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(506) 2223-1327                        Published  Wednesday, Jan 7, 2015, in Vol. 15, No. 4                                  Email us
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Financial watchdog issues critical report on exit tax
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's financial watchdog has issued a critical report on the $5 land exit tax. 

This is the tax that individuals pay when they leave the country at any of the four border crossings.

The watchdog, the Contraloría General de la República noted that there were serious problems in implementing the tax and that this was not done until last April, some nine months after the tax was supposed to go into effect.

Still, the country had collected by September 1.5 billion colons in tax money.  Half of this is supposed to go toward improving the border crossing facilities. That's about $2.8 million.

The Contraloría report noted that there has been no movement to apply this money to the stated purpose.

Those leaving the country by land have to pay the $5 tax, but they also have to pay $2 for the service of scanning and x-rays of luggage. They have to pay this even if they have no luggage. The Contraloría noted that those leaving the country at Sixaola in southeastern Costa Rica also
have to pay the tax even though there are no facilities to scan luggage. And when authors of the report visited border crossings in September, there was no scanning being done, they said.

The Contraloría also said that the regulations that are supposed to supplement the law have not been issued, although the Ministerio de Hacienda has issued a series of instructions about the tax.

The report was critical of Bancredito, which was supposed to set up facilities to collect the tax. The Contraloría noted that the bank only has a presence at the Paso Canoas and a smaller one at the Sabalito border crossing into Panamá and that it has hired agents elsewhere who charge travelers additional money for a tax receipt.

The report also said that the border crossing facilities mostly were in poor condition and the relatively new building at Sabalito does not have running water. A fifth land exit point is expected to be available soon at Las Tablillas in the canton of Los Chilies at the Nicaraguan border.

The Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería is responsible for verifying that the tax has been paid.

Headhunting flies stun researchers in Costa Rica
By the Pensoft Publishers news staff

While watching tiny flies in tropical forests in Brazil, Giar-Ann Kung puzzledly remarked to Brian Brown "they are cutting the ant heads off!" This unexpected find led to the discovery of a grisly new type of behavior reported this month in Biodiversity Data Journal.

In the world of small insects, there is an astonishing variety of bizarre behaviors, but one of the most extreme is that of the ant decapitating flies of the family Phoridae. These tiny (1 to 3 mm long) flies inject their eggs into the bodies of ants, where after hatching the resulting larvae feed inside the host ant's head, eventually causing it to fall off. Such ant decapitating flies have been known for over 100 years, but recently scientists from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County have discovered a second, completely different type of ant decapitation in the Phoridae.

This new discovery involves a group of flies in a genus called Dohrniphora, best known as scavengers, because of one widespread, human associated species that is common in cities around the world. Another group of species native to South and Central America, however, do something different. Adult female flies are attracted to injured trap-jaw ants from which they industriously sever the gut, nerve cord, and other connections of the head to the rest of the body. After working on it for a few minutes with their blade tipped mouthparts, the flies use their front legs to grab onto the ant head and tug until

ant at work
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
County/Wendy Porras

A female fly is in the process of removing a head from a stricken ant.

it pops off. The fly then drags the ant head
off across the forest floor to a secluded spot where it either feeds on the head contents or lays an egg nearby.

The unusual activities by the flies were found at La Suerre and La Cangreja, Costa Rica, and documented in videos HERE and HERE!

The researchers were stunned the first time they saw this intricate headhunting behavior. Lead author, Brian V. Brown, says they were watching for another type of fly when these Dohrniphora turned up. At first, they were uninterested in these scavengers, but after Ms. Kung's remark they watched, amazed, as the flies performed an intricate decapitation behavior, and then set off across the forest floor dragging their headhunting trophies.

In their paper, Brown, Ms. Kung, and co-author Wendy Porras document this ant-fly interaction with both photos and videos. Phorid flies are among the most biologically diverse families of insects, but the lifestyles of most are completely unknown. Nevertheless, as Brown quips, "you would think one type of ant decapitation would be enough for the family!"

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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.

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Residency in Costa Rica
A full service immigration agency
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Avoid Real Estate scams, get independent advice and have due diligence performed before signing or making a deposit.

Phone number: (506) 8853-0000


Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

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CR Beach
Jaco Beach Central Pacific Real Estate
CR Beach Investment Real Estate Broker & INT’L
NAR certified Realtor Jeff Fisher is famous for being “Brutally Honest.”
See why he still believes only the 100% titled land of the Jaco beach & Central Pacific areas of Playa Hermosa/ Jaco-Los Suenos Marina & Golf and the Esterillos-Bejuco beaches are the best places to live, invest and enjoy. 
Reason #1:  SJO Int’l Airport and S.J. suburbs are little more than one hour away.
#2: The Jacó area has everything you need, from KFC to Gourmet Organic;  from zip lines to bank lines, from a movie house to a fire sale house…. 
#3: BUYERS’ MARKET: Many properties are at their lowest price ever
           *$179,900 Hermosa Beachfront Community with Ocean Views !
Yes we know Costa Rica: Jeff (21 years here), Frances Winborne (23 years), and Junior Diaz (Jacó born & bred),  and we chose the Central Pacific!

