A.M. Costa Rica
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(506) 2223-1327                              Published Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 1                             Email us
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New year will see competing versions of finances
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As the new year opens, the financial stability of the country hangs in the balance.

From the executive branch perspective, only new taxes can reduce the fiscal crisis. President Luis Guillermo Solís has been clear that a 15 percent value-added tax is needed to replace the existing 13 percent sales tax. He also seeks a series of other laws, including an update to the income taxes and provisions against customs fraud.

From some in the legislature, what is needed is a demonstration that the executive branch is ready to reduce spending. That has not happened, and the current budget is higher than the previous.

In fact, every day there seems to be a new project being put forward by the executive branch. One of the latest is promoted on the presidential Web site.

This is a proposal to reduce the gap between

Internet users and those who are not with a $300 million price tag.

The proposal is, in the words of the government, to democratize Internet access and service over the next three years.

This is a project that was launched in October by the  Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones. Residents of some 140,000 homes will be subsidized to connect to the Internet, according to the proposal.

A key test for the president's plan will be the corporate tax that the Presidencia wants to see reinstated.  This is the tax on corporations that was ruled unconstitutional for technical reasons. Casa Presidencial hoped that the measure would be passed by the legislature by the new year.

To improve chances of passage, Casa Presidencial presented a new draft that assesses a higher tax on high grossing firms.

This measure certainly will be on the agenda when lawmakers reconvene.

Unexpected wave of flu has a 3.7 percent mortality
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Medical professionals did not expect the arrival of a wave of influenza cases in November, December and now January. Typically, August and September are the top months for flu season in Costa Rica.

The handful of patient deaths in San Carlos and two Cartago have brought the late-arriving flu into the public mind. Still health officials said that the various types of viral influenza have a mortality rate of just 3.7 percent.

María del Rocío Sáenz Madrigal, executive president of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and a former minister of Salud, said her agency was taking steps to improve treatment options. She said over the weekend that an additional four ventilators would be sent to Cartago and three more will go to San Carlos.

These are devices that use air pressure to help patients breath.

She also said that the situation in the Hospital de Alajuela was being evaluated for possible reinforcement of treatment options.

The Caja said over the weekend that there were 784 persons admitted to four major public hospitals since October through last

week. Of these, just 29 died, the Caja said.

Dr. Saenz Madrigal noted that many of the deaths were of persons who were high risk due to high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma or obesity and most had not been vaccinated.

She also characterized some versions of the influenza A virus as particularly aggressive. The one that gets the most press is the AH1N1, known as swine flu.

Caja workers urged residents to adopt protective measures, including hand washing and possible use of alcohol gels.

Individuals also should get a good night's sleep and refrain from going to public gatherings if sick, they said.

In addition, they said that with the onset of flu symptoms, individuals should seek medical help. Some of the sickest patients are those who waited too long to seek help, they said. A high temperature and trouble breathing are symptoms that suggest hospitalization, they said.

Fernando Llorca Castro, the minister of Salud, made a special trip to San Carlos over the weekend to see the situation first-hand and to boost staff morale.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 1
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Legal services

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Atenas newsman to head A.M. Cuba

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Thomas Ropp, a former Arizona newsman, has been named editor of A.M. Cuba, another
English-language news title of A.M. Newspapers.

In addition to directing news coverage for the Cuban online newspaper,
Ropp also is editor of Costa Rica Report, the daily summary in English of top news stories in the Costa Rican Spanish-language press.

That publication is HERE!

He is a former resident of Manuel Antonio.

A.M. Cuba was in mothballs until the United States began its rapprochement to the Communist nation. Recently it has been the go-to source in 
English for reports about the thousands of Cuban migrants stuck in Costa Rica.

A.M. Newspapers, which includes A.M. Costa Rica, 
Thomas Rpp
Thomas Ropp
is the property of Consultantes Río Colorado S.A., a Costa Rican corporation.

Other active titles are Retire Now in Costa Rica, Medical Vacations in Costa Rica, the A.M. Costa Rica archives site, Fish Fabulous Costa Rica and Costa Rican News.

Other publications are in development.

Bulls roughed up hundreds at fairs

By the A.M.  Costa Rica staff

Bulls inflicted injuries on 200 persona at the Zapote fairgrounds and on 274 persons at the Centro de Eventos Pedregal from Christmas until Sunday. These are the totals reported by the Cruz Roja.

