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Published Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 245
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Illegal migration produces another corruption source
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Corruption problems within the police forces are far greater than 115 officers whose dismissal the Seguridad Pública minister announced Thursday.

The arrivals of thousands of illegal foreign migrants have offered irresistible temptations to those in law enforcement and others. A.M. Costa Rica has reported on busloads of illegal immigrants arriving daily in the south of the country.

There also seems to be a steady exit from the country through the northern border despite the stated opposition of Nicaraguan officials who closed the border to migrants more than a year ago.

El Diario Extra was the first news source to report Friday that documentation of an organized human smuggling ring has been in the hands of investigators and the Presidencia since October. The allegation is that police officers along the border are involved along with residents in moving migrants into Nicaragua. The newspaper said that a resident of the border area included documentation and even videos of police officers receiving money from migrants. There has been no comment from Casa Presidencial.

The security minister, Gustavo Mata, made no mention of this case Thursday, and only two police officers were listed as being dismissed for extortion.

For the Presidencia, the illegal smuggling helps solve a problem of what to do with the migrants, who have been clustered at the border in camps with tents supplied by the U.S. government. Although migrants in the last part of 2015 were mainly Cubans, the bulk of the current migrants and residents of the camps are from Haiti. There still are some Cubans entering the country illegally, but the flow has decreased.

Sources have reported that migrants are paying up to $250 to enter the country from Panamá and that the usual split gives $100 of this money to police officers involved. Civilian human traffickers get the lion’s share, and

those providing transport receive some money.

The new arrivals seem to be housed in a camp near Golfito. Only a handful of Cubans have been detained by police officers.

The bulk of the Cubans left the country by air last year in a deal engineered by the countries that were involved. The air flights respected the Nicaraguan decision not to be involved by landing in El Salvador where the migrants received transport north.

The Cubans had a legal right to enter the United States based on a Cold War era law. But the Haitians do not.

The migration on foot by the Haitians has been reported several times. In one case, a group overnighted in Barra del Colorado before hiking into Nicaragua. Locals with boats provided the transport from a point in Limón province. Police declined to respond to multiple requests.

In a tragic incident, eight Haitian migrants died in a water accident in Nicaragua in August. They were just a few miles from the Costa Rican border. Nicaraguan police reports at the time said that they were the victims of a boat accident. But they also may have been unable to pay for their transport because no boat ever was found.

Based on Costa Rican law, the government actions are as illegal as those of human traffickers. The law prohibited housing migrants, which the government is doing in camps. And the law prohibits providing transportation to migrants. The law does not contain any exemption for government action.

The scope of the migration problem is much broader than just in Costa Rica. The Organization of American States is hosting a discussion on the crisis Tuesday.

Among those speaking will be Marcelo Pisani, regional director for Central and North America and the Caribbean, International Organization for Migration. Both the hemispheric organization and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development  have published reports on the topic.

State of road reported endangering holiday shopping
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Residents near Golfito are expressing concern about the highway that leads to the Deposito Libre, a popular destination for tax-free shopping.

The roadway, Ruta 14, has a 50-meter long wet spot that residents, among them expat Glenn Klima, fear will collapse putting the roadway out of service.

The stretch carries buses, heavy trucks from an oil palm facility and also fuel trucks for boats that conduct anti-drug patrols, he said.

The only alternative if the road gives way is a narrow road that requires four-wheel-drive vehicles, he added.

The Deposito Libre is on this road outside Golfito proper. The facility is betting on a lot of traffic for the holidays. Nearby is a popular tourism hotel that would have access problems if the highway crumbled.

Klima said he has contacted officials including the U.S. Embassy because a road collapse would affect access to docked U.S. Coast Guard ships.

A road crew is active in the area, but they have not seemed to have been able to stop the drainage from a hill side onto the road.

Meanwhile, traffic police were using shovels Sunday to clear a small slide on Ruta 32 north of San José. That troubled highway produces slides every time there is a strong rain.

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This is the official reward offer about the Mexican politician.

Mexican fugitive being sought here

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The governments of Spain, the United States and Costa Rica are teaming up to find Javier Duarte de Ochoa.

