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(506) 2223-1327                                   Published  Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 21                                  Email us
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A.M. Costa Rica/Thomas Ropp

Laura Fernández of Atenas leads a team of cooks wearing red devil horns. But she insisted her Chili Willas chili is not hot as the place where devils live.

Every chef has a personal idea about great chili
By Thomas Ropp
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The only sure thing about chili is that everyone has a different opinion on what makes it good.

That is probably a reflection on its origins, when range cooks had to whip up something easy yet tasty and nutritious with what was available for the hungry hired hands on those long dusty Texas trail rides. No two batches were ever the same.

“Chili is different to different people,” said Phil Phillips of Atenas, one of the participants in Sunday’s Atenas Chili Cook Off.

Phillips’ Marine Corp League chili won the previous year’s cook off.  He uses five kinds of chili powder, yucca starch and his secret ingredient of Panama ghost peppers, which are “not horribly hot.”

Brad and Jean Marie Estabrool of Atenas make authentic Texas chili that uses only chunks of meat and no hamburger.

“Chili should be a meal,” Brad Estabrool said. “The secret is a lot of meat and not too hot. You don’t want to burn taste buds.”

Another participant, Matt Meeks, owner of Carne Rico Jerky, makes an unusual jerky smoked chili with smoked meat and three types of beans: black, red and white.

Meeks, a resident of San Francisco de Dos Rios, believes the secret to making excellent chili is to have a burst of flavor “in the front and in the back.”

“You want the heat to last just a short time,” Meeks said, “not consume your palate.”

Daniel Sheaks, an Atenas professional chef, makes a chili called chili chili bang bang that uses five types of meat, three types of chilies and spices all mixed together.

“The secret is to start with good ingredients and unprocessed, fresh herbs,” said Sheaks, who toasts his herbs so they are more aromatic.

Fernández of Atenas led a team of cooks wearing red devil horns. But she insisted her Chili Willas chili is not hot as — well, you know.

Ms. Fernández’ secret chili weapon is the cubaces, a type of giant Costa Rican bean that she believes is more tasty than the more commonly used kidney bean.

“You need patience to be a good chili cook,” Ms. Fernández said. “The meat has to release its flavor.”

Cook Raymond Raza of San Ramón, makes a spicy chili he calls San Ramon Masala.

He said he believes people who prefer a hotter chili “normally grow up with it.”

Raza, who is of Indian origins, uses Indian spices as well as Worcestershire sauce. He then cooks it all in red wine to enhance the flavor.

Proceeds from the 9th Annual Atenas Chili Cook Off went to Hogar de Vida, an organization that helps at-risk children.

Coast guard rescues scuba diver near Flamingo
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 65-year-old U.S. scuba diver ran into trouble Sunday morning near Islas Catalinas, which is in the Pacific off Flamingo. 

The  Ministerio de Seguridad Pública said that its Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas averted a tragedy because a patrol boat was nearby keeping an eye on beach goers.

The ministry identified the woman by the last name of MacMaster.

Officials said that the exact nature of her problem was not clear, but that she was taken away in an ambulance.

Coastguard crews and other police officers

tourist rescued
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
The rescued scuba diver is taken from a patrol boat to an ambulance.

have been keeping an eye on tourist
destinations during the annual school holiday that ends Tuesday.

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money and
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Baggies of coins are part of the evidence police officers confiscated Saturday night.

Welcome to the glamorous drug culture

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Who says drug dealing is a lucrative and glamorous occupation.

The reality is a lot different from the portrayals of high rollers on television and a few capos who hog the headlines with their actress friends.

In Costa Rica, the neighborhood drug dealers may not be addicts himself, but they are surrounded by persons they have hooked. The headquarters is called a bunker, an unsanitary, fortified hovel that featured a steady procession of persons buying and using drugs.

The reality became obvious Saturday when  Fuerza Pública officers invaded such a bunker in León XIII, Tibás. They found 4,550 packets of crack cocaine and an assortment of other drugs.

