A.M. Costa Rica
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(506) 2223-1327                               Publsihed Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 248                              Email us
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International Cour tof Justice photo
15 members of the court appeared for the reading of the decision.
World Court affirms Costa Rica's major claim
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Posted at 9:50 a.m.

The International Court of Justice reaffirmed Costa Rica's sovereignty to land south of the mouth of the Río San Juan in a decision announced today.

The court declined to assess actual damages against Nicaragua, which invaded the land. Instead, it ordered the two countries to negotiate the amount of the damages over the next 12 months. If no decision is reached, the court will consider a new proceeding, said Ronny Abraham, the French justice who is court president, who read the decision in English and French.

The decision also declined to issue an order prohibiting Nicaragua from repeating its invasion.

There is no reason to suppose that any state declared wrongful will repeat its action, and its good faith must be assumed, the court president said, quoting the decision.

Costa Rica also did not prevail on a number of environmental claims. The court said that despite general requirements in certain treaties, Nicaragua was not under any obligation to consult with Costa Rica before starting dredging operations in the river in 2010.

The court easily dismissed Nicaragua's claim that its efforts to dredge a channel across land that is part of Costa Rica was just an attempt to reopen an old mouth of the river.  Nicaragua's legal team had argued this. The decision noted that there were large trees in the area that was dredged and a lack of sediment that argued against the prior existence of any channel.

The court also declined to find that the dredging operation had affected the flow of the Río Colorado, which is entirely in Costa Rica. The river, a southern branch of the Río San Juan, is an important waterway in northeastern Costa Rica, and those who use it feared that dredging further west in the river would divert water.

The court decision said that the activities of Nicaragua could not be clearly linked to a reduction of the water, which could have been caused by the lack of rain.

The court based much of its decision on an 1858 treaty and other decisions outlining the border between the two countries.

The court did not seem to be concerned by a

International Cour tof Justice photo
The court president reads the decison.

breach of its own March 8, 2011, order.
Nicaragua excavated two new channels and set up some military facilities after that date on the disputed property, the decision noted.

Costa Rica asked the court to nullify a 2009 decree by Nicaragua that resulted in the inspection of tourism boats on the river.

The court accepted reports of two cases when navigation on the river by Costa Ricans was interrupted. In February 2013 a farmer and an uncle were detained and subjected to humiliating treatment, and in June 2014 a property owner and members of a local agricultural cooperative were stopped from navigating the river, the court affirmed. These incidents were two of five that were not contested by Nicaragua.

Still the court declined to invalidate the degree although the decision agreed that  the two incidents show that Nicaragua breached Costa Rica's rights of free navigation.

The case began when Nicaragua invaded the Isla Calero area in 2010 and claimed a small piece of Costa Rica. Because the treaties define the border as the south bank of the Río San Juan, a new channel would have transferred part of Costa Rica to Nicaragua. The channel that since has been filled in would have created a broader and deeper mouth of the river to replace the meandering current mouth that is heavily silted.

This would open up the river to large boats and commercial development.

The slight change in border also would give Nicaragua substantial amounts of potentially oil-rich seabed in the Caribbean

Most public agency Web sites get low evaluations
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Web sites of public agencies got a surprise evaluation. The average of 105 sites was 32.24 out of a possible 100.

The evaluation was by the Defensoría de los Habitantes, ICE-Gobierno Digital and the Centro de Investigación y Capacitación en Administración Pública of the Universidad de Costa Rica.

The Defensoría said the goal of the first survey that will be repeated annually is to increase the transparency of the agency's information.

In first place but with just 62.02 was the Web
 site of the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social, said a news release. Agencies that had no Web site got a zero.

Agencies that received low marks were encouraged to do more to provide information to their public.

In this first valuation, the agencies were not aware of the standards of the evaluation.

But these are to be provided, the announcement said.

Sites of more agencies will be evaluated next year, and in three years all public agency Web sites will be evaluated, the organizations said.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 248
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Legal services

Valdivieco header
Lic. Eduardo Valdivieso
your legal adviser for criminal, civil,
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Phone: ( 506 ) 8839-5010 
Address:  150 meters southwest from
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Business specialist
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Lawmaker predicts financial crisis in 2016

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An opposition lawmaker raised the possibility of a fiscal crisis during discussion in the legislature Tuesday.

