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Published Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 9
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Río Virilla bridge lanes will be closed for six weeks
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The public works ministry announced Wednesday night that, in addition to the 24-hour closing starting today, the Río Virilla bridge eastbound lanes will be out of commission for six weeks beginning Jan. 21.

Pedestrians will not be allowed to cross the bridge while it is being worked on from 9 a.m. today until the same time Friday, the Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said. 

The six-week closing will take place because workmen have to replace the concrete deck of the eastbound three lanes of the bridge. The effect is expected to be a traffic nightmare.

A contingency plan for how the government is going handle what is expected to be quite a headache for drivers will be announced Friday.

Both for today and during the lengthy bridge closing, the ministry invited drivers to use the train system. Cristian Vargas, head of the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles, warned that those traveling to the capital from Río Segundo, San Joaquín, Heredia or Belén will still face problems. Departure times and train schedules can be found on the institute’s website. 

Tuesday officials announced that the eastbound
lanes of the bridge on the General Cañas autopista are closing for 24 hours starting at 9 a.m. today. The ministry also announced that one lane on the westbound side of the bridge would be closed beginning at 10 o'clock tonight to Friday at 5 a.m.

This is the principal route from Alajuela and Juan Santamaría airport to the capital. The last time the bridge was closed during the daytime traffic became a mess and bus passengers took to the highway on foot to walk seven kilometers to La Sabana. This time, no one but the construction crew and traffic officials will be allowed to use the bridge.

Officials say the closing happening today is necessary so work crews can move steel girders into position for the widening project that hopes to expand the bridge to include three lanes in either direction. The space required for the widening is also the reason officials said that pedestrians cannot use the walkway and transfer to another ride waiting on the east side.

Traffic authorities will not allow any transshipment of passengers along or at the bridge, they said.

The alternate routes are not sufficient to ease the amount of traffic. These include some routes via Heredia.  Another option would be to take the Caldera highway instead.


Public employees threaten to hold indefinite strike
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Public employees threatened the government Wednesday with an indefinite national general strike.

The details were not made clear, but the strike is supposed to be held in February, which also happens to be the months that public school classes resume.

The unions are protesting the shaky condition of the public employee pension plan and the proposal to raise the retirement age to 70 from 65 years.

They also protest the proposal that pensioners pay social security charges on their pensions and that the monthly percentage of what must be paid might rise.

The unions are members of the Bloque Unitario Sindical y Social Costarricense, which is comprised of some 70 labor organizations.

The Bloque has at least five pieces of proposed legislation that it opposes. All of them seek to reduce government costs, also so

Meeting
Unión Nacional de Empleados de Caja y Seguro Social photo
Caja employees and others gather for a meeting Wednesday.

would reduce existing pensions, which might be ruled unconstitutional.

Among the controversial pieces of legislation is a public employment law, which is on the agenda now in the legislature.

The Bloque represents all sorts of unions, including several organizations of school teachers and workers at the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. That union includes physicians and others with technical skills.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 9
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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.

Dentistry


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 Accountants

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Palmares
Cruz Roja photo
The 2016 Palmares tope begins in this file photo.
 
Palmares kicks off its fiestas today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police and medical workers have made preparations for the Fiestas de Palmares beginning today and lasting through Jan. 23.

The Fuerza Pública said it will send 300 officers to the Fiestas de Pamares starting with the Gran Tope horse parade today. Policemen will coordinate with the private security arranged by festival organizers. Surveillance cameras are being installed around the fairgrounds, and the police will set up assistance centers for the public. Bus companies have created specific routes directly to the festivities so people can avoid getting nabbed for drunk driving.

Traffic police will be on routes to the fiestas.

The Cruz Roja is also establishing a plan of action in anticipation of the festivities. The operation will  cover bulls, Tope, carnival, the fairgrounds, the ranchero festival, and cyclists. About 12 care stations will be lining the 33-kilometer cycling route and 11 stations will be available at the carnival and four at the concert area.

Big attractions include today’s tope, another gathering of horses and riders, and the mountain bike race on Saturday. Another main attraction for the fiestas are the musical events that sometimes feature performers from abroad.

The festival has become known for its bars, and its notoriety for being too rowdy for some. The sponsor, Asociación Cívica Palmareña, promises this year to reduce the number of bars and adopt a more family friendly atmosphere.


Prohibited zone holds 273 properties

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Plenty of properties are built on land where they should not be along both coasts. But there is a section of mountain in Heredia that has the same problem.