Duarte vanished Oct. 13. Raúl Cervantes, the attorney general in Mexico, has offered a reward of 15 million Mexican pesos for information leading to the man’s arrest. That amount is about $735,000 in U.S. dollars.

Duarte is the controversial ex-governor of Veracruz, a state that hugs the eastern coast of Mexico. He resigned in the wake of corruption scandals and alleged association with certain organized crime and narco-trafficking affiliates. 

His tenure as governor between 2010 until his resignation on Oct. 12 this year was equally notorious for the disappearances and killings of journalists in the state. The situation of violence had become so bad that the international association Reporters Without Borders named Veracruz as one of the 10 most dangerous places to practice journalism in the world. Veracruz has retained that title through all the years Duarte was governor and remains so today.

After following up on a tweet sent out by a priest claiming that Duarte was hiding out in his ranch at Chiapas in southern Mexico, authorities raided the one of a hundred properties the government knows are owned by Duarte but could not find the ex-governor. This raid happened Nov.1 and since then there has been no announcement from the Mexican government of any more leads.

Ministry stresses value of vaccinations

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A record 1.08 million vaccinations against influenza were given to the population since a campaign began last May, according to the Ministerio de Salud.

The campaign officially ended in August, but officials still urge people to regularly receive their vaccinations because 10 people have already died while infected with influenza. Most of those who died had not been vaccinated, the ministry said.

Representatives of the health ministry said that their campaign was successful this year because the coverage of those groups at the most risk of being infected with influenza was high. The people with the highest risk factors include those with immune system disorders, diabetics, children under 3, persons over 65, and people with chronic heart problems or obesity

The largest group that received vaccinations were those people aged 65 and more at 257,984 doses given, officials said; that group was followed by two other groups, defined as people with respiratory problems at 129,555 doses and children who received 109,025 shots, the ministry said.

To prevent influenza, the simplest cure is to regularly wash hands and remain home when experiencing symptoms of the flu. Smoking should also be avoided, said the ministry.

The call for vaccinations is usually announced and conducted between April and June each year.

U.S. Coast Guard airlifts ailing seaman

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. Coast Guard brought an ailing crew member from a cargo vessel off the coast of Costa Rica to the Liberia hospital Tuesday.

According to the Coast Guard, a 28-year old Russian man aboard the BBC Balboa began experiencing appendicitis symptoms. Crewmen aboard the Coast Guard cutter Hamilton picked up the man and then moved towards Liberia, Costa Rica until a helicopter could be launched to take the man to Daniel Oduber airport. 

“These types of long range offshore search and rescue cases highlight the reach and capability of the Coast Guard when assisting fellow mariners on the high seas,” said Lt. Joseph White, the pilot of the helicopter crew. “It also shows how partner nations like Costa Rica and the United States can work together to save a life.” He was quoted in a news bulletin.

The Hamilton was around 690 miles off Costa Rica, according to the report, and was conducting a routine law enforcement patrol at the time.

American Legion planning a Christmas party

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

American Legion Post 10 will have a Christmas Party Thursday at Casa de España in Sabana Norte at noon. All veterans and family members are welcome, said the post.  There will be lunch for 3,500 colons, and those who play a musical instrument are invited to bring it, said Ken Johnson, post commander.

Our reader’s opinion
Real news was deliberately obscured

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I read your take on fake news and saw that your take-away was different than mine.

When you stated that Secretary ". . . Clinton was a target because so many wanted to believe the fabricated stories," you seemed to have left out that she was the source of most of the fabricated stories.

The content of the leaked e-mails clearly show that the Democratic National Committee conspired with a complicit press and a presidential candidate to slant the news to her desires.  And that should be your real concern as a purveyor of content.

In the primaries, the Democratic National Committee actively conspired with a candidate and the mainstream media to slant coverage that disparaged Sanders and at the same time bolstered positively the candidacy of the person she desired to run against in the general.

