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(506) 2223-1327                               Published Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 24                              Email us
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Expat kidnap threat is a lot worse elsewhere
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats, particularly those with children, live in fear of kidnappings. And there is some justification.

The high profile abduction of well-known Canadian expat Ryan Piercy a year ago contributed to expat concerns.

Still, the bulk of the kidnappings here involve Costa Ricans as victims, and the motives are mixed. Frequently kidnapping is the result of a drug war or an effort to collect a debt.

So-called express kidnappings are crimes where the crooks quickly settle for a limited amount of money. Many of these never are reported to police.

A lot of the kidnappings take place among the poorer barrios. These, too, usually never become a police report unless the victim ends up dead.

Such is the case of a kidnapping-murder that resulted in arrests Wednesday.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that agents arrested two men, 23 and 28, and a 22-year-old woman in the Aug. 19 kidnapping of a Los Guidos, Desamparados, man with the last names of Garcia Vega.

After negotiating by telephone, the victim's family agreed to pay 400,000 colons (about $750)  and did. But Sept. 3, the victim turned up in a field dead.

Judicial agents still have not outlined the motive, but this appears to be a kidnapping for money.

The suspects also live in the same low-income Desamparados neighborhood. Agents said they found possessions belonging to the victim at the home of one of the suspects. Garcia is believed to have died from a blow to the head.

Fuerza Pública officers on patrol broke up a kidnapping July 29 in Atenas after armed men broke into a home there and forced an occupant to go with them.

One expat family left a luxury home here and returned to California after surveillance cameras showed men lurking outside their compound.

Another family took extensive precautions after a domestic employee said that she had been approached by men seeking her help to stage either a kidnapping or home invasion.

There have been one or two high-profile cases reported each year, but there does not seem to be an organized gang that
kidnap suspect
Judicial Investigating Organization photo 
One of the three detained Wednesday.

specializes in kidnappings like there once was in 2001.

The frequency of such crimes is much higher in other countries.

The firm said that worldwide nine of 10 kidnap victims are residents of the country where the crime took place. The Americas accounted for just 14 percent of the reported kidnappings worldwide.

The firm said that the 11 countries that face a severe kidnapping threat are Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen

The Philippines is Southeast Asia’s top kidnapping hotspot, where Abu Sayyaf and the New People’s Army continue to pose a significant kidnap threat alongside criminal gangs, the firm said, adding that Colombia gives cause for optimism, as continuing peace talks with the Fuerzas Armada Revolucionarias de Colombia rebel demonstrate mediation can alleviate a once severe kidnap threat.

Basic advice to expats is to not flaunt wealth. Only really wealthy individuals, gaming site owners, diplomats or national level politicians go so far as to hire bodyguards. Costa Rica remains far from the level of precautions taken in other countries where wealthy individuals or drug lords travel to town in a caravan of heavily armed men manning .50-caliber machine guns.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 24
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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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Ministerio de Salud photo
La Carpio in La Uruca with its dense population is a priority for the Ministerio de Salud which sent workers like the man above there Wednesday to eliminate mosquitoes that might carry the zika virus.

Latin leaders meet on zika crisis

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Latin American health ministers agreed Wednesday on a public information campaign and boosted the number of medical workers to fight the mosquito-borne zika virus, which poses the greatest threat to pregnant women.

The 14 officials, including Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Castro, whose country has been hit hardest by the virus, held emergency talks in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Castro said regional leaders need to "exchange information, make alliances, and discuss what coordinated action we can take to control this epidemic."

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff  has said her government will spare no expense in fighting the mosquito that experts say carries the virus.

"My entire government is working on fighting this emergency,” Ms. Rousseff said this week. “There will be no lack of funding. ... We will partner up with the U.S. government, with President Obama  . . . in order to develop as quickly as possible a vaccine for the zika virus."

A worrisome development intensified concerns this week when health officials in Dallas County, Texas, reported what appears to be the first Zika case in the U.S. transmitted through sexual contact.