Of these, 42 persons were hospitalized from Zapote and 22 from Pedregal, the majority victims of bulls. In all, Cruz Roja workers handled 352 patients in Zapote and 296 at Pedregal, the aid agency said.

There were no deaths reported this year as a result of the unique Costa Rican style bullfights that pit amateurs against mature bulls.

Man jailed in Puerto Viejo rape case

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man has been jailed on the allegation that he raped a U.S. woman in Puerto Viejo de Limón.

The Poder Judicial identified him by the last name of Santos, and said Friday that he has been remanded to preventative detention by the Juzgado Penal de Bribrí.

The Poder Judicial said that the crime happened a week ago when the woman encountered the man in a local bar. The allegation is that the pair went to a nearby beach where the man forced himself upon the woman.

North Pole briefly reaches above freezing

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In the darkness of an Arctic noon, a blast of relatively warm air blew over a buoy very near the North Pole this Wednesday. For a brief time, the temperature rose above freezing.

The storm system that dumped record-breaking rain on England this week had flung a mass of warm, southern air over the North Pole, pushing the temperature more than 30 degrees C  above normal.

It's not the first time it's been this warm up there this late in the year. Since 1948, the planet's northernmost reaches have seen above-freezing temperatures in three other Decembers, according to a tweet from Weather Underground meteorologist Bob Henson.

"By itself, it's not that meaningful," said Columbia University oceanographer Robert Newton.

But there's a lot more going on in the Arctic that has scientists worried.

The year 2015 has been the region's warmest on record. That's true for the planet as a whole, too. But while the average global temperature has risen less than 1 degree C. since pre-industrial times, the Arctic is up 3 degrees.

"The Arctic is warming faster than any other part of the planet,” Newton said. “And the Arctic is warming much faster than we thought it would. And it's warming even faster than most of our models predict it will.”

For five of the past six years, Arctic snow cover has been below 3 million square kilometers, a threshold that was never crossed in the previous 43 years. Sea ice cover was the fourth-lowest last year since records began in 1979. The lowest was in 2012.

So Wednesday's above-freezing temperature was not just a single freak event, Newton said. "It's a particularly high reading in the context of a steadily warming Arctic."

For the Arctic's native peoples, shrinking sea ice has made traditional whale and seal hunting harder. Thawing permafrost means underground food storage isn't an option anymore.

"The old ways of doing things, and the old ways of understanding what's safe and what's not safe, is changing rapidly," said climatologist Rick Thoman at the National Weather Service office in Fairbanks, Alaska.

But what the warming Arctic means for the rest of the planet is still in dispute.

Early this year, blasts of Arctic cold plunged deep into the continental United States. Some researchers said the warming of the Arctic actually may have contributed.

The shrinking temperature difference between the Arctic and the upper latitudes may be affecting the jet stream, the high-altitude winds that blow weather patterns around the Northern Hemisphere. A weaker, wavier jet stream may be pushing air masses off their normal courses, bringing extremes of both cold and heat.

News for the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 1
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The Cuban factor is now a reality for Costa Rican tourism operators
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The specter of Cuban tourism that those in the Costa Rican industry feared is now a reality.

Theoretically the  U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is supposed to keep tight restrictions on U.S. citizens who visit Cuba.

In the past, there were specific licenses for mostly non-profit groups with the emphasis being on education and citizen contact. On the books there are 12 legal reasons why U.S. citizens can visit Cuba.

But since U.S. President Barack Obama announced his effort to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba, there has been a surge in Cuban trips.

That became clear when the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, was forced to return to his city from a family vacation in Cuba because of political difficulties over the actions of police officers.

Emanuel served earlier as chief of staff to Obama.

In the past, Cuban tours were highly restricted. Some who participated complained that they were not even allowed to
visit the country's fabled beaches because that was not
considered educational by the U.S. government and tour providers.

Since 2011 there are hundreds of options for U.S. citizens who wish to visit Cuba. One tour provider, U.S.A. Cuba Tours and Travel,  says this:

"Cuba travel is all about wandering colonial streets, exploring 'modern' architecture, discovering an emerging, strange art scene. But most importantly is about getting to know the Cuban people. Visiting Cuba is also a good excuse to sip mojitos, smoke Cuban cigars, dancing salsa and partaking in Cuba’s sensual night scene."

