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(506) 2223-1327                           Published Friday, March 11, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 50                            Email us
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Jurel (Trachurus murphyi), known as jack mackerel in English, along with lisa (Chelon labrosus), mullet, compete for buyers’ attention with shrimp.

There are hundreds of recipes online.
Unión de Comerciantes Pesqueros photo
There is something fishy about the Easter season
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The consumption of fish is just short of mandatory for Catholics during Semana Santa. That is why there are large displays of sardines and other canned sea foods at the local supermarket.

That also is why supermarket officials have inched up the prices.

Fasting and abstinence are part of Roman Catholic canon law and affect all believers 14 and through 60. That means that at certain times the faithful should reduce their consumption and abstain from red meat as a way of atoning for their sins.

Fish are well represented in the New Testament, including the parable of the loaves and fishes. Most of the apostles were fishermen, according to the biblical accounts.

During the 40 days of  Lent, Catholics are asked to abstain from red meat on Fridays and certainly on Good Friday, the traditional date of the crucifixion of Jesus.

The requirements are not as strict as they used to be, and they vary by country. Time was when mortification of the flesh was a popular
way to atone for sins. The secretive Penitentes  in New Mexico will go so far as to nail a volunteer to the cross again this year.

In Costa Rica, the seasonal fish dishes have transcended religious rules and have become part of a popular tradition.

The merchants who sell fish at the Mercado Central in San José are dedicating all next week to a festival over their products. Fish are the reluctant guests at the Feria del Pescado, which runs from Monday until Sunday, which happens to be Palm Sunday or Domingo de Ramos in Spanish. That Sunday is the beginning of Semana Santa or Holy Week. Hours are from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The organizer, the Unión de Comerciantes Pesqueros del Mercado Central, promises entertainment, including those towering mascaradas, the cimarronas street bands, face painting for kids, mimes and other diversions.

The mercado itself is a step back into the 19th century when it was the mall of its day. As Latin American central markets go, the market here is clean and well maintained. The market also is known for its many small restaurants and specialized food shops. The operator is the municipality.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 50
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Professional Directory
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.


Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

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DR. Cavallini
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Real estate agents and services


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Our reader’s opinion
Sanders fan says races are unprecedented

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Granted, I've not been back to Costa Rica in three years. But I still keep tabs on what is going on via A.M. Costa Rica, the "other" on line newspaper, several Facebook community forums in which I participate, reading La Nación daily, and regular snail mail correspondence with two Tico friends who keep me apprised of how their countrymen view what is happening up here in the States.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I am actively involved in Bernie Sanders' campaign for the White House. I have been on the front lines of mobilizing voter support in states as diverse as Louisiana and Michigan, where Sen. Sanders scored a major and important upset victory over Hillary Clinton March, 8. I've worked in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts, where Sanders scored big victories in three of those four New England states. Sanders lost to Mrs. Clinton in my home state of Massachusetts by barely 2 percentage points, despite the fact the state's powerful Democratic party establishment was solidly behind Mrs. Clinton.

I want to tip my hat to all the Democrats Abroad in Costa Rica who, in their "primary," demonstrated solid support for Sen. Sanders over Mrs. Clinton.

But beyond the Bernie/Hillary race, what is so compelling about this presidential election cycle is that so much of what is happening is, truly, unprecedented, especially in relation to the way in which both major party establishments are seeing their authority and primacy challenged by their respective bases.

On the Democratic side, the resentment and frustration over what the base sees as a blatant bias on the part of the so called liberal media for Hillary Clinton is reaching the boiling point. No matter what primary or caucus Sanders prevails in, the liberal media continue to perpetuate the myth that he faces a never ending tough road ahead, and that Mrs. Clinton's massive lead in the delegate count makes it all but impossible for Bernie to ultimately prevail in his quest for the nomination.

There is just one problem with that meme. Mrs. Clinton's big edge in the delegate count is not the result of delegates won via the popular vote or primary and caucus victories. It is the result of the existence in the Democratic party of so called super delegates. Such delegates are members of the powerful party establishment who pledge their support to the candidate of their choice before a single popular vote is even cast. As in 2008, Mrs. Clinton started out this election cycle with a significant majority of those several hundred self anointed super delegates pledging their support to her. She was, after all, the Democratic candidate all the conventional wisdom said was not only inevitable as the party's standard bearer, but some how entitled to that honor as well.

