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Published Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 215
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There is a very fine line between facts and myths
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Politicians are well known for playing fast and loose with the truth. Witness the presidential elections in the United States.

Or just check out some of the blatant lies that special interests have put on YouTube.

But these false facts have a way of entering what humans consider to be common knowledge, like the purported fact that Columbus discovered America.

Such is the case with two facts in Costa Rica. One is that Costa Rican residents are the happiest on the planet. That claim can be found even in government pronouncements. And the United Nations wants to make happiness a factor in development.

Yet, even the creators of the index, the New Economic Foundation, said in its 2012 report that "The Index doesn’t reveal the ‘happiest’ country in the world. It shows the relative

efficiency with which nations convert the planet’s natural resources into long and happy lives for their citizens.”

But that explanation was lost on the copywriters for real estate Web pages.

The latest example comes from President Luis Guillermo Solís, who went on television Sunday night to tell the country that poverty has diminished in the last two years.  He praised the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos as an independent agency making that report, but he must not have read the fine print.

The reason the census agency’s index shows a decrease in poverty is because the income line by which poverty is determined was lowered due to a change on other factors on which it is based. And then there was the more than 3 percent increase in average salaries due to the natural inflation of the Costa Rican colon.

But that explanation is not worth a television celebration.

Alajuela to mark Dia de Mascaradas with parade
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today is the official Día de la Mascarada Tradicional Costarricense. That coincides with Halloween.

Although most of the festivities took place over the weekend, Alajuela Centro residents will see a parade today at noon for the third consecutive year.

The parade starts near the central park. The sponsor is the Centro Alajuelense de la Cultura.

The mascaradas are those papier-mâché heads set up on a frame to make a tall figure. The figures dance to the music of a street band. There were similar events in Asserí and Liberia over the weekend.

The mascaradas are considered true art. They depict political and historical figures as well
as devils and other personas from folk tales.
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
Being in a mascarada can be hot work.

The day was decreed to create a true Costa Rican holiday that would supplant Halloween here.

Earthquakes seem to be a very old phenomenon
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Earth has been producing quakes for a lot longer than scientists thought.

The phenomenon of plate tectonics is more than 2.4 billion years old, according to the
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. This is the academic organization that sometimes can be found drilling into the earth's mantle offshore from Costa Rica.

The current research comes from Pitcairn Island, the same place where mutineers from the British warship Bounty sought refuge in 1789.

The researchers noted that the surface of the planet is constantly being renewed by plate

tectonics and that new seafloor is generated at the mid-ocean ridges and at the same time old seafloor is returned to the deep Earth in the so-called subduction zones.

The clash of plates is the reason for many of  Costa Rica’s earthquakes.

Researchers said they determined that billions of years ago, there was no oxygen in the atmosphere. There was a lot of sulphur. So rock with a lot of sulphur was laid down before algae started creating an oxygen atmosphere 2.4 billion years ago.

That is what the researchers found on the Pacific island: Lava spewed up by a volcano from 100 kilometers below the surface that was the old subducted seafloor and more than 2.4 billion years old.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 215
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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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Sex worker advocate rejects victimhood

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An organization that is an advocate for prostitutes is rejecting the idea that sex workers are victims. The statement by the Asociación La Sala is related to a proposal to provide standard working conditions for prostitutes.

The organization presented a draft of such a law to lawmakers in August. The organization seeks social security, Christmas aguinaldos, vacation and pension for sex workers.

The statement, issued Friday, said that prostitutes are adult women who make autonomous decisions over their lives, their bodies and profession. The statement said that the sex workers are not victims who need to be rescued, although it rejects strongly trafficking in persons and exploitation and calls these acts crimes.

The statement also points out that sex work is legal although in a gray area where practitioners lack social security, retirement benefits and other labor rights. Sex workers cannot even open bank accounts or get credit, the statement said.

Also sought are laws protecting sex workers from violence, the statement notes. It also calls on other women to support their efforts.

Costa Rican and U.S. officials generally consider all sex workers to be  victims. In fact, Costa Rican law provides many benefits for those who might be swept up in a prostitution raid.

An organization supported by the United States government sometimes accompanies police officers on raids of downtown nightspots where women caught there are forced to sit through a description of other jobs available for them and sometimes fill out a questionnaire.