In the general election, those same outlets then turned their attention to smearing her chosen GOP opponent and refusing  to address the content of the leaked e-mails.  The candidate, the Democratic National Committee, and CNN and most of the mainstream media pushed a narrative that focused on the legality of the e-mail, the past usage by others, that the mails were hacked and private and so we should not look, the leakers' character, and even dredged up a bogeyman in Asia as interfering in our elections.  Anything but the actual content of those e-mails, content which for me, broke the last fraying thread of hope I had for our grand experiment.

You see, this conspiracy, and that is exactly what this is: an ongoing conspiracy, is true. 

These are not opinions.  It is what they did.  The Democratic National Committee with the full knowledge and acquiescence of a candidate and a compliant press conspired to present a specific Goebbelsian narrative to effect the election of Hillary Clinton.  Certainly they are on the right side and their motives are pure.  But it is what they did.

It may not have been fake news, but the real news was deliberately obscured for a specific political end: The ascendancy of Hillary Clinton to the presidency.  And that is what is being covered up by those same news outlets now decrying fake news.  We were manipulated during the election.  We are being manipulated now.  As a newsperson, does that not concern you? 

The press has little credibility at this point, and when the readers don't know where to turn to get the truth, they are left to believe those things that conform to what they do know.  
Chuck Dumas

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 245
Real Estate
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Tax proposal would target foreign providers of virtual services here
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica could join the list of countries that tax foreign firms for providing digital services. The sponsor of a proposal bill identifies Netflix and Spotify as companies that should be taxed for their use of local infrastructure, such as Internet cables.

The proposal is by Jorge Arturo Arguedas Mora of Frente Amplio. He lives in Escazú and has worked in the telecommunications industry for years.

The idea is not unique. The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development is suggesting to member countries that they charge foreign firms the going taxes for whatever the firms sell to their citizens.

Although this is a free-standing bill, the concept might be part of a final value-added tax bill that comes from the legislature. Physical products that are sold to residents here are subject to taxes when they are delivered, but not virtual ones.

Proponents note that Internet providers like the Instituto Costarrricense de Electricidad, invest heavily in electronic infrastructure to meet the demands from users.  Of course, any tax on companies that sell products through the internet actually would be paid by those in Costa Rica because the firms simply would pass the charges onto their customers. Plus customers already are paying fees for internet access.

Netflix sells movies over the Internet and Spotify provides a music service

Car fleeing San Pedro scene of shooting rams bus, and driver dies
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A double shooting in San Pedro injured two men, but one person died when the presumed getaway car crashed into a bus several miles away. The shooting took place between 4:30 a.m and 5 a.m. Sunday, according to the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The agency said two men, identified by the last names and ages of  Edmon, 19, and Mejias, 20, suffered wounds after a

confrontation that seemed to be provoked when a vehicle brushed one of the victims.
Witnesses saw two men fleeing in a vehicle driven by a woman.

The crash in La Uruca not far from the León XIII turnoff a short time later was linked to the shooting. The woman, still unidentified, died in the crash when the passenger vehicle rammed a bus.

Two men in the car also suffered injuries, and they were detained by police. Agents said firearms were found in the car.

The shooting in San Pedro was one of several over the weekend. There was a fatal shooting in Rohrmoser and two in La Carpio.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 245
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Big birds found to be crucial in spreading tropical fruit seeds
By the Senckenberg Research Institute
and Natural History Museum news staff

More than 90 percent of tropical trees rely on fruit-eating animals, especially birds, for the dispersal of their seeds. Adding to previous evidence, new research shows that large birds are more important than small- and medium-sized birds for plant regeneration.

“Especially large fruit-eating birds are declining due to habitat loss and hunting in the tropics. This is likely to cause a poor regeneration of some plant species. It may bring about profound change to the tropical forest as we know it.” warns Marcia Muñoz of the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre.

Ms. Muñoz and her team conducted a study on fruit removal and seedling recruitment in a tropical forest. It showed that large-bodied bird species weighing up to 1,400 grams contributed more to fruit removal than small-bodied species. Large birds have higher energy demands and are able to eat a wider spectrum of fruit sizes than small birds. This relates to another important observation, some large-seeded plants can only be dispersed by large birds.