The patient apparently was infected after having sex with an ill individual who returned from a country where the virus is present. It was later reported on Twitter that the infected traveler had recently been to Venezuela.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top federal public health agency, confirmed the Texas case.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a public health emergency in four counties with travel-related cases of the zika virus Wednesday and ordered state officials to increase mosquito control efforts in some of the most populous parts of the state.

"Although Florida's current nine zika cases were travel-related, we have to ensure Florida is prepared and stays ahead of the spread of the Zika virus in our state," Scott said in a statement.

The counties are Miami-Dade in south Florida, Hillsborough in the Tampa Bay region, Lee County in southwest Florida and Santa Rosa County in the Florida Panhandle.

Scott directed state officials to pay special attention to mosquito spraying in residential areas in those counties.

Florida is the third most populous state in the United States.

World Health Organization expert Anthony Costello spoke Wednesday of the need for quick action against zika, which has the potential to spread far beyond the Americas.

"We know that the mosquitoes that carry the zika virus are present through most of Africa, parts of southern Europe, and many parts of Asia, particularly South Asia," he said.

There is currently no treatment for zika, but a number of global pharmaceutical houses are rapidly working on a vaccine.

The zika virus causes no symptoms in 80 percent of people bitten by the Aedes mosquito. Other people infected develop a mild rash. However, the virus is a threat to pregnant women.

The WHO says the virus is strongly suspected to cause microcephaly,  a condition that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads.

Brazil has reported nearly 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly since October, but experts are puzzled as to why microcephaly is nearly non-existent in other Latin countries where the virus is present.

Water shutoff for Santa Ana and Pozos

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The state water company, Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, said that water will be cut off today in Santa Ana and Pozos from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The company said that the reason for the shutoff  is that a storage tank needs to be maintained.

About 7,000 persons are expected to be affected by the shutoff, mostly in Santa Ana Chispa, Ciudadela Invu, Praderas del Sol, Prados del Oeste, Valle Soleado, Vista Real, San Rafael, Don Lalo and points nearby, said the company.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 24
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Peace centers designed to reduce teen violence will cost $39 million
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government's plan to reduce youthful violence is to construct peace centers in many communities. The price tag is $39 million, financed by a loan from the International Development Bank.

Each center is supposed to feature music workshops, theater, dance, painting and sculpture and include what are called casas de justicia, a day-care center, a skatepark, library, auditorium, technology lounge and space for sports and recreation. Each center costs about $3.2 million.

Agencies involved are the Ministerio de Justicia y Paz, the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud, the Instituto Costarricense del Deporte, the Ministerio de la Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones, the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje and local governments.

Construcciones Peñaranda S. A. began construction of a center in Guaraí Jan. 4. The Consorcio Productos de Concreto S. A.- Arquitectura JOF S. A. began work Jan. 14 for the Centro Cívico por la Paz de Cartago.

A center in Heredia is in the works.

Bids are expected to be opened soon for additional projects relating to the Centro Cívico por la Paz de Garabito.

Santa Cruz
Ministerio de Justicia y Paz photo
This center takes shape in Santa Cruz.

 A center in Santa Cruz is being constructed by Constructora SICSA.Centers also are to be constructed in Agua Zarcas, Desamparados and Pococí, said the justice ministry.

Facelift completed for the downtown Teatro Popular Melico Salazar
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The front of the Teatro Popular Melico Salazar has received a 75 million-colon facelift. That's about $141,000. This is the structure that stands facing the north side of Parque Central in a place that still can be considered the center of the city. This is another restoration job by the Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural of the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

Much of the job is not seen well from the street. Gutters and downspouts have been replaced and windows and doors have been repaired or replaced, too. The big change is the paint job.

Verónica Solórzano, the architect involved, said that the painting was designed so that some features of the building stand out. There are a lot of ornamentation as well as two
Muses. She said 60 percent of the window frames were replaced in the theater. The base of the building was painted brown.
Melico alazar
Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural photo
This is the new face of the theater.

There has been a theater on the site for 88 years. But in 1967, the structure was destroyed by fire. The theater was rebuilt in the 1970s.

