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(506) 2223-1327                              Published Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 5                            Email us
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New tax for Cruz Roja reported to be expedited
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The executive branch will be presenting another tax bill to lawmakers, according to the Cruz Roja, which will benefit from the measure.

This is the bill that was introduced in the legislature last May.

Because the executive branch controls the legislative agenda each year until April 30, the bill, No. 19.234, has to be  designated
specifically for action.

The Cruz Roja reported Thursday that the organization's president, Glauco Quesada, and general manager,  Idalberto González, met with Second Vice President  Ana Helena Chacón and received assurances that Casa

Presidencial would send the bill to lawmakers next week.

As A.M. Costa Rica reported in July, the dedicated taxes has been approved by a legislative committee.

The measure would increase the cost of the Cruz Roja legal stamps that are required on most documents from 200 colons to 500.
The aid agency now gets 1 percent on all the country’s telephone bills.  That percentage would double.

In addition, the proposal is to increase the amount that the Cruz Roja gets from traffic fines from 5 to 15 percent. The measure makes changes to existing laws that have established these percentages.

A robber throttles Carolien Peters in this surveillance video posted on Facebook by the woman's husband. The man' right hand holds a knife.

Full video in Flash is HERE!


Another violent crime gives country new black eye
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Criminals gave Costa Rica another black eye Tuesday when they violently robbed Dutch expats who run a hospitality operation in  Sarapiquí in the northern part of the country.

Unlike many such incidents that are kept hidden to protect reputation, expat Henk Peters posted a surveillance video that shows a man trying to strangle his wife, Carolien.

The Tuesday night crime follows by just a day a report that two Dutch expats were found dead along with their hired hand on a Pacific coast forest reserve.

That crime received exposure in European newspapers.

The Sarapiquí crime involved three men, Peters said on his Facebook page. He said a man tried to kill his wife. He and his wife operate  Heliconia Island in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí. He also posted a photo of the knife the man used.

The criminals appear to have been unaware that they were being taped. An acquaintance said that the men had stayed at the resort for a night before committing the crime.

Peters said  on his Facebook page that the crime marks the end of his hospitality business at Heliconia Island even though he expects to take a big financial hit.

His wife suffered a cut on her neck and an injury to her jaw and teeth, he said. Some

guests at the establishment also were robbery victims.

The crooks did not appear to be very competent. They spent time playing cards at the establishment and even left a sheet of paper that appears to contain their first names, said Peters. He said he was posting the video without the permission of judicial investigators in the hopes that publication will lead to the arrest of the crooks.

The murder of the Dutch expats came to light earlier in the week when an employee

returning from vacation found their bodies at the farm in Sardinal. The expats have been correctly identified as Hans Snelders and his wife, Sita Dwahtal.

The assailants there even killed two of the couple's dogs.

Judicial police in Siquirres, also in northeast Costa Rica, said Thursday that they have detained two men, 21 and 25, who are suspects of being home invaders in that area. They were detained early Thursday in  Nazaret de Betania and in  Diana Tres. The allegations involve two home invasions last month.

Meanwhile, agents are investigating another home invasion in Tobías Vaglio in Siquirres, which took place about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday.

A man was entering his home when he was confronted by three masked men. Inside, they tied up the man, his wife and a niece, 15, and then sacked the place, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

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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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Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute photo
A tropical bottlenose dolphin of the type that was consumed.
Flipper was on paleo menu, researchers say

By the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute news staff

Precolumbian seafarers left what is now mainland Panama to settle on Pedro González Island in the Perlas archipelago about 6,000 years ago, crossing 50 to 70 kilometers (31 to 44 miles) of choppy seas probably in dugout canoes.

Dolphins were an important part of the diet of island residents according to Smithsonian archaeologist Richard Cooke and colleagues from the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at the University of California Los Angeles and Colombia’s Universidad del Norte.

“This raises intriguing questions,” said Cooke, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. “Were the island’s first known inhabitants dolphin hunters or did they merely scavenge beached animals?”

