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(506) 2223-1327                               Published Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 247                               Email us
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International bankers here seeking info on tax bills
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Representatives of the World Bank and the Interamerican Development Bank met with Costa Rican officials and some legislators Monday to push for approval of more taxes.

There are a handful of bills at the legislature that the executive branch has proposed. Still even within the Presidencia there are those who doubt any bill will be approved unless strong curbs are placed on spending. President Luis Guillermo Solís has not shown an inclination to make significant budget cuts.

In fact, the central government is going ahead with major construction projects that eventually will show up in future budgets.

Lawmakers already approved for the second and final time in September a $48 million loan to build a wholesale produce market in Sardinal, Guanacaste.

State banks are putting up $12 million and the government the balance for a $35 million convention center in Heredia. The Instituto Costarricense de Turismo also seeks to hire some one to help it market the facility.
The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes will soon seek bids for a $7.5 million office tower at Plaza Víquez. This is supposed to be the start of a $30 million government city.

The finance ministry still is trying to purchase a 5,200-square meter office building for $121.7 million.

Even the legislature plans new buildings at a cost of $76 million.

The public has taken notice, and there even is a Facebook page devoted to fighting the legislative construction proposals

The visitors Monday were Fabrizio Zarcone of the World Bank and Javier Biverinotti of the Interamerican Development Bank. Both entities have significant investments in Costa Rican loans.

The Partido Acción Ciudadana, which generally supports new taxes, reported the meeting. This is the party of the president, and attending Helio Fallas Venegas, minister of Hacienda, and José Francisco Pacheco Jiménez and Fernando Rodríguez Garr, both vice ministers.

Marco Vinicio Redondo Quirós, an Acción Ciudadana lawmaker, said the two men visited to verify what the government has been saying.  Redondo said some persons object because the proposals have been put forward by the current government.

Fallas is seeking a value-added tax, increased income tax, anti-fraud legislation as well as changes in what income is exonerated from taxes. There also are bills to reduce the amount spent in pensions. And then there is the bill to renew the tax on corporations.

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board is expected to begin this week increasing the interest
rate it charges to banks, and this is expected 
house of cards
A.M. Costa Rica graphic

to have an impact on what Costa Rica will have to pay for international loans.

There also is the possibility that the Banco Central will not be able to continue to support the colon currency against the dollar. An increase in the value of the dollar will make repayments of international debt harder. The colon is among the few currencies that has actually increased in value against the ever stronger dollar.

Although officials seldom discuss the topic, average Costa Ricans loath taxes because they do not have faith in public officials. A procession of recent news stories about excessive salaries and pensions contributes to this attitude. They also suspect systemic corruption.

The Ministerio de Hacienda unknowingly supported this anti-tax view Monday when it reported that it had collected 926.7 million colons ($1.76 million) from professionals who had understated their income.

The Dirección General de Tributación, the tax agency, is part of the ministry.

The tax agents have been checking up on the returns of 450 professionals who purchased fancy cars, properties and condos, yet declared little income.

The faulty tax reports came from physicians, lawyers and architects, among others, who reported expenses related to food, transportation, private education, medical expenses and personal loans that should not be included, the agency said.

The tax agency said at least 1,000 more professionals will undergo a review after the first of the year.

Meanwhile, the legislature is expected to begin a Christmas holiday without taking action on any of the tax bills.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 247
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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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Honduras project
Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad photo
This is the Proyecto Hidroeléctrico Patuca III in Honduras.

State power company looks afar for work

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's state energy company is going international.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad said that a group of employees traveled to Honduras to continue negotiations for technical help with hydro projects.

President Luis Guillermo Solís will visit Honduras shortly and is expected to promote the participation of the Costa Rican technicians.

The Costa Rican state company is considering participation in three hydro projects that are being financed by the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica. The work would include new construction as well as upgrading existing projects.

The firm also is in contact with the state Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica de Honduras for possible work on its projects, said the company.

