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(506) 2223-1327                               Published Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 245                               Email us
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tamales
A.M. Costa Rica file photo           
Bet you can't eat just one. This is a piña ready for action.
An expat's guide to the traditional Christmas tamal
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There is nothing that defines the Christmas season in Costa Rica more than the tamal, the corn dough treat carefully wrapped in banana leaves and baked and then boiled.

They can be found in little saunas at the grocery around Christmas.

But they can be a tricky dish. So here are some tips for expats:

1. Don't eat the banana leaves. Tamales produce more waste per eatable portion than any other food. Merchants sell the banana leaves by the kilo, and it seems that each tamal requires at least a half kilo of carefully trimmed banana leaves.

A well-prepared tamal will have two layers of leaves, and these are important because if water reaches the dough inside during boiling, the tamal will be ruined.

2. It's not a pineapple. For reasons that still befuddle the Real Academia of the Spanish language, Costa Ricans refer to two tamales tied together with string as a piña. So there is no fruit involved.

The word must be used with care because in other Spanish-speaking countries, piña suggests non-standard sexuality.

3. Careful! Some families who make thousands of tamales each year probably have some dentists as relatives. They include in the mix olives that still contain a pit. Ouch!

4. The universal condiment, Salsa Lizano, is a mandatory addition to the tamal on the plate. The sauce, heavy with pepper, mustard and  turmeric is moderately hot and stays with the diner for hours.

5. Tamales are a family tradition. When invited to a Costa Rican home, the correct response is  "Your tamales are the best."

There is a grandmother in the kitchen who worked two weeks to create the perfect tamal according to the standards of her grandmother. The praise is obligatory even if the additional chilis force smoke through the ears.

6. Buy them. Unless an expat has Latin blood coursing through the veins, expats should not attempt to make tamales. At best doing so is a family affair that lasts a couple of days. Without knowing the trick of the trade, the result can be a mess.

A typical tamal contains more than a dozen ingredients.

7. Lard is one of the basic constituents of a tamal. There is no Weight Watcher's lard on the market. A serious tamal will weigh in around 400 calories, be it pork or chicken. So a piña is double that, plus additional for the sauce. And the Imperial beer needed to dampen the effects of  Salza Lizano adds a couple hundred more calories.

So an expat can resign him or herself to gaining a few pounds or go out there and dance the weight off. About 12 hours of aggressive salsa should do it.


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A.M. Costa Rica's 
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 245
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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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Psychotherapy

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Insurance professionals

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 Accountants

U.S. Income Tax Services
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Fine art restoration and conservation

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Legal services

Valdivieco header
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meteor shower
Royal Astronomical Society/Astronomy Now/Greg Smye-Rumsby
A diagram showing how the meteors will appear to emanate from  the Constellation of Gemini.

Meteor show reaches its peak Sunday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

One of the best sky shows of the year will take the night stage from Sunday through Tuesday.

This is the annual Geminid meteor shower that gets the name because it appears to come from the Constellation Gemini.

Says the Royal Astronomical Society:

At its peak and in a clear, dark sky, tens of  shooting stars or meteors may be visible each hour. The theoretical maximum under ideal conditions is about 120 an hour.

Meteors are the result of small (millimeter- to centimeter-sized) particles entering the earth's atmosphere at high speed, burning up and superheating the air around them, which then shines as a characteristic short-lived streak of light. In this case the debris is associated with the asteroidal object 3200 Phaethon, which many astronomers believe to be an extinct comet.

Meteorological sources note that the moon is a waning crescent, so the lunar reflection will not interfere with viewing.

Meteor watchers may want to look at different times during the night, said the astronomical society. Because of the rotation of the Earth, in the early evening, the edge of the cloud of debris that makes up the Geminids skims the atmosphere, leading to meteors that can have long paths across the sky, it added.

Timeanddate.com maintains a list of the hourly direction and altitude of the meteor shower for Costa Rica. The origin is in the north or east usually above 45 degrees, according to a chart there.

