A.M. Costa Rica
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Published Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 198
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Now it is a flood of refugees and not just migrants
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica is getting five times as many refugee requests this year as it can handle administratively, according to an expert on the topic.

As a result, resources are stretched, and even the Cruz Roja Costarricense is about to seek $100,000 from foreign donors to help it meet its needs, he said.

The man is Carlos Maldonado Castillo of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. His agency also has launched a fund drive on its Web site although the major concerns are about the flood of mideastern refugees into Europe.

Maldonado said that Costa Rica already has received 2,213 refugee requests as of July 31. He said he expects the total to reach 4,000 for the year while the government has the capacity to handle just 800 requests.

Costa Rica received 1,384 requests in 2014 and 1,203 in 2015, so the total already counted shortly after midyear exceeds those amounts, he noted.

Maldonado did not say specifically from what countries the potential refugees have come. In the past, many came from Colombia, but that 

country is approaching the end of its long civil war. Other sources confirm his view that the bulk of the requests come from individuals who have lived in the northern triangle of Central America, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Although most of the new arrivals say they are fleeing crimes and gangs in their home country, many really are economic refugees. The refugee requests appear to be separate from the thousands of migrants who are in the country or are trying to enter the country with the goal of reaching the United States.

Maldonado was discussing the issue with members of the legislative Comisión Permanente Especial de Derechos Humanos.

In July the Dirección General de Migración entered into an agreement of cooperation to improve the conditions of and attention to refugees. Some are in camps now.

The situation with the refugees complicates the efforts of the government to handle the flow of migrants. The country is likely to see 4,000 or more Haitian and African migrants each year because there are thousands in the county coming north mostly from Brazil. Most are likely to figure out a way to stay in the United States if they succeed in jumping the border.

An A.M. Costa Rica editorial
Just say no to corporate tax slush fund for cops

This newspaper opposes the passage of a corporate tax that would be used in large part by the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública.

The opposition comes from two points of view.

Limón situation HERE!

First, a dedicated tax as proposed is bad government and it is a slush fund. The entity that gets the tax is hostage to those paying the tax. Instead, the ministry should be paid from the central government that collects all taxes. In addition, a dedicated tax, of which there are many in Costa Rica, may send excess money to one governmental recipient as well as not enough to another.

Second, the security situation in the country, as well as the highly publicized problems in Limón, are the result of systemic failure.

No amount of police officers walking the streets is going to solve this mess.

The nation’s chief prosecutor said as much Thursday. The  courts are in disarray. The criminal codes are convoluted. Those few criminals who are convicted are let go early due to lack of prison space.

Many police officers and investigators are tied up with small drug crimes that do not threaten
citizens and in doing the bidding of
police in limon
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Well-dressed police in Limón this week

the United States in interdicting international shipments.

A.M. Costa Rica already has called for the legalization with controls of marijuana and cocaine.

The entire criminal code needs a rewrite with less 1960s social hand-wringing. Citizens and foreign expats should be able to easily purchase firearms for self protection. Police corruption should be investigated continually.

And the nation needs a make-my-day law to protect those who use lethal force for self-protection.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 198
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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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A mother peccary and her young.

Future of wild pigs raises concern

By the Wildlife Conservation Society news staff

Hunting, deforestation, and cattle ranching in Mesoamerica have become a triad of trouble for the white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari), an ecologically important species now threatened with regional extinction, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society and a group of experts at a meeting in Belize.

The society hosted a symposium at the 20th Mesoamerican Society for Conservation Biology Congress, which brought together leading scientists for an emergency assessment of the rapidly declining white-lipped peccary in Mesoamerica. The objectives of the symposium were to document the current status of this pig-like species, to map recent reductions in its range across Mesoamerica, and to propose conservation actions to protect the species.

The animal exists in the wilds from México into central South America. In Costa Rica they are frequent targets of illegal hunters.

Hunting and deforestation for agriculture and cattle ranching have driven precipitous declines of the white-lipped peccary in most Mesoamerican countries, said the society. As the only large mammal that moves in large herds in forested environments, this species represents one of Central America’s true wildlife spectacles, and plays a key role in ecosystem function of the region’s forests. Peccary herds can number up to 200 individuals and range as widely as 120 square kilometers, more than 46 square miles.