In the U.S. sex trafficking report issued every year, the authors never point out that prostitution by adults in not illegal in Costa Rica, and they seem to lump together forced prostitution, the exploitation of minors and forced labor with other forms of sex work. That is consistent with U.S. State Department policy that forbids, among other things, the issuing of grants to organizations that support the legalization of prostitution.

Opinions sought on plate restrictions

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The transportation ministry is setting up a Web-based questionnaire about the license plate restrictions that have been in force in the center of the capital since August 2005.

The ministry’s Dirección General de Ingeniería de Tránsito said it is seeking perceptions of motorists. Typically such information seeking precedes the announcement of a decision that already has been made. The questionnaire will be on the ministry’s Web site until Nov. 21.

An announcement said there are 15 questions. Seven of them are about the respondent, and the rest are about experiences driving downtown.

The plate restrictions forbid motorists from driving a vehicle between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., based on the last digit of the license plate.

The survey clearly is unscientific, and television stations have been conducting roadway surveys about traffic and similar issues for years. Among those likely to  respond to the survey request are individuals who have been ticketed for driving  a restricted vehicle.

Since daytime traffic has become unmanageable, plenty of motorists are unhappy enough to make a statement to the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes.

smoking                                      van
Ministerio de Salud photo
This is the first mobile multimedia van that the health ministry will be sending to the southern zone to alert school children to the dangers of smoking. The van was inaugurated Friday at the ministry. After visiting Golfito, Osa and Corredores, the van will go to other parts of the country.

The flow of marijuana just will not stop

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Ricans must be smoking up a storm, if confiscations Friday are any indication.

The Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas managed to stop an inbound boat Friday off Limón Centro and confiscated 47 bales of Jamaican marijuana. That is at least 1,500 pounds. They also detained three members of the crew.

Also Friday, the Unidad de Inteblica of the Fuerza Pública confiscated an additional 322 kilos of marijuana when officers searched a dwelling in Purral de Goicoechea.

The Ministerio de Seguridad alone reported over the weekend that its officers had confiscated 5.5 tons of marijuana this year, including Friday’s hauls. That amount does not count substances confiscated by the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The drug trade has been blamed for gunplay, including an ambush on a beach in Limón earlier this month that killed five persons, four of them bystanders.

There was another round of gunplay Saturday night in Alajuelita where four persons, including a 15 year old were detained fleeing the scene of a gun battle.

Police confiscated six revolvers and three long guns, one an AK-47.

The motive for the shooting has not yet been determined, but one victim suffered a gunshot wound.

New bridge is opened in San Ramón

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

San Ramón residents have a new bridge over the Río La Paz, a 135 million-colon investment.

The national emergency commission said that the new span connects the section known as Bajo Zúñiga with Calle Campos in Piedades Norte de San Ramón.

Another bridge in Bureal in Piedades is in construction over the Río Piedras.

The emergency commission said that the previous Río La Paz bridge was damaged by the Sámara earthquake of Sept. 5, 2012. The quake on the far Pacific coast was 7.6 magnitude.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 215
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This is the mess left when police relocated thousands of Haitian migrants from Parqueo Deldú, Peñas Blancas
Prison ordered for 10 who admitted roles in migrant smuggling
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The judiciary said that 11 persons who faced human trafficking charges stemming from their arrests in 2015 have admitted their guilt and have been sentenced.

This is the organization that triggered the Cuban migrant crisis and forced the government to take on the role of trafficker.

The judiciary said that the individuals here were in contact with traffickers in other countries as far south as Ecuador and also with those in various U.S. states. Some migrants paid as much as $18,000 to be brought from Ecuador to the United States, said the judiciary.

Four of the accused, the presumed leaders, received five-year prison sentences. Six were ordered to serve four years, and one
person, a woman, received non-custodial sentence, said the judiciary. Her role was just housing the migrants, the judicial branch said.

One of the individuals had been sentenced earlier to seven years for a similar offense.

The organization operated out of Liberia and La Cruz near the border with Nicaragua.

As soon as this band was detained by the Policía Profesional de Migración, Nicaragua closed its border to migrants.

Costa Rica ended up handling some 8,000 Cuban migrants. They have been followed by thousands of Haitians who claim to be from Africa. The Cubans were airlifted out by Central American governments, but many of the Haitians remain in Costa Rica.