The lawmaker,  Rolando González Ulloa, said the crisis would be because President Luis Guillermo Solís lacked a strategic route and economic contingency plans. The lawmaker is a member of the Partido Liberación Nacional.

González Ulloa said that representatives of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund predicted a financial crisis within six months if new taxes are not levied by that time.

The bank representatives met with lawmakers Monday to push for approval of a handful of new taxes.

González Ulloa blamed a lack of dialogue between lawmakers and the executive branch for the problem. He criticized the executive branch for its incompetence, its financial imprudence and its political hubris.

The executive branch 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.

Brendan Ryan photo
The goal is to hit the piñata hard enough even while blindfolded to release the candy.

Expats help bring presents to 133 kids

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Christmas parties, supported in part by expats, went well this year, according to organizer Brendan Ryan at Rich Coast Realty.

The parties were at the La Palma and Jicote elementary schools on the central Pacific coast.  133 underprivileged students got presents because the informal effort reached its $1,400 goal, said Ryan.

"The parties went very well this year and in years past skateboards were the most popular item," he said. "But this was the year of the fold-up scooter and the boogie board. They were a hit!"

"We also bought piñatas this year and stuffed them with candy and toys. and the children took turns while blindfolded, with the teacher raising and lowering the piñata by a rope/pulley system, and the class and other students yelling directions to their blindfolded friend. It was a hilarious precursor to the gift giving."

Ryan has been doing this for six years.

GOP debate centers on security, terrorism

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Nine leading Republican presidential contenders clashed over national security issues Tuesday in a debate highlighted by several feisty exchanges between top tier candidates.

The debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, took place with less than two months before the Iowa caucuses, the crucial, first nominating event of the primary election season.

The early part of the debate focused on frontrunner Donald Trump's call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States, following several recent terrorist attacks.

The reality television star and real estate developer defended the proposal as common sense, insisting "we are not talking about religion, we are talking about security."

"People like what I say. People respect what I say. And we've opened up a very big discussion that needed to be opened up," Trump said.

Though many Republican leaders have criticized Trump's Muslim ban, most candidates on Tuesday appeared reluctant to directly confront Trump on the issue.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush instead attacked Trump's flamboyant style, saying he is "great at one-liners, but he's a chaos candidate and he'd be a chaos president."

Throughout the evening, Bush and Trump engaged in several heated exchanges, often talking over one another in an attempt to gain the upper hand.

"You're never going to be president of the United States by insulting your way to the presidency," said Bush, who was once seen as a frontrunner, but whose campaign has struggled.

"Well, let's see. I'm at 42, and you're at three. So, so far, I'm doing better," Trump said, apparently referring to his standing in a recent poll.

Trump also took some heat because he said he was prepared to kill the families of Islamic State fighters. He was challenged on that but cited the mother of the California massacre terrorist who lived in the same house where pipe bombs were being made and ammunition stored. Trump said that families of other terrorists know what is taking place.

Bush also portrayed himself as more knowledgeable on policy issues, mocking Trump, who once said he gets military advice from watching television shows.

"I won't get my information from the shows," said Bush, who questioned whether Trump was getting his information from Sunday morning news shows or Saturday morning cartoons.

Despite widely being seen as a poor performer during the five Republican debates, Trump has opened up a massive lead in most national opinion polls.

Trump's success even as the primary elections draw closer has rattled many in the GOP establishment, who are concerned he may either win the nomination or mount a third party presidential bid.

When asked by a debate moderator Tuesday whether he is ready to commit to not running as an independent if he does not win the Republican nomination, Trump replied: "I'll be honest. I really am."

Trump in September held a press conference to rule out a third party run, but has since said he will reconsider if he feels he is not treated fairly by other Republicans.

News for the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 248
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Solís pins his hopes on meeting that will consider Cuban migrants
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Luis Guillermo Solís said he was hoping for positive news on the stranded Cuban immigrants when he meets with other Central American heads of state in El Salvador Thursday.