However, herd sizes like this are becoming ever rarer as hunting depletes populations and disrupts their social structure. In México and Guatemala, the species’ distribution range has been reduced by more than 84 percent in the last 30 years, said the society. In Honduras and Nicaragua, only a few remnant populations remain. In El Salvador, the species is already locally extinct, the meeting heard.

The symposium brought together leading mammal researchers from Belize, México, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panamá. The group outlined the threats facing white-lipped peccary populations in each country. Collectively, the scientists mapped the current known locations of remaining white-lipped peccary populations and compared these with the past extent of their range to develop an idea of the rate of loss.

Experts led by Rafael Reyna-Hurtado of El Colegio de la Frontera Sur in México are calling for an increase in the official International Union for the Conservation of Nature extinction threat level from vulnerable to endangered in Mesoamerica. A map of the species’ current range will be released in the coming weeks. The group of scientists and conservationists also signed a pledge committing themselves to jointly propose and implement conservation actions to save the species.

“The white-lipped peccary is an important ecosystem engineer for the extremely threatened forests of Mesoamerica,” said Jeremy Radachowsky, director of Wildlife Conservation Society’s Mesoamerica and the Western Caribbean Program. “A coordinated regional plan is required to prevent this keystone species from disappearing from the region.”

Finance ministry no-bid deal investigated

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation’s competition watchdog has launched an investigation of the Ministerio de Hacienda for awarding a bid for electronic invoicing to the Heredia public utility firm.

The watchdog is the Comisión para Promover la Competencia of the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio.

The Ministerio de Hacienda picked the Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia without a bid to handle the big data job. The ministry said that because the Heredia utility was a public agency, bidding was not required.

The Cámara de Tecnologías de Información y Comunicación had another view and filed the complaint.

The competition agency has the power to levy fines, but in the case of the ministry, the damage would be more political, and it might derail plans for what is called electronic facturation.

There is a law that forbids anti-competitive and monopolistic practices. This may be the first time that a governmental agency has been accused of violating it.

The ministry is trying to keep a close eye on business so it can collect the correct amount of income tax. Facturas are the official invoices businesses and individuals issue to show payment.

Under the ministry plan, a lawyer or physician as well as bigger entities would run their invoicing system through the Heredia utility in order to print out a receipt for customers.

The ministry’s tax collectors would have access to the invoicing data.

The chamber represents those in the information technology sector, and many have capacities to handle the data generated by the ministry proposal.

Time to register to vote

The U.S. Federal government’s overseas voting agency has issued a reminder that Nov. 8 is the presidential election.

“It is time for Americans living, working or traveling abroad to take steps to vote,” said the agency,” the Federal Overseas Voting Program.

Helping overseas Americans is difficult because each state has its own rule, and expats are supposed to vote in the U.S. state where they last were a resident.

Many overseas voters will receive absentee ballots from their registered county of residency. Others may elect to file a federal absentee ballot just for federal offices.

In addition to the federal program, the Overseas Voting Foundation can assist voters. The Web site gives deadlines for each state, plus other information.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 198
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Lawmakers call for a state of emergency in crime-plagued Limón
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers with 38 votes called for a state of emergency to be imposed in Limón after a string of murders Sunday and Monday.

Lawmaker Abelino Esquivel Quesada said that police need a change in strategy there. The murders are presumed to involve drug gangs struggling for territory, and bystanders, including children were killed.

Gustavo Mata, the minister of security, confirmed Wednesday that some 400 law enforcement officers were on the ground in  the sea at Limón on the Caribbean coast. That is a bit less than twice the usual number.

He was in the community with Walter Espinoza, head of the Judicial Investigating Organization; Jorge Chavarría, the nation’s chief prosecutor, and Juan José Andrade, director of Fuerza Pública.

Mata and Andrade said there were two goals in the police actions. One was to collect information and intelligence to permit speeding up cases already in police hands. The second goal, he said, was to control territory in zones known for violence.

Mata has cited the violence in Limón as a reason for the legislature to pass a tax on corporations. This is the tax that was ruled unconstitutional in January 2015 for procedural issues.