The Obama administration has reinstated people-to-people licenses so now dozens of individuals, organizations, educational institutions and tour companies have been granted the authorization to run people-to-people trips to Cuba, the travel firm says.

The opening of U.S. travel to Cuba always has been a fear in Costa Rica. The island is a short distance from mainland United States, and has fabled beaches.

Thousands of U.S. citizens visited the Communist island before Obama loosened prohibitions, so the island has to be considered a factor by Costa Rican tourism officials and promoters.

There was no vacation for murder investigators over the new year
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There were at least four murders, including that of a pregnant 15 year old, as the new year began.

Investigators also managed to make an arrest in a grisly case of two burned bodies that were discovered Thursday morning.

Agents detained a 19 year old Saturday morning in the murder the day before of  a  32 year old with the last name of Rocha in Tres Ríos. Agents detained the suspect in San Sebastián.  The murder stemmed from a dispute, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Another dispute claimed the life of a 27 year old with the last name of  Muñoz in Llanos de Santa Lucia in Paraíso de Cartago, said agents.

Th 15 year old was last seen Thursday in Herediana de

Siquirres, said investigators. Her body turned up on the banks of a nearby river New Year's day. She had ben shot in the head.

Perhaps the first murder victim of the year was a man who suffered five bullet wound in Mozotal de Goicoechea. That was at 2 a.m. New Year's Day. Agents said his last name was Sojo and he was 47.

The man was gunned down while standing in the parking area of his home by someone in the street, said agents.

The arrest in the double murder took place Sunday morning of individuals 18, 22, 22 and 23 years of age, said agents.

The bodies of the dead men were partly burned, but agents said identification was made from their tattoos. Dead was a 29 year old with the last name of Solano and a 23 year old with the last name of Arias. Both lived in Cocorí en Cartago

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Guanacaste Lodge

Palermo Hotel


Tarpon lodge

Vista Ballena

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 1
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Bach's forgotten son celebrates 50th anniversary of musical mirth
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

We have Professor Peter Schickele to thank for introducing the world to PDQ Bach, the 21st of Johann Sebastian Bach's 20 children. Schickele has created an entire back-story around the forgotten son of the Bach family, noting how amazing it is that PDQ produced any music at all, since he was lazy and rarely sober.

"He did have a drinking problem," Schickele explained, then corrected himself. "Actually, it wasn't a problem because it didn't bother him. He just drank." As for PDQ's creative technique, "A lot of composers compose at the piano.  Some composers compose away from the piano. He composed under the piano.  And he was often at floor level." 

PDQ Bach is, of course, the creation of Peter Schickele, who is himself a composer and not a professor.  Out of this persona came more than 100 compositions, 20 recordings and countless concerts, all poking fun at classical music. Schickele and his friends performed PDQ Bach's first concert at The Town Hall in New York City in 1965.

Schickele's inspiration for comedy came from his love for Spike Jones, the musician who added funny sound effects to popular songs in the 1940s. "He had a comedy band, he did take-offs on mostly pop songs of the day, but also on some classical stuff like Carmen and the Nutcracker Suite. And he had all sorts of weird instruments in his orchestra . . . like gun shots and sirens and things."

As a teenager, Schickele, his brother and a friend put together a band with traditional instruments used in untraditional arrangements.

"We had recorded the first movement of the second Brandenburg concerto of Bach with my brother playing the high string parts on violin and viola, and Ernie playing the low string parts on cello and me playing the wind parts on bassoon, two octaves lower which gives a nice muddy sound." He remembers they had a lot of fun doing that.  "We thought let’s do that again next week.  We’d been listening to the 'Coffee Cantata,' one of Bach's few humorous works and I came up with the 'Sanka Cantata' which we recorded.  And we made it in the form of a radio broadcast, so when we did that, we had to have a composer."

Hence, PDQ Bach was born. 

One of his most popular pieces is a performance of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, with play-by-play commentary 

Peter Schickele photo
PDQ Bach looks a lot like Peter Schickele

as if it was a sporting event. As the orchestra strikes up the familiar four note theme, da da da daaah,  the sportscaster announces, "And they're off! With a four note theme . . .  it's very exciting, the beginning of a symphony is always exciting." Later, when a horn player deliberately misses a note and is sent to the penalty chair for 30 bars, the commentator observes, "That was Bobby Kornoh, in the first chair, and that's the third major flub he's made this season." The audience loves it.

