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Published Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 62
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There probably is no such thing as a nice campaign
By Jay Brodell
Editor of A.M. Costa Rica

Those who are seeking a clean, issues-oriented presidential campaign are in the wrong universe. Politics, whether local or national, always have been gutter affairs.

A series of U.S. publications have come forth with historical perspectives on campaigns that basically show other campaigns have involved more dirty tricks, name calling and outright lies than the current one.

Who can forget that photo of then-presidential candidate Gary Hart on the yacht Monkey Business in March 1987 with Donna Rica on his lap. That photo was on the front page of the National Enquirer.

More U.S. politics HERE!

That same publication just came forth with an accusatory article about Rafael “Ted” Cruz, claiming the Republican candidate has been involved with five women who are not his wife. Cruz denies the article is true and claims the information was planted by the Donald Trump campaign.

Grover Cleveland also was the target of a sex allegation. That was in 1884 when Republican operatives disclosed that the New York bachelor had been paying child support. They came up with the slogan “Ma, Ma, where's my Pa?”

The Cleveland campaign alleged corruption by his opponent and created “Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, The Continental Liar from the State of Maine.”

Of course it was the Richard Nixon campaign that wrote the book on dirty tricks.

Eventually the campaign actions, including the Watergate break-in, and his lack of truthfulness cost him the presidency.

Even Jimmy Carter’s campaign sought out bad news about President Gerald Ford, a Republican, in the Colorado ski town where the Fords va

Then there was Willie Horton, the convicted murderer who got out of prison on parole and went on to add assault, armed robbery and rape to his resume. The George H.W. Bush in 1988 quickly blamed the Democratic candidate, Michael Dukakis for the Massachusetts weekend parole program.

In the early days of the Republic campaigns were even more ungentlemanly even though candidates did not campaign in person until 


later. The election also was more confusing.

In 1796 there were seven Federalist and five Democrat-Republican candidates on the ballot.

The winner, President John Adams, tried to insure a second term by persecuting the opposition even to the extent to having leading opponents thrown into jail.

In contrast Costa Rica today cracks down on reports of aggressive campaigning. A highly effective television commercial showing an Ottón Solís character beating up an Óscar Arias Sánchez character quickly was withdrawn during the 2006 campaign. The second vice president under Arias Kevin Casas ended up resigning because of a memo he wrote suggesting financial punishment for municipal officials who did not support the free trade treaty with the United States in a referendum.

Such niceties are a far cry from a claim that if Thomas Jefferson were elected president murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will openly be taught and practiced, as one newspaper of the time put it.

Campaign free for alls received legal support in the United States with the Times v. Sullivan decision that said public figures could sue for libel only if they could show allegations against them were known to be false by those making the claim. The U.S. Supreme Court called this actual malice in its 1964 decision. That legal requirement can seldom be met.

As the current presidential campaign heats up, Cruz can expect more questions about his faithfulness. Trump has said enough so that opponents have to do little digging. And Hillary Clinton can be the target of scandal in many ways due to the lengthy political record she has compiled. And with Bernie Sanders, another potential Democratic candidate, opponents need not look to his personal life because his stated policies clearly are untenable.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 62
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sewer plant
Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados photo
This 2.5 meter diameter tunnel carries the sewage flow from the southern metro area.

Los Tajos sewer plant has begun operation

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Los Tajos sewage plant is in operation with 36,000 connections in San José.

The Instituto  Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados said that the initial stage for the plant cost $48.2 million. Eventually more than a million persons in the metro area will be hooked up to the plant.

This means that less raw human waste will be flowing into the Río Grande de Tarcoles to be transported to the Gulf of Nicoya to end up on the country’s supposedly pristine beaches.

News reports have called the lack of treatment Costa Rica’s dirty little secret. Abel Pacheco, when he was president, joked that Río Tarcoles crocodiles are nourished by the Metro Area effluent, although he was more graphic.

