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May 25, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 103
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Cuba Dave wins appeal, according to his website
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

David Strecker, the man imprisoned for calling Costa Rica a sex tourism destination, has won an appeal, his U.S.-based website is reporting.

The site said that judges in the Second Judicial Circuit of San José vacated the criminal court conviction against him. In a 40 page ruling, the appellate court found serious legal flaws with both the decision of the lower court and evidence presented by the prosecution, it added.

The decision was rendered Friday, but there has been no announcement of the fact by the Poder Judicial here. Most likely, prosecutors will appeal, sending the case to the Corte Suprema.

Consequently, Strecker, a Florida man who brags of his many paid sexual encounters in Latin America, still is in jail. The website said that the current lawyer for Strecker is Luis Diego Chacon Bolaños.

Strecker, known as Cuba Dave, began taking a boat to visit women in Cuba back in the 1990s, which is how he got his nickname.

He was detained, as he was attempting to leave Costa Rica, back in September 2015, so he has been in custody for more 20 months.

The whole case raised serious legal questions. Strecker is the first and only person to be convicted with promoting Costa Rica as a sex tourist destination.

The law was passed only in 2012.

The penalty is anywhere from four to eight years in prison. Strecker probably did not even operate the website that bears his nickname. He was sentenced to five years.

The Poder Judicial said that the Fundación Rahab filed a complaint June 23, 2014, that launched prosecutors on its first and only sexual tourism investigation.

The foundation gets financial support from the U.S. government.


So when Strecker, also known as Cuba Dave, entered the country on Aug. 24, 2015, judicial agents were on his tail.

The Poder Judicial said that he was here to document erotic and sexual activities with photos and publish them on websites.

Agents followed him for days and arrested him when he was leaving the country. In fact, they were trying to find other crimes with which to charge him.

They were unable to do so.

Adult prostitution is not criminal in Costa Rica but under the law applied to Strecker, writing about it is illegal.

Because of the nature of  Strecker’s website, most free press and human rights advocates have avoided the case.



Drug police caught out in storm rescued by locals
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police officers out in the middle of the jungle near Talamanca in Limón were burning marijuana plantations on a routine mission. They were not anticipating two things: being trapped in a severe storm and the generosity of local residents.

A report from the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública relates a harrowing day that members of the Policía Control de Drogas were isolated in the jungle with no food or supplies and no rescue available.

The nearest guard post in Piedra Mesa was a nine-hour journey on foot through cliffs, wide rivers and trees that could be ripped out of the ground by the strong bursts of wind from the storm.

These men, according to officials, were preparing to return to their camp after burning marijuana plants between Piedra Mesa and Tortuga.

The plane sent to pick them up was turned around and grounded due to the intensity of the storm.

The officers caught out in the storm began to prepare for a long night.

Help, however, came unexpectedly from some local native tribesmen that populate the area and are often the very people hired by drug traffickers to plant marijuana in the area.

Several indigenous people provided the police officers with bananas, wood, salt and a frying pan as a means to cook, the security ministry said.

This, apparently, was the only food that the natives had, a report suggested.

“The Indians showed us their love and trust,” said one of the agents who was assisted.

“We have for years eradicated marijuana plantations in the area and we never have problems with them. My heart is bursting with gratitude that I will remember forever.”

Marijuana
                              burning
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Officer works on eradication in Talamanca.

The residents decided to do more for the police officers, however. Security officials then relate how they were taken to a ranch that was swept and cleaned for them so they could sleep warmly and peacefully.

"The next day the weather improved and they picked us up,” said the leader of the group. “We coordinated food immediately, a supply of food for each of these Indians because we knew that they had clearly taken out of their mouth all they had to help us.”

Police confirmed the eradication of 423,000 marijuana plants distributed in various plantations located in several mountainous near to Talamanqueño de Telire.

This time, they came across a new variety of marijuana, with smaller, more robust plants, which they harvest in less time, apparently within three months of growing them, reports said.

The drug control police noted that, unlike other years, when they located plants two or more meters high.

This new type can grow in the middle of the jungle less than one meter tall but thick and full of buds ready for sale.

So far this year, agents have eradicated a total of 751,384 marijuana plants with the vast majority in mountains in the upper part of Talamanca.