From the plants' perspective, the scientists found that fruits with small seeds were more frequently eaten than large fruits as they were more accessible to all birds from the forest. "This means if

large birds become extinct in a tropical forest, not only the large-seeded plant species, but also the small-seeded plant species lose important dispersers," said Ms. Muñoz.

In the process of forest regeneration, fruit removal is followed by seedling establishment. Plants with large and heavy seeds recruited more seedlings than plants with light seeds. Large-seeded plant species thus compensated their lower dispersal rate because they had a competitive advantage over small-seeded species and could better tolerate low light or other hazardous conditions.

“Our results highlight that plants with large seeds are particularly successful in tropical forests and contribute an important part of their diversity. So if we are to conserve this diversity, we need to protect large fruit-eating animals that are crucial for the maintenance of these ecosystems,” said Matthias Schleuning, a researcher at the Frankfurt, Germany, institute and senior author of the study.

The study was carried out in two adjacent protected areas of tropical forest on the eastern side of the Colombian Andes. Researchers recorded the removal of about 17,000 fruits by birds and measured the most important characteristics of birds and plants, such as body size or seed mass.

In addition, the researchers counted how many seedlings of each plant species established at their study sites.

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

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)

Fully Furnished American Style Apartment for Rent

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 245
Real Estate
About us

Axiom new ad

Opiate overdoses kill more
than gun deaths, data shows

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The number of Americans killed last year by heroin overdoses surpassed the toll of those who were shot to death, according to U.S. government data released this week.

Deaths from heroin and other opioid drugs, both legal and illegal, have been rising at a higher rate than gun deaths for years, but the figures from 2015 reflect a dramatic shift since 2007, when gun homicides outnumbered heroin deaths by more than 5-to-1, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported.

Deaths from heroin overdoses spiked by 23 percent in 2015, up to 12,989, the Centers for Disease Control said, while the number of gun homicides rose to 12,979.

Overall, drug overdoses killed more than 50,000 Americans last year, according to the CDC report.

"I don't think we've ever seen anything like this, certainly not in modern times," said Robert Anderson, chief of mortality statistics at the Centers.

Most of the drug deaths were due to overuse of opioids, a class of drugs that act on the central nervous system to relieve pain, including heroin and other illegal drugs, such as fentanyl. Opioids also include painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, which may be prescribed by physicians but also are used illegally.

Wednesday, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which will allocate $1 billion to fight the opioid epidemic. The money will be used for addiction treatment and prevention programs.

In contrast to drug-overdose deaths, which were 52,404 overall in 2015, the Centers said the number of people killed in automobile crashes was 37,757. Deaths by firearms, with suicide overwhelmingly the primary reason for the death over murder, totaled 36,252.

The annual tally of deaths and death rates followed another round of Centers data earlier in the week that showed the overall life expectancy for U.S. residents had dropped slightly from 78.9 years in 2014 to 78.8 years in 2015. It was the first such decline since 1993.

Trump cries foul over claim
Russia interfered with voting

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. president-elect Donald Trump says the Central Intelligence Agency’s conclusion that Russia interfered in last month's presidential election to boost his chances of winning was ridiculous.

Trump fired off a storm of criticism against the CIA’s comments calling it just another excuse by Democrats for his upset of former U.S. secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Trump told Fox News that he does not oppose President Barack Obama's order to review cyberattacks the CIA concluded came from Russia during the lengthy presidential campaign, but said “you should not just say 'Russia.' You should say other countries also, and maybe other individuals." The CIA said it had high confidence that Russia sought to help Trump win.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the final stretch of the presidential campaign to help Trump win the presidency, and not simply meddle in the U.S. electoral process as previously believed, according to senior Obama administration officials. The conclusion is based to some extent on a finding that Russians hacked the Republican National Committee's computer systems, in addition to those of Democratic organizations, but disclosed only embarrassing emails from the Democrats, via WikiLeaks.

Trump's rejection of the CIA conclusion came as the party's losing 2008 presidential nominee, Arizona’s Sen. John McCain, and three other senators called for an investigation into Moscow's interference in the election, saying that it should alarm every American.

