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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 7                           Email us
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Trucker who got caught in a current on the Caribbean coast is getting a hand from the crew of a Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas patrol boat. This happened Monday morning.

Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas photo
Despite some support, most beaches are unprotected
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Costa Rican government and the Cruz Roja are taking steps to improve the safety of tourists at the nation's beaches.

But so far the bulk of the beaches are unprotected, and those involved in safeguarding bathers are without many resources.

The government hires lifeguards, but only for swimming pools. Lifeguards in Jacó so far are the only ones who have support from the local government.

The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo reports that it has signed an agreement with the Cruz Roja to put lifeguards on a handful of beaches frequented by tourists, but the amount involved is just 20 million colons (about $39,000) a year for three years.

The tourism institute said that this is a pilot project involving Puntarenas, Jacó, Esterillos Oeste, Manuel Antonio, Playa Ballena, Tamarindo and Playa Bonita.

The agreement also serves to bring the issue to the attention of local governments and tourism operators to provide additional resources to protect visitors, said the institute.

The problem in Costa Rica are the unexpected rip tides that can defeat even the strongest swimmer.

Some of the beaches are patrolled by the
Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas during peak tourism seasons.

That was fortunate in Limón Monday morning when a trucker decided to take a dip at the mouth of the Río Cieneguita.

The man, identified as Javier Ábrego, 39, was caught in the current.

Someone managed to contact the Guardacostas which has been on patrol off the nation's beaches as part of a vacation security program. The boat crew was able to get a line to Abrego and tow him to safety. The agency said that there have been eight similar rescues around the beginning of the new year.

Costa Ricans make up the bulk of the water fatalities, but the U.S. State Department reports that from January 2003 to the end of 2014 nearly 100 U.S. citizens died in water accidents in Costa Rica. Only a few were in lakes and rivers, according to the statistics.

The Asociacion Nacional de Guardavidas de Costa Rica also provides training and lifeguards for some beaches. The association also says it is in need of funds. So, too, is the lifeguard corps at Dominical, which holds fund-raisers each year.

As A.M. Costa Rica has pointed out in the past, there are few signs to warn tourists that danger lurks in the surf.  As many as three visitors have drowned at a time at central Pacific beaches.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 7
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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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 Campaign seeks more Corcovado tourists

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A litany of public and private organizations has set up a promotional effort to encourage Costa Ricans to visit the Parque Nacional Corcovado on the Osa peninsula.

A news release said that one estimate is that Costa Ricans are just 1 percent of the visitors to Costa Rica's last untouched jungle.

The promotion will use 250 displays at bus stops. The non-profit  Conservación Osa, which maintains an office in Puerto Jiménez, already has donated $100,000 for equipment for park guards, according to a release.

Also involved are the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía, a host of other government organizations and the Fundación CRUSA and Caminos de Osa. Also involved is the publicity firm JC Decaux.

The environmental ministry said that the campaign also seeks to alert Costa Ricans to the problems facing communities adjacent to the park.

Lawmakers meet with Solís on taxes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Legislators who are members of the Partido Acción Ciudadana met with President Luis Guillermo Solís Monday as the executive branch tries to rally its forces to pass more taxes.

Solís was elected on the Acción Ciudadana ticket, but he has not always had the support of the party in the legislature. In fact, some of his strongest critics are from the same party.

In the legislative hopper are bills to increase the penalties for tax and customs fraud, to enact a value-added tax, to replace the current sales tax and to increase the tax rate for some payers. There also is the renewal of the tax on corporations.

The main resistance in the legislature comes from those who want the central government to make big budget cuts. The estimates of funds raised by the new taxes say the measures would not be enough to balance the budget, much less pay off the growing national deficit.

Migrants will make the television news

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Government officials are not about to miss a good bet.

The arrival of Cuban migrants to the Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia has been advanced by 45 minutes this evening, and Manuel González, the foreign minister, will give a talk at 7:35 p.m..

Previously the 180 Cuban migrants were due to arrive at 8 p.m., too late to be featured on the 7 p.m. television news.

The Cubans are supposed to get a 10:25 p.m. flight to El Salvador to begin their bus trip north to the United States.

Officials have said that the first 180 of some 7,800 migrants here were picked based on their time in the county. All are supposed to be adults.

Danish bill on migrants' assets modified

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Denmark's parliament will discuss Wednesday the first draft of a controversial immigration bill that would make migrants pay for staying in the country.

