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Published Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 201
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Hidden dental tax faces a challenge in legislature
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican society is full of little hidden taxes that benefit a minority. There is the stamp for the Cruz Roja. The lawyer’s monopoly, the Colegio de Abogados, has a stamp.

And now it turns out that the Colegio de Cirujanos Dentistas has had a hidden tax for years. But maybe not for long.

Lawmakers have introduced a bill to eliminate the tax, which is 5 percent on all dental supplies, materials and instruments. The tax, of course, is passed on to the patient in the final bill.

The bill, No. 20.115, has a stated objective of reducing dental costs.  Natalia Díaz Quintana introduced the bill. She is a member of the Partido Movimiento Libertario.

The topic also came up in a Sept. 27 column in El Semanario, the Universidad de Costa Rica newspaper. Álvaro Cordero Yannarella identified himself as a former professor, a dentist and a lawyer. He was not kind to the tax.

He called the dental colegio a white elephant that like other official professional organizations really is a social club. He said the government-supported colegios exploit members and, in the case of the dental organization, the benefits for patients are practically nonexistent.

Cordero said that the law creating these professional colegios has been challenged unsuccessfully in the past and said they had gained a lot of power.

Like other colegios, the one for dentists sets minimum prices. The physician’s colegio, Colegio de Medicos Cirujanos Costa Rica, is now involved in a controversy because its board jacked up the minimum rates for each medical procedure.

When the dental tax was created in 1966, the

tax ache

colegio authorized the printing of stamps to be affixed to invoices for supplies, materials and instruments. The tax is collected by the vendor who adds the value of the stamps to the transaction. The government distributes the money to the colegio. The tax also is applied to imported items at customs.

The colegio also is authorized to hire inspectors who travel around making sure the tax is paid.

Colegios are an outgrowth of the professionalism movement. Historically there were but three professions: the clergy, physicians and lawyers. Other types of employees began to organize in the 19th century. The key elements of a professional organization or colegio is that it certifies its members and requires them to adhere to standards. The colegio also can discipline members, too, but most of the suspensions in Costa Rica are for not paying membership fees.

Governments have supported colegios because the organizations were seen to be uniquely qualified to evaluate credentials. In Costa Rica the colegios are created by law. In most cases, only credentialed colegio members are allowed to practice the profession, be it architecture, journalism, nursing, engineering, economy or social workers. The professional organizations are not to be confused with high schools, which have the same name in Spanish.

Aging lion is pawn in fight by government with zoo
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Perhaps an animal lover will step up and provide a home for a soon-to-be-homeless cat.

A big cat.

The Ministerio de Ambiente de Energía and the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería have successfully defended their effort to have the zoo at Parque Bolívar in San José to provide better quarters for the remaining lion.

There is little love lost between the government and
the foundation running the zoo. Various
administrations have tried to oust the foundation and turn the zoo into a garden.

But now the legal dispute centers on the aging lion, Kivú. The government wants the foundation to build better and larger quarters at its alternate facility in Santa Ana. The foundation says doing so would be too expensive. A court just sided with the government.

The lion was a cub when it was liberated from a passing circus. A companion has died, and the lion has spent its entire life in the small zoo cage.

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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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road                                      hazard
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Neighbors and even Fuerza Pública officers pitched in over the weekend to move storm debris off the highway in Valverde Vega de Alajuela. They may get another chance. Another tropical wave is passing over the country today.

Our reader’s opinion
Dump the parties and just go independent

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

It’s hard to believe that Donald Trump, after saying all the disgusting things he has said, is odds on to be the next President.  As bad a choice as Trump is, he’s better than Hillary. What a mess this two party system is. The only way to start to fix it is term limits. Most people I know would make a great Congress person, Democrats and Republican alike, for two, three maybe four years. After that, make them come back home. And, they don’t need all the perks like health insurance, $75.000 a year expense account and on and on.

Both the Democrats and Republicans play the American people for fools, they pit us against each other and go about getting rich, all the time setting up a boogeyman for us to blame like big banks, big oil, big pharmaceutical and on and on.