They also were more than 1,300 does of ketamine an anesthetic that sometimes is used as a date rape drug.

There also were nearly 2 million colons, mostly in coins. They were packaged in plastic bags. This is different from on television where the drug lords have briefcases loaded with $100 bills.

Also confiscated were three pistols, said the Fuerza Pública. Drug dealers live in perpetual fear of other drug dealers.

As in many such raids, no one was home. The occupants of the bunker appear to have left just as police were arriving. But they left the drugs and money.

Mother Nature wakes up Pacific south

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Mother Nature provided a sharp wake-up call for residents along the border with Panamá Sunday,

An earthquake estimated at 5.2 to 5.3 magnitude took place at 5:38 a.m. The estimated epicenter was reported to be in the vicinity of Ciudad Neily in Corredores.

Then at 6:20 a.m. A 4.3-=magnitude aftershock took place in the same area, according to both the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica at the Universidad Nacional in Heredia and the Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

The cause of the quake was reported as the subduction of the Cocos tectonic plate under the lighter Caribbean plate. That is the usual cause on the Pacific coast.

The first quake also was felt by some in the Central Valley.

Unhappy taxi drivers to protest today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Licensed taxi drivers have a lot to be unhappy about, and they plan to show it today with another wheeled protest.

The protest is expected to begin at 6 a.m. with the emphasis on the operations of Uber in the country.

Representatives of the taxi drivers met with a vice minister Sunday at Casa Presidencial, but there was no resolution.

For years, taxi drivers have been protesting the activities of unlicensed drivers, the portadores or pirates depending on the point of view. Various efforts have been made to reach an agreement satisfactory to the licensed and unlicensed drivers.

Just when it appears that such an agreement would be reached, Uber arrived on the scene.

The government says it considers the Internet-based service illegal, but President Luis Guillermo Solís has declined to do anything about the situation, perhaps because Uber also has installed a call center in Costa Rica and is providing jobs.

The licensed taxi drivers want Uber to be run out of business and they have gone so far as to suggest that the government block the internet sites through which residents can obtain the services of  Uber part-time driver.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 21
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Health ministry suggests a biological control for zika mosquitoes
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The local battle against mosquitoes that may carry the zika virus now has a biological dimension.

Another zika article HERE!

The Ministerio de Salud said that it is using a bacterial approach.  The ministry is using  Saccharopolyspora spinosa, a bacteria that was isolated  in 1982 from an abandoned rum still in the Virgin Islands.

The bacteria produce compounds that are natural pesticides and can kill the larvae of mosquitoes when placed in water where the creatures are growing.

The main target in Costa Rica is the  Aedes aegypti mosquito, and health workers have been battling the insect for years
because it also can carry dengue, malaria and other diseases. The pesticides are nerve toxins that are effective even in small dosages, according to research reports. There have been no reports of dangers to humans.

The bacteria are under patent, and the produce is marketed as pills that can be put in water.

The ministry said that it was recommending that municipalities and firms with water tanks, such as some tourism operations, begin using this product to protect against the hatching of mosquitoes. The bacteria are living organisms that continues to produce what are called spinosads that can provide protection for quantities of water for as much as 10 weeks, the ministry said.

The same bacteria have shown success in protecting some vegetable crops from pests, according to online descriptions.

Former Atenas mayor might repeat despite his removal in 2011
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

If a Jan. 15 poll is accurate, the next mayor of Atenas will be a former Atenas mayor who was relieved at that position in 2011 on the recommendation of the comptroller general.

A poll of 400 Atenas voters gives Wilberth Aguilar Gatjens of the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana a whopping 41 percent to 19 percent lead over Juan Carlos Dengo, Partido Liberación Nacional.

A report of the poll was posted on the ex-mayor's Web site.

Aguilar was Atenas mayor from 2007 to 2011 before being removed from office by the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones 
on an allegation that he was authorizing payments to build sidewalks and a park irrigation system that were never built.

