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Published Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 214
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                                      de la luz
Municipalidad de San José photo
Cheerleaders introduce the logo for the Festival de la Luz.
Countdown begins for this year's Festival de la Luz
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Comisión de Fiestas de San José began the countdown Thursday for the big Christmas parade, the Festival de la Luz. The event draws perhaps as many as a million spectators and participants to the downtown of the capital.

This year the parade will be Dec. 17. The event is featured on national television, too.

The gathering Thursday was to officially award the prizes for the 2015 parade. But there was the Banda Municipal de San José and male and female cheerleaders doing acrobatics in front of the La Solidad church.

The municipality is reinstating the carnival this year. It will be Dec. 27 starting at noon. That is a day after the Tope Nacional that brings 5,000 horses and riders to the capital streets.

Those who wish to participate in the carnival still have time to sign up through Nov. 4. There are prizes in several categories of 1 million colons.

All three parades will begin in the vicinity of

Parque la Sabana and head east up Paseo Colón and Avenida 2.

The carnival was suspended after 2005 when there were some court actions and also because some spectators complained that there were participants too scantly dressed. Desamparados began its carnival in 2006.

All three events are designed to lure spectators to Zapote for the Festejos de San José that begins there Christmas Day and runs through New Year’s.

The traditional kickoff to the Christmas season is the Entrada de Santos al San José, which takes place on the last Sunday of November.

This is the parade of some 300 oxcarts, their bueyes and their drivers. The oxcarts carry life-sized statutes of Christian saints, including, of course, Saint Joseph, San José.

The Asociación Boyera Nacional and the municipalidad are sponsors. The boyeros and their families spend the day before camped out in Parque la Sabana for something that resembles a ranching fiesta.

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Law officers gather in advance of removing squatters
Squatters cleared from site of controversial project
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Law officers evicted Thursday squatters who occupied land in Esterillos Oeste for months. The property is that of the Las Olas residential project that was operated by a U.S. citizen.

Jovan Damjanac, an employee of the development firm, said in a mid-afternoon email that all squatters had been evicted and that shacks they had built have been taken down.

The accumulation of squatters was a security concern for some neighbors.

Damjanac said that about 30 law enforcement officers showed up in the morning. They included Fuerza Pública officers, judicial agents, conservation agents and prosecutors, he said. There also were municipal police officers from Parrita.

He said he thought the police operation was done with a purpose.

“We believe country wanted to have this issue resolved before our Dec 5 hearing in Washington at World Bank,” he said. We are suing country for unlawful closure of the project with $90 million in damages sought.”

The developer is David Aven of New Castle, Pennsylvania. He and his investors have brought the country into international arbitration under the Central American Free Trade Treaty. The allegations

include official corruption, perjury, inaction by criminal investigators, misstatements and inequitable treatment in a criminal court case, according to news files.

Aven said in an arbitration filing that the government shut down the project in 2011 over claims that part of the property was a protected wetland. He also alleged he was solicited for a bribe and said he was shot at by a man on a motorcycle.

The record shows that his project, condos, a hotel and a beach club, was fully approved before the municipality issued the stop-work order five years ago.

There also was opposition by neighbors.

The case will be heard by a three-judge panel at the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

Squatters occupy land in hopes of eventually obtaining possession rights. In some cases, this can be a scam engineered by powerful local figures. The squatters may have homes elsewhere and after they win possession, the properties are transferred back to the originators of the scheme.

The legality stems from the belief that the poor should have access to land that rich owners may not be using. There is no movement in the legislature to change the laws that favor these types of land thefts, even though they jeopardize foreign investments.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 214
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Caribbean coast woman found murdered

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The operators of a Caribbean coast hospitality business has become the victim of what appears to be a robbery and murder.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the body of the 51-year-old women was found Thursday morning on her property.

The hotel is in Cocles de Limón, they said.

Investigators identified the woman as French. An employee found the woman about 6:30 a.m., agents said. The property includes some cabinas.

Investigators said they suspected robbery because when they entered the woman’s home, they found a lot of disorder. They said the woman suffered an injury to the neck, possibly strangulation.