According to the results of recent excavations, published in Journal of Archaeological Science Reports, 8 percent of the mammal specimens, bones and teeth, recovered from a prehistoric scrap heap or midden, belonged to dolphins. No other known settlement in Central America shows evidence of systematic dolphin consumption. The absence of dolphins in the diet of precolumbian peoples is usually attributed to the difficultly of navigating canoes and spearing dolphins at sea.

Researchers have yet to find artifacts that indicate systematized hunting, such as evidence of nets or spears. One dolphin skull does have a puncture wound inflicted by a blunt-pointed tool.

Seasonal upwelling brings nutrient-rich water to the Gulf of Panama. This attracts huge schools of fish. Hungry dolphins follow into shallow water, bringing them close to shore. There were also teeth from 2.5 to 3.5-meter-long tiger sharks in the midden. If sharks were pursuing pods of dolphins, they might have been driven even closer to the shoreline.

But natural stranding of dolphins is also probably not enough to explain the abundance of bones in the midden. Cooke believes there is another explanation: Islanders could simply have positioned their canoes at the entrance to the u-shaped Don Bernardo Beach to wait for the dolphins to swim into the inlet. By creating noise to disorient the dolphins and drive them on shore, they could easily have harvested them. Similar corralling methods are used in the Solomon Islands today.

The earliest settlers of Pedro González Island certainly hunted the island’s creatures, including pygmy deer. They were also agriculturalists. The midden shows the first evidence for the cultivation of maize on Central American platform islands consistent in time with the mainland data. The archaeological record includes turtle and fish bones and shellfish remains.

In 2016, Pearl Island, Inc., a development company, financed a four-month salvage of parts of the site in accordance with Panama’s cultural heritage laws. Further excavation on Pedro Gonzalez Island and its larger neighbor, Isla del Rey, may paint a more detailed picture, including why these islanders disappeared after about 800 years. Newcomers settled the island a few thousand years later, but the record of their time shows no dolphin use.

“I would argue, though it’s speculative, that the retention of dolphin hunting is probably due to an early circum-Pacific maritime adaptation by humans,” Cooke said. “Even though with the data we have we cannot really prove they were hunting. But the age of the site puts it at a time when people all around the Pacific Rim in Mexico, Chile and Japan were hunting dolphins.”

Minor accident rule going into effect

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Motorists are being encouraged to carry that DAM form when they travel. That is the  Declaración de Accidente Menor form that can be used when there is a minor accident.

The law as of Saturday will allows motorists involved in accidents without injuries to settle the incident among themselves. Another stipulation is that the damage is so minor that the vehicles can still move by their own power.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes urged motorists who have insurance policies in addition to the obligatory one to contact their insurer to see what is advised.

The ministry contains the Policía de Tránsito, and the idea of the law change is to free police for all the minor mishaps. There were more than 86,000 accident calls in 2015. However, the use of the form, which is HERE, is not obligatory, and expats may want to call police even for a minor mishap.

The ministry says that in addition to using the form, motorists involved in accidents should take photos.

Two concerts for the Nicoya peninsula

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Festival Internacional de Música Cóbano finishes up with a concert tonight in Cóbano and one Saturday morning at the  Hotel Luz de Mono in Montezuma.

The festival in its eighth year has adopted a theme of Latin American symphonies this year.

The Escuela de Música Cóbano organizes the festival which is preceded by a gathering of young musicians. Some 85 young musicians, mainly from the Pacific coast, are involved in the orchestra.

Students range from 5 to 23 years, and instructors come from other countries as well as Costa Rica.  The  Universidad de Costa Rica and the national music system also are involved.

The 8 p.m. concert tonight will be in the Casa de la Cultura de Cóbano which is to the rear of the Clínica de Cóbano. Both concerts are free and open to the public. The Saturday concert is at 10 a.m.

News for the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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Health officials suggest precautions but decline to close down Palmares
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Even though 17 persons have been listed now as having died of swine flu, the national health authorities have decided not to cancel large gatherings.

