A.M. Costa Rica
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Published Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 219
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Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
Construction workers prepare a steel girder for the bridge extension.
Drivers today to face a closed General Cañas bridge
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today would be a great time for metro expats to stay home.  Perhaps they could tend the roses or enjoy some of the country’s great coffee.

Under no circumstance should they venture onto the General Cañas autopista. The road agency, the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, said that the eastbound lanes of the highway will be closed at least from 2 to 4 p.m.

Workers have to move girders into place. They will be used to support a third lane for the bridge over the Río Virilla.

The Consejo has mapped out a series of detours that link the area west of the bridge with the Juan Pablo II span in La Uruca.

But the closing down of the nation’s main highway on a busy Friday is sure to resonate through the entire traffic network.

The Consejo said that only the eastbound lane will be closed today, but that may change, and

rubberneckers in westbound vehicles certainly will add to the traffic jam.

Those in the west who really have to travel into the center of the capital might consider using the Caldera highway, Ruta 27, which is a toll road.

Workers already spent several nights putting up more steel under the bridge.

Construction crews still have to install a third westbound lane, and the entire bridge gets a layer of prefabricated new concrete and an asphalt layer sometime in December, the Consejo has said.

This is the infamous Platina Bridge, called that because of the metal plates that have been used to cover an uncooperative expansion joint. Highway officials have been fighting the bridge for years and finally decided to build a second span underneath to support the existing structure. Highway officials said that the unexpected flexibility of the bridge made fixing the aging span impossible.

Customs inspectors cracking down at Alajuela airport
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Customs inspectors are taking a closer look at arriving air travelers with big suitcases, according to the Ministerio de Hacienda.

The ministry said its Dirección General de Aduanas grabbed more than a ton of items that inspectors thought have been brought into the country for commercial purpose.

The ministry said that of 106 arriving travelers whose baggage was searched, 50 percent, 53 individuals, had failed to list items on their customs declaration. There were 62 suitcases taken from the travelers and sent to a customs warehouse, the ministry added.

The travelers came from the United States, Panamá, México, Colombia and Europe. The ministry said that the undeclared goods were car parts, clothing, jewelry and cosmetics.

Most of those accused of smuggling said the items were for personal use, the ministry reported. In addition to customs duty, the owners of the goods will have to pay storage charges, the ministry reported. The situation came to light during an internal oversight inspection.

Air travelers can expect the customs inspectors to increase their efforts to uncover undeclared merchandise as a result of the study and due to the approach of Christmas.

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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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Extra-full moon predicted for this month

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Sky gazers have a special treat to look for later this month when a supermoon lights up the heavens.

According to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Nov. 14 full moon will be the closest full moon of this year, and the closest to Earth since 1948. It won’t be as close again until Nov. 25, 2034.

Even if the skies are cloudy on the 14th, the moon will still be very bright on the nights leading up to the supermoon.

A supermoon is when the moon and Earth are closer than they usually are, if only by a small margin. The slight change, however, can cause the moon to appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than a normal full moon.

The term supermoon is relatively new, having been created in 1979 by astrologer Richard Nolle.

Others have referred to the supermoon as a mega beaver moon. That name comes from the Old Farmer’s Almanac, which said it got that name because “for both the colonists and the Algonquin tribes, this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.”

And anyone who misses the November supermoon, need not fret. There will be another one Dec. 14. The bad news about that supermoon, according to NASA, is that it will drown on the view of the Geminid meteor shower.

Committee faces deadline on tax bill

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A legislative committee began working under a deadline Thursday to quickly dispose of 200 suggested amendments and report out the proposed tax on corporations.

The committee, the Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Hacendarios, had bottled up the reinstatement of the tax all year, but a vote by the full legislature set the deadline.

This is bill No. 19.818 that establishes a tax on sociedades anónimas, limited liability corporations and similar entities. The tax is important to expats because many hold homes and vehicles in a corporate structure.

Once the bill leaves the committee, passage is likely because 42 lawmakers voted to put the measure on a so-called fast track.

