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(506) 2223-1327                        Published Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Vol. 15, No. 7                                 Email us
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Details awaited on new strategic alliance with China
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Business leaders and opposition politicians are anxious to hear the details of what the Costa Rican president describes as a strategic alliance with the People's Republic of China.

The president, Luis Guillermo Solís, characterized the country's relations with the Asian giant that way and said the association would last for at least 10 years.

This strategic alliance would seem to be much larger than simply agreeing with China to install some free trade zone and manufacturing facilities. The implication is that Costa Rica would help China achieve some policy and political goals.

Not the least of these is China's proposal to have the United Nations control the worldwide Internet. That control now is in the hands of the Internet Corporation for  Assigned Names and Numbers. China and
 other countries have been pushing without success for years to bring these controls into the U.N.  International Telecommunication Union.

The United Nations already has declared that Internet access is a human right, and China has called for eliminating religious extremism on the Internet. That would seem to mean any support for the occupied Tibetans or other minority groups in China.

China already has launched an internal campaign to eliminate Web sites and discussion lists not favored by the government. Many human rights groups have issued criticism.

Costa Rican officials already are big fans of the United Nations. In addition, China would like to convert other Latin countries from diplomatic relation with Taiwan, which China considers to be a breakaway province. Reclaiming Taiwan is a major policy goal.

Newspaper and magazine offices are easy targets
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The tragic attack on a French magazine points out the vulnerability of publication offices. Such offices have been targets for centuries regardless of the politics involved.

By their very nature, newspaper and magazine offices have to be open to some public access, and the security, if there is any, generally is minimal.

Massive march in Paris

Such was the case at the Daily Journal in Caracas, Venezuela, during the tumultuous presidential term of Rómulo Betancourt in the early 1960s. Young Communists of the Fuerzas Armadas de Revolución Nacional had taken to the hills to battle the democratic government.

The rebels had a lot of help from Castro's Cuba, which delivered guns and explosives to isolated beaches via submarine.

At the time, the Daily Journal published seven days a week in English from offices in the center of Caracas, ironically on Avenida Fuerzas Armadas.

The Communist rebels had no trouble overpowering the single police guard and violently raced down a long hall into the newspaper's production shop and editorial department. As they began lining up workers, the senior news editor, Clem Cohen, directed editorial staffers to an emergency exit designed for just such an event.

Staffers looks at him with questioning eyes. The other side of the emergency exit was a brick wall. Someone had built an illegal home adjacent to the newspaper building.

flatbed press
Flatbed press worked better after firebombing.

Curiously, most of the production shop workers were Communists, too. They had fought against Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War and fled to Venezuela when their side lost.

That fact must have made an impression on the rebels because they did not kill anyone. Instead, they gave a short revolutionary speech, firebombed the flatbed press and fled.

Their big mistake was killing a passer-by on the sidewalk when he blocked their flight. The dead man was the brother of the governor of Caracas, and that ramped up the police response.

Inside the newspaper, the firebomb flames had burned years of gunk off the antique cast iron and steel flatbed press, and workers reported the machine worked better than before the attack.

Those times produced many similar attacks on companies with U.S. ties and even the U.S. Embassy.

Rebels, mostly former university students, continued their futile attempts to gain control in Venezuela for six more years until a new president, Rafael Caldera engineered a successful attempt to bring them into the political life of the country by offering an amnesty.

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An A.M. Costa Rica guest editorial
Magazine attack sought to exploit fears

By Andrew Heslop
of the The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers  

They are alarming statistics. 61 dead. 70 dead. 74 dead. 47 dead. 44 dead. 74 dead.

These figures represent the number of journalists who have died each year
from 2009 through 2014. More than 1,100 have been killed in the line of duty since 1992, and these are some of the most conservative estimates.

Charlie Hebdo and France are
mourning the murder of 10 journalists and two police officers as the new year begins. There will, sadly and with certainty, be more as the year unfolds. When journalists are murdered, it is our entire society that should feel the wound. Is this recent attack the one that will finally wake everyone up to the fact that an attack on a journalist is an attack on us all?

