of Dutch colonial rule after World War II.

Said Aqil Siradj expressed hope that the Indonesian people would return to the Constitution and embrace and the Pancasila, which sets forth five inseparable and interrelated principles: a belief in the one and only God, just and civilized humanity, the unity of Indonesia, democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations amongst representatives, and social justice for the whole of the people of Indonesia.


Turkey’s Erdogan extends
the state of emergency


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has formally extended the state of emergency declared after a failed 2016 military coup, saying the decree will remain in place until the country finds welfare and peace.

Erdogan spoke Sunday in Ankara to tens of thousands of his followers and members of his ruling Justice and Development Party, which convened to re-elect their party co-founder to the post.

The state of emergency permits Erdogan and his Cabinet to issue decrees without parliamentary approval or judicial review.

Erdogan's announcement and his return as party chief came four weeks after Turkish voters narrowly approved a national referendum greatly expanding presidential powers.

The April 18 vote created a powerful executive presidency that largely sidelines Turkish lawmakers and the office of prime minister. Under the constitutional amendments, Erdogan will also set the national budget and appoint judges to the high court and the constitutional court.

Critics, including prominent human rights organizations, have argued the reforms are tantamount to creating an elected dictatorship. Erdogan and his supporters claim they will create a less cumbersome system of government better able to confront terrorism and a sluggish economy.

Under emergency rule, more than 47,000 people have been arrested and 100,000 others dismissed from public service for alleged connections to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Erdogan has accused the cleric of fomenting the July 15, 2016, uprising that left more than 260 people dead. Gulen has denied involvement.


More news of the Americas
From the Voice of America

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale
Real estate for sale (paid category)

Rich Coast Realty
Rich Coast Realty
Real Estate and Construction in the Central Pacific
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! Beachfront Lots from $35,000!Contact us with any questions you have about buying property in Costa Rica, Construction, Residency, etc.
12 years’ experience in Costa Rica Real Estate.

Have a Property For Sale? Contact Us!
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
www.RichCoastRealty.com
9189-9/2/17


San Ramon home
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  (please link that email)
Check out slide show HERE!
9220-8/15/17


Santiago de Puriscal
A little piece of paradise near Santiago de Puriscal,
Costa Rica.
    

16 acres (approximately).  Price: $425,000 USD

We are selling our beautiful finca that has been in the family for 37 years. It is located 3 miles (5 km.) northwest of Santiago de Puriscal in the village of Desamparaditos. We are looking for a discriminating buyer who would appreciate the location, views, flora and fauna. Excellent for artists, writers and nature lovers. Fantastic birding. Very private but not isolated. Have surveyed plans for possible subdividing.

For more information:  In the U.S.A. call the owners: Pete & Debbie Todd: 970 -221-1457 or 970-581-4826 or email toddscolorado@gmail.com. In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 506-7187-8577.
CODE: 9216-8/11/17


Plantation Acres
PLANTATION ACRES
This exiting new project offers spectacular home sites with breathtaking ocean and forest views stated on 100 acres of tropical forest.

* On-site Welcome Center
* Located between Punta Leona and Playa Agujas
* At just an hour from San José, the capital city.
* 5 minutes from Los Sueños Marina and 18 Hole Ted Robinson Golf Course
* 10 minutes from Jacó Beach, Costa Rica’s lives beach town

Contact:
Johnny Lopez
Phone: (506) 8945-5820 / (506) 2643-3356
Email: johnny@c21jaco.com
9141-3/23/18
9141-3/23/189173-9/1/17

Puriscal home
GORGEOUS MOUNTAIN & OCEAN VIEW HOME
REDUCED $40K - $355,000
HEALTH CONDITIONS REQUIRES QUICK SALE
This is a gorgeous, new, 3-bedroom luxury home on 2.2 flat acres in a secure, gated community, high in the hills of Puriscal, with stunning, 180-degree views of the ocean, city and mountains of the Central Valley in Costa Rica. Centrally located in the heart of Costa Rica, you are never more than an hour from the Pacific beaches while being much less than that to the culture, shopping, services and night life of the San José, Escazú, Santa Ana and the whole Central Valley. The Altos de Antigua gated community sits at an altitude of 2,800 feet with mild temperatures year round. Features wide paved roads and cement culverts throughout, a large community pool & spa with changing rooms & showers. The community association fees are $42 a month ($500 annually).
This property is currently being offered for $355,000.00 U.S.
Purchase adjoining 2.2 acre investment lot with the home sale for $35,000.00 U.S. or separately for $55,000.00 U.S.
 
