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(506) 2223-1327                                  Published Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 220                                   Email us
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Bill prohibiting plastic bags advances in legislature
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A bill to prohibit the use of plastic bags by commercial establishments passed from a legislative committee to the full assembly Thursday.

The Comisión Permanente Especial de Ambiente unanimously voted to approve No. 18.349 that will forbid the use of plastic bags that are not biodegradable.

One catch is that even if passed, the full measure will not go into effect for five years. That is supposed to give officials time to change the consumer culture.

However, it appears that as soon as the measure would go into effect, merchants must charge a fair price for the bags. Violation brings steep fines.

The Ministerio de Salud would be given six months after passage and publication to set up a plan to put the measure into practice. The ministry and the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía would be responsible for approving biodegradable bags.

The bill says that plastic bags create trash and are difficult to manage. It encourages the use of cloth bags or bags totally biodegradable.

The bill contains an exception for products that must be kept in plastic bags, such as ice.

As soon as the measure goes into effect, the text says that merchants must begin charging customers for the bags. Such laws elsewhere have resulted in steep declines in the use of plastic bags.

An online report from Scotland said that bag use there declined 80 percent or the equivalent of 640 million bags.

Coffs Harbour City Council, New South Wales, photo
Turtles mistake bags for jellyfish

The U.S. State of California has a patchwork of bag laws and a referendum has been proposed to pass a unified state bill. Bags cost up to 10 U.S. cents there, and the money goes to environmental funds.

A summary of the Costa Rica bill does not say what will happen to the fees charged for bags, and the full text was not available Thursday night.

The world uses a trillions bags each year, online reports say.

The retail giant PriceSmart does not provide free bags to customers, although shoppers can wheel purchases to their vehicle in a cart.

Most fabric bags used by shoppers come from Asia, and they have their own environmental costs as well as the need for washing after repeated uses. Single-use plastic bags frequently end up in the ocean where they may be mistaken for jellyfish by hungry sea turtles.

APM container firm makes deal to train workers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The massive container terminal in Moin is expected to go into operation in January 2018, and the company operating the concession has made an agreement to train new workers.

The Dutch company, APM Terminals, and the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje announced the agreement Thursday. Those who wish to work at the terminal are able to take a year-long course in port operations.                   

The agreement also gives APM the opportunity to bring new blood into the industry and sidestep those employees who now work on the inefficient public docks in Moín and Limón.

The central government sees the agreement as a major step in reducing poverty in Limón
province. The Dutch firm operates terminals
all over the world, so employees in Moín will have the possibility of advancement.

Kenneth Waugh, general manager of APM Terminals Moín, said in a release that the agreement reflects the need for a new generation of trained port technicians who use the latest security technologies. The courses will be given in Limón.

Workers at the public docks are at least troublesome, and the union there has used every legal maneuver to block the arrival of the Dutch firm. Most of the nation's agricultural products pass through Moín, and frequent work stoppages and strikes have cost producers millions.

Still the central government has agreed to beef up the Moín facilities so that public workers can compete with the private concession.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 220
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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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honey bottle
Dirección de Apoyo al Consumidor photo       
Label says in small print that this is just 40 percent honey

Fake honey seems to dominate the market

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Suppose a liquor distributor took cheap guaro, dropped in some amber dye and called the product "Almost Johnny Walker."

That may seem far-fetched, but marketers of honey appear to be doing about the same thing, according to a survey by the economics ministry.

The survey found that honey substitutes or syrup are being marketed in a way that shoppers probably think they are buying real honey.

Under a Costa Rican directive honey cannot be sold as such if there is anything else in the jar beside the product of bees.

The ministry's Dirección de Apoyo al Consumidor conducted a survey in June and September of 55 supermarkets and food outlets in Alajuela, Naranjo, Heredia and San José.

There was extensive use of bee hive and honey photos on the labels but far fewer of the containers held actual honey. There was a large amount of honey substitutes, sucedáneos in Spanish, and syrups, jarabes in Spanish.

Technically at least seven products had labels that were deficient in one way or another. The surveyor also found that some extra labels had been affixed to the products to hide the fact that they were syrups.

The label showing the last date of sale were pasted in such a way that the name jarabe or similar could not be seen, said the ministry. In other cases, the words were much smaller than the word honey on the label as in


Some food firms received citations that may end in fines.

A beekeeping organization, the Cámara Nacional de Fomento de la Apicultura, participated in presenting the results of the survey.

Honey is more expensive than the fructose, glucose and other sugar fluids that substitute for honey.

traffic site

After a minor collision the word is DAM

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The new form for drivers involved in minor traffic accidents is called the Declaración de Accidente Menor, which expats can call DAM.

