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Published Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 162
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Moving money around legally becomes even harder
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Moving money into and out of Costa Rica is becoming more difficult even if the motive is clearly legal.

An expat who might wish to purchase real estate property here might find great difficulty in bringing the purchase money into the country. In fact, banks here have been known to refuse wire transfers.

Other expats who do business here but live in the United States may have problems with their home institution. One sometime expat in the tourism business here collects the bulk of his income in the United States. But he has to pay expenses here with monthly deposits of cash into a Costa Rican bank. His home institution just shut down his accounts because of what was thought to be their suspicious nature.

Of course, expats can carry funds in cash to Costa Rica as long as they declare amounts in excess of $10,000 both leaving the United States and when entering Costa Rica. Even if they are not stuck up leaving the airport, they might have problems depositing the cash into local banks.

Most expats know that they should not travel within Costa Rica with substantial amounts of cash. That could mean just several thousand dollars. Most U.S. currency has been tainted with microscopic amounts of drugs, and the local drug dogs will find the money.

Then the nightmare begins.

New legislation has increased the possibility of  nightmares even for an expat who is not traveling. A new law showed up in the official newspaper this month that gives police agencies broad powers to seize assets, including cash, without notice.

This is law No. 9387 that was designed to update the criminal code to punish terrorism-related crimes. President Luis Guillermo Solís signed the measure July 28.

Although called an anti-terrorism law, this update covers all money laundering and other illegal activities and allows officials to confiscate the assets at their own discretion.

This is one of those asset forfeiture laws that has been the subject to strong criticism

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elsewhere.  In order to get back the assets, the owner will have to prove in court that the assets are legitimate. All banks and financial institutions are obligated to report suspicious transactions, and bankers here usually overcompensate to protect themselves. The Registro Nacional also is instructed to freeze property designated by investigators.

The freezing takes place without any notification of the owners.

So an expat may wake up one morning to find that his bank accounts, home and vehicles are frozen and perhaps confiscated because investigators believe he has behaved suspiciously. He would face a lengthy court battle to recover his goods.

An investigative agency like the Unidad de Inteligencias Financiera del Instituto Costarricense sobre Drogas has the power to freeze the assets and then ask prosecutors to seek a court ruling validating their action.

To get around the local paranoia over large sums of money, some expats are conducting real estate closings through title companies in the United States. That works well if both the buyer and seller are U.S. residents with bank accounts there.

Rail service predicted to be normal today after strike
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anyone seeking a ride on the valley train or the Heredia route had a long wait Tuesday.

State railway employees made good on their promise to strike. 

They used the change of an employer on their contract as a reason to seek more money.

Casa Presidencial said that the trains were supposed to run normally today.

The persons who drive the trains and those who provide support services became employees of Desmantelamiento de la Catenaria S.A. as of Tuesday.  The firm was one of three that were selected by the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles in a hurry-up, no-bid procedure.

The contract is supposed to be for about three months during which time the work will be put out for formal bids.

The temporary nature of the situation did not stop the employees from leaving thousands of commuters stranded. There also was the expected spike in motor traffic.

Desmantelamiento de la Catenaria agreed to conduct a study to make an appropriate increase in employee salaries. The additional amount will be passed on to the state rail company, said Casa Presidencial. There also were some matters of expenses that were resolved in favor of the employees.

Rail officials tried to head off the strike with a 4 a.m. meeting Tuesday, but reaching an agreement took much of the day.

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Stray bullet injures boy sleeping in bed

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 6-year-old asleep in his own bed suffered a wound from a stray bullet early Tuesday.

The boy was hit in the neck by a bullet that appeared to come through the roof of the family home in San Sebastián, López Mateos. The mother said she became aware of the injury when the boy cried out about 1:30 a.m.
The boy was reported out of danger at the Hospital de Niños later Tuesday.

Investigators speculated that someone was firing into the air nearby.

Most arrests at surf event were for pot

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Fuerza Pública said Tuesday that officers detained 91 persons over the weekend at the World Surfing Games in Jacó, mostly for possession and use of funny cigarettes.

That was the total for the entire period of the event from Aug. 6 to last Saturday. Police also said that they confiscated a firearm and a knife.

