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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014,  in Vol. 14, No. 6                          Email us
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Anti aging







Juan Santamaría airport appeared to be busier than usual Wednesday with arrivals of tourists and also early visitors for the Jungle Jam in Jacó starting a week from today. The three-day concert event already had its transportation in place with workers carrying signs to attract potential riders.

airport activity
A.M. Costa Rica photo

Survey confirms that tourism is picking up this year
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The sense that tourism is picking up is now official. The tourism chamber released the results of a survey that supports the anecdotal evidence from major tourism areas.

Garland Baker reported two days before Christmas that tourism in the Pacific was on the upswing.

"The good news is that, places are full of energy and tourists abound," he wrote.   “'The streets are bustling much more so than last year, and it seems tourists have arrived earlier too, way before Christmas.' said one property manager," he added.

Baker had just taken a driving tour of Pacific beach communities.

On top of that real estate brokers in Playas del Coco and in the central Pacific have been saying for several weeks that they were being flooded with work. The operator of a major brokerage firm in Playas del Coco said Tuesday that all agents had been out showing property all day.

The survey by the Cámeras Nacional de Turismo assesses expectations, not reality. Still the responses by tourism operators are based on the number of their reservations and activity as compared to the 2012-2013 high season. The survey, done in November and the beginning of December, involved 205 businesses ranging from hotels, tour operators, car rental agencies and restaurants.  They were asked to assess their business expectations through March.

The chamber said that 59 percent of the respondents said that the perception of the demand in the current high season was either better or much better. Some 34 per cent said the demand was about the same, and only 7 percent said worse.
Perception of high season demand
in percents

Categories
Better,
much better

Same

Poor,
very poor
Tour operators
69
24
6
Car rental agencies
66.7
16.7
16.7
Travel agencies
60
35
5
Hospitality firms
56.7
36.6
6.8
Restaurants
33
50
17
Average
58
34
7
Source: Cámera Nacional de Turismo


The response was not uniform. While 69 percent of the tour agencies said that the demand was better, only 33 percent of the restaurants did.

Despite the perception that tourism is improving, 70 percent of the respondents said they would not be hiring new employees for the high season.  But few, an average of 2.9 percent, said they would be cutting personnel. Of course, some of the firms do not rely on seasonal help. The hospitality industry was the highest where 30 percent said they would be hiring.

The high tourism season generally runs until Easter Week. This is the bread and butter time for this type of business, although there is another surge in the North American summer.

Those involved in the industry have been hoping that the brutal cold spell in the United States and Canada would generate more tourism and perhaps residents. The real estate industry also sees the high season as a profitable period.

 
Cops like to drape their suspects in available fabric
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

When police lead a suspect for the benefit of photographers in what normally is called a perp walk, they cover the head with the nearest available fabric.

Sometimes the Judicial Investigating Organization of another law enforcement agency issues photos clearly showing the faces of wanted individuals. These usually are unrelated booking photos. When the suspect is apprehended, they quickly issue a notice to news media to discontinue use of the photo.

The policy points out police procedure but also the Costa Rican legal tradition that a person's image is their own until conviction.

Many North American police agencies make available images of arrested suspects online immediately. The idea is that the face may generate recognition in another victim. Not so in Costa Rica.

Investigators make sure to cover the face if the suspect is scheduled to participate in a lineup where victims seek to pick their attacker from a group of similar looking individuals.

But the concern over faces goes deeper. When Oswaldo Villalobos went to trial, a judge ordered that his photo could not be taken until he was convicted.

Sometimes that policy is forgotten when television cameras capture an entire trial. That was the case with the trial of two ex-presidents and their co-defendants.

Wednesday in Moravia Police officers only had handy the suspect's t-shirt. The 31-year-old man has the last names of Guerrero Gómez. He is a career robber who just got out of prison three months ago, said the Fuerza Pública.

The man is accused of pulling a gun on two pedestrians in El Alto de Guadalupe and then leading police on a chase to Moravia when they
peek a boo
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
Suspect's face can almost be made out through his shirt.

showed up unexpectedly. Both communities are north of San José centro.

The Fuerza Pública credits a bus passenger for alerting them. The woman passenger saw two persons being held up at gunpoint. What followed then, according to police, was like something out of a movie.

Police said the robber saw police approaching, so he commandeered a small truck at gunpoint and had the driver take him to Moravia. There the robber threatened pursuing police officers with the firearm and then ducked into a building. More police arrived and the suspect was detained in the parking lot of a nearby supermarket.

Police said they confiscated a .38-caliber handgun and bullets as well as some items that match those that had been robbed.
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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 6

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The luxury home tax due again,
finance ministry reminds owners


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some expats may have forgotten about the luxury home tax, but the finance ministry has not.

The tax collecting agency issued a reminder Wednesday that the tax is due by Jan. 15.

Homeowners are supposed to declare the value of their property every three years, and they were supposed to do so last year, the fourth year that the tax was collected. The ministry said that only owners of new construction and property that has been acquired since the last declaration need to complete this paperwork.

The assessments range from a low of a quarter of a percent to .55 of percent.

The Ministerio de Hacienda maintains several electronic systems for paying the tax on its Web site.

When the tax went into effect in 2009 homes and land with a value greater than $172,000 were subject to the tax. Now the cutoff point is 121 million colons or about $242,000.

The threshold value increases each year as the prices of materials and land does the same. The tax base of the property does, too, because it is tied to material costs.

In 2013 only 4,500 property owners paid the tax, the ministry said. The ministry said that there is a 189,700-colon penalty for non payment. However, the penalty is half a base salary, and that amount has been raised in December, so the penalty is 199,700 colones or about $405.

The ministry said it hopes to collect about 4.3 billion colons from the tax, which is supposed to be dedicated to housing for the poor. That is about $8.6 million, which the ministry said is about 10 percent greater than the previous year.

The ministry did not mention the corporate tax in its reminder, but that is due by the end of the month. That tax, too, is keyed to half a base salary just as the luxury home penalty is.

The base salary is that of a judicial worker.  The Poder Judicial said before Christmas that the base salary will be 399,400 colons. The law that created the tax specified that active corporations will pay one half a base salary.  That amount is 199,700 colons for active corporations and half that, 99,850 colons, for inactive ones.

bugs
Judicial Investigating Organization photo  
This is a photo of one of the missing cases.

Burglars bug out with trays
of beetles and butterflies

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Burglars who appear to have known what they were doing made off with part of an insect collection estimated by its owner at $100,000. The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the burglary was at a private home in Coto Brus where the owners maintained an insect museum.