    Summary of House Features:

       * Completed 2012 to North American standards
       * 3 large bedrooms, 2 full baths
       * Custom designed kitchen w/granite countertops
       * Frigidaire Professional appliance package
       * State-of-the-art solar hot water
       * Eco-friendly Toshiba LED lighting
       * LG Multi-Split air conditioning system
       * House & perimeter security alarm system
       * 2-car closed garage w/large paved driveway
 
Video Tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUEAmahIU9A
Community Web Site: http://www.altigua.com
Photos: HERE!
Costa Rica # 506-8985-6705 or from the States call # 561-740-0651 or email gary_one@msn.com
9173-9/1/17

colinasdelsol
COLINAS DEL SOL Fenced Gated Lots for Sale

* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit trees.
* Quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.
* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $40,000 USD
* Located in Libertad, Guanacaste, northwest Pacific area of Costa Rica.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
* 15 minutes to the Pacific Beaches
* 10 minutes to Medical Facilities
* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
* 5 minutes to Vista Ridge Golf Club

Contact:
In Costa Rica, Jeffrey Sandi Murray:  jsandimurray@colinasdelsolcr.com
In the USA and Canada contact Jim Day: jimday50@aol.com or call 517-484-3675

For more information Click Here: www.colinasdelsolcr.com
9056-2/28/17

Etlinger Farm
rollover
Beautiful farm in excellent location
At only an hour's drive from San José, minutes from Guápiles, and boardering Braulio Carrillo National Park, Etlingera Farms is one heck of an amazing farm. We purchased this 77-acre farm 10 years ago after many trips, and an exhaustive search. It has a little bit of everything we were looking for and a whole lot of beauty. Our average elevation of 600 meters helps to keep Bella Vista cool year round. This farm is nearly level with a semi-modern 2-bedroom house. A fairly rustic 2-bedroom caretaker's home. And, a comfortable, 1-bedroom cabin where we stay. We have 2 large barns, a chicken coop, and a 3-stall pig pen. There are two tilapia ponds and 2 hectarias, (approximately 5 acres) of different species of bananas. The property boarders Rio Blanco in the rear and has 300 meters of public road frontage. Water, electricity, and telephone are all serviced by public utility. Etlingera Farms was reforested with several thousand wood trees of different tropical varieties. We truly believe this farm is spectacular. Our neighbors are selling for as much as $20 per meter. We are negotiable, motivated and open to offers. Our location can be found by searching Etlingera Farms on Google Maps. Our webpage is www.etlingerafarms.com and photo album can be found at www.ticorico.com
9196-4/25/17

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. The price of our listing Rancho Ricco is $799,000. More information
go to www.ranchforsalecostarica.com  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:  darin_ricco@hotmail.com
9183-6/13/17

rollover
Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here  www.whynotcostarica.com. If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call # 509-570-1928 or email tim@whynotcostarica.com 
9143-2/3/17

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
9132-6/1/17

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 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. For more information, please contact our local phones: 506-2653-0073 Tamarindo / 506-2201-9056 Flamingo ~ Toll Free: 1-866-976-8898 or email:  info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com  or click here www.remax-oceansurf-cr.com
9145-1/2918

ReMax
Playas del Coco
We are an award-winning Team of Professional Agents working with Costa Rica’s #1 Selling Real Estate Agency RE/MAX Prestige Ocean Properties. Get to KNOW, LIKE & TRUST us and let us help you find YOUR Pura Vida! We have over 30 years of experience to educate our buyers and sellers in all aspects of Real Estate.  For Information on condos, homes, lots, farms, ranches, commercial or development property
CONTACT US TODAY with NO OBLIGATION whatsoever.

Playas del Coco Click Here!

Playa Panama Click Here!

Playa Hermosa Click Here!
Peninsula Papagayo Click Here!

Playa Matapalo Click Here!
Toll Free 1-877-293-1456
Email: michael@costarica-realestate.com

9174-2/7/18

Real estate-related services (paid category)

A-1 graphic
A1 MASTER BUILDERS COSTA RICA
SMALL and LARGER jobs welcome !!!. We can build from any plan you bring us all work done by USA codes master electric and plumbing Better quality and lower prices than USA. We do it all Right  + Reasonable.
Call us: Toll Free 877-778-8515   
     Text from US: 804-313-6382 
     CR phone: 506-8307-0164
     Email: hotelescazu@aol.com
     For more info also see our sites:
    www.a1masterbuildercostarica.webs.com
    www.hotelsescazu.com
    www.hotel4salecostarica.com
    www.wind-solar.webs.com 
9142-7/27/17
Related

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. Already own a timeshare and looking to sell? Stop saying “sell my timeshare” and let BuyaTimeshare.com help you find a buyer or renter.
9203-4/19/2018

COSTA RICA SOLAR
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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!

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NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
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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.
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    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 
9177-6/19/16



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Published || Monday Edition, May 22, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 100
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Expat authors are diverse in writings

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An expat retirement expert has updated her book on retirement here to warn retirees about too much free time.

Says the expert, Helen Dunn Frame, of her book: “The biggest change was to do with Retirement 101, Planning Beyond Financial Security, now Chapter 1 . . . It talks about planning how to fill the wonderful free hours so you don't get bored and depressed which may lead to death.”

She joins hundreds in the medical field encouraging retirees to stay active or face the consequences.

A number of expats here have heeded this advice and turned to authoring books. Just as modern technology has reduced the costs and efforts of producing a newspaper or magazine, so it has for writing. And there are plenty of places offering help for a price.

