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(506) 2223-1327                         Published Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 6                           Email us
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Expat parents wrestle to secure citizenship for kids
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The circumstances that make a person a U.S. citizen again are being questioned.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is questioning if his opponent, Sen. Ted Cruz, is a natural born citizen as the U.S. Constitution requires.

Most legal authorities say that Cruz is even though he was born in Calgary, Canada, to a U.S. mother and a Cuban father.

For U.S. citizens in Costa Rica, the question is not if their child born here can be president. They wonder if the child is a U.S. citizen and if  he or she can pass along citizenship to the grandkids.

The situation can be far more complex than when framers wrote the U.S. Constitution. For example, today there is assisted reproduction, unwed motherhood and adoption of foreign children by U.S. couples. There also are many more U.S. citizens in the military or working overseas.

And how about all those unaccompanied minors from Central America?

Most expats know that a child born abroad to a U.S. citizen and a non-U.S. citizen spouse may not be a U.S. citizen. That is true if the U.S. citizen parent has not lived five years in the U.S. with two of them being after the age of 14.

Frequently, a U.S. citizen married to a Costa Rican urges a child from the marriage to deliver her own children in the United States. That way the grandchild is unquestionably a U.S. citizen.

The only children born in the U.S. who are not citizens by birth are those from diplomatic families.

Of course, a child born here to one U.S. parent frequently attends school in the United States and completes the time requirement to pass on citizenship. The child also is a dual citizen, which is not a problem in Costa Rica.

But in other countries, where the military draft still is in effect, a dual citizen might end up as a recruit. A typical example is a dual U.S.-Swiss citizen. Such a man might be surprised to receive a Swiss draft notice when he turns 20.

And some officials are insistent that a

A.M. Costa Rica file photo
Will she pass along her citizenship?

person born in their country enter and exit on that country's passport. Traveling businessmen have been delayed in some Latin countries because they had been born there many years earlier.

The U.S. Supreme Court never has decided what the Constitution means by natural born citizen. The rules have been adjusted considerably by laws. The last change that favored children adopted overseas was signed by Bill Clinton in 2000.

Despite what Trump says, a presidential candidate born overseas to U.S. parents has been considered a natural born citizen.

George Romney, who ran for president in 1968, was born in México to U.S. parents. So was Sen. John McCain, who was born in the Canal Zone to U.S. parents.

Americans Abroad, Inc., has published a lot of information regarding citizenship, and the advocacy organization lobbies for an expanded definition of the term.

A good summary is HERE! And answers to frequently asked questions are HERE!

Americans Abroad also is a leader in seeking geographically based taxation for Americans instead of the current citizenship-based. Ironically while many in the world fight to gain U.S. citizenship, some of the wealthy are renouncing it to move into a more tax-friendly country.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 6
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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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 Warming, El Niño called a one-two punch

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A series of weather disasters has shaken the world in recent weeks, with deadly floods in the United States and Britain adding to ongoing droughts in Brazil, South Africa and India.

Global warming is partly to blame because it heats up the world's oceans and sends evaporated water into the atmosphere, where it generates more heat, says Jeff Masters, director of meteorology at U.S. online news service Weather Underground.

Weather Underground, also is A.M. Costa Rica's news service.

"Now with a warmer atmosphere, you have got more energy to power bigger storms," Masters said on this week's Voice of America television program, in which he appeared via Skype. "Rainstorms will get worse, and when you have drought in a particular area, it can be more intense because the underlying temperatures are higher."

Climate change has been raising the planet's temperatures for years. But in 2015, that trend coincided with the start of an unusually strong El Niño, a natural, periodic warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean that can last a year or two.

Some climate observers say the concurrence of global warming and El Niño may have caused temperatures at the North Pole to rise briefly above freezing in December, something Weather Underground says has happened only three times since 1948.

Climate change commentator Robert Fanney, told the television audience that the Arctic heatwave has been melting sea ice and creating a feedback effect.

