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(506) 2223-1327                              Published Wednesday Feb. 3, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 23                              Email us
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Lawmaker wants to impound any more fuel rebates
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Motorists no longer would benefit from the decline in the world price of petroleum under a plan put forth Tuesday by  Ottón Solís of the Partido Acción Ciudadana.

The lawmaker proposed that the current price of petroleum products be frozen even if the world price continues to fall. Although he did not specify, the proposal probably includes diesel, aviation gasoline, jet fuel and other
petroleum products. He used the general Spanish term combustibles.

He proposed that President Luis Guillermo Solís issue a decree to that effect and create a fund to hold the difference between what the state petroleum monopoly pays and what the

consumer pays. Under his plan, the money in the fund would be used to stabilize the cost of petroleum when the world price again reaches $100 a barrel, which Solís seemed to believe was highly likely.

He said the plan also would stimulate the use of alternative sources of energy. Freezing the cuts in the price of petroleum is a responsible action, he said.

Fuel and liquid petroleum gas prices are fixed by a government agency each month based on the world price and the dollar exchange rate.
Solís, in a statement released by his political party, said that the current prices charged by the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo would be the floor.

Genetically modified cotton plan appealed
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Environmentalists, eight politicians and others are part of a constitutional court appeal that targets genetically modified cotton.

Once again, actions of the agencies that approves planting such crops are the targets of the appeal.

The  Comisión Técnica Nacional de Bioseguridad published last December that it had approved a request by Dow AgroSciences de Costa Rica S. A. Like many genetically modified plants, the cotton variety  Enlist resists the firm's weed killer.

A release by the organization backing the appeal,  Federación Ecologista, said that Bayer S.A. has an application in process to plant its own genetically modified cotton.

Previous efforts against genetically modified crops were directed at corn. The allegation was that the pollen of the modified corn would pollute the genetic makeup of native corn of which there are about 50 varieties.

But the allegation this time is more technical. The appeal argues that the  Comisión Técnica Nacional de Bioseguridad, the Ministerio de Agruicultura y Ganadría and the  Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado did not make available information about the application to the public and that the approval system has not changed despite a 2014 Sala IV constitutional court decision that said it should.

The appeal document is straight forward, but the press release that accompanied it is critical of Dow's history. This is the company that created Agent Orange for Vietnam war use and the banana spray nemagón that caused sterility in agricultural workers, it says. The firm also is one of six that dominate

Dow cotton
The Dow Chemical Co. photo
An example of the Enlist variety cotton.

the world agrichemical market it added.

 Eight sitting lawmakers of  Frente Amplio were among those who signed the appeal, said the press release.

The appeal asked the constitutional court to freeze the approval for planting the seeds and to order the agricultural agencies to set up a mechanism so that those interested can have access to the technical information and have a chance to express themselves over the application.

Dow would grow the cotton for its seeds that would be exported. The location would be in Cañas. Enlist cotton provides exceptional crop tolerance to Enlist Duo herbicide, a combination of glyphosate and new 2,4-D choline, and full tolerance to glufosinate herbicides, the firm said.

Costa Rica has had plantings of genetically  modified soybeans, pineapple, banana, corn, rice and tiquizque since 1991.

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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

Valdivieco header
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Entomological Society of America/Alexander Wild
A head-on view of the  Aedes aegypti

Wearable device zaps mosquitoes

By the Entomological Society of America news staff

With public concern about the zika virus growing daily, people are looking for effective ways to prevent mosquito bites, and now there’s some good news for the concerned public.

According to an article in the Journal of Medical Entomology, a product called the OFF! Clip-On repellent device could be an effective tool for preventing bites from the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary vector of zika, chikungunya, dengue, and yellow fever.