This is a form that is supposed to be used starting Jan. 7 by drivers who are involved in minor mishaps where there are no personal injuries.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes is suggesting that all drivers print out a copy of this form just in case.

Another requirement for use of the form is that the vehicles involved in the collision are able to move under their own power and that a tow truck is not needed, said the ministry. The drivers involved have to agree to the procedure, too.

The drivers involved fill out duplicate copies of the DAM report giving details on the accident and the identification of the vehicles and individuals involved. That eliminates the need for calling a traffic officer and allows the drivers to move their vehicles out of the traffic flow, said the ministry.

Clearly some expats with limited knowledge of Spanish will be at a disadvantage in such situations.

The forms will be used later when the drivers involved in the collision appear at the local traffic court to report what happened. At the court, officials try conciliation to assess damages. At some point the drivers' insurance carriers will need a copy.

Not all milk product are for drinking

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Call it the Great Milk heist.

Police managed to track down and detain three women and a man who stole 30 containers of powdered milk in Aguas Zarcas. There have been similar crimes in the area.

Stealing powdered milk is not as innocent as it may sound. The substance can be used to cut cocaine.

News for the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 220
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Grinches at Hacienda ministry are on the prowl for Christmas purchases
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministerio de Hacienda has embarked on a pre-Christmas campaign to snag sales tax from shoppers who buy through the Internet.

The ministry also includes the Servicio Nacional de Aduanas.

The ministry said that its campaign was to help shippers buy products securely through the Internet.

In other words, if they try to duck the customs charges or sales tax, the ministry might grab their purchases.

That happened four years ago when the Aduana unexpectedly cracked down on Christmas packages that were being delivered by mail.  The result was thousands of confiscated packages.
The ministry said that shoppers should only use import firms that are registered.  The ministry also urged residents to file complaints against individuals and firms that might not be following the law.

Hacienda still has not figured out how to assess sales tax on Internet downloads.

A lot of software, including violent video games, are available with the click of a mouse.  Lawmakers are trying to outlaw violence video games, but they have not addressed the internet issue.

Of course, the Hacienda warnings will not affect wealthy Costa Ricans and some expats who do their Christmas shopping in Miami, Atlanta or New York and who then are allowed to bring back items duty-free.

More nets!

It seems as if every day the Guardacostas are pulling illegal nets out of the pacific or the Gulf of Nicoya.

The nets at right were found at the mouths of the Ríos Térraba and Sierpe in southern Costa Rica. There were 500 meters total from four nets, said the  Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas Wednesday.

Nets are not allowed in the area because the mangroves are prime breeding grounds for many species of fish and other sea creatures.

Whoever put the nets there did not inspect them regularly. Fish caught in the net were dead and in bad condition, said the  Guardacostas.

Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas photo

Lawmakers hear views of defensora regarding dignified death bill
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A legislative committee was told Thursday that an interdisciplinary group should be formed to consider the concept of euthanasia.

Montserrat Solano Carboni, the defensora de los habitantes, made the suggestion when she appeared before the Comisión de Asuntos Sociales.

There is a bill, No. 19.440, in the hopper to provide for a

dignified death for those in terminal stages. The defensora listed a number of changes that her agency proposes.

The defensora noted that from a human rights perspective the state should not require or prohibit the suspension of treatment of a terminally ill patient.

Clearly, the defensora's visit marks the beginning of an extensive debate within and outside the legislature on the topic. She outlines a number of areas that will need to be considered including respecting the desires of the patient.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Reporter and cameraman in disguise venture into Islamic State territory
By Ayesha Tanzeem
of the voice of America news staff

The so-called Islamic State group had sprung up and gained ground in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province this year. News from the area was spotty at best. No one was sure who the militants were. Afghans? Foreigners? Disgruntled Taliban? Where did they come from? What were they up to? What was the situation on the ground?

Locals seemed to be scared and fleeing. Officials were hesitant to admit the extent of the problem.

A colleague and I decided to check things out for ourselves. With me were cameraman Rahim Gul Sarwan and a local fixer, whose identity I will not reveal for security reasons.

The first step was planning, days of it. We had plans, then back-up plans, then back-ups for the back-up plans, knowing full well that most of those plans could fall apart at any time.

Not only were we going to Nangarhar province, the Islamic State militants’ hub, but we were going to Achin district, their stronghold.

The Islamic State was not our only problem. Decades of conflict, a weak government and security forces stretched thin as a snare drum combined with the presence of foreigners seen as flush with cash have turned Afghanistan into a haven for criminals. Kidnappings for ransom are a major concern. If you look like someone who has money, you are a target.

If you look like a foreigner, you are a bigger target.

Other hazards, like roadside bombs and suicide attacks, are more random and harder to mitigate. But this is Afghanistan. You can get hit by shrapnel on your way to a cafe, so you learn to cope with the fear.