In a press conference before leaving Cuba Tuesday, Solís again characterized the problem as being a multi-national one and not just Costa Rica's.

The meeting Thursday is of the Sistema de Integración Centroamericana.

Solís did not share any discussion he might have had on the topic with Cuban President Raúl Castro. They met earlier in the day.

The estimated 5,000 Cuban migrants in Costa Rica are stuck because Nicaragua, a Cuban ally, declines to let them enter that country.

Guatemala and Belize already have declined to provide passage to the migrants.

Solís said that any Cubans who wish to return to their homeland are guaranteed entry.

A reporter asked if Solís has contacted the United States, the destination of the Cubans, to see if entry visas could be issued. But the Costa Rican president said that was a matter between Cuba and the United States.

Cubans are given preferential entry into the United States under a 1966 law.

Tuesday an unidentified senior U.S. official said in Washington, D.C., that there was no plan to alter current migration policy, referring to the stranded Cubans, according to Voice of America.

Solis and Carto
Casa Presdiencial photo
President Solís is shown in his formal visit with Raúl Castro.

The official added that U.S. concerns about Cuba’s human
rights record remained a top priority in negotiations toward normalization, the U.S. news agency said.

In his press conference, Solís said Costa Rican officials were working intensely to allow the Cubans to continue their trip. Most of the migrants have been stuck in Costa Rica since mid-November.

Costa Rica has provided most of them shelter, food and health services.

17 residents extracted from an informal and unlicensed rest home
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents extracted 17 senior citizens from an unlicensed home in Cocorí, Agua Caliente de Cartago, Tuesday and said that they were not receiving adequate care.

Agents also detained the 65-year-old operator of what appears to be an informal rest home. She faces an allegation of exploiting her charges, who range in age from 50 to 80, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Agents claim that she did not use the money she was given to take care of the residents.

There were 13 men and four women. After agents arrived, four men and two women went to Hospital Max Peralta for evaluation. The rest were put in the care of the Consejo Nacional de la Persona Adulta Mayor.

Agents said they acted on confidential information about the home. They said that such an operation needs to be licensed.

Hotel header

Guanacaste Lodge

Palermo Hotel

Croc Resort

Tarpon lodge

Vista Ballena

La Parcela

Hacienda Baru

Recreo Verde

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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The contents of this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2015 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 248
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News via social media means narrower range of sources, study says
By the Indiana University news staff

Researchers have found that people who seek out news and information from social media are at higher risk of becoming trapped in a collective social bubble compared to using search engines.

The study, measuring online social bubbles, was published in the open-access online journal PeerJ Computer Science. The results are based on an analysis of over 100 million Web clicks and 1.3 billion public posts on social media.

"These findings provide the first large-scale empirical comparison between the diversity of information sources reached through different types of online activity," said Dimitar Nikolov, a doctoral student in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indian University in Bloomington, who is lead author on the study. "Our analysis shows that people collectively access information from a significantly narrower range of sources on social media compared to search engines."

To measure the diversity of information accessed over each medium,  researchers developed a method that assigned a score for how user clicks from social versus search engines were distributed across millions of sites.

A lower score indicated users’ Web traffic concentrated on fewer sites. A higher score indicated traffic scattered across more sites. A single click on CNN and nine clicks on MSNBC, for example, would generate a lower score than five clicks on each site.

Overall, the analysis found that people who accessed news on social media scored significantly lower in terms of the diversity of their information sources than users who accessed current information using search engines.

The results show the rise of a collective social bubble where news is shared within communities of like-minded individuals, said Nikolov, noting a trend in modern media consumption where the discovery of information is being

transformed from an individual to a social endeavor.

He added that people who adopt this behavior as a coping mechanism for information overload may not even be aware they’re filtering their access to information by using social media platforms, such as Facebook, where the majority of news stories originate from friends' postings.

"The rapid adoption of the Web as both a source of knowledge and social space has made it ever more difficult for people to manage the constant stream of news and information arriving on their screens," added study co-author Filippo Menczer, a professor. "These results suggest the conflation of these previously distinct activities may be contributing to a growing bubble effect in information consumption."

