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(506) 2223-1327                             Published Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, in Vol. 16, No. 255                              Email us
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Good news and bad news in corporate tax proposal
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A proposed new draft of a tax on corporations does not contain an exemption for registered small and medium enterprises.

The draft, which was introduced Dec. 2 by the Solís administration, instead sets up a sliding scale in which firms with higher incomes pay 60 percent and smaller companies pay just 30 percent of a judicial base salary. Inactive corporations pay 15 percent.

The base salary of a judicial office worker in 2016 will be 424,200 colons, according to the Poder Judicial. That's about $798. This is an amount that frequently is cited in laws in Costa Rica for taxes and fines. That roughly adjusts the amount based on inflation.

Based on this amount, firms that have gross incomes of 106 million colons, 250 times the base salary and about $200,000, or more will pay 60 percent, which is  254,520 colons or around $479. Smaller companies that are doing business and are listed as taxpayers would be assessed half that.

Inactive companies that are not listed as taxpayers would pay 63,630 colons or about $120.

The previous law, passed Dec. 23, 2011, exempted companies registered with the Ministerio de Economia, Industria y Comercio as Pymes, the Spanish acronym for pequeña y mediana empresas,

Expats who hold assets in inactive corporations would be winners if this version of the bill is passed. The previous law said inactive corporations would pay just half the

tax, which then was about $300.

The earlier law suffered criticism from those who said a small company was being taxed the same as an industrial giant like Intel Corp.

The preface of the bill, signed by President Luis Guillermo Solís, said that after eight years since the original bill was presented to lawmakers the financial crisis confronting the country has sharpened and the financial deficit has reached levels that require drastic and urgent measures.

However, the proceeds of the bill do nothing to reduce the financial crisis. Just 5 percent of the money collected goes to the Ministerio de Justica y Paz to pay for its agency that runs the prisons. The rest goes to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública to pay for its security programs, according to the bill.

The draft of the bill, No. 19.818, voids the previous law, No.  9024, but then it says money owed by corporations under that law still must be paid. However, no interest or fines will be charged.

The new draft does not contain a provision that allows company owners to walk away from a firm without responsibility for paying the tax. The previous law allowed this for a time.

The draft also repeats the threat that the Registro Nacional will dissolve a company if it fails to pay the tax for three years in a row.

This draft is at least the third that has been presented to lawmakers after the courts voided critical parts of the previous law. That took place because the legislative staff did not advertise major changes in the drafts being considered in 2011.

Cruz Roja rescue crew members put on their gear for an unusual night foray into the mountains.

suited up
Cruz Roja photo
Cruz Roja makes third attempt to extricate bikers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Cruz Roja search and rescue crew entered the mountains at Zurquí Sunday night in another attempt to bring out three mountain bikers who went missing Saturday. The unusual nighttime rescue attempt was the third triggered by the report of the missing bikers.

The Cruz Roja said that the first team encountered the bikers about 6 a.m. Sunday, 
but bad weather prevented the team and the bikers from leaving the jungle.
A second team went into the same area known as Moravia, Santa Elena, later Sunday.
But the crew was unable to locate the colleagues, said the Cruz Roja.

So the third team was dispatched despite what was said to be heavy fog and rain.

The Cruz Roja promised to work through the night to bring out the bikers and their rescuers.

All were reported to be in good health, said the Cruz Roja.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 255
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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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U.S. Income Tax Services
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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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Land surveying services

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Lynn Gensemer photo
A recipient hugs one of the Jacó volunteers

Christmas gets an extra nudge above Jacó

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Jacó merchants and friends report that they handed out gifts to 400 kids and food to 75 families in the hills above the central Pacific community.

This is an annual effort in which the Jacó residents load up a cattle truck and head for the distant communities.

Lynn Gensemer of Chungo Interior Design directs and provided the report of the Christmas Day activities.

"The kids and parents always want to hug us for giving them presents," she said.  "It's great.  This year I received about a dozen separate handwritten letters of thanks from kids and adults.  It's wonderful."

In addition to stuffed animals and toys of all sorts, the packages contained practical items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, rice, beans, coffee, sugar, candy, cereal and cookies.

Dollar continues to show more strength

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. dollar continued to increase in value over Christmas.

The Banco Central de Costa Rica was quoting 531.31 colons to sell dollars and 544.30 to buy one Sunday. That was up about two colons since Christmas Eve.