The emergence of Bernie Sanders as the political force that he has become, however, has turned that conventional political wisdom on its ear.

Nearly 80 percent of Democratic primary voters have yet to go to the polls. For the liberal media to continue to minimize that political reality and perpetuate the meme about Hillary being inevitable as or entitled to be the nominee is to ignore history and to insult the intelligence of rank and file Democrats in ways that are as offensive and foolhardy as the Republican establishment's treatment of its base has been in recent years. 

That treatment has cost the Republican party dearly, and allowed for the emergence of a dangerous, narcissistic, demagogue like Donald Trump to emerge on the scene and threaten the stability of not just the US, but perhaps even the world.

What is happening in the Republican party, as the right wing Frankenstein monster the party establishment nurtured, coddled, and enabled for tawdry political gain for decades, and foolishly thought it could control, runs amok through the land, is not just unprecedented. It is frightening.

The party my maternal grandfather took such pride in, the party that once produced leaders and public servants of the caliber of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, Dwight Eisenhower, Margaret Chase Smith, Edward Brooke, Nelson Rockefeller, George Herbert Walker Bush, John McCain, and Sandra Day O'Connor, has, tragically, devolved into the party of crackpots and miscreants like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Congressmen Louie Goehmert and Steve King, Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and, of course, Donald Trump, a man who gives a whole new meaning to what the comedienne Rose Anne Barr called "white trash with cash" way back in the 1990's.

So, my fellow Americans in Costa Rica, pay close attention to what is happening up here in the country so many of you, be ye liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, love to bash and denigrate, because what is happening is truly unprecedented and is going to impact your lives down there in the land of the mythical pura vida in ways many of you probably cannot yet imagine.

Especially if Das Donald or Señor Cruz should prevail in November.

Michael Cook
Gloucester, Massachusetts

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 50
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Organized crime bill voted out of legislative committee
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A legislative committee approved Thursday and sent to the full assembly a bill that sets up a parallel judicial system to handle organized crime cases.

The bill would create separate trial tribunals and separate appeals courts. The bill also calls for providing protection to those judicial workers involved in organized crime cases.

The bill grew out of concern about possible criminal penetration
of the Poder Judicial and the vulnerability of prosecutors and judges. 
In last-minute addition, the bill would change the name of the Dirección de Inteligencia y Seguridad to the Dirección de Inteligencia Estratégica Nacional.

The bill is concerned mostly with drug organizations, which a preface says become involved in trafficking, piracy, money laundering and other non-drug major crimes. The initial bill described a crime organization being composed of at least two persons who have specific roles in planning to commit a major crime.

The committee passed a revised text for which the contents are not yet available.

Shrimp trawling bill appears dead for at least this legislative session
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Environmentalists are expressing their pleasure that a bill to reinstitute trawling for shrimp has been withdrawn by the executive branch.

Among them is the Fundación MarViva which said that Thursday the executive branch withdrew the measure from the Comisión de Ambiente. The foundation said that also happy were academics, some fishing organizations and members of the Liberación Nacional and Frente Amplio political parties.

The Sala IV ruled in August 2013 that trawling was unconstitutional because of the environmental damage it does.

Those in the industry have been trying since to find a way around the ruling.

Shrimp trawlers sometimes trap sea turtles in the nets and also do damage to coral under water.

MarViva said that the bill was opposed by 16 different organizations.

Those who made their living by trawling for shrimp naturally sought a bill that would allow them to continue working. Casa Presidencial was sympathetic.

A revised bill could be sent again to lawmakers.

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Palermo Hotel

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 50
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Google computer again beats world’s best player of go game
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

World champion go player Lee Sedol said he was speechless after a second straight loss Thursday to Google's AlphaGo, a new style of intuitive artificial intelligence.

Lee and AlphaGo are playing a best-of-five-games, human vs. machine challenge of the ancient Chinese game go, considered one of the most complex board games.

"I am quite speechless. I admit it was a very clear loss on my part," Lee told reporters in Seoul after the match. Before the challenge, the 33-year-old had predicted he would beat the supercomputer in a landslide.