Aguilar has always maintained his innocence and appealed his censure. Still, he was replaced by Querima Bérmudez Villegas, who is now the outgoing mayor.

The other Atenas mayoral candidates are: Rafael Ramos Méndez (Partido Frente Amplio), Victor Alpizar Castro (Partido Acción Ciudadana), Carol Chaves Arce (Partido Movimento Libertario) and Alejandro Chaves Ovares (Partido Republicano Social Cristiano).

The population of Atenas is 27,798 with 8,326 registered voters who will also elect city council members Feb. 7.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 21
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Researchers report the first success in laboratory-raised elkhorn coral
By the SECORE International, Inc. news staff

Researchers of SECORE International, Inc., the University of Amsterdam and the Carmabi Marine Research Station in Curaçao have for the first time successfully raised laboratory-bred colonies of a threatened Caribbean coral species to sexual maturity.

“In 2011, offspring of the critically endangered elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) were reared from gametes collected in the field and were outplanted to a reef one year later,” said Valérie Chamberland, coral reef ecologist working for SECORE and Carmabi. “In four years, these branching corals have grown to a size of a soccer ball and reproduced, simultaneously with their natural population, in September 2015. This event marks the first ever successful rearing of a threatened Caribbean coral species to its reproductive age.” These findings have been published in the latest issue of the scientific journal Bulletin of Marine Science.

Due to its large size and branching shape, elkhorn corals created vast forests in shallow reef waters that protect shores from incoming storms and provide a critical habitat for a myriad of other reef organisms, including ecologically and economically important fish species. A

An estimated 80 percent of all Caribbean corals have disappeared over the last four decades and repopulating degraded reefs has since become a management priority throughout the Caribbean region. The elkhorn coral was one of the species whose decline was so severe that it was one of the first coral species to be listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species act in 2006, and as critically endangered under the IUCN red list of threatened species in 2008. Consequently, measures to aid Caribbean reef recovery often focus on the elkhorn coral given its major decline and its ecological importance.

Since 2010, SECORE, Carmabi, and partners from aquariums around the world started a project aimed at developing techniques to rear larger numbers of elkhorn coral offspring so they could eventually be planted on degraded reefs throughout the Caribbean.

“Our approach differs  substantially from the one generally used by the large number of reef restoration groups that operate throughout the Caribbean,” said Dirk Petersen, coral reef expert and director of SECORE, which is based in the U.S. and Germany.
elkhorn coral
SECORE International photo
Elkhorn coral colony that has been transferred to a reef.

“These groups generally use the ‘coral gardening’ approach, where small fragments are harvested from coral colonies on the reef. The fragments are then grown in special nurseries to larger sizes before they are returned to the reef.”

Although this method has been applied throughout the Caribbean, it does not allow for new genetic combinations as the fragments harbor the same genes as the donor colonies and are therefore copies of their parents, he noted.

“By contrast, SECORE developed a technique whereby male and female gametes are caught in the wild and fertilized in the laboratory to raise larger numbers of genetically unique corals,” said Petersen.

Elkhorn corals reproduce only once or twice a year, generally a few days after the full moon in August. During those nights, Acropora colonies synchronously release their gametes into the water column. The project team collects a small proportion of these gametes by gently placing special nets around spawning colonies to collect the floating gamete bundles. After collection, the researchers produce coral embryos by in vitro fertilization, mixing sperm and eggs in the laboratory.

Coral embryos develop into swimming larvae within days and eventually settle onto specifically designed substrates. After a short nursery period, the project team plants the substrates with the newly settled corals to the reef.

Details on the techniques developed by SECORE during this project were recently published in the scientific journal Global Ecology and Conservation.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

                        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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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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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 21
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Zika prompts grim estimates
of infections in the Americas

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services
The zika virus outbreak in Latin America could be a bigger threat to global health than the Ebola epidemic that killed more than 11,000 people in Africa.

That's according to several public health experts who spoke with the Guardian and Examiner newspapers ahead of an emergency meeting of the World Health Organization today. The session will decide whether the zika threat should be rated a global health crisis.