We decided on a beat-up Toyota Corolla, a staple in Afghanistan, as our transportation. No one would take a second look at it.

Then we needed another vehicle: the right cover story, with fake IDs to match.

We didn’t want to reveal our identities to hotel staff or local police at checkpoints. Word of a visiting foreign journalist could spread quickly, perhaps to an Islamic State spy or criminals looking for targets.

My South Asian looks helped. If I wore local clothing and kept my mouth shut, I could pass as Afghan. I put on an abaya, or long black robe, and kept my face covered most of the time with a hijab or a black scarf. Only my eyes were visible. With my Afghan cameraman and fixer, we could pass as a local family.

Our first stop was Nangarhar’s capital, Jalalabad. We picked a low-profile hotel, not a place where foreigners or the wealthy stay, and asked for rooms on the second floor. That would give us time to respond in case of an attack, but keep us close enough to the ground to be able to jump and run if we had to.

Jalalabad is much more conservative than the country's capital, Kabul. A woman standing in front of a camera, even in an abaya, would stick out, so we couldn’t do any street shots until the last day. We finished all indoor shooting first and planned street shots that could be finished in less than 10 minutes, and then left for Kabul right away. Throughout the drive, we watched our rear view mirror to make sure no one was following.

But the trip to Achin proved even more nerve-racking. Islamic State militants have established safe havens in the district, from which they plan and mount attacks on surrounding areas, capturing and beheading hundreds of locals. They probably had spies among the population. Our plan was to be invisible as we approached. Be local. Be part of the landscape.

That included managing my bodily needs. Once we left our Jalalabad hotel, using the toilet was not an option. Public toilets for women are rare in Afghanistan anyway. In a mostly rural area like Achin, they would be difficult to find. And if I found one, I’d risk having to interact with a local. That could blow our cover because I don’t speak the local language, Pashto. So I drank as much as possible the night

Voice of America/ Rahim Gul Sarwan
Afghan National Army soldier and Voice of America reporter Ayesha Tanzeem wait at a police checkpoint barrier in Achin, a district in eastern Afghanistan.

before and relied on chewing gum to quench my thirst for most of the day, until we could reach safety.

We also knew that the moment we took out our camera or started talking to locals about the Islamic State in Achin, our cloak of invisibility would be gone, so we needed protection there and on the way back.

Sarwan, who has become somewhat of a security expert himself after traveling and reporting from so many dangerous areas, knew the district governor, Haji Ghalib. A former mujahid who had fought the Russians and then the Taliban, Ghalib had become a bit of a local media celebrity for his bravery in taking on Islamic State militants. He would provide us security in Achin and escort us back to the highway.

We got more security than we had expected. Zabiullah Zmaray, a Nangarhar provincial council member whom we had interviewed, also agreed to accompany us to the district. He was another of the few local leaders who spoke up against the Islamic State in public, making him a target. Plus, he was an archetypal Afghan host and I was now his guest. He was not going to take any chances, either with his life or mine.

So, when we set out for Achin, we found two armored cars and dozens of men in bulletproof vests and fully loaded AK-47s waiting for us. On the road, we were joined by Afghan National Army troops, men in armored Humvees with rocket-propelled grenades. Had I just been elected president of the country? This was the most impressive VIP treatment I had ever received.

But the entourage meant that our team no longer was invisible. I couldn’t help but remember that some people in this region had been attacked by their own guards. I quietly patted my pockets for items I might need if I had to make a run for it: tracker, backup phone, emergency numbers, local currency.

Unbeknownst to our armed hosts, our local fixer was following at a safe distance in another beat-up Corolla, different from the one we’d used to travel to Jalalabad. In case of an ambush, he would be a phone call away.

Achin is a dusty place. The main road into the district leads through areas that have witnessed fighting between the Islamic State and Taliban. The driver told me that one bazaar on the way was considered particularly dangerous because militants sometimes throw grenades at moving cars.

As we traveled to our final destination, the police checkpoint where the Afghan government’s writ ended, my fellow passengers pointed out holes in the road where explosive devices had recently blown up vehicles.

By this time, we had left the armored cars behind and I was in an armored Humvee, clad in an abaya topped by a bulletproof vest. As soon as we got out of the Humvee, we were told to duck and run behind the checkpoint barriers. Apparently, the Islamic State had long-range sniper rifles they had used to kill soldiers at that post.

In the end, we got multiple stories and lived to tell them. We got a clearer picture of the Islamic State presence in the area, as well as the group's brutal, repressive tactics and how they’re affecting local people. Would I take the risk again? In a heartbeat.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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.


