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(506) 2223-1327                             Published Tuesday, Jan 6, 2015, in Vol. 15, No. 3                                         Email us
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Inflation was 5.14 percent, but there is good news
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Accumulated inflation in 2014 was 5.13 percent, but the good news is that the trend is down.

The Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos computes the change in consumer prices each month using 292 goods and services. The agency said Monday that inflation in December took a dip of nearly a quarter percent compared to November. In fact, the bulk of the inflation, some 4.14 percent took place in the first six months of 2014, the institute said.

In the last six months of the year, the percentage was just 0.94 percent.

Prices are expected to decline in many areas due to the drastic plunge of petroleum prices.

Shoppers may not have noticed the fact, but the institute said that clothing, shoes, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, transportation, education, communications, household goods and domestic services declined slightly in December. That resulted in a dip of 0.21
iinflation index
Instituto Nacional de Estadística
y Censos/A.M. Costa Rica graphic

Chart shows nine years of price changes

percent compared to November, the Institute said.

Increases in the price of fuel earlier in the year caused transportation prices to rise 3.92 percent. This included bus fares, taxi fares, gasoline prices and the acquisition of vehicles, said the agency.

Most manufacturers use gasoline or diesel to some extent if only to move product to market.

For many expats the inflation was offset by an increase in the value of the U.S. dollar earlier in the year.

Most earthquakes in 2014 were not felt by humans
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

More than 4,000 earthquakes took place in 2014 in Costa Rica, but only 122 were strong enough to be felt by humans, said the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico at Universidad Nacional in Heredia.

Three of the stronger quakes were not even in Costa Rica, the Observatorio noted. These were the June 16 quake with a magnitude of 5.6 that had its epicenter at San Andrés island in the Caribbean, the Sept. 16 5.2-magnitude quake in Panamá and the Oct. 13 quake in El Salvador. That one was estimated at 7.3 magnitude.

There were a flurry of quakes in the Central Valley. The most notable, according to the Observatorio, was a 4.2-magnitude event July 24 in Guácima de Alajuela, one July 25 near Cartago Centro that registered a magnitude of 4.5 and a Nov. 1 event in Desamparados that had a magnitude of 4.2. Although these were relatively modest earthquakes, the
Observatorio said that because they took
Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico graphic
Green dots represent 2014 quakes of up to 3.71 magnitude. Blue dots are 4.51 magnitude. Red dots are higher.

place in populated areas, there was widespread concern.

The annual report said that the total number of quakes in 2014 in and around Costa Rica were 5,986, significantly lower than the 2014 total of 7,439, said the Observatorio. In 2014 there were 155 quakes that were felt by humans, it noted

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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.

Residency experts

Residency in Costa Rica
A full service immigration agency
U.S. and San José offices
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Tel: (323) 255-6116


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 U.S 786-206-9473         CR 506-2288-2001
FAX: 506 2231-3300
Web page:

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California Licensed Psychologist
International Practice via the Web
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Lic. Pablo Mata Ferreto, MBA.

Legal – Financial Adviser

Real Estate and Business Transactions

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

Phone number: (506) 8853-0000


Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini has placed and
DR. Cavallini
Dr. Marco A. MuÏoz Cavallini
restored over 17,000 dental implants since 1980. The Dr. Marco Muñoz Cavallini Dental Clinic, is recognized as one of the best practices in Dental Reconstruction, Dental Implant placement and Cosmetic Dentistry in Costa Rica and the World. For more information, visit us today at:

Remodelling and Construction

Real estate agents and services

CR Beach
Jaco Beach Central Pacific Real Estate
CR Beach Investment Real Estate Broker & INT’L
NAR certified Realtor Jeff Fisher is famous for being “Brutally Honest.”
See why he still believes only the 100% titled land of the Jaco beach & Central Pacific areas of Playa Hermosa/ Jaco-Los Suenos Marina & Golf and the Esterillos-Bejuco beaches are the best places to live, invest and enjoy. 
Reason #1:  SJO Int’l Airport and S.J. suburbs are little more than one hour away.
#2: The Jacó area has everything you need, from KFC to Gourmet Organic;  from zip lines to bank lines, from a movie house to a fire sale house…. 
#3: BUYERS’ MARKET: Many properties are at their lowest price ever
           *$179,900 Hermosa Beachfront Community with Ocean Views !
Yes we know Costa Rica: Jeff (21 years here), Frances Winborne (23 years), and Junior Diaz (Jacó born & bred),  and we chose the Central Pacific!

Member of the N.A.R., the Costa Rican Real Estate Board CRGAR and the Central Pacific Chamber of Commerce.
Toll Free: 1-888-782-1119 or  2643-4334, 2643-3672
JACO Office: IL Galeone Center by BAC, #14, Costa Rica

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   • Specialized in the Central and South Pacific.
   • Great network of realtors, to find your dream
   • Homes, condominium & luxury homes
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Telephone: +506 2643-4065   
cell: +506 8825-6556   US:  626 548-3909
skype: ecorealtorscr  Facebook: ecorealtorscr
In front of Subway at Plaza Herradura, Jacó
Green NAR designee, member of the CCBR, CRGAR

Jim Day, representing Colinas del Sol
del Pacifico, S.A.


* Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area.
* There are 88 clear titled lots.
* Mountain areas with great views.
* Gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit tree orchards.
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* All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each.
* Lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $39,000 USD , and many can be combined for those wanting a larger area for their chosen passion, be it a hobby horse farm or retirement haven.
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* Electricity and water to each of 79 clear-titled lots.
* 20 minutes to the Liberia International Airport
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* 10 minutes to Medical Facilities
* 25 minutes to the Liberia Hospital
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Contact Jim Day
or Phone:  001 517 484-3675.
Click Here:

patrol car crash
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo           
Patrol car collided with the fleeing tractor.

Container robberies squashed by police

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A gang of bandits stuck up and tied up a guard at a trucking firm in Limón early Monday and then stole two tractor trailers bearing shipping containers.

Fuerza Pública reported the agency was able to stop one truck on Ruta 32 in Río Frio and also detain the occupants of an accompanying vehicle that was serving as an escort. A patrol car rammed that vehicle.

Other officers stopped the second vehicle in Santa Elena de San Isidro de Heredia. The driver of this vehicle managed to flee, they said.

In all four persons were detained, and at least two have prior criminal records, the police agency said.

Strong winds are not going away soon

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The winds that are whipping the country has caused electrical outages and brought down trees. The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional says that this condition will last through Wednesday.

The winds have reached 100 kph or about 62 mph, according to the weather institute. The higher elevations have the higher winds.

More typical in the Central Valley were winds in the 80 kph range, some 50 mph.

The weather institute said that the cause was high pressure in the Caribbean and that the winds would begin to diminish Wednesday and reduce slowly during the rest of the week.

The weather institute also is calling for light to moderate rain in the northern zone and on the Caribbean coast. There may be some in the metro area, too.

The agency issued two bulletins about the winds Monday.

For many Costa Ricans, the temperature with the wind chill factor is about as cold as it gets. In addition to the chill, the winds are noisy and can easily invade some homes that are built for ventilation and not windy weather.

Working despite the winds were municipal trash collectors Monday who made inroads in removing the garbage that has been pushed around by the winds since Jan. 1.

U.S. ski team members die in avalanche

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Ski Team is in shock after an avalanche in the Austrian Alps took the lives of two members of the team's developmental program.

Monday's incident took place near the Rettenbach glacier in the mountains at the western Austrian resort of Soelden, which is the venue for the annual season-opening World Cup races.

Ronnie Berlack, 20, and Bryce Astle, 19, were caught by the avalanche while free-skiing in Soelden in the Tyrol region, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association said in a statement. Four other team members skiing with them survived.

No coaches were with them at the time.   The Austrian broadcaster ORF said neither man was wearing avalanche emergency gear.

An avalanche alert had been in effect for the area after days of heavy snowfall and mild temperatures.

Berlack, from Franconia, New Hampshire, had been on the U.S. development team since 2013 and Astle, from Sandy, Utah, had been invited to train with it this season.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan 6, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 3
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Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
Workman measures a hole that has been drilled to accommodate a concrete piling for a new bridge.

Road agency expects slow going
at Paso Ancho overpass worksite

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The word for motorists using the Circunvalación is patience because the stretch at Paso Ancho continues to be a bottleneck.

Contractors are building an overpass above the existing traffic circle, which has been a bottleneck in its own right. This is the circle commonly known as Guacamaya because of the adjacent auto parts businesses of that name.

This is $10 million job and is similar to the overpasses built at Y-Griega and San Sebastán.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad reports that workmen are about 25 percent along in drilling and installing concrete pilings for the six-lane bridge structure.

The Circunvalación is the multi-lane bypass that now runs from La Uruca south of the metro area to San Pedro. Plans are underway to build a northern loop that will connect with Ruta 32, the Limón highway.

The road agency said that regardless of the construction activities there always will be one lane open for traffic.  The bridge itself will be 410 meters, some 1,345 feet. Financing is by the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo.

Economic survey shows credit card debt at 859 trillion colons
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There are 1,872,149 credit cards in circulation in Costa Rica, and the average debt represented by each card is 458,852 colons, according to the economics ministry.

That is a total debt of some 859 trillion colons or $1.6 trillion. That's 31.5 billion colons more than the previous year.

And these figures do not take into account the Christmas season because the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio did its survey as of Oct. 31.

The ministry also reported that some 12.8 percent of the credit card owners were behind in payments.

The ministry noted that there are 29 firms or banks in Costa Rica that issue credit cards. And there are 398 different types of cards.

The ministry has been studying the credit card business for four years. In the latest report the ministry repeated its findings that some credit card issuers charge from 40 to 51 percent annual interest. And some issuers even charge customers who want to get a card.

The high interest rate has attracted the attention of lawmakers who may try to put a cap on the rate via legislation.


