A.M. Costa Rica
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(506) 2223-1327                              Published Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 252                              Email us
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An A.M. Costa Rica advisory
Welcome, tourists, but watch out for the rip tides

Welcome, tourists,

Thank you for choosing Costa Rica as a winter holiday destination. You will find the people generous and considerate.

Not so the oceans. We want you to return to your normal lives without problems. So we want to warn you of the danger that lurks in the oceans.

The problem is the rip tides that appear and vanish without obvious signs. Each year Costa Ricans and visitors become victims.

They include individuals who are far more athletic and skilled in the water than you are.

The best way to defeat rip tides is to know they exist. They can grab you and hold you captive until your lose all your strength.

Costa Rica has been aggressive in alerting visitors. And tourism

officials would prefer not to. Hence this message.

There are many techniques for defeating the rip tide. Some say you should go with the flow, and others say you should try to move to the side out of the strongest part of the underwater stream.

We say you should talk to locals at the beach to find out if there is a rip tide problem. Then you should avoid that section where the waves create these conditions. Rip tides exist on both Pacific and Caribbean beaches. Most have no lifeguard protection.

Visitors also should consider doing an Internet search on the topic to become familiar with what might happen.

Each year a dozen or more tourists become victims of the ocean, and most were caught in rip tides. We would like to see zero fatalities this high season.

mounted police
A.M. Costa Rica archives
Mounted officers display their horses, but they also keep order.
Don't forget to bring your horse to town Saturday
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
Expats still have time to sign up for the Tope Nacional, which takes over the streets of San José Saturday.

This is the annual parade of horses and riders, and the entry fee is a mere 10,000 colons in advance.

For expats who have misplaced their horse, there are rentals available. But horse experts have some advice.

No one wants to be bucked off in front of thousands of people, and no one wants to careen into a nearby $70,000 show horse.

The Web site suggests that the renter opt for a 7- or 8-year-old female horse with a docile disposition. And they should get a little expert help with the leather parts and bit so the animal does not suffer from extra tightness and the rider does not take a tumble.

Many Costa Ricans are not far from their agricultural roots, and in election years it is not unusual to see candidates among the thousands of riders. Some rent or borrow their mount, too. There is something mystical in the Spanish culture about the jinete or horseman.

The word tope means a meeting or reunion, and credits horse riders for the

United Fruit Co. for starting the tradition as they herded cattle in the early part of the last century.

Now there are many entertainment events, not to mention the beer company dancers.

The horse parade is 80 years old, said the Web site, which features dates and times of the many topes during the year. In the capital the event is part of the Fiestas de San José, which starts Christmas Day and runs until Jan. 3 this year.

The bulk of the fiestas takes place at the Zapote fair grounds. That includes a massive carnival, food and beer booths and the Costa Rican bull fighting in the rondel.

The bull fighting is more like bull baiting as a confused bull is released into some 100 to 150 individuals who torment the animal and try to stay out of the way of the hooves and horns. Lately these informal toredores are each required to take out a million-colon medical policy. The bull ring has a well-equipped clinic built in. For some, a million colons is not enough.

The bull events are mainstays of holiday television, and individual spectator admissions are available for prices up to 15,000 colons depending on the day and time.
Expats have been known to participate in the bull event.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 252
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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.


Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

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DR. Cavallini
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U.S. Income Tax Services
Marlene B. Summers, Tax Accountant
Ms. Summers
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U.S. citizens, plan now for your tax year. Let me help you pay only the tax  you must!
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Fine art restoration and conservation

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Legal services

Valdivieco header
Lic. Eduardo Valdivieso
your legal adviser for criminal, civil,
commercial, and family law.  
Phone: ( 506 ) 8839-5010 
Address:  150 meters southwest from
the Goicoechea court, San José.

Business specialist
Lic Matta

Lic. Pablo Mata Ferreto, MBA

Legal – Financial Adviser

Real Estate and Business Transactions

Avoid Real Estate scams, get independent advice and have due diligence performed before signing or making a deposit.