The OFF! Clip-On repels mosquitoes by releasing a vapor form of insecticide through a battery-powered fan, forming an insecticide cloud around the wearer of the device. In order to test the effectiveness of the device, Christopher Bibbs and Rui-De Xue of the Anastasia Mosquito Control District in Florida studied how the device performed against hungry Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. The study was done outdoors in order to replicate real-world conditions.

They found that the OFF! Clip-On caused high mosquito mortality and knockdown rates up to a third of a meter from the device. Knockdown is a term used to describe an acute paralysis that knocks the mosquitoes out of the air. While  third of a meter is not a huge range, it’s enough to protect a single person wearing the device.

The effectiveness of the device came as a pleasant surprise to the researchers.

“In vector control, we see more often than not that tools available for consumers don’t work for the intended purpose,” said Bibbs. “Just look at all the bug zappers, repellent bracelets, sonic bug repellents, and other zany creations that wax and wane in popularity. Skepticism is inherent to the trade. But it was nice for a change of pace that one of these devices could actually do some good.”

However, Bibbs suggested that repellent might not be a sufficient term to describe the device because the insecticide cloud didn’t just repel mosquitoes, it actually knocked them down and or killed them.

Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
This is the bridge at the east side of La Sabana.

Two more pedestrian elevators in service

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two more sets of elevators have gone into service at pedestrian bridges in the metro area.

One set is on the east side of Parque La Sabana. The other is at the bridge over the Circunvalación in Hatillo 5. The  Consejo Nacional de Vialidad said that installing the elevators cost $1.1 million.

They join six others in the metro area that were installed for $1.3 million. They are in San Diego de La Unión over the Autopista Florencio del Castillo, in front of Hospital México, over the Autopista General Cañas and at Quesada Durán over the Circunvalación.

The elevators were ordered by the Sala IV constitutional court based on Ley  7.600, which addresses the rights of the disabled.

Other pedestrian overpasses have long access ramps that provide for the disabled. But those bridges in cramped locations required elevators.

Unfortunately, not all pedestrians want to use the bridges. They shortcut across the six-lane highways. Last week a Hatillo resident died adjacent to one of the overpasses after he chose not to use it.

The elevators themselves are headaches for highway officials. Although there are surveillance cameras inside, vandals still damage them and sometimes put them out of service.

Old fault hosts a new quake

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 3.9-magnitude earthquake took place at 9:03 p.m. at the mouth of the Gulf of Nicoya. This is on a fault that has caused much greater earthquakes in the past.

The Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica at the Universidad de Costa Rica said that the estimated epicenter was 22 kilometers southwest of Jacó and about 27 kilometers east southeast of Montezuma on the Nicoya peninsula.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday Feb. 3, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 23
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State water firm says it will begin drilling wells in Guanacaste
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Although El Niño has caused a drought on the Pacific coast for more than a year, the state water company says it will be drilling its first wells in Guanacaste starting in April. The first ones will be in San José de la Montaña in Santa Cruz, Los Andes de La Cruz and Maquenco de Nicoya.

The three are part of a 13-well project in and around the parched province, said the  Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados. In all, the institute said it plans to sink 75 wells in 2016 and 2017.

In addition, the water company said that it is making an effort along with the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo and the Cámara de Comercio y Turismo de Tamarindo to help operators of hotels, restaurants and other tourism locations to get by in this dry season.

The water company plans a technology fair in March to demonstrate water-saving devices. The company said it already has held training for some employees of tourism operations and plans to continue distributing information on ways to save water.

Among these, it said, is that business operators in the area  check their own water systems to eliminate leaks.

The work is being done in conjunction with the local water companies, the institute said.

The company said it dos not plan to institute rationing in the
water truck
Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias photo
Residents in 50 towns are depending on trucked water.

metro areas, except in parts of Alajuelita where the system has problems. However, the company is surprising residents with periodic shutoffs of water. These shutoffs may last from six to 12 hours, usually in the evenings and early mornings.

Most expats who have lived here through a dry season know that a good idea is to have some five-gallon containers filled with water for times when the company shuts off their geographical area.