Schickele is the composer behind all of PDQ Bach's works.  He is also a respected composer of serious music as well, including symphonies, string quartets, choral works and more.

"During my teenage years I got more and more interested in writing music just for writing music and not just for comedy," he explained. "By the time I went to college I knew I wanted to be a composer.  And I’ve done both the comedy and the serious ever since."

Schickele feels there is room for both serious and funny music in the classical world. "I think a world without humor would be a sad one indeed. But in terms of sort of intellectual activity, as I say, being exposed to PDQ Bach exposes you to a lot of truths about Baroque music and music in general.  So I think that’s probably what's important."

In December, Schickele and friends celebrated the 50th anniversary of that very first PDQ Bach concert, with two return performances at The Town Hall in New York City.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

HIdden Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

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

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

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

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

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

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


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Real estate rental services (paid category)

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
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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
tropical homes
of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442

Real estate for rent (paid category)
Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry. $600-$650 per month plus electricity. ½ month security deposit. No lease.  The larger apartments are $650 per month. They have larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be best for the prospective tenants to visit
Barrio Amon
the building to see the apartments.   For more information contact:  or call Hilda at 2221-7161.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 1
Real Estate
About us

Obama's executive order
to trigger battle over guns

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A looming fight over gun control promises to start Washington’s political year with a bang.

President Barack Obama could issue executive orders aimed at reducing gun violence as early as today, provoking a battle with Republicans on Capitol Hill and on the presidential campaign trial.

“Tens of thousands of our fellow Americans have been mowed down by gun violence. Tens of thousands,” Obama said in his weekly address Saturday. “Each time, we’re told that commonsense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, so we shouldn’t do anything.”

“We know that we can’t stop every act of violence.  But what if we tried to stop even one? What if Congress did something, anything, to protect our kids from gun violence?” the president added.

Months before terrorist-inspired carnage in San Bernardino, California, and the shooting rampage at an Oregon community college, the White House began studying actions the president could take to reduce gun violence. Those steps are expected to be finalized at a meeting today between Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Republicans are already decrying what they see as an attack on Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms.

“We’re going to save the Second Amendment. There’s a big assault on the Second Amendment,” said Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump late Saturday at a rally in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Trump argued that gun-toting civilians could have defended themselves from terrorists in San Bernardino and in France.

“You know what they did in Paris? ‘Get over here.’ Boom. ‘Get over here.’ Boom. ‘Get over here.’ Boom. They were total sitting ducks,” Trump said of terrorists and victims, mimicking the firing of a gun with his pointed finger at the crowd.

“The American people have been horrified by the mass shootings we have seen over the last couple of years,” said Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on ABC’s "This Week" program.

“We should expand and strengthen the instant background check so that people who should not have guns, criminals and people with mental health issues, should not own guns. I think that is what the president is trying to do,” Sanders added.

Legal challenges to an executive order are all but certain. Presidential action bypassing Congress on another thorny topic, immigration, sparked court battles that could continue for the remainder of Obama’s term in office.

Federal building takeover
supports jail-bound ranchers

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A group of anti-government militiamen, who took over a federal wildlife center in the northwestern U.S. state of Oregon Saturday, say they are prepared to carry out an armed standoff with authorities for years.

The militiamen, a loosely-organized group of ranchers, farmers, and so-called survivalists, are led by Ammon Bundy, whose family was at the center of another standoff in 2014 over grazing rights on federal lands.

About 100 people are part of the group at the wildlife refuge.

"We will be here as long as it takes," Bundy told reporters Sunday. "We have no intentions of using force upon anyone. If force is used against us, we would defend ourselves."

Bundy and his supporters seized the offices of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, near the town of Burns, to protest a federal judge's order to re-sentence two ranchers to five years in prison for setting fire on federal land in Oregon in 2012.

The ranchers, Dwight Lincoln Hammond and his son Steven, admitted they set the fires. But they say they were trying to burn out invasive plant species on their own property and that the flames accidentally spread to the federal land.

But witnesses testified that the Hammonds illegally killed deer on government property and handed out matches to other hunters urging them to light them and drop them anywhere to set the whole country on fire.