Two persons were detained for creating a disturbance, and 85 were held on drug violations. Police said they confiscated a small amount of cocaine, crack and crystal, too.

Police stopped and searched nearly 750 persons during the surf championships.  Tens of thousands of persons attended the event, organizers reported.

Movie on Henrietta Boggs debuts Sept. 13

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A documentary about the first wife of José María Figueres Ferrer debuts Sept. 13 in Cine Magaly.

The movie is about Henrietta Boggs, an American, who married Figueres before he was a national political figure. She was with him as he led the 1948 revolution. The movie is called “Primera Dama de la Revolución.”

Andrea Kalin is the director. She was inspired by the book “Married to a Legend” that was published by Ms. Boggs in 1992.

Thinner cloud cover predicted for tropics

By the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich news staff

With the help of satellite data, scientists have shown that low-level cloud cover in the tropics thins out as the earth warms. Since this cloud cover has a cooling effect on the climate, the tropics may get warmer than anticipated.

Determining the exact dependence of the temperature rise on greenhouse gas concentrations is difficult. Scientists refer to this dependence as climate sensitivity. If human activity leads to a sustained doubling of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, how much will the earth warm on average? "Probably between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius" was the vague answer of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its most recent Assessment Report from 2013.

Climate sensitivity is a key parameter affecting climate projections and climate targets. It would be desirable if climate sensitivity, and thus the expected temperature rise, could be better constrained.

Tapio Schneider, Professor for Climate Dynamics at ETH Zurich, and Florent Brient, a postdoctoral researcher in his group, have achieved this with the help of new analyses. "It’s very unlikely that the climate sensitivity is less than 2.3 degrees Celsius," says Schneider. "Climate sensitivity is more likely situated in the upper half of previous estimates, probably around four degrees."

The main reason for the uncertainty in previous climate sensitivity estimates has been the difficulty in determining the exact influence of cloud cover, particularly low-level clouds in the tropics, Schneider explained. Scientists disagreed as to whether  and how much  this cloud cover might change in the future as the climate changes.

To get to the bottom of this question, the researchers evaluated a large quantity of satellite data from the past 15 years. The data was taken from radiometers situated on board NASA satellites. The satellites continuously measure how much sunlight is reflected from the earth back into space. The  scientists were able to show that, in the past, there were fewer low-lying clouds in warmer years than in colder years.

The researchers were able to use the new information to evaluate the quality of nearly 30 current climate models. They found that almost all models that were consistent with the observational data also predicted fewer low-lying clouds under long-term global warming. The scientists therefore assume that this cloud cover will continue to thin out as the earth warms.

News from the Spanish-language press
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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 162
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Ticos' love affair with credit cards has reached $1.67 billion
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Ricans seem to be taking their cues from the central government, which has never met a loan it did not like.

The economics ministry said Tuesday that Costa Ricans owe 908 billion colons in credit card debt. That’s $1.67 billion. And there are more than 2 million credit cards in circulation.

The debt averaged out to $747.56 per credit card, and many residents have more than one plastic card. Maybe that is why 11
percent of the cardholders are behind in their payments 90 days or more.

Credit cards in circulation actually have decreased a bit more

than 1 percent from January to the end of April this year, said the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio. The ministry’s Dirección de Investigaciones Económicas y de Mercado has been following credit card debt for years.

Despite the slight decline in the first four months of the year, the number of credit cards has increased 14.6 percent from a year ago, the ministry said.

There is no surprise that the debt increased because 80 percent of the credit cards in circulation carry interest charges of from 40 to 50 percent, said the ministry. Dollar credit is lower at 30 to 38 percent.

Typically state bank cards carry the lowest interest.

Museum again will retrace the route where Costa Ricans went to war
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

History buffs with good shoes can retrace the march of the Costa Rica army in 1856. The Museo Juan Santamaría is sponsoring a series of hikes that travel the same path that Costa Ricans did marching to war.

This was when the president, Juan Rafael Mora Porras, called upon the country to defend against the filibusters led by William Walker, who was operating in Nicaragua. Costa Ricans met and defeated a band of invaders at Santa Ross de Sardinal March 20, 1856. Then they marched into Nicaragua for the decisive battle of Rivas April 11.