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Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
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Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
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for Rent

San Francisco de Dos Ríos, El Bosque, furnished 2-bedroom,1-bath apartment, quiet area, free cable TV WiFi, large patio area, swimming pool, parking, security. Close to San José. $450/month. Retired persons preferred. Call 8375-6838. Email:

Unfurnished 400-sq. ft. apartment, with modern kitchen, located on beautiful Junquillal Beach is waiting for you. Sea Turtles are common to this beach. Great area for surfing one of C.R.'s premier surf spots or boogie boarding. Close to a market, restaurants and more touristy areas - Playa Negra and Tamarindo, if you want shopping, etc. This area is a great community. If you are looking for a nice relaxing area, this is it. $500 month + electric, visit our Web page -  - for more info, photos and to view a video. Or call (506) 5004-3473.

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
tropical homes
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

The vacation homes at Manuel Antonio Estates offers luxury, comfort and peace of mind. We have numerous homes from 2 bedrooms to 8 bedrooms ocean view with private pool,  all within walking distance of the town’s shops and restaurants and just a few minutes to the best beaches and the famous Manuel Antonio national park. While the homes are secluded and hidden among the rainforest, the surrounding area offers adventures like zip lines, whitewater rafting, mangrove kayaking and many more. All of the homes are available for short-term rentals, Fully equipped, Pool, concierge,  parking, cable TV, and Internet. We are happy to assist with all your need for the perfect Costa Rican vacation, Call us for your family vacation package.
TOLL FREE: 1800 346=9724 or (506) 2777-3339

Real estate for rent

house for rent
Beautiful fully furnished house for rent
2 bedrooms, 2 baths, fully furnished $800 + electric, includes cable TV, Wifi, Internet. Inside gated property close to town. Contact

Oganic farm rental
2 bedroom, 1 bath, $700 includes electric, water, cable, Internet & WiFi. Fully furnished. Inside gated property close to town, Santa Bárbara de Heredia. No dogs please.

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:

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 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Direct TV via sling box on Internet.  Rent per month $750 plus utilities with free internet.  Price for Sale $179,000   Contact Mike:  Check out slide show HERE!

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About us
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Manuel Antonio
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 220
Real Estate
About us

Egyptian tourism on ropes
after suspicious air crash

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Sharm el-Sheik has long been a bubble in Egypt, hosting beachgoers and international conventions when other parts of the country have been deeply embroiled in political upheaval.

Surrounded by mountains and deserts and heavily guarded, the resort town is usually viewed as impenetrable, despite militants battling security forces in other parts of the Sinai Peninsula.

The plane that crashed last Saturday after taking off from Sharm el-Sheik not only killed all 224 people on board, analysts say.  It killed the resort city’s image as a safe haven.

Egyptian officials are steadfast, saying it could not have been an attack, and whatever caused the crash will be identified and fixed.

“It was an accident,” said Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Eldamaty on Thursday. “People shouldn’t be scared.”

Regardless of why the plane went down, argued Ziad Akl, a senior researcher for the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, it is going to be a blow to Egypt’s tourism industry and therefore, the country’s overall economy

“Tourism is going to be affected?” he said. “Of course it is going to be affected.  Big time.”

Militants allied with Islamic State claimed responsibility for the plane crash, saying it was revenge for Russian air strikes in Syria.

And it’s a fact that almost all of the victims were Russian, said Akl, which makes the crash’s economic impact on Egypt so significant.

Russian tourists are the largest single group visiting Sharm el-Sheik.  Egyptian tour guides often speak Russian.  Restaurant menus are printed Russian, English and Arabic.  And direct flights from Moscow to Sharm el-Sheik cost roughly the same as direct flights between Cairo and Sharm.

The tourism industry has been struggling to recover since the 2011 uprising, and catering to Russian tourists has been one of the most successful ventures in this uphill battle.

Tourism is one of the most important sectors of the Egyptian economy, being a major source of foreign income and employment.  The Egyptian government was planning to launch an international advertising campaign to promote Egyptian tourism just this week.

In late September, Egyptian officials had predicted a large increase in tourism in 2016, from roughly $8 billion in income to as much as $10 billion.  But now, recovery, according to Akl, will be nearly impossible.

“It’s not going to be done through statements,” he said. “It’s not going to be done from officials going out and saying ‘Egypt is safe. Come have a vacation here.’”

Egyptian officials say Russian families won’t stop coming because of the crash, and government media repeatedly assert that the crash hasn’t changed the security situation in Egypt.

"The Association of Russian Tourist Companies said that according to the latest information the security situation is still the same as it was a few days ago,” read an announcer on Egypt’s state TV Thursday night.

At the same time as that broadcast, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi stood at a podium next to British Prime Minister David Cameron while the minister was defending his choice to cancel flights to Sharm el-Sheik.

