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Pubished Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 19
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Lottery agency planning a mini-gordo weekend
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Parents worried about paying for the youngsters' back-to-school costs have a long-shot option Sunday. The national lottery agency has set up a special drawing with fat prizes to mark the opening of public school next week.

The big winner is likely to be the agency, the  Junta de Protección Social.

Two top prizes of 250 million colons are promised. That is $454,455 each, certainly enough to buy those textbooks and school uniforms, plus an education at Harvard.

In all, the lottery agency hopes to sell two identical sets of 100,000 tickets. All an expat has to do to win the top prize is to match the correct two-digit number and the correct three-digit series on the ticket. That is a 100,000-to-one shot for each 15,000-colon lottery ticket of 10 fractions. That's about $27.25 a ticket. Tickets usually are 8,000.

The lottery agency is set up to make a good profit because it distributes money to charities. The lottery Sunday will generate 3 billion colons gross if all the tickets are sold, about $5.5 million.

Lottery players would do better to invest their money in downtown slot machines, because the Junta de Protección Social will be
returning just 1.9 billion colons in prizes or some $3.44 million. That represents a 63
lottery canasta
A.M. Costa Rica graphic 
Your numbers await!

percent return to players as opposed to an 85 percent or better return on slot machines. Still, slot machines do not have a $454,000 payoff.

The government characterizes playing the lottery as donating to a charity with the possibility of a windfall. Lottery players stand to double their money if they just hit the last digit of the winning number. The Junta expects to award 999 prizes of 30,000 colons in these lesser prizes in each of two emissions of the same numbers. 

There are also two prizes of 2 million colons, one of 60 million, one of 25 million, 20 of 1.5 million and 77 of 500,000 colons for each of the two emissions.

Tattoo sketch may be murder clue or just a false lead
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators trying to find the murder of five young people in Liberia have a tattoo as a clue.

According to testimony from the young surviving female victim, a 14 year old, the killer had an Asian letter inscribed on the back of his right shoulder. A drawing of it was released
The yuè, tattoo
by the Judicial Investigating
Organization last Friday.

The tattoo may not be very helpful because the symbol yuè, can be found in similar forms in a handful of Asian languages, including several dialects of Chinese, Japanese and even Vietnamese. It

means moon or month in most languages.

And the tattoo with dark blue lines might just be a whimsical choice.

The initial impulse might be to suspect the murderer is the member of some Chinese gang, but there is very little additional evidence to work on.

Walter Espinosa, the director of the investigating organization, has given a brief update and basically said what everyone suspected. The killer used a kitchen knife to slash the throats of his victims, said Espinosa. He also said just one person is suspected. The killings of the three women and two men were a week ago in Barrio la Victoria in Liberia.

Investigators are not releasing much information. They say they do not want to hinder the probe. The truth may be that there is little information to release. What the public has learned by now is that the murdered individuals, four Universidad de Costa Rica students and a local friend, are not suspects in any type of criminal activity.

They are not believed to have been involved in any drug deals that might have led to retribution or revenge.

The small three-bedroom home in which the killings took place did not show any sign of struggles. Most of the victims were tied up and killed in one room. Investigators have to guess what the circumstances were that allowed a possible intruder to collect and tie up five adults without a struggle. They also have to speculate on why the young survivor was allowed to live, even though she did suffer a wound to the throat. It would seem that she would have been the easiest to dispatch.

Also puzzling is how the survivor even knows about the tattoo on the shoulder of the killer. At some point he must have had his shirt off.

Agents most certainly are questioning operators of tattoo parlors about the tattoo. They will find that this is a common symbol that even has found its way onto Russia.

This was the only tattoo that was released by investigators, although the killer might have had more.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 19
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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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Country gains a bit on corruption index

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica rose three points in a recent index surveying the level of corruption out of over 176 countries worldwide.

The index measures on a scale of 0, which is perceived as being highly corrupt, to 100, which is perceived as being the cleanest. According to Transparency International, the civil society organization publishing this index, Costa Rica rose from 55 to 58 on the points scale. This put it behind only Chile at 66 and Uruguay at 71 in Latin America in terms of a perceived lack of corruption.

