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Published Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 242
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Traditional Christmas oxcart parade rescheduled
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The boyero parade is back on for Sunday. Municipal officials suspended the annual event as Hurricane Otto approached Costa Rica. They said later that there would be no new date this year.

But now the boyero gathering has been announced for this weekend, beginning Saturday with the traditional sesteo, or rest, in anticipation of the parade the next morning at 9 a.m. The sesteo stems from a tradition of the necessity to rest the bueyes or oxen due to hard traveling on difficult roads. Now the sesteo is more like an overnight campout for their handlers, the boyeros, and their families.

That is to be held at La Sabana, the starting point for Sunday morning’s parade.

The parade begins at the statue of Leon Cortés in La Sabana and goes up Paseo Colón, organizers said. The route will take it through Avenida Segunda and past Parque La Merced and Parque Central where representatives from the municipality and national government will formally welcome participants into the city.

The parade will end at the Plaza de la Democracia about 3 p.m.

Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.
Raising oxen can be a family affair, as this photo from a former year shows.

The annual event usually marks the start of the Christmas season.

Hundreds of oxen will pull decorated carts, organizers said. Accompanying the boyeros and their bueyes will be folk dances and musical groups.

The parade has occurred every year since 1997 in order to celebrate the traditional rural lifestyle within Costa Rican culture and to serve as a remembrance of Costa Rican heritage.  The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization designated the event as an intangible heritage of humanity in 2005.

Expat seeks to rally land fraud victims to tell Trump
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A long-time participant in a property dispute is trying to rally others similarly affected to bring such situations to the attention of the new U.S. administration.

The nature of the disputes varies from outright theft to more complex situations, such as the Las Olas cases being arbitrated this week in Washington, D.C, the expat notes. He is Sheldon Haseltine, who has been involved in a property possession dispute near Los Sueños for at least 16 years.

He said he has had emails from other expats who have had problems, and now he wants to assemble U.S. citizens for a uniform approach. He said on a Facebook posting:

"The incoming U.S. administration has now been made aware of the property abuses many expats (and locals, too) have been subjected to. I, personally, have been contacted by over a dozen folks to have suffered these often fraudulent thefts of their properties, often after the death of a spouse. We have been asked to assemble a list of U.S. citizens who are currently being subjected to this unpleasant racket of piracy, extortion and theft. The idea is to assemble a list and to again urge the new administration to withhold all further financial aid until such time these abuses are attended to in a timely manner as provided for by Costa Rican law."

Haseltine has been in and out of court for years. The original question of  his ownership of five parcels in the central Pacific has been on hold while he faced allegations of armed aggression and the Costa Rican version of slander. He went public with a YouTube video that resulted

in a long legal battle culminating in his acquittal of defamation in April 2015.

A.M. Costa Rica has written extensively about his case and the cases of other expats. So has the Spanish news media. This newspaper has called for without success the creation of a special court to handle allegations of property fraud outside the usual snail's pace of the court system.

Many of the cases involve the country's laws that favor squatters.

At least one expat is missing and presumed dead in what judicial investigators characterize as a land fraud case that still is under investigation.

The Condominio Horizontal Residencial Las Olas case that Haseltine cited on Facebook is different. David Aven and other U.S. investors claim that the development along the coast in the Municipalidad de Parrita was shut down unjustly. The case is being heard this week by a three-person panel in the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. The investors brought the case under the Central American Free Trade Treaty.

The investors through their lawyers allege official corruption, perjury, inaction by criminal investigators, misstatements and inequitable treatment in a criminal court case. They seek $90 million. The panel has scheduled additional hearings in February. The latest news story is HERE!

Las Olas is one of four cases pending at the Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes in which Costa Rica is a defendant.

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Shoppers are likely to have lots of cash

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

All that traffic that slows life in the metro area during the Christmas season probably consists of thousands going shopping.

And they have the money. Workers in the private sector received or will receive an estimated 544 billion colons in aguinaldo or holiday bonus, about $1 billion. That works out to about $835 for each of the country's 1.2 million workers in private industry. Of course, the individual amounts are different and based on one twelfth of the salary for the previous year.

The estimate comes from the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociaciones del Sector Empresarial Privado.