The treatment plant is in La Carpio, a section of La Uruca west of the San José downtown. The facility was inaugurated nearly a year ago, but it was not operational at that time.

The initial step protects parts of the Ríos Rivera and Torres. Eventually all the metro area rivers will be protected for sewage drainage, according to the project plans. They include the rios Torres, María Aguilar and Tiribí.

The project also is designed to phase out individual septic tanks. Eventually the sewerage network will be expanded to Tibás, Moravia, Vásquez de Coronado, Goicoechea, and Montes de Oca the remaining part of San José, according to Acueductos y Alcantarillados

The total investment is expected to be $361 million. The money is coming from the Japanese International development agency, the Interamerican Development Bank and Banco Nacional with the addition of the national water institute’s funds.

Signups sought for higher motel tax

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government agency that benefits from a 60 percent tax on motel occupancies is urging that the relevant businesses sign up.

The tax is not on the type of motel where they leave the light on for traveling families. These are the sites for sexual contact for those who for some reason cannot go home.

The legislature doubled the tax in August, and the measure went into effect Feb. 26.

The beneficiary is the Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social, an anti-poverty agency.

The tax also covers massage parlors, night clubs, pensions and hotels that are not listed with the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo. These operations, too, are those designed for sexual encounters.

Such places already pay an additional 23 percent tax, so the final tax bill will be 83 percent on top of their own fees.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 62
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Import duty schedule shows why smuggling can be profitable
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Most expats know that the import duty on books is negligible, just 1 percent of the stated value. But are they aware of the biggies?

The customs agency that is part of the Ministerio de Hacienda has said that a criminal network is involved in the importation of some personal-use items into the country. They call it fraud.

A quick check of the schedule of import duties shows that such actions can be highly profitable. Shampoo, for example, carries a 49.27 percent import duty. The duty on hair cream is  68.60 percent.

Clearly smugglers are well positioned to offer their goods at a less than fair market price to distributors and even retail.

Several of the private mail service companies have current duty scheduled on their Web pages, where this information is taken.
Customs officials also have cracked down in the past on the smuggling of electronic devices. In most cases the smuggling really amounts to falsifying paperwork. There is profit in doing this, too.

Although computers are assessed just 13 percent of value as import duty, the monitor is assessed at  49.27 percent, as is a home theater setup. And those flat screen televisions that are such a great price at major retailers also carry a 49.27 percent import duty.

There does not seem to be any consistency in the rates of import duty, although garden equipment ranks right down there with books at 1 percent. Other hand tools are assessed 19.78 percent.

For some reason kitchen appliances are charged high import duty. Mixers are assessed at 49.27 percent, as is a coffee maker.

But leading the list are refrigerators. Bringing one of those into the country will cost the importer  81.48 percent.

U.S. Embassy provides water filters for 575 Guanacaste homes
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Embassy staff  has invested $35,000 to provide 575 families in Guanacaste with filters for domestic water. Those benefiting are in San Buenaventura, Peñas Blancas de Nicoya, Corralillos and Bambú 2 de Filadelfia, said the embassy.

Involved in distributing the donation also were workers for the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados and the non-profit Waves4Water, which sells the water filter devices.

The filters are designed to handle up to a million gallons of water before replacement. The filter traps bacteria that can cause illnesses such as cholera, said the embassy. Parasites are trapped, too, an announcement said. The embassy credited Jon Rose, a U.S. citizen for initiating the donation. He is a member of the board of directors of  Waves4Water, according to the non-profit’s Web site.

The filter devices are similar to those that might be carried by campers. In fact, Waves4Water markets devices for camping purposes.They do not seem to be suitable for elimanating heavy metals from water. Some areas of Guanacaste have naturally occurring arsenic in the ground water
Waves4Wate photo
This is the type of filter that is being distributed

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 62
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Building wall

A retaining wall in San Antonio de Naranjo is expected to be completed on Ruta 725 within 15 days, according to the  Consejo Nacional de Vialidad.

