A.M. Costa Rica
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(506) 2223-1327                              Published Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 29                             Email us
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Cuerpo de Bomberos photo
Fire fighters work to free a taxi driver in Liberia who became a fatality of the heavy winds Wednesday morning. The man's vehicle was smashed by a tree. There were
many other problems and the national emergency commission has instituted an alert because the high winds and rain are expected to continue. Our story is HERE!

Big drug sweep reveals another case of corruption
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anti-drug agents and police frequently find no one at crime scenes that they raid. They may find money, drugs and weapons, but those who were involved in the marketing of cocaine and marijuana manage to leave just before police arrive.

Part of the reason could be criminal infiltration and corruption of law enforcement.

Judicial police and others in law enforcement conducted a massive sweep of 17 locations and detained eight persons early Wednesday. The sweep here was part of an international operation that detained 44 who are accused of transporting cocaine by sea from Colombia and Ecuador.

Among those accused in the case is a member of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas. He is accused of alerting drug traffickers to the locations of patrol boats so they could avoid them.

This case follows on the heels of an arrest Tuesday of a Fuerza Pública supervisor in Turrialba who is accused of keeping a band of bandits informed of police movements.

In the past police officers were charged with serving as escorts for drug trucks and also for providing inside information to confederates.

Officials worry about gang associates accepting police jobs so they can inform their criminal friends.

Such leaks are hard to pin down. In addition, small-scale corruption is epidemic within the police forces, and a lot of officers are reluctant to turn in their working partners.

Those detained Wednesday in the major drug case are accused of bringing their merchandise to the southern beaches in Playa Zancudo, Pavones, Puerto Jiménez and Golfito.

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
These two suspects are in custody and on the way to a lockup.

The investigation began in 2014, said officials. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration was involved.

The traffickers used Costa Rican-flagged fishing boats to move the drugs as far north as Honduras.

As part of the sweep Wednesday, judicial investigators said they worked with the Policía de Control de Drogas of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública on a parallel case involving money laundering.

Four of the suspects in the trafficking case also owned a number of properties, vehicles and boats.

One of the raids Wednesday was at a hotel in Golfito. Agents said that fincas, ice cream shops, vehicle sales agencies and other businesses were involved. Most were held under the names of nine corporations.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 29
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Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini has placed and
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Insurance professionals

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A full service immigration agency
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Tel: (323) 255-6116


U.S. Income Tax Services
Marlene B. Summers, Tax Accountant
Licensed by the I.R.S.
Ms. Summers
Marlene B. Summers
U.S. citizens, plan now for your tax year. Let me help you pay only the tax  you must!
Take advantage of the foreign earned income exclusion.
If your filing is not up-to-date, the Streamlined Filing Procedure can be used to mitigate penalties.   Including  disclosure of foreign corporations to avoid future problems. 

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 U.S 786-206-9473         CR 506-2288-2201
FAX: 506 2231-3300
Web page:

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US Income Tax,  U.S. GAAP Accounting
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pecializing in all matters of concern to U.S. taxpayers residing abroad including:
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Reporting foreign financial assets: FBAR and foreign corporations.
Up-to-date FACTA news.
All US Tax return preparation:
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Business consulting to facilitate working in Costa Rica.

Telephone 8305-3149 or 2256-8620

Fine art restoration and conservation

Gilbert Carmichael
Master Art Restorer
European and U.S. standards. USPAP.
  Porcelain and ceramic
  Works on paper restoration
  Conservation Curatorial
  Art expert services
  Other restoration services
  Condition evaluation
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Experts in fine art restoration and conservation for the tropics. We clean mildew, mold, etc., repair, restore and offer art expert and curatorial services.

For more information please contact Weronika Nossowicz at 8388-5328  or email HERE!

Legal services

Valdivieco header
Lic. Eduardo Valdivieso
your legal adviser for criminal, civil,
commercial, and family law.  
Phone: ( 506 ) 8839-5010 
Address:  150 meters southwest from
the Goicoechea court, San José.