It was in that battle that Alajuela native Juan Satamaría died a hero and from where the museum gets its name.

Marchers today need not be as sturdy as the soldiers of the 19th century. The hikes will be in nine sections from Aug. 20 to Nov. 24. There is a fee and a limit on participation.

The series of hikes is called  Sobre los pasos de nuestros héroes. The army had about 2,500 soldiers on the march, and the difficulties were many. There also was considerable

Museo Juan Santamaría photo
Oxen are optional on the route of the heroes

fighting along the Río San Juan in northern Costa Rica.

Many historians look on what is called the Campaña Nacional 1856-1857 as the establishment of the Costa Rican identity.

All did not end well. Despite prevailing in Nicaragua, the soldiers brought cholera home and 10,000 Costa Ricans died.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 162
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Researcher says Mayan math genius has been greatly underrated
By the University of California, Santa Barbara, news staff

For more than 120 years the Venus Table of the Dresden Codex, an ancient Mayan book containing astronomical data, has been of great interest to scholars around the world. The accuracy of its observations, especially the calculation of a kind of leap year in the Mayan calendar, was deemed an impressive curiosity used primarily for astrology.

But Gerardo Aldana, a professor of anthropology, said he believes the Venus Table has been misunderstood and vastly underappreciated. In a new journal article, Aldana makes the case that the Venus Table represents a remarkable innovation in mathematics and astronomy and a distinctly Mayan accomplishment. “That’s why I’m calling it discovering discovery, ” he explained, “because it’s not just their discovery, it’s all the blinders that we have, that we’ve constructed and put in place that prevent us from seeing that this was their own actual scientific discovery made by Mayan people at a Mayan city.” He is with the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Aldana’s paper, “Discovering Discovery: Chich’en Itza, the Dresden Codex Venus Table and 10th Century Mayan Astronomical Innovation,” in the Journal of Astronomy in Culture, blends the study of Mayan hieroglyphics, archaeology and astronomy to present a new interpretation of the Venus Table, which tracks the observable phases of the second planet from the Sun. Using this multidisciplinary approach, he said, a new reading of the table demonstrates that the mathematical correction of their Venus calendar, a sophisticated innovation, was likely developed at the city of Chich’en Itza during the Terminal Classic period (AD 800-1000). What’s more, the calculations may have been done under the patronage of K’ak’ U Pakal K’awiil, one of the city’s most prominent historical figures.

“This is the part that I find to be most rewarding, that when we get in here, we’re looking at the work of an individual Mayan, and we could call him or her a scientist, an astronomer,” Aldana said. “This person, who’s witnessing events at this one city during this very specific period of time, created, through their own creativity, this mathematical innovation.”

Scholars have long known that the preface to the Venus Table, Page 24 of the Dresden Codex, contained what Aldana called a mathematical subtlety in its hieroglyphic text. They even knew what it was for: to serve as a correction for Venus’s irregular cycle, which is 583.92 days. “So that means if you do anything on a calendar that’s based on days as a basic unit, there is going to be an error that accrues,” Aldana explained. It’s the same principle used for leap years in the Gregorian calendar. Scholars figured out the math for the Venus Table’s leap in the 1930s, Aldana said, “but the question is, what does it mean? Did they discover it way back in the 1st century B.C.? Did they discover it in the 16th? When did they discover it and what did it mean to them? And that’s where I come in.”

Unraveling the mystery demanded Aldana employ a unique set of skills. The first involved epigraphy, and it led to an important development: In poring over the table’s hieroglyphics, he came to realize that a key verb, k’al, had a different meaning than traditionally interpreted. Used throughout the Table, k’al means “to enclose” and, in Aldana’s reading, had a historical and cosmological purpose.

That breakthrough led him to question the assumptions of what the Mayan scribe who authored the text was doing in the table. Archaeologists and other scholars could see its observations of Venus were accurate, but insisted it was based in numerology. “They knew it was wrong, but the numerology was more important. And that’s what scholars have been saying for the last 70 years,” Aldana said.