You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan 6, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 3
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Researchers say that cold weather may promote cold virus growth
By the Yale University news service

The common cold virus can reproduce itself more efficiently in the cooler temperature found inside the nose than at core body temperature, according to a new Yale-led study. This finding may confirm the popular, yet contested, notion that people are more likely to catch a cold in cool-weather conditions.

Researchers have long known that the most frequent cause of the common cold, the rhinovirus, replicates more readily in the slightly cooler environment of the nasal cavity than in the warmer lungs. However, the focus of prior studies has been on how body temperature influenced the virus as opposed to the immune system, said Akiko Iwasaki, study senior author and Yale professor of immunobiology.

To investigate the relationship between temperature and immune response, Professor Iwasaki and an interdisciplinary team of Yale researchers spearheaded by Ellen Foxman, a postdoctoral fellow in Professor Iwasaki’s lab, examined the cells taken from the airways of mice. They compared the immune response to rhinovirus when cells were incubated at 37 degrees Celsius, or core body temperature, and at the cooler 33 degrees Celsius.

“We found that the innate immune response to the rhinovirus is impaired at the lower body temperature compared to the core body temperature,” said Professor Iwasaki.

The study also strongly suggested that the varying temperatures influenced the immune response, rather than the virus itself. Researchers observed viral replication in airway cells from mice with genetic deficiencies in the immune system sensors that detect virus and in the antiviral response. They found that with these immune deficiencies, the virus was able to replicate at the higher temperature. “That proves it’s not just virus intrinsic, but it’s the host’s response, that’s the major contributor,” Professor Iwasaki explained.

Although the research was conducted on mouse cells, it offers clues that may benefit people, including the roughly
head cold

20 percent who harbor rhinovirus in the nose at any given time. “In general, the lower the temperature, it seems the lower the innate immune response to viruses,” noted Professor Iwasaki. In other words, she said, the research may give credence to the old wives’ tale that people should keep warm, and even cover their noses, to avoid catching colds.

Yale researchers also hope to apply this insight into how temperature affects immune response to other conditions, such as childhood asthma. While the common cold is no more than a nuisance for many people, it can cause severe breathing problems for children with asthma, noted Ms. Foxman. Future research may probe the immune response to rhinovirus-induced asthma.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

La Fortuna
Comfort of your home in the campo, 5 minutes from Fortuna Centro of San Carlos, in the shadow of Volcano Arenal, Flat screen TV, AC, refrigerator, free coffee. Local area activities like four-wheeling, horse riding, zip lining, hot springs, jungle walking tours. Bring your camera for great photos of nature, fishing and swimming, canyoning and wireless internet. Harry Hart, proprietor.  Call for reservations  (506) 2479-8670   and (506) 8682-9219  Email:

Will Costa Rica Retirement Work For You?
Find out for yourself on Live In Costa Rica Tours

When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

   * Discover how to make the right choices about moving here
   * Find out how to live affordably
   * See how other expats live. Meet other expats who have made
          the move.
   * Access the country's affordable health care system
   * Informative two-day seminar given by local experts in their
          relevant fields.
   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 34-year resident, citizen,
          and the author of "The New Golden Door to Retirement
          and  Living in Costa Rica – the Official Guide to Relocation”
Click HERE  to learn all about our Association of Residents (ARCR)  approved tours at

Anywhere Costa Rica plans custom vacations, and has the most comprehensive travel services in the country including travel guides, resorts and vacation homesCosta Rica tours
and car rentals.  
Call 1-888.456.3212 or 2479-8811 locally.

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.
Every Saturday - Vendor Fair!

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.


Here's reasonable medical care
Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom

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A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
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See our listing of real estate brokers on the for-sale page.

Real estate for rent (paid category)
Maneul Antonio
The vacation homes at Manuel Antonio Estates offers luxury, comfort and peace of mind. We have numerous homes to chose from, all within walking distance of the town’s shops and restaurants and just a few minutes to the best beaches and the famous national park. While the homes are secluded and hidden among the rainforest, the surrounding area offers adventures like zip lines, white water rafting, mangrove kayaking and many more. All of the homes are available for short-term rentals, have easily accessible parking, cable TV, and Internet and are fully furnished. We are happy to assist with all your need for the perfect Costa Rican vacation.
Manuel Antonio Estates        TOLL FREE: 1800 346 9724
011 (506) 2777.3339

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80 stations, water, washer
 and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:

Organic farm home
$800 plus utilities.
Two-bedroom, two-bath house, fully furnished, Internet included, cable TV available. Inside organic farm, safe and secure. In the country but close to town. Santa Bárbara de Heredia, Email for more info and pictures. Long term, NO DOGS.

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.