The crooks appear to have broken in Dec. 27 and carried off 27 cases or trays of insect specimens. They included beetles and butterflies. The stolen items appear to have little value except in the insect trade.

Ferry docks will be getting
upgrades along gulf of Nicoya


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The ferry stations on the Gulf of Nicoya will be getting facelifts, the government said Wednesday. These are the locations in Naranjo and Paquera on the east shore of the Nicoya peninsula and the Puntarenas station in Barrio el Carmen.

The job is dependent on a $450 million loan that is being considered by the Asamblea Legislativa. The money is coming from the Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo.

The renovations of the ferry facilities came up while President Laura Chinchilla was on the peninsula observing work on the Naranjo-Paquera roadway.  The 21.5-kilometer stretch is being prepared for asphalt.

The gravel road has been in bad shape and sometimes out of service in the rainy season. The work also is being financed by the development bank loan. The highway is the major route that units the northern and southern part of the peninsula.

The condition of the north-south roads isolates the lower peninsula, which is why the ferry service is vital.

new boats
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo   
Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas crew members show off
their new crafts.

Coast guard gets two superboats
to fight drugs and illegal fishing

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas received two patrol boats Wednesday, and each is worth about $262,000.

These are top-of-the-line craft to fight drug trafficking and illegal fishing on the Pacific coast, said the security ministry. Each has three Yamaha motors and can move at 50 knots.

One craft is being assigned to Golfito and the other to the coast guard station at Puerto Mora, Cuajiniquil, La Cruz, Guanacaste.

Two other craft, valued at $23,400 each, are being assigned to Golfito and Limón, said the ministry.

The new boats were featured at a presentation Wednesday in Puntarenas where $2.2 million in vehicles and other equipment was displayed. Among these are 39 vehicles that will be used by the Fuerza Pública.

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Costa Rican fish photo is evidence in big NYC disability scam
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Life is good in Costa Rica. A little beer on the beach and maybe an exciting sports fishing adventure.

But if you are a New York police officer applying for disability you better not put the photo of you and the fish on Facebook.

That photo took center stage Tuesday when Manhattan prosecutors announced the indictment of 106 defendants including 90 New York policemen and fire fighters. The allegation is that they fraudulently applied and pretended to be disabled to qualify for Social Security disability insurance benefits

The photo on display at the press conference announcing the indictments identified the fisherman as Richard Cosentino of Rockingham, New Hampshire. The indictment said he was 49.

Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, and his staff say that four men orchestrated the scheme and instructed the healthy individuals how to act to appear disabled. Some blamed the purported condition on responding to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the resulting collapse at the World Trade Center.

In addition to the successful Costa Rican fishing trip, other defendants worked as a helicopter pilot, a martial arts instructor and a worker at a cannoli food stand during a church festival, said the prosecutors. Despite claiming to be too ill to use a computer, many posted their exploits on Facebook.

One of the alleged leaders of the illegal operation is himself a former prosecutor.
"These individuals allegedly relied on lies, deceit, and under-the-table payments while they bilked the Social Security Trust Funds of tens of millions of dollars and, in many instances, exploited the tragic events of September 11, 2001 for their own gain," said Edward J. Ryan, a special agent with the U.S. Social Security Administration. "This exploitation, combined with the fact that many of those indicted formerly held positions of public trust, make these crimes all the more egregious . . . ."

Under the U. S. law, individuals are qualified as disabled and entitled to payments if they suffer from a disability that prevents them from assuming any job available to them in the national economy. The payment amount varies per recipient, but the average annual payment is approximately $30,000 to $50,000 for each recipient, said prosecutors in a summary of the case.

According to the indictment and documents filed in court, from approximately January 1988 to December 2013, the four principal defendants in this case operated together to direct and assist many hundreds of applicants to falsely claim disabilities in order to collect disability payments, in addition to their public pensions, the summary said, adding:

"The applicants claimed that they suffered a psychiatric condition that prevented them from working, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression. Many of the defendants used their association with the events of Sept. 11, 2001, as the cause of their psychiatric condition. Seventy-two of the defendants are also collecting pensions as retirees of the New York Police Department, eight from the New York City Fire Department, five from the New York Department of Correction, and one from the Nassau County Police Department."


Community created by earthquake is getting police station
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

On the fifth anniversary of the Cinchona earthquake, government and emergency officials are praising the creation of a Nueva Cinchona. The latest addition is a police station that will cost about $620,000.

That project is about 40 percent done.

The 6.2 magnitude quake killed 42 and seriously injured 91. There still are many persons missing and presumed dead.

The quake ravaged the community and adjacent areas, and for months survivors were living in plywood temporary housing until they were relocated.

The national emergency commission said that the new police station that sleeps 16 will provide additional security to the area and nearby towns.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias is financing from emergency funds
new police
                  staton
Emergency commission graphic
Artist rendering of the new police station

the new police station, which will be occupied by the Fuerza Pública.

Creating a new community in a distant field was a challenge for officials, and many branches of the government participated. The emergency commission noted that a Cruz Roja facility went into service in April.

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 6
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New generation of modified crops will help farmers attack troublesome weeds
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new generation of genetically modified organisms has taken a step toward the market, promising farmers better control of especially troublesome weeds.

But critics say those weeds are a byproduct of the first round of GMOs, and this new round will dramatically increase the use of a more problematic herbicide that environmentalists say may raise health concerns.

A branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has recommended approval of two varieties of soybean and one type of corn developed by Dow AgroScience that can withstand treatment with two popular weed killers: glyphosate, sold under the name Roundup, and 2,4-D, an herbicide that’s been around since the 1940s.

The aim is to give farmers a tool to fight the growing number of weeds that Roundup no longer kills.

Glyphosate-resistant crops first hit the market in the mid-1990s, with seed and chemical giant Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops.

“That was monumental in agriculture. Just monumental,” said University of Georgia weed scientist Stanley Culpepper.

Farmers could apply “one of the most effective, economical and environmentally-friendly herbicides on the planet right over the top of the crop,” he said. “And you could do this without damaging the crop. And at that time, that was simply unheard of.”

Plus, farmers no longer needed to till their fields to control weeds. Leaving the soil undisturbed makes the soil richer in organic matter, which improves water retention and reduces pollution from runoff. And it means fewer trips on the tractor, saving on fuel costs.

They were a farmer’s dream. Herbicide resistant crops quickly came to dominate American agriculture. Last year, they made up 85 percent of the corn, 82 percent of the cotton and 93 percent of the soybeans planted in the U.S.

There was a downside.

“To some degree, it allowed us to be a little too lazy,” Culpepper said.

Farmers used Roundup and nothing else to control their weeds. And they used it over and over again, season after season.

It wasn’t long before weeds were shrugging off the herbicide.