Paying the aguinaldo is mandated by law.

Country and Hong Kong get high marks

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A new index measuring freedom in the world gives Costa Rica some positive marks in freedom and says it is the second most free Latin American country behind Chile.

Sponsored by three public policy think tanks advocating a more conservative political and economic agenda, the study, called The Human Freedom Index, is co-published by the U.S.-based Cato Institute, the Canadian Fraser Institute and the Swiss Liberales Institut.

The methodology in the report appears to measure the level of a country’s freedom based on certain political, social and economic factors within the country.

The study computes its findings and converts it to a ranking system divided between personal freedom and economic freedom of a scale between one to 10. The higher number is measured as being the most free, while one being the lowest score. Those two scores are then averaged to get that country’s overall level.

Costa Rica was ranked 38th out of 157 countries given a score in this study. Their overall index score was 7.91, which was higher than in the 2013-2014 report.

One of the authors of the study, Ian Vásquez who is director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity, said the United States has been on the decline in both study’s categories of freedom in recent years. Within the index, the United States does not even make it into the top 10 countries with the best scores and ranks a dismal 23rd on the scale.

“Surely, the war on drugs, the war on terror, the expansion of the regulatory state, the rise of crony capitalism, and the erosion of property rights due to the abuse of eminent domain have contributed to the U.S. fall,” Vásquez said. 

By comparison, the study listed the autonomous territory of Hong Kong as the freest country in the study with Switzerland and New Zealand in second and third places.

The freest country in Latin America, according to the index results, is Chile at 29th while Venezuela at 154th is the least free in the region. Cuba was not included in this study due to unreliable data, publishers said.

Going through the report’s explanation of how it acquires these scores, they appear to offer data sets and figures gleaned from other indexes that are then aggregated.

The complete index can be accessed from the Cato Institute’s Web site.

No apology likely on Pearl Harbor

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

What is billed as the last big gathering of survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor takes place today in Hawaii, 75 years to the day after the bombing which brought the United States into World War II.

Another poignant and historic event will occur 20 days later at the naval base, when Shinzo Abe becomes the first Japanese prime minister to visit the memorial dedicated to military personnel and civilians who died in the aerial raid. But those who expect Abe to apologize are likely to be disappointed.

"The purpose of the upcoming visit is to pay respects to the war dead, not to offer an apology," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday in Tokyo.

More than 2,300 U.S. servicemen were killed in the Japanese aerial attack at Pearl Harbor, which sunk the USS Arizona battleship while damaging or destroying 20 other ships and 164 planes. The attack will be marked today by a remembrance ceremony and a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., when the Japanese planes first struck their targets.

Three and a half years later, the world war came to an end after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 210,000 people in the two attacks.

Racing motorcyclists rounded up

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Traffic police, backed up by the security ministry tactical squad, collared nine motorcyclists in Guacamaya, Ciudad Quesada, early Tuesday.

The security ministry said that the motorcyclists were engaged in drag races on private property but that they ventured into the public roadways and were detained.

Police said the drivers did not have licenses, and the motorcycles were not registered, did not have plates or indications that they had been subject to annual inspection.

Police said that the motorcyclists refused to stop when hailed, and that they were chased and detained some three to five kilometers away.

Highway being closed overnight Thursday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Highway officials are closing lanes of the General Cañas autopista again Thursday night. The eastbound lane of the bridge is expected to be out of service until 5 a.m. Friday.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad said that asphalt will be placed over some 7.5 kilometers of the highway from the access to Alajuela Centro to Real Cariari. The highway also is Ruta 1, the Interamericana.

The work was going to be done tonight, but that would cause problems from soccer fans who traveled to Alajuela, the agency said.

Fake threat prompted emergency at court complex

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Poder Judicial confirmed that it received a bomb threat for the Goicoechea court complex at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. The threat proved false. The building was evacuated. It houses the II Circuito Judicial de San José.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 242
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Ortega says he's willing to pay for damaging Costa Rican land
By Conor Golden
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega said his country is ready to normalize relations with Costa Rica and honor last year's ruling by the International Court of Justice over the territorial dispute at the mouth of the Río San Juan River.