Those in Costa Rica are lucky that a light jacket might be sufficient to stay warm. Readers elsewhere may have to bundle up.


convention center
A rendering of the proposed convention center

Public employees to promote conventions

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country's tourism institute is planning what it calls an aggressive strategy to compete in the convention business.

President Luis Guillermo Solís signed a directive Thursday calling on all public employees to become promoters of Costa Rica as a convention destination when they travel abroad.

That was announced at a meeting where the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo said that it would be contracting with world-level advisers for help in developing a promotional plan for conventions.

The institute also said that an announcement for bids for the proposed convention center in Heredia would be made before the end of the year. The convention center is now expected to cost $35 million.

Banco de Costa Rica and Banco National are putting up $12 million, and the tourism institute will use $23 million of its own money to pay for the project, according to Casa Presidencial.

The institute also said that a contract had been made with the Empresa de Servicios Públicos de Heredia S.A. to provide power to the center.


Rape suspect linked to other cases

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An Heredia man detained Thursday is being investigated as a serial rapist.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said the 34-year-old man was detained at his home in Santa Lucía, Barva, involving a single allegation of forcible rape.

That case involves a 20-year-old woman who was abducted at knife-point along with her year-old child Tuesday night from an Heredia park.

A man brought the woman to a home from which she was able to flee Wednesday, agents said.

The crime resembles other cases of rape reported in the area, agents said.


Surprise found in hospital bathroom

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The half-kilo package found in the Liberia public hospital probably was not medical marijuana.

The Fuerza Pública said officers received a tip about an unusual package in a bathroom of the facility.

A member of the Policía de Control de Drogas verified that the substance was marijuana. There were no arrests.

News for the Spanish-language press
Translated into English












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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page


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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 245
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Woman who ran medical non-profit found murdered in Barrio California
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Someone brutally murdered a U.S. woman who ran an international medical volunteer service.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the woman, Sondra Payne Elizondo, died in a Barrio California hotel room and that her body was discovered Wednesday afternoon by hotel employees. She was stabbed 24 times. She was an alumna of the U.S. Peace Corps and served in the Cartago area in the mid-1990s.

She also co-founded the non-profit VIDA Volunteers in 2007. The organization has
since treated
thousands of Costa Ricans, Nicaraguans,  Guatemalans and Panamanians. It even provides veterinarian services in rural communities.

Mrs. Elizondo, 45, is believed to have married here and then moved to the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. She and her husband, Richard, returned to Costa Rica in 2004, according to a feature report by the University of St. Thomas where she was graduated in 1992 with a degree in social work. The university reported that the couple had two children.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that she no longer lived here but was a frequent visitor. She last entered the country Saturday, investigators said.



murdered woman
Sondra Payne Elizondo



Despite criminal conviction, Luis Milanes case is far from over
The following news story appeared Thursday afternoon.

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Savings Unlimited investors have won what one called a  Pyrrhic victory with the conviction of Luis Milanes.

"A Pyrrhic victory is a victory that inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat," the investor added in an email, quoting a Web site definition.

He was referring to the drawn out fraud case that began in November 2002 when Milanes closed his high-interest operation and fled the country.

In the decision Thursday a San José criminal court panel gave Milanes a bit more than 15 years in prison and sentenced Michael González, the office manager, to six years. José Milanes, the brother of Luis, was not convicted.

Investors and some court officials consider Milanes a flight risk, and the judicial panel ordered that he be held in preventative detention until a written sentence is issued in January.

Most investors are aware that the case is not over. An appeal is certain, and the chances that the ailing Milanes spends Christmas in prison are slim.

Lawyers are likely to cite his health and the holidays in a bid to have him freed.

Milanes seems to have divested himself of his assets over the  last few years. That includes property that he posted as compensation for some of his investors in a conciliation deal.

At one time he owned a string of casinos and other ventures.

Milanes was missing after he closed his borrowing operation until he returned in June 2009. The criminal case has been going on since.

José Pablo Fernández of Global Trust Firm, S.A. quickly sent out an email to those in the conciliation deal noting that the agreement was not part of the criminal case. He said that a sale might come soon of the Hotel Europa downtown. That is part of the property that Milanes signed over as part of the agreement. The trustee firm has been trying to sell the hotel property for years, but there have been many complications.