"The loss of sea ice turns a white reflective surface to a dark heat-absorbing surface," Fanney said. "So during the summertime, the Arctic Ocean is sucking up a lot more heat from the solar rays, and over time it re-radiates that heat over the fall and into the winter. And that is a really big, new impact that we are seeing."

Masters says Arctic sea ice loss due to a warmer world also may have caused the Northern Hemisphere jet stream, a narrow band of air currents, to undergo an unusual contortion.

"That is where the jet stream makes these giant loops, and underneath one of these giant loops that formed in late December and early January, a lot of warm air surged northwards, reaching all the way to the North Pole," Masters said.

The Arctic's polar bears depend on its shrinking ice surface to live, hunt and breed.

And their numbers are dropping, according to Polar Bears International, a U.S. and Canadian nonprofit group dedicated to conserving the animals.

The group's chief scientist Steven Amstrup, appearing on the same show, said he expects more of the animals to disappear even if the international community can limit global warming to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, as agreed to at last month's Paris climate conference.

"The impacts would be significant, and we would lose polar bears over much of their current range," Amstrup said. "But this is about a lot more than polar bears. People say, 'Well, polar bears live way up north and why should I care?' They really are harbingers of what is coming to the rest of us."

The climate observers say 2016 could bring more losses to human habitats from cyclones, floods and droughts as global warming and El Niño continue to interact with each other in the coming months.

First batch of Cubans taking the night flight

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The first 180 participants in the Cuban airlift to El Salvador will be taking a night flight Tuesday.

The departure will be a made-for-television event complete with a speech by Manuel González, minister of  Relaciones Exteriores y Culto.

The foreign ministry said that the 180 selected individuals will be arriving by bus to the Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia about 8 p.m. Tuesday from their public shelters in La Cruz.

This is a pilot program that will allow the government to decide if it will follow the same procedures to move all the 7,800 Cuban migrants to El Salvador. The trip is by Avianca, and the Cubans are paying their fares and the normal $29 Costa Rican exit tax.

Buses and perhaps lodging will be waiting in El Salvador. The buses are to cross Honduras and Guatemala to deliver the migrants into México where they will seek to travel to the U.S. border where they receive preferential immigration treatment.

More cholera vaccine in the works

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization reports more life-saving cholera vaccine soon will be available to help nations struggling to contain outbreaks of the killer disease.

Two manufacturers currently produce three million doses of cholera vaccine.  World Health says the global supply is set to double this year after it approved a third company to produce the vaccine.

The producer, a South Korean company called EuBiologics, is the latest oral cholera vaccine manufacturer to be approved under the organization’s pre-qualification program, which ensures the quality, safety and efficacy of the product.

Stephen Martin, an expert in World Health's Emergency Vaccines and Stockpiles Division, calls it good news.  He says the doubling of the global stockpile of oral cholera vaccines to six million doses will help address chronic shortages.

He says last year, his agency had more demand for the product than it could meet.  As a consequence, he says the agency had to turn down requests from Sudan and Haiti for the vaccine.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease that can kill within hours if  left untreated.  Globally, an estimated 1.5 billion people are at risk of cholera.  World Health reports there are up to 4.3 million cases a year, with as many as 142,000 deaths.   The disease is endemic in more than 50 countries.

Martin says a cholera vaccination campaign is due to begin in Haiti at the end of the month.  Unfortunately, he adds, it will be a reduced campaign as World Health only will be able to supply 240,000 of the 800,000 doses requested by the government.

News for the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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Caja promises to import more doses of influenza vaccine this year
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Health officials are trying to combat the idea that the country is in the midst of a flu epidemic.

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social said Friday that it would purchase a million doses of flu vaccine for 2016 with delivery and use beginning in April. The Caja said it bought 750,000 vaccines last year.