The two major state banks quote exchange rates that were rounded off to a full colon. Banco de Costa Rica said 533/545, and Banco Nacional said 532/544. Banco Central showed most other exchange houses had rates within one or two colons of the state banks.

An exception, of course, was Global Exchange at Juan Santamaría airport that was quoting a rate of  464.92 to sell dollars and 596.47 to purchase one. That is a whopping difference of  131.55 colons while most other exchange house had a spread of from 8 to 12 colons.

Note to arriving tourists: Taxi drivers take dollars!

The dollar is strengthening in part because the U.S. Federal Reserve has raised the prime interest rate a quarter of a point and promises to continue to do so. That seems to have an impact despite the influx of dollars from foreign tourists during the start of high season.

Mark Twain
Heads and tails of the gold and silver Mark Twain coins

Mark Twain will get his own coins

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

American author Mark Twain once said that the lack of money is the root of all evil. Now he is getting his own commemorative coins.

Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was born in Florida, Missouri, Nov. 30, 1835, and raised in Hannibal, a port city near the Mississippi River that would later become the setting for many of his writings, notes the U.S. Mint. This year is the 180th anniversary of his birth.

He is best known for his novels, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

The U. S. Mint said it will issue 100,000 $5 gold coins and 350,000 $1 silver coins to commemorate Twain’s life and legacy. They will be available Jan. 24, the Mint said. The coins show Twain and scenes from his literary works, including "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."

The gold coin's face design features a portrait of Mark Twain. The coin's reverse design depicts a steamboat on the Mississippi River

The silver coin's face features a portrait of Mark Twain holding a pipe with the smoke forming a silhouette of characterss Huck Finn and Jim on a raft in the background.

The silver coin's reverse features characters Twain's works: The knight and horse from "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," the frog from "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," and Jim and Huck from "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer."

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 255
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Pope asks Central American countries to help the Cuban migrants
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Pope Francis weighed in on the Cuban crisis Sunday during his Angelus prayer service at the Vatican.

Central American officials are meeting again today in an effort to come to some resolution to the plight of some 6.000 Cubans stuck in Costa Rica.

That meeting will be in México.

Meanwhile, Costa Rica is rejecting any more Cuban migrants. Immigration officials said that 56 had been deported back to Panamá after they managed to get into Costa Rica.

Migrants with money are putting themselves at the mercy of traffickers in order to reach the U.S. border.

Costa Rican law enforcement officers disrupted the Costa Rican human trafficking network by a series of arrests early in November. Then President Luis Guillermo Solís permitted thousands of Cubans to enter from Panamá on seven-day emergency visas.

The president had expectations that the Cubans would transit the country and head north into Nicaragua. But Nicaragua closed the border to the Cubans, causing the current crisis.

Pope Francis called on the countries of Central America to help the migrants seeking to reach the United States via the land route to find a solution to the situation, according to Vatican Radio.

Speaking to pilgrims and tourists after the Angelus prayer Sunday, Pope Francis said, “My thoughts in this moment go out to the numerous Cuban migrants who find themselves in difficulty in Central America, many of whom are victims of human trafficking: I invite the countries of the region to renew with generosity all necessary efforts in order to find a rapid solution to this humanitarian drama.” Vatican Radio provided the transcript.

The Nicaraguan government has proposed that the United States organize an airlift to bring the migrants to  the United States, while the government of Costa Rica has been in
conversation with Belize and Guatemala, in an effort to
Vatican Radio photo
Crowds gather to hear Sunday message from Pope Francis.

convince those countries to grant safe passage to the migrants that would allow them to reach Mexico, the Vatican noted.
Guatemala and Belize so far have declined for various reasons.

The Cubans are attempting to reach the United States before a 1966 Cold War Era law is changed. That law now gives them priority access if they reach the United States by land.

U.S. official at a previous Central American meeting pointed out that Cubans who  come by air, even via an airlift as proposed by Nicaragua, must have a valid U.S. visa.

The Mexican government appears to be ready to help if a way can be found so that the Cubans reach that country.

Costa Rica is not the only country with migration problems. Cubans also seem to be reaching México directly from Cuba in an effort to arrive at the U.S. border. And efforts by Cubans to reach the U.S. by boat continue. Under current U.S. policy, if migrants manage to land without being snared by the U.S. Coast Guard, they can stay.