The investors who are involved in the agreement are expected to receive money from the hotel sale, although there are substantial maintenance and legal costs that continue.

There is some question if investors will receive any money as a result of the Milanes conviction. He says that the bulk of the funds from Savings Unlimited were taken by an associate who absconded to Europe.

In addition, the court is considering money laundering allegations that may show up in the final verdict.  Such a conviction, if upheld, would channel any money to the government.

González would probably serve less than three years if the conviction is upheld. Plus he gets a substantial discount for the time he served in preventative detention several years ago and the time he serves now in house arrest.

Savings Unlimited was one of those high-interest operations that flourished here at the turn of the century. Depositors received up to 3 percent a month return on their investments. Milanes claimed the money was being invested in casinos
.


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Croc Resort

Tarpon lodge

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, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 245
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Ultrasound technique used in non-invasive prostate surgery
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men and is the fifth-leading cause of cancer death in men globally.

While death rates for prostate cancer have been decreasing in most developed countries, mortality rates are rising in some European and Asian countries such as South Korea, China and Russia. A non-invasive way of removing prostate cancer tumors is now available in the United States with the help of robotic technology.

The University of Southern California is the first academic medical center in the U.S. to perform this type of procedure.

Brett Lindsay knows he made history when he underwent a procedure known as robotic high intensity focused ultrasound.

"I was excited about the new procedure because it was more or less non-invasive. The recovery time was a lot quicker — did not have to remove the prostate," Lindsay said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the procedure even though it's been used in other countries to treat prostate cancer for about 10 years. Traditional prostate cancer treatments include either removing the entire gland or radiation, which will affect the quality of life for patients even if the cancer is removed, said Inderbir Gill, lead urologist at the University of Southern California Institute of Urology.

"The nerves that are lying right next to the prostate that are responsible for erections, the sphincter that's lying right next to the prostate that is responsible for urinary continence, they get compromised. So, yes, you take care of the cancer, but
you significantly impact the person's quality of life," Gill said.

With the ultrasound technique, only the cancer is identified, targeted and destroyed. The procedure is an outpatient procedure, said Robert Barnett of SonaCare Medical, one of the manufacturers of the technology.

"Here we're taking ultrasound energy off of a concave or bowl-like surface and bringing that to a focal point, and at that point we have tremendous heat generated and we can destroy tissue," Barnett said.

The devices are used in Western Europe, Latin America and some Asian countries, but not so much in developing countries.

"I think in the Third World if you will, in developing countries, it's a financial thing. Those countries certainly don't have the resources to commit to health care. Their focus is more on preventing infectious disease," Barnett said.

But he said that, looking at the global cost of treating prostate cancer, the technology is less costly than radiation and it can easily be implemented in an unsophisticated medical setting.

Gill said having the procedure at an academic medical center will allow them to further research the outcomes, minimize any side effects and advance the technology.

The objective is "to figure out what molecular and genetic markers predict HIFU success, HIFU failure. Which patients are the best candidates for it? How do we not overtreat cancer? How do we not undertreat cancer?" Gill said.

Brett Lindsay said he'll relax at home for a few days before going on a business trip in less than a week.

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.
8840-2/2/16

diligence
Click photo for another video

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

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

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

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
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Here's reasonable medical care
Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom



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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




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A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 245
Sports
Calendar
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Real Estate
Lifestyle
Food
About us

House Republicans claim
White House misled on POW


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. House Republicans accused the Obama administration of misleading Congress about its efforts to release five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for captive U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The report was released Thursday, the same day it was announced the soldier's case would be the topic of a popular podcast.

The report by Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee said the Obama administration also did not comply with a law that requires Congress be given a 30-day notice about transferring detainees from the prison.

In the Bergdahl exchange, the report said, the Taliban leaders were told of their release two days before the Pentagon told congressional leaders about the exchange. Also, it said the five men were put on a plane to Qatar less than three hours after Bergdahl was released.

Rep. Mac Thornberry, the committee's chairman and a Republican, said in a statement that Congress was also misled about the status of negotiations before the prisoner transfer.