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

HP Cattle rentals
Mountain homes or farm for rent
Barva volcano, Heredia province
We offer for rent a gorgeous two-bedroom mountain chalet and a one-bedroom mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude and within a working horse ranch just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance. From our homes one can hike to the Barva volcano crater-lake.  Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and breathtaking views of the Irazú volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of cloud forest bird species to include the resplendent quetzal.  The homes are incomparable in beauty and attention to detail within the Barva highland area.  We are only 35-55 minutes from Costa Rica’s three principal cities (Heredia, Alajuela, and San José), less than two hours from the central Pacific beaches, and three hours from the Caribbean beaches. Enjoy the tranquility of the mountains while maintaining quick access to the conveniences of the city and rapid access to other eco-tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Additionally, we can board your horses at a reasonable fee.  We can also offer our clients rental of a small and fully functional farm complete with stables, pasture, and office space.
Mountain chalet: $750.  Basic mountain home: $400.
Boutique mountain home: One-bedroom $850. Two-bedroom $1,000.
Small Farm that includes a chalet, basic mountain home, stables, and 8,000m2 of pasture/green areas: $1,500.

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A.M. Costa Rica's   Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan 6, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 3
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U.S. Coast Guard reports
more Cubans fleeing island

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Coast Guard says the number of Cubans picked up at sea trying to reach the United States has surged since President Barack Obama announced plans to restore diplomatic relations with Havana.

Coast Guard officials say vessels picked up 121 Cuban migrants at sea last week and returned them to the island.

Coast Guard Rear Admiral Jake Korn said Monday there is no change in U.S. immigration policy regarding Cuba. He said only Congress can change the so-called wet foot, dry foot act, which allows Cubans who reach the United States to stay.

Some Cubans say they are afraid that diplomatic relations with the United States will mean tighter immigration restrictions.

The Coast Guard has increased patrols in the waters between Cuba and the Florida keys and discourages everyone from trying to make the dangerous crossing.

It says any Cubans picked up at sea will be sent back.

President Obama made history last month when he announced plans to ease the more than 50-year-old economic embargo on Cuba and restore diplomatic ties cut in 1961, two years after Fidel Castro seized power.

Dissidents critical of Obama
after Cuba detains activists

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Cuban dissidents say last week’s detention of activists by Cuban authorities demonstrates what they call the fallacy of U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent decision to re-establish diplomatic relations with the communist nation and relax some restrictions on travel and trade. The Obama administration maintains its new policy eventually will help bring change to Cuba.

Cuba’s Ladies in White are demanding the release of political prisoners and improved human rights.  But they don’t believe the U.S. president's opening to Havana will bring freedom, says leader Berta Soler.

“Obama thought this would favor the Cuban people, but that’s not the case," she said. "Everything that comes out of this renewal of ties will benefit the Cuban government and not the Cuban people.”

Dissidents say the arrest of Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera last week is an example of the continuing repression.  Ms. Bruguera and some 50 others were detained for planning an event in Havana’s Revolution Square to push for freedom of expression.  Authorities later released her and some of the other activists.

Washington condemned the detentions. But State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was pressed Monday to defend the new U.S. policy.

"One of the reasons why we moved forward with the change in policy is because we want to empower Cuban citizens to give them greater ability to promote positive change going forward," she said. "And a critical focus of our announced actions include continued strong focus on improved human rights conditions of which we know that the situation in Cuba remains poor."

Yet she acknowledged to reporters there is still no word on the release of 53 Cuban political prisoners Havana promised would be freed following President Obama's announcement normalizing relations.

Critics of the opening include prominent U.S. lawmakers of both parties who say Obama got little in return from Havana in exchange for easing parts of the decades-long economic embargo, including allowing U.S. telecommunications investments.

An editorial in the Washington Post newspaper pointed to Ms. Bruguera’s detention as evidence the president should have demanded protections for pro-democracy activists in return for his overture.

But it is in Cuba where dissidents, such as Elizardo Sanchez, feel most discouraged.

“We do not see any sign that the government is willing to make the reforms the country needs….so everything will continue more or less the same as it has been in previous years,” he said.

Jan. 1 marked 56 years since Fidel Castro swept into power and launched the Cuban Revolution. Today, ordinary Cubans are waiting to see if the new U.S. policy will have any impact on their daily lives or on the Caribbean island's communist government.

Arctic whale may harbor
secret of a long lifespan

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Bowhead whale may harbor the secret to longevity, according to a new study that describes its genome.

Native to the Arctic, the bowhead is big and strong and can live 200 years, possibly the longest lifespan of any mammal. But why does it live so long? That question has intrigued University of Liverpool scientist Joao Pedro Magalhaes for a long time.

“Why do human beings age slower than other primates?" he says. "Why do mice age so much faster than humans or whales? And likewise, why do bowhead whales seem to live longer than human beings and seem to be protected against some age-related disease like cancer?”

Magalhaes says this remains a mystery. But in sequencing the genome, the scientists looked for patterns comparing the bowhead to other closely related, but shorter-lived species, such as the Minke whale. Magalhaes says the team focused on identifying genes with bowhead specific mutations.

“We looked for genes that are duplicated — that is, they have multiple copies in the bowhead whale, but not in other related species. And this revealed a number of promising leads.”

In the journal Cell Reports, Magalhaes and colleagues describe alterations in bowhead genes related to cell division, DNA repair, cancer and aging. Magalhaes says different long-lived species use different tricks to evolve a long life span. He wants to uncover the natural mechanism that triggers that process.