The murder of a single women follows by a day the discovery of another woman’s body. This murder was in Ciudad Colón Judicial investigators identified that victim Thursday. They said her last name was Rojas and that she was a 47-year-old Costa Rican. Initially she was thought to have been a European. In this case the weapon was a knife.

Halloween likely to be four days long

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Halloween weekend is likely to be a sedate one in San José, and the party action seems to have headed west.

Crocs Casino Resort plans a party tonight, and Los Sueños, Marina Village, plans one for Saturday.

Those legendary San José Halloween parties that generated a lot of videos on YouTube seem to have become victims of the economy and changing demographics. Local casino owners are directing their attention more on the local clientele, and Costa Ricans do not celebrate Halloween.

But they do celebrate Devil’s Night, or noche de brujas, as it is called.

The Fuerza Pública is gearing up for at least three nights of problems. The agency has been successful in the last two years of keeping a lid on youngsters who like to set bonfires in the middle of the street and torment passing motorists.

Because Halloween is Monday there are at least three and maybe four witch’s nights. Certainly youngsters will be on the streets tonight, Saturday night and Sunday night. Then there probably will be some activity Monday night.

Not all the activity is making harmless bonfires. The police agency notes that some individuals see Halloween and the days around it as an invitation to rob, steal and commit other criminal acts.

Except for a few closed expat communities and private parties, trick or treating does not take place here, and anyone who shows up at the door in a costume and mask probably is not seeking candy.

Police have a long list of priority locations where trouble has happened in the past. They said they would pay special attention to shopping centers, parks, night spots, bus stops, automatic tellers and even cemeteries.

Operators of gay nightclubs have reported to police that they have been threatened, so Fuerza Pública officers will be on guard at 13 such establishments.

Bacteria seen as control for dengue vector

By  the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Researchers in Australia have shown that introducing a naturally-occurring bacterium in the wild, called Wolbachia, can control mosquitoes that cause Dengue fever.

Wolbachia occurs naturally in 60 percent of all insect species, but not in Aedes aegypti, say experts. That’s the mosquito that spreads dengue. The mosquito species can also transmit zika virus, yellow fever and chikagunya, but researchers are focusing on dengue.

Australian scientists have found a low-cost way to introduce Wolbachia into dengue-causing mosquitoes in the laboratory, stopping the virus from growing inside the mosquito and thus spreading.

Once introduced into the wild, the Wolbachia mosquitoes can breed with other mosquitoes, spreading the protective bacterium. Researchers say the method is self-sustaining, having the potential to fight the life-threatening disease.

Since 2011, the investigators have conducted small-scale, open field trials in dengue-infected communities. Scientists have found that the bacterium interferes with the mosquito’s ability to transmit the virus to people that causes dengue, an illness in tropical and sub-tropical countries responsible for almost 400 million infections every year.

The disease severely sickens 98 million people, according to the World Health Organization, causing severe flu-like symptoms. Severe dengue can cause death, especially in children.

Researchers say the trials in Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Brazil and Colombia are helping to refine their methods of introducing Wolbachia into wild mosquito populations.

In 2014, researchers developed and began a low-cost Wolbachia strategy for urban areas, hoping to begin large-scale trials in 2016.

The work is being carried out by the non-profit Eliminate Dengue Program in collaboration with the Institute of Vector-borne Disease at Monash University in Australia. The program has begun a fund-raising effort to continue its work with Wolbachia as a way to wipe out the threat of dengue.

Copa spinning off low-cost airline

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Copa Holdings, the airline company, plans to spin off a new low-cost airline to compete in the already crowded air transportation market.

The firm will be called Wingo with flights scheduled to begin Dec. 1. The new airline will be a direct competitor to Air Costa Rica, the fledgling operation that will not have regular service until next year.

Wingo is supposed to service most Latin American destinations, including San José, San Andrés, Panamá and Havana.

Handicap focus urged for tourism firms

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A lawmaker, Carlos Hernández., has introduced legislation to encourage tourism operators to provide more services to the handicapped.

This is bill No.  20.143 that provides for certification for companies that do this.