The dry season usually begins to moderate by late March or early April. El Niño is supposed to continue in the eastern Pacific for at least the first half of the year.

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Palermo Hotel


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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday Feb. 3, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 23
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Candidates' political view on climate strongly linked to party affiliation
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Acceptance of the existence of global warming among Americans has reached its highest level in recent years. According to a University of Michigan report, seven out of 10 Americans indicate they believe there is solid evidence of climate change.

On the campaign trail, response to the issue differs wildly depending on party affiliation.

“It is a major part of the conversation in the Democratic side. And, in fact, the recent polling shows that in Iowa specifically and nationally more generally, Democratic voters in the primaries want to hear about it,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, a non-partisan environmental advocacy group.

Democratic candidates are taking their cues from President Barack Obama, who in the last year alone initiated a clean power plan to cut power plant emissions, rejected a permit for a controversial oil pipeline, promoted renewable energy to boost job growth, and helped forge a new global agreement on climate change. 

On a campaign swing through New Hampshire, former secretary of State and democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton spoke out on renewable energy.

“I think that that’s the best way to combat climate change. It’s also a great way to put millions of people to work. In Iowa, they’re already getting about one-third of their electricity from wind, and we can do the same across America.”

In another campaign event, Mrs. Clinton’s rival for the nomination, Sen, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, accused Republicans of siding with donors over voters.

“And if we do not act boldly and decisively, a bad situation will become worse. It’s amazing to me, and I think we’ll have agreement on this up here, that we have a major party, called the Republican Party, that is so owned by the fossil fuel industry and their campaign contributions that they don’t even have the courage, the decency to listen to the scientists.”

Historically, the Republican Party has had strong environmental advocates.

Today, the dominant voice on the environment among Republicans comes from young adults. A Rock the Vote Survey finds they believe climate change is real and want action to curb it. Eighty-one percent of millennials, ages 18-34, from both parties agree that America should transition to clean energy by 2030.

Karpinski asserts Republican candidates are ignoring this message.

“The two leading candidates right now on the Republican side, Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz, still say climate change is a hoax,” he said.

Others say that some candidates, like Ohio Gov. John Kasich, downplay the issue. During a CNN Republican debate in December, Kasich objected to the Paris conference that led to a global climate change accord.

“And when I see they have a climate conference over in Paris, they should have been talking about destroying ISIS because they are involved in virtually every country, you know, across the world,” he said, referencing the Islamic State.

Environment not playing as top issue among Republicans

Ben Zycher, an energy analyst with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative policy think tank, says Republican candidates are not speaking out on the environment because it is not important for voters.

“If you look at the polling for the electorate at large, it is very low on the list of topics that voters are interested in," he said. "It’s even lower among independents, and even lower among Republicans.”

Karpinski said that while the climate change issue could make a difference in the general election, what is needed is leadership.

“We need bi-partisan support. In the public there is bi-partisan support, but the leadership sadly in the Republican Party is not there,” he said.

Most polls say voters are more concerned about terrorism and the economy. Awareness of climate change is growing, though, and it likely will become more important over time.

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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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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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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Axiom 890 pixels

Texas zika case is called first
involving sexual contact

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Officials in a county in the southwestern state of Texas have reported what appears to be the first case of the zika virus being transmitted in the United States by sexual contact.

Officials in Dallas County say the patient was infected with zika after having sexual contact with a sick individual who returned from a country where the virus is present. Health officials gave no information about the patients or where the traveler had visited.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the top federal public health agency, has confirmed the Texas case, but says it has not yet investigated. In an email, the Centers said it confirmed through laboratory testing the first U.S. case of zika virus infection in a non-traveler in the continental United States.

It said that in this case, there was no risk to a developing fetus.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff told lawmakers Tuesday her government will spare no expense in fighting the mosquito that experts say carries the virus and poses the greatest danger to pregnant women.