One of the biggest this month is the Fiestas Palmares, which runs from next Wednesday to Jan. 25. This is a major event second only to the Zapote Christmas fiesta.

To cancel the fiestas would be a major financial blow to the community of Palmares and also to those who plan to set up businesses there. And health officials have discounted fears of an epidemic. Those who died had other complications, including the three new cases announced Thursday.

But the Ministerio de Salud has come out with some rules that are designed to reduce the spread of disease, including the AH1N1 swine flu virus.

Although not mentioning Palmares, the Ministerio de Salud said Thursday that those firms that set up stands at large events have to make sure that there is adequate hand-washing facilities for both employees and the public.

Organizers are on notice that they must provided ample

sanitary facilities and garbage containers.  The ministry also is requiring the use of alcohol gel.

The ministry has put out a colorful poster showing the correct way to wash hands, and firms, such as the ones selling food and drink at Palmares, are requested to post it. The poster also advises that those sneezing should cover their face.

The ministry inspects such facilities and has the power to shut them down for health violations.

The Palmares event features a horse parade, international-level entertainers and a half marathon Jan. 23. It is organized by the Asociación Civica Palmareña, which has a Facebook page HERE!

Security ministry defends policy of disarming those with legal permits
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The security ministry is defending the Fuerza Pública's policy of stripping firearms from those stopped at checkpoints even if they have a legal carry permit.

The ministry said that a recent Sala IV constitutional court decision supports the policy.

The ministry issued the directive to the Fuerza Pública Dec. 10 as a way to fight organized crime.

The person who filed and lost the Sala IV appeal appears to have been stopped twice by police. Both times his firearm was confiscated while officers inspected his vehicle.

The case was featured in a Spanish-language newspaper Thursday.

The Fuerza Pública has a long-standing policy of stopping without probable cause motorists either individually or at checkpoints. Officers also do that with pedestrians, mostly young people, on the streets.

The police agency cites a spike in murders as a reason to also stop those on motorcycles and vehicles containing two or more persons.

The Fuerza Pública said in a release that the Sala IV magistrates considered the action justified and said it did not represent a violation of rights.

The police agency also said that the magistrates rejected the idea that the officers should return a firearm at a checkpoint once a search is completed. Instead, the holder of a valid carry permit will have to appear at a police station to seek the weapon and complete paperwork.

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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, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 5
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Biophysicist pioneers a new use for the coffee bean: Healthy flour
By the Brandeis University news staff

Brandeis biophysicist Dan Perlman has come up with a new invention, the parbaked coffee bean.

According to Perlman, this method of roasting green coffee beans enhances the health benefits of coffee. Perlman is developing the flour milled from parbaked beans both as a food ingredient and a nutritional supplement. It’s a world of difference from the traditional coffee bean, Perlman says.

Research has shown that drinking coffee is healthful. A recent Harvard study found that people who drank three to five cups a day had a 15 percent lower chance of prematurely dying than non-drinkers.

Nobody knows for certain what causes coffee to be salutary, but one leading explanation involves a natural chemical compound called chlorogenic acid. An antioxidant, the acid is thought to be beneficial in modulating sugar metabolism, controlling blood pressure and possibly treating heart disease and cancer.

Unfortunately, when coffee is roasted the traditional way, typically above 400 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes, the chlorogenic acid content drops dramatically. One study found the decrease ranged from 50 to nearly 100 percent.

Perlman wondered what would happen if the coffee bean was baked for less time and at a lower temperature. This took some trial and error until he got it right. In the end, he determined that parbaking the beans at 300 degrees at approximately 10 minutes worked best. The concentration of acid in the bean, around 10 percent of the bean’s weight, barely dropped.

The parbaked coffee bean can’t be used to make coffee. It isn’t roasted long enough to develop flavor. Instead Perlman cryogenically mills the bean in an ultra-cold and chemically inert liquid nitrogen atmosphere to protect the bean's beneficial constituents from oxidation. At the end of the process, a wheat-colored flour is produced. Its taste is nutty, pleasant and mild.
coffee flour
Brandeis University photo
This is the result of milling parbaked coffee beans

Perlman sees his coffee flour being blended with regular flours for baking, used in breakfast cereals and snack bars and added to soups, juices and nutritional drinks. To compensate for the acid lost during traditional coffee roasting, it would be possible to blend parbaked beans with regularly roasted ones.