Member of the N.A.R., the Costa Rican Real Estate Board CRGAR and the Central Pacific Chamber of Commerce.
Toll Free: 1-888-782-1119 or  2643-4334, 2643-3672
JACO Office: IL Galeone Center by BAC, #14, Costa Rica

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   • Specialized in the Central and South Pacific.
   • Great network of realtors, to find your dream
   • Homes, condominium & luxury homes
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Telephone: +506 2643-4065   
cell: +506 8825-6556   US:  626 548-3909
skype: ecorealtorscr  Facebook: ecorealtorscr
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del Pacifico, S.A.


* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
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* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit tree orchards.
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* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $39,000 USD , and many can be combined for those wanting a larger area for their chosen passion, be it a hobby horse farm or retirement haven.
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* Electricity and water to each of 79 clear-titled lots.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
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* 10 minutes to Medical Facilities
* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
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Contact Jim Day
or Phone:  001 517 484-3675.
Click Here:

Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas photo
   A crew of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas takes a
   52-year-old U.S. citizen identified as Charles Eli Rosenberg for
    medical help. The man fell while hiking on Islas Catalina in the
    Pacific off Playa Potrero but he was able to use his cell telephone to
    call for help.

High winds reported beginning to diminish
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Winds Tuesday reached 120 kph in the mountains and in parts of the Central Valley, according to the national weather service. The intensity appears to have diminished in the afternoon and evening.

The winds brought diverse problems.

Grupo ICE reported 392 electrical outages caused by the winds. That included the Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz and the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad. A report said that at least eight utility poles had fallen.

Trees also were victims of the unrelenting winds. One tree smashed a car and another did heavy damage to a home.

The weather condition also created rains in the Caribbean mountains, and the rivers there were reported rising late Tuesday. They included the ríos Colorado and Reventazón as well as the Banano. and the Río Sixaola-Telire, according to the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional.

The seas were whipped up by the winds, too, and the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas based in Flamingo reported tough going as a boat and crew traveled to the Islas Catalina in the Pacific to retrieve a U.S. citizen who had fallen and injured himself.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes asked residents to report any traffic signals that had been damaged while being pushed around by the winds.
The speed of 120 kph is about 75 mph. The winds are expected to continue to diminish for the rest of the week.

Police report dip in Metro area crime

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

During the first 14 days of December there were 55 robberies in the metro area, but police officials say this is a 12.7 percent reduction from 2013.

The security ministry issued the report Tuesday and said that the data was based on what had been supplied by the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The security ministry had flooded the metro area with police officers and police trainees as part of a protective program for the Christmas holidays.

The ministry said that there were 124 reported crimes during the first two weeks of December. These ranged from car thefts to vehicle burglaries and simple theft. In 2013 the number was 185, the ministry said.

In the two weeks there were 49 simple thefts, a big decline from the 2014 figure of 109, officials said.

Nearly 200,000 fireworks confiscated

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Fuerza Pública reported Tuesday that its officers confiscated nearly 200,000 units of fireworks from October to the end of December.

Eventually a judge will give permission for destruction. Fireworks are part of the country's holiday celebrations, particularly New Year's Eve. But the government has been cracking down in the last decade to protect children. Six youngsters were reported to have been burned by fireworks in the last month.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan 7, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 4
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Solís says country is now a strategic partner with People's Republic
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica's president declared that his nation and China have agreed on a new vision as strategic partners. He made the statement in China shortly after meeting the Chinese president, Xi Jinping.

The president Luis Guillermo Solís, called this a new step in the relations between the two countries in which officials will prioritize work as strategic partners instead of the unilateral efforts that have existed up until the present.

The president said that he wanted to plan a relationship that permits Costa Rica to have more jobs and more investment from China. He said the seven-year relationship between the two countries had matured sufficiently for this new step. Costa Rica seeks to be a permanent partner of long duration, he said. The summary of the president's comments came from Casa Presidencial.

Manuel González, the foreign minister, said that to deepen the relationship the countries will work on a comprehensive strategic plan that the Chinese government says it only signs with countries that the leadership considers the most strategic partners in the world.

solis and chinese guy
Casa Presdiencial photo
The two presidents shake hands

Teen bandit, 17, dies as a result of firefight with security guard
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A private security guard stopped a robbery attempt Tuesday morning, killed one of the robbers and wounded a second.