A replacement tax has been in the legislative Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Hacendarios for months. Mata’s ministry is to get 95 percent of the proceeds.

Another concrete action has been the creation of a special tip line for Limón residents. Mata said the phone line was supposed to go into service later Wednesday. The digits for that 800 number were not available yet.

Police did make an arrest of two men overnight Tuesday into Wednesday. They caught two men in a vehicle that had been just stolen in Orosi. The men also carried a pistol, officers said. Police made the arrest at a checkpoint they had setup at  Cieneguita, the same area where a female gunman sprayed persons on the beach and killed four persons Sunday.

Officers on the ground also were making arrests in Los Cocos, Los Lirios, Limoncito and Corales. A man was found carrying

murder suspect
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
The Liberia murder suspect is led to a cell.

a pistol, and others had drugs or were the subject of arrest warrants.

The most serious crime of the day was the fatal stabbing of a woman with the last name of Obando. But that was in Liberia, Guanacaste, in Barrio Nazareth on the other side of the country.

The Fuerza Pública claimed that the rapid deployment of officers led to the arrest of the suspect, a man, 34, with the last name of Alegría.  The Judicial Investigating Organization gave another story and said that passers-by heard the woman’s screams and intercepted and captured the blood-covered man as he left the woman’s home with items taken from there.

Emergency commission distributing hay for milk cows due to ash
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Scientific observers say that the Turrialba volcano has settled down some although there still is movement within the mountain.

Emergency officials now are turning to aiding those individuals that have been affected by the fall of volcano ash.

Among these are more than 100 milk producers and cattle ranchers in Vázquez de Coronado, Goicoechea and Oreamuno.
The ash has covered grazing lands. The ash generally went
north of the capital due to the prevailing winds.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias said it was working with the Nacional de Sanidad Agropecuaria of the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería. Workers have distributed 18,000 bales of hay for the milk animals in the three cantons. 14,000 bales went to Vázquez de Coronado alone.

They also have distributed molasses and mineral oil. Molasses is a sugar supplement for milk cows, and the oil assists digestion and reduces the internal impact of the abrasive ash.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 198
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Researchers put the likely maximum age for humans at 115 years
By the Albert Einstein College of Medicine news staff

A study published online today in Nature by Albert Einstein College of Medicine scientists suggest that it may not be possible to extend the human life span beyond the ages already attained by the oldest people on record.

Researchers, led by Jan Vijg, concluded that humans have already attained what is likely their maximum age, 115 years, and that medical advances are unlikely to extend it further.

Since the 19th century, average life expectancy has risen almost continuously thanks to improvements in public health, diet, the environment and other areas,said Vijg. On average, for example, U.S. babies born today can expect to live nearly until age 79 compared with an average life expectancy of only 47 for Americans born in 1900, he noted. Since the 1970s, the maximum duration of life, the age to which the oldest people live, has also risen. But according to the Einstein researchers, this upward arc for maximal lifespan has a ceiling and humans have already touched it.

“Demographers as well as biologists have contended there is no reason to think that the ongoing increase in maximum lifespan will end soon,” said Vijg, professor and chairman of genetics. “But our data strongly suggest that it has already been attained and that this happened in the 1990s.”

Vijg and his colleagues analyzed data from the Human Mortality Database, which compiles mortality and population data from more than 40 countries. Since 1900, those countries generally show a decline in late-life mortality: The fraction of each birth cohort (i.e., people born in a particular year) who survive to old age (defined as 70 and up) increased with their calendar year of birth, pointing toward a continuing increase in average life expectancy.

But when the researchers looked at survival improvements since

 1900 for people aged 100 and above, they found that gains in survival peaked at around 100 and then declined rapidly, regardless of the year people were born.

“This finding indicates diminishing gains in reducing late-life mortality and a possible limit to human lifespan,” said Vijg.

He and his colleagues then looked at maximum reported age at death data from the International Database on Longevity. They focused on people verified as living to age 110 or older between 1968 and 2006 in the four countries, the U.S., France, Japan and the U.K, with the largest number of long-lived individuals. Age at death for these supercentenarians increased rapidly between the 1970s and early 1990s but reached a plateau around 1995, further evidence for a lifespan limit. This plateau, the researchers note, occurred close to 1997, the year of death of 122-year-old French woman Jeanne Calment, who achieved the maximum documented lifespan of any person in history.