Phone number: (506) 8853-0000

Land surveying services

René Sánchez Quirós
30+ years of experience in:

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Call me:
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Real estate agents and services


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Ministero de Seguridad Pública
One of the Cartago homeless receives a haircut

Cartago homeless get some help

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Being a street person is no fun. And being one in Cartago, Costa Rica's ice box, is even less fun.

Fortunately at Christmas the number of organizations doing outreach increases.

The Fuerza Pública and the organization Acción Real sought out the homeless in Cartago over the weekend and provided them with gloves, scarves and blankets.

The police agency said that more than 100 persons accepted the aid. Most choose to continue living on the streets and in vacant lots, but police said that 15 accepted the offer of going into one of seven shelters for the homeless in Cartago.

The police and volunteers also provided breakfast and other services, such as a bath or a haircut, they said. In some cases, they provided clean clothes or medical services.

Petroleum proposal draws opposition

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Even the president's economic council is coming out against a proposal that would jack up petroleum prices.

The Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos says that a change in the way prices are calculated will mean a 75 percent increase in the price of liquid petroleum gas, a 35 percent increase in the price of low grade bunker and a 45 percent increase in the price of asphalt.

The proposal that will be aired at a public hearing next year has outraged the business community, too.  An increase of that magnitude is certain to filter through the rest of the economy and cause prices to increase. For example, plastic is made from petroleum.

The Consejo Presidencial Económico called upon the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio and the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía to oppose these increases and seek a meeting with Autoridad officials to discuss the situation.

Petroleum prices, including gasoline, are regulated and not subject to free market influences. The petroleum and similar products are channeled through the state monopoly, the Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo, although the company does not do any refining.

One indication of the accuracies of the prices established by the Autoridad is that Costa Rican gasoline prices are at least 30 percent higher than elsewhere.

The Refinadora Costarricense blames Costa Rican laws and its agreement with the employee unions for the higher prices.

Our reader's opinion
Info on Republican errors sought, too

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

You do your readers a real service by printing the findings of several U.S. fact checking organizations regarding statements made by the three Democratic candidates for their party’s presidential nomination. These inaccuracies demand the light of day.

The factual misstatements of the Republican candidates deserve equal airing, but of those we see nothing. It’s not that there isn’t plenty of material from that side to print, so why not publicize it as well? Does not objective reporting demand it?
David C. Murray

SpaceX rocket booster lands safely

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Six months after one of its rockets exploded after launch, privately-owned SpaceX resumed operations Monday with a dramatic nighttime launch and a historic landing of its first-stage booster.

The Falcon rocket blasted off from the U.S. spaceport in Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying 11 small satellites into low-Earth orbit for communications firm OrbComm. About two minutes into the flight, the rocket's first-stage separated cleanly from the second stage and began a controlled descent back to Earth. 

Moments later, flight controllers and employees at SpaceX's California headquarters erupted in cheers as television cameras showed the rocket making a pinpoint vertical landing at a former Air Force missile launch site located about nine kilometers from the launch pad.

It was the first time a rocket launched into orbit successfully made a controlled landing on Earth.  Another private space ferry company, Blue Origin, owned by founder Jeffrey Bezos, successfully landed a first-stage booster rocket last month after a non-orbital flight.

SpaceX is one of several companies contracted by the U.S. space agency NASA to ferry supplies, and, eventually, astronauts to the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit.

The company's Falcon 9 rocket failed during a resupply mission to the space station.  Monday's launch was the first since SpaceX redesigned and upgraded the powerful rocket.

News for the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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A.M. Costa Rica

Third News Page

Don't miss our restaurant specials HERE!
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 252
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New and shorter route established for hikers to visit Cerro Chirripó
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Residents of  San Jerónimo de Pérez Zeledón are expecting a boost in tourism now that an alternate and shorter route has been established to reach the peak of Cerro Chirripó.

The peak is the highest in Costa Rica, and climbing it is an outdoor achievement.