The bill was first proposed in December and called for border searches of migrants. They would have been allowed to keep only the equivalent of $437 in cash or valuables.

In describing the proposal last month, the immigration ministry said the draft legislation would give authorities "the power to search the clothing and luggage of asylum-seekers and other migrants without a permit to stay in Denmark with a view to finding assets which may cover expenses."

It immediately drew international criticism and comparisons to Nazi Germany's seizing of gold and valuables from Jews and others during World War II.

In response to the criticism, Integration Minister Inger Stojberg said the proposal was modified and migrants would be allowed to keep the equivalent of about $1,400 in cash and valuables. Also, items such as cellphones or those with sentimental value, such as wedding rings, would be exempted, the ministry said.

The ruling center-right Venstre party, which relies on support from the anti-immigration Danish People's Party, defended the bill, saying the same argument would be used against Danish nationals expecting free handouts.

In Denmark, health and education are free services provided to all citizens. The Danish welfare system is subsidized by the state and, as a result, Denmark has one of the highest taxation levels in the world, according to the government.

Zuckerberg riles opponents to vaccinations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears to have made clear where he stands on the issue of childhood vaccines.

The billionaire posted a photo on his Facebook page of him holding baby daughter, Maxima, and captioned, "Doctor's visit - time for vaccines!" The photo has gone viral with more than three million likes.

The post rekindled a debate in the United States about whether childhood vaccines are potentially dangerous.

Many so-called anti-vaxxers commented on the photo.

“Injecting newborns and infants with disease and neurotoxins is disgusting science that injures millions every year,” wrote one person. “Autism, encephalitis, brain damage, auto immune disorders early onset & late, asthma, allergies, add/ADHD, bipolar disorder, SPD, pandas, Tourette's ... All of these neuro disease in the past 35 years. Do you homework. The only thing these children have in common is the VACCINE SCHEDULE! That's it. Period.”

The anti-vaxxer movement was likely started with a 1998 scientific paper that suggested a correlation between vaccines and autism. The article, which was published in the respected journal The Lancet has since been retracted under allegations that the data was falsified.

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Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 7
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Finally one of capital's most historic buildings gets a designation
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

After 107 years, the Victorian-Neoclassical structure that dominates Avenida Primera in San José has been declared a national architectural heritage site.

This is the building now called Castillo Azul that has served as the private home of a coffee baron, presidential offices and for 31 years as the U.S. Embassy. It is located strategically on the north side of the hill known as Cuesta de Moras.

Now the building is part of the legislative complex. The structure joins its neighbors in receiving the designation, which also provides a certain amount of protection.

The neighbors are Casa Rosada, the Antiguo Colegio de Sión and the Antiguo Cuartel Bellavista, which is part of the Museo Nacional across the street.

The structure was casa presidencial for Alfredo González Flores between 1914 and 1917, the government of Federico Tinoco from 1917 to 1919 and that of  Francisco Aguilar Barquero in 1919 and 1920.

Coffee baron Máximo Fernández Alvarado had the structure built as his private home in 1908. The U.S. government purchased it in 1923 for $30,000 and used it as the embassy until 1954 when it was sold to Carlos Manuel Gutiérrez Cañas for $75,000.

The Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural said that Gutiérrez invested $1 million to restore the property.
Castillo Azul
Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural photo
This is what is now Castillo Azul in 1910

Gutiérrez managed to have the property declared a heritage site in 1976, but the designation expired two years later. At that time the decree was designed to protect the building from legislators who wanted to expropriate it and demolish it for more offices.

The Asamblea Legislative finally did acquire the property in 1989 for use as offices.

Another restoration took place three years ago when the Centro de Patrimonio, invested 250 million colons, then about $525,000.

Despite its ownership by the government, the official designation of architectural heritage took two years to process. It was made official last month.

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!
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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 7
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Hookahs used for tobacco deliver unexpected loads of toxins
By the University of Pittsburgh news staff

As cigarette smoking rates fall, more people are smoking tobacco from hookahs, communal pipes that enable users to draw tobacco smoke through water. A new meta-analysis led by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine shows that hookah smokers are inhaling a large load of toxicants.

The findings, published online and scheduled for the January/February print issue of the journal Public Health Reports, represent a meta-analysis, or a mathematical summary of previously published data. The research team reviewed 542 scientific articles potentially relevant to cigarette and hookah smoking and ultimately narrowed them down to 17 studies that included sufficient data to extract reliable estimates on toxicants inhaled when smoking cigarettes or hookahs.