The gang of bandits appeared to be made up of minors. The dead individual was reported to be 17 years old, the Judicial Investigating Organization said.

The custom in Costa Rica is to have private security personnel accompany delivery trucks particularly in crime-prone areas. In this case the escort was on a

motorcycle. The attempted robbery was in Pavas about
11:30 a.m. The target was a Coca-Cola delivery truck that was making a stop at a store. Two men in the delivery vehicle were not hurt.

The robbery attempt resulted in a firefight, and the 17 year old suffered a bullet to the head. A companion suffered a wound to the leg, said the judicial police. There also was a report of a suspect wounded in the stomach.

The youth wounded in the head died shortly after arriving at Hospital San Juan de Dios.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan 7, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 4
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Migration organization seeks end of so-called ghost ships
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The International Organization for Migration is calling for action to stop the use of so-called ghost ships to transport migrants across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. The organization says it fears many migrants will lose their lives if this risky practice is allowed to continue.

Over the past week, more than 1,000 migrants, most fleeing conflict in Syria, had to be rescued in the Mediterranean Sea. Survivors of the two so-called ghost ships in which they were traveling say the crews aboard abandoned their ships, using lifeboats, after locking in the automatic pilot as the boats neared the Italian coastline.

Both could have capsized with heavy loss of life. But the migrants were lucky. The first boat, carrying 736 people, made it to shore in southern Italy on New Year’s Eve. The second, with 359 Syrian refugees on board, was abandoned by its crew and was towed ashore over the weekend by the European Union's Triton mission.

Triton is a scaled-down version of Italy’s Mare Nostrum, which rescued tens of thousands of migrants at sea before the mission was shut down at the end of October.

A spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, Joel Millman, says rescued passengers reported paying between $4,000 and $8,000 to smugglers based in Turkey, which is where the voyages originated.

“Obviously, we look upon this with alarm. We are concerned that with Mare Nostrum now ended and the migrations
 continuing at pretty high numbers through the winter in very dangerous conditions, that this may be something we are going to be seeing more of in the weeks ahead,” he said.

Italian authorities report 163,368 migrants were rescued at sea through the first 11 months of 2014. This is about three times the total arriving in 2013. They say Syrians were the most numerous migrants, followed by Eritreans.

The immigration organization reports more than 3,000 migrants went missing in the Mediterranean last year, presumed drowned. It says they were crossing from North Africa when their small, unsafe boats sank or capsized.

Migrants describe the so-called ghost ships as large cargo vessels, which despite their size are old and unsafe.

Maritime experts figure such ships can be bought for between $100,000 and $150,000. At this rate, the organization calculates that smugglers can earn more than $3 million for voyages like the two that ended in recent days, with up to 900 migrants crammed on board.

And with the ships on autopilot near the coast, the smugglers greatly reduce the chance of getting caught by EU or Italian authorities.

Millman says thousands of Syrians are fleeing every month. So, smugglers can plan on a reliable stream of customers. He notes Lebanon’s recent decision to require visas from Syrians wishing to enter the country is likely to swell the demand for smugglers’ services in Turkey.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

La Fortuna
Comfort of your home in the campo, 5 minutes from Fortuna Centro of San Carlos, in the shadow of Volcano Arenal, Flat screen TV, AC, refrigerator, free coffee. Local area activities like four-wheeling, horse riding, zip lining, hot springs, jungle walking tours. Bring your camera for great photos of nature, fishing and swimming, canyoning and wireless internet. Harry Hart, proprietor.  Call for reservations  (506) 2479-8670   and (506) 8682-9219  Email:

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

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

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
   * Find out how to live affordably
   * See how other expats live. Meet other expats who have made
          the move.
   * Access the country's affordable health care system
   * Informative two-day seminar given by local experts in their
          relevant fields.
   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 34-year resident, citizen,
          and the author of "The New Golden Door to Retirement
          and  Living in Costa Rica – the Official Guide to Relocation”
Click HERE  to learn all about our Association of Residents (ARCR)  approved tours at

Anywhere Costa Rica plans custom vacations, and has the most comprehensive travel services in the country including travel guides, resorts and vacation homesCosta Rica tours
and car rentals.  
Call 1-888.456.3212 or 2479-8811 locally.

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.
Every Saturday - Vendor Fair!

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.


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

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A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
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See our listing of real estate brokers on the for-sale page.

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Maneul Antonio
The vacation homes at Manuel Antonio Estates offers luxury, comfort and peace of mind. We have numerous homes to chose from, all within walking distance of the town’s shops and restaurants and just a few minutes to the best beaches and the famous national park. While the homes are secluded and hidden among the rainforest, the surrounding area offers adventures like zip lines, white water rafting, mangrove kayaking and many more. All of the homes are available for short-term rentals, have easily accessible parking, cable TV, and Internet and are fully furnished. We are happy to assist with all your need for the perfect Costa Rican vacation.
Manuel Antonio Estates        TOLL FREE: 1800 346 9724
011 (506) 2777.3339

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

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

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.
We are offering homes for every budget and every need.
Please visit our Web page at or contact us at
or call at (506) 2654-5442.