Said reporter Helen Thompson when she made the trek from San Gerardo de Rivas in 2008:

"After a groggy two-hour walk and a final scramble up to the peak of Cerro Chirripó, the intrepid walker sits 3,820 meters above sea level (about 12,533 feet), with valleys, lakes, and blankets of calm, white clouds spread out below. There is no sound except the wind and an occasional bird, a world void of human presence."

Residents of  San Jerónimo have been seeking a second access to the peak for years as a way to stimulate development. Last week an agreement was signed between the Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación  and the Asociación de Turismo de San Jerónimo.  The first group of tourist hikers is expected next month.

Banco Nacional said that it supported the project through its social responsibility program.

San Jerónimo is a farming community where residents said
they see a future in sustainable tourism that would include
Banco Nacional photo
The view from the peak is a natural wonder

trout fishing, horseback riding and rappelling.

Community leaders said that the hike to the peak would take about five hours for a reasonably fit individual. They said the existing route through San Gerardo would take about three hours longer.

The hike to the peak is not for everyone. Expats and Costa Ricans have become lost in the Parque Nacional Chirripó, and those in  San Jerónimo said they would encourage hikers to contract with local guides.

Hotel header

Guanacaste Lodge

Palermo Hotel

Croc's holiday

Tarpon lodge

Vista Ballena

La Parcela

Hacienda Baru

Recreo Verde

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 252
Real Estate
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State power firm is using its own trees to provide project lumber
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The state power company has gone into the lumbering business, but even it had to jump a lot of legal hoops. The firm, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, has a forestry program that now is cutting cypress and pine in the vicinity of the Cachí hydro project.

Over the last two years, workers cut and processed some $97,000 worth of timber that has been used in the construction of administrative offices in Sabana Norte. The firm estimated that it saved 65.5 million colons or about $125,000.

The firm said that the trees involved were not native and that they were being replaced in a reforestation program. The trees were at least 30 years old, the firm said.

To do this, the state company had to apply to the Fiscalía Forestal of the Colegio de Ingenieros y Agrónomos and also the Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía. Cutting trees even on an individual's own land requires a permit. So does transporting the cut lumber.

Costa Rica has strict rules because of so much lumber theft from state lands.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad maintains its own sawmill, too, so it can specify the size of boards and slabs of wood. The company said that frequently its workers need wood of dimensions that are not available in the retail market. The wood also is used for special purposes such as blocks for bracing turbines when they are being repaired, it said. The company said that it has 6,600 trees on 30 hectares that will be lumbered in the coming years.

Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad photo
Workmen move a log into position at the firm's sawmill.

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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A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
Real estate wanted

Real estate-related services (paid category)
Solr array
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Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090


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)
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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. 22, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 252
Real Estate
About us

Afghan suicide bomber kills
six American service members

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Pentagon confirmed that six U.S. service members were killed by a suicide bomber Monday in an attack on a patrol near Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

The Taliban is claiming responsibly for the attack, saying a suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed 19 soldiers. But the Taliban is notorious for exaggerating casualty numbers. The North American Treaty Organization says it will investigate the attack.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter calls the bombing a painful reminder of the dangers U.S. troops face in Afghanistan every day.

"As I saw first hand during my visit to Afghanistan last Friday, our troops are working diligently alongside our Afghan partners to build a brighter future for the Afghan people," he said. "Their dedicated efforts will continue despite this tragic event."

Carter also said the bombing wounded two other U.S. service members and a contractor.

The White House sent condolences to families of the victims and said it will not relent in countering the threat of terrorism that plagues the region.

Bagram Air Base is located some 40 kilometers north of the Afghan capital, Kabul. It is one of several air bases for some 10,000 American soldiers engaged in training and advising local security forces in addition to conducting counter-terrorism operations.

Monday's attack comes nearly two weeks after a group of heavily armed Taliban suicide bombers stormed a southern Kandahar air base, also housing U.S. soldiers. The siege lasted for more than 29 hours in which more than 54 people, mostly Afghan civilians, were killed.

The Taliban later said that assault was part of its plans to mount attacks on all U.S.-controlled bases in Afghanistan.