The job cost is put at 80 million colons or about $161,000.

Th road agency also said that Ruta 118 between Tacares de Grecia and Naranjo is being rebuilt. That is a 22 kilometer stretch.

big wall
Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
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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.
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Real estate rentals (paid category)

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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  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 62
Real Estate
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Axiom 890 pixels

Trump and Mrs. Clinton lead
in race for party nominations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new U.S. political survey shows Republican voters continue to favor real estate billionaire Donald Trump for the party's presidential nomination by a wide margin over his two remaining challengers, while the Democratic contest between former secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has narrowed.

The NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday showed the brash Trump with 48 percent support among Republicans, well ahead of  Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a conservative firebrand in the halls of Congress, who has 27 percent. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has 18 percent.

Trump also has a significant edge in winning delegates to the Republican national convention in July, where the party will pick its 2016 presidential nominee.  It is not clear if Trump, a political novice and one-time television reality show host, will be able to win a majority of delegates ahead of the quadrennial gathering.  If he falls short, the nomination would be decided in contentious balloting until a nominee is chosen.

In the Democratic contest, the survey showed Mrs. Clinton, the country's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013, ahead of Sanders by a 49-to-43 percent margin among Democratic voters, her narrowest edge since the tracking poll was started in late December.

Sanders, a democratic socialist who has centered his campaign with attacks on the country's growing income inequality, easily won three state nominating contests against Mrs. Clinton Saturday, but trails far behind her in claiming delegates to the party's July national convention where the nominee will be selected.

Even as surveys show Trump with a lead among Republicans, nearly two-thirds of Americans view him unfavorably.  Majorities also have unfavorable views of Mrs. Clinton and Cruz, but not by as much as Trump.  Sanders and Kasich, who have not been attacked by political partisans as much as the front-running candidates, have positive favorability ratings.

The next contest in the months-long, state-by-state nominating process is April 5 in the midwestern state of Wisconsin, where pre-election surveys show Trump and Cruz locked in a close Republican match with Kasich trailing.  In the Democratic race, the polls show Mrs. Clinton with a slight edge over Sanders.

The eventual party nominees will square off in November's national election, with the winner replacing President Barack Obama, who leaves office in January 2017.

U.S. political surveys have consistently shown Mrs. Clinton defeating Trump in a hypothetical face-off, leaving many Republicans to worry about the party's chances to retake the White House. The surveys also mostly show her defeating Cruz, but losing to Kasich. Sanders also fares well in the polling against Trump and Cruz and less so against Kasich.

The problem for Kasich, the polls notwithstanding, is that he has no mathematical chance of claiming enough delegates to win the Republican nomination ahead of the national convention.  He is banking on the hope that neither Trump nor Cruz can win a first-ballot victory either, opening up the voting for the nomination on a second ballot and possibly beyond that.

Media soul-searching fuels
discussion of rise of Trump

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The surge of brash businessman Donald Trump toward the Republican nomination for the U.S. presidency has opened a new debate in the United States about whether the country's media have fueled his unexpected political rise by not adequately assessing his life and not asking enough tough questions about his often-exaggerated claims about government policies.

President Barack Obama, a Democrat in his last year in office, joined the fray in a speech to journalists Monday. He did not name Trump but clearly had the Republican front-runner and his frequent taunts at opponents, women, Muslims and minorities in mind as he deplored the state of the campaign to choose the person who will succeed him as the 45th U.S. president.

"I know I’m not the only one who may be more than a little dismayed about what’s happening on the campaign trail right now," Obama said. "The divisive and often vulgar rhetoric that's aimed at everybody, but often is focused on the vulnerable or women or minorities. The sometimes well-intentioned but, I think, misguided attempts to shut down that speech. The violent reaction that we see, as well as the deafening silence from too many of our leaders in the coarsening of the debate. The sense that facts don’t matter, that they're not relevant. That what matters is how much attention you can generate. A sense that this is a game, as opposed to the most precious gift our founders gave us, this collective enterprise of self-government."