“If I can figure out what are these tricks in the bowhead and what makes them live so long and protects against diseases, we can then try to apply them to human beings, which could involve pharmacological interventions or pharmacological targeting of particular genes," he said. "It could involve gene therapy.”

The next step, he says, is to breed mice with bowhead whale genes, to determine the importance of different longevity and age-related mutations. But the sequence has other applications, too: understanding population dynamics and genetic diversity can help conservationists working to protect the species, which is threatened by habitat loss and toxins in the environment.

Breath test for diabetes
may help screen youngsters

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

People with Type 1 diabetes, usually diagnosed in children and young adults, must take insulin injections and watch their diet to keep their blood sugar levels balanced.

Diagnosing the disease usually requires taking blood samples, a frightening experience for many youngsters. But researchers in the United Kingdom say they have developed a simple, non-invasive initial test, which requires only a whiff of the patient’s breath.

It is estimated that each year, as many as 80,000 children develop Type 1 diabetes. The autoimmune disease can be lethal if untreated, so early discovery is of ultimate importance.

One of the side effects of diabetes is sweet-smelling breath. Oxford University Emeritus Professor of Chemistry Gus Hancock says it is due to the build-up of chemicals called ketones in the patient’s blood.

“And the sweet smell is this particular ketone that is given out. It's called acetone. And doctors have regularly smelled acetone on the breath of patients who are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis and used it as a diagnostic,” says Hancock.

CEO of Oxford Medical Diagnostics, Ian Campbell, says it was not an easy task, because breath contains molecules of millions of compounds while this test requires detecting only one of them.

“So, what we do is allow the subject to blow into the device, we extract out the volatile organic compound we wish to measure, in this case acetone. The remainder of the breath passes through the device. We then release the molecules that we're interested in into the cavity to make the measurement,” says Campbell.

Hancock, who collaborated in the development of the device, says similar analyzers exist but only as desktop-sized heavy boxes.

“The aim that we have is to get this into a hand-held device… that somebody can pick up and use by blowing simply through a mouth-piece,” says Hancock.

Researchers say the new analyzer should be ready for doctors’ offices within a year, while even smaller versions for individual use may be available later.

But they point out the breath analyzer should be seen only as a first screening, and a diagnosis must be confirmed by a proper blood test.

Two U.S. citizens held
as Gambia coup authors

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Two U.S. citizens are facing charges for their alleged role in last week's coup attempt in the West African nation of Gambia.

The U.S. Justice Department says Cherno Njie, 57, and Papa Faal, 46, are both in custody after making their initial court appearances Monday, Njie in Baltimore, Maryland, and Faal in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Both men are charged with conspiracy to violate the U.S. Neutrality Act as well as a firearm charge.

According to the Justice Department, Njie and Faal traveled to Gambia in December with the purpose of overthrowing the government. 

The criminal complaint says ahead of their trip, Faal and other co-conspirators purchased weapons including M4 semi-automatic rifles, and shipped them to Gambia for use in the coup attempt.

It says the conspirators expected Njie would have served as Gambia's interim leader had the plot to overthrow President Yahya Jammeh succeeded.

A Federal Bureau of Investigation search of Faal's Minnesota home turned up M4 manuals, receipts, and Google satellite images of Gambia in a folder marked top secret, the Justice Department charged.

FBI agents who searched Njie's residences in Austin and Lakeway, Texas, found handwritten documents, a spreadsheet for weapons and equipment, and a document outlining transition plans for Gambia, the complaint said.

The Justice Department says when the coup attempt was foiled, both men returned to the U.S.

“The attempted coup was the result of more than 20 years of abuse by Jammeh. Gambians didn’t ask Jammeh to lead us.  He forced himself onto the Gambian people by overthrowing the democratically-elected government that was in place,” said Pa Samba Jow, a spokesman for the Democratic Union of Gambian Activists, who has been in exile for close to two decades.  

Jow says he knows Faal, one of the defendants.

“He’s a very upright and patriotic guy, a very honest man and a man who lost his country," he said. "He was doing his PhD, has written a book: 'One Week in Hell' about the 1981 abortive coup. A very active person in the community in Minnesota. He’s a generous person who believes in democracy and hates the abuse of other human beings.”

Tamsir Jasseh of the Gambian Association for Peace and Reconciliation based in Atlanta said the coup was no surprise to anybody.

“It seems as if every democratic and legal venue of bringing about change in Gambia have been locked down by the manner in which Mr. Jammeh governs the country, and people are forced to look into other ways in which to liberate themselves,” he said.

Njie is a U.S. citizen of Gambian descent and a resident of Austin, Texas. Njie is the president of Songhai Development Co. LLC in Austin, which specializes in multi-family housing developments, including retirement communities. 

Faal is a dual U.S.-Gambian citizen and a resident of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.  A Pentagon official said Faal had been an Army sergeant who served a tour in Afghanistan and left the military in 2012.

Security forces in Gambia, a country of about 1.8 million people and the smallest nation in mainland Africa, have also begun arresting suspects in last week's attack.