To conduct the study, scientists applied their analysis to three massive sources of information on browsing habits. These were an anonymous database compiled by CNetS containing the Web searches of 100,000 users at the university between October 2006 and May 2010, a dataset containing 18 million clicks by over half a million users of the AOL search engine in 2006 and 1.3 billion public posts containing links shared by over 89 million people on Twitter between April 2013 and April 2014.

The IU dataset comprised the primary source for the study.

The other datasets, which contained identifiers, enabled the scientists to confirm that information access behavior at the community level reflected the behavior of individual users.

Moreover, to measure the range of news sources accessed by users, the scientists used an open directory of news sites, filtering out blogs and wikis, resulting in 3,500 news outlets.

"Compared to a baseline of information-seeking activities, this evidence shows, empirically, that social media does in fact expose communities and individuals to a significantly narrower range of news sources, despite the many information channels on the medium," Nikolov said.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

HIdden Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.

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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   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
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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 
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 
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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
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Real estate for rent (paid category)
rental home

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Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry. $600-$650 per month plus electricity. ½ month security deposit. No lease.  The larger apartments are $650 per month. They have larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be best for the prospective tenants to visit
Barrio Amon
the building to see the apartments.   For more information contact:  or call Hilda at 2221-7161.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 248
Real Estate
About us

Vatican is told to do more
with scandal-plagued bank

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A European anti-money laundering watchdog says the Vatican has made great strides in addressing its scandal-plagued bank, but has not done enough on the judicial front.

In a report issued Tuesday, the Council of Europe's Moneyval Committee praised the Vatican for taking such steps as closing nearly 5,000 accounts in the Institute for Religious Works, its troubled bank, since the committee last evaluated the Holy See in 2012.

However, Moneyval criticized the fact that there have been no prosecutions or indictments. "There is a need now for the anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing system to deliver effective results in terms of prosecutions, convictions and confiscation,” the report stated. It also urged the Vatican to ensure that its police force and prosecutor's office have the capacity to conduct proactive financial investigations.

Separately, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland welcomed the progress the Holy See has made in a number of areas since 2012, but urged Vatican authorities to take into account “Moneyval’s recommendations and to deliver some real results in the money laundering investigations being conducted”.

Vatican prosecutors have launched 29 investigations, about half of them this year, into suspected money-laundering and frozen about $12.1 million as part of their efforts to prevent illicit activity at the Vatican's scandal-marred bank, Moneyval said.

Following Moneyval’s rules, the Holy See must present an update on action taken to implement the committee's recommendations by December 2017.

The Vatican submitted itself to the Moneyval evaluation process after it signed on to the 2009 EU Monetary Convention. The move was part of the Holy See's efforts to change its image as a financially shady tax haven whose bank has long been embroiled in scandal.

Moneyval is the abbreviation for the Council of Europe's Strasbourg-based Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism.  It evaluates how member states' financial legislation and practices comply with international standards for combating money laundering and other financial crimes.

Moneyval's latest report comes as the Vatican faces criticism for pursuing the prosecution of three former officials and two journalists over leaked classified documents that revealed waste, greed and mismanagement at the highest levels of the Catholic Church hierarchy.

Two Italian journalists, Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi,  published two books last month detailing corruption and uncontrolled spending by the Vatican, substantiating their revelations with documents leaked from within the Holy See.

The books, which made headlines in Italian newspapers, detailed millions of euros in lost rental income from the Vatican's real estate holdings, millions in missing inventory from the Vatican's tax-free department store, supermarket and pharmacy, and huge spending by monsignors and cardinals.

Another Paris attack suspect
held as French raids continue

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

French police arrested a 29-year-old man Tuesday in the Paris region as raids continue across France in pursuit of suspects in last month’s attacks claimed by Islamic State, French media reported.

As part of a vast investigation into the attacks that left 130 people dead and more than 350 injured, police have conducted 2,700 raids and placed 360 people under house arrest, French authorities said.

The Paris prosecutor’s office also said police arrested a man and a woman in northern France on suspicion of helping to secure firearms for the man who attacked a kosher supermarket in January. The arrests came nearly a year after the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and the supermarket left 17 people dead.