Real estate agents and services


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in CR since 1979

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Vacation rentals and long-term rentals
Tour desk

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or Toll Free: (877) 746-3868
Costa Rica phone number: (506) 2643-3356

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Red Sismológica Nacional photo
The Turrialba volcano lets off a little steam and ash.

Turrialba volcano showing more activity

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An eruption Monday by the Volcán Turrialba went 1.2 kilometers into the sky, said the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, which is involved in monitoring such activity. That's about three-quarters of a mile above the crater.

The volcano is among just 15 percent that remain active for an extended period, said the state firm, which is part of the Red Sismológica Nacional.

The mountain has been fairly calm since Dec. 7. It began its eruptive phase in 2010 and has attracted the attention of international experts.

The acid rain and ash has damaged the agricultural area in the vicinity.

It also has damaged tourism because there is a two-kilometer prohibited zone around the mountain and the national park bearing the volcano's name has been closed.

Cruz Roja to press for its new taxes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Cruz Roja says approving an increase in the taxes the agency collects is urgent. The rescue agency said Wednesday that some of the local committees are in financial crisis because the bill has not been passed.

This is bill No. 19.234 that increases three taxes that the agency gets. The bill initially was to be considered this month, but the executive branch put it on the back burner so that other tax bills could be considered by the same legislative committee.

So the Cruz Roja plans a press conference today to present its case to the public.

The Cruz Roja wants the 1 percent tax it gets on telephone bills to be doubled and an increase in cost of the agency’s stamp that is used on many legal documents from 200 colons to 500. The agency also wants 15 percent of money collected from traffic fines instead of the current 5 percent.

Anti-smoking campaign plans promotion

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministerio de Salud will promote the newest anti-tobacco law when Paseo Colón is turned into a playground for nine Sundays starting this Sunday.

The closings from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. are called Domingos Familiares sin Humo. Initially humo mean free of motor vehicle exhausts, but now the health ministry wants to promote the absence of another type of smoke.

The tobacco law, No.  9028, prohibits smoking in offices and public spaces.

The Sunday events on Paseo Colón have included sports, food booths and other diversions. The sponsor is the Comité Cantonal de Deportes y Recreación de San José.

Traffic downtown is fairly light on Sundays, so there have been no complaints about the municipality closing the roadway.

Five-year project to fight roya de cafe

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza in Costa Rica is participating in a program to fight roya de cafe, the disease that has cut Central American and Domincan Republic coffee production by 2.7 million sacks, according to the Instituto Interamericano de Cooperación para la Agricultura.

The European Union is helping with financing, said the institute. Roya de cafe (Hemileia vastatrix), is known as coffee rust in Engish. The current outbreak is the worst seen in Central America and Mexico since the fungal disease arrived in the region more than 40 years ago. Guatemala has joined Honduras and Costa Rica in declaring national emergencies over the disease.

The agricultural institute estimates that 20 percent of the annual coffee crop has been lost. The project is for five years.

The proposal is to put into practice methods of adaptation, mitigation and reduction of risk, said the institute.

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Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 29
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High winds cause one death and havoc in much of the country
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

While heavy winds raked the Central Valley and much of the northern and central Pacific coast, the northern zone and parts of the Caribbean were drenched.

The national emergency commission declared a preventative alert for both coasts because of wind and high seas and asked that boats be not allowed to leave port. And an additional alert covered all of the national territory because of the winds.

A taxi driver died in Barrio Cerros, Liberia, when a tree fell on his vehicle. That was one of 159 emergencies that brought out firefighters Tuesday and Wednesday. There were 123 incidents of trees falling, firefighters said.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad closed Ruta 32 to Río Frio at 6 p.m. Wednesday because of wind and the possibility of the repetition of falling material that took place Tuesday afternoon. The key highway was supposed to reopen today at 9 a.m.

The Cruz Roja Costarricense, the Cuerpo de Bomberos, the Fuerza Pública and traffic police were occupied for more than 24 hours attending to emergencies.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad said that 50,000 persons were affected by outages.