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Agents arrest man for rape of a minor

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents of the Judicial Investigating Organization arrested a 35-year old man Tuesday night on suspicion of raping a 9-year old girl multiple times and then sending the videos to an international pedophile ring on the deep web.

The deep web is the part of Internet not indexed by search engines, whose users usually hide behind aliases and encrypted connections.

Officers caught the man during a raid at his residency, located in the San Miguel de Higuito de Desamparados neighborhood, in San José.

The arrest took place after the International Police Organization, or Interpol, warned local investigators about the existence of child rape and pornography videos being uploaded from Costa Rica.

According to authorities, international investigators figured out the man's residency based on the background of one of the many photos the suspect also uploaded on to the web.

The man lived on the upper apartment of a two story house, a report said. He shared this property with a married couple that considered the man to be their adopted son for the last 15 years, according to agents. The investigation yielded no record that the man had a known job or means of existence.

Investigators said the man was frequently left in charge of the couple's children, a 13-year old son and the 9-year old female victim. He allegedly took advantage of this situation to sexually abuse the girl while keeping the boy locked in the other room. Police believe this situation had been going on for the last three years.

According to Guillermo Fonseca, director of Criminal Investigations of the Judicial Investigating Organization, the man would have uploaded at least 300 videos. Fonseca did not confirm nor deny if the man was paid for the content.

Both parents have temporarily lost the custody of the kids and had to spend Tuesday night and Wednesday morning at neighbors’ houses since the police took temporary full possession over the house to carry out further tests. Inside the residence the police found a computer, several USB sticks, pornographic videos and kids clothing.

They also found traces of bodily fluids and toys. Forensic investigators finished the evidence collection at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to a release sent by the Ministerio Público.

The children remain under the custody of the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia, a government organization in charge of protecting minors. They remain in a shelter where psychological support is provided, according to Fanny Cordero, spokeswoman for the organization.

The man had a first interrogation Wednesday at 1p.m. by the prosecutor's office. He will be detained at least until today pending his first hearing before a judge.The prosecutors said they want the man charged with rape of a minor and production and distribution of child pornography.


Platina
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo   
The bridge just prior to its Wednesday opening.

Platina bridge opens a day early

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The platina is open early based on reports from the public works ministry and Casa Presidencial.

The platina is the nickname for the Alfredo González Flores bridge over the Río Virilla. The bridge has been closed since late January after officials decided they wanted to expand the number of lanes and do a complete overhaul on the structure. According to Casa Presidencial, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís gave the go-ahead for crews to open up all the lanes for traffic a day in advance of its anticipated opening.

The three lanes previously closed for work were opened Wednesday morning at 11. With the bridge complete, six lanes are now available for the bridge, which is a section of the General Cañas highway. The road is one of the main arteries of the entire country, the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said.

Prior to its closure, the bridge represented one of the most direct and fastest routes between the capital and Juan Santamaría airport in Alajuela. Over 100,000 vehicles come and go on the structure each day, according to estimates provided by public works.

The opening of the bridge for transit, however, does not mean that the overall project is done. Minor work on painting the trusses underneath the bridge lanes still needs to be done, however crews assured that the work will not interrupt the flow of traffic.

The completed structure has a length of 161 meters and the original construction of the bridge dates from 1965, with four lanes of transit.


Costa Rican pineapples head to China

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This coming weekend, the very first pineapple container will be shipped to China, a brand new market the country expects will welcome the fruit.

According to Abel Cháves, president of the Cámara Nacional de Productores y Exportadores de Piña, two companies that are members of the organization will start sending the product either Sunday or Saturday once all the logistics are already set in place.

“The only thing we are waiting on is to confirm that sanitary authorities completed the required inspections,” Cháves said. “Other than that, we are good to go.”

This is the final step of a process that goes way back to 2015 when a Chinese delegation arrived to Costa Rica soil to verify compliance of the industry with international standards.

A second Chinese delegation came in February, to double check the first results, which were apparently positive. Since that follow-up, China granted Costa Rica the permit to introduce the local pineapples.

According to Cháves, this first shipment will be a test to determine costs, transportation issues and profits, since no sales forecast were calculated by the organization.

The pineapple industry exports 53 percent of its production to the United States and Canada, 44 percent to the European Union and 3 percent to other countries, according to figures provided by the Cámara.

