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(506) 2223-1327                                  Puoblished Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 242                                Email us
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Scientists see link to Sámara quake with El Salvador
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Scientists have been studying the Sept. 5, 2012, Sámara earthquake and have concluded that there was a relationship between the event and a quake 450 kilometers to the northwest and nine days earlier.

That earlier quake was of 7.3 magnitude in El Salvador.

In addition, the heavily monitored Nicoya peninsula experienced a flurry of much smaller quakes about 35 minutes earlier.

These are the conclusions of a scientific paper in the prestigious Earth and Planetary Science Letters.  Marino Protti of the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica at Universidad Nacional was a coauthor.

The research is another effort by scientists to understand earthquakes and perhaps predict them.

The 8:42 a.m. Sámara quake was attributed to the subduction of the Cocos plate beneath the Caribbean. This is the usual cause of quakes in western Costa Rica. The depth was estimated at 40 kilometers, some 25 miles.

The magnitude was 7.6.

There were two deaths and a lot of damage, including in the community of Nicoya.

The quake was felt strongly in all of the country. Those in buildings in the Central Valley fled to the streets and parking lots. Some structures suffered superficial damage.

Protti and colleagues had long been warning of a major quake in the area.

The public quickly links distance quakes to nearer ones, but scientists are more cautious in concluding causation.

Still, the academic article's abstract said "We observe a statistically significant increase in seismicity rate below the Nicoya Peninsula following the 27 August 2012 (MW 7.3) El Salvador earthquake . . . ."

The article also said that if earthquakes at such distances can induce significant increases in seismicity during the days before another larger event, this sequence strengthens the need for real-time seismicity monitoring for large earthquake forecasting."

Other researchers on the project included  Jacob Walter of the University of Texas at Austin and others from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and the University of California.


Christmas gifts
Happy kids in the central Pacific and a happy mom above Jacó in 2014.
Expats are taking on the role of Santa Claus again
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Again this year expats are making sure that Costa Rican children have a Christmas.

Some 133 youngsters in elementary schools in La Palma and Jicote on the central Pacific coast will benefit, thanks to Brendan Ryan of Rich Coast Realty.

In Jacó some 400 children and 75 families will be the beneficiaries of local Santas, who visit the surrounding rural area Christmas morning.

These are just two examples of how expats are helping Costa Ricans enjoy the holidays.

The La Palma and Jicote school parties are Thursday, and Ryan said he is working with a $1,400 budget from donations by other expats. He's also looking for volunteers to do the buying and wrapping.

He said he and friends buy gifts in the $8 to $12 range.

"Many of these children would not receive

anything for Christmas without this program, and they look forward to it every year. The joy they get from this is what the spirit of Christmas is all about," he said. He can be reached at  Brendan(at)RichCoastRealty.com

Lynn Gensemer of Chungo Interior Design directs the effort in Jacó.

"The weeks before Christmas the Jacó elves are busy buying, sorting and arranging bags full of stuffed animals, toys of all sorts, toothbrushes and toothpaste, rice, beans, coffee, sugar, candy, cereal and cookies," she said, adding:

"Plenty of food and toys to completely fill a decorated small stock truck, including sleigh bells! On Christmas morning the sleigh heads to the mountains stretching above Jacó traveling through small villages to distribute the goodies. Santa looks for children of all ages. The only requirement is a smile."

"There is just nothing like the tear in a mother's eye when you fill her arms with food," she said. She can be reached at chungointeriordesign(at)yahoo.com

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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.


Dentistry

Marco Cavallini & Associates
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Psychotherapy

Dr. Gray
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California Licensed
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Insurance professionals

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Residency experts

Residency in Costa Rica
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 Accountants

 
Ms. Summers
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File your past three years tax returns under the
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Fine art restoration and conservation

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Legal services

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your legal adviser for criminal, civil,
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Land surveying services

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colinadelsol022515c.gif
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8596-8/27/15
fish
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
This is a pez calva or snook, Centropomus parallelus

Illegal nets target spawning sports fish

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This is spawning season for a fish known locally as the pez calva. The fish likes the sometimes brackish water of lakes and canals of the Refugio de Vida Silvestre in Barra del Colorado. And they come by the hundreds from the Caribbean.

These are game fish, but some individuals have been putting up nets to catch them. The Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas said that its crews over the weekend have found nine nets installed illegally in the refuge. There were ninety fish and nearly half were dead, the agency said.