The arrests of eight men in connection with last month's Paris attacks have occurred in Belgium, where the attacks are thought to have been organized. One man has been detained in Turkey on suspicion of scouting the concert hall, bars and restaurants where the attacks took place.

Three of the nine attackers have yet to be identified, including two of the three suicide bombers who blew themselves up outside Stade de France. The third unidentified man suspected to have participated in the shooting attacks on the terraces of restaurants and bistros died alongside the ringleader in a shootout with police Nov. 18.

A 26-year-old French citizen suspected to have played a key logistical role is still on the run and subject to an international arrest warrant.

China and Egypt in the lead
for jailing their journalists

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A global freedom of press advocacy group says that China and Egypt lead the world in jailing journalists, as Beijing and Cairo attempt to silence dissent and limit stories they view as anti-government.

In all, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported Tuesday that 199 journalists were jailed in 28 countries throughout the world as of Dec. 1, down from 221 a year ago.

The New York-based group said China leads the list in the number of jailed journalists for the second year in a row, imprisoning 49, in part because of the sensitivity about reporting on the weakening of the Chinese economy.

The group cited the case of Wang Xiaolu, a reporter for a Beijing-based business magazine who was jailed after being accused of fabricating and spreading false information about securities trading. He later appeared on television saying that he regretted writing the story and pleading for leniency, even as it remained unclear whether he had been formally charged with a crime.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said China's attempt to silence critics has reached the United States with the jailing in China of three brothers of Washington-based Uighur journalist Shohret Hoshur, who has reported critically on China's treatment of his minority while working for U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia.

The journalists' group said Cairo is holding 23 journalists as President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi continues to use the pretext of national security to clamp down on dissent. As recently as 2012, there were no journalists jailed for their work in Egypt.

The committee said Iran favors the use of anti-state charges in jailing journalists, although the number Tehran is holding fell to 19 this year from 30 in 2014. Among those held is Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post correspondent who state media said has been convicted of espionage and sentenced, although no details have been released about his imprisonment that now has extended for more than 500 days.

The free press group called Eritrea the world's worst abuser of due process in jailing 17 journalists, with none of them ever publicly charged with a crime or brought before a court for trial.

The press freedom group says Turkey is holding 14 journalists, including two accused of espionage after publishing reports that Ankara intelligence operatives had transferred weapons to Syria under the guise of humanitarian aid.

U.S. Embassy chief in Cuba
says normalization on track

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The head of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba said Tuesday that the United States was on track toward normalization with Cuba, citing progress made in civil aviation, direct postal service and regulatory changes, while recognizing challenges regarding differences in human rights and property claims.

Jeffrey DeLaurentis said U.S. goals include the promotion of authorized travel and commerce, as well as the flow of information to the Cuban people.

“We have seen an increase in authorized travel by U.S. citizens by over 50 percent," he said. "A regulatory change helps promote a Cuban private sector that now accounts for at least one in four Cuban workers.”

A senior U.S. official who did not want to be identified said the U.S. hopes by the end of the year to complete aviation talks to restore regularly scheduled commercial flights between the U.S. and Cuba.

While emphasizing safety of migration is a priority, the senior U.S. official said there was “no plan to alter current migration policy,” referring to thousands of Cubans stranded in Central America on their journey to the U.S. border.

The official added that U.S. concerns about Cuba’s human rights record remained a “a top priority” in negotiations toward normalization.

Cuba was listed by the Committee to Protect Journalists as the 10th most censored country, using imprisonment, Internet restrictions and other tactics to censor the press in 2015.

“Civil society recorded the highest number of arbitrary, short-term detentions over the last five years at nearly 9,000,” the State Department said in its annual human rights report issued in June, while noting Havana’s release of 53 political prisoners in the context of resumption of diplomatic relations.

Dec. 17 will mark the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama's announcement of the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Obama promotes immigration
at naturalization ceremony

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed 31 new citizens on Tuesday during a naturalization ceremony in which he urged Americans to speak out against hatred and bigotry, an apparent reference to controversial anti-Muslim and anti-immigration rhetoric by some prominent political figures.

