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Published Thursday, March 31, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 63
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Agriculture struggles but may be on the rebound
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The El Niño-provoked drought and the economy has taken its toll on agriculture, but there are signs of recovery.

That was the message a spokesman for the industry brought to the legislature Wednesday.

The spokesman is Juan Rafael Lizano, president of the Cámara Nacional de Agricultura y Agroindustria. The chamber is an umbrella organization associated with many product-specific organizations.

Lizano said that agricultural production is down. But since late last year, the situation appears to be improving. He said that agricultural production is off 1.43 percent for the period January 2013 to last January. He was speaking at session of the Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Agropecuarios.

Some specific producers are suffering more than others. He said that normally the country imports about 40 percent of the rice that is consumed. More recently only 40 percent of the rice consumed here is from Costa Rica.

He blamed agricultural policies, available credit and international competition for the reversal. Rice purchases are controlled by a government agency.

In all, basic grains have suffered a 14.5 percent production decline, he said. Overall exports have declined, too, he added.

As a consequence rural poverty has increased, he said, citing statistics that show more than 367,000 rural families, some 27.9 percent of the total, are in poverty.

Also Wednesday a group of 60 agricultural-
Servicios Periodisticos photo 
Central Valley residents would be surprised at how near serious agriculture can be found. This goat is in Coronado, which prides itself on producing milk, plants and vegetables as well as organic offerings.

related organizations said it would stage a protest Tuesday at Casa Presidencial.

This is the 4-year-old Consejo Agroalimentario. It said it was concerned by the anticipated reduction in customs duties on food imports under the free trade treaty with the United States.

The organization said it wants President Luis Guillermo Solís to stand by his campaign promise not to enter into any more international treaties. It mentioned specifically the Trans-Pacific Partnership involving many Pacific Rim countries.

The organization said it also was agitating for action on a proposed law that would strengthen the Consejo Nacional de Producción. The organization also said it opposes foreign boats fishing in national waters and does not want to see a bill to allow shrimp trawling to be passed.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 31, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 63
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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
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Ice cliff
University of Washington/Knut Christianson
The 100-meter terminal ice cliff of Helheim Glacier in southeast Greenland, is retreating rapidly.

Ocean rise said to be twice current estimate

By the University of Massachusetts Amherst news staff

A new study from climate scientists suggests that the most recent estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for future sea-level rise over the next 100 years could be too low by almost a factor of two. Details appear in the current issue of Nature.

The researchers are Robert DeConto at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and David Pollard at Pennsylvania State University.

DeConto says, “This could spell disaster for many low-lying cities. For example, Boston could see more than 1.5 meters of sea-level rise in the next 100 years. But the good news is that an aggressive reduction in emissions will limit the risk of major Antarctic ice sheet retreat.” That would be about five feet.

With mechanisms that were previously known but never incorporated in a model like this before, added to their ice-sheet model to consider the effects of surface melt water on the break-up of ice shelves and the collapse of vertical ice cliffs, the authors found that Antarctica has the potential to contribute greater than 1 meter (39 inches) of sea-level rise by the year 2100, and greater than 15 meters (49 feet) by 2500 if atmospheric emissions continue unabated. In this worst case scenario, atmospheric warming, rather than ocean warming, will soon become the dominant driver of ice loss.

The revised estimate for sea-level rise comes from including new processes in the 3-dimensional ice sheet model, and testing them against past episodes of high sea-levels and ice retreat.

The researchers find that “ocean-driven melt is an important driver of Antarctic ice shelf retreat where warm water is in contact with shelves, but in high greenhouse-gas emissions scenarios, atmospheric warming soon overtakes the ocean as the dominant driver of Antarctic ice loss.” Further, they said they found that if substantial amounts of ice are lost, the long thermal memory of the ocean that will inhibit the ice sheet’s recovery for thousands of years after greenhouse-gas emissions are curtailed.