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Guanacaste Lodge

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 24
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Bilingual toddlers founds to perform better at problem-solving tasks
By the Concordia University news staff

Half of the world’s population speaks two or more languages, according to one estimate. But are there hidden benefits to being bilingual? Research from Concordia University reveals a new perk visible in the problem-solving skills of toddlers.

The results of a study recently published by the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology show that bilingual children are better than monolinguals at a certain type of mental control, and that those children with more practice switching between languages have even greater skills.

Bilingual speakers can thank the sometimes-arduous practice of switching from one language to another for this skill. “This switching becomes more frequent as children grow older and as their vocabulary size increases,” says Diane Poulin-Dubois, a professor in the Montreal university's  Department of Psychology and the study’s senior author.

“Therefore, the superior performance on these conflict tasks appears to be due to bilinguals’ strengthened cognitive flexibility and selective attention abilities as they have increased experience in switching across languages in expressive vocabulary.”

Professor Poulin-Dubois and Cristina Crivello, a graduate student, led a group of researchers who compared bilingual toddlers to their monolingual peers, tracking the tots as they gained greater vocabularies in each of their two languages.

For the study, the researchers assessed the vocabularies of 39 bilingual children and 43 monolinguals when they were aged 24 months, and then again at 31 months. During the second assessment, the researchers also had the young participants perform a battery of tasks to test their cognitive flexibility and memory skills.

“For the most part, there was no difference between the bilingual and monolingual toddlers,” said Professor Poulin-Dubois. “But that changed dramatically when it came to the conflict inhibition test, and the differences were especially

apparent in the bilingual toddlers whose vocabulary had increased most.” In this case, conflict inhibition refers to the mental process of overriding a well learned rule that you would normally pay attention to.

To assess toddlers’ abilities in this domain, Ms. Crivello, who undertook the research as part of  her master’s thesis and is the first author of the study, administered two tests:

First participants were told to put a set of little blocks into a little bucket and big blocks into a big bucket. Then the instructions were switched with big blocks going in the little bucket and little blocks going in the big bucket.

Participants then were shown pictures of different sized fruit and asked to name them. Then a new series of images was shown, with a small fruit embedded inside a large one. Toddlers were asked to point to the little fruit.

It wasn’t surprising to the researchers that the bilingual children performed significantly better than did their monolingual counterparts.

“Language switching underlies the bilingual advantage on conflict tasks,” said Ms. Crivello. “In conflict inhibition, the child has to ignore certain information, the size of a block relative to a bucket, or the fact that one fruit is inside another. That mirrors the experience of having to switch between languages, using a second language even though the word from a first language might be more easily accessible.”

The unique feature of the study was the finding that the more language switching toddlers engaged in, the more it benefited them. Within the bilingual group of toddlers, those who had amassed a greater number of  word pairs in each language performed even better on the conflict inhibition tasks.

“By the end of the third year of life, the average bilingual child uses two words for most concepts in his or her vocabulary, so young bilingual children gradually acquire more experience in switching between languages,” said Professor Poulin-Dubois.

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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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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                                              Valley view

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A.M. Costa Rica's  
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Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 24
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Axiom 890 pixels

Barack Obama seeks unity
in visit to
Baltimore mosque
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama pressed for unity in America during his first visit to a U.S. mosque as the nation’s leader, telling Muslims “We are one American family.”
During remarks Wednesday at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, the president thanked Muslim Americans for helping to build the U.S. and make it strong. He also acknowledged the hugely distorted negative view Muslim Americans have had to endure with the rise of terrorism-related violence by Islamist extremists.

Muslim Americans are worried not only about the threat of terrorism, but also about being “targeted or blamed for the violence of the very few,” the president told the group.

Particularly since the terror strikes in Paris in November, and in San Bernardino, California in December, Obama said too often people “conflate terrorism with the beliefs of an entire faith.”

He also lashed back against anti-Muslim discourse by some political figures.
“Of course recently, we’ve heard inexcusable political rhetoric against Muslim Americans. It has no place in our country,” Obama said.

The president has criticized remarks by Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and others in recent months.