The Costa Rican state firm has expertise in building dams and the tunnels and associated machinery to produce electricity. There also is a possibility that the Costa Rican firm will be renting equipment. Among other devices, the firm has giant machines for making tunnels.

The firm also is involved in a project in El Salvador, and Bolivian technicians are to visit Costa Rica soon to discuss participation in a geothermal project there, the company said.

Emergency declared for the holidays

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The national emergency commission has taken the unusual step of declaring a low-level emergency for the holidays.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias did so to put local emergency committees into action to handle the flow of tourists as well as continue the support of some 5,000 Cuban migrants who are stranded in the country.

The yellow alert concerns mainly the western part of the Central Valley, the Pacific coast and the northern zone. The action causes the various emergency commissions to activate their system and basically remain on their toes.

Immigration gearing up for holidays, too

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The immigration agency said that it was beefing up its operation starting today in anticipation of a flood of holiday travelers.

Last year during December 120,417 persons left Costa Rica at the Peñas Blancas border crossing with Nicaragua, and there were 185,722 arrivals at Juan Santamaría airport, the agency said

This year the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería has a second border crossing with Nicaragua at Las Tablillas.

Party planned for 35,000 children

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Sunday the biggest Christmas party of the year will take place at the Estadio Nacional.

This is the 15th annual Christmas fiesta mainly for children from low-income families. The sponsor is the Asociación Obras del Espíritu Santo, which said that 35,000 children are expected.

The association said that Wednesday volunteers will be seeking funds throughout the country.

Academic picked to head Banco Nacional

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Ana Isabel Solano Brenes has been named president of the board of
directors at Banco Nacional.

A bank statement said that this is the first time in 101 years that a woman has held the post.

Ms. Solano is an academic who also has been president of Banco Popular. She was named at the start of his administration by President Luis Guillermo Solís to be executive director of  Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje but abruptly decline the position citing private reasons.

Ms. Solano has a master's in administering businesses from the Universidad de Costa Rica and
Ana Isabel Solano
  a degree in the same area from the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica. She also has been rector of  Universidad Fidélitas.

Banco Nacional has faced criticism lately because of the high salaries and benefits paid employees and bank officials.

Saudi Arabia set up anti-terror alliance

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire service

Saudi Arabia announced today what it called a new Islamic military alliance made up of 34 countries to fight terrorism.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency published a statement saying the initiative will include an operations center in Riyadh to coordinate military operations.

The statement said terrorism is a "serious violation of human dignity and rights, especially the right to life and the right to security," and that "acts of corruption and terrorism cannot be justified in any way."

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman said at a news conference there will not be a focus on any one terror group.

"Today there are a number of countries that suffer from terrorism, for example Daesh in Syria and Iraq, terrorism in Sinai, terrorism in Yemen, terrorism in Libya, terrorism in Mali, terrorism in Nigeria, terrorism in Pakistan, terrorism in Afghanistan and this requires a very strong effort to fight. Without a doubt, there will be coordination in these efforts," he said. Daesh means the Islamic State.

News for the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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Third News Page

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 247
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El Niño predicted to begin losing strength in February
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

El Niño that has brought record drought to western Costa Rica is expected to begin to diminish by February. The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional issued a summary of El Niño's impact and also predictions Monday.

From January to November there was a lack of rain on the Pacific coast, the Central Valley and the northern cantons of  Guatuso, Los Chiles and Upala with the north Pacific being the worst affected with 37 percent less rain than normal, said the institute.

On the other side of the country, the Caribbean coast and the northern zone received 44 percent more rain than average, said the institute. That includes rain that provoked extensive flooding in northeastern Costa Rica.

The current El Niño is among the three strongest in 50 years, the institute pointed out, and it is being blamed for the unusual distribution of rain.

The weather station at Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia registered a record drought this year with rain being 58 percent below average, said the report. The Central Valley saw the second driest year since 1900, and Limón saw the second wettest season on record, the institute reported.