Appearing grim and ashen after the four-hour match, Lee said he had found no weakness in AlphaGo's performance during Thursday's match. "AlphaGo played a near-perfect game today. . . . . I will try my best so that I will win at least one game."

Lee has to win the next three games to be held Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday to win the $1 million cash prize. Even if he loses Saturday's match, he said he will play all five games. However, “the third game is not going to be easy for me,” Lee said Thursday.

If AlphaGo wins, Google will donate the money to charity.

Wednesday, South Korea and go fans were in shock after the computer program beat Lee, who has won 18 world championships.

Google AlphaGo photo
An example of a game in progress.

Hundreds of thousands of people are watching the games live on TV in Asia and on Google's DeepMind YouTube channel.

AlphaGo's creators have described go as the Mount Everest of AI, citing the complexity of the game, which requires a degree of creativity and intuition to prevail over an opponent.

Go, which originated in China more than 2,500 years ago, is a complex game with an almost incalculable number of move options.

The game involves two players who take turns placing black and white stones on a grid-shaped board. The winner is the player who manages to seal off more territory.

The most famous AI victory to date was in 1997, when the IBM-developed supercomputer Deep Blue beat then-world class chess champion Garry Kasparov.

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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Real estate-related services (paid category)
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Real estate rental services (paid category)

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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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Property is a small house on a 16-acre farm in Desamparaditos, a small village located 5K NW of Santiago de Puriscal. 15 minutes to Puriscal, 1 hour to San José and the airport, all paved roads. House has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath, large  open kitchen/dining/living area. Nice veranda with great views. Many fruit trees. Private but not isolated with all utilities. Rent $550/month long term, short term negotiable. Tenant pays for electricity and phone. Landlord pays water. Absolutely no pets. In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 7187-8577, in the USA call Pete Todd at 970-221-1457 or 720-951-7928.

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 CR house telephone number 2654- 4145  We will be in our house in Flamingo,  March 11 thru April 30.

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

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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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A.M. Costa Rica's  
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Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 50
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Axiom 890 pixels

U.S. rights council targets
China as being problematic

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States and Western countries have criticized what they said was China’s ongoing problematic human rights record. The criticism was in an unprecedented joint statement issued Thursday during a United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva. 

A U.S. State Department official said this joint statement is the first collective action taken regarding China at the Human Rights Council since its inception in 2007.

Chinese diplomat Fu Cong vigorously rejected the U.S.-led criticism. He in turn criticized the U.S. for crimes including the rape and murder of civilians. 

Fu told the council “the U.S. is notorious for prison abuse at Guantanamo prison. Its gun violence is rampant. Racism is its deep-rooted malaise."

State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said on Thursday during the daily briefing that disagreement on human rights issues between two countries will not affect overall cooperation.

“We are by no means perfect,” said Toner.

The joint statement called recent cases of unexplained disappearances and apparent coerced returns of Chinese and foreign citizens from outside mainland China unacceptable extraterritorial actions, as well as out of step with the expectations of the international community and a challenge to the rules-based international order.

Five Hong Kong booksellers, including owner Gui Minghai, have gone missing since last October. They were thought to have been abducted and taken into Beijing’s custody for selling literature banned in mainland China. 

Earlier this month, two of the Causeway Bay bookshop employees were released briefly and allowed to return to Hong Kong.  After they requested the police to drop their cases of missing persons, two booksellers were reported going straight back to the mainland.

The joint statement also expressed concern about the increasing number of individuals whose confessions have been aired on state media prior to any indictment or judicial process. 

In late February, a prominent Chinese rights lawyer Zhang Kai confessed on state television to disturbing social order.  He has been helping to defend Christians resisting authority’s orders to remove crosses from buildings.  Zhang was arrested last year shortly before a planned meeting with the U.S. envoy on religious freedoms. 

Following Zhang Kai’s purported confession, the State Department urged China to release Zhang and others “detained for seeking to peacefully uphold the freedom of religion guaranteed in China’s constitution.”

Human Rights Watch’s China director, Sophie Richardson, applauded the joint statement, saying it took an unprecedented and courageous stand condemning China’s relentless crackdown on human rights.

The joint statement was endorsed by the United States, Ireland, the U.K., Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

Repeal of blasphemy laws
urged to promote basic rights

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The special U.N. investigator on freedom of religion or belief is calling for the universal repeal of blasphemy laws, saying they restrict freedom of expression and promote hatred of and intolerance toward minority religions.