The nets also managed to trap a few tropical gars, known here as pez gaspar (Atractosteus tropicus), which also can be challenging game fish when adults and up to six feet in length. The gar is considered a living fossil because it has not changed in millions of years.



This could be crucial day for Cubans

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Soon Costa Rica will have more Cubans than some communities on the island. The Cuban population has at least exceeded 5,000 and there are thousands more waiting to enter the country from the southern border.

Today is a crucial day for the Cubans and government officials. The government of Belize is expected to report its decision on whether the migrants will be allowed to pass over its territory on their way to the United States.

Approval from Belize would be a big assist to the Costa Rican government, which would like to stop housing the Cubans in public shelters.

The Cubans, of course, would like to continue heading north to the United States where they can take advantage of a favorable 1966 immigration law that will allow them to enter.

Nicaragua has closed its border to the Cubans, perhaps as a favor to the Cuban government that does not want to continue to lose skilled workers and professionals.

Guatemala already has declined to be a land bridge for the migrants.

The Costa Rican government already is making plans to extend the temporary visas that were awarded the Cubans when they arrived. This would be the second extension.

There have been few incidents at the dozen shelters housing the Cubans. The weekend saw live bands in some shelters that provided an evening of dancing.

One Cuban woman was stopped Thursday at the Paso Canoas border crossing because she was wanted as a criminal suspect in Cuba. Local police officials could not give a consistent reason and she was varyingly reported to be a murder suspect or part of an international drug ring.

Neither may be true.


17 illegal immigrants caught

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers surprised five persons from Bangladesh and 12 from Nepal at a home in southern Costa Rica.

Police said that the conditions in the ramshackle home in Guaycará, Golfito were unhealthy.

The men are accused of entering the country illegally from Panamá. None has identification, police said.

Turrialba spits out some rocks and grit

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Turrialba volcano produced a 30-minute eruption early Monday afternoon, said the Red Sismológica Nacional at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

The day was overcast, but scientists could follow the eruption because the cameras at the volcano summit can record heat.

The eruption started at 1:08 p.m., and about 1:21 p.m. the volcano was throwing out flaming blocks of rock, said the Red. However, the expelled rock remained along the edge of the crater, the Red said. There also were some tremors in the earth, the Red added.

Officials have long awaited a major eruption from the mountain, and most of the residents have moved elsewhere. Those who have not received a shower of cinders Monday from the mountain. In communities such as El Central on the flank of the mountain, vehicles were covered with the fine, black grit.

Iran ignores U.N. and tests missile again

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. media reports say Iran has tested a new medium-range ballistic missile in defiance of two United Nations Security Council resolutions.

U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told media outlets the test was held Nov. 21, and they say the missile traveled within Iranian territory.

Fox News cited intelligence sources as saying the test was held near Chabahar, a port city near Iran's border with Pakistan.

In October, Iran tested a long-range ballistic missile, drawing condemnation from the U.N. Security Council. The council is still debating how to respond to that test.

Following that earlier missile test, the White House said there were strong indications that Tehran "did violate U.N. Security Council resolutions that pertain to Iran's ballistic missile activities."

However, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said those violations are entirely separate from the historic nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers.

Under that deal, reached in July, most sanctions against Iran will be lifted in exchange for curbs on Iran's nuclear program.

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Third News Page


Don't miss our restaurant specials HERE!
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 242
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Lawmakers act to make the radio spectrum more democratic
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers voted in the first of two opportunities to allow vulgar or alarmist announcements to be aired on the radio and television.

Although that sounds bad, the lawmakers did so in order to further democratic principles and freedom of the press.

The bill, No. 19.555, faces one more vote in the Asamblea Nacional. The measure eliminates a section of the national radio law that forbids vulgar language, transmissions contrary

to good customs as well as false information or alarming reports without foundation. 

Although these prohibitions sound good, they have been used elsewhere to put pressure on radio and television stations and their reporting of current news.

The bill received a favorable recommendation from the  Comisión Permanente Especial de Ciencia, Tecnología y Educación.

The measure received unanimous approval on the floor Monday.


Investigators try to figure out why a man became engulfed in flames
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators are trying to figure out if the burning death of a man Monday was murder or the result of some type of accident. One person is in custody.

The case developed in Hatillo 1 about 11 a.m. Neighbors heard an explosion, and when Fuerza Pública officers arrived they found a man in an abandoned building, and he was in flames.