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

HP Cattle rentals
Mountain homes or farm for rent
Barva volcano, Heredia province
We offer for rent a gorgeous two-bedroom mountain chalet and a one-bedroom mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude and within a working horse ranch just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance. From our homes one can hike to the Barva volcano crater-lake.  Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and breathtaking views of the Irazú volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of cloud forest bird species to include the resplendent quetzal.  The homes are incomparable in beauty and attention to detail within the Barva highland area.  We are only 35-55 minutes from Costa Rica’s three principal cities (Heredia, Alajuela, and San José), less than two hours from the central Pacific beaches, and three hours from the Caribbean beaches. Enjoy the tranquility of the mountains while maintaining quick access to the conveniences of the city and rapid access to other eco-tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Additionally, we can board your horses at a reasonable fee.  We can also offer our clients rental of a small and fully functional farm complete with stables, pasture, and office space.
Mountain chalet: $750.  Basic mountain home: $400.
Boutique mountain home: One-bedroom $850. Two-bedroom $1,000.
Small Farm that includes a chalet, basic mountain home, stables, and 8,000m2 of pasture/green areas: $1,500.

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A.M. Costa Rica's   Fifth news page
Family home

cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan 7, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 4
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Obama and pena nieto
White House photo
Mexican and U.S. leaders meet the press.

Obama and Mexican leader
pledge to work together

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama and his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto, have pledged to continue working together to stem the flow of illegal immigrants crossing into the United States.

The two leaders spoke to reporters Tuesday after their first round of talks at the White House.

Obama said the U.S. also appreciates Mexico's commitment to help send a very clear message about his executive action to shield nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. That message: that the U.S. is providing a mechanism to keep families together, but will also be much more aggressive at the border to make sure people come through the system legally.

President Peña Nieto said it is important that Mexico do everything it can to ensure the measure only benefits those it is supposed to benefit and does not generate any misinformation or abuses, especially by organized crime groups.

On the new U.S. effort to normalize relations with Cuba, President Obama said he wants to move toward a more constructive policy, but one that continues to emphasize human rights, democracy and political freedom.

Peña Nieto said Mexico will be a tireless supporter of the U.S.-Cuba relationship and has offered its hope to collaborate in the effort so the relationship can be re-established as soon as possible.

Also raised during Tuesday's talks were the issues of economic growth, cross-border trade, clean energy and educational exchanges, as well as security.

Obama said he and Peña Nieto discussed the September abduction and presumed murder of 43 Mexican students by drug gang members linked to police.

Human Rights Watch had sent a letter to Obama Monday calling for him to press the Mexican leader to take the crisis more seriously and address Mexico's failure to investigate and prosecute egregious abuses by Mexican security forces.

Obama said Peña Nieto described the reform programs he has initiated. The U.S. leader said his nation's commitment is to be a friend and supporter of Mexico in its efforts to eliminate violence and drug cartels, but that ultimately, it will be up to Mexico and its law enforcement to carry out the key decisions that need to be made.

The incident has triggered protests across Mexico. It has also delivered a major blow to Peña Nieto, who has seen his approval ratings sink amid criticism he was slow to respond to the mass disappearance.

Republicans take control
of both houses of Congress

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

On the first day of business for the new, Republican-led U.S. Congress, House Republicans promptly displayed political divisions within their caucus, and the first major bill on the Senate’s agenda triggered a veto threat from Democratic President Barack Obama.

Rep. John Boehner of Ohio easily won a third term as House speaker, despite challenges from conservative hard-liners who accuse him of being too accommodating with Democrats. More than two dozen of the speaker’s fellow Republicans voted for someone other than him or declined to vote at all.

On the other side of the Capitol, Vice President Joe Biden swore in new and re-elected senators. They included a large contingent of Republican freshmen whose November victories gave their party control of the chamber.

"We know a lot of hard work awaits," said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the new majority leader. "We know many important opportunities await, as well. I am really optimistic about what we can accomplish.”

That optimism will be put to the test when the chamber considers legislation pertaining to a pipeline that would transport Canadian oil to the U.S. Gulf region.

Last year, the Senate rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline, and the White House said Tuesday that Obama would veto the measure if approved by Congress. But that was not deterring backers, such as Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota, a Republican.

“With Canada and the U.S. working together, we can produce more energy than we consume," Hoeven said. "That helps us, that helps families and businesses, that makes our economy more competitive. It puts real pressure on places like Russia and Iran.”