If these “big boogeymen” are taking advantage of the system then it’s the politician's job to change the laws, stop them, do something other than talk about how bad these “big boogeyman” are.

One example of how politicians manipulate the system is when Hillary recently told big banks that she uses two policies, one for the public and another for the big banks. In other words telling the big banks “don’t pay any attention to what I say in public just give me the money and I’ll take care of you.” In May, Wall Street donated $4.45 million to Hillary Clinton's campaign. That was in May alone.

The reason why “big boogeymen” take advantage of us is politicians let them. The reason politicians let them is we let the politicians. We are in control and we are letting it happen. Many of us are in denial. Just admit these career politicians don’t look out for us.  Let go of your party affiliation and go independent. You will feel much better about the United States. 

David Rogers
Barú, Costa Rica

Consejo de Seguridad Vial photo
A load of motorcycles are off to storage.

Vehicle cemetery is big business

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Every motorist knows that the nightmare is just beginning if traffic police impound the vehicle. In addition to the headaches in trying to get back the vehicle, there are the charges.

The Consejo de Seguridad Vial said Monday that in the first full year that a new law was in effect, motorists had to pay 50.3 million colons, about $94,000, just to have the agency haul the vehicle to the storage yard.

The numbers add up, and the Consejo said that there is a milage charge, and then there is the charge for holding the vehicle in storage. That does not count whatever traffic fine that may be imposed.

From Jan. 1 until Aug. 31, traffic police said they have impounded 5,081 motorcycles, 905 sedans, 61 trucks, 12 public transportation vehicles and 72 other types. And they also grabbed six bikes.

Plenty of motorists simply abandon their vehicle because the charges are much more than they can pay. So the Consejo auctions the vehicles off after a time.

Deadline reset for political letters

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some U.S. states already have begun absentee voting, so A.M. Costa Rica is moving up slightly the deadline for letters to the editor expressing a political preference in the Nov. 8 general elections. Originally the deadline was Oct. 14. The new deadline is Wednesday.

Readers are invited to express their preferences for U.S. president and other national offices. After Thursday, letters of a political nature involving the Nov. 8 election will not be published.

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, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 201
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BBC radio report says that Costa Rica is rotting from corruption
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The BBC gives its audience some negative descriptions of Costa Rica in a radio show this week. The segment is described this way:

“While traveling in Costa Rica's verdant forests, Tim Hartley also dug into the causes of a rot creeping across the country: corruption, on both the small and large scale.”

The Radio 4 show is called “From Our Own Correspondent,” and the station’s reporters comment on “stories behind the headlines, often bringing a personal perspective to them,” the BBS says.

Hartley appears to be engaged in what is known as parachute journalism in which a reporter arrives in a location and becomes an instant expert. He describes himself in an online posting as an independent consultant and journalist who speaks Spanish. He at least was in Arenal and Monteverde. But he talks about the views of President Luis Guillermo Solís but fails to say if he really interviewed him.

Hartley paraphrases an expat he identifies as San José lawyer Richard Phelps as saying that in Costa Rica corruption is more in your face than elsewhere. Police officers can be bribed with a 10,000-colon note and construction inspectors will overlook some problems for 20,000 colons, Hartley said.

He cites the old cases of three presidents who have been accused of bribery and says there is fear that drug cartels are infiltrating the government at all levels, He points out that the country had 530 murders last year.

His expat source reported that the country is run by oligarchs, some well-placed families, who follow different ethical rules, said the reporter.

But there is some upbeat material. He also gives some good descriptions of Costa Rican wildlife, including hummingbirds and the country’s hydro generating successes.

And he notes “Howler monkeys really do howl!”

The audio is the third of four narratives HERE!

Little devices can provide an explosive welcome for intruders
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats have seen shootouts among drug gangs, but how about booby traps?

That is a strong possibility because Fuerza Pública officers found a trio of grenades during an operation in Hatillo Monday.