An Oregon court decided that the mandatory five-year prison term for burning federal land is unconstitutional and sentenced the Hammonds to much shorter terms.

But a federal appeals court ruled in October that the minimum five-year terms are not too harsh and proportionate to the crime. The court ordered the Hammonds back to prison Monday with credit for time already served.

A Hammond family statement says the two men only want to turn themselves in and serve out their prison terms. The family says no patriot group or individual has the right or authority to force an armed standoff  against their wishes.

The anti-government militiamen who took over the wildlife center say they are infuriated by the decision to send the Hammonds back to prison.

After a peaceful protest in Burns Saturday, they took over the refuge's offices, which were closed at the time. News photos show the militiamen moving fuel and food onto the refuge as if preparing for a long stay.

A sign in front of the occupied refuge building accuses the government of "doing what they do best, ABUSING POWER."

Militiaman Bundy and his father Cliven held a month-long armed standoff with federal authorities in 2014 over unpaid fees for letting their cattle graze on federal land.

Bundy told CNN television Sunday he wants the federal government to restore what he calls the people's constitutional rights, accusing authorities of tyranny by illegally confiscating private property for public use.

"The people cannot survive without their land and resources. We cannot have the government restricting the use of that to the point that it puts us in poverty."

Bundy called the wildlife refuge center a people's facility, owned by the people.

There are 560 national wildlife refuges in the United States. They are large tracts of land that are set aside by the federal government to protect wildlife species and their habitats. Oregon’s Malheur Refuge was established in 1908 by president Theodore Roosevelt.

Federal law enforcement officials, including the FBI, have not yet commented on the Oregon standoff. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe called the occupation illegal and says no employees were in the center when the militiamen took over. The Fish and Wildlife Service oversees the refuges.

Harney Country Oregon Sheriff Dave Ward is urging people to stay away from the area.

Trump appears not upset
at his cameo from Somalia

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is dismissing his persona being featured in a recruitment video made by the Somali militant group al-Shabab.

In the video, which was released Friday, Trump was shown at a campaign rally in the southern state of South Carolina last month reading a statement calling on the United States government to ban Muslims from entering the country. He had made the call made in response to the deadly attack on a state government facility in San Bernardino, California, carried out by a Muslim husband-and-wife couple who investigators say had been radicalized.

In an interview that will air Sunday on the CBS News public affairs program "Face the Nation," Trump defends his comments, telling host John Dickerson that "I have to say what I have to say," and that al-Shabab has used other people in their videos.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said last month that the so-called Islamic State militant group was "showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists."

The al-Shabab group is not affiliated with Islamic State.

Trump did not mention the al-Shabab recruitment video during a campaign rally Saturday night in Biloxi, Mississippi, but he blamed the rise of the Islamic State on Mrs. Clinton and President Barack Obama.

Americans say their anger
of current events on the rise

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new U.S. survey shows that nearly half of Americans are angrier at current events than they were a year ago, with whites, Republicans and women the most outraged.

Overall, the NBC News/Survey Monkey/Esquire online poll released Sunday said that 49 percent of Americans found themselves feeling angrier about the news in 2015. Whites were the angriest, with 54 percent saying they were more outraged in the last year, compared to 43 percent of Latinos and 33 percent of blacks.

The poll also showed Republicans angrier than Democrats, with 61 percent of Republicans saying that current events irk them more now, compared to 42 percent of Democrats. The survey showed that Republicans are most upset about the dysfunction of the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress and consumer fraud, while Democrats ranked white police shootings of unarmed black men as the issue that made them maddest.

The survey showed 53 percent of women were angered at news of the day compared to 44 percent of men.

The sentiments were recorded as the U.S. nears months of state-by-state political contests to select 2016 Republican and Democratic presidential nominees ahead of next November's national election to pick a successor to President Barack Obama, who leaves office in January 2017.

The first voting is set for Feb. 1 at party caucuses in the farm state of Iowa, followed in the weeks after by party primaries in other states.

Independent panel agrees
Haitian elections were marred

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An independent panel has concluded that Haiti's presidential and parliamentary elections in October were marred by irregularities.

The panel's report released Sunday bears out charges of fraud made by opposition presidential candidate Jude Celestin.

Problems included ballots where the votes were crossed out, miscounting, and discrepancies in voter identification.

Allegations of fraud led to street protests that forced officials to cancel the second round of voting last month.