McCain, along with Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrats Jack Reed and Chuck Schumer, said the United States needs to stop the grave threats that cyberattacks conducted by foreign governments pose to national security.

Even before Trump mocked the CIA conclusion in the Fox interview, his transition team condemned the spy agency, saying, "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction."

In the interview, Trump praised ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson, his likely pick as the country's secretary of State, because of the contacts he has across the world and the oil deals he's made with Russia. But McCain and Graham also voiced concern about the selection of the 64-year-old Tillerson and his connections with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump aides say the president-elect has settled on Tillerson as the top U.S. diplomat after a month-long search although no announcement has been made. Trump, while not confirming the appointment, said Tillerson has the great advantage that he knows many world leaders across the globe and knows them well.

But his longstanding support for free trade and an expansive presence in the Middle East are at odds with positions Trump took during the long U.S. presidential campain.

"He's much more than a business executive," Trump said. "He's a world class player. He's in charge of an oil company that pretty much doubled the size of his next nearest competitor. He does massive deals in Russia. He does massive deals for the company, not for himself, for the company."

McCain said the choice of Tillerson was a matter of concern.

“You want to give the president of the United States the benefit of the doubt because the people have spoken,” McCain said of the election. “But Vladimir Putin is a thug, a bully and a murderer, and anybody else who describes him as anything else is lying.”

After Tillerson's oil agreements with Russia, the Kremlin in 2013 awarded him the Order of Friendship, an honor reserved for foreigners. Tillerson's appointment would have to be confirmed by the Senate, and Graham said that with his award from Russia, "We'll have some questions. I don't want to prejudge the guy, but that's a bit unnerving."

Tillerson, chief executive of the world's largest publicly traded company, oversees operations in more than 50 countries, including Russia. ExxonMobil reached an oil exploration and production agreement in 2011 with Rosneft, Russia's largest state-owned oil company. Since 2011, the two companies have formed 10 joint operations in Russia.

Tillerson met privately with the president-elect Tuesday and again Saturday after recommendations from former secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Defense secretary Robert Gates. A transition official said Trump is impressed with Tillerson's style and experience.

Trump questions current
relationship with China

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. president-elect Donald Trump questioned Sunday whether the United States should continue its one China policy that includes its Taiwan province, unless Beijing offers concessions on trade and other issues.

"I don't want China dictating to me," Trump said in a wide-ranging interview on Fox News. He defended his recent phone conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, the first contact between a Taiwan leader and a U.S. president or president-elect since 1979, when the United States acknowledged that Taiwan was part of a unified China.

"I don't know why we have to be bound by a one China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade," Trump said.

The president-elect criticized China over its currency policies, its military build-up in the South China Sea and its failure to block neighboring North Korea from conducting nuclear arms tests.

"We're being hurt very badly by China with devaluation, with taxing us heavy at the borders when we don't tax them, with building a massive fortress in the middle of the South China Sea, which they shouldn't be doing, and frankly with not helping us at all with North Korea," Trump said.

Trump's statement miscast Chinese and U.S. tariffs on exported products entering each country. China imposes levies ranging from five to 9.7 percent on U.S. goods, while the United States collects 2.5 to 2.9 percent tariffs.

Trump said it would have been disrespectful to not take the call from the Taiwan leader congratulating him on his election, saying he had a couple hours notice that the call was coming, not weeks or longer as some U.S. media reports have indicated.

"It was a very nice call, short," Trump said. "And why should some other nation be able to say I can't take a call?"

China criticized Trump's acceptance of the call, but had no immediate reaction to his comments in the interview. After Trump's phone conversation with the Taiwan leader, senior White House officials assured Chinese officials that the United States' one China policy remained intact.

During the interview, Trump also said he does not need to receive a presidential intelligence briefing every day because he said they are repetitive from day to day.

“You know, I'm like, a smart person," Trump said. "I don't have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years. Could be eight years, but eight years I don't need that. But I do say, ‘If something should change, let us know.’”