Shocking as it is, the fatal attack on the newsroom of Paris' leading satirical news weekly is not an isolated incident, but rather an extreme example of the brutal, often violent reality for thousands of news professionals worldwide.

Speak to newsmen and women in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Mexico, and countless other countries, and the shock and fear that has stunned France is all too familiar. That this attack happened in a country that, while struggling with its multicultural identity, is nonetheless committed to believing in difference and diversity,  liberté, egalité, fraternité, is a tragic blow for those determined to celebrate these values.

What is exceptional in this instance is that the climate of hatred that fuels attacks on journalists worldwide has reached the heart of European newsrooms.

As we grieve, and as the reasons unfold and the story develops, I hope it will deeply register in the minds of ordinary Europeans just how precarious our freedoms have become; that anyone, anywhere, should be killed for exercising their right to freedom of expression is a travesty. Whether it is Paris, Sana’a or Baghdad, there is no exception.

Only in solidarity can we hope to withstand assaults like this. But the reality, based on the lack of reaction to countless other tragic slayings of journalists over the years, is that until it happens in your own back yard, it often goes unregistered as being a threat at all.

Wednesday’s attack strikes at the fabric of democracy, and aspiring democratic societies, the world over. An attack on a publication like Charlie Hebdo, unafraid, imperturbable, unwavering in its acerbic political satire and penetrating social commentary, is intended as an attack on the values our societies uphold. That we are no more damning to others as we are to ourselves is a philosophy that has kept Europe at peace since World War II and in some ways has become the ultimate measure of our progress. Learning to respect difference yet providing no exception to the rule that “I may not like what you say, but I shall defend to my death your right to say it.”

Perhaps never has a phrase held such poignancy.

This attack also looks to rip open the continent along fault lines that are wearing increasingly thin. Any fundamentalist thinking, right wing, left wing, economic, cultural or religious, will seek to exploit the perceived fragmentation of Europe and drive its people back into the cauldron of bitterness, hatred and sectarianism that pockmarks our history.

Europe survives precisely because of its diversity, its differences. Any dogma, religious, economic, political or otherwise, that seeks to impose a single vision on European society, especially through violent means, is destined to be rejected.

And where this belief wavers, where attacks aim to wear thin the resolve, the press has a responsibility to remind Europeans of their past and to project a potential future according to the values that so many fought and died for prior to the birth of the modern continent.

Attacks such as yesterday’s aim to exploit the fears that difference in religion and culture bring. We must not let this be the case. We should be careful not to react with calls for tighter legislation that can be harmful to the very freedoms a critical press is designed to protect. The lessons of our American cousins and the post 9-11 Patriot Act as a response to terror should remind us that threats to our freedoms can come from many directions. Let us take the time to react, but let us first take the time to mourn this latest attempt on our freedom.

We can neither predict nor prevent the actions of crazed fundamentalists, but we can entirely control our reaction to their devastating acts. In the face of this most recent tragedy we must reject the fear it was calculated to spread. The victims were martyred, not in the name of a prophet, a cause, or a twisted religious belief, but by a warped vision of our own world. We have a duty to those who died to resist that vision. They lived in the name of freedom, and died its truest practitioners.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 7
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The fingerprints will tell the tale on some forgetful fugitives
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats who are legal residents know about the fingerprint facilities. A trip to the security ministry was a ritual that most applicants for residency have to make.

But there are plenty of other reasons individuals submit to fingerprinting in Costa Rica. And there are several reasons why they should not.

The section of the ministry that does fingerprints is called  Dactiloscopía in Spanish. And workers there still use a system based on ink.

That may be why some 72 applicants for pistol permits last year were bold enough to provide their prints.  The ministry reported that this is the number of individuals who were snagged on outstanding criminal warrants.

The most recent was last week when a man seeking a pistol permit was detained at the issuing office in Barrio Francisco Peralta. The man was the subject of two warrants, each alleging that he abused a minor. They were from courts in  Turrialba and Guápiles.

Ministerio de Gobernación, Polieia y Seguridad Publica photo
Fingerprints are still taken with ink.