Obama told journalists at an awards ceremony honoring an investigative reporter that "a job well done is about more than just handing someone a microphone."

"It is to probe and to question, and to dig deeper, and to demand more," Obama said. "The electorate would be better served if that happened. It would be better served if billions of dollars in free media came with serious accountability, especially when politicians issue unworkable plans or make promises they can’t keep."

Many U.S. political analysts dismissed candidate Trump when he announced he was running for president last June. As Trump disparaged prominent women, belittled the fact that a former Republican presidential candidate was once a prisoner of war and mocked a reporter with a permanent disability, the analysts widely predicted his campaign would soon collapse.

But it did not.

Trump's campaign to "Make America Great Again" by curbing immigration and temporarily banning Muslims from entering the U.S. touched a chord with one-third or more of Republican voters as state after state held nominating contests leading to July's national party convention, where delegates will select their presidential candidate for the November election.

Obama's thoughts about the media's role in the rise of Trump echo some of the points made by news commentators and analysts.

Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times said the media wrongly treated Trump as a farce.

Although numerous U.S. news stories have detailed Trump's failed gambling casino ventures, his three marriages and claims that he defrauded students who paid thousands of dollars to learn about investing in real estate at a venture he called Trump University, Kristof wrote that "on the whole, we in the media empowered a demagogue and failed the country. We were lap dogs, not watchdogs."

"I personally made the mistake of regarding Trump's candidacy as a stunt," Kristof said, "scoffing at the idea that he could be the nominee. Mea culpa," a Latin expression meaning "it was my fault."

Another columnist, Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post, rejected the idea that U.S. media were to blame for Trump's political ascendancy.

"The fact is that audiences have decided they need and want to know about Trump," Robinson wrote. That has led U.S. cable television news networks to give Trump endless hours of free coverage of his rallies and news conferences, so much that he has spent relatively little on paid advertising touting his candidacy.

Some networks covered intensively Trump's performance on the night he won the primary election in Florida, then convened a news conference at which he hawked his Trump-branded wine, mineral water and steaks, something akin to a late-night television infomercial.

Robinson of the Post said, "The news media, it seems to me, are guilty only of reporting the news, which is that a candidate who has never held elective office, and who displays neither the base of knowledge nor the temperament necessary to serve as president, is leading all comers for the Republican nomination.

"Blaming ourselves for Trump's rise," Robinson said, "is just another way to ignore the voters who have made him the favorite" for the Republican nomination.

Jonathan Allen, author of a book about Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential contender, said it is hard to "not think to yourself that the media is somewhat complicit" in Trump's rise.

But Allen attributed Trump's success more to his use of social media, "which is not reporters. . . . His use of Twitter, his use of Facebook, his use of the existing traditional media to get his messages out and to repeat his messages is pretty masterly, but I don't think the media are to blame."

He added, "For those who want to see reporting on various aspects of Donald Trump, it exists. It's not that no one is covering Donald Trump's business career or that no one is fact-checking him. That in fact is going on. It's what consumers choose to consume."

Helen Mirren
Bleecker Street photo   
 Helen Mirren stars as Col. Katherine Powell in
 Gavin Hood’s ‘Eye in the Sky.’

Thriller involving drones
raises many ethical issues

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Should the life of one innocent be sacrificed in the war against terror? Gavin Hood’s film "Eye in Sky" poses this question as an American-British coordinated drone attack is set to kill a terrorist preparing for a suicide attack that could kill dozens maybe hundreds in Nairobi, Kenya.

The riveting thriller by award-winning filmmaker Gavin Hood, follows the military drone operation about to strike a terrorist cell in Nairobi, Kenya. The dramatized account raises strategic and moral implications of the operation as an innocent civilian enters the parameter where a remote controlled missile is expected to strike.