The announcement comes just one week after protests against new pineapple plantations took place in San José. On May 15, several environmental organizations marched towards the Museo Nacional and the legislative assembly against a Fresh Del Monte project that sought to establish another pineapple plantation, this time close to a World Heritage monument and on top of several wetlands protected by international agreements.

The start of exports to China was confirmed Wednesday morning. A few hours later, the Cámara presented their own study on the impact of the pineapple industry in Costa Rica and its benefits.

The study was carried out by the INCAE Business School and seems to compensate for recent negative data provided by environmental activist.

From the political arena, the leftist Frente Amplio party denounced the pineapple industry for creating what they called blacklists of workers who should be hired because they have prior records of health related problems.


News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English




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Chiliguaro drink to be bottled and coming to a supermarket near you
By Rommel Téllez of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Many Costa Ricans, expats and visitors know well the Chiliguaro; the drink made out of tomato juice, salt, chili pepper and Guaro, a traditional liquor made from sugar cane.

Sold in most bars across the country, it is usually cheap. Two shots can often cost less than $2. It is normally consumed along with other drinks or taken as a shot.

What most people don’t know is that, in just two months, this beverage will hit the local supermarkets in bottled presentations as part of a business endeavor carried out by Mauricio Azofeifa, the owner of the name Chiliguaro.

That’s correct. The name Chiliguaro has been a patented commercial name since 2013, when Azofeifa partnered with his long time friend, Juan Pablo Ayala, to exercise the right of profiting of what they claim is their own invention.

“In 2011, during the traditional horse parade in San José, I was helping out with the drinks at the Bahamas Bar, which I co-owned at the time,” said Azofeifa. “Normally, that’s quite a busy day and Juan Pablo needed my help.”

“Then, a young lady asked us for a Guaro shot along with a little Tabasco, a drink which is popular in other parts in the country,” he added.

“To our suprise, several clients started to ask for the same thing and we made quite a good sale that day.”

Afterwards, Azofeifa and Ayala sought for ways to improve the drink by adding or subtracting several ingredients.

Some weeks later, they came along with their own recipe and the Chiliguaro made its debut on the drink menu.

The new invention went viral and quite soon other bars were offering their own versions of it.
Chiliguaro
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Mauricio Azofeifa
No shots were taken prior to the story being written.

At the beginning Azofeifa didn’t care but looking at how much people loved it, he later decided to claim the name and patent it.

Some time after, the Fábrica Nacional de Licores offered to buy the patent and start selling the product at a massive scale. At the time, Azofeifa agreed but bureaucratic issues grinded the project to a complete halt.
 
Since that approach, both partners started developing their own business plan with the help of Semilla organization, a small business advisory group that coached them in their entrepreneurial journey.

“We are in the stages of fine-tuning the recipe and the source of the ingredients. Our Chiliguaro should guarantee the standard taste that people recognize. We are also studying the best conservation methods to keep the drink fresh,” Azofeifa explained.

At some point, the duo dream about selling the drink into international markets, since they are sure that, locally, it will be a success.


Two theaters hosting series of diverse performances through July
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some local theaters will be hosting performances beginning today.

The stage of the Teatro La Aduana Alberto Cañas Escalante will host its production of “El otro lado del mar” by Salvadoran playwright Jorgelina Cerritos. Under the direction of Claudia Barrionuevo, the work will feature Ivonne Brenes and Leynar Gómez who will give life to the  2010 Casa de las Américas award winner, organizers said.

The play tells the story of a young man without a name or an age who does not know where he was born and is on a deserted beach with only an old woman to rid the scene of solitude.

The plot then relates how the old woman delves into the man’s past for any reason for such a solitary existence.

“Thus arises a poetry-filled story that, with apparent simplicity, both of its characters and the scenic proposal, contains a deep reflection on the solitude of being, the search for identity and the human condition, while showing a hopeful vision of the contemporary society that is torn between poverty and helplessness, between violence and chaos," the Compañía Nacional de Teatro said in a statement.

The play will be performed beginning today through Saturday at 8 p.m. and then Sunday at 3 and 6 p.m., Teatro La Aduana said. General admission is 5,000 colons with half off for students and retirees.

The ticket office will open two and a half hours prior to the show and cash only is accepted, organizers said.