Meanwhile the Pan American Health Organization, a U.N. agency, reported that the incidences of flu in Costa Rica peaked at the end of December.  The agency said that the influenza wave this year started late similar to the rest of Central America and the intensity is the same as previous years.

In the last weeks, the agency said, there was an increase in       AH3N2 and AH1N1, but cases began to decrease in the last week of December. AH3N2 is a variant of avian influenza, and AH1N1 is commonly called swine flu.

The Ministerio de Salud issued a report Friday that said just 21.7 percent of the nation's flu cases were diagnosed as swine flu. In 2013 the percentage was as high as 68.7 percent. The ministry also distributed graphs showing that flu victims

were a small percentage of those who died during the year. Public concern developed because a disproportionate number of deaths took place at the Hospital de San Carlos. The swine flu death toll since Dec.1 is 17, with nearly 50 percent in San Carlos. However, a study of patients showed they had little in common except that most had some other kind of medical problem.

By contrast an estimated 38,000 persons die each year in the United States because of flu.

A report over the weekend said that flu cases at the San Carlos hospital had diminished. Still the Caja was reported sending more staffers there.

The government has been saying for two weeks that a massive vaccination program is not needed, but that view seemed to run counter to public opinion. Health officials also said that the appropriate vaccines were not available, in part because the virus in the Southern Hemisphere always is different than those in the north and because the viruses mutate continually. So available vaccines would not be effective.

When a new vaccine comes to Costa Rica, the Caja said that the young, the old and health professionals will have priority.

Two U.S. citizens die in separate motor vehicle accidents
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two U.S. citizens died in unrelated accidents Saturday.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said a motorcyclist by the last name of  Roderick died when his vehicle skidded about 2 p.m. and struck a highway barricade.

That was on Ruta 27 in Salinas de Puntarenas.

In the canton of Osa at a bridge over the Quebrada Ventanas a U.S. citizen identified by the last name of  McDonald lost control of a vehicle and plunged 15-meters.

Two passengers went to the hospital in Ciudad Cortés.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 6
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Competition for light seems to provide consistency in rainforests
By the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis news staff

Tropical rainforests play a vital role in the well-being of the planet, soaking up carbon dioxide and helping stabilize the global climate. Understanding the science of rainforests, the "lungs" of the planet, is critical to maintaining the fragile balance of Earth's ecosystems.

A study from a team of researchers at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, Princeton University, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute reveals striking new findings about the structure of tropical rainforests and how the trees in them interact with one another. The study, published in the journal Science, suggests important new recommendations for how scientists study and model tropical rainforests.

Despite important differences in the climate and species composition, tropical rainforests worldwide typically exhibit a consistent size structure. Extensive field work in forest dynamics plots across the tropics has documented this consistency. By mapping and measuring every tree over one centimeter in stem size in plots as large as 100 football fields, the ecologists have noted striking similarities in the patterns of numbers of trees by their size. However, researchers have not yet found a simple biological explanation for the striking pattern.

Using data on tree sizes within the tropical forest on Barro Colorado Island in the middle of the Panama Canal, the research team on the new study proposed a new hypothesis for the consistent pattern. Their study verified the mechanism with a mathematical model, finding that the consistent pattern appears to be driven by the trees that lose in competition with other trees for light.

"When a large tree dies, it creates a gap allowing sunlight to hit the forest floor. Then many small trees exposed to the full sun grow quickly until they begin to overtop each other. The unlucky individuals then begin to grow very slowly,
Princeton University/Caroline Farrior
The consistency found in size structure across tropical rainforests appears to be driven by competition for light among small individual trees following a break in the canopy cover.

effectively stuck at their size when overtopped," explained lead author Caroline Farrior. "It is the process of competition among trees for light following a gap disturbance that leaves behind a characteristic pattern of tree sizes, explaining the consistency in tree size distributions across otherwise very different tropical forests."