The Islamist insurgency, meanwhile, has stepped up attacks in its bid to seize control of the southern Helmand province, though Afghan officials claimed to have reversed the Taliban gains in Monday's counter attacks. But it is not possible to verify either claim because of the volatile security situation in the poppy-growing Afghan province for the past several months.

Nicolas Haysom with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan again urged the Taliban Monday to end its violent campaign and respond to the Afghan government's offer of peace talks.

He made the remarks while briefing the U.N. Security Council on the latest situation in Afghanistan.

“I call upon the Taliban, who have not yet committed to entering into a peace process, to reciprocate the government’s commitment by themselves stepping forward to directly engage with the government,” Haysom said.

He praised efforts by countries such as Pakistan, the U.S. and China for making renewed efforts to promote direct talks between the government and the Taliban.

The assistance mission chief said the conflict is badly hurting civilians and impeding both political and economic progress in Afghanistan.

“There is no other way for insurgent groups to demonstrate a commitment to the welfare and prosperity of their fellow citizens than to search for a peaceful resolution to the conflict," he said.

New trial scheduled for cop
in Freddie Gray death case

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Baltimore judge has set a retrial date for policeman William Porter, whose trial in connection with the death of Freddie Gray ended last week in a hung jury.

Judge Barry Williams says Porter will be retried June 19, after the trials of five other officers charged in Gray's death.

The judge declared a mistrial last week when the jury could not reach a verdict in any of the charges against Porter, involuntary manslaughter, second degree assault, reckless endangerment, and misconduct.

Freddie Gray was a young African-American man who died a week after his spine was severed in the back of a police van in April.

He was handcuffed and shackled by his feet but not buckled into his seat after being arrested. This allegedly caused his body to slam against the side of the van.

Prosecutors allege Porter, who is also black, and the five other officers ignored Gray's pleas for medical help. Porter's defense says there is no evidence to convict.

Violence broke out in Baltimore on the day of Gray's funeral.

The next officer charged in Gray's death goes on trial Jan. 6.

Nurses in U.S. get the top pay
among largest occupations

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Of the 10 largest occupations in the United States, only one, registered nurse, makes more than the national average when it comes to all U.S. jobs.

Nurses make $69,790 annually while the average U.S. worker makes $47,230, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau’s Occupational Employment Statistics program provides employment and wage estimates for more than 800 occupations nationwide.

More Americans worked as retail salespersons or cashiers in May 2014 than in any other job, accounting for about 6 percent of total U.S. employment.

The 10 largest occupations include retail salespersons and cashiers, food preparation and serving workers, general office clerks, registered nurses, customer service representatives, and waiters and waitresses. That combined group of workers accounted for 21 percent of total U.S. employment in May 2014.

The annual average wages for those largest occupations, excluding nurse, ranged from $19,110 for combined food preparation and serving workers, to $34,500 for secretaries and administrative assistants. Food preparation and serving workers also had one of the lowest paying occupations overall, as did fast food cooks ($19,030), shampooers ($19,480), and dishwashers ($19,540).

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the highest paying jobs include certain physicians and dentists, chief executives, nurse anesthetists and petroleum engineers.

So-called STEM jobs, occupations requiring science, technology, engineering, or math-related degrees, accounted for about 6.2 percent of all U.S. jobs. There are 100 different occupations that account for the STEM jobs. Seven of the 10 largest STEM occupations were related to computers.

Ninety-three of the 100 STEM occupations had mean wages that were significantly above the U.S. jobs average. The highest paying STEM occupations included petroleum engineers ($147,520) and physicists ($117,300). The lowest paying STEM jobs included agricultural and food science technicians ($37,330) and forest and conservation technicians ($37,990).

Overall, the most lucrative U.S. jobs included management, legal, and computer and mathematical occupations.

The lowest paying included food preparation and serving, personal care and service, and farming, fishing, and forestry occupations. Each had an annual mean wage of about $25,000 or less.

Trump and Mrs. Clinton's aide
swap sharp political attacks

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Democrats and Republicans have yet to choose their official candidates for next year's presidential election, but that has not stopped front-runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump from attacking each other.