“It’s really Darwinian evolution on steroids,” said senior scientist Doug Gurian-Sherman with the environmental group Union of Concerned Scientists.

By 2012, nearly half of U.S. farmers told a private survey they had Roundup-resistant weeds. More than 24 million hectares were infested, nearly double the area from 2010.

Any weed will suck water, nutrients and light from a neighboring crop plant. But for cotton growers in Georgia, palmer amaranth is their nightmare weed. On a good day it can grow five centimeters. It can reach three meters tall. One plant can produce half a million seeds.

“He’s bad. He’s as bad a weed as there ever was,” said Jack Royal, an independent consultant who has been advising farmers on weed control for 36 years.

Controlling this bad weed has required big changes. Farmers with infested fields are going back to older, less benign herbicides. They till their fields more often, which leads to more erosion, decreases soil quality and raises
farmers’ fuel costs. Many have even had to resort to hiring help to pull out weeds by hand.

But it’s working. Partly.

“We’re doing extremely well in controlling palmer amaranth,” Culpepper said. “That’s the good news.”

The bad news: weed control that used to cost cotton farmers less than $10 a hectare now costs $30 to $40.

“Bottom line is, we’re not economically sustainable,” Culpepper said.

That’s where Dow AgroScience’s new Enlist seeds come in.

Farmers planting these seeds would be able to spray their fields with both glyphosate and 2,4-D, which still kills palmer amaranth and many other glyphosate-resistant weeds, without damaging their crops.

“Enlist will be a tool to help address the significant weed control problems that farmers are facing today,” Dow said in a statement.

Use of 2,4-D is likely to double or more if Enlist seeds are approved, according to some estimates.

But Gurian-Sherman recalls that one of the arguments in favor of Roundup-Ready GMOs when they were introduced was that they would allow farmers to use newer, safer herbicides.

“That whole argument is going down the tubes,” he said.

Environmentalists point to studies linking 2,4-D to cancer, hormone disruption and genetic mutations.

But the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said the evidence is not conclusive and declined one group’s petition to remove it from the market.

The herbicide has another well-known weakness, Royal said. “We’ve used a lot of 2,4-D products. Drift has always been a major problem.”

And when the herbicide drifts, it can damage or kill plants downwind.

That’s potentially a big problem for states like Georgia, with large acreages of commodity crops like cotton and corn alongside farms of fruits, vegetables and nuts.

Dow has produced new formulations aimed at reducing drift. And Culpepper says the industry has made tremendous advances in nozzle designs that reduce fine particles.

Eventually, though, weeds will likely develop resistance to 2,4-D, too, Gurian-Sherman said.

“There are other ways to control weeds,” he added. For example, cover crops that out-compete weeds are showing promise but need more research.

“We know these approaches can be highly productive and lucrative,” but, he added, “the research agenda for decades neglected these sustainable practices in favor of industrial agricultural practices.”

Royal agrees cover crops are one weapon in the weed control arsenal. He also sees a role for the new seeds.

But, he said, one thing the Roundup Ready experience shows: “Some good new technology may come along, but there are no silver bullets.”

A final decision on approval of the new GMO seeds is expected later this year.


Vacation, travel and hospitality


Hidden Garden
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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:
HiddenGarden@TheVanStoneGroup.com.   
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.
8199-4/6/14

Costa Rica’s #1 Time –Tested Relocation/Retirement Tours
Christopher Howard's Award-winning Combination Relocation/Retirement Tour. NO other retirement tour offers MORE options...MORE areas visited, MORE information, MORE people just like you who have made the move and a LONGER
fact-filled tour for your money. Winner of the 2010 Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the most UNIQUE and OUTSTANDING tour in Latin America. This  is the ONLY relocation/retirement tour really APPROVED with a LEGAL tour guide to operate in Costa Rica by the government’s Institute of Tourism ICT (license number DL-658-2004) in 2004. ALL tours are personally led by Christopher Howard, the author of the perennial best-selling ”New Golden Door to
Christ Howard with Max
Retirement and Living in Costa Rica,” the MOST read authority on living and retiring in Costa Rica,  and who has personally helped over 10,000 people with ALL BUDGETS relocate SUCCESSFULLY over the last 35 years. CUSTOM TAILOR-MADE TOURS are also available for people with special needs or who can’t take one of our fixed-date tours. ALL tours include EXTENSIVE touring and a highly informative SEMINAR by the country’s most renowned EXPERTS in their respective fields. Also visit: Live in Costa Rica to check out our NEW tour prices and specials.  Customer satisfaction 100% guaranteed! MY REFERENCES.

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

 (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.
Lundquist
                        patio
Exotic gardens next to one
of our patios



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!
http://www.vimeo.com/5656822

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. lundquistgeorge@gmail.com
8158-3/1/13

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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You must see this!
We are renting our two-story townhouse in San Rafael, Escazú, near the Paco Center. Three bedrooms with a large TV area, 2.5 baths. Bathtub in the master.  Well furnished even down to the computer desks and flat screen TVs. Fully equipped kitchen, including pots and pans,  plus laundry room with washer and dryer. Parking for two vehicles. Basic cable included. Guarded entrance and 24-hour security. Call from the U.S.: 954-716-5219 English or Spanish. Local in Costa Rica call: 8638-7440 but Spanish only or email tlyn2003@yahoo.com for questions/more information. Photos can be seen HERE!
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Belen home
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We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
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  rentals.sanjose@gmail.com
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Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.
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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:  rentnowcr@gmail.com.
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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part 
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8054-2/16/14






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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 6
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Cafetales



Paying attention to bags
said to speed aircraft boarding

By the Clarkson University news service

Clarkson University researchers have developed a strategy to ease one of the headaches of airline travel: boarding the flight.

School of Business Professor R. John Milne and undergraduate student Alexander Kelly have devised a method, published this month in the Journal of Air Transport Management, which assigns airline passengers to a specific seat based on the number of bags they carry, causing luggage to be evenly distributed through the plane. Each row of seats would tend to have a passenger with two bags, a passenger with one bag and a passenger with no bags.

"The new method would save at least several seconds in boarding time and prevent any one area of the plane from becoming overloaded with bags," Milne said. "Airlines could provide a smoother boarding experience for passengers by utilizing the research."

"You add that up over thousands of flights a day over the course of a year; it can really make a difference," Milne explained. "For instance, a large airline like Delta may be able to save about ten million dollars a year."

Kelly, a computer science and mechanical engineering dual major, tested the method by running thousands of simulated airplane boardings through a computer model.