In San José Dec. 2 saw the highest recorded temperature for the month with 30.8 degrees C, some 0.6 of a degree warmer than the previous December record set in 1888, the report said. That temperature was 87.44 degrees F.
The prediction for the next three months is more drought in the Pacific coast, particularly in January and February, said the institute.

The Central Valley is expected to get a bit more rain when Caribbean storms find their way over the mountains.

Typical at this time of year, the country west of the Caribbean mountains experiences a dry season and the Caribbean coast gets rain.

Kiddie porn

Costa Rican among those detained

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

and wire service reports

A Costa Rican man is one of 60 persons in Latin America to be detained in a major sweep against child pornography.

There were other arrests in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, México and Paraguay, as well as others in Spain and the United States.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said worldwide there were 200 arrests.

Authorities say Operation Without Borders also rescued three minors, ages 9, 14 and 15, who were being used to make child pornography in México. The videos were posted on Internet sites, on social media and sent by email.

The Costa Rican suspect was not named, and the location where he was detained was not disclosed, but agents said that significant evidence was confiscated. They added that there seemed to be connections among all those detained.

porn arrest
Judicial Investigating Organization photo
The Costa Rican suspect is led to jail in this Thursday photo.

Hotel header

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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 247
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Pew study shows that U.S. middle class is smaller as upper class grows
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. middle class is shrinking, according to a new study.

In the latter part of the last century, the majority of Americans were middle class. In general, that meant they had a comfortable standard of living and economic security.

Most Americans believe that growth of the middle class is synonymous with prosperity and an equalizing of opportunity. If more people are comfortable economically, then democracy is working.

“America does best when the middle class does better,” President Barack Obama said last March, “and when ordinary folks who maybe were born into poverty are able to climb their way into the middle class, that’s good for everybody.”

The American middle class has been mentioned constantly on the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign trail. Republicans argue that middle-income Americans are disappearing.

It turns out the middle class is contracting, according to the Pew Research Center.

Pew defines middle-income Americans as adults making about $42,000 to $126,000 annually for a household of three.

There used to be more people in the middle class than in the upper and lower classes combined. In 1971, 61 percent of the population was middle class.

In its report, Pew said that only 50 percent of the U.S. population now falls in middle class category, down 11 percent.

The American middle class did see growth in some areas. Its median income increased 34 percent since 1970.

By comparison the upper class saw an increase of 47 percent.

But the new century has been damaging for middle-income Americans. In 2014, their median income was 4 percent less than in 2000. The housing market crisis and the Great Recession also affected their median wealth (assets minus debts) with a hit of 28 percent from 2001 to 2013.

The difference between middle and upper income households in the U.S. has increased exponentially in the last three to four decades, according to the Pew report.
Upper-income families owned 29 percent of the nation’s wealth in 1970. In 2014, they had 49 percent. By contrast, the amount of wealth held by middle-income households decreased from 62 percent in 1970 to 43 percent in 2014.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (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!

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.


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Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
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Real estate rental services (paid category)

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
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Real Estate
About us
What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2015 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 247
Real Estate
About us

Army decides to court-martial
sergeant who fled his post

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Army announced Monday it will court-martial Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on charges of desertion and putting his fellow soldiers in danger in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl spent five years as a prisoner of the Taliban before he was freed last year in exchange for five Taliban fighters held at the U.S prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

If convicted, Bergdahl could spend the rest of his life in a military prison.

Bergdahl's military defense team argued at a hearing earlier this year that he should be charged with a misdemeanor, which means a reduction in rank, brief jail time and a dishonorable discharge from the service.

They said Bergdahl is not a Taliban sympathizer and that no one was killed when soldiers went out looking for him. The lawyers also spoke of their client's suffering at the hands of the Taliban.

But Army prosecutors say the sergeant put his fellow soldiers in danger when they had to search for him in parts of Afghanistan where Taliban terrorists were lurking. They argued that Bergdahl sneaked away from his unit in the dark of night and planned on running away for weeks.