 Ministry says 18 properties have been dropped from Las Baulas case
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government said that 18 of 26 properties involved in the Parque Nacional Marino las Baulas arbitration had been dropped from the case.

The arbitration panel is seeking additional arguments over the eight remaining properties, said a statement from the Ministerio de Comercio Exterior.

The arbitration is before a panel of the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. The litigation is under the Central American Free Trade Treaty. The basic claim is that Costa Rica designed the park to include the private properties but they never took action to purchase the land. So the owners could not do anything with their properties.

The ministry said that the panel decided that the 18 properties were not covered by the treaty.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 215
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With new robotic editing, Facebook frequently is Fakebook
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Sometimes you see them, sometimes you don’t. But they are all over social media. Bots, short for robots, are automated applications, both good and bad, that either help with Web search and repetitive tasks or wreak havoc. And as more of them flood cyberspace, authenticating the content they push will be a major challenge.

Just last week, an alleged Facebook Live video went viral. The video purportedly showed a live feed of an International Space Station spacewalk. But there’s only one problem with the story. It isn’t real.

Neither the National Aeronautics and Space Administration nor Facebook Live had any reference to this event. NASA typically announces spacewalks in advance and dedicates the day to them. No spacewalk was scheduled Wednesday, as NASA confirmed. Yet the story racked up mentions, views and likes across the internet. And by the way, did you notice the 2013 mention in the headline on the video?

In August, Facebook automated the descriptions for its Trending section. Then a story started trending that claimed Fox News’ Megyn Kelly had been labeled a traitor and was subsequently fired:

The story, one of many bot-curated suggestions, was false.

Facebook is working to refine the computer algorithm that learns from its human creators how to determine which stories are trending. Before automating the Trending section, humans monitored content to filter out offensive or inappropriate material.

But why couldn’t the machine tell what was real and what was false? Christo Wilson, assistant professor of computer and information science at Northeastern University, Boston, asked.

Humans are prone to make similar mistakes, he quickly added, and they are already having problems figuring out which bot-driven content is real.

Efforts are underway to find a way to authenticate bot-driven content. But Wilson warned that this will not be an easy task, compared with the ease with which an individual can produce online content and then buy or rent bot armies to promote it.

“And it’s not that difficult to make it look realistic and sophisticated,” he added.

Getting bots is easy and cheap. Thousands of bots can be leased or bought for a few dollars and used to promote your business or your point of view, buy followers or retweets, mine for data, spam social media users or hijack their accounts.

All it takes is for people to start writing bots to create numerous social media accounts and then start spreading a certain narrative using these accounts, said Distil Networks CEO Rami Essaid. That includes false opinion polls that seek to convey a false reality.

“We don’t know just how many of these are influenced by subjective users going to certain polls or if it is influence by bots that are skewing the narrative,” he said. But that opinion, or this reality is real to someone, he added, and it is being magnified by orders of magnitude that aren’t real.

So instead of having one person with one opinion on social media, bots automate that opinion and simulate hundreds of people, tens-of-thousands of people or more, said Essaid, and then replicate the same opinion.

A.M. Costa Rica graphic
Facebook's new editor

“It sways the conversation,” he added. “It really influences the narrative and kind of tilts the scale for what could be just this one person’s opinion.”

“It’s a very tough situation,” added Wilson. “There’s a lot more information. … The news cycle is so aggressive, it doesn’t leave that much time to vet things. But you have to be really careful because any one can look authentic. You just have no idea what the veracity or the provenance of any of this information is.”

At some point, Essaid said checks and balances will be necessary, and social media companies that take the number of bots in their networks seriously will need to be part of the discussion around what is real and what is not.

“When you have a wide open network like Twitter, where … up to 30 to 50 percent of somebody’s followers are bots, in those cases, we should be more aware of it,” he said. “Even if you want to reference it as a journalist, you should reference it but also caveat it so just the legitimacy and the precaution used by each network or each poll  or whatever should be part of the conversation so that people are more aware.”

Facebook, Twitter, Twitch and Instagram have all been waging a war against millions of fake bot accounts, Twitterbots and Instagram spam bots. While some accounts are suspended, others escape or crop up again.

