A.M. Costa Rica
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(506) 2223-1327                                  Published Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 238                                 Email us
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Government has not forgotten about corporate tax
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some expats who own corporations are worried about the status of the annual tax, the impuestos a las personas juridicas. So is Casa Presidencial, which included the bill, No. 19.505 on a list of legislation sent to lawmakers Tuesday. During times when the Costa Rican Constitution does not specifically say the legislature must be in session, the executive branch sets the agenda.

The so-called sesiones extraordinarias were designed to be just that, emergency meetings held at the request of the president. These days the legislature meets most of the year. But from now until April 30, members can work on and vote on only measures listed by Casa Presidencial.

The wish list presented Tuesday contained the names of 70 pending pieces of legislation. The executive branch has the power to add many more. Nearly all are measures that have been in the legislative hopper for some time.

So it is with the corporation tax. The law was approved in December 2011 and went into effect the following Jan. 1.

But somewhere along the line, legislative staffers failed to publish a text that had modifications, and that was enough for the Sala IV constitutional court to nullify it last January.

But in a strange piece of legal maneuvering, the court said that even though the measure was unconstitutional administrators of corporations still had to pay the 2015 tax. Many have declined to do so until they see what lawmakers do with the rewrite, which is identical to the 2011 law.

The introduction to the law claims passage is important for easing the fiscal deficit of the country. But the body of the actual law gives 5 percent of the proceeds to the Registro Nacional for administering the collection and 95 percent to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública for citizen security and fighting crime.

So the money never really goes into the general fund.

There is little chance the legislature will pass the law before Christmas vacation.

The law contains a paragraph that will prorate the amount owed based on when the measure actually goes into effect.

Lawmakers have had the bill since last April.

The tax, like many Costa Rican financial matters, is based on the salary of a specific judicial employee.

For 2015 the tax for an active corporation is 201,700 colons. That’s about $400 at the current rate of exchange. Owners of inactive corporations pay half that.

Companies registered as small and medium enterprises with the economics ministry are exempt.

Another measure of interest to expats on the Casa Presidencial list is 19.716, a new firearms law that still does not give rentistas or pensionados the right to possess or carry weapons.

Curiously, the presidential list does not include bills for new taxes, but they certainly will be added later.

ferry dock
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo
Thousands of tourists take advantage of the gulf crossing by ferry.
Naranjo ferry schedule expanded for high season
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A sure sign that the high season has arrived is a change in ferry schedules.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said Tuesday that San Lucas and San Lucas II will be making four trips each day instead of three from the Puntarenas dock to Playa Naranjo on the Nicoya peninsula.

A ferry leaves Puntarenas now at 6:30 a.m., 
and the first trip from Playa Naranjo is at 8 a.m.
The last trip of the day from Puntarenas is at 7 p.m. with the last ferry leaving Playa Naranjo at 8:30 p.m.

The ferries on the gulf of Nicoya are vital to commerce given the condition of the roads, but they also provide a trip that is high on the list of many tourists.

Another route connects Puntarenas with the lower peninsula with a dock at Paquera. The Naranjo ferry passes just north of the famous Isla San Lucas, the former prison island.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 238
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Professional Directory
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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Legal services

Valdivieco header
Lic. Eduardo Valdivieso
your legal adviser for criminal, civil,
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Address:  150 meters southwest from
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Business specialist
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Ministerio de Seguridad Pública           
Police officer handles a Belgian-manufactured FAL rifle.

Police find bags of rifles on Isla Calero

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Officers of the Policía de Fronteras came upon sacks of buried weaponry Monday night on the Isla Calero in extreme northeast Costa Rica.

That is the area that was invaded and occupied by Nicaragua in 2010.

The weapons probably are leftovers from the Nicaraguan civil war rather than the more recent incursion.

The find included six Belgian-made FAL semi-automatic rifles. There also were six AK-47 rifles and a .30-caliber rifle.

All were in sacks that had been hidden in the ground. All the weapons appeared to be rusted beyond salvage. Police said they would be destroyed.

