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(506) 2223-1327                                   Published  Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 22                                  Email us
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Motorists can figure on more of this as licensed taxi drivers vent their frustrations at what they see as an erosion of their occupation.

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo

Another taxi protest promised over Uber operations
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Licensed taxi drivers staged another protest against Uber Monday, but they certainly lost the public relations battle.

While taxi drivers were throwing eggs at their colleagues who chose to work, Uber offered Valley residents a free ride of up to 15,000 colons for the day.

Said Uber:

“We know that San Jose is part of a cosmopolitan country with vision, characterized by a strong desire to promote technological progress and increased mobility options that improve our quality of life. Uber contributes and is part of this positive change in our Costa Rica.”

The government fielded 300 Fuerza Pública officers to work with traffic police Monday morning. Officers reported unspecified problems in  Zapote, Parque de la Paz and San Pedro.

President Luis Guillermo Solís held a press conference in which he acknowledged that Uber was
working illegally in the country. But a call center that the firm is setting up is legal, he emphasized. Casa Presidencial said that police had been told to take action when drivers are found offering transport services illegally. But so far no arrests have been announced.

Taxi drivers delivered a note to  Casa Presidencial once again asking that the Internet services that Uber uses to obtain customers be blocked. Said Casa Presidencial:

The government encourages technological innovations that benefit consumers and favors all investments made in Costa Rica and guarantees its operation, provided they comply with national legislation. However, Uber transport services offered in the country are outside the law.

For that reason, any related activity that facilitates operation of Uber, although it may be technically legal, will be thoroughly investigated, to prevent the operation of a business that is illegal under the laws of the country.

Taxi drivers ended their six-hour protest about noon. They promised another protest Monday.

President rejects his designation as enemy of sharks
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Luis Guillermo Solís says that an international non-profit organization was working with incorrect information when it named him an enemy of sharks.

Casa Presidencial listed several achievements of the administration, including more protection for hammerheads. Casa Presidencial also said that the administration was trying to tighten some of the wild life laws.

But the local MarViva said that Solís was nominated for the title by 30 Costa Rican environmental organizations.

The designation came from the organization Shark Project.

MarViva's criticism of the president mainly involved the country's position on adding more species to various endangered and threatened lists. However, the local organization also said that Solís had permitted the exportation of shark fins in February and December last year.

The current administration also has not supported a proposal to set up a zone where commercial fishing is prohibited along the Pacific coast.

That plan was introduced with much fanfare by the previous administration of Laura Chinchilla.

Commercial fishing interests are well financed and powerful, but expats who are familiar with the ocean have complained  of over exploitation and destruction of coral.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 22
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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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Legal services

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Chili is                                  served
A.M. Costa Rica/Thomas Ropp
Phil Phillips serves up a little Ooh Rah! chili at cook off.

Ghost peppers credited with chili win

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Perhaps chili chefs need to add those Panamanian ghost peppers to their brew. That's the secret ingredient to Phil Phillips' Marine Corps Chili, which won best in show for the second year in a row at the 9th Annual Atenas Chili Cook Off Sunday.

Phillips, who now lives in Atenas, said people really seem to enjoy his Texas-type chili.

"The Panamanian peppers are not terribly hot, but they do seem to make a difference," Phillips said.

Phillips said he also uses five kinds of chili powders, which he gets in the U.S., and yucca starch for thickening.  He does not use beans, onions or tomatoes. Phillips' mantra:

"A good chili is one you can eat anytime."

Religious leaders are meeting today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Religious leaders have been called to discuss the freedom associated with worship.

The  Defensoría de los Habitantes set up the meeting for today at 9 a.m. in the agency's offices in Barrio México.

An announcement said that the meeting, the second of its kind, was to mark the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week. The politics associated with religion are complex, and a number of little-known faiths have been invited.