The police were there to protect municipal workers who were dismantling some illegal structures. The grenades turned up in one of the makeshift homes.

The grenades obviously are of military issue, but they have brackets that indicate they are to be fastened firmly to an upright. Add a small piece of wire, and there is a booby trap.

Police came to that conclusion and called the devices trampa cazabobos, the Spanish term for booby traps.

The location was in Ciudadela 25 de Julio.

Officers concluded that these are flash grenades rather than of

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
These are the explosives that turned up Monday.

the fragmentary variety, although they do not seem to be similar to anything used by western forces.

There is a lot of spare military hardware still around, having been left over from the Nicaraguan civil war that ended in the early 1990s.

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Crock's New years

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 201
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Why Columbus came at least 20,000 years late to America
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Some Americans got a day off work Monday to celebrate Columbus Day. It's an annual holiday that commemorates the day on Oct. 12, 1492, when the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus officially set foot in the Americas, and claimed the land for Spain. It has been a national holiday in the United States since 1937.

It is commonly said that Columbus discovered America. It would be more accurate, perhaps, to say that he introduced the Americas to Western Europe during his four voyages to the region between 1492 and 1502. It's also safe to say that he paved the way for the massive influx of western Europeans that would ultimately form several new nations including the United States, Canada and Mexico.

But to say he discovered America is a bit of a misnomer because there were plenty of people already here when he arrived.

So who were the people who really deserve to be called the first Americans? Michael Bawaya, the editor of the magazine American Archaeology, said that they came here from Asia probably "no later than about 15,000 years ago."

They walked across the Bering land bridge that back in the day connected what is now the U.S. state of Alaska and Siberia. Ocean levels were much lower and the land between the continents was hundreds of kilometers wide.

The area would have looked much like the land on Alaska's Seward Peninsula does today: treeless, arid tundra. But despite its relative inhospitality, life abounded there.

According to the U.S. National Park Service, the land bridge played a vital role in the spread of plant and animal life between the continents. Many species of animals, the woolly mammoth, mastodon, scimitar cat, Arctic camel, brown bear, moose, muskox, and horse, to name a few, moved from one continent to the other across the Bering land bridge.

Birds, fish, and marine mammals established migration patterns that continue to this day.

And archaeologists say that humans followed, in a never-ending hunt for food, water and shelter. Once here, humans dispersed all across North and eventually Central and South America.

Up until the 1970s, these first Americans had a name: the Clovis peoples. They get their name from an ancient settlement discovered near Clovis, New Mexico, dated to over 11,000 years ago. And DNA suggests they are the direct ancestors of nearly 80 percent of all native people in the Americas.

But there's more. Today, it's widely believed that before the Clovis people, there were others, and as Bawaya says, they haven't really been identified. But there are remnants of them in places as far-flung as the U.S. states of Texas and Virginia, and as far south as Peru and Chile. They are called, for lack of a better name, the Pre-Clovis people.

And to make things more complicated, recent discoveries are threatening to push back the arrival of humans in North America even further back in time. Perhaps as far back as 20,000 years or more. But the science on this is far from settled.

So for now, the Clovis and the Pre-Clovis peoples, long disappeared but still existent in the genetic code of nearly all native Americans, deserve the credit for discovering America.

Wiki Commons graphic
Beringia land bridge when sea level was 120 meters lower

But those people arrived on the western coast. What about arrivals from the east? Was Columbus the first European to glimpse the untamed, verdant paradise that America must have been centuries ago?

Not even close.

There is proof that Europeans visited what is now Canada about 500 years before Columbus set sail. They were Vikings, and evidence of their presence can be found on the Canadian island of Newfoundland at a place called l'Anse Aux Meadows. It is now a World Heritage site and consists of the remains of eight buildings that were likely wooden structures covered with grass and soil.

Today the area is barren, but a thousand years ago there were trees everywhere and the area likely was used as a winter stopover point, where Vikings repaired their boats and sat out bad weather. It's not quite clear if the area was a permanent settlement, but it is clear that the expansion-minded Norsemen were here long before Columbus.