The AK-47 of Eastern European manufacture was a favorite of the conflict that pitted the U.S.-based Contras against the Nicaraguan Sandinista government from 1979 to the early 1990s.

Costa Rica spend years eliminating the land mines that had been planted in national territory during that conflict.

Campaign promotes thanking Costa Rica

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Costa Rica U.S.A. Foundation and its U.S. donation platform, Amigos of Costa Rica, celebrated Giving Tuesday today by launching a new campaign, #GraciasCostaRica on Twitter.

The effort encourages people in Costa Rica and friends of the country around the world to share what they love about Costa Rica. The messages will help draw attention to innovative projects in conservation, education and rural development.

Members of the public are invited to visit to upload messages identifying the greatest gift Costa Rica has given them, whether that’s family, a great education or an unforgettable vacation, including a photo or video if desired.

“I want to thank this country for giving me the opportunity to attend public school,” Channel 7 news anchor Ginnés Rodríguez, one of the first participants, said in her video. “It gave me the foundation I needed to achieve what I’ve achieved to this point.”

To see other messages, readers can visit the #GraciasCostaRica news feed.

By uploading a message, participants will help draw attention to innovative projects around the country, according to Michelle Coffey, executive director of the Costa Rica U.S.A. Foundation. Those projects can be viewed, and supported through online donations, on the #GraciasCostaRica page. They range from a groundbreaking sustainable tourism project in the Osa Peninsula, to a cutting-edge national math reform in public schools, to English-language education projects led by U.S. Peace Corps volunteers.

As part of its mission to support sustainable development in Costa Rica, the Costa Rica U.S.A. Foundation and Amigos of Costa Rica allow outstanding nonprofit initiatives that would not otherwise be able to receive international online donations to use their platform free of charge.

“We hope to inspire people to reflect everything Costa Rica gives to the world, from its tradition of peace, to its investment in education, to its natural beauty,” Director Coffey said. “We are proud to be working for the sustainable development of Costa Rica, hand in hand with some of the best community organizations, nonprofit organizations and public-private alliances in the country.”

To participate, readers can simply visit the Web site to see others’ messages. They can click on “Dele gracias a Costa Rica” and enter their name, message and optional photo or video. When the message is approved and published, its author will receive an email with a link so he or she can share it on Facebook or Twitter, thus drawing attention to the campaign and the nonprofit initiatives involved.

Daily updates, including more videos from public figures who are donating their time to the campaign, will be published throughout the month of December on the campaign Web site and the foundation and Amigos Facebook pages.

Our reader's opinion
Cannabis psychosis known for decades

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Your article on the effects of high potency cannabis only reports on recent details. Psychosis from smoking weed has been known for decades.

During my visit to Jamaica in 1982 for the U.S. Department of State, I was given a tour of the ward at the national mental hospital devoted to psychotic ganja smokers by Dr. Frank Knight, who had first reported on cannabis-induced psychosis in Jamaica back in the 1960s. It is very real.

The research community tends to report on the toxic effects of psychotropic drugs in response to media attention which sometimes has little to do with actual prevalence of the problem. But in this and some other cases it is real. The latest media bandwagon is heroin, which incidentally is available in a few locales in Costa Rica, and which has caused a few overdose deaths here.

Fact: If it gets you high, it is messing with your brain, and if you use it to excess, it can cause serious health consequences. ("It" is any drug that can get you high.)
John French

News for the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 238
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Washington meeting between U.S. and Cuba considers Cuban crisis
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports.

Costa Rica's problem with Cuban migrants has become a topic considered by Cuban and U.S. diplomats.

U.S. and Cuban officials are meeting in Washington, as the two countries move forward with efforts to normalize ties.

Meanwhile there is some movement in the U.S. Congress to change the law that has attracted migrating Cubans in the first place.

Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona has introduced a measure that would repeal the Cuban Adjustment Act and the wet foot, dry foot, policy. The law and the policy favor Cuban migrants who reach the United States.

“Cuban nationals should be treated under the same immigration rules as any other person seeking to immigrate to the United States,” said Gosar when he introduced the legislation, H.R. 3818.