The bulk of those seeking pistol permits are individuals who are seeking jobs as guards. Some expats who seek to carry weapons for self protection have complained about the delays in issuing.

Stranded kayaker gets a tow

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Members of the Servicio Nacional de  Guardacostas in Flamingo pulled another individual ashore last week.

The latest case involved a Costa Rican in a kayak who overturned near a small island called Pitahaya in the Pacific off Playa Zapotal in Santa Cruz. The man, identified as José Aguilar Otoya, appears to have been yet another victim of strong winds.

A coast guard launch towed the man and his kayak ashore. The man appears to be unhurt but he sought a medial checkup, the coast guard said.

The coastguard from the same station retrieved a U.S. citizen who fell while hiking on another island, the Islas Catalinas. The injured man had a cell telephone to seek help.

Servicio Nacional de  Guardacostas
Kayaker is towed to shore.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 7
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Volcano eruptions get the blame for stalled global warming
By the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
news staff

The warming hiatus that has occurred over the last 15 years has been caused in part by small volcanic eruptions.

Scientists have long known that volcanoes cool the atmosphere because of the sulfur dioxide that is expelled during eruptions. Droplets of sulfuric acid that form when the gas combines with oxygen in the upper atmosphere can persist for many months, reflecting sunlight away from Earth and lowering temperatures at the surface and in the lower atmosphere.

Previous research suggested that early 21st-century eruptions might explain up to a third of the recent warming hiatus.

New research available online in the journal Geophysical Research Letters further identifies observational climate signals caused by recent volcanic activity. This new research complements an earlier paper published in November, which relied on a combination of ground, air and satellite measurements, indicating that a series of small 21st-century volcanic eruptions deflected substantially more solar radiation than previously estimated.

“This new work shows that the climate signals of late 20th- and early 21st-century volcanic activity can be detected in a variety of different observational data sets,” said Benjamin Santer, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientist and lead author of the study. The lab is operated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The warmest year on record is 1998. After that, the steep climb in global surface temperatures observed over the 20th century appeared to level off. This hiatus received considerable attention, despite the fact that the full observational surface temperature record shows many instances of slowing and acceleration in warming rates. Scientists had previously suggested that factors such as weak solar activity and increased heat uptake by the oceans could be responsible for the recent lull in temperature increases. After publication of a 2011 paper in the journal Science by Susan Solomon of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it was recognized that an uptick in volcanic activity might also be implicated in the warming hiatus.

Prior to the 2011 Science paper, the prevailing scientific thinking was that only very large eruptions — on the scale of the cataclysmic 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines, which ejected an estimated 20 million metric tons (44 billion pounds) of sulfur — were capable of affecting global climate. This conventional wisdom was largely based on climate model simulations. But according to David Ridley, an atmospheric scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and lead author of the November paper, these simulations were missing an important component of volcanic activity.

Ridley and colleagues found the missing piece of the puzzle
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory photo
The Tavurvur Cone in Papua New Guinea was erupting when this image was captured Nov. 30, 2009. The eruption is one that may have contributed to a warming hiatus.

at the intersection of two atmospheric layers, the stratosphere and the troposphere — the lowest layer of the atmosphere, where all weather takes place. Those layers meet between 10 and 15 kilometers (six to nine miles) above the Earth.

Satellite measurements of the sulfuric acid droplets and aerosols produced by erupting volcanoes are generally restricted to above 15 km. Below 15 km, cirrus clouds can interfere with satellite aerosol measurements. This means that toward the poles, where the lower stratosphere can reach down to 10 km, the satellite measurements miss a significant chunk of the total volcanic aerosol loading.

To get around this problem, the study by Ridley and colleagues combined observations from ground-, air- and space-based instruments to better observe aerosols in the lower portion of the stratosphere. They used these improved estimates of total volcanic aerosols in a simple climate model, and estimated that volcanoes may have caused cooling of 0.05 degrees to 0.12 degrees Celsius since 2000.