Many of the Cubans in Costa Rica arrived overland from Ecuador where they landed on a flight from Cuba. Ecuador has since tightened its immigration policies.

Most of the Cubans in public shelters in Costa Rica have been there for more than a month.

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Guanacaste Lodge

Palermo Hotel

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Tarpon lodge

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Hacienda Baru

Recreo Verde

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Page 1 is HERE!    Page 2 is  HERE!    Page 3 is HERE! 
Page 5 is HERE!     
Page 6 is HERE!     The sports page is HERE!
Opinion is HERE!   Classifieds are HERE!  Plus useful links

Tope horse parade has benefited from stolen water, police report
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

For several years law enforcement officials say that horses in the Tope Nacional were drinking stolen water. With thousands of horses on the streets and afternoon temperatures soaring, the Municipalidad de San José makes arrangements each year for a contractor to provide water for the animals.

This year the Fuerza Pública and workers for the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, the national water company, were waiting when tanker trucks pulled up to a hydrant on Paseo Colón Christmas night. Three men were detained and a tanker truck was confiscated, said the Fuerza Pública and the water company.

The Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados said that the three men involved also damaged a hydrant and caused storage tanks servicing the San José downtown to be depleted.

The municipality requires a contractor to provide 2,000  watering stations for the animals along the parade route.

water wagon
Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados photo
Detained men await the judicial proceeding.

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-related services (paid category)
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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)
Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
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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. 
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A.M. Costa Rica's  
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Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 255
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Tornadoes rake central U.S.
and leave at least 25 dead

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Violent weekend weather battered large swaths of the southern and central United States, with tornadoes killing at least 25 persons in Texas as other areas of the country braced for potentially crippling winter storms and flash flooding.

One of several tornadoes that struck in and near the city of Dallas late Saturday carried winds of more than 320 kilometers an hour (192 miles per hour) and left at least eight people dead. Three others died nearby, as a residential building in a northern suburb was destroyed and vehicles were blown from a highway overpass.

Authorities say scores of others were injured in the region, just days after tornadoes killed at least 18 people in the nearby states of Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee.

As recovery efforts expanded Sunday, forecasters issued severe weather advisories for large parts of the southern and central United States, including blizzard warnings for parts of New Mexico, northern Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez placed her entire jurisdiction under a state of emergency, as residents braced for as much as 60 centimeters of snow.

Additionally, flash flood warnings extended from Texas and New Mexico to the midwestern state of Indiana. 

In California, more than 600 firefighters battled a sprawling brush fire that has burned about 500 hectares in a state that has faced severe drought conditions for the past four years.  Officials say the fire north of Los Angeles is now 60 percent contained.

Elsewhere, extreme weather continued to grip much of the eastern United States Sunday, with unseasonably mild and wet weather reaching northward from Florida to New England.

Scientists have linked the extreme weather to warming El Niño currents in Pacific waters stretching from coastal Ecuador and Perú northward to encompass the U.S. West Coast.

In South America, emergency officials say as many as 150,000 people in the border areas of Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina have fled their homes ahead of severe flooding from torrential summer rains linked to the El Niño phenomenon.

Regional reports say 90,000 residents of the Paraguayan capital, Asuncion, had been evacuated by Saturday evening, many of them families living in sub-standard housing near the Paraguay River.

Paraguay's President Horacio Cartes declared a state of emergency in the capital and several nearby regions. 

Another 20,000 people in nearby northern Argentina also were forced to flee, while officials in Uruguay said 9,000 people near swollen rivers had suffered the same fate.

Civil defense authorities in the nearby southeastern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sol said at least 7,000 residents had evacuated.

Imax versions of new films
are bringing in the dough

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The box-office success of the latest Star Wars installment suggests Imax and 3-D films are here to stay, along with their heftier ticket prices.

More and more big-budget films are being shot with Imax cameras and presented on gigantic screens. Practically all of this year’s major movie productions were offered in both formats.

And though tickets at $15 apiece can become quite pricey for a family of four, opening weekends earnings showed, hands down, that moviegoers were willing to pay more for a special experience.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens," released Dec. 18, generated a record-setting $529 million in global box-office sales for its opening weekend. And that doesn’t include theaters in China, where the film debuts Jan. 9.

It’s already showing at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington and at its companion Udvar-Hazy Center in northern Virginia.