The government of Costa Rica brought this case before the court over the violation of national sovereignty by Nicaragua who sent troops in 2011 to substantiate their claim to the area. Nicaragua was in the process of dredging a channel near the northern part of Isla Portillos, court records say.

Costa Rica eventually constructed a road along the south bank of the San Juan, after sending in heavily armed Fuerza Pública troops along the border.

The conflict escalated into a running legal battle as Nicaragua pushed a countersuit that Costa Rica had failed to assess the environmental impact of constructing that road near protected wetlands.

The International Court of Justice made its most recent ruling in favor of the Costa Rican government last December 2015. The court ruled that Nicaragua’s countersuit of environmental violations was valid, however the territorial violation of Costa Rican national sovereignty by Nicaragua was the only aspect warranting monetary compensation.

The two governments accepted the ruling of the court and had a deadline of next Dec. 16 to set up an agreement to the specifics of the compensation or, failing that, the court would determine the damages.

Ortega expressed an interest in visiting President Luis Guillermo Solís and said he is eager to normalize relations between the countries, a statement posted on his Web site said. At the same time, he said he wished to express his dissatisfaction with what he calls a court that is failing.

“There are some issues that need to be clarified,” Ortega said, “We are willing to pay. We just want this to be cleared up. Nicaragua is clear that it will honor the ruling of the court and will pay Costa Rica.”

However, the deadline is approaching fast and Ortega did not clarify in his statement when and how much his country will pay in following the ruling of the court. He did mention generalities in strengthening the unity of the two countries in facing transnational issues such as the effects of Hurricane Otto, trade and the fight against drug trafficking.

Ortega was also explicit in noting the importance that Nicaraguans residing in Costa Rica have as an “indispensable force for that economy.”

Costa Rica has said it wants about $8 million for the environmental damage.

Symphony orchestra and choir plan concert series of six performances
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional and the Coro Sinfónico Nacional will be teaming up to perform a series of Christmas-themed concerts beginning Friday at 7 p.m.

The concerts will be free, and families are especially encouraged to attend and hear selections of works from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” to Handel’s “Messiah” in addition to the traditional Christmas carols heard every year. These will be performed by around 150 artists under the direction of Marcela Lizano, who will direct the choir, and Alejandro Gutiérrez, who will lead the orchestra.

“We are very excited to share a very varied program that includes Christmas music with messages of peace and love, as well as music by Costa Rican composers that reflects the Tico culture and how we live Christmas,” said Gutiérrez.

At some of these concerts will also be an initiative to help those in need, organizers said.

Beginning at the Dec. 9 concert in Tibás at the Iglesia San Juan Bautista, attendees will have the opportunity to give food, clothing and other items to those affected by the Nov. 26 fire in León XIII.

This continues when the performance arrives at the gymnasium of the Colegio Técnico Profesional de San Pablo in León Cortés on Sunday at 11 a.m. Toys will be collected for the children affected by Hurricane Otto, according to event organizers.

The concert Tuesday is in the Catholic church in San Rafael de Oreamuno, Cartago, at 7:30 p.m.. Dec. 14, the performance is in the Catedral Metropolitana in San José at 6:30 p.m. On Dec. 15 the location is the Catedral de Alajuela. at 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 16 the location is the Basílica de Santo Domingo de Heredia.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 242
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Tennessee folks really get down for some bluegrass music
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. State of Tennessee is home to some world-famous music venues: Beale Street in the heart of Memphis, the Ryman Auditorium, often referred to as the Mother Church of Country Music, and the rolling hills of the Cumberland Plateau.

Actually, it's under the rolling hills of the Cumberland Plateau that you'll find one of the world’s most unusual performance spaces, Bluegrass Underground.

On most Saturdays, between 500 and 600 music fans from all over the world trek nearly a kilometer into the Cumberland Caverns, and 110 meters down, to enjoy this original American music form. Under the limestone bedrock of middle Tennessee, you'll find some of North America’s most extensive cave systems and one of the world's most unusual performance spaces.

The performances are staged in a large cavern referred to as The Volcano Room. The room’s acoustics are nearly perfect. That fact was not lost on Todd Mayo, the Tennessee music promoter who originated the Bluegrass Underground in 2008.