They discovered that, compared with a single cigarette, one hookah session delivers approximately 125 times the smoke, 25 times the tar, 2.5 times the nicotine and 10 times the carbon monoxide.

"Our results show that hookah tobacco smoking poses real health concerns and that it should be monitored more closely than it is currently," said lead author Brian A. Primack, assistant vice chancellor for health and society in Pitt's Schools of the Health Sciences. "For example, hookah smoking was not included in the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey System questionnaire, which assesses cigarette smoking, chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes and many other forms of substance abuse."

Primack and his co-authors note that comparing a hookah smoking session to smoking a single cigarette is a complex comparison to make because of the differences in smoking patterns. A frequent cigarette smoker may smoke 20

cigarettes per day, while a frequent hookah smoker may only participate in a few hookah sessions each day.

"It's not a perfect comparison because people smoke cigarettes and hookahs in very different ways," said Primack. "We had to conduct the analysis this way, comparing a single hookah session to a single cigarette, because that's the way the underlying studies tend to report findings. So, the estimates we found cannot tell us exactly what is 'worse.' But what they do suggest is that hookah smokers are exposed to a lot more toxicants than they probably realize. After we have more fine-grained data about usage frequencies and patterns, we will be able to combine those data with these findings and get a better sense of relative overall toxicant load."

The research team also notes that these findings may be helpful in providing estimates for various official purposes.

"Individual studies have reported different estimates for inhaled toxicants from cigarettes or hookahs, which made it hard to know exactly what to report to policy makers or in educational materials," said co-author and expert in meta-analysis Smita Nayak, a research scientist at the Swedish Center for Clinical Research and Innovation. "A strength of meta-analysis is that it enables us to provide more precise estimates by synthesizing the currently available data from individual studies."

These estimates come at an important time: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that, for the first time in history, past 30-day use of hookah tobacco was higher than past 30-day use of cigarettes among U.S. high school students. Additionally, about one-third of U.S. college students have smoked tobacco from a hookah, and many of those individuals were not previous users of other forms of tobacco.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

HIdden Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
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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-related services (paid category)
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Real estate rental services (paid category)

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
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About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
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, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 7
Real Estate
About us

Rampages by refugees put
a new spin on immigration

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Europe's immigration crisis has taken a new turn after reports that New Year's attacks on women in Cologne and other cities were organized by immigrant groups. Swedish authorities now have to answer allegations that police covered up similar attacks on women in Sweden. While a wave of migrants from Northern Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia continues to arrive at Europe's door, governments struggle to stem anti-immigrant sentiment in the host countries.

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Germany's eastern city of Leipzig to call for tolerance in the wake of anti-immigrant protests organized by LEGIDA, a local offshoot of the German right-wing nationalist group PEGIDA. Anti-immigrant groups have long been protesting what they call the Islamization of the West, and reports of the New Year's Eve attacks on women in Cologne and other cities have boosted their cause.

"These Muslim refugees have begun a generalized terrorist attack, an attack against German women; against white, blonde women," said Tatjana Festerling, a leader of PEGIDA.

Xenophobic mobs were blamed for a series of attacks against Pakistani, Syrian and African men in Cologne Sunday night.

But many women came out to protest the violence.

"What PEGIDA does today makes me angry. We all know that PEGIDA, and hooligans who gathered today, couldn't care less about women's rights. They always come here to beat foreigners. For them, it's about doing propaganda, not fighting sexism," said Emily Michels, a member of Cologne Against Far-right.

Meanwhile, Swedish media reports accused the police of trying to cover up the fact that immigrants were behind most holiday attacks there. National police chief Dan Eliasson said Monday the allegations will be investigated.

"We have to get to the bottom of this. If there is any veracity to this information, it has to be remedied and we have to see if someone has done wrong,” said Eliasson.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the uncontrolled immigration flow has to be stemmed.

"We have to intensify the fight against the causes that make people flee. And then we will be able, and that is what we want for this year, to noticeably reduce the number of refugees. That is clear. Because we also have the task to integrate them. That is what everyone talks about here, what would be the best integration method? And we know, since the terrible events that night in Cologne, that for integration we need the openness of the society, but the refugees also need to be willing to follow our rules and values as well," said Merkel.