The study's findings have significant implications for how tropical rainforests are modeled. This is especially important now as modelers are trying to predict the sustainability of the tropical forest carbon sink, a service provided by tropical forests that currently slows the rate of atmospheric increase in carbon dioxide by about one-sixth.

"Without reproducing this size distribution for the right reasons, models are likely to get the wrong answer when used to predict into the future," Ms. Farrior said.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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

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

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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Real estate rental services (paid category)

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part
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Real estate for rent (paid category)
Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
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Real Estate
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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. 
Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 6
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Powerball jackpot expected
to hit $1.3 billion Wednesday

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The already staggering U.S. Powerball jackpot is expected to top a record $1 billion after none of the tickets sold matched all six numbers from Saturday's drawing.   The winner was 32, 16, 19, 57, 34, and Powerball 13.

The odds of winning the $949.8 million jackpot was 1 in 292.2 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the draw.

Millions of Americans who spent their hard-earned money on the multi-state lottery with dreams of becoming an instant millionaire will likely go online or flock to their neighborhood Powerball ticket sellers in 44 states, Washington, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands for a chance to win next Wednesday's drawing, which is expected to reach $1.3 billion by the time the winning numbers are announced.

The lottery has continued to grow as no one has owned the winning combination in a succession of drawings going back to early November, when it stood at $40 million. Powerball drawings are held twice a week.

The lucky winner could choose to receive annual payments over the next 30 years or a one-time, lump sum payment, minus the 39 percent federal income tax imposed on all winnings, plus any state and local taxes.

The biggest lottery jackpot ever won in the United States happened in March 2012 when three ticket holders in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland shared $656 million in the Mega Millions lottery.  The biggest Powerball jackpot won was $590 million in May 2013 by a ticket buyer in Florida.

Even people who do not normally feel inclined to play said they didn't want to lose this opportunity.

"When the jackpot gets that large, you have no choice but to play it, in my mind,” said Kevin Ramseur during his lunch hour in Washington, D.C. “I rarely play the lotto, the lottery or the Powerball, but when the jackpot gets over $300 million, I usually buy a few tickets."

The odds of winning were 1 in 292.2 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the draw. Statisticians say it is easier to get hit by lightning while simultaneously drowning. The winner has to match five sets of 69 numbers and then pick the correct Powerball numbers out of  26 possibilities.

Despite the tiny, minimal, almost impossible likelihood of winning the lottery, many people are  spending their cash on tickets.

"I would pay off my husband's student loan debt, mine, my brother's. I'd buy my parents a house, maybe one for me," said Alicia Swenson, who had just gotten a ticket.

Other people say the jackpot is far too much money for one person.

"To be honest with you, I'd probably give most of it away," said Anthony Jenkins, adding that there are hundreds of people in need who he could help.

Most people, however, have a wide-ranging list of ways to splurge.

Obama prepares for his last
State of the Union address

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

"America can do anything,” President Barack Obama said Saturday, previewing a theme of his final State of the Union address this week.

The president and his Republican critics will differ in assessing the past seven years and clash on what the United States needs going forward. Obama sees progress made and a stronger foundation on which to build.

“Our businesses are now on a 70-month streak of job creation, with more than 14 million new jobs in all,” the president said. “We’ve made historic investments in clean energy and put ourselves on a path to a low-carbon future. We’ve brought more than 17 million Americans into our health care system.”

Republicans have long dismissed Obama’s economic record as underwhelming at best, and will continue to do so.

“What we really need to hear about is how he will unleash the creativity and the drive of the American people,” Sen. John Hoeven said Saturday. “As Republicans, we want to empower our great people and country to compete and win.”

“The president is going to talk about the future and try to paint a rosy picture where one does not exist,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, on ABC’s "This Week" program. “What we’d love to hear from the president is a real plan to defeat ISIL,” meaning the Islamic State.

White House officials say Obama will do more than trumpet his administration’s accomplishments.

"He will be talking about the future,” White House Chief of Staff  Denis McDonough said on "This Week." “He will be very optimistic. He will be very action-oriented.”