“Inside the cave we took the tour and you get down into the Volcano Room and there is this giant chandelier. And I looked up and I looked around and I said to the tour guide, ‘Do you all have live music around here?’" he recalled, "and she said, ‘No, but that would be a good idea.’ And it just sort of all came to me.”

The shows in The Volcano Room feature artists playing so-called American roots music, developed by immigrants from the British Isles who settled in the hills above in the late

Bluegrass Underground photo
The cavern has nearly perfect acoustics.

18th century. It is considered roots music because it served as the basis of music later developed in the United States, including rock and roll, contemporary folk music, rhythm and blues, and jazz.

After entertaining more than 180,000 guests, Bluegrass Underground is gathering an international following. That recognition is due in no small measure to the worldwide distribution of performances by the U.S. public TV system, PBS.

Todd Mayo says he hopes in the near future to give music fans who attend the show an even fuller experience. He wants to develop a weekend long Tennessee experience that would include visiting some of the state’s many scenic parks and forests.

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Real estate rentals (paid category)

Tropical Homes

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
1- to 3-bedroom ocean and garden view timeshares available and most offer air conditioning, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens, and relaxing hammocks on private balconies. Enjoy the unique combination of seclusion and convenience as all resorts listed on our site are close to popular Costa Rican attractions and downtown 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email:

Real estate for rent (paid category)

Fully Furnished American Style Apartment for Rent

San Jose Central 2-1/2-bedroom 2-bathroom apartment on the 2nd floor. Fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amón. Large balcony. Adult Building. Free cable television with two television both in the living room and in the main bedroom. High speed internet cable, WiFi, fully equipped large kitchen with microwave, toaster oven, coffee maker, water cooler, total utensils. King-sized bed in the principal bedroom, all bedding, sheets, towels, etc. It has an over-sized soaking tub off of the second bathroom. Water included. Free laundry rooms on all floors. Convenient to Parque Morazán, 100 meters north of downtown Holiday Inn, other hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, National Registry. For a single individual it is $650 per month plus your electric usage just inside your apartment. $300 security deposit promptly refunded except your final electric bill. For personal inspection and more information contact: Hilda or Frank at 506-2221-7161.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 242
Real Estate
About us

Axiom new ad

Trump's $40 million in stocks
are all sold, spokesman says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A transition team spokesman for Donald Trump said Tuesday the president-elect sold all of his stock holdings in June, a move that could ease conflict-of-interest concerns.

During a morning telephone conference call with reporters, spokesman Jason Miller was asked about Trump's holdings of Boeing shares after the president-elect criticized the aerospace company for what he said were rising costs to build a new version of Air Force One, the aircraft that future American presidents will use.

"The president-elect sold all of his stock back in June," Miller said. Miller subsequently clarified that the billionaire real estate mogul sold all of his stock holdings, and not just those of the aircraft manufacturer.

Documents filed in May to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics showed Trump held positions in about 150 stock and bond investments. Shares of Boeing were among his investments, as were a number of large banks and oil companies. The filing showed his stock and bond investments were worth some $40 million.

Trump's stock portfolio, which is separate from his broader real estate and branding businesses, accounted for a tiny fraction of his personal fortune. Most of his money is in real estate.

Trump was invested in other companies with business pending before the U.S. government, meaning the companies are in the position to have their value increase in reaction to Trump's decisions as commander-in-chief.

Asian firm to add 50,000 jobs
with its investment in the U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank Group plans to invest $50 billion in the U.S. economy and add 50,000 jobs, president-elect Donald Trump announced Tuesday.

Trump appeared in the lobby of the Trump Tower with Masayoshi Son, the chief executive of SoftBank, to announce the news, and later put it out on Twitter.

Son did not say what specific investments SoftBank would make. While talking to reporters, he held up a piece of paper with the same figures that Trump had announced, but which also specified that the investment would be made over the next four years.

Meanwhile, Trump had campaigned on bringing more jobs to America, particularly in manufacturing regions hit hard by the recession and globalization.

The SoftBank deal is the second he has arranged to keep his promises to voters. Last week, he announced that the Carrier Manufacturing Corp. would keep about 1,000 jobs in Indiana instead of outsourcing them to Mexico.