Experiment casts strong doubt
on those readability formulas


By the North Carolina State University news service

Teachers, parents and textbook companies use technical readability formulas to determine how difficult reading materials are and to set reading levels by age group. But new research from North Carolina State University shows that the readability formulas are usually inaccurate and offer little insight into which age groups will be able to read and understand a text.

“Teachers often use readability levels when giving reading assignments to students,” said John Begeny, an associate professor of psychology and lead author of a paper describing the work. “We wanted to know if the readability formulas are valid, or if teachers who think they’re assigning a simpler book to struggling readers, for example, may actually be assigning a more difficult one.”

For the study, researchers had 360 students ranging from second to fifth grade read six written passages out loud. The researchers assessed the students’ performance, giving each student an oral reading fluency score, which is considered a good way to measure reading ability.

The researchers then used eight different readability formulas to see which level each formula gave to the six written passages. Results varied widely with one passage being rated from first grade to fifth grade level.

The levels assigned by the readability formulas were then compared with researchers’ assessments of each student’s actual ability to read the material. Seven of the eight readability formulas were less than 49 percent accurate, with the worst formula scoring only 17 percent accuracy. The highest-rated formula was accurate 79 percent of the time.

“Overall, this work shows that teachers and parents should be very cautious about using readability levels when giving reading assignments to students,” Begeny said.


Maduro, Capriles shake hands
at session about crime woes


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

After months of insults, Venezuela's president and opposition leader on Wednesday shook hands for the first time since their bitter election standoff last year. The handshake was at a meeting about chronic violent crime prompted by the roadside murder of a popular beauty queen.
 
President Nicolas Maduro routinely calls Henrique Capriles a fascist and murderer, while the opposition leader has been lambasting his rival as incompetent and illegitimate since Maduro won April's disputed election by 1.5 percentage points.
 
Yet they put personal acrimony aside to greet each other briefly during an emergency meeting called by Maduro with state governors at the Miraflores presidential palace. Capriles is the governor of Miranda state, one of the most crime-ridden.
 
Their meeting is unlikely to change the political landscape, with both sides in the polarized South American nation still far apart and mutually suspicious.
 
Monday's murder of former Miss Venezuela and soap opera actress Monica Spear has rattled the country of 29 million even though Venezuelans have long suffered one of the world's worst crime rates.
 
“I'm in Miraflores. I'll go anywhere for the sake of Venezuelans' security. There's a national outcry to stop the violence,” Capriles said on Twitter.
 
Capriles, 41, has still not publicly recognized Maduro's presidency, though his allegations of fraud have run out of steam in the courts.
 
Maduro, 51, had previously said anyone who did not acknowledge his leadership would not be allowed into Miraflores. But he has been showing a more reconciliatory attitude to the opposition since opinion polls in December shored up his standing.
 
Some opposition activists have jumped on the shooting of Spear and her former husband  in front of their 5-year-old daughter who survived as evidence of the socialist government's failure to beat crime.
 
Maduro, who has started several major anti-crime initiatives since taking office, urged a fresh approach.
 
“This cannot be just another meeting,” said Maduro, whose predecessor Hugo Chávez also began a dozen or so anti-crime initiatives that failed to stop murders and kidnappings during his 14-year rule.
 
“Time and again, people have used this subject for political manipulation,” Maduro said. “It's a very small minority that doesn't realize this is a national problem, a serious problem that became endemic 40-50 years ago.”
 
Hundreds of fellow showbiz artists and other mourners took to a Caracas square on Wednesday to grieve for 29-year-old Ms. Spear. They said prayers, released balloons and held up photos.
 
Ms. Spear lived in the United States but was vacationing in Venezuela when armed robbers ambushed her car.
 
Twitter and Instagram posts had shown her joy at being back in her homeland with her daughter, even though she originally moved to the United States citing insecurity.
 
Venezuela's official 2013 homicide rate was 39 per 100,000 inhabitants, but non-government organizations put the figure at twice that for a total of nearly 25,000 deaths.
 
“The government is directly responsible for Monica Spear's death,” fumed another opposition leader, Maria Corina Machado.
 
She said Maduro and Chávez before him had abandoned serious crime policies in favor of oppressing political opponents.
 
“For 15 years, they have been destroying the judicial system and the police bodies,” she said.


Taxi drivers in Cuba soon
to work for themselves

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Thousands of Cuban state taxi drivers will soon be leasing their vehicles and working on their own as part of a reorganization of the country's taxi service aimed at improving efficiency, according to rules published Wednesday.
 
The measure follows the similar transfer of barbers, beauticians, small cafeterias and other retail services by the state to what is called the non-state sector as part of market-oriented reforms under way in the Communist-run country.
 
Cuba nationalized all retail business in 1968, down to the shoe-shine shops, and fixed all prices. But in an attempt to stimulate the stagnant economy and reduce bureaucracy, it is giving some of it back in a form of legal private enterprise operating on a market basis.
 
The sector now numbers 445,000 people, or 5 percent of the labor force, and is made up of private, leased and cooperative small businesses, their employees, private taxi drivers, the building trades and others.
 
The administration of Cubataxi, which operates in the local U.S. dollar equivalent called the convertible peso, will be downsized. Drivers will become self-employed, leasing a vehicle from the company at a daily rate, according to the resolutions published in the official Gazette.
 
“The idea is to eliminate irregularities in the service, the stealing of fares and reduce inflated administrative payrolls,” said Debora Canela Pina, a transportation ministry specialist at Cubadebate, an official on-line news site.
 
Cubataxi drivers are notorious for not using their meters.
 
Ms. Canela Pina said the reorganization would improve service and 60 percent of taxis, many old Russian Ladas, would be replaced by newer models consisting of second-hand rental cars.
 
Outside the Havana Libre Hotel, two Cubataxi drivers said they hoped their new status would prove beneficial. Besides, they noted, they had no choice but to accept their fate or be laid off.
 
“This law should benefit us if there is no fine print and should be more efficient because the driver will have total control of his taxi and its maintenance,” said one driver, Alejandro Pérez.
 
The new system is based on a pilot project in Havana begun in 2010 at a single garage.
 
Thirty of the more than 2,000 state taxi drivers in the capital began leasing their vehicles rather than working for a wage, a small percentage of the tips and whatever they could pocket on the sly.
 
Instead of three support staff for every driver, as in other garages, there were just three for the thirty.
 
The government reported that after the first year, the state's yearly take from each taxi was estimated to multiply 30-fold compared with before the experiment began.
 
The drivers will be responsible for maintaining their taxi and gasoline, but can buy parts and services from the state company at reduced prices.


Airline in Brazil promises
to freeze fares for World Cup


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Brazilian domestic airline Azul Linhas Aereas pledged Wednesday to cap the cost of traveling during the World Cup this year, adding to pressure on competitors who have been upbraided by the government for raising ticket prices.
 