It is unclear when the runoff will be held, but Haiti's constitution calls for a new president to take office by Feb. 7.

The pro-government candidate Jovenel Moise won the first round, followed by Celestin, in a field of more than 50 candidates.

Haiti has been struggling for decades to put together a stable government and society vital in attracting badly needed investment.

Corruption, violence, and a devastating 2010 earthquake have thwarted Haiti's efforts to build a thriving country.

Mexican mayor for a day
gunned down at her home

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The mayor of a Mexican city who took office Friday was killed Saturday.

The mayor, Gisela Mota, was killed by armed gunmen at her house in Temixco.

The Morelos state security commissioner, Jesus Alberto Capella, said two attackers were killed and three were detained by federal police and soldiers.

Ms. Mota's leftist Democratic Revolution Party said in a statement she was "a strong and brave woman who on taking office as mayor, declared that her fight against crime would be frontal and direct."

The city's general secretary, Carols Caltenco, said the city government believed some people were threatened by Ms. Mota's inaugural speech.

Temixco is about 100 kilometers south of Mexico's capital and borders Cuernavaca, a resort that has experienced kidnappings and extortion linked to organized crime.

'Game of Thrones' author fails
to make his latest deadline

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The author of a popular fantasy series confirmed Saturday that he missed the last deadline that would have allowed the sixth novel in his fantasy series to be published before the next TV series begins.

The failure to meet the Dec. 31 deadline will mean the sixth season of HBO’s "Game of Thrones" series will appear on screen before "The Winds of Winter," its source material, can be read by fans of the novels.

The author, George R.R. Martin, wrote on his blog Saturday, "The book's not done. ... I tried, I promise you. I failed.''

Martin said he was working with HBO to ensure the show reflected the next installment of the "A Song of Ice and Fire" books.

Martin wrote on his blog that even though he had written hundreds of pages and dozens of chapters, it would still take months more to finish "The Winds of Winter."

The seventh novel in the series, "A Dream of Spring," will be the last, according to Martin.

Obama declared emergency
over vast Midwest flooding

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama declared an emergency Saturday in the flood-ravaged state of Missouri, a move that allows federal aid to help the state recover from massive flooding that has killed at least two dozen people, forced thousands of others to evacuate and submerged huge swaths of farmland.

Saturday's declaration also permits the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts. The help comes as state officials in Missouri and nearby Illinois toured the hardest-hit areas to survey the wreckage of homes and entire towns in the American heartland.

"It's almost as if you're living on some other planet," said Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon as he stood on a mound of debris in the devastated town of Eureka, about an hour's drive west of St. Louis. And this, he said, "is just a tiny fraction of the trail of destruction."

The flooding was fueled by more than 25 centimeters of rain over three days in the past week, bursting banks on the Mississippi, Meramec and Missouri rivers.

By Saturday, two main interstate highways reopened south and west of St. Louis, and some residents were allowed to return to their homes.

But forecasters warned that regions farther south still faced flooding as swollen rivers continued to rise Saturday.

The National Weather Service issued flood advisories as far south as Tennessee through Monday evening, while local forecasters said many smaller rivers south of St. Louis would not crest until midweek.

Vatican say Palestinian pact
has finally gone into effect

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Vatican says its first treaty with Palestinians has come into force, more than two years after the Roman Catholic Church drew criticism from Israel for recognizing the existence of a Palestinian state.

The accord, which technically covers church operations in parts of the Holy Land under Palestinian control, was signed in June 2015.  It also reaffirms support for a negotiated two-state solution to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A statement Saturday said the Holy See and what it recognizes as the state of Palestine had notified each other that all necessary procedural steps were completed and that the treaty was in effect. 

More than 130 other nations have also recognized a Palestinian state, backing a 2012 U.N. General Assembly resolution that recognizes it as an observer, nonmember state. 

Israel and the United States oppose such recognition, with Israel calling the pact premature and counterproductive.