In an interview produced for a podcast, Bergdahl said he wanted to draw attention to what he perceived as a failure of military leadership in his unit.

Poll says New York majority
opposes Syrian relocations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A growing fear of homegrown terrorism in the United States has spread to one of its most liberal states, New York. A new December poll by the Siena College Research Institute reports that 52 percent of registered New York voters oppose allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. presently.

Among those surveyed, 60 percent of New York respondents are very concerned that another terrorist attack will happen in the state in the near future, as compared to 12 percent that are either not very concerned or not concerned at all.

By comparison, New York's highest-profile leaders, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, remain strong advocates for those seeking refuge, pleading to their constituents not to allow others to play onto their fears.

While delivering a fiery keynote address to immigrant rights advocates in New York on Monday, Cuomo confronted presidential candidate Donald Trump on his agenda to shut America's borders to Muslims.

"You want to build walls? You want to keep the Muslims out? We believe in freedom of religion. It was one of the founding premises of the entire country," Cuomo said.

He reminded voters that nearly all Americans with the exception of Navajo, Sioux, Apache and other Native American groups are immigrants, too.

"It's not your land, it's our land. It's the land of immigrants. And don't you tell anyone that you're closing the gate and you're shutting down opportunity. That's not who we are, and that's not who you're going to make us," Cuomo said.

De Blasio went one step further in his remarks to the pro-immigrant crowd, calling on New Yorkers to reject religious and ethnicity-based tests, or risk playing into the hands of our enemies.

"It's quite clear that ISIS and other groups want to see division in this country, and they want the imagery of the majority in this nation turning against our Muslim population," he said, using an acronym for the Islamic State. "It is, therefore, all the more important that we embrace our Muslim population at this very moment and we show this is a country for all."

Both Cuomo and de Blasio stressed the importance of reducing income inequality to both strengthen the middle class and fight discrimination against immigrants.

Nisha Agarwal, commissioner for the New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs, announced a $7.9 million initiative to help immigrants access high-quality legal services, the largest investment of its type by a single municipality.

She says the city is doing everything in its political power to help both immigrants and refugees.  However, she said that there is a lot of cultural work that has to happen as well, in order to change hearts and minds on the Syrian refugee crisis.

It starts, she says, with placing a human face on the issue.

"There's plenty who are trying to create an other, " she said, “but we are saying these are our neighbors, they're our friends, they're our family."

Meanwhile, Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton addressed a conference of pro-immigrant activists Monday, laying out her vision for comprehensive immigration reform.  She was also quick to criticize her opponents for stoking Americans’ fears and creating a hostile environment for Muslim-Americans.

“We are a big-hearted country, and we should never forget that and we shouldn’t let anybody on the public stage say that we are mean-spirited, that we are going to build walls, mentally and physically, that we’re going to shut doors and we’re going to lose the talents and the contributions of millions of people who are here, doing the best they can, building lives for themselves and their children.  We are a country where people of all backgrounds, all nations of origin, all languages, all religions, all races can make a home.  America was built by immigrants.”

Mrs. Clinton says that now, more than ever, it is important to respond to anti-immigrant sentiment and fear-mongering by other candidates.

Vegas debate tonight is fifth
for Republican candidates

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Nine Republican presidential contenders will be on stage tonight in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the fifth Republican presidential debate.  This latest face-off comes amid public concerns about terrorism and national security, and new poll numbers that buttress the campaigns of real estate mogul Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Trump continues to lead in national polls, but Cruz is surging in Iowa, the state that begins the party selection process with its caucus voting on Feb. 1.

The poll results suggest that concern about terrorism in the wake of the Dec. 2 attack in San Bernardino, California, is having an impact on voters.