The Defensoría said that in addition to the Catholic Conferencia Episcopa, representatives are expected from Asociación Tibetano Costarricense, Casa Zen, Centro Cultural Musulmán, Centro Evangelístico, Centro Israelita, Comunidad Bahá´i, Congregación B´nei Israel de Costa Rica, Iglesia Ciudad Bendición, Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal, the Episcopal Church, Espiritualidad Indígena, the Order of Friars Minor and the  Sisters of Our Lady of Sion.

Ill tourists prompts spraying in Nosara

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A U.S. tourist who visited Nosara has come down with the zika virus, and the Ministerio de Salud has ordered extensive measures for the Pacific coast community.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alerted local health officials to the case and said that the tourist was diagnosed with zika Jan. 7.

Health officials said there was uncertainty if the tourist contracted the virus in Costa Rica. They said they are seeking more information.

Nosara is a major tourism destination, so the health ministry ordered spraying of the entire community that took place Sunday and Monday. Other steps are being taken to eliminate places where the mosquito vectors could breed.

 The health ministry said that workers checked members of the Nosara population, and none was located with symptoms.

California has its beach problems, too

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Just because smugglers evade patrols off the Pacific coast, they are not home free.

A U.S. Coast Guard crew spotted a panga at Arroyo Quemada Beach in southern Santa Barbara County, California, at dawn Saturday.

A panga is an open boat favored by Costa Rican fishermen.

This boat probably came from México rather than further south, but its presence was enough to attract official attention. Smugglers use this type of boat to evade detention in the night.

In this case, the boat and its crew of three were reported hauling 3,000 pounds of marijuana. About 15 persons were seen loading bales of marijuana on three separate vehicles. Law enforcement quickly rounded up the vehicles after they left the beach. In all, 13 persons were detained.

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Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 22
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Police officers will honor their captain general today with a Mass
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats who want to see how deeply the Catholic faith runs in Costa Rica should visit the Catedral Metropolitana  at 3 p.m. today.

They might be surprised to learn that the the captain general of the Fuerza Pública is the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.

The Virgin is represented today by her statue in the person of Nuestra Señora de la Pura y Limpia Concepción del Rescate de Ujarrás, an ancient statue that dates to the early 16th century.

Ujarrás is a location on the Río Reventazón perhaps best known today for the ruins of a church and a small park supported by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

The event today will attract most Fuerza Pública officials and  a number of rank-and-file officers. The celebration will include a Mass celebrated by José Rafael Quirós, the archibishop.

The story of the statue is a long and complex one populated by pirates, natives and early Spanish settlers. Former journalist and writer Rosa Maria Fonseca Morales has given this account that is found in the A.M. Costa Rica archives:

The statue of the Virgin was one of three aboard a boat menaced by pirates in 1535. The Franciscans in charge of the statues decided to cast them into the sea to avoid letting pirates get their hands on such precious objects.

It was the will of God, according to devotees, that brought one of the statues to Ujarrás on the Río Reventazón where it was found floating by a native.

Another statue ended up in Nicaragua and the third became the Virgen de Lujan in Argentina.

In the same way that the Virgen de Los Ángeles in Cartago made known her desire to stay there by returning mysteriously to the same spot, the Virgen de Ujarrás mysteriously became so heavy that the natives and the Franciscans could not carry her away to Cartago.

Miracles have been attributed to the Virgen de Ujarrás. During a flood on the Río Paz, villagers threw the statue of Baby Jesus that was carried by the Virgin into the angry river.

And this quieted the river but with the loss of the statue.

A.M. Costa Rica archives
Statue of the Virgin is prepard for a procession.

Another account said that the Virgin made the church bells ring, thus alerting villagers to the rising river.

Less creative narrators say that the statue was carried to the Paraíso de Cartago area by a priest toward the end of the 16th century. But the statue still is the focus of a pilgrimage every April 16 or the following Sunday.

The second encounter with pirates was on April 16 when about 600 pirates who included the famous Morgan showed up off the coast of Limón to sack the province.

