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(506) 2223-1327                                Published Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 243                                Email us
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Can an expat be one in 100,000 this Sunday evening?
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats do not need a super computer to tell them they will not win the $2.6 million Gordo lottery Sunday.

But two math professors at Tecnológico de Costa Rica showed that the probability of winning could be computed easily.

The two are Giovanni Sanabria Brenes and Félix Núñez Vanegas. Both have master's degrees in math.

They pointed out in a release from the Cartago-based university that the chances of winning for a person holding one ticket is one in 100,000. That's 0.001 percent.

This is not higher math.

In other words, the professors said, to expect to win the lottery a person would have to see the drawing repeated 100,000 times.

The lottery consists of a three-digit series and a two-digit number. The number has 100 possibilities from 00 to 99. Having the correct number of the Gordo winner also pays off. Of course the probability of having the correct series number is one in 1,000, from 000 to 999.

The professors probably do not want to throw cold water on the hopes of those who would play the Christmas lottery. Regardless of what they say, most of the country will be in front of the television Sunday night watching the slow, meticulous drawing by the Junta de

Protección Social, a government agency.

The news release also sought to dispel myths. Some players believe that lower numbers are most likely to be winners. Others say that numbers may repeat from a previous year.

Both ideas are false, the men said, noting that each number has an equal probability of being selected.

The Junta workers use three baskets of the type seen in casinos. One basket, the larger one, produces the series, and a smaller basket produces the number based on the 100 balls inside. Yet a smaller basket produces the prize, and there are many in addition to the big Gordo.

Full tickets are 70,000 colons or about $133 dollars. Most Costa Ricans purchase fractions that are ripped off the full ticket. If they win, the prize is proportionally smaller.

The professors note that more tickets or fractions with different numbers enhance the chances of winning. They computed the probability of winning for a person with 15 fractions of different tickets at 0.015 percent.

The Gordo drawing is followed closely, and the Spanish-language media will be filled with stories of where the winning tickets were purchased and sometimes who won. Naturally a lot of winners keep their names secret.

One fact is certain, and that is that the Junta will clean up. The excess income after expenses and prizes goes to various social organizations.


Bad guys do not always need firearms to intimidate
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

While politicians in both Costa Rica and the United States debate the value of allowing citizens to possess firearms, there seems to be an increase in knife attacks here.

Knives, of course, are the low-budget weapon of choice, but they also are deadly and easy to make.

A 29-year-old inmate in La Reforma prison died Monday night after a fight inside the facility. He was knifed in the stomach.

At Hospital Calderón Guardia a man died Monday after having been in the care of physicians since Saturday. He was brought in from El Carmen de Guadalupe.

He also was a knife victim.

A 34-year-old man was admitted to Hospital San Juan de Dios Tuesday after having been the victim of a holdup attempt in San Cayetano in San Sebastián. He was headed to work around 5 a.m. when confronted by three men.

Finally police officers nabbed two teens, 15 and 16, also Monday night after a woman

knives
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
These were the knives used by two teens.

was threatened with death in Goicoechea and relieved of her cell telephone, said police. The teens carried knives that clearly were designed for kitchen use.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 243
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Costa Rica alone helping Cuban migrants

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica is alone among Central American nations in managing the flood of Cuban immigrants.

The country of Belize said Tuesday that the Cuban migration problem is one for regional governments. It rejected a proposal by Costa Rica that the migrants be allowed to travel through that country on the way to the United States, according to Costa Rican officials.

Costa Rica was hoping that Belize would agree to serve as a land bridge so the migrants could avoid Nicaragua, which has forbidden them entry.

Transporting the migrants who now number at least 5,000 to Belize would be easier and cheaper than taking them to México even if  México agreed to accept them. Guatemala already has decided not to become involved.

Costa Rica said it plans to raise the issue at a meeting of the Sistema de Integración Centroamericana Dec. 18.

President Luis Guillermo Solís plans a state visit to Cuba next week, and now Casa Presidencial says the Cuban situation is a priority.

The government also issued a statement to Cubans who remain on their home island and urged them not to follow the same route that would put them in Costa Rica because the country cannot continue to accommodate them.

Some migrants have been here since the middle of November.

The Cubans are headed for the United States where they will benefit from special immigration rules that will provide them with residency.


Cuba trip called political tourism

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An opposition lawmaker is not pleased that President Luis Guillermo Solís is taking 25 aides to Cuba next week.

Rolando González Ulloa of the opposition Partido Liberación Nacional called this and other trips political tourism when he spoke in the legislature Tuesday.