There are 273 properties built on land where construction was prohibited in an 1888 decree, according to Berni Valerio, mayor of the Municipalidad de San Rafael de Heredia. Some of the residents have lived there for more than 50 years.

Valerio brought his concerns Wednesday to a special legislative committee set up to handle problems in the province of Heredia.

The 1888 presidential decree was designed to protect the water source for Heredia residents. The prohibited area is a strip on the skirts of the Barva volcano between the Zurquí and Concorida summits. It is about 7,000 hectares or about 17,300 acres.

Valerio said Heredia officials are working on a draft of a law to solve the problem. He said he fears legal action by those who are being prohibited to build in the zone now. He also fears that the municipality will have to compensate those who have been prohibited from building.

Much of the land involved is part of the Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo or the Reserva Forestal Cordillera Volcánica Central. Most of the residents are in agriculture.

The problem has been discussed periodically over the years without resolution.


San José tech center draws opposition

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

San Jose's 100-year-old Cementerio Calvo could be the site of a proposed technology center, but not if defenders of the cemetery have their way.

The latest plan is the third by the Municipalidad de San José, which is seeking to develop the 4.5 hectares adjacent to Avenida 10 and near the municipal building. Mayor Johnny Araya had wanted to put a parking lot for municipal employees on part of the cemetery.  Then he presented plans to build an olympic village to house participants in the 2013 Juegos Centroamericanos.

The Sala IV rejected those ideas and said that the land should remain a cemetery. This is potter's field where unidentified bodies and those of the poor are put to rest.

Freddy Pacheco León, a former Universidad Nacional professor, has emerged as the defender of the tract. He showed up at the legislature Wednesday to speak against a bill, No. 20.037, that would change the legal use of the land so that the technology center could be built. He appeared before the Comisión Permanente de Gobierno y Administración. He has opposed the previous proposals, too.

Pacheco said he doubted that the municipality has the resources to develop the technology project.

The plan for the so-called Centro de Desarrollo Tecnológico is to create a magnet for foreign investment and provide education and jobs for young people.


License exchange expanded for expats

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Foreign driver's licenses can now be exchanged for Costa Rican ones at the various regional offices of the transportation ministry.

Until now, expats could only get their foreign driver's license validated at the office in La Uruca. Now this service also is being provided at Heredia, Cartago, Nicoya, Liberia, Río Claro, Puntarenas, San Carlos, Alajuela, San Ramón, Pérez Zeledón, Guápiles and Limón. The service is available every Tuesday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m, said the agency involved.

The agency, the Dirección General de Educación Vial, said it decided to implement this after long waits and unnecessary delays at La Uruca was compared to little foot traffic at the regional offices. It made sense, officials said to expand the services provided to all the regional headquarters.

Legal foreigners whose countries have a reciprocity agreement with Costa Rica can simply present their own country or state's license and obtain one here without any tests. The Costa Rica license will be issued for the same privileges as the foreign license, such as being valid to drive a motorcycle as well as an automobile.



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Luxury home tax spot check shows 98% are incorrect, Hacienda says
By Conor Golden
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Nearly all homeowners who reported the value of their property for the luxury home tax understated the amount, the finance ministry said a pilot study showed.

The ministry said that this was determined by the pilot program that focused on the Jacó area.

A ministry official said the agency developed the system to locate and mark properties eligible for the luxury home tax. This system then allows the tax administration to verify that the property owner is up to date on tax obligations.

By law, the property value must be declared every three years although the payment is annual. Real estate properties are classified as luxury homes if they are valued at or exceed 126 million colons, or about $229,000. The purpose of the tax is to finance and obtain the funds necessary to construct housing for those classified as being in extreme poverty.

The system was conducted as part of a pilot plan by the treasury targeting real estate within the Garabito canton that includes Jacó and Tárcoles. Officials cross-referenced data from D-179 declarations, images from Google Earth, information from the Registro Nacional, and the municipal property map.

The investigation concluded that 98 percent of the 496 declarations filed for 2016 in the canton presented incorrect values. That left a difference of more than 113 million colons, or around $207,339, that still need to be paid, officials said. Moreover the amount of property classified as oculto, or hidden, surpassed the total number of declarations filed. This means that these property owners have not declared the value at all.

Officials also said they found over the course of their investigation that around 101 properties were omisos, meaning that the taxpayers for the properties declared infrequently.

The declaration is made through the Administración Tributaria Virtual. The pay period for this year expires on Monday. Payments can be made through banks.