“So what I’m saying is, let’s step back and make a different assumption,” he continued. “Let’s assume that they had historical records and they were keeping historical records of astronomical events and they were consulting them in the future, exactly what the Greeks did and the Egyptians and everybody else. That’s what they did. They kept these over a long period of time and then they found patterns within them. The history of Western astronomy is based entirely on this premise.”

To test his new assumption, Aldana turned to another Mayan
University of California, Santa Barbara photo
Part of the preface of the Venus Table of the Dresden Codex.

archaeological site, Copán in Honduras. The former city-state has its own record of Venus, which matched as a historical record the observations in the Dresden Codex. “Now we’re just saying, let’s take these as historical records rather than numerology,” he said. “And when you do that, when you see it as historical record, it changes the interpretation.”

The final piece of the puzzle was what Aldana, whose undergraduate degree was in mechanical engineering, calls the machinery, or how the pieces fit together. Scholars know the Mayans had accurate observations of Venus, and Aldana could see that they were historical, not numerological. The question was, Why? One hint lay more than 500 years in the future: Nicolaus Copernicus.

The great Polish astronomer stumbled into the heliocentric universe while trying to figure out the predictions for future dates of Easter, a challenging feat that requires good mathematical models. That’s what Aldana saw in the Venus Table. “They’re using Venus not just to strictly chart when it was going to appear, but they were using it for their ritual cycles,” he explained. “They had ritual activities when the whole city would come together and they would do certain events based on the observation of Venus. And that has to have a degree of accuracy, but it doesn’t have to have overwhelming accuracy. When you change that perspective of, ‘What are you putting these cycles together for?’ that’s the third component.”

Putting those pieces together, Aldana found there was a unique period of time during the occupation of Chichen’Itza when an ancient astronomer in the temple that was used to observe Venus would have seen the progressions of the planet and discovered it was a viable way to correct the calendar and to set their ritual events.

“If you say it’s just numerology that this date corresponds to; it’s not based on anything you can see. And if you say, ‘We’re just going to manipulate them until they give us the most accurate trajectory,’ you’re not confining that whole thing in any historical time,” he said. “If, on the other hand, you say, ‘This is based on a historical record,’ that’s going to nail down the range of possibilities. And if you say that they were correcting it for a certain kind of purpose, then all of a sudden you have a very small window of when this discovery could have occurred.”

By reinterpreting the work, Aldana said it puts the Venus Table into cultural context. It was an achievement of Mayan science, and not a numerological oddity. It may never be known exactly who made that discovery, he noted, but recasting it as a historical work of science returns it to the Mayans.

“I don’t have a name for this person, but I have a name for the person who is probably one of the authority figures at the time,” Aldana said. “It’s the kind of thing where you know who the pope was, but you don’t know Copernicus’s name. You know the pope was giving him this charge, but the person who did it? You don’t know his or her name.”

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Tropical Homes

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 of Costa Rica.We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442

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 
centers, but are surrounded in lush, tropical forest. Villas are also available for sale in our inventory, so you can enjoy yearly vacations to this mesmerizing rainforest paradise. Please visit our rental inventory HERE!  or call us toll free at 877-815-4227, International: 603-516-0200.  Email:

Real estate for rent (paid category)

Barrio Amon
Fully furnished, American style apartments for rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amón. Cable, internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,  hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry.   Rate  $650 per month plus electricity. 1/2 month security deposit. No lease.  Larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be the best for the prospective tenants to visit the building to see the apartment.  For more information contact  Or call Hilda at 506-2221-7161.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Salsa Lizano
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 162
Real Estate
About us

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Trump to get security briefing
to prepare him for Oval Office

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Donald Trump will get his first official national security briefing today in New York, two days after he said wiping out Islamic extremism would be the center of his foreign policy.

U.S. law requires major presidential candidates to get such a meeting with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence so they do not enter the White House uninformed about national security.

President Barack Obama has called Trump unfit to be president.

Trump has a reputation of ignoring prepared speeches and delivering spontaneous remarks. Some in Washington are concerned the sharp-tongued Trump may reveal some of the classified information he receives in the briefing.