He also questioned the timing of the trip so near Christmas. There will be vacations of government workers in Cuba, too, he said.



An​g​lican Parish announced Yule services

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Episcopal/An​g​lican Parish of the Good Shepherd has announced Christmas and New Year's services. The parish is known as El Buen Pastor in Spanish.

This is the congregation that just marked 150 years in Costa Rica.  The church is tucked away on the north side of the Avenida 4 pedestrian walkway between calles 3 and 5.

The congregation has scheduled Advent services Dec. 13 and 20 with  English at 8:30 a.m. and Spanish at 11 a.m.

The Christmas Eve service is bilingual at 6 p.m. with a bilingual Christmas service the next day.

Dec. 27 is the first Sunday after Christmas, and John the Evangelist will be celebrated in English at 8:30 a.m. and Spanish at 11 a.m.
 
The New Year's Eve service is bilingual at 6 p.m. with a New Year's Day service at 9 a.m., also bilingual.


Fire fighters save six at Aserrí blaze

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Those living above the Nuevo Amanecer supermarket in Aserrí had a rude awakening Tuesday when flames engulfed the adjacent pizza establishment.

The Cuerpo de Bomberos said that they saved four adults and two children as well as the bulk of the structure.

The fire was confined to a kitchen, the pizza store and a storage room.

Fire fighters said that the 3:13 a.m. fire seems to have come from a gas leak that was ignited by the pilot light of a rice cooker.

Some 77 square meters, about 830 square feet, were involved and and additional 61 square meters of the supermarket suffered heat and smoke damage. That's about 660 square feet.



Band of Aljuela
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
The Banda de Conciertos de Alajuela

Three free Christmas concerts planned

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The 12 voices of the Grupo Senderos will join with the Banda de Conciertos de Alajuela in three Christmas concerts.

The first is Saturday in front of the Catedral de Alajuela at 6 p.m. The next day at 10 a.m., the concert will be in front of the Iglesia del Coyol.

Then Dec. 16 the concert will be in the Parque de Curridabat.

The programs are Christmas songs including the traditional Spanish  villancicos.
All three performances are free and open to the public.


Small business operators to show wares this weekend

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some 168 small business operators will participate in the Feria Nacional Empresarial from Friday through Sunday at the Antigua Aduana on Calle 23 in east San José.  The sponsor is the Instituto Mixto de Ayuda Social.


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Third News Page


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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 243
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Illegal fireworks importers playing cat and mouse with police officers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

This is again the season when police agencies crack down on the smuggling of explosive fireworks. The success of the sweeps can be seen Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve when the Central Valley skies resemble shock and awe.

The Fuerza Pública confiscated 240,000 units of fireworks in  Barú, Pérez Zeledón, this week, they said. A driver was trying to bring the cargo north. This is the second confiscation since October, police said. The first was on a bus stopped in La Cruz near the Nicaraguan border.

Every year the police agencies, and staffers at the Hospital Nacional de Niños make strong pitches in the media for parents to avoid fireworks that explode. Each year a few children are treated for burns or worse.

Despite a new and strong law against explosive fireworks, there is no shortage of an inventory. Police will search stores and turn up large amounts of the prohibited  fireworks. But expats will easily be able to purchase everything up to a quarter stick of dynamite at local retailers.

Some even come from Costa Rica-based illegal factories.

fireworks
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Vehicle was crammed with 250,000 individual fireworks


License plate restrictions in metro area lifted for Christmas holidays
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes is lifting the metro area license plate prohibitions starting Dec. 21. The rule will be in force again Jan. 4.

This is typical during holidays to eliminate the prohibition that is based on the last digit of a vehicle license plate number.

However, it is clear that enforcing the prohibition is not a priority of the traffic police any more.

Monday dozens of vehicles with the final plate digit of 1 or 2

could be seen traveling unmolested through the San José streets.

There are no more police checkpoints on key streets. They may be resumed Jan. 4.

However, motorists need to plan their travel so that they avoid San José Saturday because main streets will be closed in anticipation of the Festival de la Luz parade.

Starting Christmas Zapote will be jammed with persons headed to the end-of-the-year fiestas that run until Jan. 4. And the day after Christmas, horses take the city streets for the annual Tope Nacional.


Hotel header

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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, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 243
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Microsoft is among major firms that have instituted internal carbon tax
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Business leaders are calling on negotiators who will be at the U.N. climate change conference in Paris to take concrete action, with hundreds of major multinational corporations adding their names to petitions saying climate change is a real risk to their business.