The second Livermore-led study shows that the signals of these late 20th and early 21st eruptions can be positively identified in atmospheric temperature, moisture and the reflected solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere. A vital step in detecting these volcanic signals is the removal of the climate noise caused by El Niños and La Niñas. 

“The fact that these volcanic signatures are apparent in multiple independently measured climate variables really supports the idea that they are influencing climate in spite of their moderate size,” said Mark Zelinka, another Livermore author. “If we wish to accurately simulate recent climate change in models, we cannot neglect the ability of these smaller eruptions to reflect sunlight away from Earth.”

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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

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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
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Every Saturday - Vendor Fair!

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

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

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.
We are offering homes for every budget and every need.
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Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 7
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march photo
Voice of America photo    
From left, Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, Mali's Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, France's Francois Hollande, Germany's Angela Merkel, the EU's Donald Tusk, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas march during the unity rally in Paris.

Massive march in France
draws many world leaders

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

World leaders joined nearly 4 million people in the streets of Paris and around France Sunday in solidarity with the victims of a terror spree last week that killed 17 people.

More than 40 heads of state and government joined French President Francois Hollande in linking arms for a brief walk through Paris. Immediately to Hollande's left walked German Chancellor Angela Merkel and to his right Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. France intervened to help fight Islamist rebels there two years ago to the day.

Other leaders included Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. U.S. Ambassador to France Jane Hartley represented the United States at Sunday's event.

French officials said it was the largest street demonstration in the country's history.

Late Sunday, the Interior Ministry said at least 3.7 million people demonstrated across France. A ministry spokesman said that 1.2 million to 1.6 million people had marched in Paris and about 2.5 million people in other cities around the country.

Several thousand police and military forces were deployed to the streets as well.

A massive crowd remained outside for hours, filling  the route between two of the capital's major plazas, Place de la Republique and Place de la Nation.

After world leaders left the march, Hollande stayed to greet survivors of the Charlie Hebdo attack and their families.

Later Sunday night, Hollande and Netanyahu attended a memorial ceremony at the Grand Synagogue in Paris for the victims of Friday's terror attack at a kosher supermarket.

At the synagogue, Netanyahu thanked French citizens, including Muslims, for speaking out against terrorism and anti-Semitism.

Mamoun Abdelali, an imam from the Paris area, was among many Muslims at the rally denouncing militant Islam. The assailants, he said, didn't avenge the Prophet Muhammad, they insulted and dishonored him.

Another Muslim, 17-year-old Amina Tadjouri, brandished a Jewish newspaper that read: "I am Jewish, I am Charlie."

French officials have called the Wednesday massacre at the Paris offices of the satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo and a series of deadly attacks that followed acts of terrorism.

Twelve people, including eight journalists and two policemen, were massacred Wednesday at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine known for poking fun at all religions, including Islam. Two Islamic militant brothers, Cherif and Said Kouachi, carried out the attack. They were ambushed and killed by French police Friday.

A video believed to show Amedy Coulibaly, who French police said is tied to the fatal shooting of a policewoman and a deadly siege of a kosher grocery store in the days after the newspaper was targeted, emerged posthumously on social media Sunday.

In it, a man describes how the killings were coordinated as retribution for the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State air campaign, in which France is a partner.

Following the attack on the grocery Friday, in which four hostages were killed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would welcome Jewish immigrants from France.

Security is expected to remain tight across the nation for weeks as investigators continue their hunt for Coulibaly's girlfriend.

Police originally suspected that 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene, described as armed and dangerous, was at the supermarket with her partner. But Turkish officials say the woman entered Turkey Jan. 2 and is now likely in Syria.

Coulibaly was an associate of brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi. The siblings have been identified as perpetrators of Wednesday's attack on the staff of Charlie Hebdo.

As security forces closed in on the brothers Friday outside Paris, Said Kouachi told reporters by phone that he received training and financing from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. American, European and Yemeni sources confirmed he trained with AQAP, which has publicly praised the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo.

Sunday, German police said they detained two men suspected in an arson attack against the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper, which republished controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad seen in Charlie Hebdo. No one was injured.