Meanwhile, the Teatro Espressivo is also putting on some performances beginning on May 26 and going into July. During that time period, the theater will host artists and independent groups from the Costa Rican theater scene.

This is part of a series of performances known as Espressivo Invita, organizers said.

Casa Limpia
Teatro Espressivo photo
"Casa Limpia" is the first show opening this weekend.

Over a series of six weekends, the public is invited by the theater to enjoy a great diversity of shows that are expected to include contemporary theater, cabaret and even a magic show by professional troupes. It represents the first edition of a festival, Espressivo representatives said in a statement.

“The program aims to offer the public more quality theater options, and independent groups have the possibility to present their work in a room of excellent level,” the organizers for the series said. “The works are selected taking into account quality as the main criteria.”

Tickets for these shows cost 8,000 colons for general seating and 10,000 for VIP placements.

The shows will be performed during the previously-mentioned dates on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m.

Tickers can be purchased every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the ticket box or online at the theater’s website.

A full schedule and description of Teatro Espressivo’s shows can also be found on its website as well.



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Oxford study on genetics of zika yields hints at a hidden epidemic
By the Oxford University press staff

An international research collaboration studying the genetics of zika virus in Brazil and beyond has provided a new understanding of the disease and its rapid spread through space and time.

Newly published in “Nature,” the research was led by the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford in partnership with FioCruz Bahia, the University of São Paulo, and supported by the Brazilian health ministry.

The findings have significant public health implications and the potential to improve responses to future outbreaks. By carrying out genome sequencing to understand the virus’ genetic make-up, the team was able to track the spread of the virus across Brazil.

The study showed that zika’s establishment within Brazil, and its spread from there to other regions, occurred before zika transmission in the Americas was first discovered. By revealing this hidden epidemic, the results will help scientists to better understand the link between the zika epidemic and reports of birth defects and other diseases.

With little known at the time about the epidemiology and evolution of zika virus, the researchers travelled 2,000 kilometers across the northeast Brazil in June last year.

The team travelled in a minibus equipped with cutting-edge mobile DNA sequencing capabilities and tested samples from more than 1,300 patients infected with the virus.

In February 2016, zika was declared a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” by the World Health Organization in response to evidence that the infection can cause birth defects in the fetuses of infected pregnant women.

The virus can be transmitted from an infected pregnant woman to her developing baby, causing problems including severe microcephaly, a condition that results in babies being born with a smaller head size.

Dr. Nuno Faria, of the University of Oxford’s Department of Zoology, said:  “Despite there being probably millions of cases of the zika virus in Brazil, there was only a handful of known virus genomes prior to our work. A better understanding of zika virus’ genetic diversity is critical to vaccine design.”

Professor Oliver Pybus, also of the University of Oxford’s Department of Zoology said: “We generated  zika virus genomes to establish the virus’ epidemic history in the Americas. We showed that the virus was present in Brazil for a full year prior to the first confirmed cases in May 2015.”

“We also found that northeast Brazil, which was the region with the most recorded cases of zika and microcephaly, was the nexus of the epidemic in Brazil and played a key role in its spread within Brazil to major urban centers, such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, before spreading across the Americas. We now have a better understanding of the epidemiology of the virus.”

During the genome sequencing journey that traveled across Brazil, the researchers used a portable DNA sequencer from Oxford Nanopore Technologies.

researchers
Oxford University photo
Researchers trekked through Brazil to gather evidence.

The portable device weighs less than 100 grams and is powered by the USB port of a laptop, so is ideal for cross-country fieldwork.

Nick Loman, of the University of Birmingham’s School of Biosciences, said:

“Genome sequencing has become a powerful tool for studying emerging infectious diseases, however, genome sequencing directly from clinical samples without isolation remains challenging for viruses such as zika.”

The team developed a new protocol that allows for real-time genomic sequencing, something of vital importance when managing viral outbreaks as it can provide real insight into how a virus is spreading, transmitting and evolving.

What’s more, using equipment like portable nanopore sequencing the group was able to carry out emergency epidemiological research more quickly, to get immediate results when working in the field, as on the road in Brazil.

This new protocol may prove hugely beneficial to researchers working in remote areas around the world during times of viral outbreaks.

The research project was funded by the Medical Research Council’s Zika Rapid Response Initiative, USAID, and supported by the Wellcome Trust and the Newton Fund.