Obama expected to stress
optimism in his speech

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For the seventh and final time of his presidency, Barack Obama will stand before Congress and the American public tonight to lay out his vision not only for his remaining months in office, but for the future of the United States.

“Not just the remarkable progress we have made, not just what I want to get done in the year ahead, but what we all need to do together in the years to come. The big things that will guarantee an even stronger, better, more prosperous America for our kids,” Obama said in an Oval Office video previewing his address.

In the video, Obama says he has never been more optimistic about the path the United States is on. It’s this optimism, not just for 2016 but also for the years ahead, that White House officials say will be showcased when the president addresses the nation for his last State of the Union on Tuesday.

“The United States has recovered from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and we see all of this economic volatility in countries around the world, and the strength of the U.S. economy stands in stark contrast to that kind of instability,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

Unlike last year, when Obama laid out specific proposals, including initiatives to provide free community college tuition and bolster cyber security, Earnest says the president this year will focus on his long-term outlook for the country, while countering some of the pessimism seen both in public opinion polls and presidential campaigns.

“So much of the rhetoric that we hear from the other side is focused on fearing the future and being anxious and insecure about a changing world. The fact is, the United States is better positioned than any other nation in the world to capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead for us,” the White House spokesman told reporters recently.

While Obama likely will not lay out specific legislative proposals for Congress, he is expected to call on lawmakers to take care of unfinished business before he leaves office, including approving the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and take steps to close the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

White House officials say that while Obama will not lay out a laundry list of accomplishments during Tuesday’s address, the U.S. president is expected to highlight how far the country has come since he took office in 2009.

“Our businesses are now on a 70-month streak of job creation, with more than 14 million new jobs in all.  We’ve revamped our schools and the way we pay for college.  We’ve made historic investments in clean energy and put ourselves on a path to a low-carbon future,” Obama said in his most recent weekly address on Jan. 9.

As in years past, the president plans to hit the road immediately following the State of the Union, visiting communities in Louisiana and Nebraska this week to highlight what the White House says is progress the states have made in lowering unemployment and increasing access to health care.

On the global front, Obama likely will showcase his recent diplomatic successes in normalizing ties with Cuba, securing a nuclear agreement with Iran, and working to secure an international climate agreement in Paris.

“This president, I am sure, is going to talk about that as a signature accomplishment, and really I think make the case for why he has been so successful overseas in all of these areas. And people will be able to judge for themselves what he says,” political analyst Matthew Dallek said.
But along with accomplishments, George Washington University's Matthew Dallek says Obama likely will address the ongoing challenge of terrorism and the fight against the Islamic State militant group.

“I think the president is going to have to talk about, again, and try to encapsulate it in a clear way that maybe hasn’t been done previously, what his strategy is with ISIS and why he believes it is working. And he’s going to have to make the case for progress that has been made in recent months,” Dallek said.

The political management professor says the issue already is playing a prominent role in the Republican presidential candidates’ campaigns, whether it is Ted Cruz calling for the U.S. to carpet bomb Islamic State, or Donald Trump urging a temporary ban on all Muslims from entering the United States.

Republican lawmakers have offered their own criticism of Obama’s Middle East policy.

“The president is going, I assume, to talk about the future and try to paint a rosy picture where one does not exist," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told ABC’s “This Week” Sunday. "What we'd love to hear from the president is a real plan to defeat ISIL.”

Despite the negativity, White House officials say the president has never been more confident in the country’s capability to confront such challenges, a message Obama will deliver to the American people in his last State of the Union address Tuesday.

Woman expat, 35, reported
to be murder victim in Italy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Police in Florence, Italy, are probing the apparent murder of a 35-year-old American expatriate who was found dead in her downtown apartment with bruises and scratches to her neck.

The Italian news agency ANSA said police Monday were awaiting the results of an autopsy on the body of Ashley Olsen and reviewing security video for clues to her death. The report says her 43-year-old Florentine boyfriend and several other friends have been questioned.

Italian media say the corpse was found naked with signs of strangulation, but say there were no immediate signs of a struggle or of forced entry into Ms. Olsen's apartment. The reports say she was last seen early Friday in a late-night bar that police have closed down several times in the past for drug-related activity.

Ms. Olsen is described as an artist and an event organizer who moved to the Tuscan city to be near her father, who is an art teacher.

ANSA says members of the city's American expat community have voiced fears that the Olsen death will turn into a saga similar to the 2007 murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher.