And to add one fascinating wrinkle to the story of America's discovery, consider the Sweet Potato.

This humble pinkish-red tuber is native to South America. And yet, there have been sweet potatoes on the menu in Polynesia as far back as 1,000 years ago. So how did it get there?

By comparing the DNA of Polynesian and South American sweet potatoes, scientists think it's clear that someone either brought them back to Polynesia after visiting South America, or islanders brought them from South America when they were exploring the Pacific Ocean. Either way, it suggests that about the same time Nordic sailors were cutting trees in Canada, someone in Polynesia was trying sweet potatoes from South America for the first time.

Speaking of genetics, a 2014 study of the DNA of natives on the Polynesian island of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, found a fair amount of Native American genes in the mix. The entry of American DNA into the genetics of the Rapa Nui natives suggests that the two peoples were living together around 1280 AD.

There are other theories out there. A retired British Naval officer named Gavin Menzies has been pushing the idea that the Chinese colonized South America in 1421.

Another theory from a retired chemist named John Ruskamp suggests that pictographs discovered in Arizona are nearly identical to Chinese characters. He puts the Chinese in the U.S. state of Arizona sometime around 1300 BC.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

HIdden Garden graphic
Put Costa Rica on your walls
The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is the perfect place to find quality Costa Rican and international art for your home or office.  With over 60 artists and 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we have been your source for fine art since 2010.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever. Located just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport (towards the beaches).

Visit our Web site at:
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Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tel.  8386-6872 / 2667-0592; 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.

George Lundquist

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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 
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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, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 201
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Axiom new ad

Candidates return to campaign
after negative revelations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are back on the campaign trail after an eventful few days that included a vicious debate, lewd Trump comments about women, a major split among Republicans and leaked emails showing a private Mrs. Clinton versus a public one.

Both candidates are struggling to overcome voter mistrust with less than a month before the presidential election.

Paul Ryan, speaker of the House of Representatives, told fellow Republicans in a conference call Monday that he will no longer campaign for Trump or defend his often harsh comments that have offended many voters.

Ryan said he will instead focus his efforts on getting Republicans elected to the House so the party will keep its hold on Congress. Republicans currently control both the House and Senate.

One person on the conference call said Ryan did not withdraw his support for Trump, but simply will not campaign for him. Ryan told other Republican House members "to do what's best for you in your district."

A Clinton campaign spokesperson called Ryan's decision not to stump for Trump pretty stunning. Trump criticized the speaker, saying he "should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee.”

Mrs. Clinton said Monday that Trump spent Sunday's presidential debate attacking when he should have been apologizing.

She was talking about Trump's comments on a leaked 2005 audio tape in which he boasted to a TV personality that he could grope women because he is a star.

Mrs. Clinton told a crowd in Detroit that Trump doubled down on his explanation that the comments were just locker room talk between men. She called it "a really weak excuse for behaving badly and mistreating people."

Moments later, Trump appeared in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, saying all Mrs. Clinton could talk about in the debate were small petty things.

Trump said at the debate he was very embarrassed by his remarks and hated them.

But he tore into the media Monday for "beating me up" for 72 hours while ignoring allegations that Mrs. Clinton threatened women who Trump says were raped and sexually assaulted by her husband, former president Bill Clinton.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign emails released by WikiLeaks showed she made private remarks about Wall Street and her relations with the middle class that differ from what she has said on the campaign trail.

She has publicly called for tougher rules for big banks and investment houses, while in paid speeches to financial firms expressed a willingness to make deals and let Wall Street put together some of those regulations.

Mrs.Clinton has also spoken of how she and Bill Clinton were broke when they left the White House in 2001. But she apparently said in 2014 that she is now far removed from those struggles because of the fortunes they now enjoy.

When asked in Sunday's debate to reconcile her public and private comments, Mrs. Clinton cited president Abraham Lincoln, saying he used different arguments with different people to get things done.