Buckingham Palace defends
prince accused in sex case

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Britain's Buckingham Palace is emphatically denying allegations of sexual impropriety by Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth's second son who is fifth in line to the British throne.

In a U.S. court case, an American woman alleges she was kept as an underage sex slave by disgraced U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein, a friend of the prince, and forced to have sex with Prince Andrew on three occasions. The woman alleges the liaisons occurred between 1999 and 2002, in London, New York and on Epstein's private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Buckingham Palace has now issued two denials of the allegations against the 54-year-old prince, also known as the Duke of York. It said that "any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue."

The woman made the allegations in a court filing in the southern U.S. state of  Florida in a case accusing U.S. prosecutors of agreeing to let Epstein plead guilty to sex crime charges without consulting victims.

Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to a Florida state charge of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution and served 13 months of an 18-month prison term. But with the guilty plea, he escaped more serious federal charges.

Bess Myerson of TV fame
reported to have died at 90

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Bess Myerson, the first and so far only Jewish Miss America, whose personal life was filled with stormy marriages and political scandal, has died at age 90.

The Los Angeles coroner's office says Ms. Myerson died last month, but her death was not made public until Monday.

The New York-born Ms. Myerson won the Miss America beauty crown weeks after World War II ended in 1945, when details of Nazi crimes against Jews were starting to emerge. She became a source of pride for American Jews as she spoke out against anti-Semitism and racism.

Ms. Myerson was a popular television personality in the 1950s and 60s, appearing chiefly on commercials and game shows.

She became New York City consumer affairs chief in 1969, pushing through consumer protection laws that are now in force nationally. She also ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate.

But Ms. Myerson's political career and reputation for integrity collapsed in the 1980s with separate scandals involving shoplifting, divorce and allegations of bribery, mail fraud and obstruction of justice.

Ms. Myerson eventually was cleared of the corruption charges and quietly lived out the rest of her life in Los Angeles.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Swimming pool at night
A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.
For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 4030-5480 or 8339-2112.

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Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert

Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.

Moran Arenal
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
Great lake front, river front land, farms, homes, condos and commercial property. Some with owner financing
This is far and away the most beautiful place in all Central America — cool climate. Try our two-day, all-inclusive discovery tour for $299.

Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
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Costa Rica,

Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.

Visit our Web Site:

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
(506) 2494-0016 
(506) 8309-0173
English calls :  (Luis David) Phone: 
(506) 6154-1940

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
Grecia 884
Beautiful large house in Grecia, Costa Rica, with the best fresh natural weather. The property includes 9 challets and 12.000 m2 of land,  1,000 m2 of construction. Price $498,000. Click HERE!
Grecia 881
Beautiful house in Grecia, Costa Rica,  2 kilometers from the city.   340 m2 of land.
Price $135,000. Click
Grecia 898
Beautiful house in Grecia downtown. Full security cameras. Land 250 m2.  Price $400,000.  Click HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Heredia montage

Cariaria  Los Arcos.
    Lot inside Los Arcos Residence. Absolutely gorgeous right in front of the coffee plantation. The lot is 326.50 meters. Includes the corporation for an easy transfer and the plans for a 170 meter house. Open to all offers.   Architect  plans included (the blueprints). Cost to the seller $4,000 this is included!!   Original Price $97,000 just reduced to $86,000

Also I am selling an Audi A6  2008, 2.0 twin turbo. Full loaded power. Back leather. Full service records at the agency in Costa Rica.  52 kms.  Silver with black. Full computer iPod interface power. Electric moon roof. Everything's a beauty!!  Incredible history and full service at the agency, Costa Rica Audi.

It's a package deal $104.000.  Must sell.  I am moving back to U.S.  Contact me  at my phone:  2260-6979 or cell phone:  8893-8672.

La Fortuna Distress Sale
Divorce forced wife to return to the U.S. with bills to pay. Just wants to get out from under. Modern 2-bedroom home on over 1100m2 intended for apartments or condos. Easy walk to center of town, great volcano view. $140,000 with 50 percent financing arranged. On vacation rental program now producing nice income, but Costa Rica no longer in her future. For details contact

Ringle resort
on one big lot in Esterillos Oeste, (Central Pacific)
Located on a breezy hill just 4 minutes walk to the beach, surf and tide-pools, only 20 minutes drive north to Jacó nightlife and shopping or south to the rural town of Parrita.

First, a 2-storey, 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1½-bathroom house with big kitchen and living room.  Full-width verandah with eating and sitting areas, overlooking lawn, pool and gazebo. Sitting balcony at upper, bedroom level.  Carport. and laundry. 

Second, a completely private single-storey. 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1-bathroom home with big back yard at a lower level on the same, big fully titled 1,100M2 lot.. Full security bars at all doors and windows, plus locking vehicle access and pedestrian gates at the street. In a very safe neighborhood, with private and natural surroundings

Well maintained, fully and tastefully furnished and equipped, hot water, local phone, cable TV/DVD and high speed wireless internet   The houses have been rented for both long-term and vacation for $100/$80 per day and $1,500/$1,200 per month respectively. See this place, you will love it! Then make an offer. E-mail or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.