Amid the panic a few days later on April 23, residents held a procession that included the statue and asked for her help against the threat. Local officials managed to raise a force of about 300, but the story says that the pirates turned and fled when confronted with the smaller force. That is why the Virgin is named rescate or rescue.

Each year the Fuerza Pública brings the statue to the ministry complex in southern San José for religious observances and a procession.

Raids follow claims of violence to adults and minors in care centers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial investigators took over three care centers Monday in an investigation of injuries to and mistreatment of the occupants.

The Patronato Nacional de la Infancia said it removed 19 youngsters from a home in Alajuelita  operated by the Asociación Divina Misericordia.  One location in Tres Ríos, La Unión, housed adults. A third location was in Ipis, Goicoechea, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Many of the persons in the homes are developmentally disabled. Judicial investigators said they had a complaint in November

suggesting that there was aggression against some of the residents.

Staffers at the  Hospital Nacional de Niños and its Comité Niño Agredido generated the complaint, said the Patronato. Also involved were the Consejo Nacional de Personas con Discapacidad and the Consejo Nacional de Personas Adultas Mayores.

The Partonato said that the complaints were so serious that the prosecutors involved obtained warrants to enter the homes.
Judicial agents said they confiscated computers, medical files and surveillance video tapes.

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 22
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Being physically fit linked in study to surviving that first heart attack
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It is widely known that being fit can reduce the chances of suffering a heart attack, but a new study shows that it also could increase the odds of surviving one.

Writing in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Henry Ford Health System suggest those at risk of cardiovascular disease should start a fitness program to both stave off possible heart attacks but also to boost chances of surviving the first one.

"We knew that fitter people generally live longer, but we now have evidence linking fitness to survival after a first heart attack," says Michael Blaha,  director of clinical research for the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease and assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "It makes sense, but we believe this is the first time there is documentation of that association."
For the study, researchers looked at the medical records of 2,000 men and women who had taken a treadmill stress test before their first heart attack.

From those records, the researchers were able to tell the relative fitness of each person by looking at their metabolic equivalent score, known as MET. The higher the score, the more fit the person is.

MET numbers range from 1 to 12, where “1 is considered the equivalent of sitting on the couch, 3 aligns with walking, 7 with jogging, 10 with jumping rope and 12 with sprinting.”

The most fit saw 40 percent fewer deaths from the first heart attack, while one-third of those with less fitness died within a year of their first heart attack.

Researchers caution that there are still questions remaining about the connection between fitness and surviving a first heart attack. For one, they still don’t know if the fitter people had less severe heart attacks or if they had the same size attacks but survived them better. Increased cardiovascular fitness has been shown to increase blood flow to the heart, which could boost healing.

The American Heart Association says roughly 550,000 people in the U.S. have a first-time heart attack each year.

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
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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Real estate rental services (paid category)

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part
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Boutique quality mountain homes for rent located on a small horse ranch on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes have stunning views of Costa Rica's Central Valley. Located at 7,300-foot altitude, our ranch borders the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the homes are hiking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. We offer various rental options for our 1- and 2-bedroom homes. Contact us at Ajsanch783@AOL.COM for more details.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 22
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Cruz ends up ahead in Iowa
while Democrats nearly tie

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz beat billionaire Donald Trump in Iowa's Republican presidential caucus Monday, dealing a big upset to the national front-runner in the race to be their party's White House nominee in this year's election.

Cruz, a conservative lawmaker from Texas, won with 28 percent of the vote, compared to 24 percent for Trump.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida came in third with 23 percent, making him easily the leader among establishment Republican candidates.

All other GOP candidates were in the single digits.

On the Democratic side, former secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a razor-thin edge, 50 percent to 49 percent, over rival Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist U.S. senator from Vermont.

Former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, who had trouble gaining any traction in the Democratic race, planned to suspend his campaign later Monday.

Also dropping out of the presidential race is former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a Republican who won the Iowa caucus in the 2008 campaign.

The Iowa results are providing the first concrete look at voter sentiment, after a year of fierce campaigning and endless speculation.