According to Zarth Bertsch, director of the institution’s theaters and entertainment, many moviegoers willingly paid $15 at the box office  and more for tickets purchased online to watch the film on huge Imax screens and have an immersive experience.

Filmmakers "have created this incredible work that is so endless, engaging, of course it spans multiple generations," Bertsch said. "I think that Imax is particularly relevant with the 70 mm experience."

And it’s not just J.J. Abrams’ sci-fi blockbuster, which broke a sales record set earlier this year by "Jurassic World."

The latest entry in Universal Pictures’ dinosaur franchise opened June 12 in Imax and 3-D formats. On its first weekend, it earned a breathtaking $524 million minimum in ticket sales worldwide. 

Imax is synonymous with big-budget, high-action thrillers.

A studio invests in Imax and 3-D formats when it can predict huge profits, often for famous movie franchises. Movie lovers prefer to watch high-octane action flicks on huge screens instead of their TV sets.

"Avengers: Age of Ultron," the latest entry in the superhero franchise, had grossed $1.4 billion in worldwide sales as of Sunday. It was released May 1.

The year’s top earners included other films released in both Imax and 3-D: Lionsgate’s final "Hunger Games" installment and Pixar’s "Good Dinosaur" and "Inside Out."

The latter two attracted families with their witty scripts, wonderful colors and masterful animation.

But not all Imax films succeed. Ron Howard’s whale of a film, "In the Heart of the Sea," about the 1820 sinking of the American whaling ship Essex, underperformed at the box office even though it inspired the great American novel, "Moby Dick."

Critics shot it down as a tale without soul, a good example of how a story’s thrills can be lost in visual extravaganza and technical details.

Still, Imax and 3-D formats are expected to continue doing well in 2016, offering bigger and brighter stories on huge theater screens.

Chinese telecom executive
is facing corruption probe

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The head of one of China's largest telecommunications companies is under investigation on suspicion of corruption.

A posting on the Web site of the ruling party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said Chang Ziaobing, chairman of China Telecom, was being investigated for severely disciplinary violations.

No details were given on the specifics of the suspected infractions.

Chang was appointed to the head of China Telecom in August, having previously chaired China Unicom, another state-owned telecommunications agency.

Chinese President Xi Jinping launched a wide reaching anti-corruption campaign shortly after taking office in 2013.

A number of business leaders, Communist Party officials and military leaders have been caught up in the official investigations.

Cheaper oil cuts both ways,
and prices might go lower

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Experts and investors say low oil prices are likely to continue hurting energy companies and the economies of emerging nations that depend heavily on crude oil exports, even though prices have been rising for the past few days.

Oil prices had been at an 11-year low but started to rise after a report this week said U.S. inventories of crude dropped more than analysts had expected.

The change in the balance between supply and expected demand pushed up crude prices, but they're still well below $40, drastically lower than the $110 a barrel seen 18 months ago. 

The lower oil prices have been a boon for oil importers and consumers.

Average U.S. gasoline prices have now fallen below 53 cents per liter,  an early Christmas present for U.S. motorists who had been paying $50 to fill their tanks, but now can fill the tank for about $37.

It amounts to a $115 billion boost to the U.S. economy or a yearly savings of $555 for every motorist, said Robert Sinclair, spokesman for the U.S. auto club called AAA.

“We think it’s something that is going to continue, plenty of crude oil supply still remains. Crude oil futures are pointing to even lower prices as we go forward in the next month or so, so we could see prices drop another 25 or 30 cents in the next month,” Sinclair said.

For oil-producing countries, the price declines have been bad news, economist C. Fred Bergsten said.

“The Russians lose, the Saudis lose, the Venezuelans lose, U.S. oil shale producers lose; but that is more than offset by the net reduction in consumer costs,” Bergsten said.

Key oil exporter Saudi Arabia is seeking to diversify its economy, and is running a budget deficit, while Venezuela is dealing with high inflation and a stalled economy, and oil-rich Azerbaijan was forced to depreciate its currency, the manat, which fell more than 30 percent against the dollar.  

Because most commodities are priced in U.S. dollars, some blame the higher exchange rate for price declines. But analyst Peter Cardillo of First Standard Financial said faltering demand and growing supply are far bigger factors.

"If you have lower demand on a global scale, and then you have overproduction from producing nations, it's obvious that you're going to have a crash in oil prices, and that's exactly what's happened," Cardiollo said in an interview.