"My entire government is working on fighting this emergency. There will be no lack of funding, and I'm certain that I will be able to count on the congress' support," she said in a speech. "We will partner up with the U.S. government, with President Obama with whom we have spoken, to establish our capacity and improve it in order to develop as quickly as possible a vaccine for the zika virus."

French pharmaceutical company Sanofi said Tuesday it has begun research and development of a vaccine for the virus, which is named for a forest in Uganda where the mosquito-borne virus was first identified in 1947. There is currently no treatment for zika.

It causes no symptoms in 80 percent of people bitten by the Aedes mosquito, but is a threat to pregnant women.

The World Health Organization says the virus is strongly suspected to cause microcephaly, a disease that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads.

World Health has declared the zika virus a global public health emergency and predicts 4 million people could be infected between now and the end of the year.

Twenty-four countries confirmed zika cases at the end of January, mostly in Central and South America. But that list is almost certain to grow because of global travel.

Chile reported its first case of the virus Tuesday in a man who traveled abroad.

Zika is of greatest concern in Brazil, where the virus was found last year. Brazil has reported nearly 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly since October, with only 150 cases in 2014. 

Brazil also is hosting this year's Summer Olympic games.

The International Red Cross is calling for $2.3 million in emergency funding to combat zika in Latin America.

Open carry law in Texas
is getting mixed reviews

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

At the start of the new year, a law took effect in Texas that allows a gun owner with a concealed-weapon license to openly carry a handgun in a holster in public. Some stores and restaurants are exercising their right to ban guns on their property, but at least one Houston-area business owner is encouraging customers to pack heat.

Customers come to Brooks’ Place for the smoked brisket, but they pay 10 percent less if they bring a gun.

Owner Trent Brooks believes law-abiding gun owners help prevent crime. “We support the Second Amendment  and we want to show appreciation to people who are carrying their firearms to protect themselves, to protect their business and to protect their family,” he said. The amendment relates to the right to keep and bear arms.

Brooks said most customers have no problem with his policy.  But some have told him the guns give them heartburn.

“We have people who say they are not coming back. We have people who say they are not going to support us, and that is their choice,” he said.

But most customers don’t wear guns and don’t get the discount, even some who often do carry a weapon.

“I did not have it today because I was at my parents’ house and there were lots of little kids around there, so I didn’t want to carry it there,” customer Augustin Sanchez said during a recent stop at Brooks' Place.

When asked how often he does carry the weapon, Sanchez replied, "Ah, most of the time.”

Gun-rights supporters have held rallies with their firearms to celebrate the new law, but many gun owners say it has resulted in more gun bans on private property.

Some businesses have posted legal notices to bar guns, while others, like the Kroger grocery chain, have not.

The Texas chapter of a group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America wants Kroger and other businesses that allow guns to change their policy. 

Only 3.5 percent of the estimated 27 million people in Texas have handgun permits, so most Texans will probably never see anyone other than a police officer wearing a gun. But there may be a larger public reaction in August when the provision allowing open carrying of guns at state colleges and universities takes effect.

Obama is planning to visit
a U.S. mosque in Baltimore

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

From Cairo to Istanbul to Jakarta, President Barack Obama has visited mosques throughout the world in his seven years as the leader of the United States.

For the first time in his presidency, Obama will visit a mosque in the United States, meeting with Muslim-Americans at the Islamic Society of Baltimore today.

"This is an opportunity to send a clear signal to the Muslim-American community that the president of the United States is going to firmly defend your right in this country to worship God consistent with your tradition and your heritage," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday.

Obama will take part in a roundtable with Muslim-American leaders to hear their concerns before speaking to a broader audience at the Baltimore mosque, Earnest said.

Obama's first visit to a U.S. mosque comes during a presidential campaign in which Republican candidate Donald Trump called for a Muslim database and a temporary ban against any new Muslim immigrants entering the United States following the Dec. 2 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.