They want policymakers to provide clear paths to address the problem, and one nearly unanimous recommendation is to put some kind of fee on carbon dioxide emissions.

But some corporations are not waiting for government action.

In 2012, software giant Microsoft saw the market for its products had changed. Packaged software was on the decline.

Customers were increasingly doing their computing on remote servers. So the company planned a big expansion of its cloud-computing services.

But that created another issue, said sustainability chief T.J. DiCaprio: “We realized our energy consumption was going to be increasing significantly as we built data centers.”

More energy meant more carbon dioxide emissions. But, like others in the tech industry, Microsoft pledged to be carbon-neutral. The challenge to reduce the impact of data centers was getting business managers on board.

DiCaprio said that meant speaking their language, and shifting "from speaking about metric tons of carbon, which is a nebulous concept for the business people. It was much more direct to speak in terms of a dollar per metric ton and a charge on their profit-and-loss statement.”

So the company began tallying how much electricity their data centers consumed, multiplying that by how much carbon dioxide the power plants would produce and charging managers a fee per ton.

With a carbon tax on their balance sheets, DiCaprio said, managers found ways to cut energy use, like reducing server

idling time and cooling data centers with more fresh air.

“That’s the beauty of this model with the price signal," she said. "It helps the managers understand that driving efficiency is critical.”

Efficiency improvements were paid for with funds from the carbon tax. Microsoft has collected $30 million in the program’s first three years. It cut its carbon footprint by 7.5 million metric tons and saved more than $10 million a year in energy costs.


The company’s carbon tax also paid for planting trees in developing countries and other programs like providing efficient cookstoves that reduce firewood demand.

DiCaprio said almost no one seems to mind paying. Rather, employees are excited that the company shows environmental responsibility.

“I’m pleasantly surprised that the response from the managers has been so positive,” she said.

Microsoft is among the more than 1,000 corporations worldwide that have adopted internal carbon taxes or plan to in the next two years, according to a recent report.

Several energy companies are on that list. Although they don’t pay for their carbon emissions in the United States, they do in other countries.
 
And companies expect more will require it in the future, said Eliot Metzger of the World Resources Institute, an environmental research group.

“I think they’ve seen the writing on the wall and they recognize that this is a huge issue that’s going to affect their future markets," he said. "And they have to find a way to prepare for that.”

Internal carbon taxes can help them identify the most cost-effective ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, he said, before governments do it for them.

Vacation, travel and hospitality


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Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
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The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
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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, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 243
Sports
Calendar
Opinion
Classifieds
Real Estate
Lifestyle
Food
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U.S. House votes to tighten
visa-waiver program, 407-19


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday overwhelmingly voted to bar people who have visited Iraq and Syria in the past five years from a program that allows visa-free entry to the U.S.

The legislation takes aim at the visa waiver program that allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the U.S. for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa from an embassy or consulate.

The bill, which passed 407-19, would institute a series of changes, including the new visa requirement for citizens of Iraq, Syria and any other country deemed a terrorist hot spot, along with anyone who's traveled to those countries in the previous five years.

The measure also would require countries participating in the visa waiver program to check travelers against Interpol databases to determine whether they are wanted by law enforcement agencies based on ties to terrorism or criminal activity.

To prevent falsification of passports, the measure would require all 38 countries to issue what it calls e-passports containing biometric information. The bill would require countries to be able to confirm that such documents are legitimate when they are scanned.

The Senate has not scheduled a vote on the measure. The White House has indicated support for tightening the waiver program.

Some 20 million visitors come to the U.S. annually under the visa waiver program. They already are screened through an online system maintained by the Department of Homeland Security.


Cuba sends back fugitive
who skipped from Iowa


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Cuba has sent home an American fugitive wanted by U.S. authorities on firearms charges, marking the first such return since Havana and Washington restored diplomatic ties in July after more than five decades.

U.S. marshals say Cuban authorities arrested suspect Shawn Wegmann Oct. 31 as he arrived on Cuban shores from the U.S. island city of Key West in a stolen boat. U.S. officials say Cuba notified marshals days later that Wegmann had been detained and say he is now in custody in Miami.

Authorities say the suspect, who was free while awaiting trial in the Midwestern state of Iowa on a host of firearms charges, ripped off a GPS ankle-monitoring bracelet before fleeing to Key West and crossing the Florida Strait.

U.S. officials have voiced optimism that Cuba's cooperation will continue, and will lead to the eventual return of dozens of fugitives living in Cuba who have been charged with or convicted of defrauding the U.S. Medicare health program, as well as an array of American businesses.