"In the months preceding the Taliban Five transfer, the administration did not communicate any of the specifics or contemplated courses of action to the committee, and the information it did convey was misleading and obfuscatory," the report said.

The report focuses more on the deal surrounding the five Taliban prisoners and how Qatar will monitor them rather than Bergdahl's case.

Bergdahl was captured by the Taliban shortly after walking away from his remote Afghanistan outpost June 30, 2009. He was held captive, abused and tortured for nearly five years, before being freed in the prisoner exchange May 31, 2014.

Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, is currently an active duty soldier with a clerical job in Texas. He was charged this past March with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, a charge that carries up to life in prison.

However, his status remains in question with an Army officer having recommended Bergdahl's case be referred to a special court martial, which is a misdemeanor-level forum.

The five former Taliban leaders remain in Qatar, where they are prohibited from leaving the country or re-engaging in militant activities.

Committee Republicans said in the report the Department of Defense has not established who will be responsible for making sure Qatar monitors the activities of the five released men.

The White House did not have an immediate response to the report.

At the time of the exchange, the administration said negotiations were tenuous and they feared any leak of information would threaten Bergdahl's life.

In their rebuttal, the Democratic members of the committee agreed that the Defense Department should have heeded the 30-day notice requirement, but they called the report unbalanced and partisan.

The 98-page report provides details about the Defense Department's work with the Qataris, and includes information from classified interviews, more than 4,000 pages of written material, trips to Qatar and Guantanamo Bay, and the review of several hours of classified video about the preparations for the transfer.

Meanwhile, Bergdahl's case will be the subject for the second season of the popular podcast "Serial."

Bergdahl was interviewed by filmmaker Mark Boal. Excerpts of those telephone interviews, his first public account of what he went through, will be used in the podcast.

In the first episode, Bergdahl said he left his base to highlight poor leadership within his unit. He also said he wanted to prove he was like fictional CIA movie spy Jason Bourne.

"Doing what I did was me saying I am like Jason Bourne," Bergdahl told Boal in one call, referring to the CIA assassin played by Matt Damon in a string of Hollywood action thrillers.

"I had this fantastic idea that I was going to prove to the world that I was the real thing, that I could be what it is that all those guys out there who go to the movies and watch those movies, they want to be that," he said.

Sarah Koenig, host and creator of the podcast that is a spinoff of the radio show "This American Life," said the show has interviewed former soldiers who were deployed with Bergdahl and the Taliban, with the second episode of the podcast presenting the Taliban's version of events.
 

Worldwide push announced
to eliminate rabies by 2030


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization and World Organization for Animal Health are launching a global campaign to eliminate rabies by 2030. The two agencies say tens of thousands of lives can be saved every year by eliminating this vaccine-preventable disease.

People love their dogs. And in most cases, dogs provide loving companionship for people throughout the world. Unfortunately, dogs are the main carriers of rabies, a disease that kills more than 70,000 people worldwide each year, most of them children.

The World Health Organization says about 80 percent of people exposed to rabies live in poor, rural areas of Africa and Asia with no access to prompt treatment should they be bitten. 

Rabies is the world’s deadliest disease, killing 99 percent of its victims. World Health Director-General Margaret Chan calls this an irretrievable and unnecessary loss as rabies can be prevented by vaccinating dogs against this disease.

“Vaccinating at least 70 percent of the dog population breaks the cycle of transmission in . . . dogs. When canine rabies goes down, so do human rabies deaths. Mass vaccination is by far more effective and also more humane … than rounding up stray dogs and destroying them,” said Ms. Chan.

Mass vaccination campaigns also are more cost-effective. World Health estimates a dog vaccine costs less than one dollar, whereas the cost of treating people who are bitten is between $40 and $50. This represents, on average, 40 days of wages in some affected countries in Africa and Asia.

Bernard Vallat, director general of the World Organization for Animal Health, says besides endangering the lives of humans, rabid dogs also pose a threat for endangered wildlife.  He said rabid dogs in Africa often penetrate protected animal reserves and infect buffalo, antelopes, wild dogs and other vulnerable wildlife.