Social media services that are serious about news content could probably be doing a better job and try to fight these things more aggressively, said Wilson. But they have a difficult socio-technical challenge in front of them, he said, as they balance ease of use and increasing their subscriber base with trying to very tightly control all these accounts and determine what is real and what is fake.

Twitter has a huge problem with trolls, online bullies and people who are using the platform for hate speech and even threats of violence. But since that not-so-friendly environment has scared off potential buyers of the micro-blogging platform, Twitter is now promising meaningful changes.

The company hopes the new changes to its safety policy will give users more control over their experience. It remains unclear though if this will be enough to rein in enough hate spammers.

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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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 
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)

Edificio Morazan
Fully furnished, American style apartments for rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amón. Cable, internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,  hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry.   Rate  $650 per month plus electricity. 1/2 month security deposit. No lease.  Larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be the best for the prospective tenants to visit the building to see the apartment.  For more information contact
Or call Hilda at 506-2221-7161.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 215
Real Estate
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Axiom new ad

After renewal of email probe,
presidential race gets tighter

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump remain locked in a tight contest for the U.S. presidency, eight days ahead of the Nov. 8 election, with the campaign roiled by the new investigation into her emails while she served as secretary of State.

One tracking poll of voter sentiment by The Washington Post and ABC News showed Mrs. Clinton clinging to a narrow edge over Trump by a single percentage point, 46 to 45 percent. That makes the election too close to call.

The two news outlets said the poll of likely voters covered part of the time after FBI Director James Comey announced that investigators are taking a new look at Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was the country's top diplomat from 2009 to 2013. It came in a probe Comey previously ended in July when he declared that she had been extremely careless in her handling of national security material found in her emails, but said that no criminal charges were warranted.

The Post-ABC survey said that more than six in 10 voters said the new investigation would make no difference in their vote Nov. 8, but of those who said it would matter, more than 3 in 10 said it would make them less likely to vote for her, and only 2 percent that it would influence them to vote for her. New polling by a raft of news organizations and universities in the coming days could give a better idea whether the FBI investigation will matter in how people vote.

Mrs. Clinton, who has often said her use of the private email server was a mistake, has demanded that Comey spell out details of what is in the emails that were found on the computer of one of her key aides, Huma Abedin, shared with her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner. Authorities discovered the emails while investigating allegations that Weiner, a disgraced former congressman from New York, was sexting with a 15-year-old girl.

At a campaign stop in the key southern state of Florida, Mrs. Clinton alluded to the ups and downs of the campaign, but otherwise did not mention the email controversy. She delivered a broadside against Trump, calling on him to stop disgracing our democracy by disparaging women, and contending that he is temperamentally unfit and totally unqualified to be president.

"Friends don't let friends vote for Trump, right?" she asked cheering supporters.

Trump, with new life on the campaign trail in the aftermath of Comey's announcement, said on his Twitter account, "Hillary and the Dems loved and praised FBI Director Comey just a few days ago. Original evidence was overwhelming, should not have delayed!"

Most polls, many of them conducted before the Comey announcement, show Mrs. Clinton ahead by about four or five percentage points across the country, with often narrower edges in key election states. The state-by-state outcomes will determine the winner in the country's Electoral College, not the national popular vote.

But Trump claimed in another tweet, "We are now leading in many polls, and many of these were taken before the criminal investigation announcement Friday - great in states!"

Trump started his Sunday campaigning with a stop at a nondenominational church in Las Vegas, Nevada, a closely contested western state, where he swayed and clapped to the music. He planned a later rally in the city and then stops in two other nearby states, Colorado and New Mexico.

Saturday, Mrs. Clinton called the timing of the FBI announcement that it is assessing new evidence in her case unprecedented and deeply troubling.

At a campaign appearance in Daytona Beach, Florida, Mrs. Clinton said, "It's pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information, right before an election."

Mrs. Clinton later added, "We can't let this election, in the last 10 days, be about the noise and the distractions. It's got to be about what kind of country we want for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren."

Trump, at a campaign event in Colorado, contended that "a vote for Hillary is a vote to surrender our government to public corruption, graft and cronyism that threatens the very foundations of our constitutional system.”