Using maximum-reported-age-at-death data, the Einstein researchers put the average maximum human life span at 115 years, a calculation allowing for record-oldest individuals occasionally living longer or shorter than 115 years. Jeanne Calment, they concluded, was a statistical outlier. Finally, the researchers calculated 125 years as the absolute limit of human lifespan.  Expressed another way, this means that the probability in a given year of seeing one person live to 125 anywhere in the world is less than 1 in 10,000.

“Further progress against infectious and chronic diseases may continue boosting average life expectancy, but not maximum lifespan,” said Vijg. “While it’s conceivable that therapeutic breakthroughs might extend human longevity beyond the limits we’ve calculated, such advances would need to overwhelm the many genetic variants that appear to collectively determine the human lifespan. Perhaps resources now being spent to increase lifespan should instead go to lengthening healthspan, the duration of old age spent in good health.”

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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Dial toll FREE from USA or Canada:  1.800.901.0114
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Tropical Homes

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 of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442

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 
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email:

Real estate for rent (paid category)

Charming Chalet for Rent
Mountain forest and fresh air. Charming two-bedroom and two-bath chalet style home. Near downtown Heredia away from the noise and traffic in the quiet mountain setting of Monte de la Cruz. Room for parking on a large manicured garden property. Fully furnished with loft and laundry room. Property is gated. No smokers, must have references, and no more than an occupancy of two.  $550 per month. One month deposit.  Please call Leda at:  2267-6306  to make an appointment to view.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 198
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Paris climate accord readied
to go into effect in 30 days

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Paris Agreement on climate change will legally take effect Nov. 4, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Wednesday after nine more countries ratified the pact.

The agreement signed in Paris in April is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions generated by the use of fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal or natural gas. Most scientists say the accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere is responsible for the climate change that has accelerated in recent years.

“I have visited communities on the climate front lines, from the Arctic to the Amazon,” Ban said Wednesday. “I have seen how climate impacts are already devastating lives, livelihoods, and prospects for a better future.”

“What once seemed unthinkable is now unstoppable,” Ban added.

Canada, Nepal and seven European Union countries ratified the pact Wednesday, bringing the total number of governments that have approved it to 62. Nearly 200 nations signed the Paris Agreement, which comes into force 30 days after U.N. certification that at least 55 nations, responsible for at least 55 percent of the world's pollution, have ratified the pact.

That threshold was reached Wednesday after the European Union, responsible for 10 percent of the world's pollution, and seven of its member states each certified they had ratified the agreement. Other ratifications came from a coalition of the world’s biggest polluters, led by the United States and China, and island nations threatened by rising seas.

A pleased President Barack Obama appeared at the White House Wednesday to proclaim the Paris Agreement the “best possible shot to save the one planet we’ve got.”

By itself, limiting greenhouse gas emissions will not solve the world's climate crisis, Obama said, but it will help delay or avoid some of the worst consequences of unchecked global warming.

The Paris Agreement encourages all nations to cut emissions enough to limit the global temperature increase to less than two degrees C, measured against climate records dating back to the Industrial Revolution.

Many nations will have to start reducing fossil fuel use by switching to renewable energy sources instead of oil, coal and gas.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supports the Paris Agreement and says exploiting renewable energy is part of her plan to create jobs.

Republican Donald Trump has called global warming a hoax and says enforcing the treaty would cost jobs.

However, most scientists agree that climate change is causing glaciers and ice caps to melt. This is causing a measurable and increasing rise in sea levels that threatens to flood coastal regions. Some island nations could be obliterated if sea levels keep rising at the present rate. The seas may have risen as much as 17 centimeters in the 20th century, according to recent research. That is about 6.7 inches.

A warmer Earth also may experience altered weather patterns.

After Tuesday’s debate focus
shifts to next one on Sunday

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In the aftermath of Tuesday's vice presidential debate, the focus has shifted to the second presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, which will be Sunday in St. Louis, Missouri.