It highlights the importance of creating trusted cross-institutional partnerships and sharing data openly during disease focused research fieldwork.

What is next? Luiz Alcantara from FioCruz Bahia, Brazil hints that:

“The project is now expanding to other geographic areas in Brazil, where we are tackling not only zika virus but also dengue and chikungunya viruses, as well as the very recent ongoing yellow fever epidemics. The threat posed from viruses transmitted by mosquitos in Brazil is severe and there is a pressing need to better understand their epidemiology in order to prevent their spread.”




Vacation, travel and hospitality


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9168-3/17/17


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9214-8/2/17


George Lundquist header

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
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Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

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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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9113-7/4/17

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 Tom in the USA 803-261-6000
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9218-8/25/17

U.S. Income Tax

U.S. Income Tax Services
Marlene B. Summers
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9186-6/30/17

A.M. Costa Rica
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Real estate rentals (paid category)

San Jose Penthouse

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9217-5/11/17


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9055-2/23/17


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9118-6/26/17







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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
Published || Thursday Edition, May 25, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 103
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Food
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Tunnels at border show
smugglers’ commitment


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Drug smugglers trying to tap into the United States’ highly profitable market have developed all kinds of secretive routes to deliver their illicit goods. One tactic is to go underground.

At the U.S.-México border, tunnels are a popular means of transporting illegal marijuana, a bulky drug whose distinctive odor makes it hard to get past drug-sniffing dogs and other security at border checkpoints and airports.

Since 1990, more than 220 tunnels have been discovered there, including 60 in the area overseen by the U.S. Border Patrol’s San Diego office.

Noise from constant truck traffic on the American side and dense urban construction on the Mexican side conceal the construction of secret tunnels.

Drug traffickers will spend as much as $2 million on construction in hopes of big profit in return, the Drug Enforcement Administration said earlier this year.

The DEA links most of the cross-border tunneling to Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, whose boss, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán used other tunnels to escape twice from Mexican prisons. He was extradited to the United States in January and awaits trial on various trafficking charges.

The unfinished Galvez tunnel, discovered in 2009, was intended as a link from about 18 meters south of the Mexican border stretching 231 meters north into California’s San Diego neighborhood of Otay Mesa.

Now, instead of serving as a conduit for drugs, it has become a training site for Border Patrol agents. They scramble down ladders to a passageway 20 meters deep, nearly 2 meters tall and just over a meter wide.

The tunnel yields clues into tunnel engineering and equipment. Dug with drills, picks and shovels, it was outfitted with lighting, railway, telephone and ventilation systems.

That’s not the most elaborate. Lance LeNoir, who leads the Border Patrol’s San Diego Intercept Team of so-called "tunnel rats," reports that agents once "intercepted 13 individuals immediately to our south in Mexico. They found the entrance underneath a bathroom floor, which actually lowered through a [hydraulic] lift system."

To aid its detective work, the Border Patrol uses an assortment of complex tools, including ground-penetrating radar and sensors.

When a tunnel is discovered, U.S. authorities shut it down.

From 2007 to 2015, the Department of Homeland Security spent $8.7 million to block the tunnels with concrete.

Its counterpart in México uses a different approach.

"They mostly put garbage at the entrance to the tunnel until the entrance is blocked," says Hernandez, the Border Patrol spokesman.

The trash treatment is a source of conflict between Mexican and U.S. authorities because it’s not permanent. At least six tunnels were found reopened on the Mexican side. Authorities there say they don’t have the money to use cement.

But the two countries continue to collaborate on blocking tunnels and traffickers. The United States views illegal drugs and smuggling as a threat to the nation’s health and security.


Persons who overstayed visa face an uncertain future

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Fearing violence in México linked to political turbulence in the early 1990s, Maru Mora Villalpando came to the United States on a tourist visa.

"I used to go back and forth with a tourist visa," Ms. Villalpando said.

"Since I was going back and forth from Seattle to México, my idea was to stay in México, but only because of the economic situation," she said as the North American Free Trade Agreement promised a better future.

She also had aspirations to be part of something political in her home country.

"But then I saw the person who was supposed to be the next president being killed in front of hundreds of people. It made me realize that it was better for me to leave the country. For the kind of work I wanted to do, I imagined I would be killed as well," she said.

