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Published Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 220
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Casa Canada

Court halts walkway
being built in Jacó

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A boulevard begin constructed by the Municipalidad de Garabito in Jacó has been frozen by a judicial order.

Walter Brenes of the Energy Law Firm, who brought the case, reported Friday that the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo in  Goicoechea ordered the halt to the work because municipal officials did not obtain environmental clearance from the Secretaria Técnica Nacional Ambienta.

The local officials claimed they did not need one.

Energy Law Firm
The walkway stops here.

Lack of police response sparks Caribbean discussion
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Caribbean coast residents are upset today in the wake of a theft last Thursday.

They are less upset with the petty thieves than with Fuerza Pública officers who never showed up despite multiple 911 calls.

The discussion was at length on a local Internet chat site.

The theft was in Cocles where someone climbed through an open window and took items and cash.

Petty thefts are not unusual in Costa Rica nor is the failure of police to appear. Even when they do, many expats have complained that officers seem uninterested.

Sometimes there is a good reason based in regulations by the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública. That came to light earlier this year when a large group of foreign migrants arrived in Barra del Colorado near the Nicaraguan border. Police were called several times by residents, but none showed up.

It turns out that there are but two police officers in Barra del Colorado, and the rules are

clear that they must be accompanied by a second officer in nighttime patrols. But there is another rule that says police officers may not leave the station radio unattended, a resident reported after talking to an officer. The result is a real catch-22.

Consequently, the officers are unable to respond at night, based on the rules. In case of major crime, police and investigators have to come from distant areas.

Gustavo Mata is seeking the reinstatement of the tax on corporations, and has said that he will use the money to hire 1,000 more officers. However, the Barra de Colorado and areas like Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and Cocles are not desirable postings for police officers, and these outlying areas might not see any increase in police presence if the tax is passed.

Residents along the Caribbean coast have to go to BriBri to file a criminal complaint with the Judicial Investigating Organization. The Fuerza Pública, the officers in blue, do not accept such complaints. That is why many crimes go unreported.

The best crime prevention suggestions of Caribbean coast posters: Install some bars, get a dog and maybe a security camera.

Sala IV backs security ministry's firearms restrictions
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Sala IV constitutional court has broken with the U.S. Supreme Court and has found that there is no constitutional right associated with firearms in Costa Rica.

The U.S. court, on the other hand, found such a constitutional right rests with the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

That U.S. Decision was in the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller where the High Court found, 5-4, that constitutional protection exists to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

Costa Rica does not have a Second Amendment-style clause in its constitution, and the Sala IV found that firearms are subject to ordinary laws.

The case, which raised the constitutional argument, arose out of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública’s new rules on firearms that greatly restricts their use by security guards.
Among other things, the ministry said it wants a technical study by someone considered an expert of situations in which armed guards might be used.

Bank, armored car guards and bodyguards are exempted.

The regulations flow out of fears that some guard services are criminal enterprises or that the firearms eventually end up in the hands of crooks. There have been a number of thefts involving firearms, including some of ministry and traffic police weapons.

The security ministry praised the Sala IV ruling and noted that the new regulations were published and became official Sept. 2.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, Vol. 17, 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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Dental Services Costa Rica

Dr Oscar Vargas specialist in prosthodontics
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CR local phone:  +506-2274-3231
Cell: +506-8302-5877



Dr. Gray
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California Licensed
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Insurance professionals

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A full service immigration agency
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U.S. Phone: (323) 255-6116
U.S.  Fax (323) 344-1620
Phone in Costa Rica: ( 506 ) 2226=0755  (En español )



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Fine art restoration and conservation

Gilbert Carmichael
Master Art Restorer
European and U.S. standards. USPAP.
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Click Here:
Those touched by terror present a warning

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

United States history is one surprise after another. There was the British raid on Washington in 1814, Pearl Harbor, the Tet offensive in Vietnam and the

Sept. 11, 2001, suicide attacks.

A new movie in which an expat has a role suggests the nation is in for another
bloody surprise.

The movie is “The Perfect Day,” and the expat is Gene Sweeney, a new resident of the Cariari Country Club area.

Sweeney, a retiree, served with the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam war and has had a career in intelligence since.

A trailer for the movie is HERE!, and Sweeney hopes to find a location to show the movie in Costa Rica.