Officers worked to put out the flames, but they also had to stop

a second man who was about to flee, they said.

The site was near the Escuela Manuel Belgrano.

Although police were successful in putting out the flames, the man died later in Hospital San Juan de Dios, the Judicial Investigating Organization confirmed.  He had not been identified.

The suspect in custody is a 22-year-old man. Both are described as being without permanent addresses.


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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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 242
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Brain research seems to support Chomsky's concept of internal grammar
By the New York University news staff

A team of neuroscientists has found new support for linguist Noam Chomsky’s decades-old theory that humans possess an internal grammar that allows the brain to comprehend even nonsensical phrases.

“One of the foundational elements of Chomsky’s work is that we have a grammar in our head, which underlies our processing of language,” explains David Poeppel, the study’s senior researcher and a professor in New York University’s Department of Psychology. “Our neurophysiological findings support this theory: we make sense of strings of words because our brains combine words into constituents in a hierarchical manner — a process that reflects an ‘internal grammar’ mechanism.”

The research, which appears in the latest issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, builds on Chomsky’s 1957 work, "Syntactic Structures."  It posited that humans can recognize a phrase such as Colorless green ideas sleep furiously as both nonsensical and grammatically correct because humans have an abstract knowledge base that allows them to make such distinctions even though the statistical relations between words are non-existent.

Neuroscientists and psychologists predominantly reject this viewpoint, contending that comprehension does not result from an internal grammar. Rather, it is based on both statistical calculations between words and sound cues to structure. That is, humans know from experience how sentences should be properly constructed, a reservoir of information employed upon hearing words and phrases. Many linguists, in contrast, argue that hierarchical structure building is a central feature of language processing.

In an effort to illuminate this debate, the researchers explored whether and how linguistic units are represented in the brain during speech comprehension.

To do so, Poeppel and his colleagues conducted a series of

experiments using magnetoencephalography, which allows measurements of the tiny magnetic fields generated by brain activity, and electrocorticography, a clinical technique used to measure brain activity in patients being monitored for neurosurgery.

The study’s subjects listened to sentences in both English and Mandarin Chinese in which the hierarchical structure between words, phrases, and sentences was dissociated from intonational speech cues, the rise and fall of the voice, as well as statistical word cues.

The sentences were presented with identical timing between words and participants listened to both predictable sentences (e.g., “New York never sleeps,” “Coffee keeps me awake”), grammatically correct, but less predictable sentences (e.g., “Pink toys hurt girls”), or word lists (“eggs jelly pink awake”) a
nd various other manipulated sequences.

The design allowed the researchers to isolate how the brain concurrently tracks different levels of linguistic abstraction.

Their results showed that the subjects’ brains distinctly tracked three components of the phrases they heard, reflecting a hierarchy in the neural processing of linguistic structures: words, phrases, and then sentences at the same time.

“Because we went to great lengths to design experimental conditions that control for statistical or sound cue contributions to processing, our findings show that we must use the grammar in our head,” explained Poeppel. “Our brains lock onto every word before working to comprehend phrases and sentences. The dynamics reveal that we undergo a grammar-based construction in the processing of language.”

This is a controversial conclusion from the perspective of current research, the researchers note, because the notion of abstract, hierarchical, grammar-based structure building is rather unpopular.

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:
HiddenGarden@TheVanStoneGroup.com.   
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.
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diligence
Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

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

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!
http://www.vimeo.com/5656822

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. lundquistgeorge@gmail.com

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When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

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Here's reasonable medical care
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Timeshare
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: info@sellmytimesharenow.com
8766-7/30/16

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part
tropical homes
of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442
8784-2/19/16


Real estate for rent (paid category)
rental home

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

Close to town. $650  includes electric, Internet, WiFi, cable TV, water. Santa Barbara de Heredia
American owner lives on site. Quiet. Secure.
organicfarmhouserental@gmail.com
8857-12/23/15

Palamres

Homes for rent
in Palmares, Alajuela

See our web page: palmarescostarica.us
8849-12/13/15

Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
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,
hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry. $600-$650 per month plus electricity. ½ month security deposit. No lease.  The larger apartments are $650 per month. They have larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be best for the prospective tenants to visit
Barrio Amon
the building to see the apartments.   For more information contact: edificiomorazan@gmail.com  or call Hilda at 2221-7161.
8826-1/16/16



Beautiful Apartment

Lemur del Bosque
for Rent

San Francisco de Dos Ríos, El Bosque, furnished 2-bedroom,1-bath apartment, quiet area, free cable TV WiFi, large patio area, swimming pool, parking, security. Close to San José. $450/month. Retired persons preferred. Call 8375-6838. Email: jorge.jorgejim@gmail.com.
8810-11/24/15
Lemur




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A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 242
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Ban urges Paris conference
to aim for being carbon free


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged nations to make the compromises necessary to put the planet on a carbon-free trajectory or risk a climate catastrophe, as negotiators raced to reach a climate agreement by Friday.