There are green coffee bean extract-based nutritional supplements already on the market. They have been touted as a way to lose weight and fight obesity, but there is scant research to support these claims.

The scientific evidence that illustrates chlorogenic acid’s benefits for other conditions is much stronger. Perlman also says parbaking is far less expensive than the extraction methods used to produce the green coffee bean extract supplements currently on the market.

Brandeis University has patented Perlman's process.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

HIdden Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
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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 
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Real estate for rent (paid category)
Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
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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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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 5
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2015 declared second hottest
on record in United States

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A hot December made 2015 the second hottest year on record in the contiguous United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"It was quite an exceptional month," said Jake Crouch, climate scientist at the agency's National Centers for Environmental Information.

Temperatures for the year averaged 12.4 degrees C ( 54.3 F), just off 2012’s 12.9 C (55.2 F), the hottest year since records started in 1895.

The agency also said there were 10 major weather and climate events in 2015, resulting in the deaths of 155 and causing more than $1 billion in damage. They included a drought, two floods, five severe storms, a wildfire event and a winter storm.

The Western U.S. was particularly warm, as was the Southeast. Texas and Oklahoma set records for precipitation.

"Every state had an above average temperature for the year," said Crouch.

The World Meteorological Organization said 2015 would be the hottest year ever globally and that 2016 could be hotter because of El Niño.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 2015 was the 19th straight year that the average temperatures topped the average for the 20th century.

Nearly 200 countries that met at the United Nations’ climate summit in Paris in December agreed to try to stem climate change by restraining the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees C.

Climate change is a highly charged political issue in the U.S. with Republican presidential candidates critical of President Barack Obama’s statement that it was the biggest threat to national security.

Alabama chief justice orders
halt to gay marriage licenses

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Alabama's top justice has ordered the state's probate judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses, despite the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last year legalizing gay marriage.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore cited conflicting court rulings as his reason for issuing the order.

"Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court … Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act," Moore wrote in an administrative order Wednesday.

In Mobile County, the probate court said it would stop issuing marriage licenses to all couples.

"In order to comply with the administrative order of Alabama Chief Justice Roy S. Moore … the court is not issuing marriage licenses to any applicants until further notice," it said in a message posted to its Web site. "This action is necessary to ensure full compliance with all court rulings that apply to the court and to Mobile County."

Elsewhere in the state, reaction has been mixed.

In Montgomery, Probate Judge Steven Reed said Moore has soiled the court with his decision.

"Judge Moore's latest charade is just sad and pathetic," Reed wrote on Twitter. "My office will ignore him and this."

Moore, a conservative Republican, has previously attempted to block same-sex marriage in the state, but backed down after legal challenges. In 2003, he was removed from office after refusing a court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.

World commodities declined
again, U.N. food agency says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

World food prices fell for the fourth year in a row in 2015, amid plentiful supplies and a slowing global economy.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said prices of leading food commodities plunged 19 percent, led by dairy and sugar.

“Abundant supplies in the face of a timid world demand and an appreciating dollar are the main reason for the general weakness that dominated food prices in 2015,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, Food and Agriculture senior economist.

Agricultural prices as measured by the agency’s price index have fallen almost 30 percent since 2011, thanks to increased production. The index measures monthly changes in prices for a basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy products, meat and sugar.

In December, the index fell 1 percent from the previous month, with falling prices for meat, dairy and cereals more than offsetting gains in sugar and vegetable oils.

Motorcycle club president
and two others are detained

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Federal agents and local police officers surrounded a house in Conroe, Texas, north of Houston, Wednesday and arrested Jeffrey Fay Pike, the national president of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club. A federal indictment issued Dec. 16 in San Antonio, charges the 60-year-old and two other men of directing, approving and allowing violence against members of the rival Cossacks club.