DeConto and Pollard’s study was motivated by reconstructions of sea level rise during past warm periods including the previous inter-glacial around 125,000 years ago and earlier warm intervals like the Pliocene around 3 million years ago. These high sea levels, ranging from a few meters to 20 meters above today, imply that the Antarctic Ice Sheet is highly sensitive to climate warming.

“So, at a time in the past when global average temperatures were only slightly warmer than today,” says DeConto, “sea levels were much higher. Melting of the smaller Greenland Ice Sheet can only explain a fraction of this sea-level rise, most which must have been caused by retreat on Antarctica.”

To investigate this, DeConto and Pollard developed a new ice sheet-climate model that includes what they call previously under-appreciated processes that emphasize the importance of future atmospheric warming around Antarctica.

They explained that to date, research into Antarctic ice sheet vulnerability has focused on the role of the ocean, melting floating ice shelves from below.

The ice shelves that fringe the land-based ice hold back the flow of inland ice to the ocean. However, it is often overlooked that the major ice shelves in the Ross and Weddell Seas and the many smaller shelves and ice tongues buttressing outlet glaciers are also vulnerable to atmospheric warming, they said.

“Today, summer temperatures approach or just exceed 0 degrees C on many shelves, and due to their flat surfaces near sea level, little atmospheric warming would be needed to dramatically increase the areal extent of surface melting and summer rainfall,” they said.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 31, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 63
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April 1 is a bit late for playing an April fool joke in Costa Rica
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Friday is April 1, but expats in Costa Rica already have missed their chance to designate an April fool. Latin America celebrates the same sort of day Dec. 29, the Día de los Santos Inocentes. This is a humorous twist on the Bible account of King Herod having all the infants killed in an unsuccessful effort to murder the newborn Jesus.

The idea of playing a prank on a friend goes back hundreds of years in the West and may be much older in other cultures. All things considered, being a fool is not bad. Monarchs employed fools or court jesters to tell them facts that would have been dangerous for others to mouth. William Shakespeare made heavy use of fools in his plays to the extent that some of his actors were known from their fool roles.

College newspapers and even some allegedly professional ones sometimes create false stories or editions for April 1 in the United States. But with the primary election season in full flower there one simply has to print the news from the wires.

April fool
A.M. Costa Rica graphic
Fools have a tendency to seek revenge!

Head of the Caja is in hot water over a low-level appointment
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Now it is the head of the Caja who is being accused of nepotism.

The individual, a medical doctor, is the former health minister,  María del Rocío Sáenz, who now is the executive president of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

The newspaper El Diario Extra reported Wednesday that the

women has named the companion of a family member as her Caja-employed driver. The Unión Nacional de Empleados de la Caja y Seguridad Social quickly demanded that President Luis Guillermo Solís either fire her or ask for her resignation.

A similar appointment cost the job of the former minister of Trabajo.

Dr. Sáenz said that the appointment conforms to the rules of the Caja, the nation’s public health service.

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 31, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 63
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Finnish study said to confirm zika link to infant brain malformations
By the University of Helsinki news service

Zika virus can be detected in blood samples taken from a pregnant woman while brain damage is developing, as well as isolated in cell culture from the brain tissue of the fetus, according to a Finnish-American study.

A study led by Olli Vapalahti, professor of zoonotic virology at the University of Helsinki, has found that small amounts of genetic material from the zika virus can be detected from a blood sample taken from a pregnant woman even weeks after the acute rash caused by the infection has passed, when the development of brain damage in the fetus is underway.

Severe brain abnormalities can be detected through neuroimaging already at this early stage, even before the development of the intracranial calcifications and microcephaly previously associated with zika virus infections, said the researchers.

The observations are based on the case of a woman infected while visiting Central America during her 11th week of pregnancy. This study is the first to report isolation of infectious zika virus from fetal tissue in cell culture. The virus was isolated from fetal brain tissue in a cell line representing neural cell precursors. Researchers mapped the entire genome of the virus and discovered eight mutations, which distinguish this virus from the zika strains previously reported in Central America. “Some of these mutations may be associated with the adaptations of the virus to the fetal brain,” stated Vapalahti.