None of the routes that Azul flies during the tournament will cost more than 999 reais ($420), said Azul founder David Neeleman, who started Brazil's third-biggest airline after stepping down as CEO of JetBlue in 2008.
 
The policy will cost Azul some 20 million reais in foregone revenue, Neeleman told journalists in Sao Paulo. He said the World Cup would also have a net negative impact on the carrier's bottom line due to a dropoff in business travel.
 
Civil aviation regulator ANAC welcomed Azul's move to cap fares and said it hoped other airlines would follow suit.
 
Azul's decision comes after officials threatened price controls on the country's hotels and airlines, including larger rivals Gol Linhas Aereas and TAM, the local unit of Chile's Latam Airlines Group.
 
Those rivals have been cutting routes, giving back aircraft and firing flight staff over the past two years in an attempt to restore profit despite high fuel prices and a tough exchange rate. The World Cup has loomed as a chance to restore their suffering profit margins.
 
But Brazil's aviation industry is under harsh scrutiny as one of the biggest potential embarrassments at the World Cup. A dozen host cities are scattered around the vast country, which will force some 600,000 foreigners and three million Brazilian fans through a series of overloaded airports during June and July.
 
U.S. fans alone will have to book at least 3,500 miles (5,600 km) in domestic flights between their team's first three matches in Brazil plus the long international legs to get to the South American nation.
 
Azul flies only domestic routes with smaller aircraft such as the 118-seat E-195 made by Brazil's Embraer.


French court rejects challenge
to ban on veils over face


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A court in France has rejected a challenge to the country's controversial veil ban law and sentenced a woman for flouting it and insulting police. But the story isn't over: Europe's highest court will hear another challenge to the legislation.
 
The court in Versailles Wednesday fined Muslim convert Cassandra Belin 150 euros or just over $200 and gave her a one-month suspended sentence for wearing the face-covering niqab in public and for insulting police who ticketed her.  The scuffle between Ms. Belin, her husband and police made headlines in France last year, and sparked riots in the Paris suburb of Trappes.
 
The court also dismissed a petition by Ms. Belin's lawyer, Philippe Bataille, challenging the constitutionality of France's 2011 law that bars the wearing of most face covers in public. The legislation is broad, but some believe it takes aim at France's 5 million-strong Muslim community even though only a small minority of women wear the niqab.
 
In a telephone interview, lawyer Bataille said it was possible he would appeal both judgments, but that depended on his client. Under French law, he has 10 days to file an appeal.
 
Bataille said it was a shame that Ms. Belin never appeared at her trial to explain why she wore the face veil.  But he said that she and other niqab wearers were afraid to go out in public because of the ban.
 
The verdict marks a new victory for the government, as it seeks to enforce the face-cover ban in the name of French secularism. Last year, a Paris appeals court ruled that a private nursery school was right in firing a staff member who refused to remove her Muslim headscarf at work.
 
But the ban faces another and more serious challenge this year at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Bataille said the fate of his client partly depends on that court's ruling, which he said will likely be handed down next month.



Elderly German man faces
trial in WWII massacre

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

German prosecutors have charged an 88-year-old former member of Hitler's elite Waffen SS with taking part in a World War II massacre of hundreds of French villagers, nearly 70 years after one of the most infamous Nazi atrocities.
 
In the methodical June 1944 slaughter, SS soldiers took the small village of Oradour-sur-Glane in central France by surprise and killed nearly all its inhabitants within a few hours. They killed 642 men, women and children.
 
The men were herded into barns and shot dead while the women and children were burned alive in the village church.
 
“The prosecution charges an 88-year-old pensioner from Cologne with the destruction of Oradour-sur-Glane in France,” said Achim Hengstenberg, court spokesman in the western German city.
 
“He and another shooter are said to have killed 25 men in a barn with his machine gun," he said. "He is also said to have aided the burning down of the village church.”
 
The accused denies the charges, saying he did not fire a single shot in Oradour, according to his lawyer Rainer Pohlen. He even said he tried to save the lives of some.
 
“He could have fired. He says, however, 'I had the great luck of being deployed for something else,'” Pohlen said. “He said 'I heard shots, I saw people shouting, I saw the village burning. It was terrible. It was absolutely awful. But I was not myself involved in any of the action',” the lawyer added, quoting his client.
 
Hengstenberg said the charge lay with the young offenders chamber of the Cologne court because the suspect was only 19 years old at the time of the crime. He was not named in the statement. The young offenders chamber will decide whether or not to open proceedings against the aged accused.
 
The SS unit decided to wipe Oradour-sur-Glane off the map as an example to French Resistance guerrillas after a vehicle carrying an SS doctor was ambushed on a road leading to the village and its occupants abducted.
 
Among those killed were 207 children, the youngest 8 weeks old. Only five men and a woman survived the massacre.
 
“It's important that we find someone even if it's 70 years afterwards,” Robert Hebras, one of the six survivors, told French broadcaster BFM TV.
 
Oradour is an ambiguous symbol because it represents not just the atrocities committed by the Nazis but also a post-war failure to punish the perpetrators.
 
Heinz Lammerding, the Waffen SS general in command of the unit that committed the massacre, was captured by Allied forces but never extradited to France and was sentenced to death in absentia by a Bordeaux military court in 1951. He died in his bed in Bavaria in 1971.
 
Hengstenberg said the new charge resulted from a fresh look at a previous investigation into the events.
 
In 1953, 12 Alsatian soldiers who took part in the massacre while serving in the German army were sentenced to life in prison and one to death, but France's parliament immediately pardoned them in the name of national reconciliation.
 
Their province of Alsace had been annexed by Germany in 1940 and Alsatians were deemed to have been forced to join the Nazi army, even though some clearly enlisted voluntarily.
 
Earlier Wednesday, a German court dismissed a case against a 92-year-old man accused of killing a Dutch resistance fighter in World War II when he was in the SS, citing a loss of evidence.


Russia steps up the security
in advance of winter Olympics

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Russian forces went on combat alert in Sochi and tightened restrictions on access to the Black Sea resort Tuesday, exactly one month before the start of the Winter Olympic Games.
 
Aware that the success or failure of the Sochi Games will help shape his legacy, President Vladimir Putin has increased security across Russia following two suicide bomb attacks in the southern city of Volgograd which killed 34 people.
 
Moscow's most wanted man, the Chechen insurgent leader Doku Umarov, has urged militants who want to carve an Islamic state in Russia's North Caucasus region to use maximum force to prevent the games going ahead.
 