Brazilian public health authorities are reporting an increase in cases of microcephaly, a fetal deformation where infants are born with abnormally small heads. The incidence of the normally rare birth defect is 10 times higher than normal.

The cause is under investigation, but there appears to be a correlation between the condition and zika infections in expectant mothers.

"In many ways the zika outbreak is worse than the Ebola epidemic of 2014-15," Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust, told the Guardian. "Most virus carriers are symptomless. It is a silent infection in a group of highly vulnerable individuals, pregnant women, that is associated with a horrible outcome for their babies."

There is currently no prospect of a vaccine for zika, in contrast to Ebola, for which several are now under trial.

"The real problem is that trying to develop a vaccine that would have to be tested on pregnant women is a practical and ethical nightmare," said Mike Turner, head of infection and immunobiology at the Wellcome Trust.

The World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Pan American Health Organization warn the zika virus is spreading rapidly through the Americas and could affect as many as four million people.

Peter Hotez told the Examiner newspaper that the zika outbreak in Brazil poses a "far greater threat to the United States than Ebola," A zika outbreak has "never been seen on this scale," Hotez said, despite its prevalence in Africa, Asia and the Pacific islands.

zika is a viral illness spread from human to human through the bite of a mosquito.

Two species of mosquito are known to carry the virus, the yellow fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito. Both species are found throughout most of the Americas. The yellow fever mosquito can be found along the Gulf Coast of the United States while the Asian Tiger mosquito can be found as far north as New York City.

Meanwhile, health authorities in several Asian countries have advised travelers, particularly pregnant women, to avoid trips to Central and South America.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned pregnant women against traveling to areas with zika virus outbreaks.

They have asked people coming or returning from those areas, who display symptoms such as fever and rashes to immediately report to health centers. Doctors are also required to immediately report suspected cases.

Colombia's National Health Institute has recommended couples delay pregnancy for six to eight months.

Faced with the zika outbreak, the presidents of the United States and Brazil have agreed on the importance of collaborative efforts to combat its spread.

Barack Obama and Dilma Rouseff recognize the significance of working together "to deepen our knowledge, advance research, and accelerate work to develop better vaccines and other technologies to control the virus," the White House said.

In the meantime, Brazil has turned to a British company, Oxitec, for help. According to The New York Times, Brazil recently approved the release of multiple groups of genetically modified Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes, created by Oxitec, throughout the country.

The idea behind the release of the mosquitos is for the mature modified males to mate with females. Their offspring who inherited the modified gene would die, causing the mosquito population to dwindle and, hopefully, lower the threat of the disease.

World Health said the virus has grown rapidly to a public-health threat of alarming proportions. Julius Lutwana, a virologist at the Uganda Virus Research Institute, said that  zika was long thought to pose only a small risk to humans.

World Halth said people with the zika virus have a mild fever, skin rash and conjunctivitis with symptoms lasting between two to seven days. The best prevention against zika virus, experts say, is protection against mosquito bites.

Outbreaks in Brazil, which reported its first zika case in 2015, and elsewhere in southern and Central America have led to extensive spraying of insecticides to eradicate mosquitoes.

New satellite goes into orbit
to keep and eye on oceans

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scientists from the U.S. and Europe have a new eye in the sky monitoring the world's oceans.The Jason-3 satellite, launched Jan. 17, is the latest satellite to monitor rising sea levels. Scientists say data collected by satellites over the last two decades shows sea levels rising at an accelerating rate, which they say is an indicator of climate change.

Josh Willis, lead project scientist for the Jason-3 mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said rising sea levels were one of the factors that contributed to the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Hundreds of people died and the storm surge devastated gulf coast communities as Katrina became one of the deadliest storms in recent U.S. history.

"The rising ocean winds up causing problems when it comes on top of things like storm surges, high tides, and rare events which bring very high sea levels," said Willis.