In 1996, she used her tourist visa for the last time to see her family. The year after, her daughter was born in Seattle and the 46-year-old community organizer, social activist and single mother became a visa over-stayer.

Ms. Villalpando now falls under the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act signed by former president Bill Clinton; if she were to leave the country, she could not come back for 10 years.

"While the White House focuses its border security rhetoric on building a wall along the southern border, attention and resources should be paid to issues like overstays," Rep. Filemon Vela, a Democrat of Texas, said during a congressional hearing in Washington Tuesday.

Members of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security called overstay a gap in the nation's border security.

Vela said he knows firsthand the security challenges faced along the border, but to keep our focus mainly on walls is a vulnerability in and of itself.

The subcommittee's chair, Rep. Martha McSally, a Republican of Arizona, said visa overstays historically have been the primary means for terrorist entry into the United States.

"Time and time again, terrorists have exploited the visa system by legally entering America. The 9/11 commission put it this way: for terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons," she added.

On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security reported that 544,676 people didn't leave when their visas expired during fiscal year 2016, didn't adjust their status as would be the case of, for example, an asylum seeker who came as a tourist, and remained in the country at the end of the last fiscal year.

U.S. security officials have not fully implemented a biometric entry/exit system that has been in the works since 2013, complicating how agencies track visa overstays.

Homeland Security relies on biographic information from passenger manifests to document departures.

In the meantime, people like Ms. Villalpando continue to live a day at a time.


Bomber’s family members
arrested by Libyan forces


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Libyan security forces said Wednesday that they had arrested a brother and the father of Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi.

A spokesman for the Libyan anti-terrorism force said Hashim Abedi had recently been in contact with his brother and knew of his plans for the attack.

They have evidence that he is involved in Daesh, an Arabic name for the Islamic State group, with his brother. They were following him for more than one month and a half, the spokesman said.

Salman Abedi blew himself up in the Manchester Arena, killing 22 people and wounding scores of others, just moments after the ending of a pop music show featuring American singer Ariana Grande.

Abedi's father said he spoke to his son five days ago, and everything was normal. His son did not have extremist beliefs, the father said in Tripoli, where he lives. However, he added that Abedi did not disclose he was heading for Manchester when he left Libya last week.

The top police official in Manchester, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins, told reporters Wednesday, "It's very clear that this is a network that we are investigating," and that Abedi did not act alone.

Police made two more arrests Wednesday. A woman was taken into custody during a raid on an apartment north of Manchester, and another person was picked up in the town of Nuneaton, in central England.

Five others are also in custody. Police have given no information about how they may be connected to the bombing.

In France, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said Wednesday that British and French intelligence had information that Abedi most likely traveled to Syria.

Collomb told France's BFM television that Abedi grew up in Britain and then suddenly, after a trip to Libya and then likely to Syria, became radicalized and decided to carry out this attack. In any case, the links with Daesh are proven.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, but British and U.S. intelligence have not confirmed that the extremist group was involved.

British and American newspapers have printed police images of some evidence left on the floor of the arena where Abedi blew himself up, including shreds of a backpack or vest that apparently held the bomb and a piece of bloodstained metal that may have been the detonator.

Britain raised its terrorism alert level to critical, the highest step, after the blast, signaling that another attack could be imminent, and Prime MinisterTheresa May cut short her trip to the Group of Seven meeting in Sicily later this week.

Soldiers are being deployed to such major events as soccer matches and concerts. The prime minister said authorities would do everything possible to protect the public, and she asked people to remain vigilant.

Ms. Grande canceled her tour schedule in Europe until June 7, when she is due to appear in Paris.


Instagram, Snapchat rated
worst platforms for youth


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Instagram and Snapchat are the worst social media platform for young people’s mental health, and YouTube is the most positive, a new study suggests.

The ranking comes in a report from the British Royal Society for Public Health, which ranked the sites’ impact on young people.

“Social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol, and is now so entrenched in the lives of young people that it is no longer possible to ignore it when talking about young people’s mental health issues,” said Shirley Cramer, the chief executive of the society.

“It’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and well being, both platforms are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.”

For the study, researchers surveyed about 1,500 young people age 14 to 24 from Britain, asking them to score the impact social media sites had on 14 health and well-being issues.