"We cannot be certain that the Russian airliner was brought down by a terrorist bomb, but it looks increasingly likely that was the case," said Cameron.

Even if the Russians aren’t following the United Kingdom’s lead and insisting that it's too early to conclude the cause of the crash, Akl says, logic demands that many Russian people will not return until they are confident the crash won’t be repeated.

“How popular Egypt is as a target for tourism is going to be reduced,” he said. “This is something we are going to have to face.”

Netanyahu's aide apologizes
for mocking Obama, Kerry

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new spokesman has apologized for past comments in which he called President Barack Obama anti-Semitic and Secretary of State John Kerry childish.

Ran Baratz's apology came just days before Netanyahu and Obama met at the White House.

Baratz says his comments posted on Facebook were "written without thinking and sometimes as jokes in language which is appropriate for social networks and for a private person."

Netanyahu wrote on Twitter that Baratz's posts "are totally unacceptable and in no way reflect my positions or the policies of Israel."

White House spokesman John Earnest said Baratz's apology was warranted, but would not say if the White House believes Netanyahu should replace him.

"I would not anticipate that this person's appearance in the international spotlight here is going to have much of an impact on the ability of Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama to work effectively to advance the interests of our two countries."

Just a few hours after Netanyahu appointed Baratz as his spokesman Wednesday, old Facebook posts emerged in which Baratz called Obama's opposition to Netanyahu's speech to the U.S. Congress in March an example of modern anti-Semitism in liberal Western states.

Baratz also derided Secretary of State John Kerry for having the mental age of a 12-year-old child.

Baratz's comments were not limited to U.S. leaders. He called Israeli President Reuven Rivlin so marginal, that if he were sent into the Syrian portion of Golan, Islamic State would send him back.

Baratz is a conservative who lives in a Jewish settlement on the West Bank. The Israeli Cabinet still has to approve his appointment. He is not accompanying Netanyahu to Washington.

Anonymous has taken over
Guy Fawkes Day tradition

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Thursday was Guy Fawkes Day in Britain, marking the 410th anniversary of Englishman Guy Fawkes’ failed attempt to blow up Parliament and assassinate King James I.

Until recently, the day has been a uniquely British affair celebrated with fireworks, bonfires, toffee apples, and the somewhat spooky refrain:

“Remember, remember!The fifth of November, The Gunpowder treason and plot; I know of no reason Why the Gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot!”

But over the past several years Fawkes has made a global comeback.

His spirit lives on thanks in large part to the 1980 graphic novel and 2006 movie “V for Vendetta.”

The Fawkes mask worn by the protagonist of the film has become a global symbol of rebellion, and has perhaps been most successfully co-opted by Anonymous, a shadowy hacker collective.

Anonymous was planning to mark Guy Fawkes Day with what they’re calling a Million Mask March. It is the fourth march to date, and last year saw protests in all four corners of the globe.

According to a press release from the group, the demonstrations will take place in hundreds of cities around the world in the hopes that it will go toward “building a better future through collective action.”

Four in U.S. are indicted
for aid to al-Qaida leader

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States has charged four men with conspiring to travel to Yemen to provide thousands of dollars to the late U.S.-born al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki in an effort to support violent jihad against U.S. military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world.

In a four-count indictment unsealed Thursday in Ohio, the U.S. charged Yahya Farooq Mohammad, Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad, Asif Ahmed Salim and Sultane Room Salim with providing material support to terrorists and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Farooq Mohammad and Ibrahim Mohammad both face an additional count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

The four "conspired to provide and did provide material support to Anwar al-Awlaki in response to his calls to support violent jihad,” said Assistant Attorney General John Carlin.

Two of the men were U.S. citizens and the other two were married to U.S. citizens.

According to the indictment, from January 2005 through January 2012 the defendants conspired to provide money, equipment and other assistance to Anwar al-Awlaki.  Al-Awlaki, a key leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, was designated a global terrorist in 2010 and killed by a U.S. drone air strike in Yemen in 2011.

“The charges in this case outline a plan to send thousands of dollars to a known terrorist, a plan which came to fruition shortly before one of the most notorious attempted attacks in recent memory, an attack claimed by that same terrorist,” said U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach. 

Allegations in the indictment charge that Farooq Mohammad and Ibrahim Mohammad obtained money by opening credit cards and withdrawing money with no intention of repaying the amounts obtained from various financial institutions.

The indictment further alleges that on July 22, 2009, Farooq Mohammad traveled with two other people to Yemen to meet al-Awlaki. They were unable to meet with him, so instead traveled to Sana’a, Yemen, to meet one of his associates. 

Farooq Mohammad and his two fellow travelers gave the associate approximately $22,000 to be given to al-Awlaki.