The bill is expected to raise 45 billion colons or about $82.25 million of which 90 percent is supposed to go to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública. The minister, Gustavo Mata, wants to hire 1,000 new police officers.

The original version of the bill said the money could not be used for personnel, but moving money around in a governmental budget is easy. The ministry got in trouble because the central government cut its budget in anticipation of the tax proceeds. But then the Sala IV constitutional court declared the tax unconstitutional in January 2015. The problem was the failure to advertise the final version of the original tax.

The new bill has a sliding scale ranging from 64,000 to 212,000 colons, about $117 to $388.

Lawmakers grill liquor factory figures

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A lawmaker raised the embarrassing question Thursday of why the country is in the liquor business. The question came as a committee pressed those involved with the Fábrica Nacional de Liquors on its marketing practices.

The state liquor producer has reported falling domestic sales. The state has been in the liquor production business since 1853, first as a government monopoly.

Addressing the committee were  Carlos Monge Monge, executive president of the  Consejo Nacional de Producción;  Álvaro Salas Carvajal, administrator of the liquor facility, and Juan Carlos Abaca, a marketing employee of the Consejo.

Lawmaker Mario Redondo Paved said that having the state involved in the production of alcoholic beverages was a contradiction. He asked what benefit the country received by state ownership.

The visitors to the committee said that the liquor factory produces resources for the state that are provided to those in vulnerable conditions and also finances programs for small producers.

The factory uses local sugar cane as its principal raw material.

Lawmakers of the 
Comisión Permanente  Especial de Control de  Ingreso y Gasto Público also expressed concern about products for export slipping into the local market tax free. The implication was this is why domestic sales are falling while exports have increased.

Salas has said that current bookkeeping measures do not let that happen.

Still, Marlene Madrigal Flores of Acción Ciudadana called for an investigation.

Chicago holds parade today for Cubs

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The last time it happened, the United States had just 46 states. Roosevelt was president. Teddy Roosevelt. There were very few cars, no radio, no television, and Russia was ruled by a tsar.

It was 1908, and it was the last time the Chicago Cubs won Major League Baseball's World Series. Until early Thursday, when the team famous for being lovable losers shook off the 108-year drought, beating the Cleveland Indians in seven games to become baseball's world champions.

Chicago won the deciding game in Cleveland in extra innings, 8-7.

The celebration in Chicago started seconds after the last out and will continue all day today with a victory parade throughout downtown Chicago.

"It will be a parade that 108 years have waited for," Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised. "It will be a parade and celebration that all of Chicago for 108 years in their mind's eye have been envisioning."

President Barack Obama, a lifetime Chicago baseball fan (although he roots for the Chicago White Sox) already has invited the Cubs to visit the White House.

He called the win for Cubs fans "the greatest thing since sliced bread," which also had not been invented the last time the Cubs won.

Many Cubs fans did not know whether to laugh or cry when their team finally won.

Some even say they went to cemeteries to bring the good news to their fathers and grandfathers, who waited in vain their whole lives for a Cubs championship.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 219
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Planning an air trip? there may be an unexpected hitch
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats might be a little  apprehensive as they approach one of the international airports with plans to leave the country.

Could their name be on a list that will prevent their flight?

Expats here are not immune to what are called impedimentos de salida. A judge may issue such an order if someone is involved in a criminal process. An unhappy ex-spouse may solicit such an order to ensure payment of child support.

And then there is the secret U.S. no-fly list for which there are no clear explanations or ways to contest inclusion.

Costa Rica has seen a handful of mistakes at the airports. In one case, a man was being prohibited from leaving the country because he was a boy. In another case, a woman was prohibited from flying because she was supposed to pay child support.

In the first case, the need for the prohibition had expired years ago. In the other, a clerical input error is being blamed for listing the woman’s cédula number.

Clearly when there is an input error, an innocent is being prevented from leaving the country while the real object of the judicial order can pass freely through airport immigration controls.