“The last time Quinnipiac University polled, the economy was the top issue.  Now it is terrorism, a subject on which Donald Trump gets the highest rating of any of the candidates,” said Quinnipiac assistant polling director Peter Brown. Brown added that Cruz “appears to be the main beneficiary of Dr. Carson’s apparent collapse,” referring to the retired neurosurgeon whose numbers have slumped.

A new Quinnipiac University poll of likely Iowa Republican caucus participants indicated a close race between Trump at 28 percent and Cruz with 27 percent.  Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was third with 14 percent and Ben Carson, who led the last poll in October, was fourth with 10 percent.  No one else was above 5 percent.

The Quinnipiac poll came on the heels of the latest Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll, which also had Cruz in first place in Iowa.

Cruz showed a 21 percent surge from the last Register poll in October, largely at the expense of a weakening Carson, who led the previous poll but fell 12 points in this latest survey, perhaps due to growing doubts about his ability to handle foreign policy issues.

Meanwhile, Cruz’s long term strategy of appealing to a range of conservative voters may be paying off as he draws support from Tea Party activists, foreign policy hawks and evangelical Christian voters who make up a key core constituency among Iowa Republican caucus voters.

Trump remains in the top spot nationally among Republican voters, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.  Trump was at 27 percent in the survey followed by Cruz with 22 percent, Rubio in third with 15 percent and Carson in fourth place with 11 percent.

The Cruz surge in Iowa caught Trump’s attention, and he’s become more aggressive in his critique of the freshman Texas senator. Trump told Fox News Sunday that Cruz has acted like a bit of a maniac at times during his Senate career and warned that his inability to work with colleagues would limit his effectiveness.

Cruz continued to steer clear of any direct confrontation with Trump. He told supporters behind closed doors last week his approach was to bear hug both Trump and Carson, hoping to win over their supporters once their candidacies failed.

The possibility of an escalation of the Trump-Cruz feud will be on tap for Tuesday’s debate though Republican strategists are warning those who want to attack Trump to be careful.  Trump is “too smart, too ruthless and he likes fighting, he likes being a counter-puncher,” former House Speaker and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told the Hill newspaper.

Even as Trump and Cruz battle for conservative hearts and minds, a fierce struggle is underway among several Republican contenders to be the leading mainstream or establishment candidate in the 2016 race.  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was able to qualify for the main debate Tuesday as he continues to enjoy a mini-surge in the polls in New Hampshire, site of the first presidential primary election Feb. 9.

Christie hopes a strong debate performance with a focus on countering terrorism will put him in the mix to be the mainstream favorite in a group that includes Rubio, former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.  Most political analysts predict that eventually one mainstream contender will emerge from this group to challenge the conservative wing of the party where currently Trump and Cruz are the favorites.

What happens in the cross-talk Tuesday among Rubio, Christie, Bush and Kasich could help one or more of those contenders position themselves for a strong showing in the New Hampshire primary, leaving the others to contemplate whether they can stay in the race.

Nine Republicans qualified for the CNN-sponsored debate Tuesday including Trump, Cruz, Carson, Rubio, Bush, Christie, Kasich, former business executive Carly Fiorina and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

An earlier so-called undercard debate will feature four contenders who did not do well enough in national state polls to qualify for the main debate stage: former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and former New York governor George Pataki.  Former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore did not register enough poll support to be included in either debate.

Obama expresses his hope
to be able to visit Cuba

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama says he wants to visit Cuba during his last year in office, but only if he can talk with dissidents opposed to the regime of Cuban President Raúl Castro.

“If I go on a visit, then part of the deal is that I get to talk to everybody,” Obama told Yahoo News in an interview published Monday.  “I’ve made very clear in my conversations directly with President Castro that we would continue to reach out to those who want to broaden the scope for, you know, free expression inside of Cuba.”

Obama and Castro renewed diplomatic relations between the two Cold War adversaries in the last year, ending a five-decade standoff between the island nation and its neighbor 145 kilometers to the north.

The U.S. and Cuba have reopened their long-closed embassies in Havana and Washington, but neither leader has visited the other country.