Large crowds filled churches, gymnasiums and other public buildings across the largely rural state.

Earlier, candidates gathered at caucus sites to make last-minute appeals.

At a hotel in Des Moines, Rubio appealed to undecided voters as he warned that the nation had reached a turning point.

“I believe with all my heart that if I am the nominee, I can unite this party, because if we are not united, we cannot win,” said Rubio, who is trying to attract mainstream Republicans.

At another caucus site in the capital, Trump told supporters that he was the candidate that can bring our country back.

“We’re in trouble, but we’re going to turn around and we’re going to make America great again,” Trump said.

Iowans began gathering at 7 p.m. local time at churches, community centers, libraries and other public buildings in nearly 1,900 precincts across the rural Midwestern state.

They discussed issues and eventually voted for their preferred candidate.

At a caucus site in Des Moines, Amelia Mohr said she planned to vote for Sanders. “He is the breath of fresh air in the political process,” she said.

Erin Anderson, at the same location, told VOA why she supported Clinton. “Hillary’s supportive of education. I’m a teacher, so that’s really important to me.”

“Equal rights for women is very important, too, and she wants to keep health care the way it is,” Ms. Anderson added.

At a Republican caucus site, Kirby Stolen, an insurance company worker wearing a Trump button explained why she supported the real estate developer: “He has nothing to lose. Would you rather have someone threatening who would stand for the people, and be kind to us and our country?”

Iowa’s first-in-the-nation vote is seen as a crucial way for candidates to gain momentum in the U.S. primary election, which will continue to be held state-by-state until mid-June.

The goal is for candidates to win their party’s nomination by securing a majority of delegates, or party representatives, which are handed out based on the result of each state vote.

In Iowa, those delegates are rewarded proportionally rather than on a winner-takes-all basis.

That meant it was much less likely a clear winner would emerge from Iowa, said Arthur Sanders, a professor of politics at Drake University in Des Moines.

“When you have so many people running, for there to be a simple storyline is more complicated than it is when you only have three people running,” Sanders said.  

Although Iowa rewards a relatively small number of delegates, the outcome here is expected to help create crucial narratives that will have a major impact on the race.

On the Democratic side, a Sanders win would mean the independent senator has a major advantage over Mrs. Clinton heading into next week’s primary in New Hampshire, where he has a massive lead.

“If Sanders is able to win both Iowa and New Hampshire, then I think it means we’re in for a long campaign on the Democratic side,” said Professor Sanders. “And that’s why Iowa is crucial.”

A massive snowstorm taking aim at the Hawkeye State had been seen as a major factor in determining voter participation.

But forecasters expected temperatures to not fall below freezing until after the caucus process had ended.

World Health cites threat
of zika brain disorders

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization has declared microcephaly and other neurological disorders possibly linked to the zika virus to be a global public health emergency. A special expert meeting convened in Geneva Monday to discuss the threats posed by the explosive spread of the zika virus in Latin America.

The group of experts who met at the World Health Organization agree the zika virus is not a clinically serious infection and that the virus alone would not constitute a public health emergency.

However, the experts conclude that the possible association of the virus in Latin America with the explosive spread of microcephaly, which causes abnormally small brains in newborns, and other neurological disorders, constitutes an extraordinary event and a public health threat to other parts of the world.

Therefore, World Health Director General Margaret Chan says the expert committee has decided a coordinated international response is needed to minimize the threat in affected countries and to reduce the risk of its international spread.

“I am now declaring that the recent cluster of microcephaly and other neurological abnormalities reported in Latin America following a similar cluster French Polynesia in 2014, constitutes a public health emergency of international concern,” she said.

As a precautionary measure, the committee, composed of experts from Brazil, the United States, El Salvador, and France, recommends improved international surveillance to detect infections, as well as congenital and neurological malformations.

The committee also urges intensified research of new clusters of microcephaly and neurological disorders and to determine whether there is a causative link to the zika virus and other factors.