He said he introduced a bill to terminate three outdated policies that provide amnesty to Cuban aliens and are costing taxpayers billions of dollars.

"If President Obama has normalized relations with Cuba, why would we treat illegal immigrants from that nation any different than those from other countries," he asked.

Monday, officials held high-level migration talks at the State Department to discuss the implementation of agreements between the U.S. and Cuba.

The talks come at a time when the number of Cubans entering the United States has spiked.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency says the number of Cubans arriving at U.S. ports of entry rose from about 24,000 to more than 43,000 from 2014 to 2015.

It says while the number of Cuban migrants has been rising every year since 2009, the current trend “significantly exceeds the average increase over the past six years.”

Meanwhile from 3,000 to 4,000 Cubans are stuck in Costa Rica. Tensions increased between Nicaragua and Costa Rica last month after the Nicaraguan government refused to allow thousands of Cubans stranded at the border to enter.

A State Department spokesperson said officials were aware of

the situation involving thousands of Cuban migrants traveling irregularly from South America and Panamá northward through Costa Rica.

Many Cubans fear the normalization of ties will spell an end to the unique immigration privileges offered under the Cuban Adjustment Act.  The measure, enacted in 1966, gives Cubans a right to obtain permanent residency, once they have been in the United States a year.

Additionally, the so-called wet foot, dry foot policy allows Cubans who reach U.S. shores to remain in the country, while those who are intercepted at sea are generally returned to Cuba. 

Administration officials say there are no plans to change the U.S. migration policy for Cuba.

A State Department spokesperson said a focal point of migration talks would be proposals on how both governments could contribute to fighting the smuggling organizations that take advantage of Cuban migrants.  Some Cubans have paid smugglers thousands of dollars to help them illegally travel through South and Central America to the U.S. border.

Other migrants are facing increased legal obstacles as they attempt the journey.

Earlier this month, Ecuador announced plans to add a new visa requirement in a bid to stem the flow of Cuban refugees through the country.  The move sparked protests at the Ecuadoran Embassy in Havana.

Separately, the U.S. entry policy for Cubans has been the subject of both foreign and domestic criticism. 

Cuban government officials have repeatedly criticized the U.S. policy.

Josefina Vidal, director general at the Cuban ministry of foreign affairs, has said the U.S. policy has been a principal stimulus for illegal immigration from Cuba.

The migration talks in Washington are a follow-up to talks held in January in Havana.

The United States and Cuba have established working groups on a host of issues since President Barack Obama’s announcement a year ago that the two countries would move to end more than five decades of mutual hostility by working to normalize ties. As part of the process, the United States and Cuba reached milestones this past summer with the re-opening of their embassies in each other's capitals

Hotel header

Croc Resort

Vista Ballena

La Parcela

Hacienda Baru

Recreo Verde

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 238
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Early language experiences influence brain activity later in life
By the McGill University news staff

A youngster may believe that he or she has forgotten the Chinese heard as an infant, but the brain hasn’t. Moreover, that forgotten first language may well influence what goes on in the brain when the teen or pre-teen speaks English or French today.

In a paper published in Nature Communications, researchers from McGill University and the Montreal Neurological Institute describe their discovery that even brief, early exposure to a language influences how the brain processes sounds from a second language later in life. Even when the first language learned is no longer spoken.

It is an important finding because this research tells scientists both about how the brain becomes wired for language but also about how that hardwiring can change and adapt over time in response to new language environments. The research has implications for the understanding of how brain plasticity functions and may also be important information about creating educational practices geared to different types of learners.

The researchers asked three groups of children aged 10 to 17 with very different linguistic backgrounds to perform a task that involved identifying French pseudo-words (such as vapagne and chansette). One group was born and raised in monolingual French-speaking families. The second group was adopted from China into a French-speaking family before age 3, stopped speaking Chinese, and from that point on heard and used only French. The third group was fluently bilingual in Chinese and French.

As the children responded to the words they heard, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to look at which parts of their brains were being activated.