Jason-3 collects data by pulsing radar off the ocean surface several thousands of times a second and returns it back to the satellite.

"Our satellite records of course only go back about 25 years. But we have measurements of how the oceans have been changing that go back thousands of years and in fact the past 2000 years have been very stable in terms of sea level and climate change. It’s only in the last hundred or so years that rapid sea level rise has begun, driven by the warming of the planet," Willis said.

Any material, including water, expands when heated. The Jason-3 satellite measures the height of the sea surface, allowing scientists to calculate how much extra heat is stored in the ocean.

Lee-Lueng Fu, the project scientist for the Jason-2 mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said the ocean covers 70 percent of the Earth’s surface and more than 90 percent of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases ends up in the ocean.

"So we are entering a very unique time that greenhouse gas is increasing at an unprecedented pace, 50 percent increase in less than 150 years so that’s just a fact," he said. "So a lot of warming happening in a very short time and sea level is rising at a pace very rapid."

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Eric Leuliette said sea levels are an expression of climate change for two reasons.

"One is that excess heat that goes in the ocean is causing the ocean to expand," he said. "On top of that, as the glaciers and ice sheets melt due to global warming nearly all that water runs into the ocean also causing the ocean to rise."

Leuliette said the data collected from the Jason-3 satellite will help them to continue to monitor the global impacts of rising sea levels, including increased floods.The information collected by the satellite will also help meteorologists better forecast the intensity of big storms such as Hurricane Katrina.

 "When Hurricane Katrina was passing over we could see the spot of warm water using the Jason data that caused the hurricane to intensify from a category three to a category five hurricane," said Leuliette.

Once the Jason-3 Satellite retires in three to five years, scientists plan to launch another satellite to continue the mission of building a satellite record of sea level rise on Earth.

Other scientist say that the world's oceans have rising about4 to 8 inches in the last century7, and thatsince the end of the Ice Age, oceans have risen about 120 meters or about 390 feet,

Police, social agencies lost
track of 10,000 children

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Europe's police agency says more than 10,000 unaccompanied migrant children have disappeared in the past two years.

Europol chief of staff Brian Donald told Britain's Observer newspaper that organized crime rings and sex traffickers may be involved.

"We just do not know where they are, what they are doing or whom they are with," he said Saturday.

Even before last year's surge in migrants to Europe, several European agencies documented that up to half of unaccompanied children seeking asylum on the continent went missing after registering with state authorities.

The International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Children's Fund report data for 2014 that indicates more than 23,000 asylum applicants in Europe were unaccompanied minors or children separated from their families.

But in the first 10 months of 2015, Sweden alone received applications from over 23,000 unaccompanied and separated children. Asylum statistics, however, do not account for all migrant children.

The European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children noted that while some children flee reception centers with a planned destination, others become victims of organized crime gangs.

More negotiations continue
today over Britain and EU

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

European Council chief Donald Tusk says talks Sunday in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron broke up without a deal to keep Britain in the EU, but he said intensive negotiations will continue today.

Tusk, tweeting late Sunday, described talks in the next 24 hours as crucial.  Cameron said today's meeting likely will lead to a draft text of EU reforms demanded by Britain's ruling Conservatives in exchange for remaining in the 28-nation political and economic bloc.

Officials on both sides of the issue have voiced hopes of striking a deal ahead of a two-day EU summit set to begin Feb. 18 in Brussels.

If a deal is reached, it then would need approval of British voters in a referendum that Cameron's party has promised by the end of 2017.

Discord between London and Brussels grew last year as Europe's migrant crisis gathered strength and swept through the continent. Cameron's government has since demanded EU reforms aimed in part at allowing EU countries to control the number of migrants entering EU states and to limit their welfare benefits.

Friday, EU officials offered London a mechanism known as an emergency brake that would let Britain temporarily limit such benefits, if the country's welfare coffers are strained.

But Cameron later described the offer as not good enough.  He is said to be seeking further concessions that would allow the braking mechanism to take effect sooner and remain in place longer than the EU has proposed.