The state power company said that service has been restored in Turrialba, La Alegría de Siquirres, San Ramón and Ciudad Quesada. In all, it said, there were 300 outages that work crews handled. The firm also said there were lesser problems in Alajuela, Naranjo, Abangares, Santa Elena, Tilarán, Guayabo, Santa Rita, Nosara and La Cruz, as well as the central Pacific.

Rains and rising rivers and streams caused some flooding. In
Cuerpo de Bomberos photo
Fire fighters remove part of a fallen tree at an Heredia home.

Banacol de Siquirres 32 homes were flooded, and on the Caribbean coast in Batán, Matina, there were 10 homes affected, said the emergency commission.
There was up to 260 millimeters (10 inches) of rain in the northern zone and parts of the Caribbean coast, said the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional. The winds of up to 60 mph were expected to continue through today, and the rain might stick around through Friday, the institute said.

The country from San Isidro del General south appears to have avoided much of the bad weather.

The emergency commission issued a strongly worded warning to bathers citing the danger of  rip tides provoked by the wind-whipped high seas.

Customs inspectors held in shakedown of arriving air travelers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial investigators said Wednesday that three customs inspectors at Juan Santamaría airport were shaking down arriving air travelers.

Agents arrested three customs employees, all in their 50s, at the airport and a fourth man who worked as a baggage handler, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The crimes alleged date back to 2014.

The investigating agency said that the customs inspectors would tell arriving travelers that they carried baggage that weighed too much. Then they threatened to confiscate some of the luggage or packages.

The air traveler victims were extorted for sums ranging from $70 to $160, said the judicial agency.

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You don't have to be a United States president to get on the $10 bill!
By the Washington University in St. Louis news staff

Ask Americans to name the former U.S. president whose face currently graces the U.S. $10 dollar bill and most will be quick to answer Alexander Hamilton.

Sure, it’s a trick question. But a new study from memory researchers at Washington University in St. Louis confirms that most Americans are confident that Alexander Hamilton was once president of the United States.

“Our findings from a recent survey suggest that about 71 percent of Americans are fairly certain that Alexander Hamilton is among our nation’s past presidents,” said Henry L. Roediger III, a human memory expert at Washington University. “I had predicted that Benjamin Franklin would be the person most falsely recognized as a president, but Hamilton beat him by a mile.

“The interesting thing is that their confidence in Hamilton having been president is fairly high, higher than for six or so actual presidents.”

Roediger has been testing the ability of undergraduate college students to remember the names of presidents since 1973, when he first administered the test to undergraduates while a psychology graduate student at Yale University.

Roediger’s 2014 study in the journal Science suggests that as a nation residents do fairly well at naming the first few and the last few presidents in the order they served. But recall abilities then fall off quickly, with fewer than 20 percent able to remember more than the last eight or nine presidents in order.

The focus of the current study is a bit different, said Roediger, because it’s designed to gauge how well Americans can recognize the names of past presidents, as opposed to the much greater challenge of directly recalling them from memory and listing their names on a blank sheet of paper.

This study, published online this week in the journal Psychological Science, is co-authored by K. Andrew DeSoto, a former psychology graduate student at Washington University who is now a research methodology fellow at the Association for Psychological Science.

“Our studies over the past 40 years show that Americans can recall about half the U.S. presidents, but the question we explore with this study is whether people know the presidents but are simply unable to access them for recall,” Roediger said.

The current study is based on a name recognition test administered to 326 people via Mechanical Turk, an interactive online service operated by Amazon.

Participants were asked to identify past presidents when presented with a list of names that included actual presidents and non-presidents, such as Hamilton and Franklin. The lists also presented other false items, including familiar names from American history and non-famous common names, such as Thomas Moore. With each president-or-non-president response, participants indicated their level of certainty on a scale of zero-to-100, where 100 was absolutely certain.

The rate for correctly recognizing the names of past presidents was 88 percent, well above recall but far from perfect. Franklin Pierce and Chester Arthur were recognized less than 60 percent of the time. Hamilton was more frequently identified as president than several actual presidents, and people were very confident when saying he was president (83 on the 100-point scale).