Colombia’s Santos receives
his Nobel Prize for ending war

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos accepted the Nobel Peace Prize Saturday, touting the honor as a gift from heaven for his efforts in ending the 50-year civil war in Colombia.

“With this agreement, we can say that the American continent from Alaska to Patagonia is a land in peace,'' Santos said of the landmark peace deal while speaking in Oslo’s City Hall.

Santos was awarded the peace prize for his work in brokering a peace deal between the Colombian government and leftist guerrillas of the Furezas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or FARC, after decades of war.

The rebels, whose activities were paid for by drug trafficking and kidnapping, committed to laying down their weapons and pursuing peace, accomplishments that were sufficient for the Norwegian Nobel Committee to recognize Santos’ role.

In his acceptance speech, Santos dedicated the award to all Colombians especially those 220,000 who died during the civil war and called his deal a model that could be used in other war-torn countries.

"It proves that what, at first, seems impossible, through perseverance may become possible even in Syria or Yemen or South Sudan," he said.

More than a quarter-million people are believed to have died during five decades of conflicts between the two sides. Santos has said he will donate his prize money of more than $900,000 to projects, foundations or programs that assist war victims and help with reconciliation.

Nobel prizes have stirred controversy on many previous occasions, but usually for political reasons. In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after he had been in office less than a year.

A series of announcements in early October every year tells the world who the prize winners are, and they each receive their awards Dec. 10. The Nobels for academic subjects, physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and economics, are given out at a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden's capital. The peace prize, considered the most prestigious honor, is awarded in Oslo, Norway's capital and home of the Nobel Institute.

The laureates are expected to attend a number of events over several days of Nobel ceremonies and celebrations, public appearances, the prize ceremony, at which they will be expected to speak, and a banquet. The king and queen of each country generally attends the ceremonies.

Breast cancer deaths drop,
but Latin rates are mixed

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new study says the rates of breast cancer mortality are dropping across much of the world, but not everywhere.

Using data from the World Health Organization, researchers at the International Prevention Research Institute in Lyon, France, calculated mortality rates in 47 countries between 1987 and 2013.

They found a drop in mortality rates in 39 countries. Declines in breast cancer deaths were most prominent in developed countries, with England and Wales experiencing the biggest drops.

Results from South America were mixed. Breast cancer death rates increased for women of all ages in Brazil and Colombia, while rates declined for all women in Argentina and Chile.

South Korea had the largest increase in mortality among women, with an 83 percent increase overall and a higher mortality in every age group.

Cecile Pizot, an epidemiologist and the study’s lead author, said changes in South Korean society, which is quickly evolving from an agricultural society to a highly industrialized one, “might explain the considerable shift in cancer mortality.”

Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer for women globally: 1 in 4 cancers diagnosed in women is breast cancer, the International Business Times reported.

“Comparing mortality trends between countries helps identify which health care systems have been most efficient at reducing breast cancer mortality,” Ms. Pizot said.

In the United States, breast cancer death rates decreased 36.36 percent, from 22 deaths per 100,000 women in the years 1987-1989, to 14 deaths per 100,000 women in the years 2011-2013.

Globally, Ms. Pizot said mortality rates went down more for women younger than 50 than for women older than 50. She thinks it’s because younger women receive more aggressive treatment.

Ms. Pizot said it’s not clear what role mammography plays in helping to identify early breast cancers, the period when the disease is most treatable.

She said some countries in similar geographic locations and with similar socio-economic status had similar trends in mortality, even though some health care systems in those regions started using breast X-rays earlier than others.

Non-OPEC countries told
to decrease their production

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries cartel has persuaded 11 non-member countries to slash oil production as a way to raise the low price of oil, which has caused financial stress for the oil producers.

Qatar Energy Minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada, who heads the organization, said Saturday that those non-member countries agreed to cut production by a little more than 550,000 barrels per day as a way to stabilize the market and encourage industry investment.

Production cuts in Russia are expected to make up the bulk of the reduction. According to Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, the country will cut production by 300,000 barrels per day.

"Today's deal will speed up the oil market stabilization, reduce volatility, attract new investments," he said.