Costa Rica came in at 41out of 176 globally in terms of rank placement. This tied it with Spain and the South Asian country of Brunei. This is chalked up as a win by Casa Presidencial when considering that the index numbers of over two-thirds of the 176 countries fell below the midpoint and the global average score was 43. Better than many others and always improving seems to be the basic response of the Costa Rican government.

Number one in terms of ranking was Denmark and New Zealand, both scored 90s. In second and third place were the Scandinavian countries of Finland and Sweden.

Canada beat out the United States for first in all the Americas, which Transparency International cataloged under a single region. It was ranked ninth overall. By comparison, the U.S. was ranked at 18th in the index.

Murder suspect detained by police

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The second suspect wanted in the Jan. 16 murder of grocery store clerk Oscar Liang was captured by police Wednesday afternoon.

Police noticed the man as he was walking down the street in San Franscisco de Dos Ríos. When police tried to stop the man for one of their frequent stop-and-searches, the suspect attempted to flee. The attempt failed.

One man gave himself up to judicial offices in Goicoechea Jan. 17. While he admits involvement in the attempted robbery, the man blamed the killing on his associate.

Chinese-Costa Ricans came out by the hundreds to protest Jan. 17  in what some called the last straw in lawlessness. Some complained that law enforcement does not vigorously investigate crimes against Chinese-Costa Ricans. They said that happened after Liang’s murder.

Our reader's opinion
Trump opponents should rise up

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Taking bets on how long it will be before they impeach the Tangerine Clown!  Any takers?  What a horror story is unravelling in the U.S.A. since the election of DJT, the latest menace to our once-civilized society.  He and Ryan need to have their heads bopped together and their credentials withdrawn permanently. Even his staunchest voters are now rethinking what they have done, and are fearing loss of their insurance coverage via repeal and replace, which is being touted by the new administration.

To my U.S.A. resident friends and family: Rise up before it's too late!  Let your voices be heard loudly and clearly.  There is strength in numbers. Stand up and be counted and heard -- and don't quit being heard!

Today I faxed Ryan, since his telephone access has been closed, to let him know my opposition to their interference with Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and Social Security.  May I suggest that everyone who can, follow suit.  Ryan's FAX number is 202-225-3393.
Darlene Mokrycki

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 19
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Workmen have most of the prefab concrete slabs in place on what will be the third eastbound lane on the General Cañas autopista. Next comes the replacement of the concrete on two adjacent lanes.
bridge work
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo

Driver held over highway mishap while government plans relief of jams
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The bus driver involved in Tuesday’s deadly accident on the General Cañas highway has been arrested by judicial authorities. Meanwhile, the government has moved to reduce commuter pressure on the highway.

The deaths occurred about 6 a.m. Tuesday when a vehicle containing two 37-year-old men was in a crash of multiple vehicles. The truck the victims were using was compressed against an ambulance and the bus. Also involved was a tour bus and another passenger bus.

All vehicles were traveling towards Alajuela. Some 18 people on the bus were sent to the hospital, according to the Cruz Roja. The bodies were transferred to the judicial morgue for autopsies. Both men were employees at the Hospital de Alajuela.

According to the investigative report, the accused was driving the bus at high speed when his vehicle collided into the rear of the truck containing the victims. He has been charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter.

Prosecutors in Heredia ordered the passenger bus driver’s arrest. He remained in custody and the prosecutor’s office will request preventive detention of six months.

This comes at a time when the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y

Transportes announced Wednesday that it is attempting to relieve the traffic situation by Río Virilla bridge, or the platina as it is commonly known. The bridge represents a crossing for the Cañas highway between Alajuela and the capital. It is to be closed at least six weeks from last Saturday.

The public works ministry said that, starting Saturday, all types of vehicles will be allowed to use the limited lanes on the bridge without any restrictions of schedule during weekends. Continuing to change the original contingency plan, the ministry also said that available train service to Alajuela will double. The government said it will transfer train cars from Cartago to the capital.