Monday began with Trump calling Mrs. Clinton a liar and demanding she apologize for her claim during Saturday's Democratic debate that Islamic State militants are using videos of his comments as a recruiting tool.  Her campaign later said they were not aware of a specific video, but that Trump's comments about Muslims are helping jihadists.

A Clinton spokesman, speaking to CNN, put the response to Trump simply: "Hell no."

"Hillary Clinton will not be apologizing to Donald Trump for correctly pointing out how his hateful rhetoric only helps ISIS recruit more terrorists," spokesman Brian Fallon said, using an acronym for the militant group.

The former secretary of State brought a moment of comic relief during Saturday's debate when after a commercial break she strode back to her podium late, the result of what her campaign said was a long walk to the women's restroom at the site.

Trump brought that up at an event Monday night among several personal attacks as he spoke to his supporters.

"I know where she went.  It's disgusting.  I don't want to talk about it," he said.

The billionaire also cited the 2008 election when President Barack Obama defeated Mrs. Clinton for the Democratic Party nomination.  Trump, who has been criticized for his comments about women, used a vulgar term involving male anatomy to describe Mrs. Clinton's loss in a race she was favored to win.

The parties begin the official selection process with the Iowa caucuses Feb. 1, and will pick their nominees next July.

Both Trump and Mrs. Clinton lead their races by wide margins, but an average of the latest national polls shows Mrs. Clinton beating Trump in a hypothetical race by six points.

Graham quits presidential race
and cites lack of any support

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, an advocate for a robust American military presence overseas, dropped out of the 2016 Republican presidential contest Monday, acknowledging that he was winning little political support.

The 60-year-old Graham has often dominated the undercard of low-polling Republican candidates in debates that preceded five debates of higher-ranking contenders watched by millions of U.S. voters in recent months. But the quick-witted Graham has not won enough support in national surveys of Republican voters to make it to the main debates.

Graham, in leaving the race, told CNN that he believes "the nominee of our party is going to adopt my plan when it comes to articulate how to destroy" Islamic State militants.  He has advocated the use of  U.S. ground troops in the Middle East to fight Islamic State forces, a stance favored by some other Republican contenders, but rejected by President Barack Obama and the Democratic presidential frontrunner, former secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Republican presidential contest is being dominated by a political novice, billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump, with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida his closest challengers in a field left with 13 candidates after Graham's withdrawal.

State-by-state Republican and Democratic presidential nominating contests start in February, leading to national party conventions and the U.S. presidential election next November.

The winner will replace Obama as he leaves the White House in January 2017.

Emergency sanctuary sought
for threatened Bangladeshis

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Leading human rights organizations on Monday urged the United States to offer emergency sanctuary to Bangladeshi writers targeted by Islamic extremists for their secular beliefs.

Groups including PEN American Center, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders made the appeal in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

"These writers are unable to seek protection from their own government and are under threat of deadly attack from identifiable non-state groups who have acted on their threats and rhetoric repeatedly in the past," the letter said.

Four bloggers and a publisher have been killed in the South Asian nation this year alone, and dozens more have been publicly threatened by Islamist groups.

The letter, signed by seven rights groups, said Islamist extremist groups like Ansar al-Islam, the Ansarullah Bangla Team and Al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent have claimed responsibility for these killings.

The Ansarullah Bangla Team and other Islamist groups have published multiple hit lists consisting of the names of secular bloggers, writers and publishers that they have vowed to kill.

"The government of Bangladesh has proved unable to stop these attacks and provide the necessary security to prevent future attacks, leaving these bloggers and publishers with no recourse to guarantee their safety within the country," the letter said.

The letter called the situation extremely dangerous' and urged humanitarian parole' for the bloggers to prevent their deaths.

Humanitarian parole is used sparingly to bring a person into the United States for a temporary period of time due to a compelling emergency, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Islamic State deserters give
reasons for leaving the group

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Recent deserters have told researchers they fled the self-proclaimed Islamic State group because of a mismatch between the words and deeds of the extremist group.