“This indictment is a testament to the perseverance of those who stand watch over our nation and is a clear message to those who support terrorism – we will not forget and you will face justice,” Dettelbach said.

Pew survey says majority
hold global warming concerns

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As world leaders get ready for a climate conference in Paris, a new global survey says the majority of the Earth's population has some concern about a warming planet — more in developing nations than in richer countries.

The survey by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center was carried out in 40 countries. Fifty-four percent said global warming was a very serious problem, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

But in the United States and China, the world's two biggest polluters, the concern was less urgent.

While most of those surveyed in both countries said they had some worries about global warming, 45 percent of Americans said they were very concerned, while only 18 percent in China felt that way.

Also, most poll respondents said they thought rich nations should bear the heaviest burden of the cost of climate change, and a majority also said drought was the one effect of global warming they feared most.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes that the earth's average temperature has risen about 1.53 degrees F (0.85 of a degree C) from 1880 to 2012.

Solar winds take atmosphere
from mars, NSAS reports

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Solar winds are slowing stripping Mars of its atmosphere, according to the U.S. national Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Writing in the journal Science and Geophysical Research Letters, researchers say they used data from the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission to conclude the Red Planet is slowly losing its atmosphere.

“Mars appears to have had a thick atmosphere warm enough to support liquid water which is a key ingredient and medium for life as we currently know it,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator for the NASA Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Understanding what happened to the Mars atmosphere will inform our knowledge of the dynamics and evolution of any planetary atmosphere. Learning what can cause changes to a planet’s environment from one that could host microbes at the surface to one that doesn’t is important to know, and is a key question that is being addressed in NASA’s journey to Mars.”

Researchers also said the erosion of the Martian atmosphere “increases significantly” during solar storms.

The data indicated that the solar wind robs Mars of about 100 grams of atmosphere every second. This, researchers say “was likely a major process in changing the Martian climate.”

The solar wind is a stream of mostly protons and electrons that travels at 1.6 million kilometers per second.

"Like the theft of a few coins from a cash register every day, the loss becomes significant over time," said Bruce Jakosky, principal investigator at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "We've seen that the atmospheric erosion increases significantly during solar storms, so we think the loss rate was much higher billions of years ago when the sun was young and more active.”

Recent missions to Mars indicate the planet once had abundant water, likely kept in liquid form by an atmosphere much more dense than today’s, which is too cold and thin.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter observed that the Red Planet may yet have seasonal liquid water in the form of briny liquid.

The Mars mission was launched in 2013.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Rich Coast Rollover
Thinking of Buying a Vacation or Retirement Home
in Costa Rica?

Rich Coast Realty is a full-service real estate company with property listings in Escazú, Santa Ana, Jacó, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Manuel Antonio, and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. We work hard to find you the property of your dreams, and assist with legal advice, residency, starting corporations, opening bank accounts, etc. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in, and relocating to Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate, we look forward to hearing from you.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo
Photo montage of penthouse
Are you  tired of wasting time searching your home….. with no results?
If so, you should not miss this deal !!!

Special Offer

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

* Located on 6th floor.
* Elevator.
* Security 24/7.
* Pool, BBQ area.
* 2 underground
        parking,  cellar.

* 3 bedrooms.
* 2 bathrooms.
* 2 terraces.
* Luxuriously
* Negotiable price.

* Enjoy the view,  CLICK HERE
Mafi Real Estate: Houses, lots and farms in Costa Rica
If you do not find, what are you looking for, contact us
WE HAVE A NETWORK OF OVER 500 brokers across the country to get what you are looking for.
English Calls: Miguel Fiatt Sauma or Paule Ortiz
Phone/Fax.+506 2238-5029
Cel. +506 8399-7000
Web Page:

Remax logo
Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

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 sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

puriscal photo
Costa Rica home for sale $163,500 / 2bedroom - 1,984 ft2

Central Valley view home: 10 minutes from Santiago de Puriscal and shopping, hospital services, and soon Maxi Pali. Only one hour to San José or Pacific beaches.
- On .55-acre lot with river on one boundary
- Area under roof, 1,984 sq. ft., Area inside walls, 925 sq. ft. Steel, recycled
      Styrofoam, and concrete construction.
- 2 ½ years old with central living room and kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths,
       ceramic tile throughout.
- Central Valley volcano and SJO airport views from every room.
- Vaulted ceilings give bright open feeling.
- Entrance from concrete road to large graveled parking area
- VERY energy efficient with VERY low property taxes.
- Covered attached carport with entrance to front door or laundry-guest bath
- 2 carport storage bodegas.
- 12 foot x 14 foot storage bodega
- Security lights, And Amcrest day & night video recorder system.
- Producing banana trees, and mango, bread fruit, and guanabana trees