The other countries taking part in the deal are: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Sudan and South Sudan.

The price of oil has fallen sharply over the past two years, from more than $90 per barrel in early 2014 to around $40 at the beginning of this year.

The steep decline in the price of oil came as Saudi Arabia increased its output in a bid to undercut the profits of U.S. shale firms, which have higher production costs.

Nov. 30, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries announced that it, too, would cut member oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day. News of the production cut caused oil prices to rise 6 percent, closing Friday at $51.58 per barrel.

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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Real estate for sale (paid category)

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

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

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Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean
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horse ranch
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
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We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need.  More information
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Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

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Some of our other titles:
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A.M. Colombia
A.M. Guatemala
A.M. Honduras
A.M. Cuba
A.M. Nicaragua
A.M. Venezuela
A.M. Central America
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news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 245
Real Estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news is disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Then there is the human side of plants

So, you’re a gardener. What you need to know now are the two P’s: People and product. Who are the people you are working with and where are you
Victoria Torley
finding your product.

I love going to the local viveros for my product, which of course is the plants that I want to use in the garden. You have your favorites as well. My favorite local nursery is Vivero Mi Jardin, owned and run by my friend Sandy. She started the nursery about 10 months ago with 
cuttings from her own plants, plants from her mother’s yard, and things that she had found along the way. Her vivero has grown exponentially, and I need to stop in every 7 to 10 days to find out what else is happening, what else is new.

The truth is I would probably stop in every time I went to and from town. Sadly Metric Man is usually with me and just wants to get where he is going. No worries though as Vivero Mi Jardin is only five minutes away, so I can sneak off whenever I want to. And it’s not just the plants. We all know that it’s partly the person who is growing them, and I know that Sandy loves what she is doing.

One of my other favorite places, which is, unfortunately, over an hour away, is the Cocobolo Tree Farm where I can wander (or drive) through 17 acres of amazing product. Just a few days ago, I visited with friends and discovered that my buddy Brennan is now growing some of the trees that are endangered in the wild. Some of them I have never heard of, but there they are rescued from extinction.

He even has Guanacaste trees, those wonderful umbrella-like giants that you see in the northern province, in a size that will probably survive an invasion of leaf cutter ants. And he has things that some transplanted North Americans have been looking for like real lemons and pink grapefruit.

Product and people. Finding the nursery with the right people, people know what it is they’re selling and stand behind it, and plants that are worth growing. It can be rare plants with a history and a mystique or simply something beautiful to brighten that certain spot in the garden.

And now a reader challenge. Have you found the right people, the right vivero? Send me a note and you will be helping gardeners who are still looking for the two P’s.

A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley

Plant of the Week

Yes, you have seen me talk about hibiscus before, but here are two of the amazing ones I saw recently, one as big as a dinner plate. Both of these are grafted varieties which means that taking a cutting from your friend’s plant may not work well. If you have any skill at grafting (not in my skill set….yet), I suggest grafting your cutting to some nice strong roots and plant in full sun.

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit HERE!
Costa Rican News
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Fine Dining in Costa Rica
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From Page 7:

Bulls seem to be dominating the U.S. markets

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Last week was another string of record-breaking trading days for U.S. markets as the major averages hit all-time highs, having tracked the best week since the presidential election.

The S&P 500, Dow Jones industrial average and Nasdaq each closed higher every day last week. The Dow is closing in on 20,000. Investors continue to be banking on president-elect Donald Trump's plans to boost infrastructure spending, help revive the fossil fuel industry and cut regulations.

The mood can be summed up in one word, euphoria, as market enthusiasm has hit a peak, where buying is chased by more buying. The main catalyst at this point seems to be investors and portfolio managers chasing performance into the end of the year, not wanting to miss out.

The fundamental backdrop continues to suggest very little chance for a recession in 2017.

The Federal Open Market Committee will hold its eighth and final meeting of 2016 this week, where it will deliver its decision on whether to raise interest rates. A move to raise rates by 25 basis points is likely.

Other key data also will be released, including reports on housing, inflation, consumer spending and manufacturing.