Those include anxiety, depression, quality of sleep, body image, loneliness and real-world friendships and connections.

According to the study, YouTube was the most positive, followed by Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

“Social media has dramatically shifted how we socialize, communicate, and form relationships with each other,” said Laci Green, a professional health YouTuber with 1.5 million subscribers.

She added that since Instagram and Facebook present highly curated versions of the people we know and the world around us, it is easy for our perspective of reality to become distorted.

To combat the negative influence of social media, the researchers recommend adding pop ups that warn users of heavy usage, which was supported by 71 percent of the people surveyed.

Another recommendation is for social media companies that can tell from a user’s post that they’re in distress could discretely point them toward help.

That was supported by 80 percent of those surveyed. Finally, nearly 70 percent said social media sites should note when a photo has been manipulated.


Amazon founder to give
$1 million to press freedom


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has promised to donate $1 million to support press freedom, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press announced Tuesday.

"This generous gift will help us continue to grow, to offer our legal and educational support to many more news organizations, and to expand our services to independent journalists, nonprofit newsrooms and documentary filmmakers," Reporters Committee Chairman David Boardman said.

"We'll also be better positioned to help local newsrooms, the places hit hardest by the disruption in the news industry and whose survival is every bit as crucial to American democracy as those entities headquartered in Washington and New York."

The gift from Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post newspaper, is the largest the organization has ever received.

The Reporters Committee also announced that it will support First Look Media and help administer its Media Press Freedom Defense Fund of up to $6 million. EBay founder Pierre Omidyar established first Look Media.

Bezos and Omidyar have cited a need for efforts to support an independent press.

Last month, Omidyar's philanthropy, the Omidyar Network, promised $100 million over the next three years to support journalism and fight fake news.


Budget Office reports
glaring losses from bill


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An estimated 23 million Americans will lose health insurance over a 10-year period under the Republican health care bill aimed at repealing the Affordable Care Act, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says.

The office released its analysis of the House-passed bill on Wednesday, giving the public an estimate of the impact the measure would have on health coverage, premiums and the nation's budget.

It says more consumers would have pared down coverage and many more would face higher deductibles under the bill, which was narrowly approved 217-213 on May 4.

Replacing the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, was a priority of Donald Trump during his presidential campaign, and of Republican lawmakers since its enactment in 2010.

The office issued two reports on earlier versions of the Republican legislation, the American Health Care Act, in March. Both concluded the bill would increase the number of uninsured Americans by 24 million over a period of 10 years.

The reports also projected the bill would increase premiums by an average of 15- to 20 percent over a two-year period, but push them 10 percent lower than they would otherwise be by 2026.

The reports prompted some conservative and moderate Republican lawmakers to abandon their support for the measure and craft new language for a revised bill that managed enough votes to narrowly win House approval.

The new provisions would allow states to permit insurance companies to increase premiums on some people with pre-existing conditions and waive the federal essential health benefits requirement.

States would also get permission to allow insurers to charge higher premiums for older people.

Democratic lawmakers have attacked the changes, maintaining they are designed to victimize people with serious health problems that require expensive medical care.

The latest bill would cut taxes by about $1 trillion over a decade, mostly on higher income people and health insurers, the office said.

It would replace Obama's tax subsidies for health insurance consumers with tax credits based largely on age instead of income.

Most people who would lose coverage would be beneficiaries of Medicaid, the federal health care program for poor and disabled people. The last report estimated the House bill would cut Medicaid by nearly $840 billion over a decade.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told members of the House Budget Committee Wednesday that Republicans do have compassion toward poor people, but their budget decisions are based on pragmatism.

"We look at it from different perspectives, which is the balance: Those who receive the benefits and the folks who pay for the benefits," Mulvaney said.

Once the House approves a health care bill, the measure would then go to the 100-member Senate, where it currently does not have the support of the majority, according to the Senate's top Republican.

"I don't know how we get to 50 at the moment, but that's the goal," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Reuters Wednesday in an exclusive interview.

McConnell declined to provide a timetable for when a draft of a Senate bill would be available for members to review.