Includes: Refrigerator, gas stove & oven with electric grill element, microwave, electric washer-gas dryer stacked style, gas on demand whole house water heater. Other furnishings are negotiable. ICE electric service and land line phone. Bajo Burgos Water district. Metro-wireless WiFi is available. Tigo Star Satellite T.V. House is in a Costa Rican corporation, will transfer shares. Contract or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album

Goetl in Palo Seco

Charming small oceanfront hotel for sale in Playa Palo Seco
Ideal oceanfront location with back up to a mangrove estuary. The
charming small hotel has a fully equipped kitchen, bar and restaurant and is exceptionnally well maintained. Located on a very private beach of the central Pacific Coast of Costa Rica 35 minutes north of Quepos-Manuel Antonio and 45 minutes south of  Playa Jacó. The main building is a two-storey house with 12 bedrooms. The lot measures 3,054 M2. Beautiful gardens around the large pool and exceptional flora and fauna. Well mentioned in tourist guides like Lonely Planet and Guide Ulysse. Offered at $999,000. USD
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408

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.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

Pacific Sur montagee

These 2 lots are in the Pacific southern zone,
Tres Rio/Coronado de Osa. 

Will give a great deal on one of these lots, only $29,990.  Both of these lots have water, phone lines, Internet accessibility, electricity, easy 3 kms. access to the Costanera.  2-wheel drive accessible.  Close to new hospital, beautiful beaches and county services.  Financing available.   Lote 234, This corner lote is excellently located in lower Tres Rios.  Has 2 well-sculptured lots for 2 houses or one for multiunit cabins.  Lote 236,  1 1/2 hectare.  Big lote for building a grand house, with a smaller plantel for a cabin.  Small ocean view with great sunsets.  Watch the videos for more information, Planos,  and details.   Email: CR phone   2786-5555. USA call  760-536-4717 YouTube link for more real estate deals. 

property montage
Lovely east coast property for sale
This is a huge property surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens. The house is about 85% built, but I will give you the property completely finished.  The whole land includes 7,886 m2 or 84,884 ft2 of forest and gardens in a mountain area of Cimarrones, Limón, east coast. Full house with large master bedroom plus bathroom. One extra guest bedroom. Large dining room. Large kitchen area. Another extra bathroom for guests. Large laundry room and two cellars (storage areas). The house has wide corridors where you will see a breathtaking view of large gardens and forest.  I am open to hear your offer. The full property and land price is $125,000. Call Harold Fonseca, Phone number (506) 8702-4217, Email:

Escazu villa
Escazú villa. spectacular 360 degree city and mountain views.
Enjoy the sunsets along with the sunrise

There are special properties, which are more than mere houses. Where you can appreciate moments where you build memories. Relaxing reading in the garden of 5000 sq. m. Places to enjoy moments with family or friends with large heated pool. Beautiful city views of San José with mountain view. Places, where you can enjoy the comforting warmth of the sun throughout the day with cool nights of living 1,300 meters up on your own Mountain Noel. You are away from all the noise of San José, yet you are only 15 minutes drive there. Costa Rica largest mall is also only 15-minutes drive away.
The main house four bedrooms with four bathrooms, large office with built-in wood cabinets, and beautiful hardwood ceilings throughout the whole house. The main house is 330 sq. m. For your guest, there is a self-contained apartment of 100 sq. m. consisting of two bedrooms and two baths. Nice layout with a living room and dining room and kitchen all have views. For being so near to the city and to have that much land is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The selling price is land value will throw in the house and the apartment. Price is $690,000. Contact

Osa home
Costa Rica Tropical Paradise Beach House For Sale
Tropical 5-acre forested beachfront property with custom house and guest casita on the Osa Península, South Pacific Coast. Abundant wildlife, exotic plants and fruits, secluded beach.

Located 8 km south of Puerto Jiménez on the way to Matapalo and Corcovado National Park. Great Price $775,000. Contact:
Watch this video for full details.


Hill Villa Esterillos Oeste, Costa Rica
Property size: 3405.14 sq. mtrs or 37,000 sq. feet
Gorgeous house built 5 years ago to U.S. standards on 37,000 sq. ft TITLED property. This home (240 sq. mtrs or 2,600 sq. ft) has 360-degree ocean and mountain views and electric-gated private road access. The large open style home has soaring teak ceilings, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, custom cabinetry and ceramic tiles throughout and a doubled car electric garage door. There is also a beautiful large swimming pool surrounded by exotic garden, laundry room and bodega. This is a very special and rare property because of the INCREDIBLE VIEW and excellent location. This one of a kind home and property is truly a must to see. all custom built furniture included. Photo gallery click here:    Contact Jack  Email:   Cell: (506) 8812-1789