The Republican response will be delivered by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, an Indian-American and a rising star in the party many expect will be considered as a potential vice presidential nominee.

Syrian and Muslim are guests
of  Mrs. Obama at speech

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A newly arrived Syrian refugee and a Muslim former U.S. soldier will be among the White House invitees sitting with first lady Michelle Obama in her box Tuesday at President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address.

A first lady's choice of guests to the closely watched address often underlines the president's priorities, and this year is no different.

At Mrs. Obama's side will be Naveed Shah, a Muslim and former U.S. soldier, who was a child when his parents immigrated to the country from Pakistan. Shah joined the army in 2006 and served in Iraq.

The Obama administration has also invited Refaai Hamo of Troy, Michigan, to exemplify the refugees' plight. Hamo, arrived in Detroit on Dec. 18 with his surviving children, three daughters and a son, after spending two years in Turkey.

The White House said a missile tore through the complex Hamo designed in which his family lived in Syria. Seven family members died in the blast.

In Turkey, Hamo was diagnosed with stomach cancer. After being granted refugee status in the United States, he and his children are trying to build a new life in Troy, Michigan, a Detroit suburb.

The symbolism of these guests is unmistakable at a time when Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates have upped their criticism of accepting more Syrian refugees under the current vetting process.

Several veterans, the governor of Connecticut and Microsoft's chief executive will be among the other guests. One seat representing victims of gun violence will be vacant.

Obama vetoes bill to chop
key elements of Obamacare

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama has vetoed legislation that would repeal major portions of his signature domestic achievement: the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The bill would also defund the reproductive health organization Planned Parenthood.

"Because of the harm this bill would cause to the health and financial security of millions of Americans, it has earned my veto," Obama said in a veto statement.

The statement continued: "The Affordable Care Act includes a set of fairer rules and strong consumer protections that have made healthcare more affordable."

The legislation would have dismantled the health law's key pillars, including requirements that most people obtain coverage and that larger employers offer it to workers.

It also sought to end the roughly $450 million in yearly federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which amounts to a third of its budget.

The bill was widely seen as a test of the Republican lawmakers' ability to get it passed through Congress ahead of U.S. elections later this year when the presidency, all House seats and one third of the Senate will be up for grabs.

"We have shown now that there is a clear path to repealing Obamacare without 60 votes in the Senate," said Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan in a video response.

"So, next year, if we're sending this bill to a Republican president it will get signed into law. Obamacare will be gone."

The White House says that more than 17 million Americans are now insured as a result of the Affordable Care Act and that the number of uninsured Americans is at its lowest level ever.

Tearful president is topic
of foreign commentaries

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

With his calls this week for tighter gun laws in the U.S., President Barack Obama brought gun control to the forefront of America's 2016 presidential election campaign and made headlines across the globe.

Obama announced plans to tighten and clarify rules about who can sell guns to whom, whether in shops, gun shows or online.

But Obama's tears as he recalled victims of gun attacks received as much attention as the proposals themselves.

"Obama's tears were every bit as memorable as his words," wrote Khaled A. Beydoun for Al Jazeera English.  "In the U.S., guns are far more than weapons. They are ideological talismans."

Nick Curtis of New Zealand's Herald Online notes with irony that when Hillary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher wept in public, their critics dismissed them as weak.

“The publicly weeping female is seen as irrational, out of control, dangerous. By contrast, a bloke who blubs in public is today thought brave, noble, in touch with his feelings," he said.

"Barack Obama's tears for America's murdered children as he called for more gun control have been claimed by supporters as a sign of his deep emotional response to a national tragedy, and by Republican foes as an act of fascist fakery involving the deployment of an onion, or some other lachrymal enhancement."

Britain's Telegraph ran a poll asking readers whether the presidential tears were real or fake.