Overall, the results can help with the development of methods that would enable the detection of fetal damage associated with
a zika virus infection during pregnancy. “Our research also helps confirm the causal relation between the Zika virus and severe damage to the fetal central nervous system,” Vapalahti pointed out.

The virus isolate from fetal brain can also serve extensively in experimental Zika virus research.

The zika virus is a flavivirus spread by mosquitoes of the Aedes genus, first discovered in Uganda in the 1940s in conjunction with studies on surveillance for the yellow fever virus. Until the early 2000s, only sporadic reports on the zika virus were available. Since 2007, the virus has caused extensive epidemics in Pacific areas, and in 2015, spread through South and Central America.

Zika virus causes rash and fever, symptoms typical of other virus infections, such as dengue and chikungunya, transmitted by mosquitoes. Even though a zika virus infection is typically mild, reports in late 2015 indicated that the infection could also cause symptoms in the central nervous system, and that contagion during pregnancy could be associated with microcephaly in newborns. For this reason, the World Health Organization has declared a public health  emergency of international concern" due to the zika virus epidemic, as it had previously done for the ebola and swine influenza epidemics.

The recommended method for diagnosing a zika virus infection during the first week of illness includes detecting viral RNA and, later, determining the presence of antibodies in blood samples. Pregnant women are recommended to undergo an ultrasound examination as well as a sampling of the amniotic fluid to determine the presence of zika RNA, said researchers.

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 rentals (paid category)

Beautiful House Inside Gated Farm for Rent
House inside gated farm. Two bedroom, One bath fully-furnished. Close to town in Santa Barbara de Heredia.  $650 includes:  Internet, Wifi, Cable TV, Water, Electric.  Located in Santa Barbara de Heredia. American owner lives onsite, quiet, secure.  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)

Puriscal rental
A peaceful place near Puriscal.
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 and is fully furnished. 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. No pets, please. In Costa Rica call Liz Guegan at 7187-8577, in the USA call Pete Todd at 970-221-1457 or 720-951-7928.

Two bedrooms plus additional on loft, furnished condo with garage, half block walking distance to Costa Rica international Academy. Gated compound on Country Club grounds across Fairway Five. USD $850 plus utilities. Info: US 925 755-4645 or  Note:

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

                                              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.

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About us
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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, Thursday, March 31, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 63
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Axiom 890 pixels

Obama convenes summit
on nuclear security goals

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama will host his fourth and final nuclear security summit in Washington this week with tons of loose nuclear material still not sufficiently secured and still potentially accessible to terrorists or other individuals with malicious intentions.
The White House says that while it is impossible to quantify the likelihood of a nuclear attack by extremist groups, there are 2,000 metric tons of highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium with civilian and military programs around the world.
“We know that terrorist organizations have the desire to get access to these raw materials and their desire to have a nuclear device,” said deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, adding that this only redoubles the need for international nuclear security cooperation.

For the first time, the summit will include a special session on how to ensure that groups like Islamic State do not get their hands on nuclear materials. 
The biennial event Thursday and Friday will include delegations from more than 50 nations who will discuss evolving nuclear threats and ways to prevent them.

The Brussels terrorist attacks March 22 signaled again how dangerous and far reaching groups like Islamic State have become. Since the attacks, Belgium has put armed guards at its nuclear facilities.
Leaders are especially concerned about the security of nuclear materials and facilities in countries such as nuclear-armed Pakistan, where a terror attack in Lahore on Easter Sunday killed more than 70 people.

While progress has been made since the first summit in 2010, “the overall objective of securing the most vulnerable nuclear materials in four years… I don’t think has been achieved,” said Sharon Squassoni with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “There is still material out there and the material that we’re talking about is highly enriched uranium."