The study identified three other prominent figures from American history that more than a quarter of those surveyed incorrectly recognize as past presidents, including Franklin,

Washington University in St. Louis photo
Alexander Hamilton, a founding father whose image now graces the U.S. $10 bill, was never president of the United States.

Hubert Humphrey and John Calhoun.

Perhaps more striking, nearly a third of those surveyed falsely recognized the common name Thomas Moore as someone who was once an American president.

Humphrey served as vice president and ran for president in 1968. Franklin was a famous American involved in the events surrounding the founding of the country and served as ambassador to France. Calhoun was a senator and vice president for seven years.

“These factors may account for their general familiarity in American history, but if subjects cannot recollect their roles, then false recognition as president may occur because subjects cannot oppose the high name familiarity with knowledge of their actual roles,” Roediger said. “John Calhoun is a surprise, because he was a supporter of states rights and slavery, but apparently people remember the name but not why they know it.”

The high false alarm rate for Thomas Moore, however, came as another surprise to the researchers. People with this name have served in the U.S. House of Representatives, but none is particularly famous.

“Our best guess is that the Anglo-Saxon structure of his name, the frequency of both parts of the name, and possibly his confusability with Sir Thomas More, the counselor to King Henry VIII, may have contributed to the name’s familiarity and false recognition,” Roediger said.

Roediger and DeSoto suggest that the ability to recognize the names of famous people hinges on those names appearing in a context that’s related to the source of their fame.

“Elvis Presley was famous, but he would never be recognized as a past president,” Roediger said. “Most of the names in our study that were falsely recognized as belonging to past presidents are those with strong ties to American history. These same individuals would not be recognized if the task were to recognize famous musicians from the 1960s. It’s not just enough to have a familiar name, but it must be a familiar name in the right context.”

This study adds to an emerging line of research that focuses on how people remember history, a field called collective memory or historical memory.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

                        Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

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Real estate-related services (paid category)
SOON with the coming of new power company regulations, we'll be installing PV (photo voltaic) for solar electricity. Yes, at last!
* PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!
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Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090


Real estate rental services (paid category)

cafetal home
Beautiful house for rent
Will be Available March 15, 2-bedroom, 2-bath fully-furnished house inside gated property, Internet, Wifi, cable TV. $700 + utilities. Located in Santa Barbara de Heredia. More information to my email:

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part
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Real estate for rent (paid category)
                                              Valley view

Boutique quality mountain homes for rent located on a small horse ranch on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes have stunning views of Costa Rica's Central Valley. Located at 7,300-foot altitude, our ranch borders the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the homes are hiking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. We offer various rental options for our 1- and 2-bedroom homes. Contact us at Ajsanch783@AOL.COM for more details.

Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry. $650 per month plus electricity. ½ month security deposit. No lease.  The larger apartments are $650 per month. They have larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be best for the prospective tenants to visit
Barrio Amon
the building to see the apartments.   For more information contact:  or call Hilda at 2221-7161.

Real Estate
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 29
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Axiom 890 pixels

Ferguson council rejects plan
pushed by Justice Department

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against the central U.S. city of Ferguson, Missouri, after it refused to accept a deal that would have reformed its mostly white police department.

The Ferguson City Council said the package, which had been negotiated between the federal government and city officials, costs too much.

At a news conference Wednesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said while she was sensitive to the city's cost concerns, "There is no price for constitutional policing."

Ms. Lynch said the residents of Ferguson have been waiting decades for justice,' having endured civil rights breaches that established a pattern and practice of racially biased policing.

Ferguson has been under Justice Department scrutiny since 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed, was fatally shot by white officer Darren Wilson during a street altercation 18 months ago. A grand jury and the Justice Department declined to prosecute Wilson, who resigned in November 2014.

But a scathing Justice Department report was critical of police and a profit-driven municipal court system. Following months of negotiations, an agreement between the federal agency and Ferguson was announced in January.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles defended the City Council's unanimous decision to revise the agreement. One revision removed language that required Ferguson to raise police salaries to attract better candidates, including more minority officers.