Obama said that he hopes that sometime next year he and his aides will see enough progress in Cuba advancing the plight of those silenced by the Castro government that they can say that “now would be a good time to shine a light on progress that’s been made, but also maybe there to nudge the Cuban government in a new direction.”

Obama, who leaves office in January 2017, reiterated his intention to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where 107 suspected terrorists are being held. He is expected to soon reach agreements with other countries to accept more freed prisoners and offer a plan to move some of the most dangerous suspects to new prison facilities on U.S. soil.

But Congress is opposed to moving any of the Guantanamo inmates to the United States and an Obama attempt to carry out such a plan through an executive order is sure to draw a heated protest from lawmakers and perhaps a legal challenge.

Obama and Chinese leader
pledge to work on warming

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama, leaders of the world's two biggest polluters, pledged Monday to work together to implement the historic Paris climate change accord.

In a phone conversation, Xi told Obama the pact agreed to Saturday was the result of global cooperation and charted a clear path for further international efforts, according to an account by Beijing's Foreign Ministry.

Xi said China wants to maintain coordination and cooperation with the United States on other international issues.

The White House said Obama praised the Paris accord that would curb polluting emissions over the coming years. Obama said there was close coordination between Chinese and American negotiating teams in Paris to make sure the climate pact was approved.

The American leader said U.S. cooperation with China on the climate accord showed the two countries can reach agreement on a range of international issues.

China and the United States are the world's two largest carbon emitters, although the Asian nation's emissions are almost twice that of the United States and about two and a half times that of the 28-nation European Union.

U.S. Embassy in Turkey fears
an attack by Islamic terrorists

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Embassy in Turkey says it will have limited consular services due to an unspecified security threat.

In a statement Monday, the embassy in Ankara says public services, including visa appointments, will be cancelled through today and will be rescheduled for a later time.

It has urged U.S. citizens to avoid the embassy building on those dates.

"Please note the embassy’s operating status may be subject to change as the security situation evolves," the statement said.

Last week, the U.S. consulate in Istanbul was placed on alert following intelligence about plans by Islamic State militants for a possible attack.

Fake pope selfie

Faked photo of pope making
the rounds on social media

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In case you haven’t heard, you can’t believe everything you see on the Internet.

A viral photo purporting to be Pope Francis’ first selfie was being circulated on social media, much to the glee of pope fans.

But it turned out to be a fake.

While the image portrays a smiling pope and is close cropped as are many a selfie, the image was taken from a video chat the pontiff did back in September of 2014.

A solo pope selfie would be improbable as Francis has warned against chasing likes on social media.

"I would dare say that at the root of so many contemporary situations is a kind of radical loneliness that so many people live in today," Francis told American bishops at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Pennsylvania during his trip to the United States. "Running after the latest fad, a like, accumulating followers on any of the social networks."

Many news organizations fell for the hoax, which was posted by an Instagram account claiming to be the official account of the Vatican. It has 140,000 followers.

Pope Francis has more than eight million followers on Twitter, but he has claimed he is a technological dinosaur.
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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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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.
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Photo montage of penthouse
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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
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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:

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 Phone (506) 2653-6417 Cell (506) 8825-8942 / (506) 8916-0734

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:

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: Phone 8309-2000.

ocean-view home
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:


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   More photos HERE!

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: or phone 506-8377-8402.

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:

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
- 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

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 or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album

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
or call (506) 8707-1037  (506) 2778-8408

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.
Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164

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:
Watch this video for full details.

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:  or call (506) 8707-1037 
(506) 2778-8408 Web:

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:   Check out slide show HERE!

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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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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 247
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Earth's tilt linked to tropical weather

By the Louisiana State University news staff

Paleoclimatologist Kristine DeLong contributed to an international research breakthrough that sheds new light on how the tilt of the Earth affects the world’s heaviest rainbelt.