“Your decisions can lay the foundations for a sustainable future where all the peoples and planet can thrive,” Ban told delegations from nearly 200 nations meeting at Le Bourget outside Paris Monday. “Your work here this week can help eradicate poverty, spark a green energy revolution, provide jobs, opportunities and hope for tomorrow.”

Saturday negotiators produced a first draft agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions, which French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who is presiding over the climate talks, called a step toward a final deal. Fabius, who has divided ministers into working groups to tackle the biggest themes, wants what he calls the first vision of the final agreement by Wednesday.

Ban’s address set the tone for Monday’s talks among ministers who have arrived to give a final push to the climate negotiations at Le Bourget, outside Paris.

In speeches Monday, many used dramatic language to sum up the stakes, saying negotiators faced a historic choice with consequences for both the planet and humanity.

“I’m often asked what keeps me up at night,” said executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, Costa Rican Christiana Figueres, told delegates. “Here’s what keeps me up: I often see seven sets of eyes of seven generations beyond me, asking me: ‘What did you do? What did you do?

“The same question will be asked of each of you,” Ms. Figueres added. “May we all be able to stand tall and clearly say, ‘We did everything that was necessary.’”

The stakes are highest for some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable nations, who are pushing for an agreement that goes further, and limits global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, instead of the current 2 degrees C goal.

Going beyond 1.5 degrees, says Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Enele Sosone Sopoaga, will mean the demise of his tiny island nation and others like it.

“There is a big whale in the lagoon, as we say in the Pacific. We must rise above this fear, and address this whale or else we all perish,” he said.

So far, national climate plans tabled by 186 countries will limit global temperature rise to nearly 3 degrees C, about double the ceiling that islands like Tuvalu are demanding.

Giving impetus to the Paris talks, analysts say, is a broad will to avoid a repeat of 2009 climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, widely considered a failure. Known technically as COP21, this year’s conference is also driven by grim new statistics showing 2015 will likely be the world’s warmest in history, topping a string of other record-breaking years. In another reminder of the fallout of fossil fuel emissions, the Chinese capital Beijing went on the highest red alert Monday for smog levels.

Yet another driver is what Ban called a rising tide of support for a tough agreement on the part of local governments, businesses and ordinary citizens, some of whom are attending the climate talks outside Paris.

“The world is expecting more from you than half-measures and incremental approaches,” he told negotiators.

Environmental groups are closely following the progress of discussions that are entering their second week, and still remain pitted by complex divisions, including financing for developing countries to adapt to climate change.

Jennifer Morgan, head of the climate program for the Washington, D.C.-based World Resources Institute think-tank, described Saturday’s draft agreement as showing more common ground.

“Though there is plenty of hard work ahead, the table is now set for ministers to get this done,” she said in a statement.

At a press conference Monday, non-profit organization representatives were quick to point out shortfalls like vague language and goals, particularly on climate financing. Referring to the term climate neutrality, Martin Kaiser who heads international climate politics at Greenpeace, asked, “Could someone explain what this means?”

Secretary-General Ban is calling for a review of draft national plans every five years, starting before 2020, not only to make sure countries abide by them, but also improve on them. Even as he urged negotiators to reach an ambitious accord, he also called for compromise in overcoming differences, with the understanding that whatever deal is reached in Paris can be strengthened.

“Sometimes perfection may be our enemy,” he said.


Global carbon dioxide said
to take a small dip in 2015


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An international collaboration of scientists, in a new report, predicts the percentage of global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels may actually dip slightly in 2015 compared to 2014 levels.

“In 2014, global CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels grew by just 0.6 percent,” said the report’s lead author Rob Jackson, a professor of Earth System Science at California’s Stanford University in a press release. “This year we expect total emissions to flatten or drop slightly, despite strong growth in gross domestic product worldwide.”

The researchers noted that the projected 2015 CO2 levels are an estimate and an actual annual level won’t be reported until all final numbers are provided.