The World Health Organization predicts the virus, which may be linked to neurological disorders in babies, could infect as many as 4 million people in the Americas this year.

No firm link has been established between the zika virus and microcephaly, a neurological disorder in which babies are born with abnormally small heads. But it is hard to ignore a possible connection between the virus and this brain disorder, given recent events in Brazil.

Nearly 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly have been reported in the country since October, compared with 150 similar cases in 2014.

World Health spokesman Gregory Hartl said experts are not ruling anything out. But, he said, the surge in the number of microephaly cases and the zika virus may just be coincidental in terms of time and place.

"One of the curiosities is why we have so many neurological cases in, say, the northeast of Brazil, but we have not had it in other places," he said. "So, we really need to understand what is existing that causes these microcephaly cases, for example, in children."

Zika gets its name from a forest in Uganda where the virus was first identified in 1947. The virus has spread worldwide, transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which also causes dengue and chikungunya disease.

Hartl dismissed fears that the zika virus could pose a threat similar to that of ebola, which caused more than 11,000 deaths in West Africa. He noted ebola is transmitted person to person via infected bodily fluids and kills about 50 percent of its victims.

"Zika has never killed a person and it is transmitted by the mosquito," he said. "So, we know that there are those two fundamental differences at least.  Let us say that zika on its own would not be the consideration of an emergency committee. What is the concern to the international community is the possible link with neurological disorders."

In the absence of a vaccine, Hartl said governments must stop the disease at its source by removing stagnant water where mosquitoes breed and fumigating houses to kill the mosquito.

He said pregnant women, in particular, should protect themselves by sleeping under mosquito nets, using mosquito repellents, and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants.

Islamic State supporter faces
indictment in neighbor's death

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. prosecutors said Monday that an American man accused of providing material support to Islamic State militants and planning terrorist attacks in the United States also had been charged with killing his neighbor.

Prosecutors said Justin Nojan Sullivan, 19, of North Carolina had been indicted by a grand jury on a range of charges, including the murder of his 74-year-old neighbor.

He also was charged with attempting to provide support to the Islamic State, as well as violating firearms-related laws and trying to hire someone to kill his parents.

The Justice Department said that the FBI had been monitoring Sullivan and that he had discussed on social media his plans to carry out a terrorist attack with another person, who actually was an undercover FBI employee.

Sullivan told the undercover agent he planned to carry out an attack with an assault rifle at a concert, bar or club, where he believed as many as 1,000 people would be killed. Prosecutors said Sullivan watched violent Islamic State attacks on the Internet, including beheadings, after converting to Islam.

Sullivan was arrested in June at his parents' home, where officials said they found a rifle that Sullivan admitted belonged to him. Officials said forensic testing showed the rifle had been used to kill Sullivan's neighbor.

Sullivan is in federal custody awaiting trial.

Acclaimed Swiss chef called
victim of suicide at his home

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A chef recently named best in the world has been found dead in his Swiss home.

The chef, Benoit Violier, headed the Restaurant de l'Hotel de Ville in Crissier in Lausanne, Switzerland, which had earned a coveted three Michelin stars and topped a list of the world’s best 1,000 restaurants published by the French government.

According to the BBC, Violier was found shot late Sunday in his home in Crissier, Switzerland, in an apparent suicide.

Police said they were planning an investigation into Violier’s death.

The highly regarded Michelin Guide to restaurants tweeted that Violier has immense talent.

Violier was known to be an avid hunter, and his menus often featured game. Lunches at his restaurant cost nearly $200, while a dinner could run as high as $375.

High fiber diet in early years
seen reducing breast cancer

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Adolescent and young adult women who eat a diet high in fiber may reduce their risk for developing breast cancer later in life, according to a new study.

Writing in the journal Pediatrics, researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found that women who ate lots of fruits and vegetables when young had a significantly lower chance of developing breast cancer.