Motorcycles will be allowed, beginning today, to freely cross and use the bridge. The ministry is allowing this because it claims that their presence on the alternate routes has been causing more incidents and delays than necessary. A lane at the entrance to Heredia for the Ruta 3 will be allowed for all types of vehicles to use in order to avoid major congestion.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad said that contracted road crews will begin maintenance work on the other side of the capital, on the Florencio del Castillo autopista. This highway connects Cartago and San José.

The work will begin Friday night and include crack sealing and asphalt patching, officials said.

Criminals target those with vehicles, and police pick up the suspects
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Kidnapping, theft, car chases, and crime have been abundant the past few days.

A man was arrested Wednesday morning after he allegedly assisted in the robbery of a couple and left them bound and gagged by a dam in La Fortuna.

The victims reported several individuals with firearms stopped them using the bajonazo method, a type of roadway hold-up at gunpoint. This usually occurs when a motorist is stopped at a traffic signal or parked, and a bandit appears at the window or door with a firearm. In Costa Rica, this type of crime is suggestive of forcing all the passengers and driver to get down, or bajarse for the Spanish verb, out of the car.

A suspect was apprehended at Florencia in Alajuela province following a police blockade. The stolen vehicle was also recovered by authorities. When suspects saw police, they tried to bail out on foot. Fuerza Pública officers managed to capture one of the suspects, but another fled into the mountains. Florencia is located within the canton of San Carlos, home to the Arenal Volcano, and it is south and east of La Fortuna.

The apprehended suspect has had a prior criminal record, according to the Fuerza Pública. He was arrested and jailed back in 2013 for robbery and assault, police said.

In another case, the Fuerza Pública prevented an attempted kidnapping from occurring in the San Juan district of San Ramón. The incident was called in around 10 p.m. Tuesday when two men fled the scene in a white car. After a short chase, the police managed to stop the vehicle and detain the suspects.

The vehicle is suspected of being stolen as it is registered in the name of a foreigner living in Alajuela, according to the official report. Judicial authorities are now investigating the circumstances surrounding these crimes.

Another kidnapping incident happened Tuesday night at Guápiles. A call came out to police that a man was beaten and thrown into an apparently stolen minibus by two armed persons. One suspect is 22-years old and the other is 17-years old who officials said was the driver of the stolen vehicles.

The Fuerza Pública pursued the vehicle until the bus collided with two police patrol cars and rolled over. In a scene reminiscent of an action movie, the pair abandoned the bus and stole a pickup truck on Ruta 32 after threatening the driver.

The duo were surrounded, however, by police cars. They fired off shots at pursuing police. The police fired back, wounding one of the men. No officers were injured in the pursuit or the firefight. Authorities confiscated two handguns.

The minor was transferred to Hospital de Guápiles, while the older suspect was taken to the Clínica de Siquirres.

Members of the Judicial Investigating Organization also arrested two men Wednesday morning suspected of robbing from taxi drivers.

One of the cases occurred on Jan. 8 around 10 p.m. when one of the robbers asked the driver to take him to Sabanilla. Once they arrived, the crook threatened the man with a gun and stole his belongings and his cab before leaving him there. A day later, the car was found abandoned in San Isidro.

The other incident occurred on Jan. 10 at about the same time. A man asked the driver to take him to the same location from Pueblo Nuevo in Alajuela. When they arrived, the same incident occurred only that stolen vehicle has not been found.

In two raids by judicial agents at Tibás and San Isidro, the investigators discovered the belongings stolen during the thefts. Agents also found drugs and cash. The suspects were transferred to the prosecution to determine their cases. Both suspects are in their mid-20s.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 19
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Canadian who ran brokerage firm here gets 48 months in U.S.
By the U.S. Department of Justice news staff

A Canadian citizen and permanent resident of Costa Rica was sentenced Wednesday to 48 months in prison for his role in an international money laundering conspiracy in connection with international pump and dump securities fraud scheme.

The man, Michael J. Randles, 49, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia.  In October 2016, Randles pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy.