Experts say security gaps remain for several reasons: There still is no international framework to monitor nuclear materials; some countries are unwilling to open up supplies intended for commercial use; and some military forces have been unable to agree on how to deal with their nuclear material.

Obama launched the nuclear summits in a 2009 speech in Prague, when he called for a world free of nuclear weapons. The U.S. policies for achieving this goal have centered on nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear security and nuclear energy. 
The White House has touted successes since then, such as the controversial Iran nuclear deal in which Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. It also cites more than 260 national security commitments, of which nearly three-quarters have been implemented. 
Those commitments have led to the removal of nuclear materials in more than 50 facilities in 30 countries and territories, enough material for 130 nuclear weapons, the White House said. Some of those facilities were in Ukraine, Japan, Taiwan and nations across Europe and South America.
The commitments have also led to treaties being implemented, regulations strengthened and security practices improved, among other measures.
But there have been setbacks. North Korea’s continuing nuclear threat in the Korean Peninsula will be a top agenda item at the summit.
On Thursday, Obama will meet with South Korean President Park Guen-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss the threat posed by North Korea and how to increase security cooperation.

“Our three countries recognize that our security is linked and that it's essential that we work closely together to meet this challenge,” said Dan Kritenbrink, National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs. “I anticipate that they will call upon all in the international community to join in vigilantly implementing U.N. measures on North Korea.”

Obama also will discuss North Korea’s nuclear activities during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, one of numerous meetings and conversations on areas of mutual interest the two leaders have had since Xi’s state visit to Washington in September.
The White House announced late Wednesday that Obama will hold a brief  meeting today with French President Francois Hollande.

Later, the U.S. president will host a working dinner at the White House for summit leaders.

Russia has declined to attend the final summit, saying the gatherings have played out their role. “We prefer that they participate constructively,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest Wednesday.
The summit ends Friday evening with a news conference and a communiqué with a set of action plans designed to support the enduring institutions and initiatives that are related to nuclear security, the White House said.

Second rebel group agrees
to talk peace in Colombia

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Colombia has agreed to hold formal peace talks with the country's second-largest rebel group and move closer to ending a five-decade-long civil war.

Negotiations between the Colombian government and the Ejército de Liberación Nacional will take place in Ecuador, according to a joint statement issued Wednesday.

The two sides had already been holding exploratory peace talks. But Wednesday's announcement formalized those discussions and brought the leftist rebels into a wider peace process.

For three years, Colombia and another rebel group, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, have been holding peace talks in Havana, Cuba.

Colombia and the Marxist Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia  had intended to reach a peace agreement by March 23 but missed that deadline. The rebels have observed a cease-fire since last year, but the Ejército de Liberación has continued attacks.

Leftist rebels have been fighting a guerrilla war to try to topple Colombian governments since 1964, killing more than 220,000 people. They have used drug trafficking and kidnappings for ransom to fund their war.

Colombia's rebel movement has been weakened in recent years, and right-wing paramilitary forces formed to counter leftist fighters have been disbanded.

Democrats continue to push
for court nominee hearings

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Democratic senators continue to press their Republican counterparts to hold confirmation hearings and vote on President Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Merrick Garland, to fill the seat left vacant by the death of arch-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
“It’s the president’s duty, obligation and job," said Sen. Al Franken after meeting Wednesday with Garland at his Capitol Hill offices. "Our job is to advise and give our consent, or not give our consent. And we should be doing that. We should be doing our job.”
Garland, the chief judge of the federal appellate court in the nation’s capital, also met with Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand.
"He is someone who is highly qualified. And I think it is the obligation of the Senate to not only have a hearing, but to vote on his nomination,” Sen. Gillibrand said.

The meetings came one day after Sen. Mark Kirk became the first Republican to meet with Garland. Kirk bucked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans by calling for full consideration of the nomination. Most Republicans are unswayed.