Television ratings show the national audience for Sunday's debate was about 66.5 million people, sharply down from the 84 million who watched the first debate two weeks ago.

Those numbers only measure those watching on television at home and do not include the millions who watched on social media, in bars and political clubs, or simply listened on radio.

Sunday's showdown competed against a televised baseball playoff game and a football game.

Nearly every major poll of voters taken after the debate give Mrs. Clinton a lead over Trump, including an NBC News / Wall Street Journal survey giving her a huge 14-point lead versus Trump alone, and an 11-point advantage when two third-party candidates are included.

Other major polls give Clinton a five-to-seven-point lead, while one survey by The Los Angeles Times / USC Tracking give Trump a three-point lead.

A New York Times analysis of all the polls gives Mrs. Clinton an 86 percent chance of winning the White House Nov. 8.

Feds offer to help protect
ballot boxes from hackers

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Federal officials are urging local election agencies to contact the Department of Homeland Security to receive help with cybersecurity before the Nov. 8 election.

The Department of Homeland Security says 33 states and 11 counties have approached the department to improve their security systems ahead of the election.

“Time is a factor. There are only 29 days until Election Day,” Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement Monday. The department says it can take up to three weeks to find and correct cyber vulnerabilities in local election agencies.

The Department of Homeland Security says its services include assessing risk and vulnerability, and scanning remotely for steps to improve security. It says it will provide state and local election officials with a report identifying vulnerabilities with online voter registration systems, election night reporting systems, and other internet-connected election systems.

Friday, the United States publicly accused Russia of launching a series of cyberattacks aimed at undermining the upcoming U.S. elections.

A statement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security said it is confident Russia directed the hacks of the Democratic National Committee in July, leaking thousands of emails that embarrassed the party in the days leading up to its national convention.

“We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” the statement said.

Intelligence officials had suspected Russia of orchestrating the attack for several weeks, noting that Russia has used similar tactics and techniques to influence public opinion across Europe and Eurasia.

But the U.S. intelligence community decided to go public after newly uncovered information allowed them to reach a higher degree of confidence, a U.S. official said. But officials would not let their names be used.

A Kremlin spokesperson denied the allegations, telling Russian state media they are rubbish and nonsense.

Judge extends registration
after Florida hurricane brush

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A federal judge has extended Florida’s voter registration deadline by a day and agreed to consider a longer extension in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

The initial deadline was today.

Florida Democrats had argued that Florida’s would-be voters needed more time, especially after Republican Gov. Rick Scott last week urged 1.5 million residents to evacuate as the storm approached.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called on Scott to extend the deadline, using his emergency authority. The governor declined, saying Floridians had enough time to register before the Oct. 6 evacuation orders.

Judge Mark Walker granted a request by the Florida Democratic Party for a temporary injunction that moved the state’s voter registration deadline from today to Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Justice Ginsburg says athletes
protesting anthem are dumb

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Monday waded in to the controversy over American athletes protesting at sporting events against widely perceived racial inequality for African Americans.

Speaking to Yahoo! News, Justice Ginsburg said she believes the protests are, in her words, really dumb, aiming most of her criticism at San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The 28-year-old Kaepernick triggered a social media conversation in August when he refused to participate in the time-honored ritual of standing before the start of athletic events while the American anthem is performed. He said he would not stand until he and other critics see substantive change in racial attitudes and police procedures used in routine interactions with African Americans.

Kaepernick's complaints began after months of high-profile confrontations between police and African Americans that have resulted in the deaths of citizens and police officers alike.

For her part, the 83-year-old Justice Ginsburg called the anthem protests dumb and disrespectful. But she also said it would be dangerous to arrest people for conduct that doesn't jeopardize the health or well-being of other people.

Kaepernick began his protests at three exhibition games by sitting while the anthem was performed. After consulting with a member of the U.S. Army, Kaepernick decided to kneel in protest as part of an effort to show respect for the U.S. military.