Obama said last week that presidential candidates must act like presidents, "and that means being able to receive these briefings and not spread them around."

Trump's national security plans include what he calls extreme vetting of would-be immigrants to the United States to ensure they respect the U.S. Constitution, the American people and their values. Anyone who hates Jews or gays or preaches bigotry will be kept out, Trump said Monday.

Some analysts said his comments were nothing but a repackaging of his earlier stated desires to restrict Muslim immigration.

Trump has said his national security policy would focus on wiping out Islamic State and working with U.S. allies, including Russia, to reach that goal, something the Obama administration has been trying to do.

Trump gave no specifics about his plans and again blamed Obama and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of State, for allowing the Islamic State to emerge and flourish.

Congress getting paperwork
on probe of Clinton emails

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The FBI has sent Congress documents related to its investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of State.

The House Oversight Committee said Tuesday it had received the documents, marked secret, which include notes on FBI interviews with Mrs. Clinton and other witnesses during the investigation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation closed its year-long probe last month into whether Mrs. Clinton and her aides mishandled sensitive information that flowed through the private email server located in the basement of her New York home.

At the time, FBI Director James Comey said his agents found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the Democratic presidential nominee. He called her actions extremely careless, but said no criminal charges were warranted.

Mrs. Clinton's deeds may have been born of ignorance, the FBI director noted. He said she was not sophisticated in the handling of classified information, and may not have recognized the symbol in her emails designating classified materials.

After Comey's testimony, the House Oversight Committee chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican, said he was mystified and confused how the FBI could find that Mrs. Clinton mishandled dozens of classified documents and then not be criminally charged.

"If your name is not Clinton," Chaffetz said, "or you're not part of the powerful elite, then Lady Justice will act differently. Hillary Clinton created this mess."

Dissatisfied with the FBI's conclusions, Republican lawmakers are continuing to focus on what they say was the Democratic nominee's haphazard handling of email containing government secrets. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, currently lagging in opinion polls, also routinely attacks Mrs. Clinton over her email use.

Mrs. Clinton faces further political fallout from the email scandal. The State Department has agreed in a court filing to turn over more emails, recovered after Mrs. Clinton surrendered her private server, to the conservative organization Judicial Watch, which has filed suit seeking access to the messages.

Response to North Carolina
will indicate voter ID tone

 By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Supreme Court's handling of North Carolina's long-shot bid to reinstate its contentious voter identification law will set the tone for the court's treatment of similar cases that could reach the justices before the Nov. 8 elections.

Several states adopted voter ID laws in recent years. Republicans generally drove the efforts, saying the laws were meant to prevent election fraud. Democrats have argued that the laws were meant to keep minorities, who tend to vote for Democrats, away from the polls. Civil rights groups have challenged the laws in court.

The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 29 invalidated the North Carolina law, ruling that it intentionally discriminated against minority voters.

Attorneys for North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, filed court papers late Monday with Chief Justice John Roberts, seeking restoration of parts of the law and arguing the appeals court was wrong to set it aside so close to the election.

The Supreme Court rarely grants such emergency requests and is even less likely to do so now because it is down to only eight justices, rather than the usual nine, following the February death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The conservative would have been a likely vote to put the North Carolina law back in place for the election. But the court is now split evenly between liberals and conservatives.

"With a 4-4 court they are going to be very reticent, whatever the topic," said Rick Hasen, an election law expert at University of California-Irvine School of Law.

In 2014, the high court let some parts of the North Carolina law take effect for that year's election. It acted similarly on a Texas voter identification law. Justice Stephen Breyer did not publicly dissent in either case, unlike some of his liberal colleagues.

Opponents of the North Carolina law say the state's argument about precipitous disruption of election law is weak, arguing that the 4th Circuit ruling left plenty of time for election workers to train on operating without voter ID in place.

Allison Riggs, an attorney for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, a civil rights group that challenged the law, also noted that the state waited 17 days to file its Supreme Court application.

The North Carolina law, which also limited early voting and prevented residents from registering and voting on the same day, was enacted in 2013.

Whatever the high court does is likely to signal how it would act in any other voting controversies before the election.