The pipeline is opposed by environmentalists, an important constituency in the Democratic Party.

That factionalism and partisanship were on display on the first day of the new Congress was no surprise to political analyst William Howell of the University of Chicago.

“For the most part, I think what we are going to see is continued gridlock," he said. The stopping point for policy initiatives that Obama and the Democratic Party favor was formerly in just the House but now is going to be in both chambers.

For the last four years, Republicans controlled the House and Democrats held the Senate. Now, the political divide is between the White House and Capitol Hill.

Obama is reported ready
to veto Keystone Pipeline

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Top officials with the U.S. oil industry are urging Congress and the president to approve a controversial oil pipeline that would bring crude from Canada to refineries on the U.S. Gulf coast.

The industry says the Keystone XL Pipeline would create thousands of jobs.  Environmentalists say this project would create more pollution than usual and is not needed at a time of oil abundance.  The new business-friendly Republican majority in the Senate favors the project, but White House officials say President Obama, a Democrat, may veto the program.

The Keystone Pipeline would move 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Canadian tar sands across the United States to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Advocates say the pipeline would boost the U.S. economy and create 42,000 jobs during the two-year construction process.

The head of the American Petroleum Institute, Jack Gerard, is disappointed that Obama has said he will not approve the Keystone bill if it passes Congress.

"The needlessly protracted fight over the Keystone XL pipeline only deprives tens of thousands of hardworking Americans of well-paying jobs and our nation of a safe and efficient means of transporting much needed North American energy resources," he said.

At a December news conference, Obama said he doubts Keystone will produce anywhere near the number of jobs promised and do little to boost the economy.

"I think that there’s been this tendency to really hype this thing as some magic formula to what ails the U.S. economy, and it’s hard to see on paper where exactly they’re getting that information from,” he said.

Critics say tar sand petroleum causes more environmental damage than other kinds of oil and say it should be left in the ground.

"You essentially have to do a strip-mining operation, where you’re scooping this tarry, oily earth out of the ground and putting it into very large chemical processing facilities that use enormous amounts of electricity and water," said Tyson Slocum, who speaks for advocacy organization Public Citizen.

The new Republican majority in the Senate put approving the Keystone pipeline on its agenda on the first day of the new session. 

Keystone supporter Sen. John Hoeven introduced a bill to approve the project and vowed quick action on the measure.

“It's about growing our economy, it's about national security, It really is about building the infrastructure we need, pipelines, roads, rail, transmission,” he said.

Keystone has been the target of many protests and skepticism by the president.  But it now seems to be moving forward in the Congress.  But its fate may ultimately hinge on the falling price of oil, which might eventually make the relatively expensive tar sands products unprofitable.

Iranians irked at Saudis
over drop in price of oil

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Iranian hard-liners are lashing out at Saudi Arabia, accusing it of conspiring with the West to keep oil prices low in a bid to harm the Islamic Republic’s economy and pressure the country to conclude a nuclear deal with West.  In retaliation, Iranian hawks are urging restive Shia Muslims in eastern Saudi Arabia to rebel against the ruling House of Saud.

Iranian hawks’ accusations have mounted over the Saudi’s refusal to cut production in an effort to maintain its share of the global oil market fueling the precipitous slide in prices. Crude oil prices have fallen by more than half since June, from $115 a barrel to below $50.

"We will not forget which countries schemed to lower the price of oil," the speaker of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larijani warned darkly during a visit last month to Damascus, the Syrian capital.

U.S. officials deny any collusion between Washington and Riyadh.

"The Saudis learned their lesson from the past when they curbed production to help keep oil prices high, only to see Russia and Venezuela grab some of their market share," said a senior U.S. State Department official.

The real targets of Saudi Arabia’s decision not to cut production and to contribute to the falling price of oil are America’s shale oil producers, the official argued.

Thanks to shale oil, America has become the world’s largest oil producer, an emergence that has reshaped the world’s energy market.

Though America does not export crude oil, it imports much less now, increasing reserves around the world. Global demand for oil has fallen with the downturn in global economic activity and with increased efficiency. And consumers’ switch from oil to other fuels and energy sources, including renewable energy, is helping reshape oil markets, experts say.

American shale oil producers have been hard hit by the slumping price of crude.

Prices started to tumble when the Saudi-dominated Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which controls about 40 percent of the world market, failed to decide on production curbs during a November meeting in Vienna.

Like Iran, whose government depends heavily on oil revenues, other economically hard-pressed exporters such as Russia, Nigeria and Venezuela have accused Saudi Arabia of manipulating oil prices for political purposes.

Kremlin aides have decried low oil prices as part of an anti-Russian plot hatched by the United States and Saudi Arabia to push their country toward collapse.