The scientists conducted the research on behalf of the Global Carbon Project, an organization that provides regular examinations of the global carbon cycle.

The possible decrease in fossil fuel CO2 emissions in 2015, along with the slight increase in levels in 2014, are contrary to levels posted previously when annual levels rose between 2 percent and 3 percent each year, said the researchers.

They also reported that any previous slowdown on annual CO2 emissions also happened to coincide during a time of global economic difficulties. This new possible dip in levels could mark the first time such a drop took place during a period of improved global economic growth.

According to the report, China emitted 27 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide in 2014. The U.S. had a 15.5  percent CO2 emission rate, followed by the European Union with 9.5 percent and India with 7.2 percent.

“Decreased coal use in China was largely responsible for the decline in global CO2 emissions,” said report co-author Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia. “After a decade of rapid growth, China’s emissions rate slowed to 1.2 percent in 2014 and is expected to drop by 3.9 percent in 2015.”

The researchers said any continued slow growth of annual CO2 output will depend on the use of coal in China and in other countries, and if more renewable sources such as hydro, nuclear, wind, and solar are used to produce energy.

“But even if we reach peak global emissions within a decade or two, we’ll still be emitting massive amounts of CO2 from burning fossil fuels,” said Jackson.

In order to stabilize the world’s climate, he also said the emissions will need to be reduced to near zero.

“Reaching zero emissions will require long-term commitments from countries attending the climate meeting in Paris this week and beyond,” Jackson said.


U.S. High Court to consider
one-man, one-vote challenge


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments today in a voting rights case over the constitutional requirement to make electoral districts roughly equal in population.

A decision by the court could test the framework of the so-called one person, one vote principle that has defined political boundaries for decades.

In Texas, two voters challenged the way the state draws its senate districts. Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger highlighted the difference in eligible voters in the mainly rural districts outside Houston, Texas, where they live, and those in a downtown Houston district with equal population, but at least 170,000 fewer eligible voters.

Ms. Evenwel and Pfenninger said the State Senate redistricting map signed into law in 2013 did not equally distribute voters, improperly inflating the voting power of urban areas and giving them more sway in dictating the outcome of elections.

Conservative groups have said the current system distorts the rights of non-voters in the democratic process, particularly in states such as California, Texas and Florida, where larger numbers of non-citizen immigrants live and are counted in the census figures.

They have challenged the premise based on a simple argument that counting overall population, including those ineligible to vote, unfairly diminishes the power of citizens who are eligible to vote.

They have urged the Supreme Court to invalidate the current system, which would force states to completely redraw local and state political districts using different factors and perhaps open the door to eventually reconfiguring congressional districts.

Experts predict the Supreme Court is unlikely to back such a dramatic overhaul, but they believe overturning Texas' system would trigger a radical political change nationwide, likely shifting more political power in some states from urban centers to rural areas.

"If the court sides with Texas and keeps the status quo, it's no big deal," said Rick Hasen, a University of California at Irvine law professor. "But it would be a huge deal if the court goes the other way."

Latino advocacy groups worry that changes to local political boundaries would be unfair in areas where non-citizen immigrants might not get equal treatment from their elected lawmakers.

"Texas has a history, a shameful, disgraceful history, of discrimination against Latinos for over 150 years," said Dallas immigration attorney Domingo Garcia.

With the U.S. presidential election less than a year away, the backdrop of voting rights has created a political battle between Republicans and Democrats.

At issue are voting regulations from the Supreme Court's 2013 ruling gutting key provisions in Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The decision removed the requirement that states with a history of voting discrimination like Texas had to get pre-clearance from the U.S. Justice Department before being allowed to make changes to election laws, including the redrawing of political boundaries.

There are also court challenges in several states to enact stricter voter identification laws that critics say unfairly target minority voters inclined to vote for Democratic candidates.

"Partisan politics plays a big role in the debate," said James Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas in Austin.

"In public opinion surveys, we found the Democrats support reinstating Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act,” he said. “On the other hand, Republicans were largely opposed to the enforcement provision.

"Voting rights cases have become a partisan issue like so many other things, and now we see the party polarization like we see in so many other areas in politics."


Homeland security chief seeks
changes in threat alert levels

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced Monday a new phase in the local terrorism threat in the U.S, following an attack last week in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 people dead.

He said his agency needs to get beyond the current terror-alert system and go to a new system that has an intermediate level to it. Johnson spoke during a Defense One forum in Washington, D.C. that precedes the unveiling of a new U.S. government domestic terrorism alert system.