In recent weeks, courts have handed wins to voting rights advocates in several states, including Wisconsin and Texas. Some of those disputes could also reach the high court before the election.

North Carolina's application does not seek to reinstate all elements of the law prior to the election, meaning some provisions, including a ban on same-day registration, will not be in effect whatever the high court does.

Mexican prosecutor says
drug lord’s son kidnapped

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A Mexican prosecutor has confirmed the kidnapping of the son of jailed drug kingpin Joaquin Guzmán from an upscale restaurant in the resort town of Puerto Vallarta.

Prosecutor Eduardo Almaguer said 29-year-old Jesus Alfredo Guzmán Salazar and five others were abducted from a dinner party by seven gunmen early Monday. He told the Mexican radio network Radio Formula the victims were not tourists or residents who work in legal activities.

Numerous media accounts identify the kidnappers as members of the Sinaloa drug cartel, the same organization the senior Guzmán had ruled since taking control of the organization in the 1990s.

The prosecutor said the gunmen entered the restaurant about 1 a.m. Monday and took their prisoners without firing a shot. He also said no one had yet filed a formal complaint about the abductions.

Other reports say a half-dozen luxury vehicles remained at the crime scene.

Analysts say the abductions are the clearest evidence yet that a power struggle is under way for control of the vast cartel, considered one of the largest criminal enterprises in the Western Hemisphere.

The elder Guzmán was first arrested in 1993, before escaping in 2001 from a prison in Guadalajara with the help of prison guards. He was apprehended 13 years later with information provided by U.S. intelligence agencies.

He escaped again in July 2015, in what was widely seen as a major embarrassment to the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto. Guzmàn gained his freedom by crawling through a hole in his jail cell's shower, and then through a 1.5-kilometer tunnel.

He was captured six months later in a military operation in his home state of Sinaloa. He currently faces extradition to the United States.

However, a Mexican judge in late June temporarily postponed the extradition, until arguments can be heard on two appeals filed by his attorneys.

Muslim women’s body suit
faces more bans in France

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Three more French towns are on the verge of banning the burkini, a full-body swimsuit worn by Muslim women.

Three Mediterranean towns, Cannes, Villeneuve-Loubet and Sisco on the island of Corsica, have already banned the garment on public beaches, causing an outcry in the Muslim community.

In the southwest, the mayor of Leucate was set to sign a municipal decree that would ban the burkini on public beaches. The mayors of Oye-Plage and Le Touquet also plan to follow suit.

The mainly conservative mayors who have imposed the ban say the garment, which leaves only the face, hands and feet exposed, defies French laws on secularism.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls also weighed in on the debate, lashing the wearing of the burkini as not compatible with the values of France and the Republic and saying he supported mayors who ban it if they acted in the public good.

Critics of the ban point out that the burkini is nearly identical to a traditional wetsuit commonly worn by scuba divers and surfers.

The burkini debate is particularly sensitive in France given deadly attacks by Islamist militants, including bombings and shootings in Paris that killed 130 people last November.

Even the minister for women's rights, Laurence Rossignol, said municipal bans on the burkini should not be seen in the context of terrorism, but she supported the bans.

The Corsican town of Sisco on Sunday became the third to introduce a ban after a brawl in a cove between locals and families of North African origin left five people injured.

A witness said the violence broke out after tourists took pictures of women swimming in burkinis on the Mediterranean island. Investigators are still investigating what happened.

Suspect in Brooklyn murders
was not seen as a likely killer

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Oscar Morel, accused in the execution-style murders of two Muslim men over the weekend, was arraigned Tuesday in the New York City borough of Queens.

Morel, 35, was formally charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon Tuesday afternoon by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Imam Maulama Akonjee and his associate Thara Uddin were killed Saturday near their mosque in Ozone Park in Queens.

"The defendant is accused of the murder of a highly respected and beloved religious leader and his friend," Brown said in a statement. "Their deaths are a devastating loss to their families and the community that they served as men of peace."

Currently, Morel is being held without bail, as ordered by Queens Criminal Court Judge Karen Gopee. A grand jury hearing is scheduled for Aug. 18.