Police began to impose long-planned restrictions that will heavily curtail entry into Sochi and limit the movements of its residents, who had mixed feelings about the clampdown.
 
“The resort is turning into a sort of concentration camp. Naturally this will deliver a serious blow to tourism and the huge number of people at the Olympics,” said Alexander Valov, a Sochi resident and blogger.
 
“When the town is in such a state of siege I don't think it will be comfortable here.”
 
But other residents and foreign visitors on the streets of Sochi said they welcomed the beefed-up security.
 
“After what happened in Volgograd it's necessary,” said Dina Kovalenko, at a kiosk selling tickets for town excursions.
 
“There is definitely a sense we have here in Sochi that we feel good, we feel safe,” said Nathan Wright, a British tourist posing with friends for photographs near the town center.
 
Authorities have deployed an additional 30,000 police and Interior Ministry troops in the resort, bringing the total number of personnel providing security at the games to about 37,000, according to Russian officials.
 
Ordered by Putin in a decree last August, the heightened security measures will stay in force until March 21.
 
In this period the only road vehicles allowed into Sochi are those officially registered in the city or accredited for the games or essential services. Visitors must also register with local authorities within three days or face expulsion.
 
Movement is being even more tightly controlled in several high security zones where only those accredited for the games will be allowed. The zones include a swathe of territory extending to Russia's southern border with Abkhazia in neighboring Georgia, some 25 miles away.
 
“The restrictions are to make the roads free and easy for spectators, athletes and members of the Olympic family to move around,” a transport directorate said.
 
Local businesses have been ordered to stock up on supplies to enable them to do without outside deliveries for a few weeks.
 
Moscow has deployed regular troops and also anti-aircraft batteries to protect the Games from air attack. Last month Russian bloggers posted photographs of several surface-to-air missile installations within yards of the Olympic venue.
 
The region's air force commander said squadrons of Mig and Sukhoi fighter jets are ready to repel attack from any altitude.
 
Valov, the critical blogger, said many residents planned to leave for the duration of the games, adding that a mass expulsion of migrant workers was also causing headaches.
 
“We're desperately short of janitors. As a result the town is looking dirtier. There's simply no one to do this,” he said.
 
More than 200 people protested on Sunday against how Moscow has run the games so far, under the banner: “Natives of Sochi own the games, not the visitors.”
 
But Putin, who on Saturday attended a rehearsal of the Games' opening ceremony in Sochi, has eased curbs on demonstrations, allowing groups to hold some marches and rallies at sites approved by the security services.
 
Campaign groups, calling for everything from gay rights to political reform, had complained that a blanket ban on rallies, imposed in August as part of earlier security measures, violated the Russian constitution.


White House defending Biden
and Obama against Gates book


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The White House Wednesday strongly defended President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in response to criticisms by former Defense secretary Robert Gates, in a memoir being published next week. 

The White House continued aggressive but seemingly confident damage control in response to published excerpts of the Gates memoir and reaction to it.

Video and still photographers were permitted brief access as Obama and Biden had lunch at the White House.  No reporters were allowed in, so no questions were asked.

Biden, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, gets harsh criticism from Gates, who describes him as being "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."

Press secretary Jay Carney said the rare photo opportunity of Obama and Biden at lunch was not deliberate in reaction to the Gates memoir, but a response to media demands for more access.

Carney said the president has full confidence in Biden's foreign policy record, including his role in administration debates on Iraq and Afghanistan policy.

"The president has said many times that he greatly appreciates the advice and counsel the vice president gives him on matters domestic and foreign, and that is absolutely the case," said Carney.

The Gates memoir, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War," contains scathing observations about President Obama, particularly on Afghanistan strategy.

Gates writes that Obama did not believe in his own strategy and that there was "suspicion and distrust of senior military officers by senior White House officials" and by the president and vice president.

Carney said it is well known Obama is committed to achieving the mission in Afghanistan, including initially ramping up the U.S. troop presence and then winding it down.

"The president believes thoroughly in the mission.  He knows it is difficult, but he knows that our men and women in uniform as well as those civilians in Afghanistan and others who are working on this issue have admirably and heroically fulfilled that mission and they do so today," he said.

Asked about the message the Gates memoir sends to U.S. troops, Carney said it was well known the president set out to change an Afghanistan policy in disarray and provide a clear mission.
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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 2228-5961 or 8339-2112. www.costaricarealtyone.com
8179-3/11/14

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.
8206-5/18/14

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 www.moranlakearenal.com
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
Email: moranrealestate@gmail.com
Moran logo
8119-4/16/14



Costa Rica,

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





Visit our Web Site:
 www.greciarealestate.com




English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia 792
300 square meters of land, 195 square meters of construction HERE
Grecia 807
  18,000 square meters of land and 300 square meters of construction. HERE!
  Send us your request to our email: info@greciarealestate.com
8142-2/11/13

Real estate for sale (paid category)


Cahuita estate
Beach house in Cahuita for sale
2,000-sq. ft. house, 2 bedrooms. 2 baths. With incredible view of sea.  House has beautiful hardwood open upstairs deck. Teakwood floor upstairs. CB and ceramic downstairs, Very well built with beautiful hardwoods upstairs.  Oval bathtub, hand painted ceramic sinks  The view is through 240 meters of jungle and coconut trees to the beach. The beach in front is perfect and quiet. Very secure area. Property located adjacent to our wildlife sanctuary and botanical gardens. Great group of neighbors from U.S.A.,  Italy, Holland, Sweden, etc. This very private property is owned by Todd Scottland for more then  35 years. Taxes are paid up to date. This is a gem of a house. Must see!  Price  $205,000.00.  Email to:
scottlandtodd@live.com. Email for more photos.
Phone 2755-0014 or cell phone 8610-0490.
8207-3/8/14

Esparza home
Esparza, Puntarenas
Stunning open concept contemporary home 1800 square feet, high end finishing set in tranquil rural 1.3 acres of fruit trees and tropical flowers. Separate guest suite, artist studio, workshop, carport, electric gate.  Close to two international airports, surfing, fishing, golfing and shopping. More photos here:  http://www.rainforestnaturals.ca/songbird/cr/photogallery.htm
Sale for $239.000 Contact:  sjwiens@gmail.com
8196-2/6/14