The Poder Judicial announced Tuesday that at least in the case of  pensión alimentaria, child support, air travelers will have a

way to check their status on the government’s Web site in a few weeks.

The judiciary’s Consejo Superior has been struggling with the problem. Usually those snagged at the airport have to spend days trying to get a judge to lift or clarify the order.

Airport workers do not seek to solve the problem even when the error is obvious.

At least those who are involved in divorce or child support cases ought to know if they are prohibited from leaving the country. That expats have to pay massive amounts up front to leave the country is one of those scary stories new arrivals hear in Gringo bars. And it is true.

Those on the U.S. no-fly list do not benefit from an advanced notification. Nor can they find out why they might be on the list. And they might be denied an airplane seat simply because their name is similar to someone on the list. There may be as many as 50,000 individuals listed on the U.S. list, although no one outside of government really knows.

At least one University for Peace graduate was denied boarding rights because his name appeared on the list. He did not know why, but the list is heavily biased against those with Middle Eastern names.

Considering that the U.S. National Security Agency has access to every email sent by any expat here or elsewhere in the world, an inappropriate joke could come back to bite an expat traveler.

Police officer detained as a participant in a vehicle theft ring
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents detained a Fuerza Pública officer and two others Thursday on car theft allegations.

The Ministerio de Seguridad Pública said it was moving quickly to fire the 28-year-old officer.

The arrests were made in Belén de Heredia, and the police officer was reported to work in San Joaquín de Heredia.

The two vehicle thefts were earlier this year. Both cars were

recovered. During the second theft, a security camera captured clear views of the participants, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

This is the second scandal this week involving the police force.

Two officers on the Caribbean coast were detained earlier for their complicity with a truck hijack ring.

Corruption among police officers has been a continual problem, and Gustavo Mata Vega, the security minister, has insisted on a zero-tolerance policy.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 219
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Researchers find a completely new aspect to communication by whales
By the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution news staff

Researchers have known for decades that whales create elaborate songs, sometimes projecting their calls for miles underwater. A new study from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, however, has revealed a previously unknown element of whale songs that could aid this mode of communication, and may play a pivotal role in locating other whales in open ocean.

In a paper published in the online journal Biology Letters, Woods Hole biologist Aran Mooney describes approaching a group of humpback whales off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Maui. From aboard a small research boat, he and his team measured two components of the whales’ songs, pressure waves (the type of sound wave that pushes on human eardrums, allowing us to hear), and particle motion (the physical vibration of a substance as sound moves through it).

Surprisingly, he notes, particle motion in the water propagated much further than expected.

“We threw our gear over the side, and let ourselves drift away from whales while measuring both particle motion and sound pressure. We didn’t expect particle motion to be projected much at all, just a few meters away at most. But as we got progressively further away, the particle motion stayed loud and clear,” he says.

The group measured only as far as 200 meters from the whales, but their data shows that this particle motion, especially in lower frequencies of sound, could travel much further than the distance recorded. “It’s a whole other avenue of sound that we never knew whales could use,” he notes.

To envision the difference between these two modes of sound, Mooney says, imagine pulling up next to a car blasting loud music. “The stuff you hear is pressure waves. The stuff you feel vibrating your seat is particle motion,” he adds. “When it comes to whale songs, particle motion hasn’t really been studied much. It’s a lot more complex to measure than pressure waves, so we don’t have a great sense of how it propagates in water or air.”

Pressure waves are relatively simple to detect using specialized underwater microphone called a hydrophone, a type of sensor that has been sold commercially for decades. Detecting particle motion, however, requires sensitive underwater accelerometers, which until recently have not been widely available to researchers. Mooney and his team, however, had both sensors on hand for an unrelated study in the area, allowing them to collect these unexpected recordings.

Mooney is quick to note that his team didn’t gather enough data to say definitively whether these whales could sense the particle motion present, but the anatomy of whale ear bones

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/ T. Aran Mooney
A breaching humpback whale.

suggests that low-frequency vibration could be a major element of their hearing.