The U.S. Department of Justice gave this account:

According to admissions made in connection with his plea agreement, Randles controlled and operated an offshore brokerage and money laundering platform located in San Jose, Costa Rica, that went by various names, including Moneyline Brokers, Sandias Azucaradas, and Trinity Asset Services (collectively Moneyline) with his co-conspirator Harold Bailey Gallison II.  Randles admitted that the purpose of Moneyline was to trade securities, primarily microcap or penny stocks, through U.S. and offshore accounts.  While managing Moneyline’s Costa Rica office, Randles exercised authority over banking and financial transactions, operated Moneyline’s unregistered securities business in Europe and opened U.S. and offshore brokerage and bank accounts, including in Europe and elsewhere, that were used to facilitate the conspiracy. 

Randles admitted that Moneyline often did business under the names of various shell companies to conceal both the true source and ownership of the securities and the flow of the funds.

Further, in connection with his plea, Randles admitted that Moneyline laundered approximately $1 million in proceeds from the pump and dump of the Colorado-based company Bryn Resources, Inc.  While Bryn Resources purported to be engaged in the mining and exploration of precious metals in Canada, in reality, Bryn was a shell company with no or nominal operations or assets.  During the promotion of Bryn Resources, over 3.5 million shares of the company were liquidated through Moneyline accounts, generating the proceeds that were laundered through Moneyline accounts in the United States and overseas.

Three of Randles’s co-conspirators, Gallison, Ann Marie Hiskey and Roger G. Coleman, previously pleaded guilty in the case.  Gallison was sentenced to serve 216 months in prison. Ms. Hiskey and Coleman were each sentenced to two years’ probation.

FBI’s Washington Field Office investigated the case.  Senior Trial Attorney N. Nathan Dimock and Trial Attorney Michael O’Neill of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Grace L. Hill of the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted the case.  The Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also provided significant assistance.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia and Special Agent in Charge Timothy Slater of the FBI’s Washington Field Office Criminal Division made the announcement.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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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.

George Lundquist

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Cells:  +506-8380-5919  and +506-8302-5877

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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 19
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Axiom new ad

Voice of America graphic   
Red line shows existing fences at border

Trump signs order to build
border wall with México

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Donald Trump ordered construction of a wall along the country's southern border with México Wednesday.

Trump signed the immigration executive orders as he visited the Department of Homeland Security, the federal agency charged with protecting the U.S. border.

"We are in the middle of a crisis on our southern border. The unprecedented surge of illegal migrants from Central America is harming both Mexico and the United States," he said. "And I believe the steps we will take, starting right now, will improve the safety in both of our countries. It is going to be very, very good for Mexico."

The orders served as an exclamation point to one of the major forces behind Trump's lengthy run to a four-year term in the White House: his contention that illegal migrants in the U.S. threaten its security and cost American workers their jobs.

Trump told ABC News that construction of the wall would start within months and continued to contend that México would pay for it, although México has repeatedly said it would not.

Trump said the payment would perhaps be in a complicated form, signaling it would not be a direct payment from México City to Washington.

The Washington Post newspaper says money raised by a possible tax on Mexican imports could be used to pay for it.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin praised the actions in a statement.

"This is about keeping Americans safe. We are committed to working with the administration to stop the influx of illegal immigration along the southern border, protect our homeland, and uphold the rule of law. I applaud President Trump for keeping his promise to make this a national priority," Ryan said.

The executive order was not applauded by some, however. Sen. Robert Menéndez of New Jersey condemned it in strong terms.

“This is a terrible and ugly decision by a president who is more concerned with right-wing fringe movements than doing what’s right for all of America," Menéndez said. "Donald Trump started his campaign by calling Mexicans rapists and murderers, and he is shamefully starting his presidency by declaring open season on immigrants and refugees, and making taxpayers foot the bill for his nativist impulses."

A senator from the Mexican opposition, Armando Ríos Piter, calls the wall a hostile act toward the Mexican people. He is urging President Enrique Peña Nieto to cancel next week's meeting with Trump.

Late Wednesday, Peña Nieto said he regrets and disapproves of Trump's push to build a wall. He also said he considering cancelling next week's visit to Washington.

Trump wants a wall along the entire 3,200-kilometer length of the U.S.-México border. Currently, there is a barrier only along some of the border. U.S. agents patrol the border in vehicles, and monitor it with unmanned drones and infrared video.