“So controlling rabies in dogs will lead also to save some endangered species, particularly in Africa is a good argument also to be developed for promoting dog vaccination,” said Vallat.

Health experts agree a comprehensive and coordinated national approach is needed to run a successful mass dog vaccination campaign. For best results, they say governments must involve veterinarians in the private sector and local communities who know the people who own the dogs that could become rabid if neglected and not vaccinated.


Friend becomes new focus
in California investigation


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. investigators probing last week's deadly massacre in California are now intensely focusing on the activities of Enrique Marquez, who they say supplied the assault-style weapons to the husband-and-wife attackers who killed 14 people and wounded another 21.

Authorities say that the 24-year-old Marquez spent hours tinkering on old cars with Syed Rizwan Farook, a friendship that had extended for several years. Investigators say Marquez converted to Islam, Farook's religion, married a member of Farook's extended family and claims to have discussed a terrorist plot with Farook in 2012 but abandoned it when authorities arrested suspects in an unrelated terrorist incident.

Investigators say that Marquez, who until recently worked as a security guard at a Walmart store, legally bought two semi-automatic rifles and gave them to the 27-year-old Farook, who carried out the attack on a local government center in San Bernardino with his Pakistani-born wife, Tashfeen Malik, 29. Farook and Malik were killed hours later in a barrage of gunfire with police.

Marquez, who has not been charged in the case, checked himself into a mental health facility after the Dec. 2 attack. Agents have searched his house, seized potential evidence and interviewed him repeatedly. Authorities say he has been cooperating with the investigation.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department is investigating whether it missed any signs of the radicalization of Ms. Malik's Islamic beliefs when officials in Pakistan scrutinized her request for what is known as a fiance visa, to enter the U.S. with the intent to marry Farook a short time later.

James Comey, the director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, told a congressional panel Wednesday that investigators believe the couple was radicalized before meeting online where they started discussing jihad and martyrdom about two years ago.

Authorities say that no red flags turned up in their background checks on Malik and that questioning of her focused on the legitimacy of her relationship with Farook and whether they planned to marry, as they did last year after arriving in the U.S.

The State Department has defended its background check on Ms. Malik. But State Department spokesman John Kirby told CNN Thursday, "Every now and then, someone's going to get through. We don't like that, but that's the reality."

After a closed-door briefing on the investigation Thursday, Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona denounced the State Department review of Ms. Malik.

"They say the system has all these fail-safes," Salmon said. "Apparently there aren't enough fail-safes. This woman was obviously radicalized years ago and she got through the system."

At a briefing for reporters Wednesday, Kirby said, "It’s too soon to know what, if anything, might have been missed in the screening process. If in the context or in the process of the review, we find things that we can do, we’re not going to wait for the review to be complete before we make the changes. But clearly we’re going to keep an open mind about the program going forward and make whatever changes we need to make."

In his testimony, Comey said Farook and Ms. Malik were inspired by foreign terrorist groups. He described the couple as homegrown violent extremists. 


Climate change impact seen
on weather-related health


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. health agencies have been monitoring climate change for some time. So have researchers at universities across the country. What they've found might help people protect their health as weather conditions change.

Climate change is not just a change in the global temperature; it is also a change in the weather.

George Luber, the chief of the climate and health program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said "Climate change has a broad impact on health, both through the direct effect that climate change has on extreme weather, heat waves to heavy rainfall events and associated flooding, coastal storms, hurricanes, but also indirectly, in the way that it alters disease ecology, or ecosystems that are important in maintaining a healthy environment."

One example is Lyme disease, which is caused by a particular type of bacterium spread through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks, also known as deer ticks. A warming climate and changing seasonal temperatures have expanded the tick's range.

"We’re seeing more cases. We’re seeing shifts northward and to the midwest, and that’s linked to changing seasonal patterns," Luber said. In the past 20 years, blacklegged ticks have increased their range from the southeastern U.S., north to Canada and west to Minnesota, which is known for very cold winters.