Unlike dolphins and toothed whales, humpback whale ear bones are fused to the animals’ skull, providing a direct link to any sort of vibration in the water column. “This could mean that their hearing is influenced by the way sound conducts through their bones,” he said. “It raises the question: does a whale’s lower jaw act like a tuning fork to direct vibrations to their ears? Previous papers have shown this bone conduction might be a viable mode of hearing.”

From an evolutionary standpoint, he adds, there’s some precedence for this sort of vibratory hearing. Although most mammals sense sound via pressure waves in their eardrums, the closest living relative to whales, hippopotamuses, are known to sense sound underwater using their bodies, even while their ears remain above the surface. Elephants, another close relative to whales, can pick up ultra-low frequency vibrations through their feet, a trait that may help them locate their herd from miles away.

Although Mooney’s findings open the door for a range of evolutionary questions, he notes that it raises a much more immediate concern. If whales can in fact sense particle motion, similar vibrations caused by humans might interfere with the way the giant animals communicate.

“Most human-made noise in the ocean is low frequency, and the level of sound is doubling every decade. There’s constantly more shipping, more seismic exploration for oil and gas,” he says. Mining and construction, such as pile-driving machinery, is also increasing, contributing low-frequency particle motion that might propagate for miles underwater. “We humans don’t hear well in water, so we overlook noise in the ocean, but it’s very relevant cue for marine animals,” Mooney added. “This could be a major concern for whales.”

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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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.

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!

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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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George Lundquist

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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part 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

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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, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 219
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Axiom new ad

Mcmillin and Finn
McMullin campaign photo 
Evan McMullin and running mate Mindy Finn

Ex-C.I.A. spy seeks to build
parallel to Republican Party

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Sometime after polls close Tuesday, Americans will find out the next president of the United States. But one of the most intriguing questions of the 2016 election won't be resolved: What happens to the Republican Party in the age of Donald Trump?

One person watching closely is independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin. One of Trump's fiercest conservative critics, McMullin isn't optimistic about where the Republican Party is headed under the leadership of its presidential nominee.

"I think Donald Trump is doing potentially existential damage to the Republican Party," McMullin said during an interview at his campaign headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.

McMullin, who only entered the race in August, is threatening to pull off an upset victory in Utah, his home state. If that happens, it could be devastating to Trump's presidential chances, since the race between Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appears to be narrowing and may be decided by a small number of electoral votes.

McMullin's own chances of winning the presidency are slim. He's only on the ballot in 11 states. Even if he won all of those states, he'd still fall far short of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.

The only way McMullin could possibly win is if neither Trump nor Clinton reached the needed threshold, sending the race to Congress to decide.

Instead, McMullin is looking past the election, beyond his own candidacy and toward what he calls a new conservative movement that would run parallel to the Republican Party.

It's not certain that he can pull off such an ambitious proposal. And his own role in that movement is unclear. But nonetheless, he says it's important to provide a conservative alternative to Trump.

"He has given the white supremacist movement a voice. He has opened the door for increased sexism and religious bigotry," McMullin said. "And that makes it very difficult for a party in a country as diverse as ours to offer leadership to the American people."

McMullin is careful to emphasize that not all Trump supporters are white supremacists. But still, it's an issue he spends a lot of time talking about. During his 15-minute interview, he brought up white nationalists or white supremacists six times.

The single, 40-year-old McMullin entered the national political scene only three months ago. Before that, he served 10 years as a CIA operative, including a stint as an undercover spy during the Iraq War. He's been a Mormon missionary to Brazil, an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, and a director of the House Republican Conference, focusing on domestic and foreign policy.

McMullin calls himself a constitutional conservative, favoring limited government, and in that way is not unique for a Republican. But on social issues, he's relatively progressive, at least compared to some of his conservative peers in Washington. For instance, he said he's personally against same-sex marriage, but considers the issue to have been settled by the Supreme Court.