Trump said Congress would initially authorize the U.S. government to pick up the cost, possibly $10 billion or more, and be reimbursed later by the Mexican government.

Trump has said building the wall would be easy. But experts say they doubt it noting the rough terrain along the border, with regular peaks and valleys. Some of the property along the border is owned privately and the owners say they do not want a wall.

Residents situated along the southern border hold opposing views, much like the rest of the country. But even among President Trump’s supporters, some doubt the wall’s construction will amount to his promises.

“It will never be a complete wall, because of the non-domestic animals that are native to this area,” said Stuart Dilly, a gas station employee two kilometers north of the California border. “He might find a way to get around it, but we’ll see. I don’t foresee the wall being any higher than it already is.”

When a retired lieutenant, Sean Murphy, patrolled the dry brush California hills outside San Ysidro, on the north side of the U.S.-México border, there was no towering wall. The barrier that existed barely cast a shadow. That was the 1980s.

In a span of three decades, as successive U.S. presidents presented their blueprints to secure the border, the barrier expanded, sometimes parallel to previous fences two or three layers thick. Today, it stretches no more than 1,000 kilometers in total, along 3,000 kilometers of border that is mostly desert.

Murphy of the San Diego Police Department says he has seen migrants change course as a result of the barriers in place today, the first under the president Clinton-led Operation Gatekeeper in 1994, and again under president George W. Bush’s Secure Fence Act of 2006.

But while border-related crime is down in southern California, where large sections of the Bush-era fence are in place, Murphy says migration has only moved eastward into Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. And he doesn’t foresee any wall stopping criminals from entering.

“They’re getting a little bit more creative. Now they’re using boats to get up the coast. They are trying to bring it in through 18-wheelers and tractor trailers,” Murphy said

Ev Meade, director of the Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego, says many are under the false impression that the border is open, due to the lack of a physical wall along 2,000 kilometers of land.

In addition to aerial technology, Meade says the treacherous mountain ranges along the Sonoran Desert with Arizona already serve as deadly natural barriers.

“It’s a searing desert with mountain ranges that aren’t precisely parallel, meaning that it is very difficult to know where you are.”

Where the land ends in southern California, the Pacific Ocean begins.

While the majority of migrant deaths in the United States are due to lack of water, officials are increasingly concerned about those resulting from seaborne excursions.

As waves break on the rusting border structure, there is one place on the far west coast where immigrants can see their relatives. Friendship Park is run by the U.S. Border Patrol on weekends.

Through holes one centimeter in diameter, families separated for years attempt to touch by the fingertips.

U.N. funding may be cut
under President Trump

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United Nations could face severe financial cuts if the Trump administration follows through with action envisioned by the White House, according to media reports late Wednesday.

The “New York Times” on Wednesday said it had obtained two draft orders relating to potential action by President Donald Trump. One of the drafts would terminate U.S. funding of any U.N.-affiliated agency that allows full membership for the Palestinian Authority, funds abortions, or circumvents economic sanctions against Iran or North Korea.

The newspaper reported the draft also calls for at least a 40 percent overall decrease in remaining U.S. funding toward international organizations.

A second draft order calls for a review of multilateral treaties, which could include the multinational agreement with Iran to end its nuclear-weapons development activities, which Trump has denounced in the past as a terrible arrangement. The second draft presidential order also could refer to the Paris accord on measures to control climate change, which the president also has criticized.

Nikki Haley, the newly confirmed American ambassador to the United Nations, said during her confirmation hearings that she believes the United States has been making disproportionate contributions to support U.N. activities and programs.

The United States pays 22 percent of the U.N.'s regular budget and an additional 28 percent toward peacekeeping missions. The U.N. general budget for 2016-2017 is roughly $5.5 billion; for peacekeeping missions, about $8 billion.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) provides access to reproductive health care in developing countries and could be affected by this order.

Dujarric said UNFPA did not currently think it would be directly affected by the order. It could impact some work done by international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), Dujarric added, "But obviously they are still going through the possible impact."

White House to review
black site prisons policy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Confusion reigned in Washington on Wednesday about a purported draft executive order suggesting that President Donald Trump may review how America interrogates suspected terrorists and could reopen secret black site prisons outside the United States.