They expressed anger at the militants' practice of marrying widows to other fighters without allowing them to observe the traditional Islamic waiting period following a bereavement. Deserters also say they grew disgusted by the endless stream of gory executions and what they called psychopathic pleasure some fighters took in the killings.

A dozen deserters in hiding in Turkey were interviewed by Anne Speckhard and Ahmet Yayla of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism.

“Defections were the result of exposure to extreme brutality, disgust over the slave trade, observations of deep hypocrisy, a total mismatch between the words and deeds of IS,” the academics wrote in Perspectives on Terrorism, a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies.

“Charges of corruption and complaints about battlefield decisions that produced unnecessary deaths in their own ranks were also causes of disillusionment,” they said.

Three of the deserters had been commanders. One was chief of security at a base in Raqqa. Another was the emir of an Islamic State-controlled town. One was a 14-year-old who was being groomed for a suicide-bombing mission.

One deserter from Raqqa said: “There is a well by the name of Hute. There they cover the eyes of the prisoners and tell them, ‘You are free now, just walk now, but don’t open your eyes.’ They walk and fall into the well. It smells horrible because of all the corpses inside the well. I know that over 300 people were thrown into that well.”

Another deserter called Abu Shujaa said, “What I don’t like, if someone did something wrong they tried to waterboard him. That I didn’t like. What I don’t like is that if they don’t like someone, they just behead him. Or if a woman is not wearing hijab, they bring someone to flog her, or if someone doesn’t believe, they cut his ear.”

“In 2014, I realized that Daesh were liars,” said a deserter called Abu Walid, using an alternative name for the Islamic State group. “For instance, there was an IS guy who raped a woman but got away with it.”

Ahmad Abdulkader, who runs a network of anti-Islamic State activists called Eye-On-The-Homeland, says most deserters are local Syrians. He said in an interview in May that out of more than 100 deserters his network had helped flee, only a dozen were foreign recruits.

“The foreigners include a Frenchman, a French woman, and a Moroccan,” he said.

The deserters Ms. Speckhard and Yayla interviewed say most locals do not join Islamic State for ideological reasons. At first, locals joined partly out of hope and out of respect for its fighting power. But as time wore on, most join out of desperation and hunger.

The foreign fighters are more ideologically committed.

“Many of our informants stated that Westerners who joined were already heavily indoctrinated in Salafi doctrine before arriving to IS,” write Ms. Speckhard and Yayla. “Unlike the Syrians, the Western cadres were, and generally remained throughout their time with IS, ‘true believers.’”

The deserters say preachers, mainly from Saudi Arabia and Jordan, are highly effective in indoctrinating recruits.

"ISIS preachers are well educated and impressive,” a deserter called Abu Jamal said. “They persuaded me to be a martyr in just three gatherings, which lasted two hours each . . . I was really affected by the preaching of the teacher, so that you can understand how well they choose their teachers.”

Many deserters expressed joy in embracing a strict sharia Islamic course under the Islamic State.

Recruiters and trainers also appear to use techniques employed by other violent cults and street gangs. As part of initiations, for example, recruits are ordered to carry out a barbaric act.

“As one informant told us, ‘Graduation only happens when they feel a student is ready,'" the study’s authors report. " 'At that point they demand that the student that is going to become a fighter cut off the head of a prisoner, to demonstrate that he is ready.’”

According to anti-Islamic State activists in the provinces of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, internal dissension has been on the rise since the extremist group failed to seize the mainly Kurdish border town of Kobani. Arguments between foreign fighters and local ones, who resent the higher pay and privileges given the foreigners, especially Europeans, have at times gotten out of hand, prompting clashes, they say.

Abu Mohammed of the anti-Islamic State group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently said earlier this year, “The loss of the city of Tel Abyad has fueled this trend and strengthened the rift that exists between the elements of the organization."