Both governments have insisted that the only way to end the deadly conflict is through negotiations, which have not progressed in years.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Office phone: 506-2446-0543
Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Rich Coast Rollover
Thinking of Buying a Vacation or Retirement Home
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Rich Coast Realty is a full-service real estate company with property listings in Escazú, Santa Ana, Jacó, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Manuel Antonio, and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. We work hard to find you the property of your dreams, and assist with legal advice, residency, starting corporations, opening bank accounts, etc. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in, and relocating to Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate, we look forward to hearing from you.
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Photo montage of penthouse
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If you do not find, what are you looking for, contact us
WE HAVE A NETWORK OF OVER 500 brokers across the country to get what you are looking for.
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Goetl in Palo Seco

Charming small oceanfront hotel for sale in Playa Palo Seco
Ideal oceanfront location with back up to a mangrove estuary. The
charming small hotel has a fully equipped kitchen, bar and restaurant and is exceptionnally well maintained. Located on a very private beach of the central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica 35 minutes north of Quepos-Manuel Antonio and 45 minutes south of  Playa Jacó. The main building is a two-storey house with 12 bedrooms. The lot measures 3,054 M2. Beautiful gardens around the large pool and exceptional flora and fauna. Well mentioned in tourist guides like Lonely Planet and Guide Ulysse. Offered at $999,000. USD
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408

private ranch home
Small private ranch for sale
This exceptional private ranch sits on a 9+ hectare lot and supports 15-20 horses. Only 2 hours south of San José, on the road to Puriscal. Roomy stalls all with drains, water hookup, lights and fans, grooming and shoeing área. Two-story house all furnished and cowboy house. Don't miss your chance on that turnkey operation.  Offered at $749,000.
E-mail:  or call (506) 8707-1037 
(506) 2778-8408 Web:

Blakesmore one

Blakemoret  two

Costa Rica tropical paradise beach house for sale

Tropical five-acre forested beachfront property with custom house and guest casita on the Osa Península, south Pacific Coast. Abundant wildlife, exotic plants and fruits, secluded beach.  Located 8 kms. south of Puerto Jiménez on the way to Matapalo and Corcovado National Park. Great Price $750,000. Contact Roger. Phone number  (506) 6142-7228   Email: Watch this video for full details.

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: 
Check out slide show HERE!

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq ft of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out.  The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the back yard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden.  This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town.  Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small.  The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate.  Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José.    Just reduced to $199,000.  Call  Jeff: 8824-8113 or 8725-8176.  Email:

Safe house
The Safest Place in The World
Residencial La Jolla, Asuncion de Belén
Casa 7 of 19 luxury homes in exclusive gated community.
3 bedroom, 3.5 baths, home office with private entrance.
332 m2 construction. 2-car garage. Central A/C
Lease $2,750 USD per month. Purchase $449,000.
Contact: Phone 8309-2000.

ocean-view home
Property size: 3,405.14 sq. mts. or 37,000 sq. ft.   Gorgeous house built 5 years ago to U.S. standards on 37,000 sq. ft. titled property. This home (240 sq. mtrs or 2,600 sq. ft) has 360-degree ocean and mountain views and electric gated private road access. The large open style home has soaring teak ceillings, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, custom cabinetry and ceramic tiles throughout and a double-car electric garage door. Their is also a beautiful, large swimming pool surrounded by exotic garden, laundry room and bodega. This is a very special and rare property because of the incredible view and excellent location. This one of a kind home and property is truly a must to see. all custom built furnitures included. Photo gallery:  CLICK HERE!  Please contact Jack, Cell phone number  (506) 8812-1789.  Contact email:


Caribbean paradise: CAHUITA

New home, beautiful well-built house 200 meters from a lovely beach. Very private, fully titled, excellent water well.  2 large bedrooms, 2 full baths, tub, large open floor plan 26-foot sliding glass doors open to covered porch. Encircling back yard are coral rocks 10 feet tall and behind jungle reserve. Lots of birds and wildlife. House 240 mts. sq, 2,400 sq ft. Lot 1,850 mts. or 19,000 sq. ft. Price $179,000. Very nice neighborhood. Contact 2755-0014 or   More photos HERE!