When Ferguson and the Justice Department reached a tentative agreement last month, Knowles said the city did not then have a clear understanding of the cost of implementing it.

Bill for drafting U.S. women
generates mixed opinions

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States has not had a military draft since 1973, but all males 18 to 25 years of age still must register with the Selective Service System. Soon, young women may be required to register as well.

Top Army and Marine Corps commanders recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the draft.

More than 200,000 American women are now on active military duty. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced last year that women may now serve in all combat roles. About 150 women have been killed on active duty in the conflicts since 2001, mainly by improvised explosive devices or in plane crashes.

Ruth ben-Ghiat, a professor of military history at New York University, says the commanders’ recommendation for women to register “reflects in part where we’re going in society today, with a full integration gender-wise of the Armed Forces. I also think it’s part of bridging the gap between military and civilian," she said. "So, for women, if you want equal rights, you’ll now have equal duties.”

Surveys show that about 85 percent of the men in special operations forces are against women being part of their unit.

Professor Ben-Ghiat says because of that opposition, it was “interesting that a Marine general was advocating it because there’s been so much reluctance in special ops to having women amongst their ranks. Part of this is cultural,” she added.

Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, unlike most of the other presidential candidates, is against the idea. Cruz, in a briefing a few days ago, called it political correctness.

Cruz said “the idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, I think, is wrong. It is immoral, and if I am president, we ain’t doing it.”

Young women, primarily, have been the push for draft registration.

Moravian College student Elizabeth Kyle-LaBell filed a class action discrimination lawsuit in 2013 against the Selective Service System. The college freshman said the statements by the commanders in front of the Senate Committee “made me feel like my whole case is reasonable and it is something that needs to be fixed, and women should be required to register for the draft if men are.”

When asked if she thought most women want to be included in registering for the draft, she said “no, but most men don’t want to be included in the draft either.”

Ms. Kyle-LaBell believes that “if it’s immoral for women to fight like men do, then men shouldn’t be fighting either. We should have no military."

New York City probably has the most unique location for any military recruiting station in America - right in the middle of Times Square.  When a reporter stopped by that station the other day, an Air Force recruiter, Sgt. Marco Smerkol, was talking with three young women who volunteered for military duty.

One of them, 17-year-old Emily De La Cruz, said that “if women have fought before in order for us to join the military, and if we were to have to join the draft, we should be ready to serve our country, fight for our country, defend our country.”

Another, 20-year-old Nicole Golfin, said, “I think it’s a great idea. I think women have just as equal-like power mentally, and physical strength to help fight for this country.”

The third woman recruit was college graduate Danielle Wilkins, 24. When asked about the idea of women registering for the draft, she said, “I’m kind of against it. I do believe that women and men should have the same equal opportunities, but I believe it should not be a requirement for women.”

No recent survey has yet to get a cross-section of American women’s feelings about registration. The National Organization for Women said that in 1980 it was opposed to the draft, but said that “if there is a draft, it supports including women on the same basis as men.”

Professor Ben-Ghiat summed it up this way: “point 4 percent of the American population serves in the military today. And women are half the population. So that is one big reason, special ops aside, the military is in favor of this.”

Finances trump good looks
as millennials seek a mate

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Whoever said money can’t buy love was wrong, according to a new Valentine’s Day-related survey that finds young U.S. men are more drawn to a robust bank account than a pretty face when it comes to searching for a mate.

The NerdWallet survey found that a majority of men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than looks.

“Among every other age group of men, we did find that physical attractiveness was more important…but among millennials, that’s actually switched,” said Courtney Miller, a data analyst at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. “We’re seeing 54 percent of  men who are feeling that financial attractiveness is actually more important than physical attractiveness.”

Finances are important across the board. Forty percent of all respondents said a partner’s financial situation is more critical than their physical attractiveness.

Bad credit can be a romantic deal breaker. About half of people at all income levels say they wouldn’t date anyone with bad credit. That number was higher among affluent Americans. More than half (51 percent) of people making more than $100,000 a year, said they wouldn’t date someone with bad credit. That number drops significantly to 38 percent among people earning less than $50,000 annually.