Ship in trouble
Voice of America photo    
The Modern Express lists to one side

Cargo ship drifts to coast
after rough seas encounter

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A crippled cargo ship listing heavily to one side drifted slowly towards the French Atlantic coast Saturday as rescue teams struggled to tow it to shore.

The captain of the capsized Modern Express sent out a distress call Tuesday and its crew of 22 was evacuated by Spanish helicopters.

France's coastal authority said a team of experts boarded the listing vessel late Friday, but rough seas curtailed efforts to begin towing it.

The Modern Express was carrying 3,600 tons of timber.

French authorities said there was no sign that water had entered the vessel or that fuel had leaked out. The cause of the breakdown was not immediately known.

Today voters in Iowa meet
for first U.S. voter decision

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Sunday was the last full day of campaigning ahead of the vitally important Iowa caucuses, the first real test for 15 Republican and Democratic candidates hoping to become the next president of the United States.

The caucuses are the first event of the presidential election in which voters' choices actually count. It also is the time when the large field of candidates could be pared down by a poor showing.

The latest polls going into today's caucuses have billionaire Donald Trump leading the Republican hopefuls with 28 percent support, followed by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with 23 percent.

Appearing on ABC television's “This Week” broadcast Sunday, the straight talking and caustic Trump again tore into Cruz, calling him a liar whom no one in the Senate wants in the White House. He said only a Trump presidency can work with all sides.

"You need a deal maker, too. You can't have just somebody standing in the Senate floor and nobody even endorses you.  Not one endorsement of Cruz because he's a nasty guy. Nobody likes him . . . you can't run a country that way . . . it will be a total mess," Trump said.

On NBC's  “Meet the Press,” Cruz said he is the only true conservative who can win and refused to trade insults with other candidates.

"As others attack me, I don't respond in kind. I don't engage . . . . I'll sing Donald's praises. I like Donald. I think he's bold and brash. . . .  I think his policies are liberal. I think he's been too willing to cut a deal to get along with Democrats and grow government and support cronyism," Cruz said.

For the Democrats, the polls have former secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders just about tied, with Clinton holding a slight lead.

Mrs. Clinton told ABC Sunday that the controversies she has faced over the years, including the latest release of State Department e-mails, will not hurt her in the general election.

"I've been subjected, as you know so well, to years of scrutiny, and I'm still standing, talking to you in the lead here in Iowa for the caucuses . . . and it's a very tough gauntlet to run, and it there are issues. The Republicans and their allies on the right believe they could use that to bring a Democrat down . . . . I feel vetted, I feel ready. I feel strong," said Mrs. Clinton.

Sanders told the same broadcast that turnout is the key to his success Monday.

"If working people and lower income people and young people come out to vote in significant numbers tomorrow night, we're going to win this thing and pull off one of the great political upsets in recent history," he said.

Obama promotes computers
as a new basic skill for kids

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama Saturday discussed his plan to give all students across the country the chance to learn computer science in school.

In his weekly address, Obama noted that with the rapid shifts in the U.S. economy, knowledge of computer science has become a new basic skill, right along with the three R's, necessary for economic achievement.

"Today’s auto mechanics aren’t just sliding under cars to change the oil; they’re working on machines that run on as many as 100 million lines of code. That’s 100 times more than the space shuttle," the president said. "Nurses are analyzing data and managing electronic health records. Machinists are writing computer programs. And workers of all kinds need to be able to figure out how to break a big problem into smaller pieces and identify the right steps to solve it."

The president said that 90 percent of parents want computer science taught at their children’s schools. "Yet right now, only about a quarter of our K-12 schools offer computer science. Twenty-two states don’t even allow it to count toward a diploma."

Obama then emphasized the need for his Computer Science for All Initiative, which would provide $4 billion in funding for states and $100 million directly for districts in his upcoming budget, and would invest more than $135 million beginning this year through the National Science Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service to support and train computer science teachers.