"Democrats have no credibility in lecturing Republicans on how to conduct the current confirmation process,” wrote Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican, this week in an opinion piece for The New York Times. “Liberal pressure tactics belie any commitment to keeping politics out of the confirmation process.”
"Considering a nominee in the midst of a toxic presidential election would be irresponsible. Doing so would only further inject a circus atmosphere into an already politicized confirmation process,” Hatch added.
Kirk and 15 other Republicans have indicated a willingness to at least meet with Garland. Far fewer, however, have endorsed confirmation hearings or a vote.
"These gestures of being open to meeting Garland seem largely to be just that - gestures,” said political analyst Sarah Binder of the Brookings Institution. "Although we may see a few more cracks, my sense is that the rest of the Senate Republican conference is standing firm.”
"This resolute opposition to Garland reflects both majority leader Mitch McConnell's short term calculus about retaining his position as GOP leader and about bucking up the far right to turn out for endangered GOP senators in blue states,” Binder said.

Even so, Democrats, who are in the minority and must rely on Republicans to advance a nominee, are continuing the fight, arguing against protracted delay in filling a Supreme Court vacancy.

“We shouldn’t go down that road,” said Franken. “It’s a bad precedent, and it’s bad for the Supreme Court. And it’s bad for the United States.”
“I think the American people are basically saying, ‘Give this guy a hearing," Franken noted.

Trump reverses his stand
on criminalizing abortion

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump set off a firestorm of condemnation Wednesday with a call to punish women who obtain abortions if the procedure is banned in the United States.

Hours later, he revised his position, issuing a written statement saying that such a ban would criminalize only those performing the procedure, not the women getting abortions. “The woman is a victim in this case, as is the life in her womb,” he said.

Trump's assertion that women should be punished for getting an abortion, which came during an interview on MSNBC, set off a storm of criticism on both sides of the divisive issue.

Trump's rival, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, said the initial statements reflected Trump's lack of policy know-how. "Once again, Donald Trump has demonstrated that he hasn't seriously thought through the issues, and he'll say anything just to get attention,'' Cruz said. 

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also a fellow GOP candidate, said, “I don’t think that’s an appropriate response." Abortion, he said, is a "difficult enough situation" without any added effort "to punish somebody.”

Both Cruz and Kasich oppose abortion.

The Democratic front-runner, former secretary of State Hillary Clinton, tweeted her reaction: "Just when you thought it couldn't get worse. Horrific and telling."

Fellow Democrat and pro-choice candidate Bernie Sanders simply called Trump's position shameful.

The brouhaha came days before the next major primary in Wisconsin, where polls show Trump trailing Cruz. Trump's path to the nomination would narrow considerably if he were to lose the Midwestern state.

Alternates to pain killers
reported to be effective

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says immediate-release opioid pain medications will have to carry a warning label about the serious risks of misuse, abuse, addiction, overdose and death.

Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control warned doctors about overprescribing narcotic painkillers because it too often leads to drug addiction and overdose deaths. The Centers described addiction to prescription opioid drugs as an epidemic.

Robert Califf, the FDA commissioner, was quoted in a news release as saying the “actions are one of the largest undertakings for informing prescribers of risks across opioid products, and one of many steps the FDA intends to take this year as part of our comprehensive action plan to reverse this epidemic.”

U.S. health agencies are encouraging doctors and patients to explore alternative ways to reduce pain. A new study shows that mindful meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy can work better and the results can last longer than standard care for chronic back pain.

One author of the study said he would expect it to help people who suffer from other types of chronic pain as well.

Daniel Cherkin, a senior investigator at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle and lead author of the study, said: “One of the most important new understandings of chronic pain and chronic low back pain is that the mind plays a very important part.”

Three hundred forty-two people with chronic back pain participated in the study. Cherkin said a third of them participated in cognitive behavioral therapy, which "focuses on helping people learn how to change how they think about their pain and helps promote concrete activities that people can do to better manage it."