“Financial attractiveness is not something that’s talked about as much as physical attractiveness, but a large group of the population feels this is important, and I think it really speaks to how important finances are in general in our lives, how much credit scores impact your ability to get a home with someone down the road,” said Ms. Miller. “People might be looking at credit as a more important part of a relationship because it will affect how you build a future together.”

In some ways, millennial males are still traditional gentlemen. They plan to splurge on their significant others this Valentine’s Day, spending more on the romantic occasion, $371, than men in any other age group. They also plan to foot the bill, something 64 percent of all people surveyed agreed with.

“It’s higher among men in general but the majority of women also report that men should pay the bill, specifically on the first date and on Valentine’s Day,” Miller said. “We can’t make more generalized claims about dating in general, but it does appear that, on the first date at least, the majority of people, both men and women, do think that men should pay the entire bill.”

When it comes to Valentine’s Day spending for people in relationships, millennials in general (men and women) plan to drop the most money, $290, while people aged 35 to 54 plan to spend significantly less. However, romance apparently blooms again later in life with people between the ages of 55 to 64 spending almost as much as millennials. The oldest Americans, people 65 and older, plan to shell out the least on Valentine’s Day,  just $61, to celebrate with the romantic partner in their lives.

Obama decries nasty politics
in a visit to his home state

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama took a trip down memory lane Wednesday, recalling more political collegiality in his home state of Illinois where he first held public office and decrying the fractious national political scene in Washington.

In a visit to Springfield, Illinois, he told the legislature, where he was a state senator before entering national politics, that he recalled Republicans and Democrats voting against each other all the time, but that they also trusted each other.

“We didn’t call each other fascists and idiots,” Obama said, “because then we’d have to explain why we were playing poker with fascists and idiots.”

Now in the last year of his presidency, Obama has acknowledged his failure “to reduce the polarization and the meanness in our politics.”

He called for the elimination of the vast, unregulated sums of money being spent on U.S. political campaigns, creation of independent agencies to redraw congressional districts after the 2020 national population census, and easier rules for registering voters to encourage more citizen participation in government at all levels.

Obama lamented the harsh tone of American politics, even as he acknowledged the United States has a long history of candidates angrily calling each other foul names.

But he said, “We should insist on a higher form of discourse in our political life.”

Primary winners head south
to give voters their messages

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders and outspoken Republican billionaire Donald Trump coasted to big victories in their respective party presidential primaries in New Hampshire Tuesday, but the focus of the U.S. presidential campaign quickly moved to upcoming votes in South Carolina and Nevada.

Sanders, a Vermont senator, routed former secretary of State Hillary Clinton by a 60 to 38 percent margin in neighboring New Hampshire. Trump collected 35 percent of the Republican vote, more than double that of his nearest challenger, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, with even bigger margins over several other challengers.

The New Hampshire outcome winnowed the large Republican field of candidates, with former technology executive Carly Fiorina, the seventh place finisher in the primary, and the sixth place contender, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, announcing they have dropped out.

All of the top contenders immediately eyed the next party contests Feb. 20, when Republicans hold a primary election in South Carolina, a conservative state along the Atlantic coast, and Democrats hold party caucuses in the western state of Nevada, best known as the country's gambling center. Three days later, Republicans have their caucuses set for Nevada, while Democrats will hold their South Carolina primary Feb. 27.

The flamboyant Trump has routinely belittled his opponents, especially former Florida governor Jeb Bush, the son and brother of two U.S. presidents who finished fourth in the New Hampshire voting behind a conservative firebrand, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Fresh off his first-ever election victory, Trump, a one-time television reality show host, complained about a Kasich ad that targeted him and said he may "have to take a little tougher stance than I would have normally."

With a large field still in the race, Trump said his rivals are "all really potential threats, but, I'm OK at handling threats."

Early political surveys in South Carolina show Trump with a big lead over Cruz in a state long accustomed to tough political battles in Republican presidential campaigns. In the Democratic race there, Mrs. Clinton is holding a large edge over Sanders, largely because of her support from black voters, who are expected to comprise a large part of the electorate in the state's Democratic primary.