Through a tiny spy drone that looks like a beetle, military officials in different parts of the world watch on their screens as a group of terrorists, led by Briton Susan Helen Danford, prepares for a potentially large scale suicide attack in Nairobi.The officials contemplate upgrading their capture-only drone mission to a killing one. But to the frustration of mission leader Col. Catherine Powell, played by Helen Mirren, the military and political hierarchy delays, mulling over the strategic, political and personal cost of such a decision.

Meanwhile, time is running out.

The stakes get even higher when a child enters what would be the kill zone of a drone strike.

Deep into a bunker at a place called Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood, London, Col. Powell is anxiously watching the video feed on the room's large computer monitors. As the leader of the operation, she is ready to kill the terrorists. Her goal, as she sees it, is to avert a potentially imminent massacre by suicide bombers. But to her dismay, others in the hierarchy take a different angle as they consider the political and diplomatic implications of such an attack. One of them says about the terrorists: “If they kill 80 people, we win the propaganda war. If we kill one child, they do.”

Hood says "Eye in the Sky" shows there are no easy answers when it comes to drone warfare. “Will you sacrifice, will you definitely take one innocent life in order to possibly prevent the loss of 80 lives? What if there were five innocent lives close to this kill zone? What if the estimate of the loss of life was only 20? What if it was 2,000?" he asks.

The filmmaker hopes "Eye to the Sky" will generate discussions among his audiences on the human, political and strategic costs of drone warfare. If you are not there and you are only attacking from the sky, how do you expect the local population to respond, he asks.

Hood says his film also shows how, in time-sensitive situations, physical distance among the decision-makers and a sluggish bureaucracy could delay or impede a decision. While Col. Powell argues her case remotely with Gen. Frank Benson, another significant military component in the operation played by the late Alan Rickman, the drone pilots, fingers on the button, are locked in a container-like structure in the U.S. state of Nevada, awaiting instructions.

“They are not actually in touch as human beings," the director says. "They are in touch through the veil of the computer screen and that itself raises questions: Is it easier to pull the trigger when you are not facing the enemy?"

However, Hood and screen writer Guy Hibbert have developed the character of drone pilot Steve Watts as someone who also evaluates the situation and questions the legality of Col. Powell's shoot-to-kill mission. Hood says his film, though a fictionalized account of a drone operation, has been thoroughly and deeply researched. "We spoke to people from all areas. From the military lawyers, who were involved in this, to drone pilots, to military intelligence officers. We had a drone pilot permanently on set with Aaron Paul, who portrays Steve Watts, to make sure that everything is accurate."

The superb cast is led by award-winning Helen Mirren playing steely Col. Powell, Rickman interpreting an acerbic but cool under fire Lt. Gen. Benson and the evocative Aaron Paul as the emotional drone pilot Watts. They drive home the point of "Eye in the Sky," that as precise as the drone missiles are, they are still guided by often conflicted human beings.

As the filmmaker notes, “there are military people who seriously question the use of the drone and there are people within the military who think it is the best thing that’s ever happened."

Hood says the debates unfolding in his dramatized account are very much like the debates happening in real mission control rooms and elsewhere in the real world.

First Republican senator
meets with court nominee

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The battle over U.S. President Barack Obama's latest Supreme Court nominee came into sharper focus Tuesday when Sen. Mark Kirk became the first Republican to meet with Judge Merrick Garland, and the high court itself deadlocked on a major labor union case.

"I think we should do our job," Kirk said while sitting alongside Garland, whom the president tapped to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last month.

"He has been duly nominated by the elected president of the United States," Kirk said of Garland. "We need open-minded, rational people to make sure the process works."

In calling for hearings and a vote on the Garland nomination, Kirk is bucking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans who insist the next president pick the high court nominee.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 on whether public sector employees can be forced to pay union dues. That result means a pro-union decision by a lower court stands. It also illustrates the stakes in choosing Scalia's replacement.