This time the migrants were afloat

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Five Cubans and a Costa Rican have been detained at the public dock in Golfito.

The Policía de Fronteras said the Cubans were illegal and that the Costa Rican was carrying an unregistered pistol.  He also faces an allegation of transporting the Cubans.

This was a typical interdiction of illegal migrants, except that the migrants were traveling by water, which is a first in police records.  Police said that although the Cubans had passports, the documents did not have an entry stamp for Costa Rica.

Migrant boat
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Police officers check  out the occupants of the boat.

Hotel header
 
Crocs
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Palermo 900
 
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You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Red meat consumption linked to heightened risk of diverticulitis
By the British Medical Journal news staff

A high dietary intake of red meat, particularly of the unprocessed variety, is linked to a heightened risk of developing the common inflammatory bowel condition, diverticulitis, according to research published online in the journal Gut.

Diverticulitis occurs when diverticula, the small pockets or bulges lining the intestine, become inflamed. It is relatively common, accounting for more than 200,000 hospital admissions every year in the U.S. at an annual cost of $2 billion.

New cases of the condition are on the rise, particularly among younger people.

Around 4 percent of those affected will develop severe or long-term complications, such as perforations in the gut wall, abscesses, and fistula, which are abnormal connections between two hollow spaces.

Yet despite its prevalence and impact, not much is known about what causes diverticulitis, although it has been linked to smoking, the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical inactivity, and obesity. Insufficient dietary fibre intake is also thought to have a role, but few other dietary factors have been explored in any detail.

In a bid to rectify this, the research team assessed the potential impact of total dietary red meat, poultry, and fish intake on the risk of developing diverticulitis in nearly 46,500 men, taking part in the Health Professionals Follow up Study. The men were all aged 40 to 75 when they joined the study between 1986 and 2012. Every four years they were asked to state how often, on average, they had eaten standard size portions of red meat, including processed meat, poultry and fish, over the preceding year.

During the 26-year monitoring period, some 764 men developed diverticulitis. Those who ate higher quantities of red meat tended to use common anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers more often, they smoked more and they were less likely to exercise vigorously. Their fibre intake was also lower. Those who ate more poultry and fish were more likely to exercise vigorously, take aspirin and to smoke less.

After taking account of these potentially influential factors, total red meat intake was associated with heightened diverticulitis risk. Compared with the lowest levels of consumption, the highest level of red meat intake was associated with a 58 percent heightened risk of developing diverticulitis, with each daily serving associated with an 18 percent increased risk. However, risk peaked at six servings a week.

The association was strongest for unprocessed red meat, and substituting one daily portion of this with fish or poultry was associated with a 20 percent lowered risk.

The overall findings did not seem to be influenced by overweight or age. Exactly how red meat intake might affect diverticulitis risk is not clear, and further research is required. But higher red meat consumption has been linked to the presence of inflammatory chemicals, such as C reactive protein and ferritin, as well as heart disease/stroke and diabetes, explained the researchers. It’s possible that the type and diversity of bacteria colonizing the gut, referred to as the gut microbiome, may also have a role, with red meat consumption altering the range of bacteria, so potentially affecting immune response and the integrity of the gut lining.

The higher cooking temperatures involved for unprocessed meat, which was more strongly associated with diverticulitis, may influence bacterial composition or inflammatory activity, said the researchers.

Vacation, travel and hospitality


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Put Costa Rica on your walls
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Here's reasonable medical care
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9049-7/31/17





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A.M. Costa Rica's
  
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 9
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Axiom new ad

Mexican president insists
country won't pay for wall


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said Wednesday that he wanted good relations with the incoming Trump administration in the U.S., but he repeated that Mexico would not pay for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"All the issues that define our bilateral relationship are on the table, including security, migration and trade," Peña Nieto told a group of ambassadors.

But he said Mexico will not pay for a wall Trump wants to build to help curb illegal immigration into the United States.

"At no time will we accept anything that goes against our dignity as a country and our dignity as Mexicans," he said.

After Trump threatened to impose huge tariffs on companies that move to Mexico and try to sell their goods in the U.S., Peña Nieto said he rejected efforts to influence foreign investors with fear or threats.

But Peña Nieto, who plans to meet with Trump soon, said overall he wanted healthy relations with the new president, including a trade agreement that benefits both the United States and Mexico.

Trump has threatened to tear up and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, saying the current deal is more beneficial to Mexico than to the U.S.