The announcement comes after husband and wife, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, in a shooting referred to by the White House as an act of terror.

The couple was not flagged as terror suspects. U.S. government officials have expressed concern about so-called lone-wolves who commit attacks in support of organizations like the Islamic State but without direct orders.

Johnson said even if there is no specific credible intelligence of a plot, there can still be risk. He emphasized the possibility of a terror-inspired act by a person who might not be on law enforcement’s radar.

A color-coded alert system was put in place, following the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. Nearly 10 years later, it was replaced by a two-tier advisory. Johnson said the National Terrorism Advisory System is inadequate, and has never been used because it is dependent on a specific threat or threats to the country.

“We need a system that adequately informs the public at large, not through news leaks of joint intelligence bulletins to law enforcement, not through leaks from anonymous government officials,” said Johnson.

But Seth Jones, director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center for RAND Corp. said this change won’t make much of a difference to the public’s sense of safety.

“I don’t really think that the alert system is particularly that important for most Americans. I don’t think most Americans pay attention to it. What they probably pay attention to, in some cases, is when senior administration officials have come out publicly about plots.”

Johnson said that after the Paris attacks, the U.S. has been on a heightened security posture. He said there currently is no actionable information, however, of a planned attack in the U.S.

“There is no specific credible intelligence of a Paris-like attack on the homeland, but we are concerned about copy-cat acts. We are concerned about terrorism-inspired acts by the lone wolves,” Johnson said.

The Homeland Security secretary also mentioned that his department and the State Department are evaluating vetting procedures of the K-1 visa program or fiancé visa, after direct orders from President Barack Obama. Ms. Malik, the wife of U.S. born Farook, entered the country with that visa.


Overall new HIV cases drop
19 percent, U.S. agency said


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The number of HIV diagnoses in the U.S. has fallen by 19 percent since 2005, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The drop was driven largely by dramatic and continuing declines among heterosexuals, intravenous drug users and African Americans, but gay and bisexual men have not seen the same reductions, the Centers said.

“Although we are encouraged by the recent slowing of the epidemic among black gay and bisexual men, especially young men, they continue to face a disproportionately high HIV burden and we must address it,” said Jonathan Mermin, director of Center’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

“Much more must be done to reduce new infections and to reverse the increases among Latino men," he said. "There is hope that the national HIV/AIDS strategy and other efforts are beginning to pay off, but we can’t rest until we see equal gains for all races and risk groups.”

For male gay and bisexuals, the picture is much more nuanced, depending on race and ethnicity, the Centers said.

Among white gay and bisexual males, diagnoses fell by 18 percent, but for Latinos and blacks, diagnoses were up 24 and 22 percent respectively though the Centers noted positive diagnoses among blacks had leveled off since 2010.

Age also appeared to be a factor with young black gay and bisexual men aged 13 to 24 seeing an 87 percent jump in diagnoses between 2005 and 2014. That too has appeared to level off after 2010.

The Centers said that HIV testing levels have “remained stable or increased among the groups experiencing declines in diagnoses in recent years,” leading them to believe the decreases in diagnoses reflects a drop in new infections.


Justice Department announces
Chicago Police investigation


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Justice Department has started an investigation into the pattern and practice of the Chicago Police Department to determine whether it violated the Constitution or federal law with its handling of use of force.

The probe follows the release of a video last month showing the shooting death of a 17-year-old by a police officer in October 2014.

"Every American expects and deserves the protection of law enforcement that is effective, that is responsive, that is respectful, and most importantly constitutional," said Attorney General Loretta Lynch in announcing the investigation Monday.

"We will examine a number of issues related to the Chicago Police Department's use of force, including its use of deadly force, racial, ethnic and other disparities in its use of force and its accountability mechanisms, such as disciplinary actions and its allegations of misconduct," she said.