Bergsten said the price plunge is having serious geopolitical consequences in Russia and elsewhere.

"Five to 10 years ago, when oil prices were very high,  Putin was riding high. Now with the energy price having collapsed as much as it has, he's had to pursue foreign adventures, Ukraine, now Syria and other things,  to try to divert his whole population's attention from their very poor economic circumstances driven in part by the collapse of oil prices," he added, speaking of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Some experts say oil prices are not likely to rise any time soon.

New projections from both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund suggest prices will fall further to as low as $20 a barrel in 2016.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries forecast Wednesday a global oil price of about $70 a barrel by the year 2020 and $95 by the year 2040.

It expects that the current oil glut will dissipate as demand rises. For now, the member states have decided not to cut production.

John Demopoulos is a senior market strategist with Argus Media, which watches global energy and commodity markets. He said the petroleum forecast is like predicting what the weather will be like in four years.

Demopoulos said he sees nothing on the horizon that would indicate significant price increases in 2016.

He said Iran will be putting more oil on the market as it gets out from under some sanctions that have hampered their exports, and a new law allowing U.S. crude exports for the first time in decades will not change the market very much.

Bipartisan efforts by Congress
praised by politicians involved

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Americans witnessed a rarity at the end of 2015: a functioning Congress that enacted major legislation with bipartisan support. For 2016, Republican leaders in both chambers are promising a return to the traditional legislative procedures under which Congress operated decades ago, an intention that will be tested in an election year.

“I feel good about what we’ve been able to accomplish in just a few short weeks,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan before Congress adjourned for the remainder of the year. “And I feel very good about where we are going in the next year.”

From funding the U.S. government to upgrading America’s overburdened highways to boosting the nation’s cyber security, the Republican-led Congress passed a flurry of bills that President Barack Obama, a Democrat, enthusiastically signed into law.

The Senate’s majority leader, Republican Mitch McConnell, took note in an end-of-year news conference.

“When the American people elect divided government, they are not saying ‘don’t do anything.’ They are saying, ‘look for the things you can agree on,’” McConnell said.

Democrats, who lost their Senate majority in 2014, claimed some of the credit.

“When Republicans were in the minority, their goal was obstruction,” said Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat. “Now that Democrats are in the minority, our goal is helping the middle class, and we are willing to work with Republicans to achieve that.”

For some Republican presidential contenders, a Washington that works is a Washington up to no good.

“If you see a candidate who Washington embraces, run and hide,” said Sen. Ted Cruz at a recent campaign event in Alabama. “If you think Washington is fundamentally broken, that there is a bipartisan corruption of career politicians in both parties that get in bed with the lobbyists and special interests and grow and grow and grow Washington… that is what this campaign is all about!”

Such barbs have not weakened the resolve of Republican congressional leaders.

“As Congress works in the new year, I want to make sure that we get back to what is called regular order so that we have a system that operates like the founders intended,” Speaker Ryan said.

Ryan’s plan is getting a favorable initial reaction from Democrats.

“The speaker and I had a number of conversations,” said the Senate’s minority leader, Democrat Harry Reid. “He wants to do appropriation bills. I want to do appropriation bills. And there is no reason we can’t.”

Congress just passed a mammoth, catch-all federal spending bill, known as the Omnibus, that will keep the U.S. government funded through September 2016. Such bills have been the norm for the last two decades. Before then, congressional committees commonly passed individual spending bills that received separate floor votes in both chambers.

McConnell said a return to that practice would allow Congress to better fulfill its fiscal duties.

 “This big bill we just passed was $1.1 trillion in one bill. That’s not the way to do business. And so we are going to try our best not to end up in that situation again,” he said.

McConnell will need help from Democrats, who have designs of their own for next year.

“We can only hope that our Republican colleagues will be as cooperative a minority as we were this year when Democrats take back the Senate in 2016,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat.

Republican leaders aim to keep that prediction from coming true, and see a functional Congress as key to that goal.

Chicago police kill two
in family dispute response

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Chicago police fatally shot a 19-year-old male student and a 55-year-old mother of five Saturday. Both victims were African American.

The shootings are the latest in a city that is already under a U.S. Justice Department investigation for the brutal shooting of a 17-year-old African American male last year by a white police officer.