Sanders said his victory "sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California. And that is that the government of our great country belongs to all the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors and their Super PACs.”

His campaign launched ads Wednesday in Oklahoma, Minnesota, Colorado and Massachusetts, all states where he believes he has a chance to boost his nomination chances. Even with Sanders's New Hampshire win, U.S. political analysts still say Mrs. Clinton will eventually be the Democratic candidate in next November's national election to pick the successor to President Barack Obama, who leaves office next January.

After her trouncing in New Hampshire, Mrs. Clinton, the country's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013, conceded to Sanders, even as she pressed her contention that his proposals are unlikely to be enacted in politically fractious Washington.

"People have every right to be angry," Mrs. Clinton said. "But they are also hungry. They're hungry for solutions. What are we going to do? Here’s what we’re going to do. We take this campaign to the entire country. We fight for every vote in every state. We are going to fight for real solutions that make a real difference in people’s lives."
The New Hampshire results were in line with recent opinion polls which showed Sanders and Trump with comfortable, double digit leads over their rivals.
“We are going to make America great again,” a triumphant Trump told supporters during a victory speech. “But we’re going to do it the old fashioned way. We are going to start winning again, and we are going to win so much, you are going to be so happy,” Trump added.

The soft-spoken Kasich, whose campaign has focused on issues rather than personal attacks, put nearly all his resources into doing well in New Hampshire.
“Maybe, just maybe, we are turning the page on a dark part of American politics, because tonight the light overcame the darkness of negative campaigning,” Kasich said after the vote during what felt like a victory speech even as he trailed far behind Trump.
Bunched up a few percentage points behind Kasich were Cruz, Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio of  Florida. They each received about 11 percent of the vote.

It is not clear whether the result will further narrow the Republican field. But, many analysts now say that Trump appears to be the consensus GOP frontrunner.
“When you consider all the negative comments that are made about him, all the attacks, if he can survive it, and beat all these guys by 10 points or more, then he’s clearly the frontrunner,” conservative pollster Frank Luntz said.

There's no lack of material
for making political satire

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

With the U.S. presidential campaign in full swing, the candidates are providing an endless source of material for actors and comedians to take to their own stages.

In Hollywood, a comedy show called "Candidate Confessions" is drawing crowds who enjoy laughing at the antics of the presidential contenders.

At the Second City comedy club, the musical performance pokes fun at the U.S. presidential candidates and President Barack Obama.

"This has been the most exciting, interesting primary season I've ever seen," said writer and actor Erin Coleman, who plays Hillary Clinton.

Many of the show's writers say the candidates, with their physical appearance and personality quirks, provide plenty of material for inspiration.

"Sometimes, it's really easy because the candidates give you such gold," said writer Josh Willis.

However, writing a fresh song about Mrs. Clinton posed a challenge, admitted director and writer Rani O'Brien.

"That was the most difficult, just because she's so well known," O'Brien said.

Yet Coleman found a way to convey humor.

"She rolls her eyes dismissively, which I think is hilarious, when she just has no tolerance for fools and so she has a little eye roll that she does," Coleman said. "She has a laugh that will come out at inappropriate times that we do in the number a couple of times. She can get crazy eyes when she is trying to emit human warmth."

The writers of "Candidate Confessions" readily acknowledge they are lampooning the candidates, but say the comedy hits on some truths.

"All of these jokes come from a true place about the candidates," said Willis, who is one of the writers of the Donald Trump song. "I think in some ways, we find truth about candidates through comedy in a way that we don't get by watching them perform in speeches and debates."

The Donald Trump song includes the derogatory comments he made last year about illegal Mexican immigrants, calling them criminals and rapists. Willis feared some of Trump's remarks might be too offensive, but "most of that made it anyhow."

Members of the audience say political satire similar to "Candidate Confessions" is a part of everyday entertainment for many people in their 20s and 30s. This age group, known as millennials, grew up watching political satire on television and social media.