But White House spokesman Sean Spicer insisted that the draft is not a White House document and offered no further explanation or any theory about who its author was.

The supposed presidential order would keep open the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where 41 suspected terrorists are still held.

Former president Barack Obama failed to keep his promise to close the facility, but did close the black site prisons, which had been run by the CIA.

During his campaign for the White House, Trump endorsed bringing back waterboarding, a harsh interrogation method that simulates drowning. Obama banned it, and it is now prohibited by U.S. law.

Trump said at one point he wanted to renew the use of waterboarding arguing that torture works, and even if it doesn't work, they deserve it anyway. But he has since tempered his public statements and taken note of Defense Secretary James Mattis' counsel that torturing suspected terrorists is unlikely to prevent future attacks.

Even if Mattis were to believe that torture is an effective interrogation tool, former State Department official P.J. Crowley said that Trump faces a formidable legal and political obstacle, because the U.S. Army Field Manual clearly outlaws torture.

Crowley said having both an intelligence team and a law enforcement team interview suspected terrorists has proven to be much more effective than using torture and harsh incarceration in black site secret prisons.

The supposed draft executive order, as described in media accounts, calls for top national security officials to recommend to the president whether to reinitiate a program of interrogation of high-value alien terrorists to be operated outside the United States and whether such program should include the use of detention facilities operated by the CIA, which the U.S. spy agency controlled after the 2001 al-Qaida terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

The CIA is believed to have run the clandestine prisons in Iraq, Lithuania, Thailand, Romania, Afghanistan and Poland. News organizations said the document says U.S. laws should be obeyed at all times and explicitly rejects torture.

Trump's presumed reconsideration of extreme types of interrogation drew an immediate rebuke from Arizona Sen. John McCain. Sen. McCain was a U.S. naval pilot who was captured by North Vietnam in the 1960s and held as a prisoner of war for more than five years.

McCain said he had been assured by defense chief Mattis and new CIA Director Mike Pompeo that they would adhere to the Army Field Manual's limits on interrogation of terrorist suspects.

Legal confusion surrounds
funding cuts to U.S. cities

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Signing an executive order is one thing; enacting it may be another.

President Donald Trump signed an order Wednesday that he said would crack down on sanctuary cities by withholding federal grant money.

Sanctuary cities limit help to federal authorities who may be looking to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants. Forty U.S. cities and 364 counties nationwide have established themselves as sanctuary places.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said federal authorities are going to unapologetically enforce the law.

"We will strip federal grant money from sanctuary states and cities that harbor illegal immigrants. ... The American people are not going to be forced to subsidize this disregard for the law," Spicer said. Federal grants are U.S. economic aid that come from general revenue and are used to pay for various services, such as community centers, health clinics and housing for low-income people.

But New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says Trump does not have the constitutional authority to cut off funding to sanctuary cities.

At least 12 cities in New York have declared themselves safe for illegals, including New York City.

"Any attempt to bully local governments into abandoning policies that have proven to keep our cities safe is not only unconstitutional, but threatens the safety of our citizens,” Schneiderman said Wednesday. "I urge President Trump to revoke the executive order right away. If he does not, I will do everything in my power to fight it."

“He cannot take away funds," said Paromita Shah, associate director at the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. She added, however, the president can move grant money around.

strange insect
Oregon State University/George Poinar 
This is the strange insect found preserved in amber

Strange insect in amber said
to be unique among a million

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Even to an untrained eye, the 100-million-year-old insect that American entomologists are showing off this week looks a bit strange.

Experts say the slender, long-legged tree-dweller is unique among the more than 1 million insects that science has identified. It is so different, in fact, that a new scientific order has been created to describe it.

After extensive analysis, a team at Oregon State University has assigned the insect to the new biological order Aetheocarinodea, the 32nd classification of groups of insects recognized by science.

As seen frozen in amber, the wingless insect has a triangular head, with large eyes at the two widest points, giving it the ability to look in any direction. The bug moved quickly over tree bark, looking in crevices for its prey — most likely mites, tiny worms or fungi — and it lived in Myanmar at a time when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, according to the scientific team.