Gene Sweeney in his movie role

The premise is not far-fetched. The plot involves simultaneous attacks all over America by Muslim terrorists and local sympathizers. There are historical parallels. The Viet Cong and North Vietnam regulars launched more than 100 attacks all over Vietnam starting Jan. 30, 1968.

The movie trailer itself makes note of the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny against the British East India Co. in 1857. That spread through most of the country in a rebellion against British colonial rule.

U.S. military planners are concerned about home-grown terrorists, some of whom already caused deaths and other havoc. Meanwhile, the central government is relocating Middle Eastern refugees, some of whom might be terrorists in disguise.

Some in the film have military backgrounds. The film was created by New York Fire Department survivors of Sept. 11 and includes in the cast fire fighter and survivor Tim Brown and producer Jason Redman, who is a retired Navy SEAL. Redman also plays the lead role.

“Our goal in making this film is to create a national awareness and discussion amongst all Americans that local, regional and national law enforcement cannot beat this threat alone,” Redman was quoted in a release.  It will take all Americans to be vigilant and aware to ensure an attack like 9/11 will never happen again.”

This is the seventh film for the production company,  JCFilms of Morgantown, West Virginia.

Sweeney, who moved to Florida in 2008, is the originator of the Victims and Fallen Heroes Memorial at Patriots Park in Venice, Florida. The park contains memorials to the Sept. 11, 2001, victims made from a steel beam salvaged from one of the World Trade Center towers.

Also listed there are the names of victims of  helicopter crashes in Afghanistan Aug. 6, 2011, and June 28, 2005, others killed in Afghanistan and the war on terror, as well as Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and his three associates killed in Benghazi. Also honored is famed U.S. sniper  Christopher Kyle who was shot by a former serviceman he was helping.

Sweeney noted that Venice is where the Sept. 11 terrorists received much of their flight training.

The production company plans a general release of the film next year, but there are pre-release screenings going on in many parts of the United States. Like what Sweeney proposes, these are small affairs, many of them in churches. JCFilms is a faith-based company well known to many pastors and churchgoers. And a film description promises no nudity, hard-core violence or vulgarity.

Ortega engineers landslide in Nicaragua

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
with wire service reports

As expected, Daniel Ortega is emerging as the winner of the Nicaragua presidential elections. Early results issued by the Consejo Supremo Electoral said that Ortega running under the Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional  banner had accumulated 71.3 percent of 21 percent of the votes counted.
He was predicted to get more than 60 percent in pre-election polls.

Ortega, a former guerrilla leader, ran against five other presidential candidates. Ortega’s vice president is his wife, Rosario Murillo.

His critics, however, say the president has manipulated Central America’s political system and accuse him of outlining a plan to create a political dynasty with Murillo.

A court decision allowed Ortega to run for re-election in 2011, even though the country has a one-term limit. Three years after that, the Frente gained enough support in congress for a constitutional amendment to allow unlimited presidential terms. Turnout was reported low.

Ortega first ruled Nicaragua in the 1980s and returned to power in 2007 after a fracture in the country's right-wing parties.  After almost 10 years as president, his popularity has remained high due to economic policies and social programs in place with the help of allies in Venezuela and Cuba.

Quepos assault leaves four dead

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Four persons, including a minor, died in an attack by gunmen in Quepos Sunday night. The shootings took place near the entrance to Isla Damas, according to initial reports.

Heavily armed men arrived at the location and opened fire shortly before 9 p.m. at persons inside a dwelling, said the initial reports. One person managed to escape and died some distance from the location of the attack. All the dead were males.

Our reader’s opinion
Customs agency treating expats unfairly

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
I just read your article on what seems to be a new airport customs policy. It is interesting that Costa Rican customs is now cracking down on importing merchandise that is extremely difficult or impossible to buy here in Costa Rica and, then holding it hostage, charging outrageous duties and fines for its release.