"Immigration is our origin story.  For more than two centuries, it has remained at the core of our national character," said Obama.  "It is our oldest tradition.  It makes us who we are."

Immigrants from 25 countries were sworn in Tuesday at the National Archives.

The president recalled the contribution of immigrants and periods in the nation’s history when he said America succumbed to fear, such as when the U.S. barred Chinese immigrants from entering the country in the late 1800s and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

“On days like today we need to resolve to never repeat mistakes like that again,” Obama said.  “We must resolve to always speak out against hatred and bigotry in all of its forms, whether taunts against the child of an immigrant farmworker or threats against a Muslim shopkeeper.”

Obama has criticized remarks by Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, following terror attacks in Paris in November and in San Bernardino, California, earlier this month.

Trump called for all Muslims to be barred from entering the country for a period of time and Cruz suggested that the United States resettle only Christian Syrian refugees.  Additionally, more than two dozen U.S. governors have signaled they will try to block Syrian refugees from settling in their states. 
Critics of the Obama administration’s plan to resettle immigrants from Syria and Iraq argue they pose a greater security risk because terrorists may try to enter the United States with them.

"In the Syrian seeking refuge today, we should see the Jewish refugee of World War II,” the president said.  “We suggest that there is us and there is them, not remembering that we used to be them."

The newly sworn in citizens included immigrants from countries ranging from Brazil to Uganda to Iraq to the Philippines.

Also on Tuesday, the White House Task Force on New Americans released its one-year progress report summarizing efforts to integrate immigrants and refugees into communities. 

Monday, key White House officials met with Muslim American leaders to discuss a rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric.  The Obama administration also plans a series of meetings with religious leaders to discuss ways to combat discrimination and harassment and promote religious freedom and tolerance.

Foundation launches contest
for undersea mapping robot

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

XPRIZE, a U.S.-based nonprofit foundation for global scientific challenges, and Royal Dutch Shell plc have launched a $7 million competition to spur development of breakthrough ocean-exploring technologies.

The competition calls on international teams to develop unmanned underwater vehicles for affordable exploring and mapping of the ocean floor up to a depth of 4,000 meters.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is offering a $1 million bonus prize for the development of technology to detect underwater chemical and biological signals and the ability to track them to their source.

The leader of the new competition, Jyotika Virmani, noted that 95 percent of the world's oceans are unexplored. "In fact," she said, "we have better maps of the surface of Mars than we do of our own ocean floor, and the ocean, of course, covers two-thirds of this planet’s surface.”

Existing vehicles for exploring and mapping the deep sea’s bottom are prohibitively expensive to use, since they have to be launched from a ship and require large supporting crews.

“For this competition, we are asking teams to deploy from the shore, so there’s no vessels, there’s no human intervention in the competition area," Virmani said. "We are also asking teams to be untethered. The devices should not be cabled to a vessel. So we are really pushing for unmanned, underwater robots.”

The teams will have to overcome huge technical obstacles. Neither radio signals nor light can penetrate very far underwater, while with every 10 meters the pressure increases by one atmosphere.

Testing of the new technologies will start in 2018, in two phases. At 2,000 meters, the teams will be required to map at least 100 square kilometers with 5-meter resolution. The second phase will require mapping of 250 square kilometers, 4,000 meters deep.

As in previous XPRIZE competitions, the race is open to anyone in the world, and the teams are responsible for their own funding.

Compensation plan approved
for Colombian war victims

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Colombia took a major step toward a final peace deal Tuesday when the government and the Marxist rebel group the Fuerza Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia signed an agreement to compensate victims and punish those responsible for war crimes.

"We've never been close to a definitive agreement before," President Juan Manuel Santos wrote in a Twitter message.

"The justice agreement was the most complex, the most difficult. It's a very important step to be able to end the conflict soon," he said at a government ceremony in Colombia.

Rebel leaders had always sworn that their fighters would never go to jail. Under the deal, rebels who confess to crimes would have their freedom of movement restricted for as long as eight years. Instead of jail time, they would work on such projects as clearing land mines and working in rural areas.

There will also be special tribunals set up to investigate allegations of war crimes.