Obama touts his strategy
for avoiding foreign attacks

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In his final national security speech, President Barack Obama thanked U.S. troops for keeping America safe and rejected president-elect Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims and his support for waterboarding.

In a speech Tuesday to troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Obama said, “Over the last eight years, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland,” adding that it is thanks to the efforts of the troops.

Before the speech, the president met with and thanked U.S. Central Command and Special Operations leaders and troops at MacDill.

Obama laid out how he views the status of the fight against terror after his two terms, getting loud applause when he said al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is dead.

He noted with pride that the reduction in U.S. ground forces deployed in war zones marks a deliberate shift in strategy to rely more on building strong international coalitions and relying on local partners, in order to reduce American casualties and monetary costs.

Obama touted substantial progress against the Islamic State terrorist group, saying, "The bottom line is we are breaking the back of ISIL.” He said the cost was considerably lower than efforts in the previous administration, putting it at $10 billion over two years.

He said that although great progress has been made, the job is not done, and he noted that in recent years, the deadliest attacks on the homeland have been carried out by “homegrown and largely isolated individuals radicalized online.”

But he cautioned against losing perspective on the threat that terror poses.

“Today’s terrorists can kill innocent people, but they do not pose an existential threat to our nation," he said, saying terrorists are killers and thugs, and should be treated as such.

Obama said his administration prohibited torture, including waterboarding.

During the campaign, Trump promised he would get tougher on terrorists and their families and said he supports waterboarding.

Obama said it is past time to shut down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, calling it a blot on America’s honor.

Venezuelan opposition halts
negotiations with officials

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuela's opposition says it will not attend a meeting Tuesday with government officials, putting a halt to ongoing talks intended to defuse the country’s political crisis.

Opposition spokesman Jesus Torrealba said authorities have yet to make compromises more than a month into the mediation effort, but he said opposition leaders are staying in the dialogue system.

Opposition leaders want to revive a suspended recall referendum that could lead to the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro and are demanding the release of political prisoners.

Maduro has rejected both demands, but added he is ready to talk.

With international mediators present in October, Maduro met with five opposition leaders, including Torrealba and opposition Gov. Henri Falcon in Caracas.

Afterward, he told Venezuelans during a televised speech that he was “willing to listen and, hopefully, be listened to, and find points in the common interest of the great majority of the country, of the national interests. I think that this is not the time for long speeches, but rather to assume a deep commitment.”

If Maduro were to accept their demands, reports say, opposition concessions would then include the suspension of planned street protests and stopping a symbolic impeachment attempt in congress while abandoning efforts to seat three contested legislators.

"It would be insincere to keep sitting there as if nothing has happened," said Torrealba. "The government is not only failing to fulfill its promises, it is denying all the agreements."

Monday, more than 14 opposition political prisoners were taking part in a hunger strike to demand their release and allow a vote to proceed.

The initial dialogue between government and opposition leaders was a Vatican-led effort to defuse the country’s political crisis after Pope Francis met privately with Maduro.

"The government and the opposition committed to lowering the aggressiveness in the language used in political debate," said the papal envoy, Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli.

But socialist party leader Diosdado Cabello said the cardinal is taking a stricter approach with the government, while spending a greater time with the opposition.

"It’s irresponsible and disrespectful to think the Vatican is going to tutor Venezuela. When we say we're free and have sovereignty, it's because we're free and have sovereignty. We don't accept anyone trying to teach us," he said.

Polls show if the recall referendum is reinstated, Maduro would lose the presidency.

Maduro said blocking the referendum was an independent decision by the judicial and electoral authorities based on fraud allegations. He has distanced himself from the issue.

His political opponents have accused him of staging a coup d’etat by stopping the effort to hold a vote to remove him.

Google going green by 2017,
company's blog post reports

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Search giant Google says it will use 100-percent renewable energy by 2017, according to a post on the company’s blog.

Google Senior Vice President of Technical Infrastructure Urs Hölzle said renewable energy will power Google’s data centers and offices around the world.

According to the post, Google uses incredible amounts of energy to process trillions of searches per year. On Google’s YouTube video platform, people upload 400 hours of video every minute, the company said.