"Previous studies of fiber intake and breast cancer have almost all been non-significant, and none of them examined diet during adolescence or early adulthood, a period when breast cancer risk factors appear to be particularly important," said Maryam Farvid, visiting scientist at Harvard Chan School and lead author of the study. "This work on the role of nutrition in early life and breast cancer incidence suggests one of the very few potentially modifiable risk factors for pre-menopausal breast cancer."

For the study, the researchers looked at a group of over 90,000 women who were a part of the Nurses’ Health Study II, a long-running study tracking factors that influence women’s health.

In 1991, women who were 27 to 44 answered questions about their diet. In 1998, they were asked again about their diet when they were in high school.

This formed the basis for analyzing their fiber intake, factoring out other variables like race, family history of breast cancer and others.

They found that among the women who had reported having eaten higher amounts of fiber, there was a 12 to19 percent less chance of breast cancer risk. Those who reported eating a lot of fiber in adolescence saw a 16 percent reduction in risk of contracting breast cancer and a 24 percent reduction of getting breast cancer before menopause.

“Among all the women, there was a strong inverse association between fiber intake and breast cancer incidence,” according to a news release about the study.

The researchers found that for every additional 10 grams of fiber eaten, “about one apple and two slices of whole wheat bread,” eaten in early adulthood there was a drop of 13 percent of the risk of getting breast cancer.

They said the fiber from fruits and vegetables had the greatest apparent benefit.

While the researchers aren’t certain why fiber reduces the risk of breast cancer, they suspect it helps reduce estrogen levels in the blood. High levels of estrogen is strongly linked with breast cancer development.

"From many other studies we know that breast tissue is particularly influenced by carcinogens and anti-carcinogens during childhood and adolescence," said Walter Willett, a professor at Harvard's Chan School and senior author of the study. "We now have evidence that what we feed our children during this period of life is also an important factor in future cancer risk."

Woman who took child
to Syria gets six years

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A British woman who took her child to Syria and joined the Islamic State has been sentenced to six years in prison.

The woman, Tareena Shakil, 26, was convicted by a Birmingham court of being an Islamic State member and encouraging acts of terrorism.

In October 2014, she and her 1-year-old son boarded a plane to Turkey, having told her family she was going on a beach vacation.  She crossed the border into Syria, making her way to the islamic State stronghold of Raqqa.

But after three months, she fled and turned herself in to the Turkish military.  She was arrested in February 2015 by police at Heathrow Airport upon her return home.

During the trial, Ms. Shakil denied charges of joining the Islamist group saying that she wanted to live under strict Islamic law and not support terrorism.

But prosecutors said photos on her phone showed her posing with weapons and her son wearing a hat with an Islamic State symbol.

Judge Melbourne Inman said during sentencing Monday that Ms. Shakil had embraced the Islamic State group.

"You were well aware that the future, which you had subjected your son to was very likely to be indoctrination and thereafter life as a terrorist fighter,'' he said. 


Serena Williams is bested
by Geerman in  Melbourne

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

American tennis star Serena Williams has been stunned in the finals of the Australian Open. She lost to seventh seed Angelique Kerber of Germany.

Ms. Kerber earned the title in the first Grand Slam event of the year Saturday, downing the world's number one player in three sets (6-4, 3-6, 6-4).

The left-handed 28-year-old Ms. Kerber was playing in her first final of a major event, while Ms. Williams, who had 23 unforced errors in the first set alone, was looking for her seventh title on the hard court in Melbourne, and 22nd Grand Slam title overall. That would have matched the record held by German Steffi Graf, who was Ms. Kerber's childhood idol.

The win boosts Ms. Kerber to number two in the world, and comes just one year after she was ousted in the first round in Melbourne.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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* PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!
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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:

Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
Pacific Coast. 
For more i

Axiom two
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
Mobile: +506.8367-2466
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Rich Coast Rollover
Thinking of Buying a Vacation or Retirement Home
in Costa Rica?

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

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo
Photo montage of penthouse
Are you tired of wasting time searching for your home…..with no results?
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Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

* Located on 6th floor.
* Elevator.
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* 3 bedrooms.
* 2 bathrooms.
* 2 terraces.
* Luxuriously
* Negotiable price.