We were part of a group of Gringos who were bringing in items from the States on a pallet each month through a bonded/licensed importer. Costa Rican customs still has possession of our February, April, May and June shipments. And, for many of the items that have finally been released, they have had additional duties of 20 to 40 percent assessed. We are not alone—many others are in much the same boat—pardon the pun.
Bringing vital items that can last until your next Stateside visit in your luggage (or in visiting friend’s and family’s luggage) when entering here from the States has become the most reasonable alternative for most. We are not trying to game the system, just obtaining necessary or important items that we cannot find or afford to purchase here.
The government of Costa Rica should take note that expats living here are probably at the very top of the category of tax-paying Costa Rican residents. This government probably collects more per capita from us, mostly retired, residents than any of its citizens.  We already pay more than our fair share. So, don’t make it harder or impossible for us to get the items that are not available for purchase here. It would be a shame if some became motivated to exit for other retirement venues because of a callous and unsympathetic bureaucracy.
Donald Davis

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 220
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Expats who are registered may still be able to cast ballots
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The presidential elections may not be over for expats here. Because each state has its own election rules,  there are a variety of deadlines when ballots can be accepted.

Although it is no longer possible to register in any U.S. state, some allow voting online or by fax. They are California, Alaska, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah and Washington State.

And some states have a longer deadline when ballots can be accepted. The State of Washington says it will accept ballots up until Nov. 28, but they have to be postmarked by Tuesday.

Some of those so-called battleground states have delayed

deadlines that may make a final result weeks away in a close state race for president. New York will accept ballots by Nov. 21.

Utah, which has become a key state, will accept them on Nov. 20. Colorado and Florida will accept ballots postmarked Nov. 8 until Nov. 16.  More information on state requirements can be found HERE!

For those who asked for but did not receive an official ballot from the jurisdiction in which they are registered, there is an alternative, the federal absentee write-in ballot.

The Overseas Voting Foundation has these available online. These can be printed out and filled in and then sent by mail, if the state has a long mail-in deadline or by Federal Express.

Laura Chinchilla heads one of two teams watching U.S. elections
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

Former Costa Rican president Laura Chinchilla is heading a delegation of  41 international observers and experts from 16 nations to keep an eye on the Tuesday elections in the United States.

The Organization of American States made the announcement Friday. Ms. Chinchilla has been in the United States at a teaching position in Georgetown University, her alma mater.

Her group is one of two that will be observing the election process. This kind of work typically involves elections in other parts of the world but not the United States.

The U.S. government asked the 35-member Organization of American States with its headquarters a few blocks from the White House to monitor an election for the first time this year.

“The United States greatly values OAS’ important work promoting free and fair elections throughout the region,” said U.S. Organization of American States representative Kevin Sullivan. “We welcome OAS observation as an opportunity to demonstrate the United States’ dedication and support for this important function of the institution.”

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which observed the 2012 election and six others in the U.S., is returning for the 2016 vote.

The 57-member organization has a much larger team than the Organization of American States, with more than 600 observers in all. Most are focused on following the proceedings at polling places, while some are looking at the bigger picture of the electoral process at the state level.

The international teams will be working alongside poll watchers from political parties, a role that has gained prominence during the presidential campaign with Republican candidate Donald Trump raising concerns about vote fraud.

Numerous studies have found little evidence of fraudulent votes being cast in the United States. But the international observers are not looking for malfeasance but rather looking on as more of a learning process for both other nations and to help the U.S. strengthen its own system.

That is a little different from elections in other countries where observers are often cited as either reporting a vote was free and fair or that there were some irregularities. A recent example is the August presidential election in Gabon, where European Union observers raised questions about the seemingly high turnout in the incumbent candidate’s home district.

The Organization of American States said in the United States it

will be looking at issues involving electoral organization, technology, campaign finance and political participation, and produce a report highlighting best practices and potential improvements.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will also make recommendations in a report to the government and the public.

“No electoral system or process is perfect,” it said. “Past elections have shown that there are areas where improvements can be made.”

The organization has already issued a preliminary report of what observers have seen ahead of the vote.

It notes concerns about the reliability of new voting systems in some areas, lower voter registration rates among minorities, and the outsized influence that major political donors may have based on their role in financing campaigns.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe also said that while there has been extensive media coverage of the race between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, comparatively little coverage has been devoted to other issues and contests. Those include the races for the Senate and the House of Representatives, in which a combined 469 of the 535 total seats are up for election.

The Organization of American States says its election day observers will be in Washington, D.C., as well as in 11 states: California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
Ms. Chinchilla has also met with election officials in Georgia and Pennsylvania.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said its observation effort planned to cover two-thirds of the 50 U.S. states. A spokesman said the states where observers will not be deployed include Indiana, Delaware, Maine, Missouri and New Jersey.