Other Colombian rebel group
ready for peace negotiations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Colombian government and the country’s second largest rebel group have announced the start of peace talks Oct. 27 in the capital of Ecuador.

Monday’s announcement of talks with the 2,000-strong National Liberation Army comes just days after Colombian voters stunned diplomats and world leaders by rejecting a peace deal ending a half century of fighting between the Bogota government and the much larger Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias  de Colombia insurgency.

In an address after Monday’s announcement, President Juan Manuel Santos vowed that “peace won’t slip through our fingers.” Instead, he said, “it will be stronger . . . and it will be complete.”

Santos’ peace accord with the rebels was widely praised internationally, but narrowly defeated at home as too lenient on rebels who began fighting the government in 1964.

Despite the defeat, Santos was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last week for his efforts to end the hemisphere’s longest war.

Former president Alvaro Uribe is now attempting to renegotiate the parts of the accord that would have guaranteed the rebel group congressional seats and immunity from prosecution and prison sentences.

Younger and older cops die
in a Palm Springs ambush

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The young officer had just returned to the police force after maternity leave. The older one was two months short of retirement. Both Southern California officers were fatally shot over the weekend, allegedly by a gang member acting crazy and intending to shoot police, according to his father.

Palm Springs Police Chief Bryan Reyes identified the officers slain Saturday as Jose Gilbert Vega, 63, and Lesley Zerebny, 27. A third officer was wounded after police responded to a domestic disturbance call.

The suspected gunman's father told a neighbor his son was armed, acting crazy and wanted to shoot police.

The suspect, John Felix, 26, was apprehended early Sunday after a lengthy standoff and will be charged this week with murder.

Felix finally emerged wearing soft body armor and carrying ammunition but no weapon after police shot a chemical agent into the home where he had holed up, officials said.

Vega had submitted his paperwork to retire at the end of the year after a long and decorated career, Reyes said.

"Here he is, 35 years in, still pushing a patrol car for our community to make it better . . . on a day he wasn't even scheduled to work," the chief said.

Reyes said Ms. Zerebny "pressed forward every day to make it better for everybody else." She and her husband, a sheriff's deputy, were parents to a 4-month-old baby.

"To see her laying down with her eyes open and to witness her husband in full Riverside County sheriff's uniform . . . kiss her on the forehead for the last time . . .  it's tough," Reyes said, fighting back tears.

Investigators were trying to piece together what led up to a 911 call about a family disturbance that preceded the cold-blooded killings.

A neighbor, Frances Serrano, said that the suspect's panicked father, Santos Felix, earlier said his son, an admitted gang member, had a gun.

Police said Felix suddenly pulled out a gun and opened fire on the officers who had responded to a disturbance call Saturday afternoon at the home he shared with his parents in a quiet neighborhood of single-story ranch homes in this desert resort city.

Ms. Zerebny had been with the department for about 18 months and recently returned early from maternity leave after giving birth to a daughter. Vega, a married father of eight, was a 35-year veteran who planned to retire in December. He had been working overtime Saturday on his scheduled day off.

A vigil was held outside police headquarters Sunday night to honor the two slain officers. Mourners created a memorial that included flower bouquets, written messages, candles and balloons.

The wounded officer's name was not released, but police said he was released from a hospital Sunday. Reyes said previously that the officer was alert and speaking with investigators.

Court records show Felix was a gang member who was previously sentenced to four years in prison in a failed murder plot in 2009. Documents cited by the Desert Sun newspaper reveal he was charged with attempted murder but pleaded down to assault with a firearm and admitted his gang connection.

The Palm Springs shooting occurred just three days after a popular Los Angeles County sheriff's sergeant was shot and killed in the high desert town of Lancaster. Sgt. Steve Owen was answering a burglary when he was shot. A paroled robber has been charged with murder.
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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!
We will be happy to give all the information you need. Contact:

Costa Rica Office: +506.4001-2343
Mobile: +506.8367-2466
USA Office: +1.786233-1579

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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, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 201
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Sunny or shadows, we've got you covered

Pretty much anywhere in the tropics, you are going to have a spot or spots where you want a ground cover. Now I am partial to Tradescantia pallid or

Victoria Torley
wandering jew, which is called cucaracha here.