In a report submitted Thursday to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Heiner Bielefeldt said freedom of religion and freedom of expression are mutually reinforcing, allowing both rights to flourish, but that blasphemy laws cast a pall over these basic rights.  He said religious minorities suffer most from the chilling effects the laws create.

Bielefeldt said Pakistan is known for its draconian blasphemy laws that even carry the death penalty.  Although the ultimate sentence has never been carried out, he said many people accused of blasphemy are on death row. 

The investigator said studies show that religious minorities in Pakistan who suffer disproportionally from the laws include Shi’ites, Christians and Ahmadis, who are accused of not being true Muslims. But, he noted numerous countries in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Central Asia and even Europe have blasphemy laws on the books.

Bielefeldt said Germany, Denmark, Poland and Greece either have laws that hark back to the old colonial period or, what he calls, post-blasphemy laws.  These, he said, are not meant to honor God, but to protect religious feelings.  He said that Russia also has tightened its blasphemy laws.

“Russia, also in the U.N. Human Rights Council now, really has taken over the torch from Pakistan to argue for the protection of the feelings of ordinary believers, which means mainly, of course, Orthodox believers.  So, usually these blasphemy laws protect majorities, the feelings of majorities, while minorities pay the price,” Bielefeldt said. 

In the interest of clarity and credibility, Bielefeldt said European countries should clean up the old-fashioned blasphemy laws or post-blasphemy laws as the Parliamentarian Assembly of the Council of Europe has demanded. 

While the laws are largely associated with Muslim countries, he said they also exist within Hindu, Buddhist and Christian societies. He said they often are used to stifle critical voices and breed intolerance, discrimination and hatred against people based on religious belief.

In Central Asian countries and Russia, Bielefeldt said religious minorities increasingly are being targeted and arrested in the name of fighting extremism.  While fighting extremism is a legitimate concern, he said this must not be done at the expense of restricting people’s basic human rights.

U.S. health officials predicting
massive numbers of zika cases

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The top U.S. disease prevention official said Thursday that there could be hundreds of thousands of zika cases in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico in the coming months if precautions are not taken.

Tom Frieden, chief of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters he was making Puerto Rico his top priority in the fight against the virus.

"Nothing about zika is going to be quick, and nothing about zika is going to be easy," Frieden said. "We can't eliminate zika at this point, but we can protect people and greatly reduce the impact."

The mosquito-borne virus is especially dangerous for pregnant women.

Frieden, who visited the Caribbean island this week, said that just two weeks ago, Puerto Ricans appeared unconcerned about zika. That's not true now, he said.

"Every pregnant woman we talked with is taking this very seriously," he said. "They all have heard of zika. They are all very worried about zika. They want help and support to protect themselves against zika."

Friden said he was especially concerned about the large number of women in Puerto Rico who said they did not want to get pregnant but did not use birth control. He said these women clearly should be using contraception.

Most zika cases are mild, and many victims never show any symptoms. But the virus is suspected of causing pregnant women to give birth to babies affected by microcephaly, a defect that leaves them with unusually small heads and brains.

Brazil, which has been hit hardest by zika, has reported more than 4,000 cases of microcephaly since October.

Health experts are strongly advising women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant to avoid traveling to countries affected by zika, including much of Latin America.

Since the World Health Organization declared the zika virus a public health emergency, scientists have linked it to paralysis and brain infections in adults, but the virus has saved its most horrifying outcome for developing fetuses.

A study at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore showed that zika infects and kills the very cells that form the developing brain.

Another study, this one at the University of California-Los Angeles in conjunction with researchers at the Fiocruz Institute in Brazil, "found a strong link between zika and adverse pregnancy outcomes, which haven’t been documented before,” according to Karin Nielsen, the senior author of the study at the university’s School of Medicine.

Olympic athletes still planning
to compete in Brazilian games

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The countdown is under way to the Summer Olympics, which will start on August 5 in Rio de Janeiro.

U.S. athletes who met this week with reporters in California said they are focused on the competition, despite health concerns, including zika virus, which is spreading in Brazil.  The mosquito-borne virus causes mild infections in most people, but poses a risk to unborn babies.   It has been linked to microcephaly, a condition in which children are born with abnormally small heads, and other defects.