While many prominent Republicans, including U.S. Sen. John McCain and fellow presidential candidate Jeb Bush, condemned Trump's call for a Muslim ban, candidate Ben Carson noted last year that someone who belongs to the Islamic faith is unfit to serve as U.S. president.

Capitol take on Iowa results
is that the race is wide-open

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

There was not much in the way of official congressional reaction Tuesday to the first voting of the 2016 presidential race in Iowa. But the hallways on Capitol Hill were buzzing with talk of the winners and losers of the caucuses and what it all means.

Members discussed the cliffhanger on the Democratic side, with former secretary of State Hillary Clinton defeating Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by the narrowest of margins. And some commented on the new realities taking shape in the Republican race, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s surprising defeat of billionaire Donald Trump, and the very strong third-place showing by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Outside the House chamber in the speaker’s lobby, Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican of Oklahoma, said he thought the Iowa caucuses had shaken up the Republican presidential race. He said after Trump’s loss to Cruz that the businessman and reality TV star had lost any aura of inevitability, and that it was now a wide-open race.

Cole credited Trump, Cruz and Rubio with running very strong campaigns and said both of the young senators were making their mark. He said he was not supporting any one candidate.

On the Senate side, Jeff Flake of Arizona, another Republican, said that he was not surprised that Trump did not win. He had gone on record as saying that Trump would not become the Republican nominee.

Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe said he was an enthusiastic supporter of Rubio. Inhofe said the Floridian stood out from the rest of the field because of his positive and disciplined message.

Rubio also won the endorsement last night of South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, the only African-American member of the Senate.

Overall, in the crowded Republican field, Rubio and former Florida governor Jeb Bush have won many more endorsements from members of Congress than their opponents.

$1.1 billion plan is targeting
an epidemic of opioid abuse

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama has proposed $1.1 billion in new federal spending to address the growing epidemic of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use in the U.S., the White House said Tuesday.

The request comes as part of his fiscal 2017 budget and would be spread out over two years.

The funding would include $920 million to support U.S. states in providing access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders, such as methadone. Another $80 million would go toward funding providers offering treatment services for users and evaluating the efficacy of treatment programs.

Also included in the president's budget is $500 million to expand state-level prescription drug overdose prevention strategies, increase the availability of medication-assisted treatment programs, improve access to naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug, and support targeted enforcement activities.

"Prescription drug abuse and heroin use have taken a heartbreaking toll on too many Americans and their families, while straining resources of law enforcement and treatment programs," the White House said in a statement.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that opioids, a class of drugs that includes prescription pain medications and heroin, were involved in 28,648 deaths in 2014.

Real progress is reported
on keeping Britain in the EU

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

European leaders are reviewing a plan that they hope will persuade Britain to stay in the 28-member European Union.

Britain's initial reaction to the new plan is that it makes real progress toward settling the disputes that have led London to consider dropping out of the EU. Prime Minister David Cameron said more work is to be done, but it appears there can be a real change in relations between Britain and the European alliance.

The president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, circulated his draft proposals Tuesday in a letter to leaders of alliance member states. The plan would make it possible for British lawmakers to work with European partners to block unwanted EU laws, and it notes that Britain now faces an exceptional situation due to an influx of immigrants taxing Britain's social services.

The plan aims to address Britain's concerns about the terms and limits of its EU membership, including what many Britons see as a loss of sovereignty to Brussels, without requiring time-consuming changes to the formal treaties that established and defined the European Union. It must be endorsed by the other EU members, however, and is scheduled to be discussed at an alliance summit in Brussels Feb. 18.

Britain's ruling Conservative Party has pledged to hold a national referendum by the end of 2017 on the nation's continued membership in the EU.

Prime Minister Cameron has tried to convince skeptical members of his Conservative Party that Britain's interests are best served by remaining in the European alliance.