Trump in particular has a lot riding on his performance in the second debate: It could be one of his last opportunities to turn the race around.

Some early polls and many pundits gave Republican Mike Pence a slight edge over Democrat Tim Kaine in the only vice presidential debate. Pence's cool, calm performance Tuesday night has a number of Republicans hoping that Trump might choose to imitate his running mate in Sunday’s debate.

Trump was very much center stage in the vice presidential debate.

Kaine brought up several of Trump’s most controversial statements during the 90-minute debate in hopes of putting Pence on the defensive.

“Six times tonight I have said to Governor Pence, I can’t imagine how you can defend your running mate’s position on one issue after the next,” Kaine said at one point. “And in all six cases, he has refused to defend his running mate’s.”

Pence did often choose to ignore the attacks on Trump and tried as often as he could to turn his focus to Mrs. Clinton’s record as secretary of State.

“The situation we are watching hour by hour in Syria today is a result of the failed foreign policy and the weak foreign policy that Hillary Clinton helped lead in this administration and create,” Pence said.

Historically, vice-presidential debates change few minds in a presidential election campaign, and many analysts said this one is likely to be no different.

“I think the Democrats will like a little bit of aggression and fire towards Donald Trump, and I think that the Republicans like the sort of calm steadfastness of Governor Pence,” said Austin Hart of American University.

Hart added that Pence was able to right the ship a bit by showing a steady demeanor in the face of aggressive prodding by Kaine.

On the other hand, Kaine managed to score points by keeping the focus on Donald Trump, Hart said.

With the focus now on Sunday’s second presidential debate, Trump is signaling an aggressive approach that might involve resurrecting the Bill Clinton impeachment saga in the second term of his presidency.

Trump performed a shaky walk earlier this week at a rally in Pennsylvania as he poked fun at Clinton’s recent bout with pneumonia.

“She is supposed to fight all of these different things and she can’t make it 15 feet to her car. Give me a break,” Trump said to cheers from the crowd.

Clinton’s lead in national and some key state polls has surged in the wake of the first debate, and she is likely to emphasize unity in her next faceoff with Trump, as she did this week with supporters at a rally in Coral Springs, Florida.

“My view is, we are already great and if we work together, we will become even greater in the years ahead,” she said.

The next debate could give Trump an opportunity to reset the race and rebound from his performance in the first debate, said George Washington University’s Matthew Dallek.

“So if he can improve on some of his answers, show more knowledge, and not be as wild-eyed as he was in the first debate, it could be very different,” he said.

Dallek sees the Trump-Clinton battle in one sense as a contest of trust versus temperament, noting polls that show Mrs. Clinton’s challenges in convincing voters that she is trustworthy and voters’ doubts about Trump’s temperament.

Many conservatives were disheartened not only with Trump’s first debate performance but also his Twitter attacks in the days that followed targeting Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe.

“The more he talks about that, that doesn’t help him. It is what you would call off-message,” said Weekly Standard Editor Fred Barnes.

The next Clinton-Trump debate features a town hall format where the candidates will field questions from moderators and from voters invited to attend. That could present a challenge to Trump if he chooses to attack Mrs. Clinton while answering a question from a voter.

Galaxy phone begins smoking
and causes flight evacuation

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A plane in the Midwestern state of Kentucky had to be evacuated Wednesday after a new Samsung phone reportedly caught fire prior to take off.

The new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 device was produced after a recent mass recall and was deemed as safe by the company.

In a statement, Samsung said it was working with authorities and the flight operator Southwest to obtain the defective device and determine what caused the problem.

"Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share,” the company said in a statement.

Sarah Green told The Courier-Journal of Louisville the phone belonged to her husband, Brian. Green said the phone was turned off as it started smoking and making popping noises while the plane was still waiting to leave the gate.

In September, Samsung agreed to undertake a massive recall of Galaxy Note 7 phones after receiving dozens of reports of batteries overheating.

Green said her husband’s phone had been recalled and he received his new phone two weeks ago as a replacement, but Samsung said in a statement it had yet to confirm the model of the phone.

Many airlines have started warning passengers not to use the Samsung phones while on their flight or stow them in checked luggage because of the smoke issues.