The World Health Organization has urged pregnant women to avoid travel to areas where the zika virus is spreading, including Brazil, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said pregnant women should consider not going to the Olympics.

U.S. women's soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo said if she had to make the decision now, she would not go to Rio.

At the Team USA media summit, Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long said each Olympic site has its challenges “and this is just another thing out of my control.  And I'm going to Rio to compete,” she said.

The Paralympics, for athletes with physical disabilities, will follow the Olympics and start Sept. 7.

Rio Olympics organizing committee spokesman Mario Andrada says the games will take place during winter in the Southern Hemisphere, when mosquito-borne infections are less likely.  He said precautions can reduce the risk, including wearing long sleeves.

"Keep the windows closed during the evenings, use the air conditioning, use repellents whenever you're competing outside,” he said.

Polluted waters are a concern to canoers, rowers and open water swimmers, but sailing competitor Briana Provancha says her team has made eight visits to Brazil and spent many days on the water.

“We're prepared,” she said, adding that the athletes are “trying really hard to not make that a distraction.”

Her teammate, Annie Haeger, says Brazilians face higher risks than athletes.

“We’re going to be down there for a week, and then we go back to our homes,” she said.  “And people down there in Rio are actually the people that we actually should be concerned about because they’re dealing with that water every single day.”

For Brazil, the road to Rio has been rocky.  Construction on some Olympic venues has been plagued with problems, but spokesman Andrada said all should be ready for the games.  The only delay announced so far is for a cycling test event initially planned for March at the velodrome and postponed for six weeks.

Islamic State documents seen
as mixture of true and faked

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Nagging doubts are tempering expectations that a purported trove of data files stolen from the Islamic State will help unmask the terror group's foreign fighter network and perhaps lead to a crippling blow against the self-declared caliphate.

Counterterrorism experts in the United States, Britain, Germany and other countries are studying the tens of thousands of files obtained by Britain's Sky News from someone it described as an Islamic State defector.

The former Islamic State fighter claimed he stole a memory stick from the head of the terror organization's internal security wing. The files are believed to hold information about more than 22,000 of the group's members, recruits and sympathizers.

Reports from Britain, Germany and Syria said the files contained information about jihadists from 51 countries, including 23 questions that Islamic State recruits must answer before they can be accepted as members of the extremist organization.

"We believe there is a high probability that these documents are genuine," a spokesman for Germany's Federal Criminal Police said.

But some Western intelligence officials and analysts have raised concerns about the files, suggesting that genuine information may be mixed with forged documents in order to drive up their sale price.

A Western intelligence official who has seen the documents said that these officials and analysts think the files don’t provide full details on 22,000 fighters, as widely reported, but only on 1,736 fighters. Most of the fighters identified come from 40 countries. A quarter are Saudis and the rest mainly Tunisian, Moroccan and Egyptian.

Only a small proportion, the source said, are from the West. Four are Americans, and a half dozen are from Canada. European recruits listed are from France, Germany and Britain. The British names were all previously known, and the identified fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey in November and December 2013. 

There also are concerns that the files have been shopped around for more than a year, in what may be part of a growing attempt to meet a demand for information on the Islamic State.

In recent weeks, vendors have been offering for sale in southern Turkey, especially in the border towns of Gaziantep and Urfa, documents and thumb drives.

White House Photo/Chuck Kennedy 
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada review the troops during the State Arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House.

Obama welcomes Trudeau
and stresses national links

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed fellow progressive leader Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the White House Thursday for the first such state visit in nearly two decades.

"We're woven together so deeply as societies, as economies, that it's sometimes easy to forget how truly remarkable our relationship is,'' Obama said during a joint news conference with Trudeau.

During an arrival ceremony earlier in the day, Obama highlighted shared values noting universal health care, freedom of religion and the diversity in both nations.

"As NATO allies we stand united against terrorism, and for the rights of nations like Ukraine to determine their own destiny. As leaders at the United Nations, we stand up for peace and security and the human rights of all people," the American president said.

On the White House South Lawn, a crowd cheered as Obama and Trudeau shook hands with onlookers, some gushing "Oh my gosh."