Although all groups performed the tasks equally well, the areas of the brain that were activated differed between the groups. In monolingual French children with no exposure to Chinese, areas of the brain, notably the left inferior frontal gyrus and anterior insula, expected to be involved in processing of language-associated sounds were activated.

However, among both the children who were bilingual (Chinese/French) and those who had been exposed to Chinese as young infants and had then stopped speaking it, additional areas of the brain, particularly the right middle frontal gyrus, left medial frontal cortex, and bilateral superior temporal gyrus were activated.

The researchers found that the Chinese children who had been adopted into monolingual French families and no longer spoke Chinese, and so were functionally monolingual at the

McGill University graphic
Graphic shows areas of the brain activated when Chinese-French bilinguals (red) and international adoptees (blue) performs a task with the French language.  The small area activated in monolingual French speakers is in green.

time of testing, still had brains that processed language in a way that is similar to bilingual children.

“During the first year of life, as a first step in language development, infants' brains are highly tuned to collect and store information about the sounds that are relevant and important to the language they hear around them,” said Lara Pierce, a doctoral student at McGill and the first author on the article.

“What we discovered when we tested the children who had  been adopted into French-language families and no longer spoke Chinese, was that, like children who were bilingual, the areas of the brain known to be involved in working memory and general attention were activated when they were asked to perform tests involving language." she said. "These results suggest that children exposed to Chinese as infants process French in a different manner to monolingual French children.”

The researchers believe that their findings speak to the unique and lasting influence of early language experience on later brain organization, as well as to the brain's ability to adapt to new language environments in order to gain proficiency in a new language.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

HIdden Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

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
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; 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.


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Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
Real estate wanted

Real estate rental services (paid category)

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:

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
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Real estate for rent (paid category)
rental home

2-bedroom, 1-bath furnished house inside gated farm.

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2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
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Beautiful Apartment

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A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 238
Real Estate
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Chicago's police chief fired
in wake of teen's murder

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Chicago's police chief was fired Tuesday, a week after the release of a video showing a white city police officer killing a black teenager by firing 16 shots at him.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel dismissed Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy in the third biggest U.S. city, saying it was an undeniable fact that the public's trust in Chicago police had eroded and that it was time for fresh eyes and leadership.

The video shot from a police car in October 2014 shows Officer Jason Van Dyke getting out of another squad car in the middle of a four-lane Chicago street and firing the fatal shots at the youth, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Van Dyke, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the case, continued firing at McDonald after he had crumpled to the ground. His lawyer says he feared for his life before opening fire.

A police investigation showed that the youth was carrying a knife with the blade folded into the handle at the time of the shooting, with an autopsy showing that he had PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, in his system. When the shooting occurred a year ago, police said McDonald had lunged at police just before he was shot, but the video showed the youth veering away from police as he walked down the middle of the street.

In largely peaceful protests since the video's release, community activists have called for McCarthy's firing. He has been the Chicago police chief for more than four years.

In announcing McCarthy's dismissal, Emanuel, once the chief of staff for U.S. President Barack Obama, created a new police monitoring group for Chicago to review accountability, oversight and training in the police department.

The Chicago case is the latest of several controversial confrontations in the U.S. in which white police officers have killed black suspects in the last two years, often in street disputes that quickly escalated from routine police encounters with individuals in their communities. After investigations, police have in several cases been cleared of criminal wrongdoing, but in other instances have been charged with committing murder, with several awaiting trials at the moment.

The police shootings have spawned a debate in the U.S. about police relations with the communities they serve and led to the formation of a protest group called Black Lives Matter.

Concentration camp medic
ruled fit to stand trial at 95

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A German appeals court ruled Tuesday that a former Nazi medic at the Auschwitz death camp was fit enough to be put on trial.

The court in Rostock overruled a lower court that said the 95-year-old defendant identified as Hubert Z. was too frail to withstand a trial. 

The suspect served in Auschwitz from October 1943 until September 1944. He faces nearly 3,700 counts of being an accessory to murder.

While he is not directly charged with killing anyone, prosecutors say he was aware of the purpose of the death camp and lent support to the organization.

Auschwitz, in southern Poland, was perhaps the most notorious camp in the Nazi death machine of World War II before Soviet forces liberated it in January 1945.