“Today, we are the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments reaching 2.6 gigawatts of wind and solar energy,” Hölzle said.

Google says the price of renewable energy is falling, citing that wind and solar have become 60 and 80 percent cheaper respectively.

Google said the company is involved in 20 renewable energy projects worldwide.

Smoking just one a day fails
to keep risks away, study says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

There is no safe level of smoking, according to a new study. Even one cigarette a day can shorten your life, while quitting later in life can add years.

We all know smoking cigarettes is harmful. But some people think if they only have one cigarette per day, or 10 or fewer, they are in the clear for smoking-related diseases including lung cancer and heart disease.

Not so fast, say researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The investigators conducted the first study looking at the health impact of so-called low-intensity smoking.

Maki Inoue-Choi, an epidemiologist at the cancer institute, led the study.

The results were based on questionnaires filled out by smokers taking part in a large, long-term study of more than 290,000 adults being conducted by the National Institutes of Health.

“In our study, we found the kind of smokers who consistently smoke less than one cigarette per day over their lifetime were 1.6 times more likely to die during the study compared to never smokers. And adults who consistently smoked between one and ten cigarettes per day were 1.9 times more likely to die during the study than never smokers,” said Dr. Inoue-Choi.

The health risks were lower among former low-intensity smokers compared to those who continued to puff away, and the risk of serious illness dropped the earlier someone quit.

The results of the research were published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study, part of National Institutes of Health's large prospective diet and health study, includes adults from 59 to 82. Questionnaires were sent to participants in 2004-2005. Some of the smokers began at age 15 or younger.

During follow up 10 years later, investigators found smokers who puffed one cigarette or less per day increased their risk of lung cancer by nine percent compared to never smokers. And lung cancer death was 12 times higher among those who indulged in one to 10 cigarettes per day.

There were also increases in early death from other causes. People who smoked between one and 10 cigarettes a day had more than six times the risk of dying from respiratory diseases, like emphysema, than never smokers and about one and a half times the risk of succumbing to cardiovascular disease.

Numerous negative health effects of smoking have been researched and described over the years, beginning with the U.S. surgeon general’s report in 1964. But the study in the JAMA journal is the first to actually look at the health impacts of low cigarette consumption.

Vets at Standing Rock help
evacuate those caught in snow

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Hundreds of veterans who came to North Dakota to show solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe were heading an evacuation mission Tuesday to help those stuck in a blizzard that immobilized most of the state.

Hundreds of cars poured into the Oceti Sakowin camp Sunday and Monday following the decision of the Army Corps of Engineers to deny an easement needed to route the Dakota Access Pipeline under a Missouri River reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. That section is the last major part of the pipeline that hasn't been finished.

Security officials at the camp, however, have not let anyone leave, citing safety concerns. Thousands of protesters have been stuck since the blizzard began Monday.

"It's mostly involving helping people get back on the roads … people who have slipped off the road, and getting people to Prairie King," Iraq War veteran Johnathan Engle said, referring to the casino about 15 km. from the Oceti Sakowin camp.

Thousands of "water protectors" have been staying at the camp while they protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which they see as a threat to drinking water and cultural sites.

The casino has a large open area and has offered it as a place to stay, so people are kind of spread out on the floor along the sides of the auditorium. They have their sleeping bags and other gear with them, Engle said. The casino is the nearest establishment of any kind to the camp.

Though multiple news agencies have reported that Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman David Archambault II has asked the camp to disband, saying its mission is over, the message has not spread throughout the Oceti Sakowin camp, where many who are prepared with long-term tents and winter gear are planning to stay.

Though the Army Corps announced its decision on the easement Sunday, many "water protectors" are wary that officials in the incoming administration of president-elect Donald Trump could reverse the decision after he is inaugurated in January.

"Between the tribal elders, communication is moving very slowly here," Kevin Basl, another member of "Veterans Stand for Standing Rock," said.  “Some people are very ready for this, and there are some people who were just coming for the weekend who weren't so well-prepared. But the roads are closed, so no one will be leaving for now."

The majority of interstate Highway 94, which runs across the state, has been closed, and the North Dakota Dept. of Transportation issued a no-travel advisory for the majority of state highways, including all routes to and from the Standing Rock reservation.