Meanwhile, a number of tweeps from the Middle East have questioned why the U.S. leader wasn't weeping for those killed in conflicts abroad.

Across traditional and social media, observers questioned why the U.S. President waited so long, his eighth and last year in the White House, to tackle the issue of gun violence in America.

And some analysts blame not the politicians, but the U.S. public itself, for the rising number of violent deaths in America.

“The number of people who are shot in the U.S., a figure that is more appropriate in a country involved in a civil war than an allegedly civilized western industrialized nation, will not considerably decline as a result of these executive orders," reads a recent editorial in Germany's Sueddeutsche newspaper.

"When the issue is U.S. gun madness, we can always point to die-hard Republicans, conservative constitutional judges and nasty gun lobbyists. . . . They all have . . . blood on their hands.  But, fundamentally, this is a social, not a political or legal problem.  The majority of Americans do not want to touch the right to carry a gun, and they do not care about the victims.”

India's Urdu-language daily Hindustan Express asks why the U.S. has no official figures on the actual number of guns circulating in the nation:

"The United States is an extremely organized country and the intelligence agencies and all the institutions ensuring enforcement of law and order are quite organized," it notes.

Many international editorials stress the strong Republican opposition to gun control in America and express doubt that real reform will take place.

"It would be too upbeat to call a televised town hall meeting on Thursday night between President Barack Obama and gun-rights advocates a dialogue of the deaf," Britain's Economist newspaper noted Friday.

"The difference between opponents and supporters is that the latter believe Mr. Obama when he says he has no plan, ability or time left in office to reduce America’s uniquely large private arsenal. And judging by the weary, almost despairing expression on Mr. Obama’s face during his CNN town hall meeting, the supporters are right," the Economist concluded.

It's no surprise, given the polarization around the issue in the U.S., that reaction here was strong on both sides of the debate.

The National Rifle Association, which was called out by Obama during the town hall for declining an invitation to participate, live blogged the event, and took their own jabs at the President, calling the gun control effort a distraction and a PR stunt.

The conservative Washington Times opined that, since the president can't figure out how to confiscate the guns Americans already own, "he has set out to make life as miserable as he can for everyone who wants to exercise his constitutional right to own a gun, a right fundamental to the republic for as long as there has been an America."

Capo Guzmán is unapologetic
in his Sean Penn

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. actor Sean Penn met with legendary Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán in Mexico, months before his capture, for an interview posted on Rolling Stone magazine's Web site late Saturday, a day after Guzmán was captured by Mexican authorities. 

Guzmán proudly volunteers to Penn "I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world.  I have a fleet of submarines, airplanes, trucks and boats."  Penn described Guzmán as entirely unapologetic.

"If there was not consumption, there would be no sales," Guzmán says about his drug trafficking.  "It is true that consumption, day after day, becomes bigger and bigger. So it sells and sells."

Guzman's July 11 prison escape, his second in the past 14 years, was accomplished through a 1.5-kilometer underground tunnel, dug in secret from his cell to a nearby village.

It was a major embarrassment for the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, which had been praised for its aggressive push against Mexico's top drug traffickers.

Penn says Guzmán sent his engineers to Germany last year "for three months of extensive additional training necessary to deal with the low-lying water table beneath the prison."  He says once Guzmán descended into the tunnel he was able to drive off in "a pipe-track-guided motorcycle with an engine modified to function in the minimally oxygenized space." 

Penn made plans for the interview at the same time he was staying in the same New York hotel as Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.  Penn says one person from the Mexican president's detail asked him for a selfie as the actor walked down a street "lined with the armored SUVs that will transport the president of Mexico to the General Assembly."

In an earlier development Saturday, unidentified Mexican officials told multiple media outlets the Mexican government is willing to extradite Guzmán to the United States.

That is a sharp reversal from the government's position after his last capture in 2014.

Guzman’s escape in July from a maximum-security prison was a point of friction between Mexico and the U.S., which had requested his extradition.