Scientists are seeing more heavy rains in some regions, drought in others. The rain can create flood plains where mosquitoes breed, and storms, floods and droughts can create conditions conducive to clusters of water-, mosquito- and rodent-borne diseases. Scientists expect storms and floods to increase the spread of cholera in developing countries as flooding creates contaminated water.

Other research concerns the spread of malaria. A larger portion of Africa than previously predicted is now at high risk for malaria transmission, according to a new University of Florida mapping study. Malaria will arrive in new areas, the research suggests, posing a risk to new populations and will require changes in managing public health. The study also shows that some parts of Africa will become too hot for malaria.

Part of Luber's job involves preparing the public for the threat of climate change, bringing in the latest science and help the various states integrate climate change into their planning. For example, the Centers’ research shows that the state of Oregon will soon experience heatwaves. Oregon is known for its temperate weather.

"We work with them to assess their weather or climate-related risks, and through the use of climate models discovered that while they don’t experience heatwaves now, the future projections is that they will start experiencing heatwaves in the future,” said Luber of state health officials.

Oregon actually experienced two unusual heat waves last summer. The Centers advised health authorities to set up cooling shelters and help people who are especially vulnerable to heat. Luber said the southeastern states will be more prone to inland flooding as the climate changes, which will mean people there will have to find a source of clean water.


Cruz may become alternative
if brash Donald Trump falters


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump remains in the lead in most polls and is even tying Sen. Ted Cruz in Cruz's home state of Texas. But things could change.

Trump's persona is brash and speak-your-mind, said Kirby Goidel, who works on public policy research at Texas A & M University, adding that Trump and his supporters seem to think "it is o.k. if you are wrong as long as you are saying things that need to be said."

Goidel's assessment is supported by interviews in downtown Houston with voters like Terri, who said, "I don't like his attitude sometimes, but I think he would be a good president for the country. … He just seems to be strong. That is what we need is a strong leader."

Beth, another voter, says Trump addresses the fears that she and many other citizens have about terrorism and illegal immigration.

"I just don't feel like the government is really focusing on our safety here in the U.S.," she said. "They are more focused on immigration and bringing immigrants in and not really focusing on the American citizens that are here."

Many of those concerns are the same as those expressed by conservative voters who support Cruz or other candidates. But Trump has overshadowed them all with his rhetoric and style. Even when he says things that are later proven wrong, his supporters are not fazed.

Trump is a celebrity who once had his own television program, and he draws far more media coverage than any other candidate.

Goidel says television news programs have boosted their ratings by giving Trump free rein, much to the chagrin of other candidates.

"The more he has gotten this free media coverage, the more he has risen in the polls," Goidel said. "Now it looks like some of the media are getting tired of just letting him talk. They are being more aggressive and more forthright in challenging him."

But that media criticism can benefit Trump. He often encourages crowds to boo the reporters who cover his rallies, accusing them of being biased toward liberals. But conservative broadcasters and pundits have also attacked Trump, and hardline conservatives seem put off by Trump's failure to outline specific proposals or policies.

Cruz, who some see as best positioned to overtake Trump, is the candidate who seems least inclined to criticize him.

Goidel thinks Cruz may be counting on an eventual Trump decline through which he, Cruz, could benefit.

"Ultimately, Trump will falter," Goidel said, adding that the people looking for the outsider will find him appealing and they will find Cruz similar to Trump without some of Trump's problems.

But Goidel says it may not be easy for Cruz, or anyone else, to attract Trump supporters.

"I don't know what percentage of his support is core-and-consistent Trump,” Goidel said, “but he is tapping into a significant part of that electorate that seems like it is not likely to just go to another candidate or go to another candidate easily."

Recent polls in Iowa and South Carolina show growing support for Cruz, especially among evangelicals and other voters concerned with moral issues. Trump, who went through a highly publicized divorce and owns several casinos, is not what many devout Christians view as a role model.

Bill O'Sullivan, treasurer of the Texas Patriot PAC, which supports conservative candidates and causes, said that while Trump rules the media, Cruz is building a strong organization in Iowa.