A yearlong investigation published early this year by South Florida's Sun Sentinel newspaper describes purported criminal networks facilitated by a U.S. law that allows Cubans to enter the United States without visas or background checks of their criminal histories.

The report alleges that the so-called Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 has served as cover for dozens of Cubans who are suspected of defrauding U.S. insurance companies, credit card companies and government agencies of more than $2 billion in the past two decades.

American lawyer Rene Suarez, quoted in the lengthy Sun Sentinel report, described "a whole new sub-class of part-time residents that flow back and forth" between the two countries. "They tell me stories and live very comfortably in Cuba with the illegitimate money that they're able to obtain here in the United States."

   
Ohio man who urged death
to U.S. military is indicted


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Justice Department indicted an Ohio man Tuesday on charges of using social media to solicit the murders of U.S. military members.

The man, Terrence McNeil, was arrested last month and faces as many as 75 years in prison if he is convicted.

"We owe it to our servicemen and women to protect their safety at home after they fought abroad to protect our freedom," U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said Tuesday. "The defendant is charged with urging harm to our men and women in uniform and will now answer for those threats."

McNeil is accused of using three different popular social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, to boast of his support for Islamic State. He also used Tumblr to publish the names, photographs, and addresses of 100 purported U.S. military personnel, including one who he says killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

McNeil allegedly encouraged other extremists to behead the Americans in their own homes and stab them to death in the streets, claiming the United States is at war with Islam.

The Justice Department says while it aggressively defends the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the right of free speech, McNeil went "far beyond free speech."


U.S. is reported reviewing
launch of Iranian missile

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States is reviewing reports that Iran carried out a ballistic missile test last month in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said Tuesday that the United States was conducting a serious review of the reports and would take appropriate steps if they were true.

U.S. officials said the test was conducted Nov. 21 and that the missile traveled within Iranian territory.

Power said the U.S. was committed to ending Iran's ability to carry out launches. She said Washington had a number of bilateral and regional tools to deal with the ballistic missile threat.

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

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, a Republican and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday condemned what he called the lack of a U.S. response to repeated Iranian ballistic missile tests that violate Security Council resolutions.

In a written statement, Corker said Iran knows neither this administration nor the U.N. Security Council is likely to take any action. He said, “Instead, the administration remains paralyzed and responds to Iran's violations with empty words of condemnation and concern."

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

Following that 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 were 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.

The United Nations passed a resolution this year that calls on Iran to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.

The Security Council also banned all ballistic missile tests by Iran under a 2010 resolution.


Democrats press Republicans
with anti-firearms maneuver


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Democratic lawmakers in both the House and Senate used procedural tactics Tuesday to try to get Republican leaders to take up legislation to respond to the recent spate of mass killings in the United States.

In the House, minority Democrats were led by Rep. Mike Thompson of California who said: “Since the House won’t take up legislation to prevent the senseless deaths of 30 people killed today by someone using a gun, I move that the House be adjourned.”

Democrats introduced measures to adjourn four times, forcing one vote after another, which were defeated each time, stalling floor action on other measures.

The Democrats filed a discharge petition to try to get a bill co-authored by Thompson and Republican Peter King, “The Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2015” brought to the floor for a vote.

The measure would prevent any suspected terrorists who are registered on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s so-called no-fly list from buying a gun.

The Republican leadership in both the House and the Senate opposes the legislation, saying some innocent people end up on the list mistakenly, and no one can find out if he or she is on the list.

Democrats in the House would need some 30 Republicans to join them to get the denying firearms to terrorists bill passed, but only three or four Republicans support it so far.

Republicans have a history of strong opposition to any form of gun control legislation, saying the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees Americans’ right to bear arms.

About the same time, Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, tried to introduce a similar measure in the U.S. Senate.

It was blocked by Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican who accused Democrats of playing politics in the aftermath of the shooting in San Bernardino, California, last week that left 14 people dead.

Cornyn said: "This is about trying to change the subject and distract the American people from the fact that the president has no strategy to defeat ISIS," meaning the Islamic State.

In another attempt to raise awareness of the issue, House Democrats held a forum Tuesday, inviting experts to a task force to try to find common sense solutions to what they call a gun violence epidemic in the United States.

Democratic Minority leader Nancy Pelosi said the mass shootings have become all too frequent, and called on Congress to do more than simply hold a moment of silence for the victims: “Our inaction is unconscionable. Our silence is just inconceivable. How can we remain silent? Enough is enough. No more violence. No more silence.”