Big House for Sale in Playa Grande,
Santa Cruz, Guanacaste
834.62 square meters property with 326 square meters construction. Two-storey house with front porch, entry lobby, living room, dinning room, large kitchen, breakfast room, large cupboard, 3 ½ bathrooms, 3 large bedrooms, the main bedroom includes jacuzzi and balcony. Playground, office, laundry area, garage for two cars, own and municipal potable water supply, electricity service, cable TV system, A/C. Located 700 meters from Las Colinas Golf Course, near the airport, Tamarindo Beach and the best beaches of the country. Excellent construction and great details. Price $349,000. 2,866.33 square meters building lot with three terraces. Price $75,000. For more information, please contact us:
Email Phone (506) 2653-6417.
Cell (506) 8825-8942 / (506) 8916-0734.

private ranch home
Small private ranch for sale
This exceptional private ranch sits on a 9+ hectare lot and supports 15-20 horses. Only 2 hours south of San José, on the road to Puriscal. Roomy stalls all with drains, water hookup, lights and fans, grooming and shoeing área. Two-story house all furnished and cowboy house. Don't miss your chance on that turnkey operation.  Offered at $749,000.
E-mail:  or call (506) 8707-1037 
(506) 2778-8408 Web:

San Ramon
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!

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq ft of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out.  The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the back yard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden.  This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town.  Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small.  The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate.  Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José.    Just reduced to $199,000.  Call  Jeff: 8824-8113 or 8725-8176.  Email:

Aerial Ocean and Volcano Views with Boutique Coffee! 33 Acres $380,000. Click HERE!

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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:

Real estate services
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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 220
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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
Overdoses called most deadly U.S. cause

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Heroin and prescription drug overdoses have reached epidemic levels in the United States, surpassing car accidents and firearms as the leading cause of injury deaths, an annual assessment by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has found.

"Sadly, this report confirms what we've known for some time . . . Drug abuse is ending too many lives too soon and destroying families and communities," DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg said. "Overdose deaths, particularly from prescription drugs and heroin, have reached epidemic levels.'

The report found 46,471 people died of drug overdoses in 2013, the latest data available. That same year, car accidents killed 35,369 people and firearms killed 33,636.

The number of drug overdoses has climbed more than 50 percent in the past decade. Drug overdose fatalities first became the leading cause of injury deaths in 2008, when a noticeable decline in car accident fatalities occurred.

Heroin use has exploded in recent years in the U.S., particularly in the Midwest and Northeast regions of the country. However, heroin use in the Pacific and Great Lakes regions has tripled since 2007, the DEA said.

Heroin was also ranked the No. 1 problem by the largest portion of local and state law enforcement agency authorities taking part in the 2015 study, Rosenberg said Wednesday.

Methamphetamine was ranked the top drug threat in 2014, and controlled prescription drugs was No. 1 in 2013, according to previous DEA surveys.

The DEA report found prescription drugs a far deadlier problem, however.

More people abuse prescription medication than cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, MDMA and PCP combined, and prescription drug deaths have outpaced those of cocaine and heroin combined since 2002, according to the report.

"We must reach young people at an even earlier age and teach them about its many dangers and horrors," Rosenberg said of drug abuse.

But he noted one positive trend shown in the report: the declining use and availability of cocaine.

In 2014, cocaine availability stabilized at levels "well below availability levels observed prior to 2007," the first year drug agents noted a significant decline in cocaine availability, the report found.

Rosenberg also expressed opposition to the marijuana legalization movement in the country, and frustration with efforts to legalize the drug based on highlighting its medicinal properties.

More than 20 states permit the use of some form of medical marijuana, while pro-marijuana groups in six states hope to hold referendums next year on legalizing the drug for recreational use.

"What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal, because it's not," he said before noting that elements of the plant have promise for medicinal uses.

The National Drug Threat Assessment provides an up-to-date look at the many challenges related to drug abuse and drug trafficking in the U.S. Information for the DEA's annual drug threat survey is provided by respondents from more than 1,100 state and local law enforcement agencies.

Highlights in the report include drug abuse and trafficking trends for drugs such as heroin, prescription drugs, and the hundreds of synthetic drugs manufactured outside the U.S. and imported into this country.

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From Page 7:

Stock market software firm is expanding

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Japanese software company doing business here as TradeStation Global Services, S.A. says it will be hiring 65 more employees for its installation at Ultra Park 1 in Aurora de Heredia. That will bring the total to about 120 persons.

The company is part of  Japanese Grupo Monex, having been purchased in 2011.

TradeStation, which came here in 2012, has developed a real time platform that analyses the international stock market and helps professionals make decisions.

The firm said it is seeking C ++ programmers and specialists in testing and automation.