Black inmate’s death penalty
gets once over by High Court

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering the case of a black inmate on death row in Texas who contends that racially biased testimony tainted his sentence.

Wednesday, the nation’s highest court appeared to side with inmate Duane Buck.

Most of the justices expressed concern that Buck’s own defense lawyer, not the prosecutors, introduced the racially charged testimony during his trial.

“It would seem more prejudicial when the defendant’s own lawyer brings it up. The jury would probably think, then it must be true,” said Justice Elena Kagan.

During the sentencing phase of Buck’s trial in 1997, clinical psychologist Walter Quijano, testifying on the likelihood of Buck committing future offenses, said black and Hispanic people are more likely to be dangerous because they are overrepresented among violent offenders.

In Texas death penalty trials, one of the special issues jurors must consider when deciding punishment is whether the defendant they’ve convicted would be a future danger.

Buck’s current lawyers said in court papers that the link between race and future dangerousness has been proven false.

Buck’s lawyers are not challenging his conviction, but they are seeking another chance to argue that he should not get the death penalty.

The only issue in arguments at the high court appeared to be whether to throw out Buck’s sentence altogether and order a new sentencing hearing. The court also could instruct lower courts to decide whether the death sentence can stand.

Buck, now 53, does not dispute that he shot and killed another man and his ex-girlfriend, Debra Gardner, 32, about a week after breaking up with her in 1995. He also shot his stepsister, who survived.

Since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, 1,437 people have been put to death nationwide, with Texas carrying out the most executions at 537.

Historically, black inmates have held an outsized place on death row, even though nationally, whites greatly outnumber African Americans.

NSA contractor faces claim
he took classified material

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A National Security Agency contractor has been arrested and is being investigated for taking highly classified information, according to a statement by the Department of Justice.

The suspect, 51-year-old Harold Thomas Martin III of Glen Burnie, Maryland, was arrested in late August, the statement said, adding that he had a top secret national security clearance.

The statement did not specify the nature or quantity of the information taken, but spoke of six documents obtained from sensitive intelligence and produced by a government agency in 2014.

After review, investigators found that the documents were classified as top secret, meaning that unauthorized disclosure reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the U.S.

The New York Times reported the contractor is suspected of stealing sensitive NSA source code meant to break into the computer systems of foreign governments such as Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. It said he worked for the consulting organization Booz Allen Hamilton.

In a statement, Booz Allen Hamilton said that as soon as it learned of the arrest of one of its employees, "we immediately reached out to the authorities to offer our total cooperation in their investigation, and we fired the employee.

"We continue to cooperate fully with the government on its investigation into this serious matter," the company said.

The Justice Department did not mention what, if anything, the contractor may have done with the allegedly stolen information, which it said was found during a search at Martin's residence, including two storage sheds.

During the search, investigators found "hard-copy documents and digital information stored on various devices and removable digital media," the statement said. "In addition, investigators located property of the U.S. government with an aggregate value in excess of $1,000, which Martin allegedly stole."

If convicted, Martin faces a maximum of one year in prison for the unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials and 10 years in prison for theft of government property, the Justice Department said.

It is not clear how close the situation is to that of ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who stole 1.5 million sensitive documents in 2013 and used them to leak details of several secret U.S. surveillance programs. The U.S. government filed espionage charges against Snowden, who would face 30 years in prison, if convicted. He has been granted asylum in Russia.

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Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
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The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
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Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
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Mobile: +506.8367-2466
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

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!

New graphic
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. Up to 40% financing / get residency through investor status / includes a corporation that is 27 years old and offshore banking account with  Banco National / possible 50/50 partnership. Super location in front of the Bosques de Escazú  Condos  / Monthly rentals available
Call for more info:
Free US phone 877-778-8515  or 410-975-6703
In Costa Rica 506- 8307-0164
Bruce Cohen