* 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
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Joco home
Jacó beach unique home. First time offered
This house has never been listed.  It is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home approx. 100 feet above sea level on the only hill in Jacó one mile to the beach.  Totally remodeled to a Gringo house.Has great fenced yard for dogs and a huge screened porch with  great views all around, including a small ocean view.  New in the last two years includes: new kitchen with granite counter, cedar cabinets, all new windows, tile, water system, updated electric & plumbing, superb new AC units (low electric bill), This is half of a duplex with a platted yard.  Other side is the chief of police.  Secure & private.  Rate $169.900. Call Glenn at 506-6214-0056 or

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, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 22
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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
Rx: Take two orchids every four hours
Feel my forehead? Do I seem feverish to you? I’m all itchy. Are there spots on my face? I feel woozy; will you catch me if I faint?

Remember “orchid mania” a couple weeks back? Well, we think it has
Victoria torley
 turned into “orchid fever.”  The doc isn’t sure if this is the full-blown or just mild symptoms and only time will tell, but I get a twitchy feeling every time I go outside.

Why didn’t they tell me that orchids bloomed in the cold? Yes, it’s cold for Aguacate, and the wind is howling. Okay, I knew that
there were temperate climate orchids but what are they doing here? I live in the tropics! There goes my blood pressure, another symptom I suppose.

Not that I was looking for orchids. I thought it was too chilly for orchids. After all, it was down 16 C (Metric Man made me put that in. It was actually 61 F) Yes, okay, foolish, because I have terrestrial orchids blooming but those are cultivars. (Whimper.) I thought I was safe, that I could walk through the jungle and across the fields without carrying a sack or even wearing gloves, but the wind had brought down some limbs and there they were! Orchids – orchids in bloom.

I approached. They were tiny. So tiny, so delicate, not even a centimeter. What could I do? After all, I couldn’t leave them all alone in the big outdoors. They needed a home, and we have plenty of space. We even have fern trees. Orchids love fern trees. So I did what had to be done. Carefully, tenderly, I lifted their moss-embedded roots and pulled them gently from the branch. I took off my jacket and made a carry-sack to tote them in. Then I gathered their poor broken friends and nestled them in the sack and wisely headed back to the house. After all, it’s chilly out there, and I was using my comfy jacket as a sack.  Besides that, it had started to rain.

So, here I am, back at the keyboard drinking hot chocolate to ward off the chill. Before I came in, though, I made sure each and every orchid (there were five) was attached onto a mossy tree branch or a fern tree trunk.

After all, I can fend for myself but orchids need to be tended.

Do I seem feverish to you?

LIttle orchid
A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley                                      

Plant of the Week

Sievekingia suavis is a delightful miniature orchid that is now attached to a fern tree in the shade garden. A Costa Rica native, it is delicate and lightly scented, a wonderful contrast to the rough-textured trunk and a commonly planted orchid. Various Web sites say warm to hot conditions (and it is blooming in the Aguacate chill) and shade to bright indirect light. (I am not sure I believe a word of it.) One poster on an orchid site complained about the scent and then admitted that it was the potting mix! Tsk, tsk, change the mix and enjoy the scent.

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

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From Page 7:

Scotiabank says it has completed Citi deal

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Scotiabank said Monday that it has completed its purchase of Citigroup in Costa Rica and Panamá, and that the period of integration for the two entities would take from two to three years.

The deal had been announced in July.

Scotiabank said the transaction is valued at $360 million and that it has acquired some 250,000 new customers. The bank also gets 21 branch offices, 88 automatic teller locations and four service centers. Including its current customers, Scotiabank said that it would be servicing  387,000 persons because the transaction triples its client base.

Scotiabank came to Costa Rica in 1995 and now has 34 branches and about 110,000 customers, it said.

For legal reasons, the names on the branches will not be changed immediately, Scotiabank said.