Condo montage
Cariari luxury condo for sale
 PRICE REDUCED FROM $235,000 to $195,000
This is not an ordinary condo. Completed one year ago, a $45,000 renovating made it an exquisite dwelling. As soon as you walk in you know it is a special home. No detail has been overlooked, even minuscule ones. The owner has a need to move on, and someone lucky will be the beneficiary of the fine detailed work. The home itself has three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms plus a maid’s quarters with its own bathroom. Also, it has a living room, dining room and a gorgeous kitchen with a kitchenette. There’s also a small outdoor patio. Being the end unit of this four-home condo complex, there’s parking space for three vehicles.  Approximately 240 sq. meters. All this near the Cariari Golf and Country Club and its renowned Tom Facio golf course. The club also has amenities such as a fitness centre, exercise room, Olympic swimming pool, sauna, 12 tennis courts and many other benefits. Tel:  8384-9608 or 2293-9054  Price $195,000.

Atenas home
This developer's prime lot with super house is being offered in Roca Verde, 7,006 M2 of gentle grade, all landscaped for tropical effect, 3 bedrooms 2 baths with tile floors and hardwood kitchen, near the entrance of the neighborhood. Great floor plan on this one! There is a double carport, and a large patio and pool, wheelhouse style living room and many other features. View, large usable lot, close to town, nice, oh yeah. $495,000.

More photos HERE!
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$179,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

2, 900 sq feet under roof, 1,250 sq feet inside walls, 2 bedroom, 2 ½ baths, laundry room, three separate patio areas, covered carport, shade trees, in upscale, secure project.  This project has river with protected areas & walkways. It is only 10 minutes on all paved roads to Santiago de Puriscal, 45 minutes to La Plaza Mall/Hospital CIMA and SJO airport, and 1 ½ hours to Pacific Beaches. It has recently upgraded public water supply and dependable ICE electric and high-speed internet.
Please come visit our projects and meet four new homeowners who have recently moved into their new “live in the view” homes to verify how happy they are and that they all came in under budget. CONTACT: George Lundquist  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!

Maneul Antonio
Manuel Antonio Estates focuses on building vacation homes for clients within Manuel Antonio Estates and Palmas Pacifica. We take care of the details from permits and design to supervision of construction and management of the rentals, if needed. We provide privacy and security, and our gated community offers shared common recreational facilities, beautiful landscaping and parking areas. Our homes and lots are located just minutes from the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. If you've ever considered buying a second home, just minutes from the beach, do not hesitate, if you have any questions or would like to request more information please take full advantage of our Costa Rica real estate services and contact us today!
Manuel Antonio Estates    1 800 346-9724  (506) 8815-9606.

Ciudad Colon
Great Deal!! Apartment in condo with pool and extensive green areas:
Ciudad Colón, San José $112,000
The apartment has a master bedroom with a large ensuite bathroom with bath tub, and a smaller second bedroom/office with air conditioning. It has a second full bathroom, living/dining room, laundry room with hot water tank and storage area. The kitchen comes with granite countertops, a breakfast bar and new dishwasher. It has 82 m2 of construction. 2 balconies with beautiful views of the river and mountains. Private parking for one car. Elevator and a well presented reception area. Located in a very quiet and private neighborhood just 400 meters from the centre of Ciudad Colón. Within minutes to all major amenities in Santa Ana and Escazú. Easy access to the beach (less than 1.5 hrs).  24-hour security, visitor parking, pool, extensive and lush green areas, BBQ area, children’s playground and its own water treatment plant. Contact (506) 6022-9294 or 6022-9967, for further info or to arrange a viewing.

Suenos montage
Outrageous blowout prices on oceanfront condos in Los Sueños!

Located in the private Bay Residence enclave overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Los Sueños Resort and Marina, there are three gorgeous units available at unbelievable bargain pricing from $589,000.  All of these beautiful units are three bedrooms and two baths, 2,200 square feet, fully furnished and ready to move in.  Development includes a gym, access to 3 pools, jacuzzis, BBQ areas and the Beach Club.  If you’ve always wanted to own in Los Sueños, now is the time!  Contact  or call 8702-0778.  From U.S. call 209-482-1788.

Top floor unit: $649,000   Second floor unit: $675,000  Garden unit: $589,000

Newly available in Roca Verde
Well-built home of 215 m2, 3 bedrooms, two bath on 1,150 m2 of lot, with attractive rock retaining wall, carport, and a pool. Indoors there are high, vaulted hardwood ceiling, bright rooms, a laundry room.  The floor is ceramic tile in pastel shades. $247,000. Photos: 2446-5587.

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya.7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 ft. elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Direct TV via sling box on Internet. $199,000 Contact   Check out slide show HERE!