More than 40  jihadists said
to have infiltrated as refugees

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Since May, more than 40 suspected jihadists have been caught entering Europe while posing as Syrian war refugees, according to a firm with expertise on international terrorism. Worried observers anticipate more infiltration attempts, especially when warmer spring weather brings an expected increase in migration.

The U.S.-based Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium reported this week that 41 Islamic State-linked militants and two from rival Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaida's affiliate in Syria, were apprehended while posing as refugees. Some of them used false passports, the consortium said.

Nineteen of the 43 jihadists were caught in Turkey but the rest made it into the European Union before being identified, the firm said.

The documented cases of jihadists trying to sneak into Europe is adding to the alarm of European intelligence services and politicians struggling to cope with hundreds of thousands of newcomers. Some 36,000 people,  including war refugees from the Mideast as well as mainly economic migrants from Africa, entered Europe just in the first three weeks of January, according to the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid organization.

Last week, Keith Vaz, chairman of the British parliament’s powerful Home Affairs Committee, told Britain’s Daily Telegraph: "It is deeply concerning that the migration crisis may be being used as cover for terrorists seeking to commit violent acts in Europe."

Also last week, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve warned that the Islamic State has formed an entire industry out of making false travel documents, using passports stolen in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

The continent is ill-equipped to cope, Vaz said, adding that the Greek ambassador to Britain informed his committee that Greece lacks the technology to detect fake Syrian passports.

European intelligence officials say they’re concerned if even a few Islamic State members slip into their continent unnoticed. But they are especially alarmed at the prospect of returning European-born fighters who have been battle-hardened and possess local knowledge and familiarity.

European counterterrorism officials estimate at least 5,000 Europeans have joined jihadists in Syria.

From May to September, authorities documented six cases of jihadists using the refugee ruse. But European intelligence officials predicted the numbers would rise.

The most alarming case of infiltration came in October, when jihadist veteran Ben Nasr Mehdi, a Tunisian explosives expert, was discovered on a boat bound from Libya to Italy with 200 migrants. Those aboard the listing vessel were rescued and transported to the Italian island of Lampedusa, where authorities determined Mehdi’s true identity. He was arrested and returned to Tunis.

December brought the arrests of several suspected Islamic State militants, according to the consortium security update. These included a suspect arrested by the Greek coast guard, initially because of involvement in a migrants’ trafficking ring. "The coast guard found suspicious pictures and videos on his mobile phone, with flags and symbols of IS as well as of heavy armament and battlefields in Syria," the consortium reported.

Dec. 10, Finnish police detained two refugees: 23-year-old Iraqi twin brothers suspected of involvement in a June 2014  massacre of up to 1,700 unarmed Iraqi Army soldiers near Tikrit. The brothers were identified from an Islamic State video boasting of the killings, the consortium said.

Dec. 16 in Austria, the research consultancy found, two Frenchmen were arrested in Salzburg after posing as refugees and using fake Syrian passports. They had traveled from Greece through the Balkans, entering Austria in October. The men are suspected of having entered the country together with members of the cell who carried out the Nov. 13 attacks in the French capital that killed 130 people.

By hiding among thousands of asylum-seekers, the Islamist militants can expand their operational presence in Europe, analysts have warned. They say jihadists enjoy a win-win advantage when it comes to the refugee crisis affecting Europe.

The interception of jihadist infiltrators feeds into public fears in Europe about more terror attacks, increasing pressure on politicians to curb the entry of asylum-seekers, which in turn helps terror groups radicalize disaffected European Muslims.

A case in point: Abdelhamid Abaaoud, identified as the mastermind in the deadly Nov. 13 Paris attacks and killed in a French police raid days later, had bragged publicly that he had no difficulty traveling several times from Syria to his home in Brussels. He noted that despite an international arrest warrant, border guards failed to recognize him. At least two of the Paris attackers are believed to have re-entered Europe using fake Syrian passports.