If convicted, Morel could face life in prison without the possibility of parole. Meanwhile, Brown added, the investigation remains ongoing to determine whether the defendant's actions constitute a hate crime.

Explaining the speedy investigation, New York Police Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce used surveillance footage to show a black GMC Trailblazer vehicle fleeing the scene of the shooting. Later, he said a vehicle matching that description was involved in a hit-and-run accident with a bicyclist.

Morel was initially arrested and charged in the hit-and-run incident. Charges were upgraded late Monday.

The motive behind the shooting of the imam and his associate is still unclear, police said.

The New York Daily News reported that Morel had no known links to either Ozone Park, where the shooting took place, or Al-Furqan Jame Mosque, where the slain imam and his associate had prayed immediately before the daytime attack.

Landlord Amado Baptista said Morel lived alone in a basement apartment in Brooklyn but had a girlfriend. Inside Morel's apartment, authorities said they found hidden in a wall a .38-caliber Taurus revolver used in the attack, along with clothes that matched those worn by the suspect in a surveillance video.

Morel had been employed as a porter by The New School, a private university in Manhattan. His only previous record was an arrest for a minor drug offense.

More evidence links diet
and exercise to ripe old age

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Almost every day there is some new piece of evidence linking long term quality of life with movement and a healthy diet.

It's common sense but the science makes the apparent impossible to ignore: being mindful about diet and exercise leads to a longer healthier life.

The latest news on the subject comes from a study by researchers at Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and appears in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. The institute is at the University of California, Los Angeles.

While scientists still aren't absolutely certain what causes alzheimer's and dementia, plaques and tangles are at least a key indicator and maybe a part of the cause. According to the Alzheimer's Association, plaque is an abnormal protein that builds up around dead and dying nerve cells. Tangles are twisted strands of proteins that coat nerve cells like a blanket.

This new study focused on 44 people ranging in age from 40 to 85 who had reported some mild memory loss but no evidence of dementia. They were given an experimental type of PET scan that can measure plaque and tangles in the brain. The researchers also gathered evidence on the patients lifestyles, their body mass index, diet and levels of physical activity.

Each of the factors they measured, a healthy body mass index (between 18.5 and 24), a fair amount of physical activity and a Mediterranean diet were linked to lower levels of plaque and tangles.

"The fact that we could detect this influence of lifestyle at a molecular level before the beginning of serious memory problems surprised us," said the study's lead author David Merrill.

Earlier studies have showed how alzheimer's can be delayed by living a healthy lifestyle, but this is the first study to exactly how it works by delaying the growth of plaque and tangles in the brain.

According to Alzheimer's Disease International, an estimated 46 million people around the world had the disease in 2015, and annual costs are around $800 billion annually. That number is expected to rise to 131 million people by 2050.

The next stop Merrill says is to continue imaging the brain to see how other factors like stress reduction and cognitive health might influence Alzheimer's.
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If you are looking for information on condos, homes, lots, commercial real estate or development properties our award-winning team of professional agents are ready to help you buying property in Costa Rica. We have over 18 years of experience to educate our buyers in all aspects of purchasing property. Call us or email us today for more information on how to purchase that perfect piece of Costa Rica Real Estate.

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Real estate for sale (paid category)

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For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
Large lower lot, incredible views. Flexible zoning.
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Toll free US phone 877-778-8515
In Costa Rica 8307-0164
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Pavo onr
FOR SALE - $240,000
Exceptional 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom, fully furnished luxury apartment for sale at the exclusive Terrazas de Escazú highrise complex in Escazú near La Paco Commerical Center.  Situated on the third floor, this apartment has an exceptional layout with stunning views of the Central Valley. 140 m2 bright and spacious floor plan with open sky terrace with 180-degree unobstructed view of the Escazú mountains and Central Valley.  One covered parking spot with additional guest parking available. HOA fee:  $250/month. Held in Costa Rica corporation for easy property transfer. Building features: 12-meter atrium with controlled access entrance to the building, surrounding landscaping, lower level pool, communal rooftop terrace and small rooftop gym. 24-hour security. Contact: José Granados in Costa Rica, phone 506- 6051-5249  email:
paco two

San Rmon
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!