The goal of the initiative, he said, is to give "every student in America an early start at learning the skills they’ll need to get ahead in the new economy," and he said he would be calling on "governors, mayors, business leaders and tech entrepreneurs to join the growing bipartisan movement around this cause."

Americans must all do their part "to make sure all our young people can compete in a high-tech, global economy," Obama said. "They’re the ones who will make sure America keeps growing, keeps innovating and keeps leading the world in the years ahead.  And they’re the reason I’ve never been more confident about our future."
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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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:

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Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
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The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
For more information
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Axiom three
Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
We will be happy to give all the information you need. Contact:

Costa Rica Office: +506.4001-2343
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Rich Coast Rollover
Thinking of Buying a Vacation or Retirement Home
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Rich Coast Realty is a full-service real estate company with property listings in Escazú, Santa Ana, Jacó, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Manuel Antonio, and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. We work hard to find you the property of your dreams, and assist with legal advice, residency, starting corporations, opening bank accounts, etc. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in, and relocating to Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate, we look forward to hearing from you.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo
Photo montage of penthouse
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Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

* Located on 6th floor.
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* 3 bedrooms.
* 2 bathrooms.
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* Enjoy the view,  CLICK HERE
Mafi Real Estate: Houses, lots and farms in Costa Rica
If you do not find, what are you looking for, contact us
WE HAVE A NETWORK OF OVER 500 brokers across the country to get what you are looking for.
English Calls: Miguel Fiatt Sauma or Paule Ortiz
Phone/Fax.+506 2238-5029
Cel. +506 8399-7000
Web Page:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Lee Lot
Panoramic Home Site.
Panoramic, rural mountain lot in Rosario, outside of Grecia in Central Valley. 25 minutes from San José and international airport. One hour from coast. Includes paved roads, electrical and water. In a development of 28 hectares, most planted in coffee. Lot is 7,300 square meters. Located adjacent to High Dreams Club, Hotel & Spa (Adults/couples Excellent climate. Lot size large enough for home, garage & guesthouse/casita. Home site cleared & includes 10 maturing palm trees, with coffee trees at the base of the lot. Views to San José and include canyons. $24,900 USD. Contact: 506 8311-5336 or U.S. 719-821-2210.

La Uruca condo
Situated three miles west of the capital, eight miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, six restaurants,  next to two bus line stops. Car ownership is not needed. January-March air temperatures are 72 to 80 degrees F. Apartment 1,200 sq. ft (100 sq. meters), on ground floor, indoor  patio. Large windows without bars, parquet floors. Spacious living room-dining area, two bedrooms, maid's room, two bathrooms, four closets  (including walk-in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine, small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools).  Many amenities, (pictures, indoor plants, sewing machine, books, keyboard, dishes, glassware, silverware). Annual cost of maintenance about $1,350 includes water, landscaping service, garbage disposal, 24-7 security and property taxes. Price $120,000. Available for viewing:  Mid-January to beginning of April. Contact:  USA :  585 544-4296. Costa Rica : 506 2231-0410

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

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.

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 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:  8725-8176.  Email:

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:

puriscal photo
Costa Rica home for sale $163,500 / 2bedroom - 1,984 ft2

Central Valley view home: 10 minutes from Santiago de Puriscal and shopping, hospital services, and soon Maxi Pali. Only one hour to San José or Pacific beaches.
- On .55-acre lot with river on one boundary
- Area under roof, 1,984 sq. ft., Area inside walls, 925 sq. ft. Steel, recycled
      Styrofoam, and concrete construction.
- 2 ½ years old with central living room and kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths,
       ceramic tile throughout.
- Central Valley volcano and SJO airport views from every room.
- Vaulted ceilings give bright open feeling.
- Entrance from concrete road to large graveled parking area
- VERY energy efficient with VERY low property taxes.
- Covered attached carport with entrance to front door or laundry-guest bath
- 2 carport storage bodegas.
- 12 foot x 14 foot storage bodega
- Security lights, And Amcrest day & night video recorder system.
- Producing banana trees, and mango, bread fruit, and guanabana trees