More than 1 million people were exterminated there. Most of the victims were Jews, but they also included Roma, prisoners of war and opponents of the Nazi regime.

Russian students promote
testing for the HIV virus

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Russian students, some wearing matching shirts and hats, gathered with a few celebrities in central Moscow Tuesday for what could have been mistaken for a commercial promotion. But they each slowly approached a nurse and had a needle jabbed into them to get tested for HIV.

The event was organized by Russia's ministry of health for World AIDS Day as part of efforts to encourage HIV testing and create awareness. Unlike many other European countries, where HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined, Russia faces a rapidly growing number of infections with over half of them transmitted through injection drug use.

While even official estimates vary, Russia's Interfax news agency quotes the country's federal center on AIDS, saying 986,657 Russians were HIV-positive as of Nov. 23. Of these, 73,777 are newly infected this year, an increase of 12 percent over the same period last year.

At the current rate, Russia will declare 1 million HIV infections before the end of the year.

Speaking at the HIV testing event Tuesday, Russia's health minister, Veronika Skvortsova, said the significance of Russia's HIV problem is growing. She said over 750,000 HIV patients were officially registered, 92,500 of them in 2014 alone.

"This happens because our public is uninformed about the infection," she said.

In late October, Russia doubled its budget for HIV prevention and treatment to $600 million, with prevention focused on education and testing.

More than half of HIV infections in Russia are spread through injecting drugs, but Russian officials refuse to support clean needle and opiate substitution programs, despite their proven effectiveness and endorsement by the World Health Organization.

"Those seem to me two absolutely necessary measures that may reverse the trend among the drug addicts in Russia," said Maxim Malyshev with the Andrey Rylkov Foundation, a private group that works to stop the spread of HIV among injection drug addicts by handing out clean needles. "Without them,” he said in May, “all the attempts will be futile."

Although clean needle programs are not illegal, Russian authorities oppose supporting them out of concern they enable drug addiction. Substitution programs like methadone are outlawed.

After Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in March 2014, it ended methadone treatment there. As a result, dozens of drug addicts overdosed or committed suicide.

"In Russia, specialists who treat drug addicts do not consider methadone therapy effective, because here one drug is replaced with another one," Vadim Pokrovsky, the head of Russia's AIDS center, said in May. "But they don't consider that we speak today about preventive measures of stopping HIV infection."

Russia's healthcare system provides treatment for most HIV sufferers, but about 30 percent of those who need anti-retroviral drugs do not have access, partly because of a decline in international funding.

Russian AIDS activists say many injection drug users, worried about being treated as criminals, also fail to register for treatment or maintain medication regimens.

Russia's federal AIDS center says there were 205,538 HIV-related deaths since the country's first case in 1987, reports Interfax. Russia's federal body on consumer rights and well-being says 25,000 Russians are dying every year.

While the majority have been drug addicts, Russia's HIV rate was considered a marginal problem. But as Russia's infections have spread, sexual transmission is becoming more of a concern.

"Over the last years, the amount of infection through sexual contact has changed," said Ms. Skvortsova. "In heterosexual relations, from man to woman and vice versa, now this is more than 40 percent. This poses a giant threat to the population."

Threats of another attack
haunt terror investigations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to try to break up terror cells across Europe. As in any criminal investigation, the crime scene provides key evidence that leads investigators to suspects still at large.

But as former counterterrorism officials said, investigations of terror attacks differ in two key aspects: They're accelerated by the possibility of another attack and a wealth of information about the suspects spreads across social media.

“After a major attack, you’re always worried about the next attack, so you want to make sure you figure out who is in that network and how you take down that network before they commit another attack,” said Seamus Hughes, deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.

The investigation begins at the crime scene. As with any criminal investigation, police seal off the area and forensic teams go in to dust for fingerprints and collect evidence. It’s the speed at which this is done that makes a terror attack probe different.