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder Nov. 24, more than a year after the killing of Laquan McDonald and just hours before the release of police dashboard camera footage showing the officer shooting the black teenager.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

Solar device

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8875-6/24/116

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


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

Rich Coast Realty is a full-service real estate company with property listings in Escazú, Santa Ana, Jacó, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Manuel Antonio, and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. We work hard to find you the property of your dreams, and assist with legal advice, residency, starting corporations, opening bank accounts, etc. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in, and relocating to Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate, we look forward to hearing from you.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
www.RichCoastRealty.com
8790-2/28/15

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
           furnished.
* 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
Email: mfiatt@mafirealestate.com 
Web Page: www.mafirealestate.com
8609-2/20/16

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: info@remax-oceansurf-cr.com
8583-1/27/16

Real estate for sale (paid category)


montage
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 stanleystephendorn@yahoo.com Phone (506) 2653-6417.
Cell (506) 8825-8942 / (506) 8916-0734.
8884-3/1/16

Lantz
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:  angelsdad@me.com
8883-2/26/16

Safe house
The Safest Place in The World
Residencial La Jolla, Asuncion de Belén
Casa 7 of 19 luxury homes in exclusive gated community.
3 bedroom, 3.5 baths, home office with private entrance.
332 m2 construction. 2-car garage. Central A/C
Lease $2,750 USD per month. Purchase $449,000.
Contact: rafa@rafacr.com. Phone 8309-2000.
8876-1/4/16

ocean-view home
GREAT DEAL $250,000. NICE OCEAN VIEW
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: quadtours@yahoo.ca
8859-112/26/15

windows

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 scottlandtodd@live.com.   More photos HERE!
8858-1/16/16

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:
lafortunaguy@gmail.com or phone 506-8377-8402.
8851-12/17/15

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: hfonseca24@gmail.com
8847-112/10/15

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:   djake888@yahoo.com
8846-4/10/16

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
       door.
- 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
     planted.

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 indyj5vw@yahoo.com or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album
8844-5/11/16


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
e-mail:  marietta234@yahoo.es 
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408
Web   http://mariettedaignault.point2agent.com
8843-1/2/16

Cohen
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.
www.hotel4salecostarica.com
www.hotelsescazu.com
hotelescazu@aol.com
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
410-975-6703
In Costa Rica 8307-0164
8828-12/19/15

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: osaroger@gmail.com
Watch this video for full details.
8816-1/2/16

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:  marietta234@yahoo.es  or call (506) 8707-1037 
(506) 2778-8408 Web:   http://mariettedaignault.point2agent.com
8823-11/23/15

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: mmpeace@hotmail.com   Check out slide show HERE!
8736-1/1/16

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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: manager@crbusiness.biz.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 242
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
coffee
American Chemical Society/Kevin Renes
These may decrease risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Beneficial compounds identified in coffee

By the American Chemical Society news staff

Much to coffee lovers’ delight, drinking three to four cups of coffee per day has been shown to decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Now, scientists report in the Journal of Natural Products that they have identified two compounds that contribute to this health benefit. Researchers say that this knowledge could someday help them develop new medications to better prevent and treat the disease.

Patients with type 2 diabetes become resistant to insulin, a hormone that helps turn glucose from food into energy. To overcome this resistance, the pancreas makes more insulin, but eventually, it just can’t make enough.

High blood glucose levels can cause health problems, such as blindness and nerve damage. Several genetic and lifestyle risk factors have been linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, but drinking coffee has been shown to help prevent its onset.

Caffeine was thought to be responsible, but studies have shown it has only a short-term effect on glucose and insulin, and decaffeinated coffee has the same effect as the regular version of the drink.

To investigate which of coffee’s many bioactive components are responsible for diabetes prevention, Søren Gregersen and colleagues tested the effects of different coffee substances in rat cell lines.

The researchers investigated different coffee compounds’ effects on cells in the lab. Cafestol and caffeic acid both increased insulin secretion when glucose was added. The team also found that cafestol increased glucose uptake in muscle cells, matching the levels of a currently prescribed antidiabetic drug.

They say cafestol’s dual benefits make it a good candidate for the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. However, because coffee filters eliminate much of the cafestol in drip coffee, it is likely that other compounds also contribute to these health benefits.






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From Page 7:

Petroleum price is lowest since 2009

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The price of crude oil fell more than $2 Monday to its lowest level since early 2009, with Brent crude closing a bit above $40 a barrel.

The decline follows Friday's meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, where the 13 members announced no agreement to limit production.

Experts say global demand for crude is already about 2 million barrels a day below the current supply. That oversupply may grow as Iran gets out from under international sanctions imposed on its exports.

Some analysts say key OPEC member Saudi Arabia continues to pump oil in a bid to push the price low enough to drive new competitors out of business.  Some U.S. producers use advanced techniques like hydraulic fracturing to boost oil output, but the practice costs far more than the traditional techniques that work in the Saudis' abundant oil fields.