U.S. elections are overseen by state and local authorities, meaning certain rules such as who is allowed to observe and under what conditions vary from place to place. A majority of states welcome international observers either explicitly under law or in practice.

Those that do not allow the observers, according to a list from the National Conference of State Legislatures, include the traditionally key battleground states of Florida and Ohio.

The National Association of Secretaries of State has encouraged state and local officials to welcome international observers, saying they have “become an important part of the democracy-building process.”

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Researcher concludes that birds are not more colorful in the lush tropics
By the Okinawa Institute of Science
and Technology Graduate University news staff

During his trip to the Galápagos Islands, Charles Darwin collected several mockingbird specimens on different islands in the region.  He later discovered that each island only contained a single species of mockingbird and no two species of mockingbird co-existed on an individual island. Due to their geographical separation, over time these birds had evolved different characteristics in coloration, behavior, and beak shape. These observations raise the question: how does a geographical region influence the evolution of a species?

Tropical birds are well known for their colorful appearance: vibrantly colored macaws, parakeets and parrots are widely considered to be the quintessential birds of this region. The popularity of these birds leads many to assume that tropical climates are home to a greater proportion of colorful birds than temperate climates. But do birds evolve to become more colorful when they move to the tropics? Research from Nicholas Friedman, who is part of the Biodiversity and Biocomplexity Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, helps answer this question.

As part of his research in collaboration with Vladimír Remeš at Palacký University in the Czech Republic, Friedman headed to Australia to examine the feathers of different birds across the country and its neighboring tropical islands to see if there was a correlation between geographical climate zone and color pattern. Australia is home to a rich mixture of species, many of which are found nowhere else. The fact that Australian species were geographically isolated from the rest of the world for so long makes it an excellent place to study evolution. A trip to Australia as a young man contributed to Charles Darwin’s pivotal work on evolution, “On the Origin of Species.”

Friedman began his study at the Australian National Wildlife Collection, where he examined bird specimens from different regions of Australia. A total of 137 different species from two major songbird families were examined. Songbirds originated in Australia nearly 30 million years ago.  Research suggests that these birds began diversifying there before colonizing other parts of the world.

The familial relationships of the birds that Friedman examined were compared using an evolutionary tree based on the birds’ DNA. Friedman then used a special instrument to measure the color of the feathers in particular places on the birds. Birds can see a wider range of colors than humans can, and many are

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology /Nicholas Friedman
Close-up of the ornamental white feathers on a pair of Crescent Honeyeaters, Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus, one of the species of birds examined in this study.

even able to see colors in the UV spectrum in addition to those in the visible spectrum, so the differences in color patterns between birds may appear more pronounced to birds than they appear to humans.

Next, Friedman used data from satellites to describe the geographical region in which each species lives. He looked at vegetation, precipitation, and humidity of each region, then combined this data with the evolutionary relationships and color measurements of the birds.

The results of this study, published in Global Ecology and Biogeography, show that bird species do not evolve more colorful feathers in the tropics compared to their cousins in temperate climates. “If you look at birds in the tropics, there are a lot of colorful birds that stand out. But there are really more species in general there, and there are just as many more of the little brown ones” describes Friedman. “Instead, birds living in the harsh arid climates of inland Australia tended to have fancier colors than those in the lush tropical islands. Since desert birds have to scramble for mates during the wet season, we think they may be evolving colors that can attract mates quickly.”

Meanwhile, birds thriving in climates with more precipitation and vegetation are darker in color overall, while desert birds tend to be lighter. “The pattern is really clear” Friedman reports, “birds living in the desert tend to be more grey on their backs, while birds living in the forest have evolved to be more of a dark green. We think they are evolving these colors to match their background.” This would be an example of natural selection, in this case more camouflaged organisms can survive and pass on their genes.

“These results help to explain the origins of the diversity of life, how species end up evolving different characteristics over time,” explained Friedman.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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

Visit our Web site at:
Contact us by email:  
Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
Moon Travel Guides & Frommer's

Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tel.  8386-6872 / 2667-0592; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073
International shipping available.

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

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

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

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.

George Lundquist

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NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!

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BUY NOW! Your solar hot water system, so in three months, we can calculate a lower install price for your PV system.  Perfect for homes and hotels. Save up to 40% of your electric bill.
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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

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
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2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amón. Cable, internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,  hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry.   Rate  $650 per month plus electricity. 1/2 month security deposit. No lease.  Larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be the best for the prospective tenants to visit the building to see the apartment.  For more information contact
Or call Hilda at 506-2221-7161.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 220
Real Estate
About us

Axiom new ad

Many state ballot questions
came from efforts by citizens

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As U.S. political candidates make their final appeals, voters in 35 states will decide policy issues Tuesday that include legalizing recreational use of marijuana and restricting access to guns and ammunition, voting yes or no on nearly 160 state ballot initiatives.

California's Proposition 64, which is leading in the polls, could create a multibillion-dollar marijuana industry by legalizing the recreational use of the drug for adults in the state. Similar measures are on the ballot in Arizona, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts.

Marijuana could be legalized for medical use in Florida and three other states. Medical marijuana is already permitted in half the 50 U.S. states, and recreational use is allowed in Alaska, Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and the District of Columbia.

Marijuana is banned under federal law, but U.S. officials have taken a hands-off approach on the issue.

Voters in Maine and Nevada are considering measures that would expand background checks for gun purchases, which is already required for buying guns from dealers, by extending the provision to private sales.

Californians will consider measures requiring background checks for buyers of ammunition and banning high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Washington state has a measure that would allow the courts to bar the sale of guns to individuals deemed an extreme risk to themselves or others.

Californians are considering whether to eliminate the death penalty with Proposition 62, or to maintain capital punishment and make the process more efficient with Proposition 66, which supporters say makes it more fair to victims of violent crimes.

Twenty states and the District of Columbia have abolished or overturned capital punishment on the grounds that it is unequally applied to minority populations and that innocent people are sometimes convicted.

South Dakotans will decide whether to make statewide offices nonpartisan and create a citizens commission to redraw voting districts after each 10-year national census, removing the task from legislators, said by critics to be self-interested.

The minimum wage could get a boost in South Dakota, Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington state. And voters in California will uphold or reject a state law that bans single-use plastic bags, which many consider an environmental hazard.

Health care measures are on the ballot in four states, including California, where voters could limit payments by state agencies to pharmaceutical companies, setting drug costs at the discounted prices enjoyed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Opponents include major pharmaceutical companies, which have spent more than $100 million to try to defeat the measure.

As voters in several states consider further loosening their restrictions on marijuana, a boost in tobacco taxes is on the ballot in California, Missouri, Colorado, Montana and North Dakota.

About 70 measures on state ballots are citizen-sponsored initiatives, which are presented to the voters after their supporters have collected petition signatures, in a process that varies from state to state.

Other ballot measures are statutes or amendments to state constitutions that are proposed by legislators, or major spending questions for building schools or infrastructure that need voter approval as bond issues.

FBI chief reports no change
in conclusion on Mrs. Clinton

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

FBI Director James Comey has told Congress he has not changed a conclusion reached in July that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton did nothing criminal in using a private server for emails when she was secretary of state.

Comey made the announcement in a letter Sunday after the bureau reviewed a new batch of emails discovered during a separate investigation involving former U.S. congressman Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of key Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

In his letter to Congress, Comey said investigators have been working around the clock processing and reviewing the emails written to and by Mrs. Clinton when she was secretary of State. Based on their review, he said, "we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton."

Comey said in July that while Mrs. Clinton may have been extremely careless in handling classified information, there was no criminal intent and that prosecutors would reach the same decision.

Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri said of Comey Sunday the campaign is "glad that this matter is resolved. We are glad to see that he has found, as we were confident he would, that he's confirmed the conclusions that he reached in July."

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Mrs. Clinton is protected by a rigged system, telling a crowd of supporters in Michigan that it is impossible to review 650,000 new emails in just eight days.

Voter opinion polls have tightened since Comey announced two weeks ago that more Clinton emails were uncovered.

Trump saw it as a gift, telling voters that the rival he loves to call Crooked Hillary would be impeached and face criminal investigations if she were elected.

With less than two days before millions of U.S. voters cast their ballots, the Clinton camp likely will use the Sunday letter from Comey as its gift.

Trump and Clinton have just one more full day to convince undecided voters that he or she should take over for President Barack Obama in January.

Mrs. Clinton told supporters Sunday in Ohio that the election is a choice between division and unity, between strong, steady leadership or a loose cannon, and an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy.

The Clinton campaign will climax tonight in Philadelphia with a superstar rally headlined by rock icon Bruce Springsteen, and including the Obamas and the entire Clinton family.

Trump will spend an exhausting last day of the campaign in five states his campaign believes he must win, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Michigan.

Cyber security experts claim
hacking election is possible

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

For several months, cybersecurity analysts have been sounding alarm bells about the U.S. election system, calling it porous and painfully vulnerable to cyberattacks. Worse, just days before Tuesday's vote, some analysts warned that hackers of even moderate talent could possibly throw the results of the 2016 presidential election into chaos.

Elections in the U.S. are run individually by the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Secretaries of state, both Republicans and Democrats, insist their systems are secure.

That message was recently echoed by Thomas Hicks, chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, who told members of the U.S. House of Representatives, "There's no national system that a hacker or a bad actor can infiltrate to affect the American elections as a whole."

Hicks' views are not shared among many cyber researchers.

"I'm pretty worried," said J. Alex Halderman, director of the Center for Computer Security and Society at the University of Michigan. "We're facing some pretty serious threats when it comes to security and elections. I'm quite worried that in an election soon we'll see real attacks that will either try to disrupt the election or possibly would try to change votes."

Halderman said the rise of sophisticated nation-state actors over the past decade or so has outstripped the capabilities of many civil servants at the state and local level who are directly responsible for running elections.

"Elections aren't that sexy," Halderman said. "We don't like to fund tech for elections. It seems like a luxury to have new voting equipment. We need equipment that's secure, systems that can withstand attacks by other nations. It won't come for free."

Halderman hopes all the attention on voting-system vulnerabilities will motivate state governments to invest in cybersecurity for the 2020 elections. But he said it's already too late to bolster security for this year's elections, and that could cause skepticism about the results.

"I just hope this election isn't close," he said.

The idea that state election systems are vulnerable to hackers is not exactly news. Earlier this summer, the FBI began an investigation into breaches of elections systems in Illinois and Arizona, while an unnamed Department of Homeland Security official recently told Politico that hackers had intensely probed state elections systems in 20 states. Law enforcement officials have pointed the finger at Russian state-supported hackers for the attacks, a claim the Kremlin denies.

Election officials like Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman say their systems are secure because they're air-gapped, or unconnected to the internet.

"We have full and complete confidence in the integrity of our system," Wyman told the Chinook Observer. "Every vote will be tabulated as the voter intended."

Yet James Scott is unpersuaded. "If these guys are saying, in their official capacity, that an air-gapped defense is sufficient, they're truly unqualified to have their jobs," Scott said.

"Time and time again, we've seen that air-gapped systems don't work; they're not a defense anymore," he said. "Stuxnet, Uroburos, AirHopper, BitWhisper, ProjectSauron — these are all instances where hackers easily got past air-gapped protection."

Scott is a senior fellow at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Training which advises private and public organizations on infrastructure cybersecurity. He and a colleague recently published a report examining voting security titled "The Painfully Vulnerable Election System and Rampant Security Theater." He said the report's title says it all.

"We set out to demonstrate that the systems were indeed secure," Scott said. "We thought there's no way these systems are that vulnerable. After a week, we were just blown away; swinging elections at the local level is a cakewalk."

In Maine, the ballot question
would jack minimum wage

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Restaurant owner Steve Corman is trying to build a business and make a profit. But he still believes it's his responsibility to pay his employees a living wage at Vena's Fizz House and Bar on the Portland waterfront.

That's why he supports a measure on the Maine ballot this election, one of many across the country that would increase the minimum wage.

If Question 4 passes, the minimum wage in Maine will gradually increase to $12 an hour by 2020 and bring the wages of tipped employees, who are paid less under federal law, up to the level of all other minimum-wage workers by 2024.

Multiple minimum-wage proposals have failed in the Maine Legislature, but citizens have brought the proposal up for a vote this November. And Maine voters have indicated they're open to the change.

An Oct. 30 Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram poll showed 57 percent support for the measure heading into Election Day.

A former teacher, Corman said the minimum wage is more than economics; it's an issue of morality. He never made enough as a teacher to hold only one job, and now that he owns his own business, he wants to invest in its growth in different ways.

"We love for people to learn," Corman said. "My bartenders are getting tipped for their knowledge, not just for being part of a service industry."

Under federal guidelines, Corman has to pay his tipped employees only $3.75 an hour. Instead, he pays them $9 in addition to the tips they receive from customers.

"On a normal Friday or Saturday, they're leaving with more than $30 per hour in their hands," he said. "If they can do that two days a week, they can make a living wage."

The higher minimum wage would increase Corman's costs, but he thinks it would also result in lower employee turnover and an improvement in the quality of service.

"This is incredible, to be paid that much more," said Hillary Morrison, a bartender at Vena's. Morrison is just a few years out of college and still finding a way to live in this pricey city.

"It just wouldn't be realistic for me to have this job. I would have to be going between two or even three jobs just to sustain," she said, noting that almost everyone she knows in Portland is juggling multiple jobs.

At a time when income inequality and job growth hold a central place in the public discussion, workers across the nation have demonstrated for higher wages.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made Fight for $15 a leading issue in his candidacy. Hillary Clinton, who beat Sanders to become the nominee, says she supports it. She has repeatedly said that no minimum-wage worker should work full time and still live in poverty.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump maintains that increases in the minimum wage work best at the state and local levels, allowing for adjustments tied to economic conditions in specific regions. He has said he would support an increase in the federal rate of up to $10 per hour.

Analysts differ on the economic impact of minimum-wage increases on state and local economies. Some argue that workers would funnel more money into the economy, while others say it would hurt business owners, reducing their spending and forcing them to raise prices.

The Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research organization, found the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour has not sufficiently kept up with rates of inflation, resulting in decreased purchasing power.

Additionally, the 2015 study found the U.S. economy could sustain a raise in the federal minimum wage to $12 by 2020.

Chris Tyll, owner of two restaurants in the Portland area, worries about asking voters to make this determination.

"We're asking people to make a decision, 10 seconds in a ballot box, as they look at this question," Tyll said. What voters don't see, he added, are the historically lean profit margins in restaurants and the local vendors who would suffer if he had to make cuts for his business to survive.

"It's not that I look at you and say you're only worth $12 an hour," he said. "That specific task is only worth $11 an hour unless we, as a society, are willing to pay $30 for a pizza."

Tyll advocates for a range of options to help lower-paid workers, including training in skilled trades and bonus systems allowing employees to earn more for good on-the-job performance.

"This is not a minimum wage; this is a tax on your life," Tyll said. "You're going to eliminate jobs, small businesses are going to close and the industry is going to change."
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NOW with the New Power Company Regulations, we're installing photo voltaic systems for solar electricity.
PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!

Solar device
NOW is the time to install our new super-efficient solar hot water! New model for condos
Solar collector
BUY NOW! Your solar hot water system, so in three months, we can calculate a lower install price for your PV system.  Perfect for homes and hotels. Save up to 40% of your electric bill.
More Watts per Panel, Smarter and more Capable Enphase Micro Inverters mean Less Cost and more Flexibility for You.

    We aren't Cheap...Neither are our Products. Call to Compare.
    More Flexible, Reliable-and Fully Guaranteed!

    Push this BIG RED BUTTON:  (O) and Learn ​details about your deal with ICE     
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Costa Rica Sotheby's International Realty is a boutique residential property brokerage firm in San Jose Costa Rica dedicated to creating long-term value for its customers and assist you to reach your property goals in Costa Rica. Whether purchasing or selling, our guarantee is an amazing experience for you and your family. You can rely on bespoke advertising and discretion, independent guidance interchangeable with the brand of the Sotheby since 1744. To those who value the exceptional, Sotheby's International Realty® is identifying properties throughout Costa Rica and local Real Estate service providers that offer unrivaled access to qualified individuals. We encourage you to meet with our representatives and preview our on-line portfolio of outstanding properties in Costa Rica.
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                                  Tamarindo The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and & commercial real estate. Twelve (12) agents to serve you, from Playa Marbella to Playa Dante in the Guanacaste, through our Tamarindo and Flamingo offices.

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

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Axiom one

Sierra Collection. Meridian House or Chateau Montage.
Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
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Axiom two
The Terraces at San Martin.  Discover the essence of Costa Rica on our Luxury Ocean View Villas . Near Dominicalito Beach and Parque Nacional Marino Ballena.
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Axiom three
Ellan At Ballena Beach.  Welcome to a world of endless adventure on our beachside condominiums at Ballena Beach, Pacific Coast.  For more information click  HERE!
We will be happy to give all the information you need. Contact:

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Ocean view

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


San Rmon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya. 7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: 
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New graphic
For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant. Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning. Easy to get liquor license. Low interest financing. Up to 40% financing / get residency through investor status / includes a corporation that is 27 years old and offshore banking account with  Banco National / possible 50/50 partnership. Super location in front of the Bosques de Escazú  Condos  / Monthly rentals available
Call for more info:
Free US phone 877-778-8515  or 410-975-6703
In Costa Rica 506- 8307-0164
Bruce Cohen

Jacó Beach - Super Views - Priced Right
This is a three-bedroom, ine-bath home located at about 100-foot elevation one mile from the beach. Remodeled 2 years ago. Everything is new including total new kitchen, windows, floors, AC units, electric, plumbing, etc. Super fenced yard for dogs. Very low electric bill even with the AC. Very secure & private. Police chief next door. Very easy & inexpensive to expand this house as all neighbors have done. $149,900. Call Glenn at 506 6214-0056.

Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

horse ranch
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need.  More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:

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Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

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Some of our other titles:
A.M. Panama
A.M. Colombia
A.M. Guatemala
A.M. Honduras
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A.M. Nicaragua
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A.M. Ecuador A.M. El Salvador
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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2016 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 220
Real Estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
What evil lurks inside that heliconia?

You look out at the yard and come to a realization: the heliconias need attention, a lot of attention. How did they get so wild without your noticing?

A friend of mine says that you occasionally need to clean out the center portion of the heliconia mass, but a lot of people just want the center,
Victoria Torley
and they want it to stay put. No creeping out to take over the yard, just “grow where I put you, dang it!” Sadly, it is harder to teach a heliconia to stay than it is a puppy. The best you can do is get in there and work on it. Well, today, I
worked on it.

You have to get in there to clean
out those dead fronds. The fronds are heavy in themselves, but the inflorescence at the top can weigh a quarter of a kilo, about a half a pound. All that top heaviness drags the frond down to the ground (the wind helps) where the seeds are released and everything turns brown. This is a survival strategy for the heliconia as there is a better chance that the seed will survive. But what about you? Will you survive the pruning? Watch out for three perils.

It’s always good to be careful when pruning and cleaning heliconia. The leaves are huge and the underside is evidently a great place for wasp nests. There were none today, but I made sure to look before I snipped. I have had experience with those wasps and it wasn’t pleasant.

Then there are the ants. I wasn’t looking for ants, but fortunately I saw them before they saw me. They were nesting where the brown leaf was separating from the stalk. As I started to snip, I disturbed them and quickly decided that that particular frond didn’t need pruning.

Snakes particularly the eyelash vipers, enjoy the large fronds, or so I am told. A friend once spied a viper sunning itself on the top of a leaf. He didn’t prune his leaf either. A wise choice.

Then there are the spiders. Personally, I would rather deal with a snake than a large spider. So far, I have managed to avoid anything larger than a 500-colon piece, and I would like it to stay that way.

Well, look at that, I promised you three perils and gave you a bonus. Just be careful with those heliconias. You can never be sure what you will find.

Plant for the Week

The giant mandevilla (genus Mandevilla) is a cultivated native genus with many species. The flowers are large and fragrant. The giant mandevilla is a great vine for bright indirect sun. Grow in sandy well drained soil with lots of organics and train up a wall or trellis.

For bushier growth, pinch the vine back as it grows. The picture is one of my newly growing mandevilla. They are easy to start from seed.

A.M. Costa Ricas/Victoria Torley

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

Costa Rican News
Retire NOW in Costa Rica
Fine Dining in Costa Rica
The CAFTA Report
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From Page 7:

Government plans business creation month

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government is expanding Global Entrepreneurship Week to a full month with programs geared to those who develop businesses.

A highpoint is a series of 10 discussions from Nov. 14 to 20 that include such topics as how to register trademarks and various aspects of marketing. A list is HERE!

The Ministerio de Economía Industria y Comercio said it also is publishing a guide for Entrepreneurs. The government also is developing a policy to promote entrepreneurship, it said.

Entrepreneurship Week is celebrated in 120 countries. The Costa Rican government sees small business as a way of reducing poverty, and the economics ministry is the main promoter of this concept.

A lawmaker is supposed to outline a proposed law on entrepreneurship today at the legislature. The law has the strange title of strengthen in the ecosystem of entrepreneurship in Costa Rica.