Beach Front Home - Central Pacific Coast
Pristine condition, recently renovated. The best surfing and boogie boarding in the country. The most magnificent ocean and sunset view. New 20-year, fully registered concession on one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Easy access from San José (1 hour 25 minutes) located between Jacó and Manuel Antonio, in Esterillos Oeste.  2 or 3 bedrooms. Center room can be living room. House with 2 1/2 baths. Separated rancho with kitchen and large entertainment patio. Landscaped garden with no water shortage. Has both municipal and well water with automatic watering system. Direct access to the beach as no road is in front of property. Protected land on one side of the property for additional privacy.  Alarm system and complete shutters for security while away. Lot approximately 1,725 square meters, Asking price: $385.000.  Contact to Paul at local phone 506- 2637-8858  Cell phone 506- 8823-8550 .  US Mobile 908-400-9772  Emails:  and


Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
Web site:

The farm is at the highest point on a stunning ridge bordered by pristine Costa Rican primary forest on all sides of the property, with active wildlife all throughout the area. On each of its gently rolling terraced lomas you get a glimpse of Volcán Arenal from a distance. This property has four different lagunas, a working organic farm and nursery, mature fruit trees, sheep corral, ideal for grazing horses with stunning views from all the hillsides. The Northern Zone of Costa Rica is the country's best kept secret, providing a perfect home base location to travel the country's many destinations while still maintaining the best climate at 400 meters above sea level.

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call center
Call center for rent ready to go !
13 work stations, good equipment, good location, Rohrmoser, two blocks from Plaza Mayor. $4.000 per month. Call Kevin 8366-6861.

Live the dream!
Several profitable businesses, including a regional radio station, are for sale in Costa Rica. Certain purchases can provide the new owner with residency as well as a great lifestyle. So live your dream while making a profit. Contact:

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Jan 6, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 3
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo    
  Police officer catalogues more than 12,000 units of medicines,
  mostly antibiotics, that officers caught a man carrying from
  Nicaragua into Costa Rica near the Peñas Blanca border station.
  The antibiotics included tetracycline, amoxicillin and medicine for

Concern expressed for missing editor

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

The Inter American Press Association has expressed concern at the disappearance in Mexico of journalist Moisés Sánchez Cerezo and called on the country’s authorities to determine his whereabouts.

Sánchez Cerezo, 49, is editor and publisher of the community weekly newspaper La Unión in the town of Medellín de Bravo in Veracruz state. According to local media his family reported that on Friday a group of armed men in civilian clothes broke into his house and took him out by force, along with his computer, camera and mobile phone.

La Unión is a publication that reports on violent acts, an increase in petty crime, a lack of security and action by the local government to deal with these problems.

According to information gathered by the Inter American Press Association due to his socio-political and journalistic activities Sánchez Cerezo had received threats on several occasions during the past year from the head of the local municipal government and other people he had not been able to identify. Recently some of his equipment had been stolen. He is also a taxi driver and runs a modest business, which provides financial support for his newspaper.

Gustavo Mohme, Inter American Press Association president, voiced concern at Sánchez Cerezo’s disappearance, adding, “We urge the federal authorities to investigate and ensure the journalist’s prompt and safe rescue.”

Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, recalled that last year five journalists were murdered in Mexico, one of them, Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz, was killed in Veracruz.

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From Page 7:

Euro hits its lowest value in nine years

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The value of the euro dropped to a nine-year low against the dollar Monday, as fears over the stability of the eurozone escalated in the first week of the new year, raising investor concerns about the possibility the European Central Bank will launch a quantitative easing program in 2015.

Speaking on French radio, President Francois Hollande addressed questions about whether Greece is likely to make an exit from the eurozone.

"The Greek people are free to decide who they want as leaders," he said, later adding that it is up to Greece alone to decide if it will stay in the eurozone.

Last month, Greek parliament members failed to elect a new president, paving the way for snap elections to take place Jan. 25.

The left-wing Syriza party, which is leading opinion polls, has promised to end austerity if it wins and says it would ask Europe to wipe out a large chunk of its debt, leading many analysts to predict a possible Greek exit from Europe’s single-currency union.

Hollande’s comments came on the heels of a report the German government is prepared to let Greece leave — a report that has since been countered by officials in the German government. Monday, the European Union’s spokeswoman said membership in the eurozone was irrevocable, but suggested Greece might be allowed to renegotiate some conditions of its membership.

Monday the euro, in circulation in 19 of the 28 EU countries, dropped 1.2 percent against the dollar and hit its weakest level since March 2006.

The fall comes after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi indicated the bank could soon begin a program of quantitative easing.

Draghi was quoted in media outlets Friday suggesting the bank could begin buying government bonds, a step already taken by the central banks of Britain and the United States.

In a survey carried out by the Financial Times, 26 economists said they expect the European Central Bank to start buying government bonds this year, against five who thought it would not. Most of those polled said with or without quantitative easing, they expect growth and inflation to remain weak in the year ahead.

But some observers say it's too early to predict the European Central Bank’s next move.

The first European Central Bank meeting of the year is due to take place on Jan. 22, preceding the Greek election by just a few days later. Analysts say the euro is likely to remain highly volatile in the lead up to those events.