After years of media attention and legal proceedings, American expat Amanda Knox, Kercher's former roommate, and her Italian ex-boyfriend were cleared of that murder by Italy's Supreme Court.

An Ivorian man is serving a 16-year prison term for Kercher's murder.

Another U.S. citizen faces
terrorism-related charges

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. magistrate has charged a 31-year-old U.S. citizen with providing material support to the terrorist group al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked extremist group operating primarily in southern Somalia and the African Great Lakes region.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, in a statement Monday, identified the suspect as Maryland resident Maalik Alim Jones, alleging he traveled to Somalia for training from al-Shabab, before taking up arms as a terrorist fighter with an organization that has declared the United States a target.

Authorities say Jones traveled from New York to Kenya, with stopovers in Morocco and the United Arab Emirates, before traveling by land to Somalia, where they allege "he was trained to kill and destroy communities." U.S. officials say the suspect was trained in automatic weaponry and rocket-propelled grenade warfare at an al-Shabab camp in Somalia.

The U.S. statement also alleges that Jones was apprehended while attempting to enter Yemen, where Saudi-allied Sunni fighters are battling Iran-backed Shi'ite rebels for control of the impoverished country on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

Authorities allege Jones also appeared with other al-Shabab fighters in at least two recruitment videos that were recovered from an al-Shabab fighter.

No pre-trial hearing dates were announced Monday, but the Department of Justice said the case will be prosecuted in the southern judicial district of New York.

Saudi detainee is sent home
from Guantanamo prison

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Pentagon says it repatriated a Saudi man from the Guantanamo U.S. military prison in Cuba, amid renewed claims by the Obama administration that the president will shutter the facility during his last year in office.

The Defense Department announced Monday it had released Muhammed Abd Al Rahman Awn Al-Shamrani to his home country.
According to Defense Department documents leaked in 2011, Pakistani forces captured the now-40-year-old Al-Shamrani in December 2001 after he fled a training camp in Afghanistan with al-Qaida and Taliban fighters.

The military document identified him as an extremist recruiter and member of al-Qaida. A military review board determined in September 2014, however, that Al-Shamrani does not pose a significant security threat to the U.S.

Al-Shamrani was never charged or convicted in his nearly 14 years at Guantanamo.
President Barack Obama has for years supported closing the facility that has housed foreign terror suspects for 14 years, but there remain 103 detainees from a publicly acknowledged peak of nearly 800. He signed an executive order in 2009 to close the prison, also known as Gitmo, within a year.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough reiterated in a television interview Sunday that in his last year in office, Obama intends to shut down the controversial facility, which received its first detainees on Jan. 11, 2002, following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S.
Hundreds of prisoners have been repatriated or transferred to third-party countries.
Allegations of abuse, torture, and illegal detention have plagued the prison.

Cool technology is promised
in this year's new vehicles

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In 2009, the U.S. auto industry was on the verge of collapse, as consumers stopped buying new vehicles during the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Government financing saved several manufacturers from shutdown and now, seven years later, a revitalized and leaner auto industry is on display at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. There's more on display, and on the horizon, than just new cars and trucks.

The biggest news at this year's auto show is not about the autos at all. It's what manufacturers are planning to put in them.

"Every automaker here at the show is launching some form of cool technology inside the vehicles, whether it's adaptive cruise control or Smart Stop Technology, or even utilizing 3-D printing to print out and create the interior of your vehicle," said Michael Caudill, a U.S. automotive expert.

Technology and mobility were, in fact, the themes of the Ford Motor Co.'s presentation during the press preview this year.

"Ford's smart mobility is our plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience, and data and analytics," said Ford CEO and President Mark Fields.

Ford is testing autonomous vehicles in various weather conditions with the hopes of having driverless cars on the road by 2020. It also is opening retail stores throughout the world where customers can interact with new technological offerings, including an app and a customer loyalty rewards program.

"My great-grandfather changed the way the world moved with the Model T in very fundamental ways,” said Bill Ford Jr., the company's executive chairman. “So we have the same opportunity now in a very different era with very different challenges in front of us."

Ford's efforts to keep customers engaged, and returning, comes at a time when overall U.S. sales reached 10-year highs in 2015.

"Numbers are up for automakers," Caudill said. "If you think about it actually, the compact SUV market is up 11 percent over last year, actually beating out sedans, so consumers are looking for affordability."

To meet the increased demand, production in the hemisphere has ramped up.