Millennials make up a good chunk of the audience in "Candidate Confessions." Ivan Orlic is one of them. He said that for some, such satire is their only source of news.

"It's playing this really important role that some of the traditional media are failing to reach, the audience that satirical comedy can engage so effectively," Orlic said.

Willis considers satire an important part of the American political process.

"There's nothing like being able to poke fun at your politicians," he said. "In a way, we also poke fun at ourselves, and I think that's a really healthy aspect of this kind of comedy, too."

O'Brien believes that if Mrs. Clinton saw the show, she would like it.

"She'd just think it was silly, and kind of true and kind of not true, and she'd just think it was ridiculous," O’Brien said.

As for Trump's reaction, Willis thinks he might use a few colorful words, but in the end he would probably like the song about him.

"He said almost everything that's in the song," Willis said.

The writers say that as the political season continues, they will make adjustments to the show to keep it current.

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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
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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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Early pot use reported bad for brain

By the  Center for BrainHealth news staff

The age at which an adolescent begins using marijuana may affect typical brain development, according to researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas. In a paper recently published in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, scientists describe how marijuana use, and the age at which use is initiated, may adversely alter brain structures that underlie higher order thinking.

Findings show study participants who began using marijuana at the age of 16 or younger demonstrated brain variations that indicate arrested brain development in the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for judgment, reasoning and complex thinking. Individuals who started using marijuana after age 16 showed the opposite effect and demonstrated signs of accelerated brain aging.

“Science has shown us that changes in the brain occurring during adolescence are complex. Our findings suggest that the timing of cannabis use can result in very disparate patterns of effects,” explained Francesca Filbey, principal investigator at the Center for BrainHealth.“Not only did age of use impact the brain changes but the amount of cannabis used also influenced the extent of altered brain maturation.”

The research team analyzed MRI scans of 42 heavy marijuana users. Twenty participants were categorized as early onset users with a mean age of 13.18, and 22 were labeled as late onset users with a mean age of 16.9. According to self-reports, all participants, ages 21-50, began using marijuana during adolescence and continued throughout adulthood, using cannabis at least one time per week.

According to Ms. Filbey, in typical adolescent brain development, the brain prunes neurons, which results in reduced cortical thickness and greater gray and white matter contrast. Typical pruning also leads to increased gyrification, which is the addition of wrinkles or folds on the brain’s surface. However, in this study, MRI results reveal that the more marijuana early onset users consumed, the greater their cortical thickness, the less gray and white matter contrast, and the less intricate the gyrification, as compared to late onset users.

These three indexes indicate that when participants began using marijuana before age 16, the extent of brain alteration was directly proportionate to the number of weekly marijuana use in years and grams consumed, the research said. Contrastingly, those who began using marijuana after age 16 showed brain change that would normally manifest later in life: thinner cortical thickness, stronger gray and white matter contrast.

“In the early onset group, we found that how many times an individual uses and the amount of marijuana used strongly relates to the degree to which brain development does not follow the normal pruning pattern. The effects observed were above and beyond effects related to alcohol use and age. These findings are in line with the current literature that suggest that cannabis use during adolescence can have long-term consequences,” said Ms. Filbey.

Ms. Filbey notes that a longitudinal study would be necessary to establish a causal relationship between brain alterations and marijuana use. Her future studies will explore cognitive and behavioral changes associated with structural brain change and consider the different patterns of development within the adolescent period and how these patterns could lead to non-linear effects.

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From Page 7:

Construction expo will begin Wednesday

 By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

ExpoConstrucción y Vivienda begins Wednesday for a five-day run at the Centro de Eventos Pedregal.

This construction showcase will feature 78 firms that provide housing from $45,000 to $1 million, according to the Cámara de la Construcción, the sponsor. There will be 210 firms in all with displays, said the chamber.

New materials, appliances and building products as well as financing also will be offered. The chamber said 14 financing providers will be represented.

This is the 18th annual edition of the expo. The expo opens at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Feb. 18 and 19 the hours are from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 20 and 21 the hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The chamber said it expects 45,000 visitors. There is a small admission charged.