Colombia's government and the rebels have given themselves a March 23 deadline for a final comprehensive peace agreement that would end more than 50 years of fighting that left 220,000 people dead and millions displaced.

Coffee spiked with antioxidant
said to have benefits of wine

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Imagine getting all the health benefits of wine without ever having to worry about a hangover.

A New Hampshire chemist says he has developed a coffee infused with a natural antioxidant found in grape skins.

Glen Miller says he has infused Arabica coffee beans with resveratrol, which is good for the heart. The antioxidant is also tasteless.

He says one cup of his special brew, called CoffVee, has all the antioxidants found in a glass of red wine.

Miller says his coffee tastes “fabulous” and that it was preferred by consumers over some other leading brands of coffee.

In recent studies resveratrol has been shown to help the body fight diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Rich Coast Rollover
Thinking of Buying a Vacation or Retirement Home
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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.
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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!

Real estate services
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Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)
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:

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Some of our other titles:
A.M. Panama
A.M. Colombia
A.M. Guatemala
A.M. Honduras
A.M. Cuba
A.M. Nicaragua
A.M. Venezuela
A.M. Central America
Dominican Republic

A.M. Ecuador A.M. El Salvador
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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
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 248
Real Estate
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
coral spawning
Bar-Ilan University/Oren Levy
A millepora colony is releasing gametes during a mass spawning event in 2011 at Heron Island in Australia.

Artificial light prevents coral spawning

By the eLife Sciences news staff

Israeli and Australian scientists have found that corals exposed to artificial light cannot detect moonlight and therefore fail to spawn. Their findings are published in the journal eLife.

An association between light pollution and the health of coral reefs has been suspected since the 2007 discovery that moonlight triggers the mass release of eggs and sperm. The current study led by Bar-Ilan University, in collaboration with the University of Queensland, is the first to confirm the effect with field trials during a spawning event.

The study provides new insights into the way external cues and corals' internal circadian clock interact to prepare for reproduction and to synchronize the eventual release of spawn.

"Sexual reproduction is one of the most important processes for the persistence of coral reefs," says lead researcher Oren Levy from Bar-Ilan University.

Corals only reproduce once a year and, as well as being regulated by moonlight, they carefully monitor their environment, including the sea state, salinity, food availability and the colour of twilight, to increase their chances of success. With no eyes or other visual structures, corals rely on photosensitive molecules such as cryptochromes or opsins that help them to synchronize with the power of the light.

The research was carried out on the Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage Area where there is very little light pollution. On the other side of the world, the waters of the Gulf of Aqaba on the northern tip of the Red Sea are also protected and even scientific dives are not permitted. But these same stretches are subject to light pollution from both the Israeli and Jordanian coastlines.

Levy suggests protecting the less industrialized parts of the gulf, away from the city of Eilat and the majority of hotels, in a coral reef reserve. A marine research station is already located here, where Levy often carries out experiments.

Coral is formed by thousands of genetically identical polyps that live together as a colony. The researchers collected 20 colonies of the stony coral Acropora millepora eight days before they were due to spawn on the Heron Island reef flat in the southern Great Barrier Reef. Four were left in the field and the remaining 16 were transferred to large outdoor aquaria flushed with seawater and exposed to sunlight and moonlight.

The colonies exposed to normal conditions spawned at around the same time as those on the reef. However, there was no sign of spawning behavior in either the corals exposed to artificial light or those left in the dark.

Costa Rican News
Retire NOW in Costa Rica
Fine Dining in Costa Rica
The CAFTA Report
Fish fabulous Costa Rica

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From Page 7:

RACSA reports that it turned a profit in 2015

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Radiográfica Costarricense S.A. turned a profit in 2015 for the first time in six years, said the parent Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad.

The profit was 4.5 per cent instead of the 13.19 percent loss in 2014, the parent company said.

Francisco Calvo, general manager of the company known as RACSA, said that the profit resulted from developing new opportunities, innovations, keeping clients, financial discipline and involvement with the parent Grupo ICE, according to a news release.

The pioneer Internet provider has been considered to be on the ropes, in part because it is in competition with its own parent. However,  the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad seems to be stressing more of its cell services now.