"This insect has a number of features that just don't match those of any other insect species that I know," said George Poinar, a university entomologist considered to be one of the world's leading experts on plant and animal life forms found preserved in amber.

"I had never really seen anything like it,” he said. “It appears to be unique in the insect world, and after considerable discussion we decided it had to take its place in a new order."

The ancient insect, whose species is designated as Aethiocarenus burmanicus, had a gland at the base of its neck that probably secreted a substance to repel predators.

After a thorough analysis, scientists concluded that each of its strange, bulging eyes could cover a field of view of almost 180 degrees, meaning it literally could see behind, as well as forward.

Only two specimens of the strange insect have ever been found. They both have been assigned to the same species, and they "comprise the totality of the order Aetheocarinodea," according to a university spokesman in Corvallis, Oregon.

"The strangest thing about this insect is that the head looked so much like the way aliens are often portrayed," Poinar said. "With its long neck, big eyes and strange oblong head, I thought it resembled E.T. I even made a Halloween mask that resembled the head of this insect. But when I wore the mask when trick-or-treaters came by, it scared the little kids so much I took it off."

Drug may sweep away
Alzheimer's, study says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scientists have developed a drug they hope will benefit people with Alzheimer’s disease, which afflicts an estimated 44 million people around the world.

The new compound sweeps away abnormal protein clumps in the brain which are a hallmark of the neurodegenerative disorder.

In a study reported in the journal “Science Translational Medicine,” researchers describe how a synthetic drug, called antisense oligoneucleotide, reduced the production and in some cases cleared clumps of tau in the brain.

Tau bundles are one of the hallmarks of the disease, along with beta amyloid deposits, another destructive protein.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, found that, by stopping the formation of tau, they could extend the lives of mice that were bred to have collections of human tau in their brains.

Lead author Sara DeVos said scientists saw an improvement in their condition.

The investigators also tested the compound in monkeys and saw positive results.

Antisense oligneucleotide targets the genetic instructions for building tau. The molecule binds to messenger RNA, which carries out the DNA blueprint for life, preventing tau from being produced. The drug can be made to target RNA for destruction of any protein, said scientists.

Tim Miller, a professor of neurology at Washington University and senior author of the study, hopes the drug, developed with Ionis Pharmaceuticals, will soon be tested in humans with Alzheimer’s disease.

Other types of antisense oligoneucleotides have been approved by U.S. regulators and are being used to treat the neurodegenerative disease muscular dystrophy and spinal muscular atrophy. The compound is in clinical trials for Huntington’s disease and ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Because tau deposits are only a piece of the puzzle that causes Alzheimer’s, the investigators envision using the drug with other treatments, also in development.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, which primarily strikes senior adults, leading to a decline in mental functioning and eventually death.

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Beautiful farm in excellent location
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Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need.  More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:


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 Available for viewing:   CONTACT:  USA :  (585) 969-3413 or (585) 266-7418 or in COSTA RICA : (506) 2231-0410.   email:

Sámara titled land for sale by owner
5.7 acres. Only 150 meters to beach: $275,000
Less than $12 a meter

Fully titled, held by corporation. 150 meters to beach! Paved road frontage. Electric, phone and broadband internet at the road. Year-round water on property for well. 3 -minute drive to Sámara center and a 3-minute walk to Playa Sámara. 23,561 square meters / 5.7 acres. Property was purchased on 2005 with plans to develop 21 villas on the property. Project was halted due to real estate market collapse in 2007.  We are no longer interested in developing due to age, health and motivation!  Priced well below market value for quick sale.  More info click HERE! Email:    Phone: 506-4033-6695.

Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call # 509-570-1928 or email 

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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: 
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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. Up to 40% financing / get residency through investor status / includes a corporation that is 27 years old and offshore banking account with  Banco National / possible 50/50 partnership. Super location in front of the Bosques de Escazú  Condos  / Monthly rentals available
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Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 19
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Medical doctor wins cultural prize

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The results are in for the 2016 winners of the top national cultural awards.