Australia is planning to vote
on migrant boat people ban

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Australia's parliament is set to vote next week on a plan that would ban any refugees who arrive in the country by boat from ever obtaining a visa to live there, or even visit, or establish a business.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the lifetime ban is being enacted to deter smugglers who bring the migrants to Australia. "This is a battle of will between the Australian people, represented by its government, and the criminal gangs of people smugglers," Turnbull said Sunday.

However, while the proposed legislation is supposedly aimed at stopping the smugglers, it is the thousands of refugees from Africa, Asia and the Middle East who will be directly affected.

The new law would impact boat people who were sent by July 19, 2013, to one of Australia's offshore processing camps on the Pacific islands of Nauru or Papua New Guinea's Manus. Canberra already bans them from resettling in Australia even if they are found to be actual refugees. Instead, the government gives the asylum seekers the options of returning home, making a life on one of the processing camp islands or going to a third country.

Children would be exempt from the ban, while the immigration minister would have the ability to make exceptions to the proposed law.

Immigration lawyer David Manne told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the legislation does nothing to address the fundamental question about where the migrants will be taken so they can rebuild their lives in safety and with dignity.

Mat Tinkler, Save the Children director of policy and public advocacy in Australia said, "The government must act urgently to give hope to these people, not continue to take it away."

U.S. tells embassy families
to evacuate areas of Istanbul

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Citing extremist threats in Turkey, the United States has ordered family members of the U.S. consulate staff in Istanbul to leave the country as a safety precaution.

The State Department said the evacuation order announced Saturday was based on intelligence showing extremist groups were continuing "aggressive efforts to attack U.S. citizens in areas of Istanbul where they reside or frequent." No specific threats were listed.

Officials said the U.S. consulate in Istanbul would remain open and fully staffed despite the evacuations. The order is limited to Istanbul and does not apply to other U.S. diplomatic posts in Turkey.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a national state of emergency after a failed coup attempt by disgruntled military officers on July 15, and those emergency rules remain in effect. The coup attempt came two weeks after a terror attack by Islamic State suicide bombers killed 44 people and wounded 230 others at Istanbul's international airport.

The State Department order was the second action this week seen as a warning to U.S. citizens. A travel warning issued Monday advised Americans to exercise caution while traveling in Turkey.

The new travel advice was separate from a long-standing caution to Americans not to travel in southeastern Turkey, the site of recent attacks by Islamic State extremists and of ongoing fighting between Kurdish militants and Turkish forces.

Rights group asking Obama
to act on CIA criminal claims

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Human Rights Watch is calling on President Barack Obama to take action before he leaves office to hold accountable former U.S. officials for potential abuses committed as part of the Central Intelligence Agency's interrogation program.

The U.S.-based rights group argued that newly declassified CIA documents give new evidence about alleged criminal misconduct.

"Failure to take concrete action to address these crimes will leave a stain" on Obama's legacy, Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

The group urged the president to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the CIA's detention and interrogation program and to issue a formal U.S. apology to the victims of torture.

Earlier this week, the CIA released a group of 50 internal documents, totaling hundreds of pages, in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents show mixed opinions about the CIA's detention and interrogation program. Some agency officials were convinced it provided unique and invaluable intelligence, while others expressed deep reservations.

Many of the files are heavily redacted, with full pages and identifying information such as sender, recipients and dates blocked out.

Then-President George W. Bush authorized the CIA detention and interrogation program six days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in order to capture and question al-Qaida militants and extract information that could prevent another attack.

After taking office in 2009, Obama ordered an inquiry into whether the CIA's program involved criminal conduct. The inquiry was closed in 2012 with then-Attorney General Eric Holder saying that not enough evidence existed for criminal prosecution.

U.S. economy is reported
to be growing more rapidly

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. economy grew at the fastest pace in two years in July, August, and September.

The 2.9 percent annual growth rate in the third quarter accelerated at a more rapid pace than the previous quarter, according to Friday's report from the Commerce Department.

The data show the rebound was driven by rising exports and businesses making purchases to restock shelves.

White House economic adviser Jason Furman says exports have been hampered by slow growth overseas. Consumer spending, which drives most U.S. economic activity, moderated slightly.

Economic growth and jobs have been major issues in the presidential campaign, and most voting takes place on Nov. 8, a bit more than a week from Friday.