Pavo onr
FOR SALE - $240,000
Exceptional 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom, fully furnished luxury apartment for sale at the exclusive Terrazas de Escazú highrise complex in Escazú near La Paco Commerical Center.  Situated on the third floor, this apartment has an exceptional layout with stunning views of the Central Valley. 140 m2 bright and spacious floor plan with open sky terrace with 180-degree unobstructed view of the Escazú mountains and Central Valley.  One covered parking spot with additional guest parking available. HOA fee:  $250/month. Held in Costa Rica corporation for easy property transfer. Building features: 12-meter atrium with controlled access entrance to the building, surrounding landscaping, lower level pool, communal rooftop terrace and small rooftop gym. 24-hour security. Contact: José Granados in Costa Rica, phone 506- 6051-5249  email:
Jay Saba
paco two

Jacó Beach - Super Views - Priced Right
This is a three-bedroom, ine-bath home located at about 100-foot elevation one mile from the beach. Remodeled 2 years ago. Everything is new including total new kitchen, windows, floors, AC units, electric, plumbing, etc. Super fenced yard for dogs. Very low electric bill even with the AC. Very secure & private. Police chief next door. Very easy & inexpensive to expand this house as all neighbors have done. $149,900. Call Glenn at 506 6214-0056.

Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

horse ranch
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need.  More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 198
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
U.S. will continue to back Colombia

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. plan to send millions of dollars in aid to Colombia next year is not expected to be affected by Sunday's surprising defeat at the polls of a peace plan intended to end 52 years of civil war.

"There is no discussion at this point within the government" about American assistance to Colombia, a senior U.S. official said Wednesday in response to a query. "Our hope is that the peace accord will go forward with national support."

Congress is expected to approve $400 million in development aid and about $50 million in counter-narcotics assistance for Colombia for fiscal 2017. In years past, the U.S. spent billions of dollars in military aid to help the Colombian government combat the Fuerza Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, known as the FARC, and bring it to the negotiating table.

Colombian officials have been meeting in Cuba with rebel representatives to try to save the peace deal that voters narrowly rejected Sunday.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said he was extending a cease-fire agreement with the rebels until Oct. 31, in the hope negotiators can find a way to salvage the peace agreement, which both sides signed last week.

"Time is very important. We can't prolong this process and this dialogue for a long time because we're in a gray zone, a sort of limbo, that is risky and can wash away the entire process," Santos said.

Senior rebel leader Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri, known as Timochenko, was skeptical about extension of the cease-fire until the end of the month. "And after that, the war continues?" the rebel leader asked on Twitter.

The senior U.S. official said rebel leaders have "made it clear they want the peace process to continue, and they want to negotiate a settlement to the war."

Matthew gaining strength heading north

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Forecasters expect Hurricane Matthew to gain strength as it moves through the northern Bahamas today and heads for the southeastern U.S. state of Florida.

Overnight, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm had sustained winds of about 185 kilometers per hour as it approached Andros Island and Nassau. They warned of dangerous storm surge and the possibility of at least 20 centimeters of rain.

The forecast track had Matthew going directly up the east coast of Florida Friday after strengthening from a Category 3 to a Category 4 storm.

"Get out now," Florida Gov. Rick Scott told people who live along his state's coast during a news conference Wednesday. "It could be the decision between life or death."

Scott warned that people who were planning to leave should do so immediately, as highways are expected to be clogged with traffic as the storm edges closer.

The hurricane is reported to have killed at least 16 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic after slamming the island as a Category 4 hurricane Tuesday, the strongest storm to make landfall in Haiti in 52 years.

U.S. Navy Admiral Kurt Tidd, commander of U.S. forces in the Caribbean, told reporters Wednesday that the United States was sending nine military helicopters in response to the Haitian government's request for help.

Haiti has postponed its presidential election, scheduled for Sunday, because many schools and churches that were to serve as polling stations are being used to shelter thousands of displaced people.
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From Page 7:

Labor minister skeptical of minimum wage plan

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The labor minister told lawmakers Wednesday that a proposed way to calculate minimum wages is simplistic.

In addition, the minister, Carlos Alvarado, said that a badly constructed system for establishing minimum wages can lead to employers reducing or not increasing the  work force as well as having some workers off the books.

He heads the Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social, and the agency establishes a minimum wage for each job category twice a year. He was discussing with the  Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Económicos a proposed law, No. 19.312.

The law stresses the economic needs of workers and says that a minimum wage should satisfy the normal necessities of a worker and his or her family in material, moral and cultural matters. The wage would be determined by using census data of income and household numbers.