A.M. Costa Rica’s files shows it has outlined the works of expat authors, including: historian Alfred Stites, Grecia resident Joseph Riden, Albert a Correia who completed a fictional trilogy, local pastor Kenneth D. MacHarg, Aaron Aalborg, Michael Crump and K. Francis Ryan, Escazú poet Ficklin Bryant, former Alajuela resident Mary Jay,  Santa Ana resident George Pritchard Harris, heart surgeon-turned-culinary expert Lenny Karpman, land-use expert Armond Joyce, Grecia resident Paul Furlong and even anonymous expats. There are many others too numerous to mention.

The late A.M. Costa Rica columnist Jo Stuart wrote at times about her book club and the successes of its members, Frans Lamers, Greg Bascom, Mike Crump and Carol McCool. Ms. Stuart published her own book based on her newspaper columns here. She said the regular meetings of the club promoted creativity.

The Amazon website lists over 100 pages of books about Costa Rica. Many contain travel information. Many are action fiction. Some, though, are highly technical and the product of a life’s work.

And each day the technical aspects of publishing a book become easier. There are services such as Smashwords that can quickly translate a Microsoft word manuscript into the handful of standard electronic formats and distribute it to retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo. Amazon, itself, runs a self-publishing service in which the author can get up to 70 percent on sales.

Createspace also will generate electronic formats for a self-publisher, but it also can produce print versions on demand.

The investment was enormous when books had to be produced on paper in large quantities. So were the prices. Sociologist Mavis Biesanz and associates produced her classic, “The Ticos: Culture and Social Change in Costa Rica,” in 1998. The price still is $24.50 on Amazon. But electronic books can be had for free and at prices as low as $1.99. That’s because the author can put up a book for under $100. And now nearly everyone has a hand-help reading device for electronic books.

Another authoring pioneer of sorts is Chris Howard who has produced travel books, language books and real estate, mostly on Costa Rica for years.

Of course, there are many online sites that are ready to help. R. Bowker Co. used to provide international book identification numbers for free. Now the company tries to ratchet authors up to $395 with its self-publishing package. Individual identification numbers are $125 each

The firm that has captured millions from writers over the years by exploiting the dreams of authors is Writer’s Digest, which publishes a magazine and the annual Writer's Market. The Poynter Institute, the prestigious chronicler of the newspaper industry funded by The Knight Foundation, even has a low-budget online writer’s workshop directed by Coach Roy Peter Clark. Even the spelling and grammar program Grammarly is marketing its product heavily to would-be writers.

In short, a potential author can drop thousands of dollars on products that may or may not be useful.

Unfortunately, writing, however sparkling, is only part of the equation. Nikki Halliwell, an author at Help For Writers, warns on her firm’s website that “self-publishing involves far more than just writing. The process of creating and releasing a book offers the opportunity to indulge in many creative skill sets, such as cover design, marketing, building a fanbase and many more.”

In other works, the new author really is in the marketing business fighting an uphill battle against better-known writers, large publishers and flashy trends. And Mark Coker, Smashwords founder, candidly admits that some authors who publish through his site never sell a single book.

Then there is the way large publishers work. Peter Benchley, who wrote “Jaws” in the early 1970s, was asked to do that in part because of his family name. Reporters at top newspapers and magazines routinely are approached by publishers who already have a story idea in mind. Frequently, the reporter has no special knowledge on the subject.

Still, plenty of expats are achieving a personal dream by producing a novel or non-fiction epic. Some even use self-publishing to harangue Costa Ricans about their Kafkaesque encounters with officialdom.

And the writer’s payday at the end of the rainbow would be a call or email from a Hollywood producer who wants to put the work on the silver screen. That does not seem to have happened yet.




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Banks prepare for loan currency changes


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

In the last two weeks, the exchange rate has increased in 12 colons, leaving the devaluation rate of the first quarter of 2017 hovering at 4 percent, according to data from Banco Central.

The increase in the exchange rate is of great concern for authorities are the bank, who last year sold part of the bank's reserves in dollars in order to keep the price steady and inflation at its lowest possible number.
 
However, this year the bank is only $77 million away from reaching the total amount of reserves sold during 2016, which accounted for $303 million.

This trend worries all those people indebted in dollars. Last week, several banks announced they are prepared to face an increase in the demands of people who want to move their loans from dollars to colons.

During a quick interview after the weekly Consejo de Gobierno last Tuesday, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís said he will not interfere at all with the policies of the central bank as he trusts the capabilities of the central bank's authorities in these technical matters.

From an international perspective, the uncertainty of the economic measures taken by Donald Trump, along with an increase in the reference rate of the Federal Reserve, has pushed investors to stock themselves with dollars, thus increasing both the demand and price of the U.S. currency.
Recently, the Banco Central announced changes in the way the currency exchange is calculated. The bank's proposal seeks to take into consideration all the exchange transactions that take place in the banking system from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This would imply that the cost of dollar would be closer to its real value, according to a press release.

Right now, the reference exchange rate is calculated by making an average of all the exchange rates that authorized financial institutions have applied in the last five days from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

To proceed with the change, Banco Central needs to reform the Reglamento de Operaciones Cambiarias de Contado. The first step now is to create a public consultation with all the financial institutions affiliated to the Superintendencia General de Entidades Financieras, which regulates all the financial institutions both public and private in the country.