Experts at the hearing included a gun show dealer, a Virginia police chief, a former U.S. surgeon general and a gun policy expert. They all agreed on the need for universal background checks for everyone who wants to buy a gun, with no exceptions.

Several witnesses pointed out though although high profile mass shootings capture public attention, the every day gun violence of suicides and homicides claims the lives of many more Americans each year.

In the U.S., there are twice as many suicides as homicides each year, and suicide attempts with guns are much more deadly than other kinds of attempts.


House security chairman
doubts U.S. remains secure

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States is increasingly not secure from the threat of terrorist attacks by the Islamic State group, according to House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, a Republican.

A day after President Barack Obama went on national television to reassure Americans that the U.S. and its allies will prevail over the Islamic State, McCaul delivered a major speech at the National War College, accusing the president of downplaying the severity of the threat the Muslim terrorists pose.

The San Bernardino, California, massacre, along with new information that the perpetrators likely were radicalized, has frightened many Americans, who already were unsettled by alleged Islamic State-inspired attacks across the world.

The terrorist group claimed responsibility for major attacks in Paris and a stabbing and shooting in Bangladesh in November, as well as the downing of a Russian airliner over Egypt in late October.

McCaul said Obama needs a brand new strategy.

“I’ve had enough. We cannot be blind to the threat before us. ISIS is not contained. It is expanding at a great cost to the free world," he said. "In November, the group managed to conduct three major terrorist attacks on three separate continents in just three weeks."

McCaul said he will introduce new legislation in the coming weeks to boost national security, including a bill this week to tighten security on the U.S. visa waiver program, in an effort to keep terrorists from entering the country.


Johns Hopkins transplanting
penis to wounded veteran

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A wounded military veteran is slated to be the first U.S. recipient of a penis transplant, according to doctors at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.

If successful, the patient could have urinary and sexual function restored.

Last year, South African doctors performed the first penis transplant on a patient who had received a botched circumcision. Several months after the surgery, the patient was reportedly able to have an erection, allowing him to eventually father a child.

The transplant penis will come from a young deceased male, doctors said.

“It’s nice to be able to say this is finally becoming a reality,” Richard Redett, one of the eight Hopkins surgeons on the team, told the Baltimore Sun newspaper.

For the U.S. surgery, a team of 25 to 30 will be involved in the tricky 12-hour procedure that will require the careful stitching of blood vessels and nerves.

As is the case with other transplant surgeries, there is a risk of rejection and infection. Some anti-rejection drugs can cause serious side effects.

Johns Hopkins doctors say they eventually plan to provide penis transplants to 60 injured veterans as part of a trial. According to the BBC, research indicates that up to 7 percent of combat veterans suffer genital injuries, many from blasts from improvised explosive devices.

The recipients will be monitored for five years to determine the efficacy of the operation.


Voting rights case hinges
on counting non-voters


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a voting rights case that could change the way states draw boundaries for their legislative districts.

The nine justices are considering the case of two Texas voters who challenged the way the state draws its Senate districts.

Evenwel v. Abbott asks the court to examine whether the principle of one person, one vote requires state legislative districts to be apportioned on the basis of the state’s total population as they are now or based on the number of citizen voters.

The difference is big because there are a large number of people in the population who are not eligible to vote. Children, illegal immigrants and convicted felons are mostly concentrated in urban areas. Rural areas have higher concentrations of people who are eligible to vote, and they tend to lean Republican.

Thus, the court's ruling, expected in June, could shift voting power from urban areas to rural ones.

The plaintiffs, Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger, are backed by a small conservative group, the Project on Fair Representation. They claim 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.

The one person, one vote doctrine dates to the 1960s, when the Supreme Court held that state legislative districts must be drawn so they are equal in population. The Supreme Court has long upheld the constitutionality of the practice, maintaining that all citizens have an equal interest in representative democracy, and the concept of equal protection therefore requires that their votes be given equal weight.

"It's called one person, one vote," Chief Justice John Roberts said of the constitutional principle at stake in the case. "That seems designed to protect voters."

"There is a voting interest, but there's also a representational interest," Justice Sonia Sotomayor countered, referring to the makeup of elected legislatures, which would most likely change if the rule was altered.

Civil rights groups say certain groups would lose all political influence. "Minorities, undocumented persons, minors and the incarcerated would become invisible and voiceless in the eyes of their state governments," said Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

"Changing the one person, one vote standard would cause massive disruptions in the state’s election systems, especially before an election year. Urban areas with large young minority populations would lose. Less populous, more affluent rural districts would benefit," Greenbaum added.