But the loudest conspiracy accusations come from Tehran.

The weekly newsletter affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the elite military group that protects Iran’s theocratic Shia Muslim regime, last month threatened revenge on the Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom “with all the means Iran has at its disposal,” Memri TV recently reported. It’s part of the Middle East Media Research Institute, a U.S.-based nonprofit that monitors Mideast media.

Memri also reported that Amir Mousavi, a former Revolutionary Guards diplomat and director of Iran’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, recently warned, "Saudi Arabia’s move is a suicidal step in the struggle against Iran in the region."

"So far, Tehran has held back and has acted in moderation," Mousavi continued. ". . . Saudi Arabia is certain that Iran will not respond easily, but it seems that this time the situation is different, and if necessary Saudi Arabia’s economic interests in the region and in the world will be harmed."

Some anti-Saudi Iranians already appear to be retaliating, urging disaffected Shiites in eastern Saudi Arabia to rebel. A Revolutionary Guards-affiliated Twitter account Dec. 20 posted, "People must defend themselves against the repeated military attacks by the Al-Saud regime."

Iranian threats toward U.S. ally Saudi Arabia are nothing new. But with the region roiled by vicious sectarian struggles, the war of words risks pouring fuel on Shia-Sunni fires.

Tehran’s tougher language is at odds with U.S. President Barack Obama’s conciliatory comments about Iran. Last week, in an interview with National Public Radio, he said Iran has an opportunity via talks about a nuclear deal to get right with the world. He held out the possibility of opening a U.S. embassy in Tehran and offered the prospect of Iran being accepted as a successful regional power.

Nuclear talks are set to resume next week in Geneva between Iran and the P5 + 1, the United States, China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom, plus Germany. Western governments have long feared Iran has been developing a nuclear program to build weapons; Tehran insists the country needs nuclear power for energy purposes.

In November 2013, Iran made a one-year deal with world powers to freeze its nuclear program in exchange for easing international sanctions against the country. The deal since has been extended until July.

At a conference Sunday in Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country needs to end its political isolation so its economy can grow. The moderate-inclined Iranian president has been criticized by Iranian hard-liners for his determination to seal a nuclear deal. Iranian hawks are wary of any compromising with the West.

Capsule from Colonial days
examined by Boston officials

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Officials in the northeastern U.S. state of Massachusetts have opened a 220-year-old time capsule buried by American founding fathers Samuel Adams and Paul Revere.

The contents, unveiled Tuesday in Boston, included documents, coins and other artifacts described by state official William Galvin as symbols of the great hope of colonial Americans as they pursued and gained independence from British rule.

Items in the corroded metal box included a 17th-century shilling struck by colonists in defiance of British authorities. It also contained a copper medal depicting the first U.S. president, George Washington; historical newspapers, and a silver plate made by the silversmith Paul Revere. 

Galvin said the artifacts found beneath the State House late last year will most likely be displayed at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts before eventually being reburied with additional modern-day items.

The capsule was first buried under the cornerstone of Massachusetts' 18-century State House building, a Boston landmark covered by a Revere-built gilded copper dome, on July 4, 1795. That ceremony marked the 20th anniversary of the start of the Revolutionary War.  

At the time of the burial, Samuel Adams was governor of the state with Revere a living icon best known for warning colonial fighters about the approach of British forces ahead of the battles of Lexington and Concord. The battles were the first military engagements of the 1775 to 1783 war.

Authorities were found to have transferred the contents of the original cowhide capsule to a copper box in 1855. That box was discovered in December during a State House construction project.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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

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Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert

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

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

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

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

Visit our Web Site:

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
(506) 2494-0016 
(506) 8309-0173
English calls :  (Luis David) Phone: 
(506) 6154-1940

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
Grecia 884
Beautiful large house in Grecia, Costa Rica, with the best fresh natural weather. The property includes 9 challets and 12.000 m2 of land,  1,000 m2 of construction. Price $498,000. Click HERE!
Grecia 881
Beautiful house in Grecia, Costa Rica,  2 kilometers from the city.   340 m2 of land.
Price $135,000. Click
Grecia 898
Beautiful house in Grecia downtown. Full security cameras. Land 250 m2.  Price $400,000.  Click HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Heredia montage

Cariaria  Los Arcos.
    Lot inside Los Arcos Residence. Absolutely gorgeous right in front of the coffee plantation. The lot is 326.50 meters. Includes the corporation for an easy transfer and the plans for a 170 meter house. Open to all offers.   Architect  plans included (the blueprints). Cost to the seller $4,000 this is included!!   Original Price $97,000 just reduced to $86,000

Also I am selling an Audi A6  2008, 2.0 twin turbo. Full loaded power. Back leather. Full service records at the agency in Costa Rica.  52 kms.  Silver with black. Full computer iPod interface power. Electric moon roof. Everything's a beauty!!  Incredible history and full service at the agency, Costa Rica Audi.