The Belgian newspaper Le Soir was also evacuated Sunday after it received an anonymous bomb threat. The paper republished cartoons from Charlie Hebdo, which was well-known for its provocative and irreverent tone that frequently targeted religious figures.

U.S. plans to host summit
against violent extremism

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States said it will host a summit in Washington next month on preventing violent extremism, as European and American leaders call for stronger measures to monitor people online and at borders.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Feb. 18 meeting from Paris on Sunday, where he joined an emergency conference on terrorism in the wake of a terror spree in France last week that killed 17 people.

"We must deal not only with holding accountable those people who would perpetrate such heinous acts. We must also deal with underlying causes that cause these things to occur, that somehow radicalize these people to take actions that we all find to be an affront to humanity," Holder said.

"We will bring together all of our allies to discuss ways in which we can counteract this violent extremism that exists around the world," he added.

In a statement, the White House said the meeting will highlight best practices and emerging efforts from several U.S. communities carrying out pilot programs to address extremism.

Speaking on CBS's Face the Nation program, Holder also said the decimation of core al-Qaida has reduced or eliminated that group's ability to carry out a 9/11-style attack, but he said affiliates like al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula have stepped in to try to inspire people to carry out smaller attacks.

“I think the possibility of such attacks exists in the United States,” he said.

“It is something that, frankly, keeps me up at night worrying about the lone wolf or a very small group of people who decide to get arms on their own and do what we saw in France this week,” Holder added.

However, Holder said Americans should feel secure with U.S. officials' efforts to prevent attacks by Islamist militants.

Interior and justice ministers from Europe and the U.S. gathered in Paris on Sunday, calling for increased Internet surveillance and stricter border security to counter attacks like the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo weekly newspaper. Journalists and police were reportedly targeted in the deadly shooting, raising questions about freedom of speech and of the press.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who convened the ministerial meeting, said Europe must improve information sharing across borders and better track passengers traveling between countries.

"We are convinced of the necessity of this system at a European level to monitor those who go to theatres of war to fight as terrorists and come back, and to fight against organized terrorist networks," Cazeneuve said.

Cazeneuve said that fundamental liberties would be still respected under increased surveillance measures.

One of magazine murderers
trained with al-Qaida branch

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Western and Yemeni officials say one of the two brothers who carried out Wednesday's deadly attack on a French satirical newspaper trained with al-Qaida's branch in Yemen a few years ago.

American, European and Yemeni sources close to the investigation say Said Kouachi traveled to Yemen in 2011 to train with Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.

AQAP, formed in 2009 through a merger of the Saudi and Yemeni branches of al-Qaida, is one of the network's most active and lethal affiliates.

The group has carried out many attacks in an insurgency in Yemen, with the highest concentration in the southern part of the country. Most of the targets appear to be government facilities, with a particular focus on intelligence and security services.

At the same time, AQAP maintains a goal of striking Western targets and has orchestrated a series of high-profile attacks.

One of its most notable operations occurred in 2009 when the group dispatched a Nigerian-born man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who failed in trying to set off explosives sewn to his underwear aboard a commercial flight over the U.S. He thus became known as the underwear bomber.

The following year, ASAP launched Inspire, an English online publication geared toward helping the group build its brand and spread its message of Jihad, or holy war. Many extremists motivated by radical interpretations of Islam have reportedly been influenced by the magazine and have used its bomb-making instructions.

One of the most notorious figures linked to AQAP was Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who by 2011 had become a senior figure in the group and its public face. He was killed in 2011 in a U.S. drone strike.

A senior Yemeni intelligence source said Friday that Said Kouachi met with Awlaki when he trained in Yemen.

While the world was riveted this week on the tragic events unfolding in Paris, more than 30 people were killed in a car bomb explosion on Wednesday near a police college in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a. AQAP has been suspected of carrying out the attack.

SpaceX booster crashes
in barge landing attempt

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A huge rocket carried an unmanned supply ship loaded with cargo for the International Space Station into orbit Saturday, but a pioneering attempt to reland the booster on an ocean barge failed.