Never mind how this plant got associated with cockroaches, that’s what the natives call it. I am partial to it for a lot of reasons, color being one. I guess I just like purple. It is also a tenacious little plant and you can pull up a couple of pieces,
throw them onto some dirt and they take root. Shade or sun, they don’t seem to mind much where you put them, they just dig in.

But maybe you are not fond of purple or you don’t like to think you are growing cockroaches. There are a lot of other ground covers to choose from. Now, for me, a ground cover has to stay under a certain height. If it gets taller than 18 inches (45 cm), it has progressed into being a plant that covers ground rather than a ground cover.

Take aloe for example. It will cover the ground but it gets 24 inches tall (62 cm) and the flower stalks are taller, so let’s stick with things under that 18-inch mark.

Way down there, we have some lovely plants. Joyweed (Alternanthera tenella) grows to about 12 inches, has variegated foliage and grows in full sun. It is also a native from México to South America so you can point to it with pride – “I plant native varieties.”

Need something shorter? Try metal leaf, hemigraphis alternate, a Malaysian import that only gets about 6 inches tall (15 cm). It enjoys partial shade and is also a good cover for slopes. Also in the short but sweet category are artillery plant, Pilea serpyllacea, at 10 inches, creeping charlie, Pliea nummulariifolia, at 8 inches, and bird’s nest sansevieria, Sanserieria trifasciata, at 6 inches. For those who like a lot of flowers, moss rose or portulaca, Portulaca grandiflora, grows to 6 inches and spreads well. In the very short category is a great plant for the beach areas, nehe, Lipochaeta integrifolia, a member of the sunflower family that only grows to about 3 inches tall (8 cm).

In the 18-inch category there is a lot to choose from, but let’s look at two. For medium shade, the aluminum plant, Pilea cadierei, has variegated foliage and likes light shade. Blue daze, originally from Brazil, (sort of a semi-native), is about 18 inches tall. Evolvus glomeratus flowers most of the year in full sun and makes a nice cover for banks.

Those are just some of your choices for ground covers. Me? I like my ground covers short and easy to care for so I am sticking with cockroaches. Except in the house.

fground cover
A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley

Plant of the Week

So here it is, a blanket of Tradescantia pallid that began with a few small pieces tossed into a shady area. As you can see, several plants have decided to climb the tree. In sunlight and shade, Tradescantia pallid makes a wonderful display.

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit HERE!
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From Page 7:

Facebook creates paid option for businesses

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Social media giant Facebook has launched a separate version of its network platform aimed at businesses, called Workplace.

Facebook hopes the new product will replace businesses' previous internal communications tools, such as intranet and mailbox. It's competing with other workplace products or services including LinkedIn, Slack, HipChat, Microsoft's Yammer and Salesforce's Chatter.

Workplace, previously called Facebook at Work, has a similar look and feel to standard Facebook, including a news feed to read, group chats, and an instant messaging to stay in contact with co-workers. Users can add and share comments, photos and videos about their work and can engage in video calls with co-workers.

In a change from Facebook, Workplace's background is gray, not blue, and users can access it without a Facebook account.

The service is free for nonprofits and educational institutions, but costs businesses between $1 to $3 per month per connected employee, depending on the size of the business.

Organizations have used the service for the past 18 months on an invite-only basis. Facebook says 1,000 companies are already using the product, including the Royal Bank of Scotland, the nonprofit group Oxfam, and soup maker Campbell's.

Workplace is based on an internal service that Facebook's own employees have been using for years. The goal is similar to Facebook: To connect as many people as possible -- but this time in the workplace. A connected workplace is a more productive workplace, explains the official Workplace page.

Facebook says the top five countries now using Workplace are India, Norway, the United States, Britain and France.