"For North America, it will be about 17-and-a-half million for 2015, and upwards of 18 million in 2016," said Kevin Kerrigan, senior vice president of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

Much of what customers will find in dealer showrooms this year is on display at the Detroit auto show, including more fuel efficient, but larger, vehicles.

"That's simply about maximizing your miles per gallon," Caudill said. "It's a big part of what automakers are doing on the gas side of the business. How many miles can I get on one tank of gasoline?"

That tank of gasoline is much cheaper today, thanks to the global drop in oil prices. In many parts of the U.S., gasoline is less than $2 a gallon. Even so, highly fuel-efficient and electric-powered vehicles are still a dominant presence on the show floor because, according to Caudill, manufacturers have little choice.

"All automakers by 2025 have to meet certain emissions and fuel economy requirements, so they are hedging their bets by getting there sooner rather than later," he said.

The North American International Auto Show runs through Jan. 24. President Barack Obama plans to visit the show floor Jan. 20.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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


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

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

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

Real estate for sale (paid category)

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 
(506) 2778-8408 Web:

Blakesmore one

Blakemoret  two

Costa Rica tropical paradise beach house for sale

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

Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: 
Check out slide show HERE!

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

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


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, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 7
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National Aeronautics and Space Administration graphic  
Such impacts have happened in the past.

NASA sets up office to guard planet

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. space agency is taking the potential threat posed by near earth objects, such as asteroids and comets, more seriously than ever and has established the new Planetary Defense Coordination Office.

The space agency says the new office will oversee all of its efforts in finding and characterizing all celestial objects that travel close to Earth as they orbit the sun. It will also coordinate any actions within and outside of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration that may be needed to respond to potential threats of impact.

“Asteroid detection, tracking and defense of our planet is something that NASA, its interagency partners, and the global community take very seriously,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in a NASA press release.

Grunsfeld said that while there aren’t any impact threats right now, events such as the huge meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk in 2013 along with the recent close approach of the Halloween Asteroid serve as reminders of why it’s important to stay on guard and "keep our eyes to the sky."

Scientists say that the space object that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013 was about 17 meters across and had a mass of roughly 10,000 tons.  It was reported that the blast shattered windows in about 7,000 buildings in the area and injured around 1,700 people, mostly due to flying shards of glass.

With projects such as its Near-Earth Object Program, NASA has already been involved with finding and tracking objects and has been a part of international efforts to develop methods to protect Earth from significant threats of impacts.

The space agency says that the new Planetary Defense Coordination Office will improve and ramp up those efforts by working with other U.S. government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency as well as similar agencies from other countries.

Near earth objects are found by astronomers who use a worldwide network of ground-based telescopes as well as NASA space-based infrared telescope.

Once an object is detected NASA says that the Jet Propulsion Laboratory then will precisely predict its orbit and then will monitor its movements.

NASA says since more than 90 percent of near earth objects larger than 1 kilometer have already been discovered, the space agency will focus on finding objects that are about 140 meters, about the size of an American football field, or larger.

So far, astronomers have discovered more than 13,500 near-Earth objects, which vary in size from small boulders to those that are hundreds of kilometers in diameter. NASA says that about 1,500 near earth objects are spotted every year.

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From Page 7:

 Chinese markets volatile with big swings

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Chinese markets swung sharply while most other Asian markets opened in positive territory in early trading today, after starting the week with losses.

Investors remain wary, concerned by lingering doubts about Beijing's economic policies and slowing economy. After losing 5 percent on Monday and 15 percent so far this year, Shanghai rallied in the first few minutes before quickly slipping into the red then bouncing back.

By mid-morning, Shanghai was up 0.2 percent, while Hong Kong, which also tumbled Monday, was up 0.6 percent.

After a market holiday Monday, Tokyo slipped 2.12 percent by lunch. Sydney added 0.3 percent and Seoul was 0.4 percent higher.

"In the Chinese equity markets so much damage was done to investor confidence last week" by new circuit breaker trading halt mechanisms that backfired, said analyst Angus Nicholson of IG. "I think that has really done a significant amount of damage to Chinese investor confidence and confidence in the government's ability to manage and regulate Chinese capital markets," he said.

Monday, U.S. markets provided some positivity, with the Dow and S&P 500 moving higher, ending the day up 0.1 percent, after three straight days of 1 percent-plus declines.

Crude also fell to a 12-year low, ending Monday below $32.