Ethic questions are clouding
allegations about Trump


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The claims were so salacious, they could have appeared in a cheesy, paperback spy novel. Russian intelligence agents were said to have carefully cultivated the next U.S. president for years, and in the process collected information on him that was so damning it could be used for blackmail.

At least that's what the news reports released late Tuesday by CNN and other media outlets alleged. The decision to report the existence of the claims, which were unverified and based on anonymous sources, ignited a fierce debate about journalism ethics and prompted a quick denial from president-elect Donald Trump, who slammed the report as a political witch hunt.

The drama began Tuesday, when CNN first reported that U.S. intelligence chiefs had presented Trump and President Barack Obama with claims that Russian operatives gathered compromising personal and financial information about the president-elect.

The information was presented to Trump and Obama last week during separate briefings on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections, according to the unnamed U.S. officials who spoke with CNN. The claims were said to have come from a former British spy.

According to CNN, U.S. intelligence officials had determined the former British operative's past work was credible. But the network stressed that it could not report what information the Russians were said to have collected on Trump, saying the allegations could not be verified.

However, a short time later, BuzzFeed, an online news outlet, published the claims in full, which were included in a 35-page dossier the ex-British spy wrote.

The dossier contained explosive accusations. It said there had been a continuing exchange of information between Trump aides and Russian operatives. It also contained graphic claims of sexual acts between Trump and prostitutes. These acts were said to have been recorded by Russia's main security agency.

None of the claims has been substantiated. They not only come from an unnamed source, the British ex-spy. The unnamed source himself quotes anonymous sources.

The report also contains several basic mistakes. It misspells the name of a Russian company and incorrectly states that Barvikha, a settlement outside Moscow, is reserved for the residences of the top leadership and their close associates.

Political motivations also could be at play, as the dossier was said to have been the result of opposition research funded by Trump's election opponents.

Nonetheless, BuzzFeed defended its decision to publish the document. While acknowledging there was serious reason to doubt the allegations, it said that ultimately U.S. citizens should be able to make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of government.

In its own statement, CNN said its decision to go with the story was vastly different from BuzzFeed's.

"We are fully confident in our reporting. It represents the core of what the First Amendment protects, informing the people of the inner workings of their government; in this case, briefing materials prepared for President Obama and President-elect Trump," said the CNN statement.

"We made it clear that we were not publishing any of the details of the 35-page document because we have not corroborated the report's allegations," it added.

But in the opinion of many journalism ethics scholars, that argument doesn't add up.

"They're still reporting on an unsubstantiated claim from what they think is a credible source," said Jeffrey Seglin, an ethics and policy expert at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. "To have so many qualifiers in front of your material, it strikes me as problematic."

Seglin questioned whether the desire to be the first media outlet to report the story outweighed journalism ethics considerations. "That does great damage to the media, and it raises suspicions in the minds of the readers and the viewers," he said.

Judith Matloff, who teaches at Columbia University's School of Journalism, said if she were an editor, she would not have published the document if its contents could not be verified.

"I understand why they did what they did, because Trump's the president-elect and there's been a lot of questions about what Trump's relationship is with Russia," she said. "Obviously, people are very interested to get more information on this, but they shouldn't be getting potentially false information."

Others supported the decision to go with the story. Most notably, ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative media outlet, said BuzzFeed was justified in printing the dossier once it became a matter of public discussion.



Trump admits Russians
meddled in U.S. election

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S.-president-elect Donald Trump acknowledged Wednesday that Russia had meddled in the November election, but he said that if Russian President Vladimir Putin liked him, he considered that an asset, not a liability.

In his first news conference in nearly six months, Trump said in New York that even if Putin supported him for president over Democrat Hillary Clinton, he would be tougher in dealing with the Russian leader on the world stage than she would have been.

"Do you honestly believe Hillary Clinton would be tougher than me?" Trump asked. "Give me a break."

He denied having any financial interest in Russia saying, "I have no deals in Russia, no deals that could happen, no loans in Russia."

The file-sharing group WikiLeaks released thousands of the emails stolen from the hacked computer of Clinton campaign chief John Podesta in the month before the election, many of which revealed embarrassing details of behind-the-scenes efforts by Democratic officials to help Clinton defeat Sen. Bernie Sanders for the party's presidential nomination.

While acknowledging Russia's role in that hacking, the president-elect denounced news reports published Tuesday about a dossier containing allegations that Russia had compiled tawdry personal information to compromise him, and that his campaign officials had colluded with Russian intelligence.