Another third practiced mindfulness-based stress reduction, which brings together elements of meditation and yoga. “Mindfulness tries to help people change their awareness, increase their awareness of their pain and to become more accepting of the pain, and then, to focus their energies on finding ways to constructively manage it,” Chirken said.

The rest followed the usual care recommended by their primary doctors, which could include such things as medications to reduce pain, exercise and massage therapy.

Participants in the mind-body groups received training and/or therapy, workbooks, CDs and instructions they could use at home. Halfway through the study, at 26 weeks, participants using mindfulness and cognitive behavioral therapy had greater improvement in function and back pain than the group that followed standard care. Results for the mind-body groups were similar: 43.6 percent improvement in the mindfulness group and 44.9 percent in the cognitive therapy group, compared with 26.6 percent in the standard care group. 

The study continued for a year. At 52 weeks, those using mindfulness-based stress reduction continued to see improvement, while those in the cognitive behavioral therapy group did not see improvement beyond 26 weeks. The researchers concluded that mindfulness may be an effective treatment for chronic low back pain.

“Benefits in decreased pain and improved function lasted for a full year, which is not common among most treatments for chronic pain,” Cherkin said.

Benjamin Balderson, a psychologist and co-author of the study, said, “We teach things such as how to manage the emotional impact of pain, how to manage the activity impact of pain, how to manage the things that sometimes are not addressed in primary care or in usual care for chronic pain. So, by doing that we look at a more holistic level of approach.”

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In a news release, Josephine Briggs, director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, was quoted as saying, “It is vital that we identify effective non-pharmacological treatment options for 25 million people who suffer from daily pain in the United States. The results from this research affirm that non-drug/non-opioid therapies, such as meditation, can help manage chronic low back pain. Physicians and their patients can use this information to inform treatment decisions.”

Although the research focused on back pain, Cherkin said, cognitive behavioral therapy has already been found effective for other types of pain, and while mindfulness-based stress reduction hasn't been studied much for other pain he said he would expect it would be helpful for a variety of chronic conditions because it is not specifically focused on back pain or other specific conditions.

Latest Star Wars movie
posted by cyber crooks

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Pirated copies of the Blu-ray version of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” have appeared online two weeks before the scheduled retail release of the movie.

According to the Web site TorrentFreak, a source of piracy information, the blockbuster movie, which was scheduled for public release in early April, had been downloaded 250,000 times within 12 hours of its unauthorized posting.

The site added that the number of downloads will likely reach the millions in coming weeks.

The movie was reported to have grossed well over $2 billion in worldwide box office sales, making it a huge moneymaker for Disney.

Low-quality copies made by people holding cameras in the theater had been available since the movie opened in December of last year, but according to TorrentFreak, an image that accompanies the leaked copy indicates the source was a Blu-ray disc.

According to TorrentFreak, the pirated version of the movie will likely diminish potential profits.

Ex-Guantanamo detainees
blamed in some killing

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A senior Defense Department official has told U.S. lawmakers that Americans have been killed by detainees who were released from the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Paul Lewis, the Pentagon's special envoy for closing the facility, declined to provide details, including whether the incidents occurred during the administration of President George W. Bush or President Barack Obama.

"What I can tell you is unfortunately there have been Americans that have died because of detainees," Lewis told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

News agencies quoting unnamed officials have reported that the incident involved an Afghan prisoner released while Bush was president. There have also been allegations that a former detainee was involved in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.

The disclosure came during a briefing by Defense and State department officials to lawmakers about how the prison has become a powerful propaganda tool for Islamic State. Obama and administration officials have said images of the U.S. detention facility are a reminder to the international community of U.S.-authorized torture and long-term detentions without trial.

"Countries across the world and allies tell us that Gitmo hurts us," Lewis said, using a shortened term for the Guantanamo facility. "By closing Gitmo, we address a concern of the rest of the world.”