“The French police were desperate to move that at an incredibly accelerated rate because there was the great fear that there was going to be another terrorist action taking place, maybe within the hour,” said Raymond Batvinis, a former FBI agent who has run counterterrorism training sessions since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

The evidence at the crime scene combined with eyewitness interviews can lead investigators to a search online, where valuable data on locations, connections and motives can help build a background profile.

“You’re collecting all of these phone numbers, all of this data, all of this email data, all of the texting data, all of the Facebook and Twitter data, and they’re building up a profile of the individual, of who his or her contacts are,”  Batvinis said. 

Social media, the connection point for so many terrorists, can speed up the investigation. The demographics of potential extremists lend themselves particularly well to communication on digital platforms.

“Given the ages of the attackers and most people joining ISIS, they tend to be younger, which means they’re on social media," Hughes said. "They have a profile. They have a sense of it. They’ve been using it for years and you can get a sense of who their network is. You can see them when they pop their head up."

Working off that real-time information can lead investigators to the neighborhoods where the terrorists live. 

“We would be knocking on doors, we would be ringing bells, we would be there all night getting people out of bed and saying, 'Your name showed up. Let’s sit down and have a conversation,' ” Batvinis said.

Batvinis and Hughes said those conversations could range from the helpful to the confrontational. Many investigators go into such sessions hoping to establish a rapport with the interviewees that will yield the small pieces of information that contribute to the larger picture.

Ultimately, Batvinis said, it is up to an experienced investigator to know how seemingly disparate and often scattered pieces of information fit together and lead to the decision to stage a raid.

“It’s not scientific. The tips come in and you look at them, and frankly it requires an experienced eye to say, 'We’re going to prioritize this.' ”

Ultimately, the pressured timelines of a terrorism investigation led to the raids seen in Paris and Brussels, which could prevent future attacks and provide investigators with the crucial information for criminal prosecutions.

Paris conference goers
can offset their carbon use

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

At the U.N. climate change conference outside Paris, participants can make up for the greenhouse gases they produced getting there by giving money to a power plant in Chile.

It may sound strange, but it's part of a U.N.-backed system aimed at helping developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The Nueva Aldea Phase 2 power plant in Chile is burning a byproduct of the wood pulping process. It's a form of biomass, a renewable resource with lower carbon dioxide emissions than fossil fuels.

Through the U.N.'s Clean Development Mechanism, the plant can sell those emissions reductions to polluters elsewhere. And through the U.N.'s recently launched Climate Neutral Now Web site, those polluters can include attendees who flew to the climate change conference.

Conference organizers have worked to reduce the impact of the event itself. But 40,000 people are descending on Paris from around the world for the meeting. Most of them are flying, burning fossil fuels that create carbon dioxide.

"It would be ironic to have a climate conference to reduce emissions, and what you actually do is you increase them," said Niclas Svenningsen with the U.N.'s climate change secretariat.

So meeting-goers are encouraged to log on to Svenningsen compares it to the of carbon offsets. It has a calculator, so shoppers can compute their share of the carbon dioxide produced by their plane ride. The next step: Go shopping for offsets.

The system is based on the somewhat controversial concept that someone who puts greenhouse gases into the atmosphere can pay someone somewhere else to take them out or to not produce them.

The most familiar types of offset programs involve planting trees to soak up carbon dioxide. Under the Climate Neutral Now program, offsetters can fund projects intended to prevent other emissions from happening, such as bus rapid transit in Zhengzhou, China, methane capture at a starch plant in Thailand and wind power in India.

The Nueva Aldea biomass power plant, for example, would not have been built without U.N. funds, according to Svenningsen. "This could be a coal-fired plant instead. The difference of your purchase is that they'll actually have a clean energy plant instead of a fossil energy plant."

The site also has a more elaborate calculator that lets users tally their emissions from detailed aspects of their daily lives, such as commuting methods, diet, home heating and so on.

Critics say it's hard to calculate exactly whether these offset programs really do what they advertise. The field has seen problems with sketchy accounting.

Project developers are expected to demonstrate that greenhouse gas reductions would not have happened without carbon offset funds, but opponents say heavy polluters have received offset funding. And some projects have actually caused problems in local communities. Even tree planting projects are not entirely benign, as some have displaced local people.