Federal agents in San Antonio arrested the other two men, Bandidos Vice President John Xavier Portillo and National Sergeant at Arms Justin Cole Forster on similar charges. They also charged Forster with possession and intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Speaking after his client’s initial hearing, Pike’s attorney, Kent Schaffer, said the specific charges against the Bandidos leader are much more limited than the general charges outlined against all three in the indictment.

Schaffer said, “It does not really allege that Jeff Pike did anything other than that he was aware of the fact that Bandidos out in west Texas were fighting with Cossacks.”

Deliberately remaining ignorant of criminal activity being carried out by others is a crime, but Schaffer said it is usually accompanied by other charges. He also questioned the alleged urgency of stopping further Bandidos violence against Cossacks through an indictment issued on Dec. 16 and not acted on until now.

Schaffer said, “You would think that if they were that concerned about the safety of the Cossacks that they would have either, one, indicted the case much sooner than they did or, secondly, at the time they returned an indictment they would have made the arrests.”

Schaffer said federal authorities may have been motivated to act because of the shootout at a biker gathering in Waco, Texas, in May that left nine people dead and around two dozen wounded. Pike was not there, having just had surgery that left him recuperating for a few months. During that time, Schaffer said, Portillo took control of executive duties for the club, which was founded in Houston in the 1960s and now has some 2,000 members in 15 countries.

But federal officials say the indictment is the result of a 23-month investigation that uncovered criminal activity on a broad spectrum, including plans to commit violent assaults and murders. The indictment refers to the Bandidos as a highly organized criminal organization. Both federal authorities and Texas law enforcement officials regard the Bandidos as a gang that flaunts the law and threatens society.

Special Agent Joseph M. Arabit, the head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Houston Field Division said the operation that led to the indictment "has inflicted a debilitating blow to the leadership hierarchy and violent perpetrators of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.”

But Civil Rights organizations and legal experts alike have criticized the mass arrests by police and indictments brought by prosecutors in Waco, and some are maintaining wariness in regard to the federal indictment as well.

At Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, a history professor, Randy McBee, objects to police and the media using the word gangs in referring to clubs and he expresses concern that people may view all bikers as criminals because of crimes committed by a relative minority within the clubs.

“You take the average guy who rides a bike,” he said in an interview, “and he is attracting the attention and the scrutiny of the police and the odd stare from the public just as much as these other guys are, just because he is on a bike.”

McBee, who owns a motorcycle and has written a book about biker culture, said biker clubs offer social solidarity for many people that is difficult to find anywhere else in American society today.

“There really is a sense of community,” he said. “Whenever I am on my bike and I see someone else on one there is an unspoken solidarity that exists. It is the basis of identity.”

McBee thinks it is possible, even in groups like the Bandidos, for some members to be involved in criminal activities while others belong only for the social bonding. Some law enforcement officials agree, but they say there is plenty of evidence to show that violence and illegal schemes have become the norm within at least some of the clubs and that, in their view, justifies their use of the word gangs.

New Year's gropers can face
deportation from Germany

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said that if there are asylum-seekers among the people responsible for the spate of thefts and sexual assaults in Cologne, they could be kicked out of the country.

Maas spoke Thursday to the Funke media group about the string of reported crimes. Maas said German law allows for asylum seekers to be deported if they are sentenced to a year or more in prison, which is possible with sexual offenses.

But German officials have cautioned that very little information is available about the perpetrators of the attacks over New Year's weekend, including whether the attackers were asylum seekers.

Officials said Wednesday that the attacks were likely part of a coordinated effort by a criminal gang.

Police say about 1,000 men, most of Arab or North African origin, had gathered near Cologne's main train station around midnight throwing fireworks. After police moved in to break up the revelry, smaller groups of men began surrounding women passing through the area, groping and harassing them and stealing their belongings.

A plainclothes police woman said she was among those attacked.

About 90 people have filed criminal complaints, including one report of a rape.

The DPA news agency reports that three suspects are being investigated.