The extradition process could take months, and Guzman's lawyers are expected to fight it.

Guzmán was returned to the Altiplano prison after being recaptured Friday in the city of Los Mochis, which is in Guzman’s home state of Sinaloa.

Hours later, he was shown to reporters, dressed in a blue shirt and track pants, being transferred from an armored van to a helicopter that was to take him and at least one accomplice back to prison.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Rich Coast Rollover
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Rich Coast Realty is a full-service real estate company with property listings in Escazú, Santa Ana, Jacó, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Manuel Antonio, and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. We work hard to find you the property of your dreams, and assist with legal advice, residency, starting corporations, opening bank accounts, etc. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in, and relocating to Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate, we look forward to hearing from you.
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* 3 bedrooms.
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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)

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:

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 
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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:


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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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, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 6
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
The joys of unexpected encounters

Sometimes you see amazing stuff here in Costa Rica, some is familiar and some is new. Take bougainvillea. I always thought that bougainvillea was a vine, or a kind of vining shrub, that climbed up the
Victoria torley
sides of houses (usually the houses were orange and the flowers magenta – a horrible combination).

But the other day I found a bougainvillea tree. The trunk was a good 35 centimeters (about 14 inches) in diameter. It was short, but the branching structure was very strong. The tree itself is only
about 3 meters tall (10 feet) and it is an umbrella of blossoms.

Things surprise me all the time in the tropics. The other morning I went for a walk and found orchids on a tree stump. Not that this hasn’t happened before, but this one was an odd shape, long and leggy, and evidently I had just missed the blooming. Since it was on a dead tree, it now has a new home in the shade garden.

I love these little walks even though I’m no longer supposed to walk alone. Nope, vetoed by my husband and my gardener. Evidently they both think I will do something dumb like climb a tree chasing something or slide down a mud bank . . . Okay, guilty of both but not recently. Usually I have a walking stick for balance although I am thinking of ordering ski poles. Anyway, they don’t want me doing anything dumb all alone. Sigh.

We walked on, Armando and I, him with a steady hand whenever he thought I needed one (more often than I thought I did) until we found some more things on downed limbs and fence posts. That’s when I noticed the flower, and it was even within reach.

There are a lot of flowering trees in Costa Rica and most of them are not in the local guidebook, “A Field Guide to Plants of Costa Rica,” because there are too many trees and plants for one book. (They freely admit that they had to choose and had to narrow their selection; still, it is a handy book.

This flower was white and mimosa-shaped with powder-puff petals like threads of silk. Did I pick it? No.  I picked the entire branch. Never try to identify anything from just the flower. Too many look alike, and the leaves can be a vital clue to species.

Did we find the species in the book? Well, we found the family, we think. Seems to be Mimosoideae, after that, you’re on your own. Just look at the picture and description below and see what you come up with. If you have the field guide, try page 53 for starters.

what is it

Plant for the Week

Tree, forked near the base with greyish bark. Leaves, opposite, pinnate, paired, to 17 centimeters long and 4 centimeters wide. Flower white about 6 centimeters wide. No fragrance. This one had a flower and a bud at the end of them stem.

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

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From Page 7:

Limon passenger dock
Casa Presdiencial photo          
Limón passenger dock

Limón ports certified as being secure

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The central government has said that two marine terminals on the Caribbean have been certified as a guarantee of security.

Both terminals, Limón and Moin, are under the jurisdiction of the Junta de Desarrollo de la Vertiente Atlántica. Also certified is the passenger ship dock in Puntarenas, said the government.

Certification was done by the Ministerio de Obras y Transportes, which has been designated to do so by the U.S. Coast Guard. Among other measures, port security guards have been issued bulletproof vests and provided additional training.

Port authorities have been working for years to tighten up security to combat drug smuggling and terrorism and to maintain international standards.

The certification is good through June 30, said the central government.

The two ports handle 50 percent of the imports and 80 percent of the exports for the country.