It's a package deal $104.000.  Must sell.  I am moving back to U.S.  Contact me  at my phone:  2260-6979 or cell phone:  8893-8672.

La Fortuna Distress Sale
Divorce forced wife to return to the U.S. with bills to pay. Just wants to get out from under. Modern 2-bedroom home on over 1100m2 intended for apartments or condos. Easy walk to center of town, great volcano view. $140,000 with 50 percent financing arranged. On vacation rental program now producing nice income, but Costa Rica no longer in her future. For details contact

Ringle resort
on one big lot in Esterillos Oeste, (Central Pacific)
Located on a breezy hill just 4 minutes walk to the beach, surf and tide-pools, only 20 minutes drive north to Jacó nightlife and shopping or south to the rural town of Parrita.

First, a 2-storey, 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1½-bathroom house with big kitchen and living room.  Full-width verandah with eating and sitting areas, overlooking lawn, pool and gazebo. Sitting balcony at upper, bedroom level.  Carport. and laundry. 

Second, a completely private single-storey. 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1-bathroom home with big back yard at a lower level on the same, big fully titled 1,100M2 lot.. Full security bars at all doors and windows, plus locking vehicle access and pedestrian gates at the street. In a very safe neighborhood, with private and natural surroundings

Well maintained, fully and tastefully furnished and equipped, hot water, local phone, cable TV/DVD and high speed wireless internet   The houses have been rented for both long-term and vacation for $100/$80 per day and $1,500/$1,200 per month respectively. See this place, you will love it! Then make an offer. E-mail or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.

Condo montage
Cariari luxury condo for sale
 PRICE REDUCED FROM $235,000 to $195,000
This is not an ordinary condo. Completed one year ago, a $45,000 renovating made it an exquisite dwelling. As soon as you walk in you know it is a special home. No detail has been overlooked, even minuscule ones. The owner has a need to move on, and someone lucky will be the beneficiary of the fine detailed work. The home itself has three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms plus a maid’s quarters with its own bathroom. Also, it has a living room, dining room and a gorgeous kitchen with a kitchenette. There’s also a small outdoor patio. Being the end unit of this four-home condo complex, there’s parking space for three vehicles.  Approximately 240 sq. meters. All this near the Cariari Golf and Country Club and its renowned Tom Facio golf course. The club also has amenities such as a fitness centre, exercise room, Olympic swimming pool, sauna, 12 tennis courts and many other benefits. Tel:  8384-9608 or 2293-9054  Price $195,000.

Atenas home
This developer's prime lot with super house is being offered in Roca Verde, 7,006 M2 of gentle grade, all landscaped for tropical effect, 3 bedrooms 2 baths with tile floors and hardwood kitchen, near the entrance of the neighborhood. Great floor plan on this one! There is a double carport, and a large patio and pool, wheelhouse style living room and many other features. View, large usable lot, close to town, nice, oh yeah. $495,000.

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

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

Maneul Antonio
Manuel Antonio Estates focuses on building vacation homes for clients within Manuel Antonio Estates and Palmas Pacifica. We take care of the details from permits and design to supervision of construction and management of the rentals, if needed. We provide privacy and security, and our gated community offers shared common recreational facilities, beautiful landscaping and parking areas. Our homes and lots are located just minutes from the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. If you've ever considered buying a second home, just minutes from the beach, do not hesitate, if you have any questions or would like to request more information please take full advantage of our Costa Rica real estate services and contact us today!
Manuel Antonio Estates    1 800 346-9724  (506) 8815-9606.

Ciudad Colon
Great Deal!! Apartment in condo with pool and extensive green areas:
Ciudad Colón, San José $112,000
The apartment has a master bedroom with a large ensuite bathroom with bath tub, and a smaller second bedroom/office with air conditioning. It has a second full bathroom, living/dining room, laundry room with hot water tank and storage area. The kitchen comes with granite countertops, a breakfast bar and new dishwasher. It has 82 m2 of construction. 2 balconies with beautiful views of the river and mountains. Private parking for one car. Elevator and a well presented reception area. Located in a very quiet and private neighborhood just 400 meters from the centre of Ciudad Colón. Within minutes to all major amenities in Santa Ana and Escazú. Easy access to the beach (less than 1.5 hrs).  24-hour security, visitor parking, pool, extensive and lush green areas, BBQ area, children’s playground and its own water treatment plant. Contact (506) 6022-9294 or 6022-9967, for further info or to arrange a viewing.

Suenos montage
Outrageous blowout prices on oceanfront condos in Los Sueños!