Like the U.S. president, 44-year old Trudeau campaigned on a similar message of hope and change. His Liberal Party swept Canada's parliamentary election last October, unseating Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party, who had been in power since 2006.

"Mr. Prime Minister, your election and the first few months in office have brought a new energy and dynamism not only to Canada, but to the relationship between our nations. We have a common outlook on the world. And I have to say, I have never seen so many Americans so excited about the visit of a Canadian prime minister," Obama said.

The two leaders focused on fighting climate change, boosting trade and fighting the Islamic State militant group during talks Thursday in the Oval Office, before holding a news conference in the Rose Garden that centered mostly on the state of U.S. politics in this presidential election year.

When asked about the potential effect on the U.S.-Canada relationship, should Republican candidate Donald Trump be elected American president, the Canadian prime minister, whom some call the "anti-Trump," spoke broadly.

"The friendship between our two countries goes far beyond any two individuals or any ideologies," Trudeau noted. "I have tremendous confidence in the American people and look forward to working with whomever they choose to send to this White House later this year."

Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States. The new Canadian leader was seen personally greeting Syrian refugees at the Toronto airport with the words "Welcome home, you are home." Canada has accepted 25,000 Syrian refugees into the country.

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San Rmon
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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: 
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Ocean View Property for Sale in San Ramón
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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: 
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Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
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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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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 50
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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
Ciudad Neily, Golfito arts festival sites

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Culture ministry officials amplified their decision Thursday and said that this year’s arts festival will be held in Ciudad Neily and Golfito. The ministry had said the event would be in the southern zone.

This will be the 26th annual edition of the Festival de las Artes, and this year the title does not contain the word internacional. The festival last year was a disaster, in part because the ministry tried to place some of the events in other cantons. The decision this year is consistent with the Plan Nacional de Desarrollo, said the Ministerio de Cultura y Juvenud.

This year some 500 million colons, nearly $1.4 million, is earmarked for the event, which will be from Aug. 5 to 14.

Additional events will be organized for Río Claro, Conte, Ciudad Cortés, Palmar, Rey Curré, San Vito, La Cuesta/Laurel and Agua Buena, said the ministry.

Jokester blacklisted over his video

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The security ministry said it has barred the visit of a Nicaraguan comedian because his life would be in danger.

That was the excuse announced Thursday for putting the name of  Reynaldo Ruiz on the immigration blacklist. Ruiz and an associate, José Ramón Quintanilla, make up the Grupo INN. They were scheduled to perform next week at an entertainment event directed mostly for Nicaraguans. A Nicaraguan restaurant was the organizer. The show has been canceled as a result of the government action.
The Ministerio de Seguridad Pública said it had taken the action in order to preserve the public order. An announcement added that workers for the  Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería at the various border crossings and airports had been instructed to bar the comedian.

 Th announcement said that the government respects liberty of expression but also considers more important the physical integrity of artists.

But it also cited xenophobic actions by small sectors in both countries. The announcement did not make clear if the ministry was talking about third parties or the comedian.

San José expat dies on Canadian visit

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Millie Garlow, 91, a San José Centro resident, died Wednesday while visiting family in Hamilton, Ontario.

Mrs. Garlow was a member of the congregation
at the Catedral Metropolitana.

She passed away in Hamilton, Ontario, in the presence of her grandchild Marvin Garlow and Mary Fuendes, the family said. 

Mrs. Garlow was a retired secretary. There will be a private gathering at the family home in Canada to celebrate her life Saturday before she is returned to San Jose for a funeral and burial, said the family.

In addition to Garlow, she is survived by grandchildren Gerry Garlow, Carla Gonzales and Isabella Toscani. 

¸Mrs. Garlow
Millie Garlow

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From Page 7:

Inspectors on the prowl for unregistered items

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The health ministry said that it has inspected 12 establishments in San José Centro, Tibás, Aserrí and Alajuela Centro and confiscated 6,840 products already this month.

The locations were mainly supermarkets, distributors and health food outlets.

In addition to the Ministerio de Salud, inspectors came from the Ministerio de Economía Industria y Comercio, the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal and the local municipal police, it said.

The goal of the inspections was to verify that the products on sale were correctly registered with the health ministry and correctly labeled, said a report.

The economics ministry is interested in the correct labeling of products.