More news of the Americas
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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


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
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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

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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
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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)

CENTURY 21 JACÓ BEACH
Century 21

A Name You Trust,
Professionalism You Deserve
Tom Ghormley and the dream team!
Owner/Broker
in CR since 1979

Buying? Selling? Renting?
We Can Do It!
Let us help you live your dreams!
Beachfront, Views, Mountains,
Beaches, Houses, Condos,
Hotels, Restaurants, Projects,
Commercial, Investments and more

 Century 21 Jacó Beach Realty
Playa Jacó, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
U. S. A. phone numbers:  (213) 283-5168 
or Toll Free: (877) 746-3868
Costa Rica phone number: (506) 2643-3356
Email: info@c21jaco.com
Web: www.c21jaco.com
9215-3/22/18


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
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
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.
Solar logo
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 || Thursday Edition, May 25, 2017 || Vol. 17, No. 103
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The app
Ministerio de Salud image
The health ministry's app advertisement.

Salud urges more people to use app

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The health ministry apparently wants more people to use its mobile application that it created back in November 2016.

“Denuncia Salud” is the name of the app and it is available for both iPhone and Android devices, the Ministerio of Salud said. Officials want members of communities to report any situation that is or could compromise their health.

Data from Salud said that more than 517 complaints had been registered so far with the use of the app. Some of the complaints ranged from noise issues to bad smells or to the influx of mosquitoes in an area. The portal to see if some complaints were registered in your area can be viewed HERE.

Denunica Salud allows the use to register a complaint and send it directly to authorities as well as to share it on Facebook, according to its description. By using the app, people can report water problems, residues, pest control, dengue, zika, health and restaurant violations among other things.

It can also allow the user to record or take pictures of specific instances regarding potential violations and send it directly to Salud. The app will share the location of the incident as well, officials noted.


Caja to try a more empathetic strategy

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Officials from the Costa Rican social security fund in Ciudad Quesada are trying a new strategy of empathy with their patients to simplify procedures and raise the level of coverage.

According to a statement from the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social, the idea is for employees to have a more empathetic relationship with the more than 49,500 patients that go to the offices of Ebáis de San Juan.

As an example, the Caja said that if a patient does not come to pick up their prescribed medication then the pharmacy staff will attempt to call them and ask of anything is wrong. Pending the patient’s answer, the staff would then try to explain the importance of scheduling times to take the medication.

In the case of an older person who is unable to come pick it up, Caja officials at Ciudad Quesada will send it directly to them. Simplifying the procedures is another goal for this strategy.

When a person arrives who is voluntarily or independently insured, then the branch official at Quesada tells them to go immediately to the health area and wait on their first appointment. For Dr. Thais Ching Zamora, this partnership between the headquarters at Ebáis and Quesada allows the patient to be reached in a timely manner.

All these actions are part of the project that is developing the health area as part of the Buen Trato competition that the Caja launched this year throughout the country to promote the value of responsibility, and set a standard by which each institutional official should abide by.

This contest that started in February includes the participation of  47 establishments of health services as well as financial, administrative and pensions.

The projects developed will be evaluated by a jury where three categories: branches, health areas and hospitals will be selected, the Caja said. The winning units will be awarded in a special ceremony to be held in October.



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From page 7:

Smile Direct Club expanding Costa Rica post


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An U.S.-based orthodontic service provider announced Wednesday that it intends to add 400 more people to its operation in Costa Rica.

The company, Smile Direct Club, serves as a platform to provide services and distribution of orthodontic products to clients in the U.S., according to the Ministerio de Comercio Exterior. It is based in Nashville, Tennessee, but maintains a facility at Avenida Escazú.

The company’s outpost in Costa Rica operates mainly as a call center and data entry facilities but also includes specialists in digital orthodontics, according to information provided by the ministry. It currently employs around 160 people in Costa Rica.

Pablo Rojas, the managing director of Smile Direct Costa Rica, explained: "Our customer service department works in 4 different channels of communication, chat, email, text messages and calls, and for this group we employ people with a high level of English oral as well as written skills, along with some level of experience in customer service preferably.”

The administrative and data entry people are filled with employees with prior experience in data processing and ideally those who have worked with North American medical insurance, he said. Digital orthodontics actually consists of dentists, dental technicians or personal who have already worked in digital orthodontic systems before, Rojas said.

To date, the company has invested about half a million dollars in its Costa Rica operation, the foreign trade ministry said. That investment is expected to double by August with the addition of the new employees.