Both Justice Minister Maas and Chancellor Angela Merkel have condemned the assaults and called for the perpetrators to be punished.  

Police in the German cities of Hamburg and Stuttgart have said similar crimes were committed during New Year's Eve festivities, but to a lesser extent.

Tuesday, hundreds of women demonstrated in front of Cologne's cathedral calling for more respect for women.

Although the nationalities and residency status of the perpetrators are unknown, the assaults have intensified the debate about Germany's immigration policies.

Some 1.1 million people registered as asylum seekers in Germany in 2015.

Kerry expresses displeasure
at stalled diplomatic votes

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Secretary of State John Kerry used strong words Thursday in a call for the Senate to move forward on key diplomatic nominations, saying the delay is hurting American security.
“It just doesn't make sense. It hurts our country, to do what the Senate has allowed to happen over the course of these last couple of years.  And that is to leave open, for sometimes more than a year, vacant important positions for our nation,” said Kerry.
According to the State Department, 17 nominees are waiting for Senate confirmation, eight on the floor and nine in the committee.

One of the stalled nomination votes is for Tom Shannon, who was nominated to be undersecretary of State for political affairs, the State Department’s third-highest position.
“We have an ambassador, Tom Shannon, a outstanding nominee for undersecretary, a veteran, a foreign service officer whose nomination was approved unanimously by the Senate Foreign Relations committee. And yet, for months, one person has been holding up his nomination: no vote on the Senate floor,” said Kerry.
Kerry also scolded the Senate for procrastinating on Roberta Jacobson’s nomination.  As the assistant secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere affairs, Ms. Jacobson has played a key role in U.S. efforts to normalize relations with Cuba.  She has been tapped for ambassador to Mexico.  The delay in her appointment has been viewed by some analysts to be likely related to the Cuba Policy.
“One of our most significant bilateral relationships is with Mexico, and this is true economically, environmentally, socially on border security,” said Kerry, "and it is disparaging to that country that we don't have the respect to send the ambassador that that country needs and deserves.” 

The Republican-led Senate did not vote on several nominations before the holiday break.

Obama says his gun actions
will make getting one harder

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama said Thursday that combining gun safety with background checks would save lives while respecting the constitutional right of Americans to own weapons.

Obama made his comments at a town-hall-style meeting on his new executive orders for tighter gun control. The meeting at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, outside Washington, was proposed by and broadcast on CNN television.

The president said increased background checks would not prevent many people from being able to purchase guns. But he said the loopholes in the current system do not keep someone from buying guns in one state without a background check, crossing the border to another state, and reselling those guns for a profit. 

Obama said there are places in the U.S. where it is easier and cheaper for a 12-year-old child to get a gun than to buy a book.

The president said that many times, police and others do not know ahead of time who is going to be a criminal. He pointed out that the person who killed more than 20 schoolchildren in Connecticut in 2012 had no criminal record.

He said that while no one can guarantee a criminal cannot get his hands on a gun, tighter background checks will make it a bit harder and more expensive.

At the close of the meeting, Obama said it is not just deaths at the hands of criminals that are the problem. He said tighter laws could stop many accidental killings and suicides by distraught teenagers looking to escape their problems.

Thursday's audience was filled with specially selected advocates for and against more gun control. They included gun owners, gun dealers and victims of gun violence, such as former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who barely survived a bullet wound to the head in 2011.

CNN invited the National Rifle Association to send representatives. It declined.

Obama said NRA rhetoric was over the top and overheated.  He said he would be happy to meet and talk with the NRA as long as it dealt with what he called the facts.

In an opinion piece published Thursday in The New York Times, the president said he accepted that common-sense gun reform would not pass in Congress during his presidency. But he urged Americans, including responsible gun owners, to demand that the firearms industry and the nation's leaders do their part to help protect our fellow citizens.

Earlier this week, in an emotional appearance at the White House, the president announced his series of measures affecting both gun sellers and buyers. At one point as he spoke, he wiped away tears while remembering the victims of gun violence, especially children.