"I think that it's a disgrace that was released," he said. "It's all fake news. It didn't happen." He said it would be a tremendous blot on the reputation of U.S. intelligence officials if they leaked the dossier to U.S. news organizations. Several news organizations have had the dossier for weeks but withheld it because they could not substantiate the allegations.



Trump separating himself
from his business empire


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Standing in front of 10 U.S. flags and facing 250 journalists, Donald Trump released long-awaited plans to separate himself from his sprawling business empire so as to avoid conflicts of interest once in office.

He said he would create a trust in which his two sons, Donald, Jr., and Eric, along with one of his Trump Organization executives, would run his global business interests after the inauguration. The plan falls short of demands that he sell all his holdings and place his wealth in a blind trust in which he would have no idea how his money is invested.

"They're not going to discuss it with me," Trump said of his sons' operation of his decades-old business. "I'm turning over complete and total control to my sons."

Washington lawyer Sheri Dillon said the trust she and other attorneys created for Trump's vast holdings would completely isolate him from the management of the company.

Ms. Dillon said the president-elect was voluntarily taking this on and was not required by U.S. law to stop running his businesses while in the White House. She said the president-elect wanted to leave no doubts with the American public that he would completely isolate himself from his businesses.

Ms. Dillon also said the Trump family terminated 30 pending business deals and that the trust would not make any new deals with foreign interests during Trump's presidency. She said Trump would learn about any new deals in the United States only if he read about them in media reports after they were completed.

Ethics officials who worked for President Barack Obama and his predecessor, president George W. Bush, have said that anything short of placing his extensive assets in a blind trust would leave him open to repeated questions about whether actions he took as president would benefit his financial interests.

The president-elect's turnover of control of his business empire to his adult sons falls short of putting the assets in a blind trust because he still will have basic knowledge of what businesses he holds, unless the trust sells them.

Ms. Dillon said the establishment of a blind trust, in which Trump would not know what he owned, would be unworkable.

The U.S. Constitution bars the president from accepting emoluments from foreign interests, but Ms. Dillon said that does not apply to foreign payments to Trump's company, as some ethics experts have contended.


 
Tillerson promises to make
the State Department leaner


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

American diplomacy could soon become leaner and meaner.

President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of state on Wednesday vowed to streamline the State Department to make it more efficient and achieve cost savings.

Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, also signaled a much tougher line with the Chinese, specifically in regard to its military activities in disputed waters.

Beijing's military constructing facilities on islands in the South China Sea is akin to Russia’s taking of Crimea, Tillerson told senators in one of his more forceful comments during the 9-hour confirmation hearing.

China needs to receive a clear signal that its island building must stop and further construction is not going to be allowed, he said.

Tillerson gave the impression of being generally well-prepared, speaking without notes, and answered most of the questions thrown at him by senators with varying degrees of sympathy from both the Republican and Democratic parties.

Protesters and hecklers in Room 106 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building interrupted the proceedings several times.

Tillerson, as is the case with president-elect Donald Trump, would take the job without any previous government or military experience.

Among issues of concern raised by senators was whether his career at one oil company will color his global outlook.

"Obviously there is a statutory recusal period which I will adhere to on any matters that might come before the State Department that deal directly and specifically with ExxonMobil," Tillerson said. "Beyond that though, in terms of broader issues dealing with the fact that it might involve the oil and natural gas industry itself, the scope of that is such that I would not expect to have to recuse myself.”

What became clear from Tillerson's responses Wednesday is that there is likely to be a quick shift in some international agreements made by the Obama administration. These include possibly shutting down the recent opening to Cuba and re-examining the multi-national Iran nuclear deal.

Tillerson, in replies to questions from senators, broke with Trump, who has said that allies currently under the U.S. nuclear umbrella, such as Japan and South Korea, perhaps should be permitted to develop their own such weapons.

Tillerson also said he is not opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which was supported by President Barack Obama but opposed on the campaign trail by both Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The nominee expressed support for leaving intact the Paris accord on climate change, while noting skepticism about the science behind it.

Tillerson expressed unwavering American support for defending its NATO and Asia treaty allies, another diversion from the president-elect's rhetoric.

Tillerson also offered tough talk about Moscow's espionage activities directed toward the United States and sanctions against Russia already in place.

"I would leave things in the status quo so we are able to convey this can go either way," Tillerson said, but also argued that Russia should not be considered an adversary all the time because there should be issues on which the two countries could cooperate.