"Cruz has been working on an important factor in Iowa, which is the evangelicals, and he has an enormous ground game there,” O’Sullivan said.

Even though Cruz has been in the U.S. Senate for nearly three years, O'Sullivan said Cruz, like Trump, is seen as a Washington outsider who refuses to go along with business as usual.
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

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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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 245
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Cuban rights protest ends in arrests

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Several Cuban dissidents were arrested in Havana Thursday for taking part in a human rights demonstration on International Human Rights Day.

Only a handful of people were able to make it to the planned site of the unauthorized protests. Shouting "freedom" and "long live human rights," they were barely able to disrupt traffic before they were hauled away by police.

The human rights group Amnesty International said that many members of the protest group, called the Ladies in White, were arbitrarily restricted Wednesday to prevent them from participating in a protest.

In recent years, groups of Cubans have demonstrated every year on the U.N.'s International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10.

International Human Rights Day is a commemoration of the date in 1948 when the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a milestone document outlining basic international rights norms.

The activist Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation estimated that at least 100 people were arrested nationwide Thursday.

Amnesty had warned that protesters were at an increased risk of detention this year, after 1,477 people were arrested in November. Amnesty said it was the highest monthly total in many years.

The rights group said, "This is a systematic problem that silences Cuban activists in their own streets."


Honduran soccer star gunned down

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The captain of Honduras' national soccer team, Arnold Peralta, was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting Thursday.

Police say he was gunned down in a shopping mall parking lot in his hometown of La Ceiba on the Caribbean coast.

Police say it appears the killing was deliberate because the 26-year-old Peralta was not robbed.

Peralta played midfield for the Honduran national team and was scheduled to play a friendly match against the Cuban national team next week.

He played on the 2012 Summer Olympic team and formerly was a member of a Scottish football club.

Honduras is one of the world's most violent countries, plagued by poverty and drug-treated gang murders.

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From Page 7:


House will consider temporary funding bill

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

One day before U.S. government funding authorization was set to expire, the Senate Thursday passed a short-term, five-day measure to keep the government running past today.

The House is expected to pass a similar measure today. And the White House says the president will sign it, which would avert any agencies shutting down.

But both chambers still will have to pass a massive government spending bill next week, before they leave town for a long holiday recess. Negotiations are ongoing, and the main obstacles to an agreement between Democrats and Republicans are a number of policy measures, called riders, that both sides attach to the spending bill.

Thursday House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi introduced a new aspect to the budget standoff with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. Mrs. Pelosi and other Democrats are pushing a measure to get rid of a provision banning federal funding for gun violence research from the budget bill.

Republican leaders are virtually certain to reject Democrats' demand to eliminate the 17-year-old provision, known as the Dickey amendment, in the year-end funding bill. Asked about the measure at his weekly news conference Thursday, Ryan told reporters he was not going to conduct sensitive budget negotiations in the media.

Republicans enacted the ban on federal research into gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control in 1997, after lobbying by powerful groups such as the National Rifle Association. Gun rights supporters say government agencies use studies to advance gun control legislation.

House Democrats have responded strongly this week with efforts to highlight Congress' inaction on gun violence after a spate of recent mass shootings, including the one in San Bernardino, California, last week that left 14 people dead. They staged protest votes on the floor of the House on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

They held two separate gun violence forums. At a forum Tuesday, former U.S. surgeon general David Satcher said that for almost 20 years, Congress has prevented the United States from taking a public health approach to gun violence. He said the Centers for Disease Control had dramatically reduced the number of smoking deaths by taking a public health approach, but Congress is keeping it from doing the same thing for victims of gun violence.

Satcher called for the ban on federal gun violence research to be lifted and also called for universal background checks for firearm purchases. He and other witnesses at the panel also support a bill sponsored by Peter King, a Republican, which would prevent people on a government terrorist watch list from buying firearms.

King is one of only a handful of Republicans who support the bill, and he told reporters he does not believe the measure will be part of the spending bill.  Most Republicans say people can end up on the so-called no-fly" list by mistake, and they reject any gun control legislation, saying the Second Amendment to the Constitution protects Americans' rights to own guns.