Professor DeLong analyzed data from the past 282,000 years that shows, for the first time, a connection between the Earth’s tilt called obliquity that shifts every 41,000 years, and the movement of a low pressure band of clouds that is the Earth’s largest source of heat and moisture, the Intertropical Convergence Zone.

“I took the data and put it through a mathematical prism so I could look at the patterns, and that’s where we see the obliquity cycle, that 41,000-year cycle. From that, we can go in and look at how it compares to other records,” said Professor DeLong, who is in the Louisiana State University Department of Geography and Anthropology.

With research collaborators at the University of Science and Technology of China and National Taiwan University, Professor DeLong looked at sediment cores from off the coast of Papua New Guinea and stalagtite samples from ancient caves in China. Her data analysis revealed obliquity in both the paleontological record and computer model data. This research was published in Nature Communications Nov. 25.

The standard assumptions about how the variations in the Earth’s orbit influences changes in climate are called Milankovitch cycles. According to these principles, the Earth’s tilt influenced ice sheet formation during the Ice Ages, the slow wobble that occurs on a 23,000-year cycle as the Earth rotates around the sun called precession affects the tropics, and the shape of the Earth’s orbit that occurs on a 100,000-year cycle controls how much energy the Earth receives.

“This study was interesting in that when we started doing the spectral analysis, the 41,000-year tilt cycle started showing up in the tropics. That’s not supposed to be there. That’s not what the textbooks tell us,” Professor DeLong said.

This finding shows that the tilt of the Earth plays a much larger part in Intertropical Convergence Zone migration than previously thought, which will enable climate scientists to better predict extreme weather events. Historically, the collapse of the Mayan civilization and several Chinese dynasties have been linked to persistent droughts associated with the Intertropical Convergence Zone. This new information is critical to understanding global climate and sustainable human socioeconomic development, the researchers said.

Additionally, climate scientists have begun to recognize that rather than shifting north and south, the Intertropical Convergence Zone expands and contracts, based on this information.

Rains in Costa Rica frequently are blamed on the approach of the zone.

U.S. aviation agency to register drones

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

After numerous reported incidents with unsafely operated small drones, the U.S. government has decided to link all unmanned aircraft with their owners through mandatory registration.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which regulates all air traffic within the United States, announced Monday that as of Dec. 31 all drones will have to be registered and will have to bear their license numbers.

In introducing the new regulation, the FAA's deputy administrator, Michael Whitaker, said the aim was to educate drone owners about safety and responsibility as well as to connect the aircraft with their owners.

Registration will cost $5 for all private and commercial unmanned aircraft weighing from 250 grams to 25 kilograms, including onboard cameras.

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From Page 7:

Petroleum glut continues to reduce prices

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

World oil prices tumbled again Monday, dropping to lows not seen since late 2008 and early 2009, when the global recession was deepening.

Global crude prices have been falling for months with the latest plunge coming as Iran renewed its pledge to boost its crude exports, adding to the glut of oil on the world market.

Oil produced in the United States fell below $35 a barrel in early trading, although the price recovered somewhat in the hours afterward to reach $35.27. Brent crude drilled in the North Sea dropped as much as 3.5 percent, trading at $36.61 at one point, although it also moved a bit higher in later trading.

Even with declining world prices, Iran's deputy oil minister, Amir Hossein Zamaninia, said there was absolutely no chance that Tehran would delay its plan to increase its oil exports. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, whose 13 member nations produce about 35 percent of the world oil supply, has effectively abandoned oil production quotas, adding to the world oil glut.

The International Energy Agency says it expects the oil glut will extend to at least late 2016, with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries showing renewed determination to maximize its production.

The cut in the price of crude on the world market has led to the lowest gasoline prices in several years for motorists in the United States. But the steady drop in prices has hindered economies in oil-producing countries dependent on oil revenues, such as Venezuela and Russia. Energy companies have had to scramble to pay bills and fund new operations and sometimes have laid off workers.