Last week, Europol, the EU's law enforcement agency, warned that the Islamic State had set up secret training camps across Europe to prepare fighters to carry out special forces style attacks.

Phil does not see his shadow,
so spring may be in the air

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Weather-watchers across the United States have heard good news: There will be an early spring this year, according to the most famous groundhog in the state of Pennsylvania.

Feb. 2 marks Groundhog Day, when traditionally a groundhog known as Punxsutawney Phil makes an appearance above ground, near the cozy tree stump he calls home. Legend has it that if it is a sunny day and he sees his shadow North America is in for six more weeks of winter weather.

That means many of Phil's fans, gathered to witness his formal prediction, may have been glad to see Tuesday's overcast skies in the town of Punxsutawney. Phil's appearance came just days after the eastern United States dug out from a record-breaking blizzard.

Punxsutawney Phil is the most famous of the furry forecasters, but other U.S. states, as well as Canada, have their own groundhogs to consult. The tradition stretches back to at least 1887. Records show that Phil predicts more winter far more often than he indicates an early spring.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

Solr array
SOON with the coming of new power company regulations, we'll be installing PV (photo voltaic) for solar electricity. Yes, at last!
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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
Are you tired of wasting time searching for your home…..with no results?
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Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

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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
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

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.  $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, Wednesday Feb. 3, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 23
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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
New York
LinkNYC photo
This is one of the proposed  Wi-Fi network of stations.

New York getting public Wi-Fi portals

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Futuristic, 3-meter tall Wi-Fi portals are steadily moving into New York, replacing thousands of old pay phones while using their existing infrastructure. By summer’s end, more than 500 units will dot the city. In 12 years, there will be as many as 10,000.

The selling points are simple: They are free to use  and feature a secure hotspot 2.0 encryption technology and thereby providing gigabit-speed Internet to the city’s 8.5 million residents. That’s roughly 100 times faster than average public Wi-Fi and five times faster than the capability of most smartphones.

“It means you can upload pictures in a fraction of a second. You can download a movie before you hop on the train in less than 30 seconds. You can have the content that you want downloaded to your phone and be able to use that on your journey throughout the day in the city,” said Jen Hensley, general manager of LinkNYC, the communications network bringing the units to the city’s sidewalks.

The Links, which have already launched in beta phase, each feature two flashy 140-centimeter HD digital screens for public service announcements and advertising, LinkNYC’s primary source of revenue.

The high-speed Wi-Fi reaches a minimum radius of 45 meters before automatically connecting to the next available Link. Every unit is equipped with a charging device and Android tablet for Internet browsing, phone calls and easy access to information on city services, as well as a 911 emergency call button.

Hensley said the idea is to reach all New Yorkers who might not otherwise have access to a broadband connection, either in their homes or at work.

“We look forward to being able to provide the opportunity for educational, professional and recreational access that really every human deserves in this day and age,” Hensley said.

The unit’s infrastructure is built using a cast aluminum exterior, designed by CIVIQ Smartscapes to withstand vandalism and severe weather, including flooding, earthquakes, extreme heat and cold. 

LinkNYC said it expects CityBridge, the consortium awarded the 12-year franchise, to generate more than $500 million for the city of New York over the span of its contract, while regaining its capital investment worth $200 million.

It’s a venture that Hensley describes as a revolutionary model for cities worldwide who want to deliver quality services to their residents and visitors. The company expects to install 4,500 Links within the first four years, across all five New York boroughs.

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From Page 7:

Minister named to run transportation agency

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The president has named a new minister to take over the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes. He is Carlos Villalta Villegas, a 45-year-old civil engineer who has been an adviser to the ministry.

He replaces Carlos Segnini, who resigned.

The minister's job has been described an impossible task. There are major problems in the management and the structure of the ministry.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad is the agency that builds and maintains roads. It is part of the new minster's responsibility.

President Luis Guillermo Solís promised to close down the agency before he was elected. But he has been unsuccessful.