He said that a tourism operation that offers accessible facilities is more competitive.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 214
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Judge and judicial workers held in bribery case involving U.S. citizen
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The judiciary said its own Inspección Judicial would look into a case after three of its employees, including a criminal court judge, were detained Thursday. Also detained was a lawyer.

The judicial statement said that internal controls functioned to detect possible irregular acts, but the allegations from the Judicial Investigating Organization suggested a long-term series of illegalities.

Specifically, investigators are looking into the case of a U.S. citizen facing a sex abuse charge who fled after he was released by the judge. The other two judicial employees, a husband and wife, are assistants.

Agents are known to be looking into properties on the central Pacific coast that changed hands suspiciously.

The judge was detained in the judicial building and handcuffed.

Such arrests are infrequent, although many expats complain of bias in the judiciary.

The arrest of a judge would brings into question all of his decisions in recent years if he was convicted of accepting bribes, including those individuals who were convicted.

Jorge Chavarría, the nation’s chief prosecutor, and Walter Espinoza, the director of the Judicial Investigating Organization, said that the case had been under investigation since October 2014.

The two judicial assistants are accused of being intermediaries between the arrested individual and the judge. In the case of the accused U.S. citizen a judicial order released him from preventative detention and gave him the opportunity to flee.

Border worker reports influx of buses filled with migrants
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A government employee along the southern border of the country reported Wednesday that 12 buses loaded with migrants had been admitted to Costa Rica and directed to a nearby immigration refugee center.

There has been no official report from governments about this development or even about the existence of a new refugee center near Paseo Canoas.

The occupants were identified as Africans who had come from 

Perú. Most likely, though, they are Haitians who claim African citizenship to prevent immigration officials from sending them back home. The occupancy of 12 buses is greater than 300. Hurricane Matthew ravaged Haiti, but these migrants probably were en route before that happened.

The U.S. government has donated a number of tents that are being used to accommodate migrants, who hope to make their way to the United States.

The reports of the buses came from a trusted third party who is in contact with the government official at the border.

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Palermo Hotel

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 214
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Twin raids validate concerns about adulterated bottles of alcohol
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats suspicions about diluted alcohol were confirmed Thursday when tax police raided two bottling factories. One was in Turrucares de Alajuela and the other was in Curridabat.

The raids followed the confiscation of a tractor trailer late last week in Peñas Blancas. The truck contained 150 barrels of ethanol and was the fourth such confiscation of the year.

Ethanol, which can be fermented from corn or other vegetable products is what gives an alcoholic drink its kick.

Agents of the Policía de Control Fiscal found boxes of plastic bottles of the type that are called pachitas when filled with guaro and placed for sale in the supermarket.

Ethanol is cheap, particularly when smuggled into the country, and tasteless, so normally it can be flavored to stimulate an alcoholic beverage or it can simply be used to dilute more expensive liquids. Some coloring and drops of iodine can provide the color and flavor of scotch, U.S. bootleggers found during Prohibition.

Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Boxes of empty plastic bottles were confiscated

The Ministerio de Salud participated in the raids.

The bottling factories did not appear to be producing name-brand products, but A.M. Costa Rica has concluded that even leading outlets have been victims of adulterated alcoholic products.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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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.

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Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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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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Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 214
Real Estate
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Axiom new ad

NSA contractor OKs an audit
over its security practices

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Booz Allen Hamilton said Thursday it had hired a former FBI chief to conduct an external review of its security practices after the consulting firm learned for the second time in three years that an employee working under contract with the National Security Agency had been charged with stealing classified information.

Booz Allen, which earns billions of dollars a year contracting with U.S. intelligence agencies, has come under renewed scrutiny in recent weeks after authorities took Harold Thomas Martin into custody.

The firm also employed Edward Snowden, who leaked a trove of secret files to news organizations in 2013 that exposed vast domestic and international surveillance operations carried out by the NSA. Snowden, who was in Hong Kong when his disclosures surfaced, lives in Moscow under asylum.

Former Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller is leading the audit of security, personnel and management practices, Booz Allen said in a statement. The review began Oct. 19.