Located in the private Bay Residence enclave overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Los Sueños Resort and Marina, there are three gorgeous units available at unbelievable bargain pricing from $589,000.  All of these beautiful units are three bedrooms and two baths, 2,200 square feet, fully furnished and ready to move in.  Development includes a gym, access to 3 pools, jacuzzis, BBQ areas and the Beach Club.  If you’ve always wanted to own in Los Sueños, now is the time!  Contact  or call 8702-0778.  From U.S. call 209-482-1788.

Top floor unit: $649,000   Second floor unit: $675,000  Garden unit: $589,000

Newly available in Roca Verde
Well-built home of 215 m2, 3 bedrooms, two bath on 1,150 m2 of lot, with attractive rock retaining wall, carport, and a pool. Indoors there are high, vaulted hardwood ceiling, bright rooms, a laundry room.  The floor is ceramic tile in pastel shades. $247,000. Photos: 2446-5587.

San Ramon
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 ft. elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Direct TV via sling box on Internet. $199,000 Contact   Check out slide show HERE!


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


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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
Web site:

The farm is at the highest point on a stunning ridge bordered by pristine Costa Rican primary forest on all sides of the property, with active wildlife all throughout the area. On each of its gently rolling terraced lomas you get a glimpse of Volcán Arenal from a distance. This property has four different lagunas, a working organic farm and nursery, mature fruit trees, sheep corral, ideal for grazing horses with stunning views from all the hillsides. The Northern Zone of Costa Rica is the country's best kept secret, providing a perfect home base location to travel the country's many destinations while still maintaining the best climate at 400 meters above sea level.

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call center
Call center for rent ready to go !
13 work stations, good equipment, good location, Rohrmoser, two blocks from Plaza Mayor. $4.000 per month. Call Kevin 8366-6861.

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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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan 7, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 4
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Teen AIDS activist held in Honduras

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Gunmen in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, have kidnapped a prominent teenage AIDS activist.

Eighteen-year-old Keren Dunaway Gonzalez was kidnapped Tuesday with her mother near the offices of the Llaves Foundation, which helps children with AIDS.

The mother, Rosa González, a United Nations ambassador for children with the disease, was freed, but Ms. Dunaway remained captive.

A Llaves spokeswoman said Ms. Dunaway is HIV positive and must be let go so she can take the treatments necessary to prevent infections.

The kidnappers have yet to demand a ransom.

Ms. Dunaway has spoken at international AIDS conferences and also runs a magazine and radio show for HIV-positive children.

Honduras is one of the world's most violent countries, plagued by gang wars, drug traffickers and poverty.

Orthodox Christians mark Christmas

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Worshippers across the Orthodox Christian world have begun Christmas celebrations, with clergy in Bethlehem, Cairo, Moscow, Kyiv and other Eastern Christian communities commemorating the biblical birth of Jesus.

In Bethlehem, which braced for a rare snowstorm, Syria's Orthodox archbishop joined his Greek and Coptic Orthodox counterparts for religious services at the Church of the Nativity in Manger Square.  Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian officials also were slated to attend Midnight Mass officiated by Jerusalem's Patriarch Theophilus.

In Moscow, worshippers braved bone-chilling temperatures of minus 25 degrees C to attend midnight Mass at Christ the Savior Cathedral.

Elsewhere, the head of Ukraine's Orthodox Church, Patriarch Filaret, prayed for peace at St. Volodymyr's Cathedral in central Kyiv.  Ahead of the service, President Petro Poroshenko delivered a nationally televised address urging Ukrainians to pray for troops battling pro-Russian separatists near the Russian border.

Today is Christmas day for Orthodox Christians in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro and Serbia.  The holiday also is commemorated in Syria, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Albania, Cyprus, Finland and by the Orthodox Church in America.

The Assyrian and Ethiopian churches also celebrate Christmas on the seventh, according to the Julian calendar.

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From Page 7:

Sportsfishing foundation sets up new fund

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Billfish Foundation has set up a fund to promote conservation work in Central America and primarily in Costa Rica, the organization said Tuesday.

This is the sportsfishing organization that runs the Presidential Challenge Conservation Series tournaments.

"We will continue our work through The Billfish Foundation to protect the sport fishing industry throughout Central America, said Joan Vernon, the director of the Billfish Foundation. "Contributions to this fund are tax deductible and will only be used for conservation work in Central America."

She said that the organization faces tough economic times, especially in Central America.  In order to help promote sportsfishing in Guanacaste, the Presidential Papagayo Cup tournament will remain on the schedule but with some changes to promote participation, she said.

Costa Rica "continues to be hard-hit by a combination of commercial overfishing and political pressure on misguided quasi-conservation measures by some 'green' groups so we need to make sure anglers are well-represented at the highest levels," she said of the fund.