Economists say the relatively positive economic report makes it more likely that the U.S. central bank will raise interest rates. The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to ultra-low levels during the recession to boost economic growth, but many experts now say the recovering economy no longer needs such help.

Top Fed officials meet next week to debate where to set interest rates, though experts at PNC Bank say the Fed is unlikely to act so close to the election.

Economists at Wells Fargo Bank say they still expect a modest interest rate hike in December.

Italian prime minster vows
to rebuild area hit by quake

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is promising to rebuild parts of central Italy after Sunday's 6.6 magnitude earthquake, Italy's most powerful quake in 36 years.

"Italy has many faults, but these situations bring out the best of us," Renzi said. "We will rebuild everything, the houses, the churches and the businesses. Everything that needs to be done to rebuild these areas will be done."

No one was reported killed Sunday, but at least 20 minor injuries were reported.

Many people had already fled that area after an August quake killed about 300 people, followed by two strong aftershocks last Wednesday.

Large boulders and rockslides blocked several highways, completely cutting off some villages from the outside. A nearly non-stop series of small aftershocks were making conditions difficult for emergency workers.

Witnesses say a number of historic buildings were destroyed Sunday, including the 14th century Basilica of St. Benedict in the walled mountain town of Norcia. Pictures show only its facade emerging from the rubble. Benedictine monks prayed before the ruins.

Sunday's quake also knocked down the Church of San Francesco, built by the Franciscans in the 14th century. It had already been rebuilt once following a powerful earthquake in 1859.

The U.S. National Geological Survey says Sunday's quake was centered near Norcia and was relatively shallow, at a depth of 10 kilometers, making it felt over a widespread area, and as far south as Rome, 90 kilometers to the south.

Schools will be closed in Rome Monday so buildings can be inspected for structural damage, according to the Rome municipality Web site.

Pirate Party successes means
no clear majority in Iceland

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Iceland's prime minister resigned Sunday after an election in which no party gained a parliamentary majority needed to form the next government.

Outgoing Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson of the centrist Progressive Party said he would hand the president his resignation in accordance with the constitution and he would stay in, if asked, until new government is formed.

The Independence and Progressive parties that have governed in coalition since 2013 together won 29 seats in the 63-member parliament.

The radical Pirate Party, formed just four years ago, scored big gains, but not as much as opinion polls had shown. The Pirates, anti-authoritarian advocates of direct democracy and digital freedom, almost tripled their vote share from 5 percent in 2013 to 14.5 percent, and will get 10 seats in Iceland's parliament. Together with its three center-left allies they won 27 seats.

The Left-Green movement, with 15.9 percent of the votes, will also get 10 seats in a parliament.

The results show that Iceland’s parliament would be split between parties of the right and left.

The election was dominated by Iceland's economy that is recovering mostly due to a tourism boom, with low unemployment and high growth, and voters' desire for political reform after the naming of several government figures in an offshore tax haven scandal this year.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

Shipping Containers and homes for sale.
New 20-foot containers and 40-foot available. Call us at 8307-8666 or visit  Stop by our workshop and walk through our model home in San Ramón.
Browse timeshares for sale and rent by owner in Costa Rica at bargain prices. We connect existing timeshare owners with those looking to buy or rent a timeshare on the resale market. Timeshares on the resale market are up to 50% cheaper than those sold through the resort. Buy, sell or rent a timeshare at 

Solr Costa Rica
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PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

                                  Tamarindo The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices.

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

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Toll Free 1-877-293-1456


Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
Pacific Coast. 
For more i

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.
For more information
Click HERE!

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

Rich Coast
Rich Coast Realty
REDUCED by $30k! Three-bedroom furnished house in gated beach community, walk to the beach, $235k.
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Panoramic Ocean View three-bedroom house on 4.7 acres, $398k, Ultimate in privacy!
Three-bedroom house and pool near the beach in Herradura, $199k.
Contact us with any questions you have about buying property in Costa Rica, Residency, etc. 12 years’ experience in Costa Rica real estate.
Have a property for sale in the Central or South Pacific, or in Guanacaste? We want to hear from you. We get results.

USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Ocean view

Vote San Ramon, New Construction, and Ocean View
Possible owner financing on this brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes huge master suite, closets, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is late November. If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at 8755-6743 or in the States call 509-570-1928 or email


San Rmon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: 
Check out slide show HERE!