Basl and Engle both came to the camp over the weekend, when activist and veteran Wesley Clark Jr. organized nearly 2,000 veterans to show their support for the water protectors at Standing Rock.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Sotheby logo

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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Sotheby's International Realty
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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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Near Parque Nacional Marino Ballena,
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Sámara titled land for sale by owner
5.7 acres. Only 150 meters to beach: $275,000
Less than $12 a meter

Fully titled, held by corporation. 150 meters to beach! Paved road frontage. Electric, phone and broadband internet at the road. Year-round water on property for well. 3 -minute drive to Sámara center and a 3-minute walk to Playa Sámara. 23,561 square meters / 5.7 acres. Property was purchased on 2005 with plans to develop 21 villas on the property. Project was halted due to real estate market collapse in 2007.  We are no longer interested in developing due to age, health and motivation!  Priced well below market value for quick sale.  More info click HERE! Email:    Phone: 506-4033-6695.

Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean
ocean view
and mountains. Locatedonly 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  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 January.  See the Virtual Tour:    or click here If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from 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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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
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Free US phone 877-778-8515  or 410-975-6703
In Costa Rica 506- 8307-0164
Bruce Cohen

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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news page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 242
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
water effort
Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad photo
Workmen are repairing the location where water is taken from the Río Cuipilapa for the generating complex.

Plant repair to take at least a month

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The state power company predicts that its Miravalles III in La Fortuna de Bagaces will be back into service by January. The geothermic plant is one of five on the skirts of the Volcán Miravalles, and it was from the volcano that debris fell during Hurricane Otto and knocked the plants out of commission.

The entire area was hit, and Bagaces was one of two cantons where a high alert lasted the longest after the hurricane left. The power company, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, said that among the efforts is cleaning the access roads.

The falling debris caused damage to the pipes from two production wells and some of the machinery. In addition, a system that brought water from the Río Cuipilapa also sustained damage, the company said.

Company officials predict that the entire complex will be repaired and fully online by May. The plants use the internal heat of the earth to turn water into steam to run generating turbines.

Grecia man accused of raping 15 year old

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A man has been named a suspect in the rape of a 15-year old girl in Grecia.

The man is accused of forcefully abducting the minor against her will at her house in Santa Rita de Río Cuarto in Grecia in an attempt to force her to live with him.

The Poder Judicial said that the girl’s foster mother came to the house and demanded the suspect give up the child or she would call the police. However she said she was threatened with a machete and shoved against a door.

The man, identified by the last names of Díaz Guevara, is accused of then taking the child to a nearby house and raping her, officials said.

In another police action, a Cartago man was arrested by members of the Fuerza Pública following an allegation that he force fed his wife pills. Officers called the case one of assault.

The man is accused of forcing at least 10 pills of a so-far unknown drug down the throat of his wife who was sent to Hospital William Allen Monday afternoon. The suspect is currently being held in custody.
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From Page 7:

Residency tax proposal issued for review

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

American Citizens Abroad published a detailed description of its residency-based taxation proposal Monday and announced a coalition to score the proposal.

The expat advocacy organization said it believes that the upcoming session of Congress will consider amending the Internal Revenue Code to change from a citizenship-based approach to taxing individuals to a residency-based approach. The United States is the only industrialized country that taxes using a citizenship-based regime; that is, an American citizen is taxable on his or her worldwide income regardless of the fact that that individual resides entirely outside the U.S.  While this change has been discussed for a long time, what exactly it might entail in the way of changes to the existing tax code has not been spelled out, the organization said.

In order to promote a constructive consideration of the subject, American Citizens Abroad said it has advanced its advocacy efforts by developing a side-by-side comparative chart indicating the current tax code compared with details on its proposal. It is intended to lay out a middle-of-the-road version, which then can be examined and modified.  It will provide a starting point for developing revenue estimates on the cost of switching from citizenship-based to residency-based taxation, the organization added.

American Citizens Abroad said it is creating with others a coalition of organizations interested in the subject of residency-based taxation to support the work of developing these revenue estimates and expects to complete this in the coming months.  American Citizens Abroad and its sister organization, American Citizens Abroad Global Foundation, have begun raising monies to pay for the scoring project.