But many Republican and some Democratic members of Congress have opposed closing Guantanamo.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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If you are looking for information on condos, homes, lots, commercial real estate or development properties our award-winning team of professional agents are ready to help you buying property in Costa Rica. We have over 18 years of experience to educate our buyers in all aspects of purchasing property. Call us or email us today for more information on how to purchase that perfect piece of Costa Rica Real Estate.

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Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
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Axiom two
The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
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Axiom three
Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
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Rich Coast
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    2.47 acre ocean view property w/ 2 houses & 2 unfinished apartments $249k!!!
    2 houses and pool furnished, great rental potential walk to the beach $327k w/ owner financing
    2-bedroom furnished condo 400 feet from Jacó beach $179,000

and lots of other great properties! Property listings in Escazú, Herradura, Jacó, Manuel Antonio, Dominical and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate.

Have a Property For Sale? Contact Us!
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Photo montage of penthouse
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Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

* Located on 6th floor.
* Elevator.
* Security 24/7.
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* 3 bedrooms.
* 2 bathrooms.
* 2 terraces.
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* Enjoy the view,  CLICK HERE
Mafi Real Estate: Houses, lots and farms in Costa Rica
If you do not find, what are you looking for, contact us
WE HAVE A NETWORK OF OVER 500 brokers across the country to get what you are looking for.
English Calls: Miguel Fiatt Sauma or Paule Ortiz
Phone/Fax.+506 2238-5029
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

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..

For health situation, the owner make a INCREDIBLE DISCOUNT!!!!

ORIGINAL PRICE: $1.800.000    OFFER PRICE: $1.200.000
 For more information click HERE!
To see more photos click HERE!  To see house video click HERE!

English language contact:
Christian Arce
Phone: (506) 2494-0016
Cell phone: (506) 8309-0173

Spanish language contact:
Luis Gustavo Jiménez
Phone: (506) 2494-0016
Cell phone: (506) 8707-4016

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 backyard 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:


San Rmon
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!

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
the ocean and port of Puntarenas during the day, breathtaking views of Esparza at night. Fully titled and owned under a Costa Rican corporation. $50,000. Short-term owner financing available. For more info: Contact: Frank

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
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

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.
- 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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Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 31, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 63
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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
Top clergy put on spot by sex allegation

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Roman Catholic Church in Costa Rica is facing another sex crisis, and observers can be forgiven for not fully understanding the evolving religious philosophy.

Directed by the current pope, Frances, the church is modifying its official view on homosexuality. But the philosophy still is in flux.

The Spanish-language newspaper La Nación broke the story that the archdiocese spokesman on family stands accused of engaging in gay sex himself.  Church leaders here are taking delicate steps.

The archbishop, José Rafael Quirós, held a press conference Tuesday in which he and two other priests confirmed that Mauricio Víquez has been suspended from his priestly duties pending an investigation.

Víquez is the man who would argue the church’s point of view on television debates with members of gay rights groups. It was one such group that leveled the allegation against the priest and produced a 29 year old who said he was the second half of the couple.

There are no allegations of involvement with a minor.  The man, identified by the last name of  Castro by La Nación, said he was 18 when he began a relationship with the priest. So there is no law enforcement involvement. Castor has made the rounds of the major television stations and said he did not know initially that Víquez was a priest.

Such child sex cases have been epidemic in Europe and the Americas. One Costa Rican priest accused of such behavior had fled the country, and one U.S. priest came to Costa Rica under a cloud of suspicion.

Sex allegations came into the news 16 years ago when popular radio priest Minor Calvo was found by a police patrol in a car in darkened La Sabana park. Calvo said he was giving the minor who accompanied him driving lessons.  The situation mushroomed into a murder and fraud trial when hitmen gunned down the radio reporter who revealed the incident and also financial improprieties at Calvo’s Radio María station. Judges jailed Calvo for fraud but not murder.

As the church spokesman,  Víquez had been active as a lobbyist, too, promoting the church position on invitro fertilization, gay marriage and other issues at the legislature.