Includes: Refrigerator, gas stove & oven with electric grill element, microwave, electric washer-gas dryer stacked style, gas on demand whole house water heater. Other furnishings are negotiable. ICE electric service and land line phone. Bajo Burgos Water district. Metro-wireless WiFi is available. Tigo Star Satellite T.V. House is in a Costa Rican corporation, will transfer shares. Contract or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 21
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
University of Oregon photo
A leafcutter appears to lick a leaf to remove any spores that might compete with the preferred fungus that the colony grows.

Prof unveils leafcutters' secret life

By the University of Oregon news staff

Leafcutter ants are agricultural pests that range from the southern United States through much of South America. Their complex societies rely on a division of labor inside and outside their underground nests.

Studying them, says University of Oregon scientist Robert M.S. Schofield, not only leads to ways to reduce the damages they and their often-massive nests cause but also provides nature-based insights that could prove helpful to efforts to manufacture tiny machines and tools.

The latest findings from Schofield's lab appeared in a paper placed online in Royal Society Open Science, an open journal that quickly publishes research across multiple disciplines.

In the study, Schofield's six-member team, using multiple videos with each capturing one aspect of the ants' work, documented never-before-seen looks at the ants' prehensile skills. They're good at grabbing and the layers of behaviors associated with gathering leaves, delivering them to the nests and processing them to grow the fungus that colony members eat.

"We show that the many-jointed leg tips, or tarsi, of ants can be prehensile, like many-jointed human fingers, grasping and manipulating work pieces with precision," said Schofield, a research professor in the University of Oregon Department of Physics. "The ants are remarkably handy, often using three legs as a tripod to stand on and the other three legs to handle leaf pieces as they cut, scrape, lick, puncture and chemically treat them. When the processing is complete, the ants rock the leaf fragments into the comb, much like stonemasons building a wall."

Accompanying videos  shot during more than 70 hours of observations in a leafcutter colony in Schofield's  lab found that the ants are selective, choosing leaf pieces that are small and easy for them to transport, and that 90 percent of processing takes place in their nests.

Schofield's team also analyzed the cutting, carrying and preparation of the leaves done by the ants to understand their energy expenditure. Much of this analysis involved fieldwork at leafcutter sites in Colombia and Ecuador.

The task-shared process, the researchers conclude, suggests that energy conservation and the ants' division of labor are important to the overall health and survival of the ants.

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From Page 7:

U.S. shows weak growth, report says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. government said Friday that its economy, the world's largest, barely advanced in the last three months of 2015.

The Commerce Department said the anemic growth, just seven-tenths of a percent, reflected weaker consumer spending, investment cutbacks by businesses and slowing exports.

The U.S. report, the first of three estimates of the country's economic growth for the October-to-December period, comes amid slowing economic advances throughout the world and stock market turmoil across the globe during January. Analysts have mostly attributed falling stock prices to concern over plunging world oil prices and China's slowing growth.

The weak fourth quarter U.S. gain followed advances of 3.9 percent in the April-to-June period and 2 percent in the third quarter. But the unemployment rate in the U.S. has dropped to 5 percent, near its long-term historical average, and in recent months the American labor market has been adding nearly 300,000 new jobs a month.

China, the world's second biggest economy, reported that its 2015 growth was the slowest in a quarter century, although at 6.9 percent is still markedly faster than that recorded by the West's democracies in the U.S. and Europe. The 19-nation bloc that uses the euro currency has been advancing at less than 1 percent a year in quarter after quarter since 2013, a weak recovery from the steep eurozone recession.

For all of 2015, the U.S. economy advanced 2.4 percent, the same as in 2014, and slightly ahead of the 2.1 percent average since 2010, the first full year after the end of the country's deepest recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

It is unclear whether the fourth quarter figure signals a continued slowdown or is merely a setback that will be reversed in the coming months.