Anti-Islamic State activists with a group called Lift Siege also say there has been a steady stream of deserters, including four commanders from the town of Al-Mayadeen. They say Ammar Haddawi, Aamer Al-Naklawi, Mahmoud Al-Khalaf Al-Rasheideh and Abu Obaidah Al-Masri oversaw tax collection in the town, and that they fled with large amounts of cash.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

Solr array
SOON with the coming of new power company regulations, we'll be installing PV (photo voltaic) for solar electricity. Yes, at last!
* PV systems: we use Enphase micro-inverters. More flexible. Add panels whenever you like. More reliable than any other system and fully guaranteed!
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Office phone: 506-2446-0543
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
in Costa Rica?

Rich Coast Realty is a full-service real estate company with property listings in Escazú, Santa Ana, Jacó, Esterillos, Bejuco, Palo Seco, Manuel Antonio, and beyond. We offer efficient, personalized service always protecting our client’s interests. We work hard to find you the property of your dreams, and assist with legal advice, residency, starting corporations, opening bank accounts, etc. Contact us today with your questions about buying property in, and relocating to Costa Rica. With 11 years experience in Costa Rica real estate, we look forward to hearing from you.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo
Photo montage of penthouse
Are you tired of wasting time searching for your home…..with no results?
If so, you should not miss this deal !!!

Special Offer

Penthouse condominium in Playa Langosta, Tamarindo

* Located on 6th floor.
* Elevator.
* Security 24/7.
* Pool, BBQ area.
* 2 underground
        parking,  cellar.

* 3 bedrooms.
* 2 bathrooms.
* 2 terraces.
* Luxuriously
* Negotiable price.

* Enjoy the view,  CLICK HERE
Mafi Real Estate: Houses, lots and farms in Costa Rica
If you do not find, what are you looking for, contact us
WE HAVE A NETWORK OF OVER 500 brokers across the country to get what you are looking for.
English Calls: Miguel Fiatt Sauma or Paule Ortiz
Phone/Fax.+506 2238-5029
Cel. +506 8399-7000
Web Page:

Remax logo
Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about sCosta Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at:

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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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:

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 252
Real Estate
About us

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
blood donation
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública
A blood bank tech prepares one police officer for his donation at the Zapote facility of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. Officers from a number of police units donated blood Monday to help the blood bank weather the usual holiday shortage in donations.

Blatter says he will fight soccer ban

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The embattled president of world football's governing body, Sepp Blatter, is pledging to fight an eight-year ban from all football-related activities imposed by the organization’s ethics committee. The three-man panel for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association applied a similar ban on the head of European soccer, Michel Platini.

Blatter was in a combative mood when he faced journalists shortly after he received word of his suspension by the ethics committee.

“I am sorry that I am, as president of FIFA, this punching ball and I am sorry for football … I regret that I am this punching ball there. I regret for my organization that I have served with heart and conscience during 41 years, but specifically I regret for all the members, the team members working in FIFA,” he said.

The ethics committee found Blatter and European president Michel Platini guilty of ethics code breaches regarding an unauthorized payment of $2 million to Platini. Swiss prosecutors are conducting a criminal investigation into these allegedly illegal payments.

Both men deny wrongdoing. Blatter said he thought he had convinced the panel of the tribunal that the payment to Platini was legitimate. He said the tribunal has accused him and Platini of lying, but it has proven nothing.

The federation has been mired in scandal since May when 14 officials, including a Costa Rican, were arrested in Zurich and charged in the United States with nearly 50 counts of corruption, including racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering.

U.S. dollar strengthens again

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. dollar improved again Monday against the colon currency. The Banco Central is quoting a rate of 530 colons for selling a dollar and 542.60 colons to buy one.

The U.S. dollar has moved from the Friday rate of exchange, which was

The improvement in the value of the dollar can be attributed to the action by the U.S. Federal Resrve Wednesdy to increase slighty the prime rate and the announcement that more gradual rate hikes are coming.

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From Page 7:

Canadian airline WestJet adds two new routes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Canadian airline WestJet has inaugurated two new routes. They are Toronto and San José and Calgary and Liberia.

The Toronto route will have two flights a week on Tuesday and Sundays. The Liberia route will have four flights a week, said Casa Presidencial.

The new routes will operate during high season until April, said Casa Presidencial.

WestJet began operating a twice weekly Toronto-Liberia route in 2012.