Martin, 51, was taken into custody in August, but his arrest was not announced publicly until earlier this month. Prosecutors have alleged he spent more than two decades pilfering secret documents and hoarding them at his home in Maryland, where investigators said they seized at least 50 terabytes of data.

Among the material allegedly stolen by Martin was a top secret document that contained “specific operational plans against a known enemy of the United States and its allies,” the prosecutors said.

The FBI is investigating possible links between Martin and the leak online this summer of secret NSA hacking tools used to break into the computers of adversaries such as Russia and China, U.S. officials said.

“We fired Harold Martin as soon as we learned of his arrest, and we have been fully cooperating with the FBI's investigation,” Booz Allen spokesman Craig Veith said. “We are determined to learn from this incident and look more broadly at our processes and practices.”

Federal jury acquits seven
who invaded wildlife refuge

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. federal jury has acquitted seven anti-government protesters who led an armed takeover of a wildlife refuge in the northwestern state of Oregon earlier this year.

The jury in Portland, Oregon, handed down acquittals for all seven defendants Thursday. They had been charged with conspiring to impede federal employees through intimidation or force at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in January.

If convicted, they could have been sentenced to up to six years in prison on the conspiracy charge.

The defendants held a 41-day standoff at the wildlife refuge, drawing attention to their complaint about what they saw as mismanagement of federal land.

The land is subject to restrictions on logging, mining and ranching in an effort to protect the environment. Brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, who led the occupation in January, are ranchers who argue that cattle should be allowed to graze on public land.

During the occupation, group members held numerous news conferences to promote their cause. Their spokesman, Robert LaVoy Finicum, was shot and killed by police Jan. 26 during a traffic stop, and the Bundys and several other leaders were arrested.

Four holdouts continued the occupation until Feb. 11, when they surrendered to police.

Of 26 people charged with conspiracy in the case, 11 pleaded guilty, one had the charge dropped, and seven others chose not to be tried in the session that concluded Thursday. Their trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 14.

North Dakota pipeline foes
clash with police at eviction

 By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Protesters clashed with police Thursday in the state of North Dakota at a site where activists have been trying for months to block construction of an oil pipeline that they say encroaches on territory occupied by American Indians.

The local sheriff, Kyle Kirchmeier, told reporters that the land was cleared of protesters, although some news reports said not everyone had left the area. Some protesters were arrested, although no details were immediately available.

Demonstrators near the Dakota Access Pipeline work site escalated unlawful behavior in recent days, the sheriff said, by setting up illegal roadblocks and trespassing on private property with an encampment of teepees, tents and other structures.

Kirchmeier said he gave protesters a final warning Wednesday to leave or be forced out, because the roadblocks and the trespassing were a threat to public safety. Clashes began when law-enforcement officers started to remove the protesters’ roadblocks Thursday.

Local police arrived in riot gear, along with reinforcements from seven other states, and began removing the roadblocks and dispersing the protesters. Authorities used a sound cannon to scatter the activists, who set fire to some of their barricades built of car tires and wood.

Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline is nearly complete. The project traces a 1,700-kilometer path across the north-central United States and is intended to transport at least 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day from two North Dakota oil fields to a pipeline hub in the state of Illinois. The fuel’s ultimate destination would be ports and refineries in various parts of the country.

American Indians and their supporters, who include Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and veteran civil-rights activist Jesse Jackson, say the pipeline will put their water supply at risk and damage areas sacred to the local Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

Protests have been building in intensity since July, when the builders obtained a permit to route the pipeline beneath the Missouri River at a place called Lake Oahe, less than 1 kilometer from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

Hundreds of supporters came to Lake Oahe to support the local Sioux protesters. More than half of all Native American tribes in the U.S. have aligned themselves with the Standing Rock Sioux, and a number of members of Congress have written letters urging the Obama administration to stop the pipeline.

The federal government did ask the pipeline crews to stop construction work voluntarily near the Sioux reservation, while authorities reconsider the plans, but courts have refused to enforce the stop-work order.

Obama commuted sentences
for more drug offenders

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Three months before leaving office, President Barack Obama has shortened the prison sentences for 98 convicts serving time for drug-related offenses, the White House said Thursday.