Russia's increased assertiveness, Tillerson said, stems from the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union.

"Russia, more than anything, wants to re-establish its role in the global world order," he said.

Tillerson’s views on Russia sparked some cause for concern. The nominee had extensive business dealings with Russia during his decades at ExxonMobil, the only company at which he has ever worked.

One topic of questioning in which Tillerson became entangled with senators, especially Florida Republican Marco Rubio, was human rights.

"We need a secretary of state who will fight for these principles," said Rubio, expressing disappointment that Tillerson would not label Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal.

Some rights groups warned that Tillerson's testimony called into question his effectiveness as secretary of State.


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Real estate for sale (paid category)


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

Fully titled, held by corporation. 150 meters to beach! Paved road frontage. Electric, phone and broadband internet at the road. Year-round water on property for well. 3 -minute drive to Sámara center and a 3-minute walk to Playa Sámara. 23,561 square meters / 5.7 acres. Property was purchased on 2005 with plans to develop 21 villas on the property. Project was halted due to real estate market collapse in 2007.  We are no longer interested in developing due to age, health and motivation!  Priced well below market value for quick sale.  More info click HERE! Email: darrandall@yahoo.com    Phone: 506-4033-6695.
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Owner Financing in San Ramon
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San Rmon
                                  rollover
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
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New graphic
For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
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Penthouse
                                  rollover
Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to www.ThePenthouseCostaRica.com  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email crstratton@ymail.com
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Real estate services
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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: manager@crbusiness.biz.

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
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A.M.
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Rica
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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 9
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News from the BBC up to the minute















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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Very Large Telescops
Breakthrough Initiatives photo
The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope.

New program seeks life at nearby star

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory say they will use one of their high-powered tools to search for inhabitable planets near Earth.

The announcement this week came as part of a partnership with the Breakthrough Initiatives, a group that describes itself as a program of scientific and technological exploration, probing the big questions of life in the universe: Are we alone? Are there habitable worlds in our galactic neighborhood? Can we make the great leap to the stars?

To help answer those questions, the two have teamed up for a multi-pronged project to visit Alpha Centauri that will last years. As a first step, the European Southern Observatory, will try to identify how many and what kinds of planets may be out in the stellar neighborhood.

Beginning in 2019 the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile will begin taking a very close look at the Alpha Centauri star system. At about 4.3 light-years away, it is the closest system to the Earth and made news last year when astronomers discovered an Earth-like planet, Proxima B, floating around Proxima Centauri, one of the three stars in the system. The other two stars in the system are a binary pair, named Alpha Centauri A or Rigil Kentaurus and Alpha Centauri B. These two spin around each other every 79 years, separated by about the same distance as our sun and Pluto.

Among these three stars there's the potential for lots of other planets, so the agreement will provide funding to pay for some modifications to the European Southern Observatory's VLT Imager and Spectrometer for mid-Infrared instrument. The changes will provide a new set of glasses that should make it easier for the device to spot any other potentially inhabitable planets in the system. The agreement also provides for telescope time, which is expensive, to allow a careful search beginning in 2019.

A big part of the Breakthrough Initiative is a program to send tiny probes to visit newly found, potentially inhabitable planets. It sounds crazy, but physicists like Stephen Hawking say the project is feasible potentially within this generation.

The program, Starshot, is based on technology that still has to be developed, but it involves sending hundreds, maybe thousands of tiny space probes to Alpha Centauri, with an arrival time of about 20 years. Each tiny probe would be equipped with a full array of instrumentation, including communications equipment, a camera and a nuclear battery.

Each probe will be attached to a solar sail that will get a push from a high-altitude laser, which will accelerate the probes to about 20 percent the speed of light. That's far faster than anything before, but scientists at the Breakthrough Initiative say there's no reason it won't work. It's just that no one has done it yet.

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From Page 4:

Casa Fait in
                          Puntarenas
Centro del Patrimonio Cultural photo
Casa Fait in Puntarenas Centro that was the 2005 contest winner.

Restoration contest seeks proposals until April

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Architects and developers have until early April to prepare projects for this year's contest seeking government money.

This is the contest run every year by the Centro de Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural. The program has been responsible for restoring many of the nation's historic homes since 1997.

Proposals will be received April 6 and 7, and the winner will be announced April 27, the Centro said. Among those involved should be a member of the Colegio Federado de Ingenieros y Arquitectos, it added.