Spokesmen for gay rights organizations say they have a handful of other cases of supposedly celibate priests being involved in homosexual relationships.

In recognition of the position of the Vatican, local church leaders cannot condemn homosexuality and are chalking up priestly transgressions to the fragility of humans.

Celibacy of Catholic clergy stems from the evangelist called Paul the Apostle. Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus, was not really a member of the group that surrounded Jesus Christ. He arrived on the scene later but was forceful in promoting the new religion. He is known for the letters he wrote to young church congregations that have found their way into the New Testament of the Bible.

Paul practiced celibacy and was accompanied on his travels by a woman who did the same, perhaps the first Christian nun. He characterized celibacy as a state higher than that of marriage.

Some historians say that the church did not enforce celibacy of priests until the 11th and 12th centuries when the concern was more about protecting church property from inheritance by legal offspring.

Orthodox Christians do not practice celibacy, but they respect the biblical injunction that a bishop must be unmarried.

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Axiom Development Group
These condos have an unobstructed view of the Pacific.

Trio of Pacific projects stress sustainability

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Axiom Development Group has chosen the southern Pacific coast for its initial three projects.

Potential residents can choose from the beach or the mountains, still with proximity to the ocean.

Elan Condominium at Ballena, Terraces Condominium and Sierra Collection Condominium are near Uvita between Dominicalito and Playa Hermosa.  The Sierra Collection feature’s mountain top estate homes.

The company said that it has a strategic vision and commitment to ensuring a positive impact on the communities in which it builds and is taking sustainable development to new levels.

Noting that Costa Rica is devoted to being the first nation in the world to be carbon-neutral by 2023, Axiom said it has risen to the challenge while developing land characterized by difficult soil conditions, rugged terrain and strict government regulations.

“Our vision from day one has been to build projects that integrate into the fabric of the surrounding culture and landscape,” explained Blake Delatte, a founding partner of Axiom along with Michael Himes. “Costa Rica’s natural beauty is what brought us here in the first place, and we remain committed to sustaining and enhancing the locations we develop through disciplined planning and construction.”

“Michael and Blake made it clear to me that we would spare no expense to work around unique features in order to create a better product,” explained Luis Rodríguez, an award-winning architect with extensive experience in Central American development and the concept of integrating architecture into the environment. “Axiom is building homes and communities that will become natural extensions of their surrounding landscapes. That is a very challenging task, but one that the company is whole-heartedly committed to.”

While the concept of sustainable development has become a focus in many parts of the world, Axiom said it is stepping outside of the boundaries of that definition through enhancement practices that go beyond the limits of its land and the company’s bottom line.

At Élan at Ballena, Axiom said it is mitigating natural water run-off from nearby mountains that can contaminate the marine environment into which it eventually flows. Rather than ignoring the issue, the company has invested in an elaborate series of filtration points that weave through its property in order to deliver purified run-off to the Pacific Ocean, it added.

Axiom has also extended the reach of its beautification efforts to include surrounding communities outside of its development zones, while also investing in partnerships with Costa Rica that are helping to advance the environmental goals of the government, while defining new development practices aimed at integrating communities into the natural fabric of the land, said the firm in a summary of the projects.

“One of the projects we are working on with the Costa Rican government is creating new programs that will lead to the first development with all common areas running on solar power,” notes Delatte, whose background includes extensive experience as a landscape architect for some of the world’s leading architectural firms. “We have also built solar technology into our Sierra Collection mountain estates in order to offset consumption from the grid.”

The company’s nursery of 22,000 native plants and nearly 1,000 trees is an
example of the environmental philosophy in action, as is its build local practice, which supports local economies and communities.

“Each development is very different, but the company’s commitment is the same in every location,” says Rodríguez. “As a company, Axiom’s collective experience in Central America has helped us all to embrace the vision of Michael and Blake, while striving to find better ways to optimize environmental elements.”