The race of the police officers involved in Saturday's response to a domestic disturbance has not been revealed.

The police department said when its officers arrived on the scene they were "confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer's weapon, fatally wounding two individuals."

A police statement said the woman, Bettie Jones, "was accidentally struck and tragically killed."

While the police offered little information about the shooting, a report in The Chicago Tribune newspaper said Quintonio LeGrier, the student, was threatening his father with a metal baseball bat when the police were called.

The newspaper said it appeared LeGrier and Jones, who was LeGrier's downstairs neighbor, both arrived at their shared front door at about the same time the police arrived.

The Tribune account reports LeGrier's mother, Janet Cooksey, said the family was told her son was shot seven times.

Cooksey told the newspaper her son "didn't have a gun. He had a bat." She said one or two shots would have brought him down.
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Blakesmore one

Blakemoret  two

Costa Rica tropical paradise beach house for sale

Tropical five-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 kms. south of Puerto Jiménez on the way to Matapalo and Corcovado National Park. Great Price $750,000. Contact Roger. Phone number  (506) 6142-7228   Email: Watch this video for full details.

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!

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
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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!

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.
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In Costa Rica 8307-0164

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:

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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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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Dec. 28, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 255
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Those gift plants can be bad for pets

It’s that time of year for gift giving and, if you are a gardener, then the gifts usually included a plant or two. Forget that the giver thinks you already have way too many plants already, he/she knows that your face
Victoria torley
will light up if you get another one (or three).

But let’s have a hint of caution – what about you pets and that new plant? So here are some of the things to avoid if you have a pet who likes to chew on the occasional plant.

Aloe (and creams with aloe) can

cause vomiting and diarrhea with weight loss. Tremors have been noted in dogs and cats.

The leaves of the caladium contain tiny crystals that cause irritation and pain in the mouth and can cause digestive problems.

The tubers of the cyclamen cause vomiting and diarrhea. Fatal seizures have also been noted.

Dracaena fragrans, also called the corn plant, can cause salivation, vomiting and depression.

Like the caladium, the dieffenbachia contains small sharp crystals that cause irritation and burning in the mouth, drooling, vomiting, and some swelling that makes swallowing difficult.

If your cat or dog chews the leaves of the jade plant it can also causes vomiting and depression.

You probably knew that many lily bulbs could cause kidney failure in cats (not dogs), but did you know that the pollen has been known to kill cats as well? If you bring a lily inside, snip off the anthers (pollen producers) to avoid the problem.

We have a lot of philodendron species on our property, and you may have as well, or perhaps you have one as a balcony or house plant. The leaves can cause a burning sensation in the mouth, drooling, problems with swallowing and vomiting. The leaves of the pothos vine contain needle-like crystals of calcium oxalate called raphides which cause the same symptoms as the philodendron.

A new one for me, the pregnant onion, Albuca bracteata, is grown for its flowers but the sap can cause contact dermatitis when handled and the leaves and flowers can cause heart problems.

We have a sego palm in the garden, a gift from a friend who had just gotten a new puppy and was afraid that she would chew on it. In addition to vomiting and thirst, it can cause hemorrhaging of the stomach and intestines, blood problems, liver damage, liver failure, and death.  If we ever get a new puppy, it will have to go.

Finally, watch out of poinsettias, amaryllis and daffodil bulbs and those Christmas cacti, not as bad as the others, but not good for pets.
Oh, and watch out for toddlers who put anything in their mouths, if it’s dangerous for pets, it’s dangerous for kids.

Plant of the Week

Here is one of the lovely philodendron that grows locally. Most philodendrons prefer shade or partial shade but some tolerate direct sun for part of the day. Water well and enjoy.

A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit

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From Page 7:

Correos reports progress in diversifying

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

At the end of 2015 Correos de Costa Rica is reporting progress in diversification.

The postal service said it now has 60 different services for residents.

Among these is the Courier service to delivery packages throughout the country.

Correos has 112 branch offices,11 distribution centers and 500 letter carriers with 600 vehicles, it said.

But now the post office is where many citizens go to pick up passports. The mail service also handles cédulas de residencia, certifications from the Registro Nacional, public services payments, U.S. visas and products purchased from catalogues and online.

Some expats have complained about the problems in trying to claim packages sent from broad because there still seems to be a requirement for recipients to show up in person at distribution centers to pay customs fees and make a declaration.