Conservative groups maintain 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 noncitizen immigrants live and are counted in the census figures.

Texas picked up four congressional seats after the 2010 census, mainly because of the growth in its Hispanic population. If the challengers prevail, many of those new Texans will not be counted in drawing legislative district lines because they are too young to vote, not citizens or otherwise prohibited from voting.

Observers say the Supreme Court could issue a ruling in Evenwel v. Abbott by early 2016.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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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 for 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)


Playa Grande home
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. That wonderful large house price is $349,000.  But also you can get a  2,866.33-square meter building lot with three terraces  for $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, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 243
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University of Florida/Mike Gil
Fish are not enough, the university study concludes

Fish reported overwhelmed by nutrients

By the University of Florida news staff

For years, many scientists thought they had a secret weapon to protect coral reefs from nutrients flushed into the seas by human activity. Experiments suggested that herbivores such as fish, urchins and sea turtles could keep corals and their ecosystems healthy by eating up extra algae that grew in the presence of these nutrients.

But a new University of Florida study sheds doubt on that idea, underscoring the importance of sustainable growth in coastal areas.

“We found that while herbivores can control the effects of nutrient pollution in small-scale experiments, nutrient pollution at larger, realistic scales can overwhelm them,” said Mike Gil, a marine biologist who conducted the study as a doctoral student. “We can’t just focus on protecting fish to keep coral reefs healthy. We have to take a more holistic approach.”

In addition to sustaining sea turtles, whales and dolphins, these ecosystems deliver a host of benefits to people, from providing medicinal compounds and seafood to protecting coastlines from storm surges.

Nutrient enrichment can endanger these reefs. As population grows, paving and development dump runoff laden with nitrogen and phosphorus into nearby bodies of water. Fertilizers intended for lawns and crops find their way into the seas, where sewer pipes might also be disgorging waste, especially in developing nations. The resulting enrichment can cause an overgrowth of algae that harms corals, sea grasses and kelp.

In Akumal, Mexico, where he leads a field course in marine ecology, Gil has seen coral reefs decline and algae increase, even as the population of algae-eating fish remained stable. He wondered if herbivores alone were really enough to defend the reefs.

The field experiments that gave rise to that idea typically looked at areas of nutrient pollution of a square meter or less, but nutrient pollution zones can cover hundreds of square kilometers. Gil wanted to know if those results would scale up, but he knew larger field experiments weren't a viable option.

So Gil and his co-authors, fellow doctoral student Jing Jiao and former University of Florida professor Craig Osenberg, now at the University of Georgia, turned to mathematical modeling.

They found that as the area affected by nutrient pollution increased, herbivores' ability to control the resulting algae decreased, suggesting that these systems may be more vulnerable than many scientists thought.


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From Page 7:


U.S. growth estimate declines slightly

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Forecasters say the U.S. economy will grow a bit more slowly than first thought next year, but they also say the outlook for jobs and the housing market is good.

Members of the National Association for Business Economics predicted this week that U.S. economic growth would be a modest 2.2 percent for 2015 and speed up a little next year. Association economists help run all kinds of companies across the United States.

Member Ken Simonson said the growth figures were a modest decrease from earlier predictions. But he said "nevertheless it is growth, it is going to stay positive for every quarter through the end of 2016, and jobs are going to keep being added every quarter."

The association forecast that the world's largest economy would continue growing at an annual pace of between 2 and 2.5 percent over the next five years. The prediction of lackluster growth was based on what the economists saw as tepid business investment, along with a lot of regulatory and other constraints.

Nearly all of these economists said they expected the U.S. central bank to begin raising the key interest rate next week, and that it would rise gradually to a still-low rate of just over 1.1 percent by the end of next year. 

Next year, they also said they expected a slight increase in home building and an uptick in the number of jobs created each month.

A separate study by the Manpower employment services company questioned 11,000 employers across the United States and found one in five planned to hire people next year, while just over one in 20 planned to cut jobs. The authors were optimistic about employment growth next year, despite problems in the energy sector and manufacturing and weakening exports due to the strong dollar and weak growth in overseas economies.

A company that tracks the housing market said interest rates would rise gradually in 2016, but not enough to keep home sales and prices from also rising. CoreLogic said an improving job market would make it possible for more people to set up households and start families, boosting demand for homes.

The researchers also reported a sharp drop in the number of foreclosures over the past year, a sign that more of the damage from the financial crisis is healing.