Were he alive, Scalia, an arch-conservative, likely would have broken the tie with a vote striking down mandatory dues for California public school teachers.

"Today's divided ruling from the Supreme Court establishes no national precedent," said Elizabeth Wydra of the Constitutional Accountability Center. "Such an outcome only emphasizes the importance of a court that can operate with a full complement of nine justices."

The Senate is in recess this week, but members are continuing a ferocious battle from their home states.

"Never before has a sitting president been denied his constitutional right to nominate someone for a Supreme Court vacancy," wrote Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, in an op-ed for the Virginian Pilot newspaper. "Never before have members of the Senate advocated leaving the Supreme Court with only eight justices for nearly a year."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican, countered in an op-ed for The New York Times: "Considering a nominee in the midst of a toxic presidential election would be irresponsible. Conducting a thoughtful and substantive deliberation after the election is in the best interests of the Senate, the judiciary and the country."

So far, 16 Republican senators have indicated a willingness to meet with Garland. But the power to hold confirmation hearings resides with Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, and the power to call a floor vote resides with Majority Leader McConnell, both of whom have been dogged in their opposition to considering the nominee.

"McConnell's biggest concern is making sure that he holds onto power in the Senate," said Republican strategist Ford O'Connell, who argues that Garland's fate could be determined by Republican perceptions of the presidential campaign.

"Republican control of the Senate pretty much lives and dies with the Republican presidential nominee's ability to win the White House," he added. "Many of these key Senate races are actually in presidential battleground states."

Kirk is among a handful of Republican senators believed to face uphill re-election bids this year, representing states that often lean Democratic. Multiple polls have shown majority backing for Garland's consideration by the Senate.

Democrats would need a net gain of five seats to take control of the Senate next year.

Political analyst Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute says the basic math surrounding the Garland nomination has not changed.

"Grassley is still adamant there will be no hearing. McConnell backs him up. If either changed, the radical right media would go to Defcon I and treat them like piñatas," Ornstein said. "For McConnell, this is a no-win situation ... which leaves him unlikely to change."

New ebola outbreak fails
to qualify as health threat

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization announced Tuesday that the ebola outbreak in West Africa no longer qualifies as an extraordinary event, and the risk of international spread is now low.

While the disease is no longer thought to be a public health threat, officials with World Health are still urging those countries that were affected to be vigilant.

“Work must continue on the use of ebola vaccination for intimate and close contacts of those survivors who have persistent virus excretion,” the group said in a statement. “Particularly important will be to ensure that communities can rapidly and fully engage in any future response, cases are quickly isolated and managed, local population movement in the affected areas is managed, and appropriate contact lists are shared with border authorities.”

World Health acknowledged that a small number of new clusters of ebola cases are still occurring in Guinea, but Sierra Leone and Liberia have not experienced any new cases in months. Guinea has seen 12 such flare-ups to date, the most recent occurring March 17, but they are decreasing in frequency.

Since the outbreak began in December 2013, nearly 11,000 people died in the three countries, with most deaths occurring in Guinea.

Each of the three countries previously declared an end to ebola transmission, but later saw new cases flare-up.

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Negotiable price. Thirty thousand seventy square meters. The house is seven hundred fifty squared meters, built three years ago. Five bedrooms plus servant's room with bathroom. Each bedroom includes private bathroom. Master's room includes Jacuzzi and hidromassage. Two main living rooms plus visitor's parlor and hall, two furnished kitchens, all ceramic. Nineteen rooms total counting three offices, eight-car garage. Has 220-volt current with three distribution panels. First-quality water plus well, decorated stone walls, recreational area, second house eighty squared meters, hot water systems, cable, telephone, light system throughout property, river, part forest..

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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
1.5-acre lot with spectacular ocean views. Ready to build. Mild climate year round with an average temperature a cool 74 degrees. Spectacular panoramic views of
                                for sale
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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

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

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
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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!