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:

puriscal photo
Costa Rica home for sale $163,500 / 2bedroom - 1,984 ft2

Central Valley view home: 10 minutes from Santiago de Puriscal and shopping, hospital services, and soon Maxi Pali. Only one hour to San José or Pacific beaches.
- On .55-acre lot with river on one boundary
- Area under roof, 1,984 sq. ft., Area inside walls, 925 sq. ft. Steel, recycled
      Styrofoam, and concrete construction.
- 2 ½ years old with central living room and kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths,
       ceramic tile throughout.
- Central Valley volcano and SJO airport views from every room.
- Vaulted ceilings give bright open feeling.
- Entrance from concrete road to large graveled parking area
- VERY energy efficient with VERY low property taxes.
- Covered attached carport with entrance to front door or laundry-guest bath
- 2 carport storage bodegas.
- 12 foot x 14 foot storage bodega
- Security lights, And Amcrest day & night video recorder system.
- Producing banana trees, and mango, bread fruit, and guanabana trees

Includes: Refrigerator, gas stove & oven with electric grill element, microwave, electric washer-gas dryer stacked style, gas on demand whole house water heater. Other furnishings are negotiable. ICE electric service and land line phone. Bajo Burgos Water district. Metro-wireless WiFi is available. Tigo Star Satellite T.V. House is in a Costa Rican corporation, will transfer shares. Contract or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

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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:

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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 1
Real Estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Here's a quiz for non-gardening spouses

The following is a quiz for the non-gardener in the family. Please note that some (all right, pretty much all) are directed at gentlemen (due to my experience with  Metric Man) and some are non-specific.

Victoria torley
 1. There you are, comfortably watching the game, beer in on hand, peanuts in a bowl by your side when your gardening spouse comes in and says, “Honey, can you give me a hand for a minute?”  You should:

 a.) ask, “can it wait until half-time?”
 b.) say, “my back is still out”
 c.) ask “is it raining?”
 d.) jump and say “anything you need, m’love”

2. You arrive home and find dirt all over the floor and kitchen countertops. You should:

 a.) sigh and grab a cleaning cloth
 b.) sigh and yell “clean-up in aisle four”
 c.) cuss under your breath and stomp out
 d.) grab some wine and go watch a movie.

3.The cost of your gardening spouse’ new project keeps rising. You should:

 a.) never, ever mention it
 b.) promise not to calculate the cost of a home-grown tomato if she
              promises not  to calculate the cost of the fish you just caught,
 c.) sigh and grab a beer,
 d.) a and c.

4. Your spouse appears upset about the damage the dog has caused in the new flower bed. You should:

 a.) say “well, I hope he’s not too dirty”
 b.) offer to help repair the damage (if you can just find your gloves)
 c.) give your spouse a big hug and a beer
 d.) never mind the hug, just hand over the beer.

5. You’re on your way home on the Pan-American Highway, and have finally passed that long, long, long line of trucks, when your spouse says, “Let’s stop at that little vivero ahead.”  You should:

 a.) grip the wheel and put your foot on the gas
 b.) pretend sudden deafness (and put your foot on the gas)
 c.) cuss under your breath (and put your foot on the gas)
 d.) paste a fake smile on your face, say, “of course, dear,” and pull
            over (maybe they have beer?)

6. Your spouse brings home four bags of fresh (and I do mean fresh) manure. One of the bags breaks in the driveway. You should:

 a.) make yourself scarce
 b.) sigh and yell “clean-up in aisle four”
 c.) put a clothespin on your nose, grab a beer and get a shovel
 d.) wonder why this stuff always happens on the gardener’s day off.

Well, we can all see that these are trick questions and that most of the answers i nvolve something that contains alcohol. Am I going to tell you which answers are correct???  Nah. Ask your gardening spouse.

Plant of the Week

This heliconia is the false bird of paradise,  easy to grow, prolific to the point of invasive, and a sun lover. You probably don’t need me to identify the rest of the picture. Happy New Year!

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit
beer flower

Costa Rican News
Retire NOW in Costa Rica
Fine Dining in Costa Rica
The CAFTA Report
Fish fabulous Costa Rica

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From Page 7:

First U.S. crude oil shipment leaves port

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The first export of U.S. crude oil in four decades departed the Port of Corpus Christi in Texas Thursday, just weeks after a ban on such exports was lifted.

The ship is carrying a cargo of oil from ConocoPhillips' wells in south Texas that was sold to Swiss trading house Vitol Group.

In December, President Barack Obama signed legislation lifting the ban put in place during the mid-1970s in the wake of the Arab Oil Embargo.

The embargo, which began in 1973, had many short- and long-term effects on global politics and the global economy.

By the time it ended in 1974, the price of oil had risen from $3 per barrel to nearly $12 globally. U.S. prices were significantly higher.

Crude oil prices are now around $37 a barrel.