Trump called for all Muslims to be barred from entering the country for a period of time, and Cruz suggested that the United States resettle only Christian Syrian refugees. 

More than two dozen U.S. governors also have signaled they will try to block Syrian refugees from settling in their states. Critics of the Obama administration’s plan to resettle immigrants from Syria and Iraq argue they pose a greater security threat.

The president has accused prominent political figures of using fear to win support, and said those tactics are dividing the country and fueling propaganda by terror groups like Islamic State and al-Qaida.

During his remarks, Obama reaffirmed Americans’ constitutional right to freedom of religion. “Our founders meant what they said when they said it applied to all religions,” Obama said.

While the “overwhelming majority of the world's Muslims embrace Islam as a source of peace, it is undeniable that a small fraction of Muslims propagate a perverted version of Islam,” he added.

“Muslims around the world have a responsibility to reject extremist ideologies that are trying to penetrate within Muslim communities,” he said, noting that some who have dared to speak out have been targeted and sometimes killed.
“Those voices are there,” he added. “We just have to amplify them more.”

In a direct message to young Muslims, Obama urged them to reject voices on the Internet constantly claiming that Muslim Americans must choose between faith and patriotism. 

“Do not believe it,” he urged. “You’re part of America too. You’re Muslim and American.”

Ultimately, however, Obama said combating terrorism will require Americans of all faiths to work together. “We will rise and fall together. It won’t always be easy."

Before his remarks, President Obama held a closed door roundtable discussion with Muslim leaders “from all walks of life, with a variety of experiences,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

Outside under cloudy, drizzly skies, a small group of both protesters and supporters gathered.

Responding to some claims that a former imam at the mosque had ties to extremist groups, Earnest said he is not surprised that political opponents stepped forward to protest the visit.

Service personnel in Iraq
may be approaching 4,000

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Hundreds more American troops are serving in Iraq than previously acknowledged by the Pentagon, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The Pentagon had said there were 3,550 U.S. personnel on the ground in Iraq to train and equip local security forces in the fight against Islamic State.

But the Defense Department has now increased that number to 3,870 troops.

A Baghdad-based U.S. military spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, went even further Wednesday, saying it was fair to say that there are hundreds more troops than even that figure, arguing that it is part of the natural rotation of incoming and outgoing forces.

The troop presence is small compared with the figure from the height of the Iraq War, when the United States had nearly 160,000 in-country troops during the surge.

But the Iraq War officially ended at the end of 2011 and the United States pulled its combat troops from the country.

When President Barack Obama in 2014 launched airstrikes against Islamic State jihadists in Iraq and Syria, he said there would be no American boots on the ground.

Military officials have gotten around that pledge by stressing the U.S. forces are not present in a combat role.

Yahoo says it will cut jobs
as it seeks financial stability

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Yahoo will cut about 15 percent of its workforce as part of a strategy to turn the troubled Internet company around.

The long-anticipated purge announced Tuesday will jettison about 1,500 jobs, close some offices worldwide and explore selling some assets.

CEO Marissa Mayer hopes to sell some of Yahoo's unwanted services for about $1 billion, though she didn't identify which ones.

Yahoo's revenue has been shrinking through most of Ms. Mayer's reign, even though she has spent more than $3 billion buying more than 40 companies, while bringing in new talent and developing mobile applications and other services designed to attract more traffic and advertisers.

Yahoo's sluggishness in advertising comes after Internet rivals Facebook and Google topped fourth-quarter earnings expectations, largely on strong growth from their advertising businesses.

Seeking a new job in U.S.
reported to be a bit easier

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Looking for a job is hard enough, but imagine doing so at mid-career in the age of technology. Should you contact someone on social media? How do you navigate an online employment site?

Suja Joseph tries to answer these questions during a re-employment workshop at the Columbia Workforce Center, outside Washington.

"The goal here is to have them informed about what it is like now to look for a job," Ms. Joseph said. "What are applicant tracker systems? How is it like when you apply for jobs online versus when you go and meet an employer?"

Ms. Joseph, a workforce trainer at the center since 2010, said she has seen a difference in prospects for the unemployed in just the last few years. People are not taking as long to find work, and when they do, they are staying employed.

"Some of our job seekers come in and say, ‘Hey, when I came in, I wasn’t hearing back, but right now employers are coming to me,’ and they find that to be empowering," Ms. Joseph said.

Seven years ago, President Barack Obama took office in the midst of a recession. The unemployment rate hit 10 percent in October 2009 as the U.S. housing market toppled and the banking industry followed suit.

Since then, the U.S. unemployment rate has fallen by half, to 5 percent in December 2015, with more than 13 million private sector jobs created since February 2010, economic data the president has not hesitated to cite as he closes out his time in office.

"The United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world. We’re doing so much better than other folks are doing. The American economy right now is 10 percent bigger than it was at its peak, before the financial crisis. In Europe, it hasn’t gotten back to where it was back in 2007-2008," Obama told a cheering crowd in Detroit, Michigan, as he marked the resurgence of the U.S. auto industry during a Jan. 20 speech.

Baltimore-based economist Anirban Basu does not disagree with the numbers.

"Yes, the economy is growing. Yes, we are adding jobs. The labor market data have been good. There is some indication that wages are going to grow this year, not just because of increases in the minimum wages, but because of normal economic forces," Basu said.

But the CEO of the economic consulting firm Sage Policy Group said that beneath those numbers lies a mixed picture, one that could mean an uncertain 2017 for the American economy.

"We just have too much productive capacity and not enough demand, and one of the reasons for that is the global economy remains so weak," Basu said. "Coming into the new year, we have received a lot of bad news about the Chinese economy. There are geopolitical events that have made the markets jittery."

The uncertainty is shared by college students Heza Mulinzi, Frederick Torrence and Denell Hammond, who are working together in Rockville, Maryland, to launch a clothing line.

"We have always been creative. That was something that was always in the back of my mind: What am I going to find that I am good at that I can find a way to make it lucrative?" Hammond said.

Despite an improving job market, the longtime friends are turning to entrepreneurship to ensure financial stability after they receive their undergraduate degrees.

"We started this to have a company where, when we graduate, that not only do we have a piece of paper but we have an established company, and we don’t have to worry about student loans," Torrence said.

And for Mulinzi, seeing his mom struggle after being laid off because of an injury was enough to drive him toward starting his own business and gaining financial independence after graduation.

"Seeing my mom go from job to job, working so hard, but not getting the proper rights that she deserves" gave him the motivation to seek self-employment, he said: "I believe you should be able to work by yourself and be independently stable and be able to support yourself and your family."

Rand Paul, Rick Santorum
quit GOP presidential race

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a libertarian who often opposed American military intervention in overseas conflicts, dropped his bid Wednesday for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, as did another low-polling candidate, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.

Paul, a practicing ophthalmologist, won little support in the crowded Republican campaign, which currently is dominated by billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump and two conservative senators, Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida. Paul finished fifth in this week's voting in the farm state of Iowa, collecting just 4.5 percent of the vote in statewide party caucuses.

Santorum, a vocal conservative, polled even lower, finishing 11th in the 12-way race with one percent of the vote. He had won the 2012 Iowa caucuses.

The departure of Paul and Santorum leaves nine candidates in the Republican field. Mike Huckabee, the 2008 Iowa caucuses winner, dropped out Monday night after a ninth-place finish.

The next voting is set for Tuesday, a party primary in the northeastern state of New Hampshire.

Paul now faces a tough re-election fight this year in the mid-South state of Kentucky to keep his Senate seat for another six-year term.

"The fight is far from over," he said as he ended his presidential campaign. "I will continue to carry the torch for liberty in the United States Senate, and I look forward to earning the privilege to represent the people of Kentucky for another term."

In one defiant legislative episode in 2013, Paul commanded the Senate floor for almost 13 hours in opposition to President Barack Obama's use of drones to attack suspected terrorists.

While that marathon speech won him support from many opposed to U.S. military operations, it did not translate into support in the Republican presidential campaign, where his opponents regularly have called for heightened military action against Islamic State terrorists beyond the aerial bombardment Obama is carrying out.

U.S. border apprehensions
reported to be at a low level

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday the number of people apprehended trying to cross into the country from México fell by 36 percent between December and January, reaching its lowest level in a year.

There were 23,767 total apprehensions in January compared to more than 37,000 in December. The department said the figures are an indication of the overall number of attempts to get into the country illegally.

In the beginning of January, immigration authorities arrested 121 people in the first of new raids targeting families who had illegally entered the United States. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson did not link the arrests with the drop in border apprehensions, but did renew his defense of the policy announced last November.

He said the decline is encouraging, but that the government cannot reduce its border security operations.

"Our borders are not open to illegal immigration," Johnson said.  "If someone was apprehended at the border, has been ordered deported by an immigration court, has no pending appeal, and does not qualify for asylum or other relief from removal under our laws, he or she must be sent home."

The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the January deportations, calling them a scare tactic to deter families from fleeing Central America to the United States.

The Mexican border accounts for an overwhelming majority of the country's illegal border crossings.

Homeland Security data indicate January used to be a time when apprehensions at the southwestern U.S. border spiked. Between 2000 and 2009, the number of apprehensions nearly doubled and in some cases tripled between December and January.

That trend began declining in 2010, and since 2014 the apprehensions in January have been lower than in the prior month.

The data also show a huge decline on a year-by-year basis during the past decade, falling from about 1.7 million apprehensions in 2005 to 330,000 in 2015.

Some Muslims are backing
Trump despite his rhetoric

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Almost three-fourths of American Muslims plan to vote in the presidential primaries and the hard-core Republicans among them say they will vote for Donald Trump if he is the GOP nominee, according to a new survey from the Council for American-Islamic Relations.

The six-state survey found that 73 percent of registered Muslim voters intend to go to the polls in upcoming primary elections and 67 percent of them expect to vote for Democrats.

More than half of the people polled say they’ll support Hillary Clinton (51.6 percent), followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (22 percent) and Donald Trump (7.5 percent).

Muslim voting patterns have shifted over the past 15 years. Muslims supported George Bush in 2000, but the majority have voted for Democrats in every presidential and midterm election since then.

“Muslim voters traditionally supported the GOP by a greater margin than the Democratic party,” Robert McCaw, government affairs manager for the Council for American-Islamic Relations, said in an email. ”Following the Republican party’s general turn against American Muslims through toxic political rhetoric, state and federal legislation targeting Islamic religious principles and practices (Sharia law), and imbalanced national security programs, American Muslims by majority have shifted in their support.”

Yet, despite making anti-Muslim comments on the campaign trail and calling for non-American Muslims to be banned from entering the United States, Trump placed third among candidates from both parties.

“I think because of his anti-establishment views and his business background gives hope for economic policies Republicans traditionally aligned with,” Saba Ahmed, founder of the Republican Muslim Coalition, told ThinkProgress. “He has worked with Muslims all his life, and he has properties all over the Middle East, despite anti-Muslim rhetoric, and many business dealings with our constituency and knows we’re good people.”

“Seven percent of Muslims supporting Donald Trump is not surprising given that 15 percent of Muslim voters identify as Republican,” McCaw said, “and Trump has the greatest name recognition among GOP candidates.”

Muslim voters ranked Islamophobia as the most important issue this campaign season, followed by the economy, heath care and civil liberties. A 2014 council survey found Islamophobia to be the third most important issue for American Muslim voters.

The Council for American-Islamic Relations surveyed almost 2,000 registered Muslim voters in six states with the highest Muslim populations: California, New York, Illinois, Florida, Texas and Virginia.

Overall, Muslims make up a small fraction of the electorate. There are about 2 million Muslim American adults in the country. The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations, a coalition of American Muslim organizations, recently announced its goal to register one million voters prior to the 2016 presidential election.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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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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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 Realty is a full-service real estate company with property listings in Escazú, Santa Ana, Jacó, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Manuel Antonio, and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. We work hard to find you the property of your dreams, and assist with legal advice, residency, starting corporations, opening bank accounts, etc. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in, and relocating to Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate, we look forward to hearing from you.
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Phone/Fax.+506 2238-5029
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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, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 24
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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
Weekend carnivals to give way to Lent

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

In just six days Ash Wednesday will arrive. This is a time for devout Christians to begin the 40-day period of Lent leading up to Easter Sunday.

But it also is the end of big parties. The biggest carnivals in the Americas are in Rio and New Orleans.

The Brazilian festivities are scheduled to begin Friday, and New Orleans promises a series of parades over the weekend leading up to Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent begins.

Wednesday is the day many Catholics and some other Christians are anointed with ash. The Catholic tradition is to remind the faithful that their lifespan here is fragile, from ashes to ashes and from dust to dust.

The tradition is at least 1,000 years old and stems from the biblical account of  Jesus Christ spending 40 days in the desert fasting and confronting the Devil.

Costa Ricans do not celebrate carnival, although some may in their own homes. The big deal here is Semana Santa, which is the week before Easter, March 27.

Tourism operators are looking forward to the week, when many Costa Ricans head to the beach and mountain resorts.

Holy Week before Easter is a great time for photographers with processions all over the country. Some tourists visit just to enjoy the colorful pageantry.

Civil code revisions signed into law

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Luis Guillermo Solís signed into law Wednesday a revision of the country's civil code. The new law provides for oral sessions in court and what officials hope will be speedy resolutions of civil cases as well as a quick execution of the sentence.

The code will not go into effect for 30 months.

Lawmakers approved the revision in December. Solís praised the new law as a great national accord. He said that the law provides for speedy, humane and transparent civilian cases.

Freedom House upset with expulsion

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Freedom House says it is appalled that Nicaragua expelled its Latin America programs director, Carlos Ponce.

"Barring the representative of a human rights organization signals the deteriorating protections for civil society in Nicaragua,” said Mark P. Lagon, president.

Ponce traveled to Nicaragua to meet with local civil society organizations, and diplomatic and government officials, Freedom House said. He was denied entry to the country on Tuesday, held overnight, and forced to return to Washington. Nicaraguan officials said he was denied entry due to an administrative decision, Freedom House reported.

Nicaragua is rated partly free in freedom in the world 2016 and partly free in freedom of the press 2015.

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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From Page 7:

Pacific trade deal is signed in New Zealand

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Twelve Pacific region trade ministers signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Auckland, New Zealand, today. This is a broad free-trade deal that will cut taxes and trade barriers for nearly half of the world's economy.

Trade Representative Michael Froman signed for the United States.

All the ministers said their goal is to "enhance shared prosperity, create jobs and promote sustainable economic development for all of our nations."

The agreement is considered one of President Barack Obama's proudest achievements in his seven years in office.

Obama issued a statement saying the deal will bolster American leadership abroad and support good jobs at home. He said he will push U.S. lawmakers to quickly ratify the deal.

"I'll continue working with Democrats and Republicans in Congress to enact it into law as soon as possible,” he said, “so our economy can immediately start benefiting from the tens of billions of dollars in new export opportunities. We should get TPP done this year and give more American workers the shot at success they deserve and help more American businesses compete and win around the world."

It took seven years of often contentious negotiations to complete the trade deal.

The deal basically reduces tariffs and trade barriers for numerous goods and services, including cars, medicines and dairy products. It also sets rules for labor and environmental protection, and protects intellectual property rights for multinational corporations.

Parliaments and legislatures of all 12 countries must ratify the deal. Many in the U.S. Congress oppose it for various reasons.

Opponents say the pact will cost American jobs, flood the U.S. market with foreign products, harm the environment and threaten human health with unsafe imported food.

But the White House has said the agreement will cut 18,000 different taxes on U.S. exports and open the globe to more American-made products, plus that it has the strongest labor and environmental protection ever included in a global trade deal.

Along with the United States, the other partnership members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, México, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

China, the world's second-largest economy, decided not to join the trade pact as it pursues its own economic agenda. But U.S. officials have said the Chinese are welcome to become a partner when they think the time is right.