On foreign policy, McMullin goes against the recent trend of isolationism within the Trump-led GOP. He is highly critical of President Barack Obama's foreign policy, saying it is too weak and has resulted in the U.S. withdrawing its leadership in the world. He also supports free trade, going against the recent wave of protectionism that has sprung up in both parties during the current election.

In many aspects, McMullin dreams of a moderate conservative political party that doesn't actually exist right now. And he's using this election as a platform to see if he can make it happen.

McMullin isn't dead set on starting a new political party. But in his view, if Republicans continue to follow Trump, there won't be a choice.

"If the Republican Party isn't able to change, and isn't able to reverse course and essentially do a 180-degree turn and go in the opposite direction, then I believe that it will shrink in size and influence and ultimately become a populist white nationalist party," he said.

Historically, new political parties have largely failed to become competitive in the modern U.S. political arena. But McMullin points to exceptions, including the Republican Party itself, which rose to power on an anti-slavery platform in 1854, to the demise of a fractured Whig Party.

But more recently, such efforts have failed.

Political scientists point to a number of reasons. One factor is structural restraints, such as the first-past-the-post election system, which ensures that the parties of losing candidates do not receive any representation.

"In American politics, the system is stacked against new parties," said Quin Monson, political scientist at Brigham Young University. To counter those challenges, any successful new party must identify and exploit a single polarizing issue that divides a large portion of the U.S. electorate, he says.

Does McMullin have a single issue that is divisive enough to drive a significant wedge between traditional conservatives and those in the Trump camp? And could that issue be Trump's nativist appeals? Some political scientists say that's at least conceivable.

"Trump and his supporters take much more explicitly nativist stances, basically saying we need to stop immigration and protect not only how America is now, but move it back to what it once was, and limit foreign influence," said Seth Masket, political science professor at the University of Denver, who believes the Republican Party is currently divided among two camps.

"You have another good chunk of the Republican Party who for years now has been saying that's not how we win elections, that this country, whether we like it or not is becoming steadily more diverse and we have to learn now how to reach out to these people's concerns," Masket said.

There is no shortage of prominent anti-Trump figures who would be well-placed to take up the conservative mantle, including 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, or Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Where does McMullin fit among those figures, and is he considering a 2020 run for president, if Trump loses?

Asked those questions, McMullin deflected, saying he's content for now to be a conservative alternative to Trump, hoping that can serve as a launching pad for a message that will carry forward beyond election day.

"We concentrate more on building a new conservative movement," he said. "I'm not sure what my role will be in that."

Trump and Mrs. Clinton hold
dueling North Carolina rallies

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump held simultaneous dueling campaign rallies Thursday night in North Carolina, a state that must be won in order to win the White House next Tuesday.

Mrs. Clinton’s former rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, introduced her in Raleigh, while Republican Trump was a short distance away, speaking to a largely pro-military crowd in Selma.

Both traded the usual insults about the other's fitness for office while appealing to their followers that their vote matters.

Earlier in Greenville, North Carolina, Mrs. Clinton warned that Trump "always puts himself first and doesn't care who gets hurt along the way."

She said Trump simply cannot help himself when he insults women and minorities, adding that he is out of his depth and very dangerous.

"Across America, people are rejecting Trump's dark vision for one that is hopeful and inclusive and unifying," she said.

Mrs. Clinton's top booster, President Barack Obama, campaigned for her in another must-win state, Florida.

At a rally in Jacksonville, Obama noted that the polls are close, and he said the outcome cannot be taken for granted.

"You have this precious chance to shape history,” he said. “Don't let it slip away."

Obama also tore into Senate Republicans who have refused to consider his Supreme Court nominee, saying they want to wait until there is a new president.

But many of those senators are now vowing that they will block anyone Mrs. Clinton nominates.

Obama said the people's choice does not matter to them. "C'mon, man . . . it ain't right," he said, evoking both cheers and laughter from the crowd.

Justice Antonin Scalia's death in February left a vacancy on the High Court, which now has just eight justices instead of the usual nine. A four-four vote on cases means an earlier ruling stands and the case is sent back to a lower court, leaving major questions unresolved.