So far this year, Obama has commuted the sentences of 688 people, including 42 serving life sentences.

Since taking office in January 2009, Obama has granted 872 commutations, more than the entire number of commutations granted by the previous 11 presidents combined.

Almost all those who have received commutations were convicted of nonviolent drug crimes. Some had been serving prison terms for firearm violations related to drug crimes.

Obama has advocated reforms of the criminal justice system to reduce the length of prison sentences for those who have committed nonviolent drug crimes.

“These are individuals, many of whom made mistakes at a young age, who have diligently worked to rehabilitate themselves while incarcerated,” White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said in a statement.

Obama granted fewer commutations earlier in his presidency, but in the latter stages of his second term he began granting clemency to large groups of individuals at a time, most recently a few weeks ago, when he commuted 102 sentences of mostly nonviolent drug offenders.

The White House said the president plans more commutations before leaving office January 20.

Washington still is blaming
Russia for hacking violations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Obama administration remains confident that Russia is hacking U.S. cyberspace to interfere with the November election, despite Russia's denial, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday.

Earnest told reporters that statements made earlier in the day by Russian President Vladimir Putin saying Russia had nothing to do with the hacks were not surprising. But he added the denial doesn't in any way undermine our confidence that Russia is responsible. Earnest noted that the conclusion about Russia's involvement had been drawn by the U.S. intelligence community and the Department of Homeland Security.

"It's something that is a source of serious concern here in the administration," Earnest said. "The president and his national security team are considering what sort of steps should be part of a proportional response."

This week, James Clapper, U.S. director of national intelligence, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Soviet Union and now Russia had a history of interfering in elections. He said Moscow had interfered in other nations' elections as well as its own.

Asked whether he thought Russia had succeeded in destabilizing confidence in U.S. democracy, Clapper said, "I don't believe so." He said the decentralized nature of the U.S. voting system, which places authority in the hands of state and local jurisdictions, makes it difficult for external meddling to occur.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also said this week that Washington had no doubts Russia was involved in the hacking of private email accounts of prominent U.S. Democrats.

Speaking to foreign policy experts earlier Thursday, Putin said the United States was using its allegations of Russian hacking to distract Americans from the country's problems with gun control and its national debt.

Putin also said despite allegations that he supported Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, he supported no candidate in the U.S. election and looked forward to working with any new U.S. president about any issue.

The Obama administration announced this month that it thought the Russian government was responsible for hacks into U.S. institutions in an attempt to influence the upcoming election.

Hacked emails associated with the Democratic National Committee and released earlier this year led to the resignation of committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. In addition, the private email accounts of several people associated with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have been hacked. Private correspondence from those accounts has been shared online, causing embarrassment to Mrs. Clinton and her allies.

Republicans are telling voters
they can stop Clinton excesses

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In congressional races across America, Republicans are beginning to echo Democrats on a core assumption: Hillary Clinton will be president.

With Donald Trump lagging in the polls, Republicans running for Congress are urging voters to elect them as a check on a Clinton presidency. Democrats, meanwhile, argue Hillary Clinton will need allies on Capitol Hill to enact her agenda.

In a hotly contested Minnesota congressional district, Republican Stewart Mills all but concedes his party’s presidential nominee will lose on Nov. 8, but he tries to turn that prospect to his advantage in a television ad against his opponent, Democrat Rick Nolan.

“Nolan would give Hillary Clinton a blank check to run up trillions in new debt and job-destroying taxes,” the advertisement asserts while flashing a series of cropped images of Nolan and Mrs. Clinton superimposed against the U.S. Capitol building and other backdrops.

“Rick Nolan and Hillary Clinton: wrong on spending, wrong on national security, wrong for Minnesota families,” the ad concludes.

Republicans in the Senate, like Missouri’s Roy Blunt, are using the tactic, as well.

“One Hillary in Washington would be bad enough,” a television ad in support of Blunt asserts while showing a split screen with identical photos of the Democratic presidential nominee. Then, one of the Clinton images morphs into the face of Jason Kander, the Democrat challenging Blunt.