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

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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Some of our other titles:
A.M. Panama
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A.M. Guatemala
A.M. Honduras
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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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news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 215
Real Estate
About us

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
Plant sauna: Too much of a good thing

The greenhouse is here. The greenhouse is up. The greenhouse has a table, pots, and plants. Inside the greenhouse, it’s full of the scent of the lemon

Victoria Torley
grass I cut and put on the floor. Life is perfect, right?

Wrong. So wrong. Now there are things I have to remember (I’m not good at remembering, I get distracted you see.) My greenhouse is in the perfect place to get very, very warm. Warm is good because tomatoes grow best when temperatures are over 70° day and
night.  So my tomatoes should be supremely happy, and it appears that they are. Sadly, there are things that do not like it when it’s very very warm.

I did not go to the greenhouse until after 10 a.m. the other morning. This was a mistake. By 10 a.m. the temperature in the greenhouse was over 100 degrees (about 38° C for Metric Man). The tomatoes seemed fine, but as I went to water them, I found that the water in the bottle I had left in the greenhouse was also over 100 degrees (okay, that may be an exaggeration but it certainly could not be used on the plants. It was far too warm for that).

Not only that, but one of the seedlings that I thought would do well in the greenhouse evidently prefers cooler temperatures and had wilted. It is now outside and in the shade.

What to do about this. Naturally, I opened all the windows and the door to cool the greenhouse. After all this time I certainly didn’t want anything to die of heat exhaustion. Sometime later in the afternoon I needed to remember to go to the greenhouse, close the windows, zipper up the door, and trap that 70-degree heat in the greenhouse to ensure good growth to the tomatoes. I just had to get to the greenhouse before the afternoon rains started.

The rain, of course, is the other reason for the greenhouse. So many plants that we want to grow here in the tropics come from cooler climates with much less rain. Simply put, they don’t like wet feet. Chrysanthemums are like that. They don’t like wet feet and they will die off if there is too much rain, but they also cannot go in the greenhouse because they prefer cooler temperatures.

What else could go wrong? The leaf cutter ants had discovered the greenhouse and were happily chewing away on some of my smaller transplants. But I am nothing if not patient and persistent. The greenhouse will serve its purpose. I just need to find more things, like the tomatoes, that want nice warm temperatures.

A.M. Costa Rica/Vitoria Torley

Plant for the Week
From the Permian (about 300 million years ago) to the present, our wet shady areas have been home to mosses. They form thin coverings on rocks and thick blankets on the forest floor. They climb tree trunks and hang from branches. They break down dead wood and wear away rocks, and all the while they provide homes and hunting grounds for all kinds of wildlife like this blue jeans frog. A simple plant that doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

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!
Costa Rican News
Retire NOW in Costa Rica
Fine Dining in Costa Rica
The CAFTA Report
Fish fabulous Costa Rica

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From Page 7:

Canada and EU finally conclude trade pact

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The European Union and Canada signed a long-delayed landmark free trade agreement Sunday in Brussels aimed to boost growth and jobs.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement along with EU President Donald Tusk, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker and Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency.

The signing ceremony had been pushed back from Thursday after French-speaking Wallonia, with just 3.6 million people, initially vetoed an agreement affecting more than 500 million Europeans and 35 million Canadians.

The EU requires unanimity among its 28 members, and Belgium needed the backing of all its regions to approve the agreement.

The start of Sunday's summit was also delayed when Trudeau's plane was briefly forced to return to Canada due to mechanical problems.

The treaty will remove 99 percent of customs duties between Canada and the 28-member European bloc, linking the single EU market with the world's 10th largest economy.

The treaty also is expected to boost EU trade with Canada by $13.2 billion a year, creating economic growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

The EU insists that the deal will not prevent governments from taking measures to protect environmental and social standards if they believe action is needed, despite concerns in Wallonia and elsewhere that big companies would have free rein.

The EU-Canada deal has drawn widespread protests from anti-globalization Stop CETA activists who have said it would undermine local industries and standards for healthcare and other issues.

Sunday a small number of protesters gathered outside the European Council building banging drums and shouting anti-trade agreement slogans. Some demonstrators broke through police lines and put red paint on the glass doors of the building. Police took away about a dozen people, but did not break up the protest.