The Senate has refused to hold hearings on Judge Merrick Garland, Obama's choice to replace Scalia.

Trump also was in Jacksonville on Thursday, predicting that if Mrs. Clinton wins, she would be impeached over her emails and questions about the Clinton Foundation charity when she was secretary of State.

He did not let the crowd forget that her husband, former president Bill Clinton, was impeached in 1998 for lying about an affair with a White House intern.

"Here we go again with the Clintons,” Trump said. “You remember the impeachment and the problems. That's not what we need in our country, folks. We need someone who is ready to go to work."

Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton's vice presidential running mate, Tim Kaine, made history Thursday in Arizona, becoming the first major party candidate to make a campaign speech entirely in Spanish.

Kaine spoke to a largely Hispanic crowd. Arizona is a traditionally Republican state, but its growing Hispanic population opposes Trump's plans to restrict immigration and build a wall along the Mexican border.

Two new major national polls Thursday showed Clinton edging ahead of Trump among likely voters, with The New York Times/CBS News poll giving her a 45-to-42 percent lead and The Washington Post-ABC News poll showing her with a 47-45 advantage.

Penn State is fined in case
of molesting football coach

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Department of Education has fined the prestigious Penn State University a record $2.4 million for violating a law that requires colleges and universities to report campus crimes and warn people if their safety is threatened.

The announcement Thursday comes after a five-year federal investigation into how Penn State officials handled complaints about former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who was charged in 2011 with child molestation.

The investigation found the school violated regulations when it didn't warn students and employees of the forthcoming charges against Sandusky, who was convicted in 2012 and is due in court Friday as he seeks to have the conviction thrown out or to get a new trial.

The report said Penn State officials disclosed in June that 45 people have claimed they were victims of Sandusky, who was convicted of abusing 10 boys.

Two senior administrators were charged in 2011 with covering up the possible abuse. The officials, then-athletic director Tim Curley and then-vice president Gary Schultz, still await trial along with former Penn State President Graham Spanier on charges of endangering the welfare of children and failing to properly report suspected abuse.

If upheld, the total fine would be the largest since a federal law, which requires reporting of crimes on college and university campuses, was enacted more than 25 years ago.

The previous record Clery Act fine was $357,500 against Eastern Michigan University in 2007, reduced to $350,000 in a settlement.

Money pours in to repair
burned Mississippi church

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An internet fundraising campaign to repair a historic black Mississippi church that was burned and spray-painted with "Vote Trump" a week before the U.S. presidential election had raised nearly $200,000 by late Thursday afternoon.

The drive was organized by a self-described boring office guy after Tuesday night's fire at Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, which has a 111-year history.

The fire, declared arson, was being investigated as a hate crime. During the U.S. civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, southern black churches were often targets of burnings and bombings.

"Burning a black church in Mississippi, there is a meaning and a context to that," said Blair Reeves, 35, who set up the page. "As a white southerner who knows the history and the context, this is the least that any human being can do," Reeves said.

Black churches in the U.S. South have long been a base of support for the Democratic Party.

The goal was $10,000, said Reeves, who is from North Carolina and works for a software company in New York. According to the webpage, as of late Thursday afternoon 5,326 people had donated $184,927.

Reeves said he worked with the church's bishop to organize the campaign and that the funds would go into the church's bank account. He said donors have come from supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, supporters of Republican candidate Donald Trump and people around the world.

No arrests have been made but police said on Thursday they had "a person of interest in the case."

"Rather than speculate who did it, how about we agree it was an idiot and the church needs help, regardless? Either make a donation or move along," one donor wrote.

"I am very sorry that this happened. It shouldn't happen in America in 2016," another donor wrote. "I can't give much but I can give a little. I also shared on my Facebook page so others may give, too."
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Ocean view

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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


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Costa Rica penthouse for sale
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horse ranch
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
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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
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 219
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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
Smoking blamed for DNA mutations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scientists have found that smoking a pack a day of cigarettes can cause 150 damaging changes to a smoker's lung cells each year.