“Reject Jason Kander,” the ad urges.

Republicans are in survival mode, hoping a Trump loss will not torpedo the party’s congressional candidates, according to one political analyst.

While Trump usually walks on stage alone, shunned by Republican lawmakers in states where he holds rallies, Democratic congressional candidates are flocking to Mrs. Clinton for a moment in the spotlight.

Trump, meanwhile, is not hiding his annoyance with Republican lawmakers.

“You have to get out and vote, and that includes helping me elect Republicans all over the place,” Trump said at a Florida rally earlier this week. “I hope they help me, too. It would be nice if they helped us, too, right?”

While Democrats would have to pick up 30 seats to win a majority in the House of Representatives, they would need a net gain of just four to control the Senate if Mrs. Clinton won the White House.

If Trump won the presidential contest, Democrats would need to pick up five Senate seats to control the chamber.
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Oct. 28, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 214
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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
Santos struggles with two rebel groups

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Colombia delayed peace talks with Ejército de Liberación Nacional rebels until they free a politician held captive for six months, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Thursday, as he struggles to refloat another peace deal with Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia guerrillas after it was rejected in a plebiscite.

The national liberation army, the nation's second-biggest insurgent group, must release Odin Sánchez to the International Committee of the Red Cross before talks can begin in Ecuador, Santos said, reiterating a condition he set months ago.

The opening ceremony had been scheduled to take place in Ecuador's capital, but it was canceled at the last minute. The government said the talks could still go forward as early as Friday or Saturday if the rebels free Sánchez, however.

The 2,000-strong Ejército de Liberación Nacional, considered a terrorist group by the United States and European Union, has kidnapped hundreds of people during its 52-year insurgency to raise war funds and use hostages as bargaining chips with the government.

Founded by radical Catholic priests and inspired by Cuba's 1959 revolution, the Ejército de Liberación Nacional has been in on-and-off closed-door talks with the government since 2014 on how the two sides would conduct negotiations.

The rebels have remained active during that time, kidnapping and bombing oil installations, though in recent months they have released some captives.

Formal peace talks would likely mirror those held with the larger Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias. The peace agreement, signed on Sept. 26, was internationally lauded but criticized by many in Colombia for being too lenient on the rebels.

Former president Alvaro Uribe is now leading the effort to change the agreement that would have given the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias guaranteed congressional seats and immunity from traditional jail sentences. The no side won the plebiscite by less than half a percentage point.

Male contraception shots on the horizon

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Although it is still a long way off, an injectable male contraceptive is in development. It would join condoms, withdrawal and vasectomies as an option for men to use to prevent their partners from becoming pregnant. Currently, pregnancy prevention methods typically focus on the woman. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 40 percent of all pregnancies in 2012 were unintended.

The injectable male contraceptive, which is a reported 96 percent effective, was developed and tested by a research arm of the World Health Organization and the East Virginia Medical School in the United States. A year-long study was carried out at ten centers in seven countries, including the U.S., Australia, Indonesia, Chile, Germany and India.

News of the experimental drug is being reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The contraceptive drug for men is a combination of the male hormone testosterone, which significantly lowered the sperm count, and progestogen, a hormone in both sexes that in the men sustained the cessation of sperm production.

In the trial involving 320 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 45, the shots caused a variety of unpleasant side effects because of the high hormone levels required to prevent pregnancy. Those included acne, depression, increased libido and pain at the injection site.
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Korean car firms fined in fuel economy dispute

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia reached a settlement with 33 states and Washington, D.C., Thursday on charges it inflated the fuel economy numbers of 2011 to 2013 models.

The companies will pay $41.2 million in fines.

Hyundai and Kia have paid out $300 million to the federal government and compensated some car owners.

The states and Washington, D.C., attorneys general say the carmakers claimed their models got up to 100 kilometers for every 7.1 liters of gasoline when the actual number was less.

Hyundai and Kia deny breaking the law and blame the discrepancy on what they say were flawed government tests.

“Consumers who do thoughtful research and purchase a vehicle in line with their budget and their desire to protect the environment should be able to trust what automates say about their cars,” Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine said.