Jacó Beach - Super Views - Priced Right
This is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home located at about 100-foot elevation one mile from the beach.  Remodeled 2 years ago. Everything is new including total new kitchen, windows, floors, AC units, electric, plumbing, etc.  Super fenced yard for dogs.  Very low electric bill even with the AC.  This is a zero lot line property but with room to expand up and out.  Very secure & private.  Police chief next door. $149,900.  Call Glenn at 506 6214-0056.

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 $850K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

horse ranch
Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
Retreat Center For Sale

We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need.  More information
go to  Call Darin Ricco, phone +619-846-8249 or email:


Luxury condominium apartments for sale in Escazú
The property located in Trejos Montealegre, has three apartments for sale. Excellent location, 400 meters east of Avenida Escazú, next to Village (new commercial and office project), Plaza Tempo, Wal-Mart, CIMA Hospital. To enter and exit Trejos Montealegre no need to pay toll. The condominium is few minutes from San José

♦ Apartment No. 1: 180 square meters, 3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, TV room, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar and island kitchen furniture, garage, electric gate.
♦ Apartment No. 2: 180. square meters,  3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, TV room, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar and island kitchen furniture, garage, electric gate.
♦ Apartment No. 3: This is the largest one. 250. square meters,  3 bedrooms, cement walls, two floors, 1 utility room, 3 bathrooms, living room, kitchen with breakfast bar  island kitchen furniture, 2 garages, electric gate. Total property measures 529 square meters.  Unique opportunity to buy it for $ 750,000 (Seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars).  For more information contact Adrian, cell phone  506-8598-9898  Email:

Ocean View Property for Sale in San Ramón
1.5-acre lot with spectacular ocean views. Ready to build. Mild climate year round with an average temperature a cool 74 degrees. Spectacular panoramic views of
                                for sale
the ocean and port of Puntarenas during the day, breathtaking views of Esparza at night. Fully titled and owned under a Costa Rican corporation. Price reduced to $45,000. Short-term owner financing available. For more info: Contact: Frank

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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, Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 162
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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
Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo
Some structures already have been demolished.

Demolition starts for Circunvalación

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Work has begun in Tibás to demolish structures that are in the route of the Circunvalación Norte.

The $147 million project will link the end of the highway now in La Uruca to Ruta 32, which leads to points east. Heavy trucks bound for Limón and the docks there will not have to travel through other parts of the capital.

The Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes said that demolition begins with 103 structures that are on government property. Many have been occupied by squatters, who have been removed. There are other properties under private ownership that are being expropriated. The ministry said that it expects 80 percent of the properties to be in government hands in a few months.

The biggest population center is the Triángulo de Solidaridad, which is a low-income area. Residents there are expected to be moved next month with the help of the various social agencies.

New fire rages near San Bernardino

By the A.M. Costa  Rica wire services

Authorities in the western U.S. state of California ordered the evacuation of more than 82,000 people after a rapidly spreading wildfire broke out Tuesday north of San Bernardino.

Fire officials do not know what caused the fire, but about 12 hours after it began they said it had already burned more than 6,000 hectares. The flames and smoke prompted road closures, including part of a highway that links the Los Angeles area and Las Vegas.

Some 700 personnel are working to contain the fire. Their job is being made more difficult by hot, windy, dry weather.

Wildfires are common in California and other western states during the warm summer months.

Also Tuesday, authorities in northern California lifted some evacuation orders as fire crews made progress against another fire that police say was started by an arsonist. They have arrested a 40-year-old man suspected of starting multiple fires in the area during the past year.

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From Page 7:

Educational channel shuffled for cable

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Two communications firms have relinquished rights to the Canal Iberoamericano so that it may be included in the kölbiTV cable system.

They are the Sistema Nacional de Radio y Televisión and the Televisión Educativa y Cultural Iberoamericana

The television channel is run by the Secretaría General Iberoamericana, a regional government agency. It offers a range of news, cultural and educational programming.

The Sistema Nacional de Radio y Televisión, a state agency, operates Canal 13, which is on cable and available via the airwaves. The system said it would increase its  Iberoamerican programming.