Ojochal montage
Ojochal Paradise
Tropical paradise of 6.5 acres in Ojochal.  Cabin with one sleeping loft, all services, mountain and distant ocean views.  Several building sites available for main house or rental units. Close to surfing, fishing, golfing. Sale for $129.000  Contact:  sjwiens@gmail.com  for more photos/information or go here:
www.rainforestnaturals.ca/songbird/cr/land/photogallery.htm
8197-2/6/14

complex
Located in Jacó at Barrio Ricos y Famosos
in Calle Europa, Casa Shangri La.
Main house: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 270 square meters, 2 condominiums 2 bedrooms, one bath, 110 square meters, plus one small apartment: One bedroom, one bath. Huge pool, carport for five cars. plus double garage, rancho with pool bathroom, gymnasium, laundry room, pool plumbing room, huge dog house in separate 500-square-meter garden with aviary for guacamayas (we have three birds) 60 meters of river front of Río Copey with a 4-meter-high protective and retention stone wall. Eight surveillance camera CCTV system with Internet access from anywhere. Over 2-meter-high brick wall all around the property with two layers of razor wires on top, the safest place to be! Electronic entrance gate, door phone, five telephone lines, high-speed Internet wireless access everywhere. Beautiful gardens with many fruit trees. Built to highest standard by German owner in 2005,  room for two more apartments, plans approved. Less then a 10 minutes walk to the beach and or center of Jaco. Price $ 1,350.000 negotiable. All fittings and furniture. German-built, excellent quality and well maintained. 70% owner financing available. More photos on request HERE!  Email: wolfganghilbich@yahoo.com  cell 8838-2081 or home 2643-2979.
8200-4/3/14

Rich Coast montage
Real Estate, Central Pacific Region
RichCoastRealty.com

Central Pacific between Jacó and Quepos-Manuel Antonio
Lots in gated community near the beach  from $17,999! Only 3 left
2-bedroom house in gated community was $120k now $99,900
3-bedroom house with 2 additional residential lots, walk to the beach $160k
Turnkey coffee shop/ bakery, corner location, great ROI! $65k
2-bedroom panoramic oceanview house, guesthouse on 2.5 acres $269k
Panoramic oceanview  property, 3 houses, on-ground pool $375k
And much more!!!

     www.RichCoastRealty.com
   USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
   CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
   Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
8191-4/30/13


Samara church and lot
Commercial lot with great visibility in heart of Playa Sámara commercial district. Located alongside town's largest church, bank, hardware store/lumber yard, mini shopping plaza, and Pali (Sámara's largest supermarket). This lot has a large elevated building platform shaded with mature treees. All this makes for many commercial options.  One block from stunning "blue flag" beach. This is a perfect location for a eco/boutique hotel, restaurant/catering, apartments, or condominium. All utilities to this property. Lot size 1,414m2. Price 325K. Email: mwk350@yahoo.com
8186-3/13/14

forest
Gorgeous Survival Farm located between San Ramón and Arenal Volcano bordering the huge Arenal Monteverde Nature Reserve. 30 acres of virgin rain forest with no neighbors, river, spring waters, rich soil, giant trees, homesite, no electricity, year-round 4WD access. 59,000 USD   axelspecial@gmail.com.
8182-1/13/14


Gulf road

Beachfront pristine five-hectare (13-acre) property

includes a common open air lodge with kitchen, three cabins, a caretaker's house, a garage and a secure storeroom. The property is maritime and has a current and valid maritime user's permit, all up to date and clear. In addition to the immaculately landscaped portion of the property that is already developed with bungalows, there are an additional three hectares that are ready for expansion and are cleared and planted in grass. The sales offer includes furnishings, appliances, catamaran, kayaks, and a whole series of extras. This property has about 300 meters of beach front in a docile portion of the gulf about 15 minutes north of Puerto Jimeenez, ideal for mooring boats just off the property shoreline. Has municipal water and power. Offered at $970,000. All reasonable offers will be considered. See photos and maps and more at www.suenos.org. Contact us at: osaproperty@gmail.com or +1-866-514-7435.
8172-1/6/13

For Sale By Owner
1 lot (1.5 acres)  at SIBU (8 lots total) amongst 50 acres of protected jungle gardens with sunset ocean views of Playa Nosara. Underground electric and water.13 minutes from Playa Guiones. Gated. In house financing available. Home of SIBU Sanctuary. jungalow@gmail.com.
8166-5/29/13

NOW REDUCED TO $680,000
ALAJUELA – PRIVATE COMPOUND OF 4 HOMES - $850,000 TURNKEY
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 gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:
8162-1/11/14

Five bedroom home
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Price reduced $100,000 for quick sale. Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach. The home is completely furnished with U.S. products. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances.  To see more, go to YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/user/CasaDelSolCostaRica
Asking  $250,000.    Call Gary 8784-2945 or email combrokers@aol.com
8157-2/22/13

Becker montage
Beach property on the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste.

House and guest house on adjacent half acre lots. Each with separate electric,  private septic and well. Each can be sold stand alone or packaged. Modern kitchen, granite counters, Viking stove, large separate frig and freezer. Private commercial grade septic and well. No water shortages even in dry season. High speed internet and U.S. standard electric. Center of the beach -- NEVER floods. Estuary at each end of the beach with excellent kayaking and bird watching through the mangroves. Excellent fishing right off the shore. Great surfing, horseback riding, bicycling or Turtle watching. Groceries three miles away. Mentioned in "The Lonely Planet" Page 301. "Two of the most beautiful and least visited beaches in Costa Rica. Wilderness beaches of fine silver-grey sand." Despite opportunities for great surfing, kayaking and just about anything else you want to do on a sandy strip of paradise, the beaches are nearly always abandoned. $500K Will finance.  More pictures available at: http://www.rebecker.com/journal102006a.htm.  Contact information: ginbecker@gmail.com,  US: 001-612-599-0205 or Costa Rica 011-506-2655-1202.

condors

HIGH SECURITY Condo
ULatina, UCR, & U Fidelitas San Pedro, San Jose. $185,000.
Quietly located behind The Foundation Costa Rica Canada, 500 meters north of Iglesia Lourdes, San Pedro. ULatina, UCR, U. Fidelitas, bus & new train station are within five minutes Four-bedroom, three and half-bath unit within a secure complex of 40 condos with high cement outside walls with secure entrance manned by an armed guard 24 hours per day. Security fencing with electric wire, and a CCTV recorded security camera system is monitored within the guard house.  For additional peace of mind, this residence equipped with an independently wired security system, iron bars on windows and patio doors, a telephone communication system to contact the guard house and secure parking at your front door.   Beautiful mountain view from roof covered 3rd floor terraza. A green park area inside the complex for your children to safely play and an outside parking area in from of guard house for visitors. Cable TV/Internet lines and 220-volt service for hot water heater, stove and dryer. Water storage tank with pump maintains high pressure to bathrooms on all three floors. American style washer and electric dryer, refrigerator, glass top stove, and kitchen cabinets included. Other furniture items may be available. Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987   or  U.S. Phone:  (630) 886-4458  or   (305) 848-5577. C.R. Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799-4041  or  (506) 8363-9898.  Email: sjogringo@yahoo.com
6141-2/11/14