The cargo capsule is expected to reach the space station today. But SpaceX founder Elon Musk, in a tweet sent after the early morning launch, said the booster rocket broke apart when it landed too hard on a recovery platform afloat in the Atlantic Ocean.

Despite the rocket breakup, the billionaire Musk said he was encouraged that the 14-story booster managed to reach the platform in an almost successful controlled descent. He said the near-success bodes well for the future.

Musk said that recovering and reusing rockets, rather than discarding them at sea, is becoming essential to increasing the frequency and lowering costs of future launches.

The launch from Cape Canaveral was the fifth mission under a $1.6 billion SpaceX contract with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The cargo capsule is carrying 2,300 kilograms (more than 5,000 pounds) of food, experiments and other supplies to space station crew members.

The shipment became crucial after another company's space station supply ship exploded on a launch pad in October, seconds after liftoff.  The entire payload of an Antares rocket belonging to Orbital Sciences Corp. was destroyed at a launch facility in the U.S. State of Virginia.

U.S. shoppers disregard
label giving meat's origin

By the Kansas State University news service

When shoppers pick up a pound of meat from the grocery store, did they noticed the label indicating where the meat originated? According to new research, most shoppers have no idea the label exists. But that little label is causing a big stir among the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

In October 2014, the World Trade Organization ruled in favor of Canada and Mexico, finding that the mandated country-of-origin labels in the U.S. are not trade compliant and hurt business in nearby countries. The U.S. is appealing the decision. However, research from Kansas State University, in collaboration with Oklahoma State University, finds that most consumers aren't willing to pay extra for the label.

"Less than one-third of the participants surveyed know that it is a law to label where the meat originates," said Glynn Tonsor, associate professor of agricultural economics at Kansas State University. "Effectively, producers lose and consumers lose because we have not observed an aggregate demand increase in response to that origin information."

The labels were implemented in 2009 to provide shoppers more information about the origin of their meat. In 2013, the labels were revised to provide more specifics about the origin, including where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. Tonsor surveyed consumers in 2009 and in 2013 and found the same results: The majority of shoppers aren't interested in these labels.

"Time and time again, we find that food safety, price, freshness and taste tend to be attributes, regardless of the meat product we're talking about, that rank highly in importance and drive purchasing decisions," Tonsor said. "Social issues like origin, environmental impact and sustainability matter to consumers, but do not drive purchasing decisions."

A decision on the appeal is expected in early 2015. In the meantime, country-of-origin labels are still being used.

One AirAsia flight recorder
found by divers in Java Sea

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Authorities in Indonesia say divers have retrieved the flight data recorder from downed AirAsia Flight 8501.

Search and rescue chief Bambang Soelistyo told reporters today that divers are still trying to find the other black box, the cockpit voice recorder, which will give investigators a clearer picture of what was happening in the cockpit during the crash.

The recovery of the flight recorders is likely to be critical in learning why the aircraft went down Dec. 28, killing all 162 people onboard.

The Airbus 320 vanished from radar screens over the northern Java Sea less than halfway into a two-hour flight from Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore.

Forty-eight bodies have been recovered so far.

Authorities hope most of the rest of the victims can be recovered from the several large pieces of wreckage that have been detected on the ocean floor.

Before takeoff and during the last moments of the flight, the pilots requested to fly at a higher altitude to avoid a storm.  The request was not approved because other planes were in the area.

Search teams working off the coast from the West Kalimantan town of Pangkalan Bun have sought the wreckage in water up to 30 meters deep, but are facing very low visibility due to large amounts of silt stirred up by strong currents.

An initial report into the crash could then take several weeks, with a formal report expected to take up to one year.

Initial investigations by Indonesia’s meteorological department said a heavy monsoon storm was the key factor in the crash.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has said the accident exposed widespread problems in the management of the air transportation sector in Indonesia.

The Indonesian Transport Ministry has already launched an audit of the aviation sector and an investigation into AirAsia’s operations on the Surabaya-to-Singapore route.
Asia’s fast-growing aviation sector has come under the spotlight over the past year with the disappearance in March 2014 of Malaysian Airlines MH370 with 239 passengers and crew. Despite intense efforts off the west coast of Australia, that aircraft’s wreckage has still not been located.