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.
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- Entrance from concrete road to large graveled parking area
- VERY energy efficient with VERY low property taxes.
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- 12 foot x 14 foot storage bodega
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- 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, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 62
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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
Jairo Mora murder trial ends as expected

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A criminal tribunal in Limón made the opposite decision Monday than that of another panel. As a result, four suspects in the murder of environmentalist Jairo Mora Sandoval were convicted.

Three other individuals were acquitted. The three-judge panel handed out sentences ranging from 74 to 90 years in prison to the four. The murder conviction represented 35 years, and additional crimes added to the total.

Under Costa Rican law the sentences cannot exceed 50 years, so the additional years represented a statement by the judges.

The crime happened on a May night in 2013 as Mora and four women were patrolling turtle nesting sites on the Moín beach.

The men who were convicted were Donal Salmon, Ernesto Rivas, Héctor Cash and José Bryan Quesada Cubillo.

This was a highly political trial because there was international outrage when the first trial ended in acquittals. The trial court then cited multiple errors on the part of investigators and prosecutors.

The Poder Judicial muddied the waters earlier in the month when it announced that the first panel of three judges would be investigated. That happened just as the second trial was in its final stages.

Mauricio Alvarez, a Universidad de Costa Rica professor and president of the Federación Conservacionista de Costa Rica, issued a statement commenting on the decision. He used the decision as a reason to seek the creation of a national park on the beach where Mora died instead of the new container handling facility and other projects planned for the area.

The case began May 31, 2013, when Mora and volunteers were confronted by men who took Mora away and held the volunteers hostage for a time in a nearby dwelling.

There was widespread surprise and condemnation Jan. 26, 2015, when the court in Limón acquitted the seven men. Lawmakers sought to cause the nation’s chief prosecutor to appear for a hearing, and even Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society chimed in from overseas and called Mora a hero.

The judges in the first trial said that both the prosecution and investigators lacked rigor in handling evidence including breaks in the chain of custody. Problems also existed in the presentation of the case of the three U.S. volunteers and a Spanish woman who were held hostage while Mora was dragged to his death at the nearby beach.

The first panel cited errors in the handling of wiretap results including a lack of attributing ownership of certain cell phones to the accused.

Christiana Figueres will be speaker

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Christiana Figueres, the lead for the United Nation’s climate change initiative, will be the principal speaker at a conference on the topic Friday at 10:30 a.m.

The conference is in the auditorium of the Consejo Nacional de Rectores. The location is 1.3 kilometers north of the U.S. Embassy in Pavas.

As executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, Ms. Figueres was the organizer of the Paris climate conference in December.

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Gasoline prices will be going up in April

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation’s price regulating agency said that gasoline prices will be going up. The increase is 22 colons a liter for regular gas, 18 colons for super and 13 colons per liter for diesel. The agency blamed an increase in the world price of petroleum

The agency, the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos, also noted that the country would have very competitive gasoline prices if there were no tax at the pump.  As it is there is a 52 percent tax on regular, 53 percent on super and 39 percent on diesel, said the agency.

When the new prices are published, the average motorist will pay about 1,000 colons more for a full tank, the agency noted.

Russians with dollar mortgages are hit hard

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Russians who took out mortgages in foreign currencies have been hit hard by the drop in value of the ruble, and many are struggling to make payments or are facing eviction.  In recent months, groups of dollar and euro mortgage holders have held protests at Russian banks demanding restructuring of loans.

During protests in March, demonstrators briefly disrupted banking services.  Some held signs asking Russian authorities to help, while others voiced dissatisfaction at the bank’s attitude toward their plight.  Customers looked on, some with sympathy, others with annoyance. 

The fall in value of Russia’s ruble, from 30 to the dollar in 2013 to 75 in 2016, more than doubled these mortgage holders' payments.  As Russia’s economy shrinks and inflation rises, many can no longer afford to make the payments and take care of their families.