The new rules tighten licensing procedures for those who sell firearms and tighten requirements for background checks before purchasers can acquire weapons.

Republican lawmakers who rejected Obama's attempts to tighten gun regulations in 2013 said the president overstepped his authority by issuing the new rules, which they contended would not help reduce the number of violent crimes involving guns.

Guns are involved in about 32,000 deaths every year in the United States. About 60 percent of those deaths are suicides.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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


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Rich Coast Rollover
Thinking of Buying a Vacation or Retirement Home
in Costa Rica?

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
Are you tired of wasting time searching for your home…..with no results?
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Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

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* 3 bedrooms.
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Mafi Real Estate: Houses, lots and farms in Costa Rica
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.
English Calls: Miguel Fiatt Sauma or Paule Ortiz
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Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

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

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

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)
Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 5
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
Show seeks British living off-the-grid

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A British production company is seeking countrymen to be featured in a show that demonstrates how they have escaped to the wilds in Costa Rica.

The production company is Optomen Television, which makes "Escape to the Wild" for the United Kingdom broadcaster Channel 4.

“The programs tell the inspirational stories of people who’ve quit the rat race in the UK and moved overseas for a more sustainable way of life,” said Executive Producer Patrick Furlong in a release. He heads  the London team. “These families have traded the daily grind for simple self-sufficiency. They’re living off-the-grid and are finding happiness in some of the most beautiful places on the planet.”

The first series of "Escape to the Wild" featured expats now living closer to nature in Tonga, Chile, Belize and Sweden.

Ruth Overend, a content producer at Optomen Television, said, “We’d like to hear from British couples and families who’ve chosen to source their own water, harness their own power, grow vegetables, keep chickens and fish for their supper. Not a shopping mall or a motorway in sight!”
The company can be contacted by e-mail at

Caroline Walde-Jensen photo   
This is the runaway dog, Ricci

Reward offered for runaway shih tzu

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

New Year's Eve fireworks caused a vacationers' dog to bolt, and now the search is on.

Caroline Walde-Jensen said her 4-year-old gray shih tzu named Ricci
was last seen around the Linda Vista Residence near Santa Ana and also in Brasil de Mora.  She has promised a $350 reward.

"He is microchipped but was not wearing his collar when he ran away," the woman said via email. "He is about 16 pounds. He is 4 years old. He is from the United States. He is short haired because he got hot in Costa Rica, so we shaved him. He is a dark grey. He is very friendly and sweet. He isn't always sure about children or other dogs, but he likes people.

Anyone who finds Ricci can report that to or

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From Page 7:

Chinese markets up slightly at midday today

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

After twice triggering a circuit breaker mechanism earlier this week because of huge losses, Chinese stocks swung wildly in the first hours of trading today but seemed to settle by midday.

The trading halt, called a circuit breaker, was intended to calm markets, but it seemed to be having the opposite effect, so Chinese officials suspended the rule late Thursday.

With the circuit breaker deactivated, the CSI300 index was up 1.75 percent at 3,351.97 points in morning trade today, while the Shanghai Composite Index was up 1.9 percent to 3,185.67 points by 8:30 p.m. Thursday Costa Rican time.

Other Asian markets were also volatile early in the day, but many were edging toward positive territory. Hong Kong was 1 percent higher, having also swung from as much as 0.9 percent up to 0.7 percent down.

Tokyo was up 0.4 percent after a volatile and negative start. Sydney and Seoul also drifted in and out of positive territory.

Chinese markets have had a turbulent start to 2016.

Experts blame the global market plunge on investor worries that growth is slowing in China, the world's second-largest economy and a source of global economic growth for many years. Beijing recently moved to weaken the Chinese currency in a bid to bolster exports and growth, a move that nervous investors took as a sign that China's economy was even weaker than previously thought.

Worries about growth in China and elsewhere are also hurting oil prices, as investors bet that less economic growth will cut demand for energy.  Investors were also shaken by North Korea's suspected nuclear test and tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, key members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Thursday, U.S. and European stock markets fell sharply after China again suspended trading.