In July, Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, carrying 298 passengers and crew, was shot down over eastern Ukraine.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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

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Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert

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

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

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

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

Visit our Web Site:

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

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

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Heredia montage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya.7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 ft. elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Direct TV via sling box on Internet. $199,000 Contact   Check out slide show HERE!


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


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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

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

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

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

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 7
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Weeds get the jump when gardener is ill

If you love to garden, the worst thing you can have is a cold.  Now, if you live in a temperate climate, the worst times to have a cold are spring, when you want to be out there planting things, and the fall, when you want to be out there harvesting things.  After all, if you are sick
Victoria torley
between those times, you can at least go out and sit in a lounge chair in the sun and enjoy things.

Not so in the tropics.  If you love to garden, the worst time to have a cold is the rainy season.  Why?  Because, of all the things you planted, you are pretty sure that the only things that are doing well are the things you didn’t plant: the
weeds.  After all, the weeds are happy native plants while your tomatoes and broccoli, your lilies and zinnias, are non-native things you planted on purpose.   If that isn’t bad enough, in the rainy season, there is no hope for sitting in the sun enjoying things. There is just the beating of the rain on the roof and its splatting on the windows.  Even the dog is depressed and wants nothing more than to curl up next to you on the bed and sleep. 

So, that’s where I was, in bed with a small dog snoring next to me, wondering how fast the weeds are growing, how many nutrients are being washed out of the soil, and how much soil is even left in my mounded beds.   I agree with the dog, it’s depressing.

There are, however, compensations.  After all, it is winter in the temperate zones and there is pretty much nothing growing in my friends’ gardens right now.  No, they are covered with snow in New York and feeling the effects of temperature even in Georgia.  It will be quite a while until they look out the window and see even a weed poking its head out of the ground. 

Here, on the other hand, I look out at heliconia and torch ginger in bloom.  The bromeliads are blooming too, and I have my eye on an orchid that is budding nicely.  With a little luck, there will be a break in the rain and even a ray of sunshine on wet leaves.  It may not last long, but it is a sign of hope, a bit of comfort as I reach for another cup of ginger tea and reach over to pet the dog. 

Having a cold in the rainy season?  Maybe it’s not so bad after all…

Plant of the Day

This trailing yellow flower appears to be in the wedelia family but its exact name has been difficult to track down.  Locally, it is called “trailing sunflower” and is used for erosion control on slopes.  A
rapid grow, the plant prefers full sun.
A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley
Transplanting is easy from cuttings as the stem produces frequent root.  So far, it does not seem to be a preferred food of leaf-cutters.

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

Gasoline to take 85- to 109-colon dip

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As expected, the price of gasoline continues to decline along with the world price of petroleum.

The Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos said Friday that the super gasoline would decline in price 109 colons per liter to 580 colons. Plus gasoline would decline 103 colons a liter to 552 colons and that diesel would decline 85 colons to to 522 colons. The decreases are from 15.5 to 20 U.S. cents per liter.

The calculations were based on petroleum at $70  barrel. The current price is about $47 a barrel, but the Costa Rica price fixings are always about six weeks behind.

The prices will go into effect sometime this week after the calculations are published as a decree in the official newspaper.

The gallon prices will be super $4.03; plus, $3.82. and diesel, $3.63.

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From Page 7:

Obama says that 2014 was a great year for U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama says 2014 was a breakthrough year for America and he has the evidence to back that up.

The president said in his weekly address Saturday that 2014 was the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s, with unemployment falling faster than it has in three decades. Obama said thanks to the Affordable Care Act about 10 million Americans obtained health insurance last year.

In December alone, Obama said, American businesses created 240,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent.

President Obama delivered his address at Pellissippi State Community College in Tennessee where he unveiled his new plan to make two years of community college free for every responsible student.

The president said he was also in Tennessee to establish a new hub that will bring more good-paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs to the country.