The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud made the announcement Wednesday morning for the winners of the Premio Nacional de Cultura Magón and the Premio Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial. Juan Jaramillo Antillón, an educator and surgeon, is the winner for the Magón award. The musical group Marfil won the cultural inmaterial award.

The Marfil group won for its interpretation of Afro-Caribbean music and dance common to the Limón region. The group incorporated original elements of Calypso, cumbia, soca, reggae, and bolero music with a mixture of English and Spanish spoken word. The prize givers described the group’s work as distinctly Latin American transcending all borders.

Antillón received the Magón award for his humanistic work in the field of medicine which includes a professor emeritus title from Universidad de Costa Rica. His extensive publications stood him out from among other thinkers, award givers said. He is a former health minister.

According to the Ley de Premios Nacionales, the Magón prize is an acknowledgement of a lifetime in dedication to promoting Costa Rican culture. There is no specific requirement as to the manner in which that is conducted. The law also describes that the cultural inmaterial award is a recognition of cultural work conducted over the recipient’s lifetime.

This award is more detailed in the level of contribution to the development of Costa Rican culture through the performing and visual arts. Selection of winners is determined of juries made up of people defined as having recognized experience and standing within culture.

The cultural ministry will announce the winners for the subcategories of the Premios Nacionales  de Cultural Monday morning. The event is closed to the public. These awards are annual recognitions by the Costa Rican government that have achieved success in their specific cultural disciplines.

Cash confiscated from passenger luggage

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Customs officials confiscated around $19,000 at Daniel Oduber Quirós airport found in luggage from the United States.

The U.S. national found carrying the luggage failed to voluntarily declare that he carried a sum greater than $10,000, officials said. The money was confiscated and sent to the Instituto Costarricense sobre Drogas, customs officials said.  The airport is based in Liberia.

Water being cut in Mora and Coronado

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Water services are being temporarily suspended for some residents in Coronado and Mora.

The Instituto de Acueductos y Alcantarillados announced Wednesday that it needs to clean the silt filters at the Planta de los Cuadros. This will shut down potable water services from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. today for the neighborhoods of: Coronado centro, Barrio los Cedros, San Francisco, Patalillo, Don Leco, Bruno Martínez and El Pueblo, among others.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., water services will be interrupted in the canton of Mora. Neighborhoods affected include: Barrio San Bosco, Calle La Unión, residences around Cementerio de Ciudad Colón and Abastecedor Chepe Monge and Barrio José Aguilar. The ministry said the reason for this temporary suspension is due to needed maintenance at the Planta de Quitirrisí.  Both suspensions are estimated to affect at least 14,000 residents.

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Dow breaks 20,000 for the first time ever

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Dow Jones industrial average, the most well-known U.S. stock market index, closed above 20,000 for the first time Wednesday. The Standard & Poor's 500, a broader index, also reached a record high.

Investors have apparently been encouraged by President Donald Trump's promise to cut regulation and reduce taxes. Businesses often complain that taxes and rules make it more difficult to make profits.

The Dow is up about 9.5 percent since the election. While the 20,000 milestone is largely symbolic, PNC Bank economist Gus Faucher said it still indicated an improved outlook for corporate profits. Stock market gains can boost the consumer spending that drives most U.S. economic activity, because it boosts wealth for households that own stock. The closing number was  20.068.51.

Some analysts say Trump's policies could also push up inflation and interest rates, which could help banks become more profitable. That may be why major financial firms like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan have made major gains recently.

A separate report showed that bankruptcy filings had fallen back to the levels seen before the financial crisis. U.S. federal courts said fewer than 800,000 cases were filed in 2016, a nearly 6 percent drop from the prior year and the lowest level since 2006.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency said home prices rose 0.5 percent in November, a bit faster than in the prior month. Home prices advanced 6.1 percent for the 12 months ending in November.

Among other reports this week, surveys of economists predicted unemployment claims would stay at a low level consistent with a healthy job market, and that the U.S. trade deficit would narrow.

Experts also predicted that Friday's report on the U.S. gross domestic product would show the world's largest economy expanded at a 2.2 percent annual pace in the last three months of 2016. That would be slower than the rate in the previous quarter.