The findings come from a study of the devastating genetic damage, or mutations, caused by smoking in various organs in the body.

Published Thursday in the journal Science, the researchers said the findings show a direct link between the number of cigarettes smoked in a lifetime and the number of mutations in the DNA of cancerous tumors.

The highest mutation rates were seen in lung cancers, but tumors in other parts of the body, including the bladder, liver and throat, also had smoking-associated mutations, they said. This explains why smoking also causes many other types of cancer beside lung cancer.

Smoking kills six million people a year worldwide and, if current trends continue, the World Health Organization predicts more than 1 billion tobacco-related deaths this century.

Cancer is caused by mutations in the DNA of a cell. Smoking has been linked with at least 17 types of cancer, but until now scientists were not clear on the mechanisms behind many of them.

Ludmil Alexandrov of Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States, one of those who carried out the research, explained that in particular, it had until now been difficult to explain how smoking increases the risk of cancer in parts of the body that don't come into direct contact with smoke.

"Before now, we had a large body of epidemiological evidence linking smoking with cancer, but now we can actually observe and quantify the molecular changes in the DNA," he said.

This study analyzed over 5,000 tumors, comparing cancers from smokers with those from people who had never smoked.

It found certain molecular fingerprints of DNA damage, called mutational signatures, in the smokers' DNA, and the scientists counted how many of these were in different tumors.

In lung cells, they found that on average, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day led to 150 mutations in each cell every year.

Each mutation is a potential start point for a cascade of genetic damage that can eventually lead to cancer, they said.

The results also showed that smoking a pack of cigarettes a day led to an average 97 mutations in each cell in the larynx, 39 mutations for the pharynx, 23 for the mouth, 18 for the bladder, and six mutations in every cell of the liver each year.

Mike Stratton, who co-led the work at Britain's Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said it was a bit like digging into the archaeology of each tumor.

"The genome of every cancer provides a kind of archaeological record, written in the DNA code itself, of the exposures that caused the mutations," he said. "Looking in the DNA of cancers can provide provocative new clues to how they develop and thus, potentially, how they can be prevented."

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From Page 7:

U.S. productivity reported to have risen

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The productivity of American workers rose in the July-September quarter at the fastest pace in two years, while labor costs slowed.

Productivity increased at a 3.1 percent rate in the third quarter, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It was a significant improvement from the previous three quarters, when productivity had fallen. Unit labor costs edged up a modest 0.3 percent in the third quarter, compared with a 3.9 percent jump in the second quarter.

The productivity figure was the best showing since a 4.2 percent gain in the third quarter of 2014. But the rebound was expected to be temporary. Strong gains in productivity are needed to boost Americans' living standards.

Economists forecast that productivity will quickly fall back to the tepid gains seen since the 2007-09 recession.

"Following the burst of faster productivity growth during the late 1990s, which is usually attributed to the incorporation of desktop PCs into the workplace and the internet, productivity growth has slowed again in most developed countries," said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics. "The longer this slowdown goes on for, the less confident we are of another technology-related acceleration."

The latest productivity gains had been expected, given that overall economic growth rebounded in the third quarter after anemic gains in the first half of the year. The gross domestic product, the nation's total output of goods and services, increased at a 2.9 percent rate in the third quarter, more than double the pace in the second quarter.

Productivity represents the amount of output per hour of work. Nonfarm businesses boosted output by 3.4 percent in the third quarter, while the hours worked rose a much more modest 0.3 percent.

Productivity growth has been weak since the Great Recession. It has averaged annual gains of just 1.3 percent from 2007 through 2015, sharply lower than the 4.7 percent average annual productivity gains from 2000 to 2007.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen has pointed to the slowdown in productivity growth as a key challenge facing the country.

Economists believe that businesses need to start focusing more on raising the efficiency of their existing workforce rather than just hiring more workers to meet demand. They expect companies to put more emphasis on increasing productivity as the labor market hits full employment and the pool of available qualified workers diminishes.