Med house
Mediterranean inspired home overlooking the Bay of Nicoya and Pacific Ocean. This design allows for barrier free living, yet maximizes views from every room in the house . Vaulted ceiling over the living area and kitchen give the great room it’s spacious, open feeling with a natural stone fireplace and imported Spanish tile floors. $365,000.   Property: 22,000 m2 or 5.5 acres. Construction: 4,500 sq. ft. including porches and garage. 3 nedrooms, 2 baths, full dining room, separate office. Custom wrought iron gates, custom exotic wood cabinets, high-end stainless steel appliances, Granite countertops.    Slide show at  www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/24055899   
For more information contact:  deeday214@gmail.com
8135-2/5/14

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West, maryandjerre@aol.com, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603
8123-4/22/2104

montage
For sale is a beautiful 50-acre property located in Los Alpes, just 15 minutes outside of San Ramon. At about 4,000 feet above sea level, this finca provides gorgeous views of the Central Valley as well as the Pacific Ocean in the distance while also offering a wonderful climate year around. The main house is two stories with three bedrooms and two full baths. High quality construction using exotic hardwoods such as almond, which covers the ceilings throughout the entire house. There are also two corrals and a small casita on the property. This location is perfect for a farm-style home or for beginning an agricultural business. This truly is a rare piece of property and is available for $399,999. Price is somewhat negotiable and we will be happy to work with the buyer to make it work! Please call 8816-2478 or e-mail bmcart3@gmail.com for more information ¡y se habla español!
8097-xxx

humming bird nest

Bed & Breakfast for sale and personal home with 2 houses on property of 3/4 acre (3,030 m2) and buildings w/verandas & carport approximately 350 m2. One house at entrance is central to village w/gated parking lot and a 3-bedroom house for rental or employees/family w/carport/yard/gardens. A 50-meter sendero winds to the top among lush gardens where the main house is situated w/2 buildings attached by verandas & stairway to second floor.  There are 2 bedrooms, sala, 4 baths, large kitchen, laundry rooms, work bodega, storage bodega and hot tub on veranda w/tiled shower room.  Home is surrounded by tropical gardens, views of Arenal Volcano, panoramic views of Lake Arenal, private w/school owned property on one side, pasture land on back side and connecting entry gate on other side to Cabinas El Castillo & Fusion Restaurant.  A bird watcher's paradise w/hummingbirds, Montezuma, toucans, butterflies and visits from howler monkeys.  The B&B is listed four consecutive editions of Lonely Planet and the first established B&B in this area.  Photos can be viewed on the Web site: www.hummingbirdnestbb.com.  Make your dream come true with a slice of paradise in a quiet, private setting. Call Ellen Neely at  8835-8711.  Email: nidocolibri@hotmail.com
8058-11/15/13

Guiones retreat
SURFERS PARADISE on PLAYA GUIONES, NOSARA
Approximately half acre on the beach with private path to the surf. Very private three-home complex with pool, spacious patios with two wet bars, barbeque and yoga area. Featuring a three-bedroom ranch style home plus a two story Mexican villa style home with two master suites, large kitchen and living area with ocean views and breezes upstairs and a garden apartment downstairs with separate entrance. A caretaker's or teenager's cottage and lots of space for expansion. PRICED FOR QUICK SALE: $899,000.  Call 506 8867-8883 or heidebob2@gmail.com
8027-1/12/14

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)
71
Jaco station
Gas Station/Auto Plaza
Located on the Pan American Highway, Jacó Beach, Costa Rica, Central America. This property is  45,000  square feet or  18,000  meters.  Liquor and convenience store is operational. Room to add an automotive service, car wash, restaurant, pharmacy, lotto sales, tour sales, ATM's,  etc, for a real money maker. Also future plans for a 80-unit  auto motel and casino. See on Youtube at:  http://youtu.be/iDXurhJ4fCk Asking price  $3.9 million. Email costaricapropertysales@gmail.com or call: 8899-9870.
8153-112/22/13

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West, maryandjerre@aol.com, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603
8123-4/22/2

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page


San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 6
Sports
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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
Las Vegas tech show features
the glitzy and the new gadgets


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas traditionally starts off the year exhibiting the hottest technology trends, and this year is no different. The biggest buzz in the show this year is wearable tech and curved screens on televisions and mobile phones.

Visitors flock to Las Vegas at the beginning of the year for the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the biggest events for technology enthusiasts and companies alike.

"It's both exciting and pretty terrifying because we're gonna see so many cool new things," said Will Findlater, who edits a British gadget magazine. "But at the same time, the show floor is absolutely massive. There's a lot of ground to cover and a lot of things to see."

Curved displays are one trend getting a lot of talk this year. They're on everything from televisions to mobile phones.

"Right now you can buy a curved TV, but if you can't decide if you want it flat or not, you can choose a flexible one," said Bridget Carey, who is with CNET, a consumer electronics Web site. "Curved is supposed to be a more immersive experience when it surrounds you. But maybe not everyone wants curved all the time."

Sony, Samsung, and LG all unveiled curved ultra-high definition televisions, with some models as big as 110 inches (279 centimeters).

Another hot emerging trend: wearable technology.

Sony, Intel, and others unveiled smart watches that interact wirelessly with your phone, and in the case of the Samsung Galaxy Gear, a watch that connects with the BMW i3 electric car.

Carey says a smart watch is practical.

"It has apps now that can give you a quick glance at the sports score with an ESPN app. You can see who texted you, what calls you missed," she said.

Still, some warn that wearable technology may take a while before they become widely accepted. 

“That's a big trend right now, and actually, even though smart watches will be kind of a buzz word, the reality is smart watches are years from taking off," said Tim Bajarin of Creative Technologies, Inc.

The 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show runs until Friday.


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From Page 7:

70 Costa Ricans to study cloud computing in India

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some 70 Costa Ricans are off to India to study cloud computing through March.

The 70 are beneficiaries of scholarships from the Indian firm Infosys, a major player in the Indian technology business. The firm has interests here.

The participants in the program all have at least bachelor degrees, and some are university professors. They will study in Mysore. They also are English speakers.

This is the first group to receive such scholarships in a program coordinated by the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones, the Ministerio de Comercio Exterior and the Coalición Costarricense de Iniciativas de Desarrollo.

The commerce ministry said that 10 Indian companies now operate in Costa Rica. The ministry noted that The Times of India recently reported on Costa Rica being a major site for the expansion of Indian technology companies.