The U.N.'s offset program is learning from its mistakes, according to Janet Peace at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

And over time, they realized that you actually have to do more, she said. “And you have to do more of this, and you have to really make sure you're not doing that. And then you've got to have somebody actually check."

She says U.N. certification is now among the best available.

"There are very stringent methodologies that in the beginning were not very stringent," Svenningsen acknowledged. "They have now been improved. And the trust and the credibility of these methodologies are much better today than they were in the past."

Others say there is still room for improvement, including better involvement from locals and a way to file grievances if the project does them harm.

And still others compare buying carbon offsets to Catholic priests who once sold indulgences: For a fee, your sins were forgiven. They consider carbon offsets a distraction from what they say should be the real aim: curtailing polluters' emissions.

Svenningsen says offsets are meant as a last resort, not as a replacement to real reductions.

But low carbon energy researcher Niall MacDowell at Imperial College looks at the analogy differently.

"If you could actually commit a sin and then buy an indulgence and wipe it out, that does just get you back to zero, right?” he said. “So, isn't that OK?"

European court says Turkey
was wrong to ban YouTube

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday that Turkey violated the European Convention on Human Rights by blocking video-sharing Web site YouTube for more than two years.

Ankara had banned access to YouTube between May 2008 and October 2010, alleging that the Web site contained 10 videos deemed insulting to the memory of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, the court said.

Three Turkish law professors had filed a complaint with the court in 2010, after a Turkish criminal court ordered access blocked to YouTube.

The Strasbourg-based human rights tribunal ruled that blocking the Web site had infringed on the right of teachers to receive and impart information and that there had been a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, of which Turkey is a signatory.

Before the ban, YouTube had been the fifth most popular site in Turkey. Under then-prime minister and now President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country has topped the Google list of clients requesting content removal.

Last year YouTube also accused Turkey of intercepting its Internet domain and redirecting users to other sites.

The lengthy ban on YouTube and other Web sites had raised concern about freedom of expression in the country.

The government blocked Twitter and YouTube in March 2014 after they were used to upload audio recordings implicating Erdogan and his inner circle in an alleged corruption scandal.

In April 2015, Turkey also briefly banned YouTube and Twitter after a court ordered them to remove images of a prosecutor held at gunpoint by far-left militants.

Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party have repeatedly been criticized for using court orders to block critical Web sites.

Government critics have said that the crackdown on the sites reflects growing authoritarianism in Turkey.

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.
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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)

ocean-view home
Property size: 3,405.14 sq. mts. or 37,000 sq. ft.   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 ceillings, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, custom cabinetry and ceramic tiles throughout and a double-car electric garage door. Their 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 furnitures included. Photo gallery:  CLICK HERE!  Please contact Jack, Cell phone number  (506) 8812-1789.  Contact email:


Caribbean paradise: CAHUITA

New home, beautiful well-built house 200 meters from a lovely beach. Very private, fully titled, excellent water well.  2 large bedrooms, 2 full baths, tub, large open floor plan 26-foot sliding glass doors open to covered porch. Encircling back yard are coral rocks 10 feet tall and behind jungle reserve. Lots of birds and wildlife. House 240 mts. sq, 2,400 sq ft. Lot 1,850 mts. or 19,000 sq. ft. Price $179,000. Very nice neighborhood. Contact 2755-0014 or   More photos HERE!

New Arenal

There are many good reasons for moving to or investing in Costa Rica

Are you worried about the safety of the money in your 401k?  Do you think your government has painted a bullseye on all of your assets?  Do you believe it might be time to consider moving some money overseas just in case?  This property, at a distress sales price of only $140,000, should gross a 7-10% return this year and the bookings for this season aren’t all in yet.  The best part from a buyer’s standpoint is that it is utilizing only a fraction of its potential.  What’s wrong here?  Divorce, and a lack of funds needed to make the necessary value-added improvements.  Rental manager says rents could double with moderate invesement, but the current owners are unable to resolve those problems, so selling is their only way out.  This extra-large lot with its modern 2-bedroom home was intended to service a dozen or more apartments to be built on the rear, a really great plan, but that was before the wheels came off of the marriage.  It is a really good investment property in a very desirable location, earning a much better safe return than stocks and bonds, but it is also perfect for buyers who only want to follow the original plan and live in the existing home while building out the rest for a comfortable retirement.  Perfect, too, for the person who intends to move to Costa Rica in the future and wants to buy at today’s prices, but needs a property which will carry itself until that time comes.  To find out more about this opportunity contact: or phone 506-8377-8402.

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:

Fonseca two
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:

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:

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. 

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.

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!

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)
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
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale
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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2015 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 238
Real Estate
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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
bleached coral
Georgia Institute of Technology/Kim Cobb     
A Porites coral colony displays bleaching.

Warm Pacific, El Niño damaging coral

By the Georgia Institute of Technology news staff

Current El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean have created high water temperatures that are seriously damaging coral reefs, including those on Christmas Island, which may be the epicenter for what could become a global coral bleaching event.

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology recently returned from the Island and are reporting that 50 to 90 percent of corals they saw were bleached and as many as 30 percent were already dead at some sites. The situation could worsen as water temperatures remain well above normal into the early months of 2016.

“This El Niño event is driving one of the three largest global scale bleaching events on record,” said Kim Cobb, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences who has studied long-term El Niño conditions. “Ocean temperatures exceeded the threshold for healthy corals back in the summer, and are continuing to warm. Bleaching occurs when temperatures exceed a threshold that is a function of the amount of warming, as well as the length of time at that temperature.”

Bleaching is an outward sign of stress on the corals, which release the symbiotic algae that normally help provide them with energy to sustain their metabolism during prolonged episodes of warm ocean temperatures. The loss of these alga turns the coral colonies white, and opens them to disease and death. Bleached corals can recover if water temperatures return to normal, but continued stress could lead to widespread coral death, Professor Cobb said.

Professor Cobb has studied reef systems on Christmas Island for 18 years, and recently returned from a two-week visit to the area. She and other researchers measured water temperatures of 31 degrees C, (88 degrees F), well above normal water temperatures of 27 degrees C (81 degrees F).

“There’s an astounding amount of warming at this particular site,” said Professor Cobb. “These reefs are under dramatic stress which is leading to severe coral loss. It will take years for these reefs to recover.”

Some coral species are more sensitive to thermal stress than others, and the researchers saw responses that varied from mild bleaching in some species to coral death in others. If the high temperatures continue as projected, species that have been only mildly affected so far may be pushed toward 100 percent bleaching, while species already bleached may be killed.

The last time water temperatures reached such levels was during the 1997-98 El Niño event, which was the largest ever recorded until now. Until the current record-breaking El Niño event, the Christmas Island reefs had been thriving and healthy.

Georgia Tech researchers are planning to return to Christmas Island in March to assess the full impact of the damage. Professor Cobb says the disaster will provide a unique opportunity to study the long-term ecological impacts of major bleaching events, which could become more frequent as the Earth warms.

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From Page 7:

Forum planned to promote cultural tourism

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Professionals in tourism are having a forum Friday to promote animación turística.

No, Mickey and Minnie are not coming. The term was coined as a technique of enhancing the tourism experience by linking the visitors to other tourists and to the culture of the area.

The Asociación Costarricense de Profesionales en Turismo, is presenting the forum in San Pedro Friday at 4 p.m. in the auditorium of the Instituto Nacional de Fomento Cooperativo. This is the same organization that runs ExpoTur each year.

Discussants are José Luis Isidor Castro, president of the Consejo Consultivo of the Asociación Mexicana de Centros de Enseñanza Superior en Turismo y Gastronomía,  Onésimo Cuamea Velásquez, president of the same organization and Michaël Roger Gallien, a marketing expert.

The event is free but reservations are asked at or 2280-5375.

The association said that animación turística provides tools that add value to the tourism product via a cultural component.

The association also said that it is bidding to bring an international congress on the topic to Costa Rica in 2017. So far the congress locations have been in Mexico with the fifth edition planned next October in Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit.