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(506) 2223-1327                       Posted Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, in Vol. 15, No. 6                                 Email us
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Ministerio de Gobernacieón, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo
Tourists who were shipwreck survivors line up to await transportation.
Investigation begun into sinking of tourist catamaran
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With 106 persons safely on land and plans being made to handle the remains of three dead passengers, the investigation has begun.

Prosecutors are in charge in an effort to determine if there was criminal liability in the sinking of the tourist catamaran EcoQuest.  The 27.43-meter (90-foot) triple decker boat overturned in strong winds and rough seas Thursday morning and quickly sank.

The dead tourists were all seniors. They were identified as Edna Oliver, 68, of the United States,  Sharon Johnson, 70, of Canada and Ivor Stanley Hopkings, 80, who held British nationality.

Earlier story . . . HERE!

There were no more deaths because the tour boat held five lifeboats and lifejackets for all passengers and crew. The wife of the dead British tourist complained that the boat crew members were slow in handing out life jackets.

Casa Presidencial later said that this was true and that the passengers were not given instructions for the use of the life jackets.

Autopsies will show the causes of deaths.

Many of the survivors bobbed around in their life jackets for up to 90 minutes before being pulled from the Gulf of Nicoya. Some passengers made videos of the rescues. Some went to Caldera and others returned to the EcoQuest home port of Los Sueños Marina.

Many were foreign tourists.

The investigation will center on the decision of the boat captain, identified by the last name of Tentorio, to sail into the gulf during strong winds. In addition, the actions of the crew will be studied.

One survivor said that the lower windows of the craft were open so that as the boat rocked back and forth, sea water entered. The way the boat overturned is evidence that there was a large quantity of water swirling around inside.

Omar Lizano of the Centro de

File photo of the EcoQuest

Ministerio de Gobernacieón, Policía
y Seguridad Pública graphic

Map shows the location of the disaster.

Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y  Limnología at the Universidad de Costa Rica said that there were winds of 10 to 18 kph with gusts of 40 kph.

The boat, which now is in about 450 feet of water, was owned by Global Trust Firm S.A. The boat was believed to have been operated by the firm Pura Vida Princess. Luis Fernando Coronado, director of the División Marítima Portuaria, said the boat was relatively new and built in 2007. He said the hulls were fiberglass.

The boat was last inspected Nov. 6 and had a seaworthy permit until next October, he said.

The trip Thursday was a common one to Isla Tortuga, also in the gulf of Nicoya. The mishap took place some seven miles off Punta Leona in the Central Pacific. Passengers paid about $125 to spend the day enjoying the beach and water at Isla Tortuga.

Two passengers ended up in hospitals. Cruz Roja workers checked out survivors as they came ashore. Most were barefoot.

The rescue involved the Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea and eventually eight boats of the Servicio Nacional  de Guardacostas that came from Caldera and Quepos. Private boats in the gulf also helped with survivors.

The boat operator had insurance with the Instituto Nacional de Seguros, which is handling claims.

Prosecutors were interviewing the captain and the first mate Thursday afternoon.

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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
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Phone number: (506) 8853-0000


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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.
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Contact Jim Day
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Wall Street
Instituto Costarricense de Turismo photo           
    Costa Rica's promotional team erected this sand statue of typical
    animals at Bowling Green Park near Wall Street in New York City.
    The idea is to motivate New Yorkers to visit the country. This is part
     of a $3.3 million campaign.

Price of dollar expected to be stable

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Financial experts see little chance for a spike in the value of the U.S. dollar this year.

One, Orlando Soto, general manager of the financial firm Grupo Acobo, predicted Thursday that the U.S. dollar would stay in the 535 to 545-colon range. He said he expected the dollar to experience downward pressure during the first four months of 2015.

He noted that the Banco Central de Costa Rica is exercising control over the price of the dollar.

The central bank decided last year that only retail banks could engage in the daily money market negotiations that set the daily value of the dollar. Until then, anyone could attend and bid on quantities of dollars or colons.

The dollar spent much of 2014 in the 493-colon range.

Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias photo           
Nueva Cinchona now is a model down north of Heredia.

Residents mark quake anniversary

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Residents of  Nueva Cinchona marked the sixth anniversary of the deadly earthquake with a Mass Thursday at the new community that resulted from the tragedy.

The quake destroyed or made many homes in the area unsafe, and earthquake victims were living in plywood boxes for several years. The 91 families eventually were relocated to a safer area in new homes with new utilities. The project was by the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias with the assistance of many other agencies.

The afternoon earthquake took at least 34 lives and nearly twice that number remain missing. The quake loosened a ridge that collapsed.

Heredia getting a new Web site

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Municipalidad de Heredia will debut its new Web site Monday. Officials say the site is more accessible, attractive and easier to use.

The site also is suitable for mobil devices, the municipality said in a release. The site will allow users to fill out online forms and to consult their accounts.

The site also will allow users to watch the sessions of the Concejo Municipal. The site is

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 6
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Government plans protective tariff for rice growers and distributors
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The economics ministry did an about face Thursday and said it would impose an additional 27.06 percent import duty on milled rice.

The decision is in contrast to that of the Laura Chinchilla administration that was trying to subject local rice growers to the pressures of the international free market.

The government said that the action is trying to avoid grave damage to the national rice industry and the investments that have been made there.

The government also said it was issuing a decree that would reduce by about 4 percent the price of some rice for consumers.

Rice, a staple for many Costa Ricans, is controlled by a complex government bureaucracy that includes the Corporación Arrocera Nacional. There are about 1,400 producers in the country, and many have inefficient operations.

The announcement by the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio said that rice farmers would embark on a four-year readjustment plan to make them more competitive.

The plan calls for greater productivity per hectare, more
 efficiency in the distribution chain of rice and a transfer of the savings to the end consumer with a slowly decreasing price of rice that would bring national producers in line with world prices.

The government insisted that the changes would not affect the consumer. The reduction in the price of rice would be about 50 colons or nine U.S. cents per two-kilo bag of 20 percent broken grain, the lowest retail quality.

Under the Central American Free Trade Treaty, Costa Rica has agreed to reduce import duties on rice produced in the United States over 19 to 20 years so that there would be no duty in 2029. The effect on U.S. imports was not defined. Costa Rica imports about 40 percent of its rice each year.

The new import duty that raises the total to 62.06 percent will be submitted to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

The claim that imports would damage local production meets one of the agreement's requirements for an exclusionary tariff.

The Chinchilla administration argued that consumers were subsidizing the country's rice producers.

Rice producers and the rice industry are potent political forces. Growers have protested for years the import by private companies of rice from Argentina and Uruguay.

Costa Ricans end the holidays with a special ceremony for the Niño
By the A.M. Costa Rica archive article

As it becomes time to put away Christmas things, Costa Ricans cannot pack away Baby Jesus without a ceremony.

The event is called rezo del Niño, and such ceremonies are taking place all over the country. The statue of Jesus is the centerpiece of nativity displays. These displays are everywhere. They can be found in public buildings, in apartment building lobbies, office buildings and, of course, private homes. So each location probably will host a rezo del Niño

The rezo is fairly standard, and there are professional groups that organize them. The groups include one or more musicians or at least someone on a guitar. Then there is the rezadora, almost always a woman who recites prayers, mainly those represented on the Roman Catholic Rosary.  She says one half and the participants in the audience are expected to finish the other half.

There also is  singing and a musical group that includes someone playing the güiro, a hand-held percussion instrument and the pandereta, a form of tambourine. Naturally the session will close with the singing of "Ave María," which also is traditional.
Plaza Real Cariari photo
A previous year's Plaza Real Cariari rezo del Niño

At rezos de Niño in the home, light or heavy refreshments usually are served with the men in the other room working on a bottle of rum.  The entire neighborhood usually joins in.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 6
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Canadian computer is flawless in playing heads-up limit Texas hold ‘em
By the University of Alberta news staff

In a world first, researchers in the Computer Poker Research Group at the University of Alberta have essentially solved heads-up limit Texas hold ‘em poker with their program, called Cepheus.

“Poker has been a challenge problem for artificial intelligence going back over 40 years, and until now, heads-up limit Texas hold ‘em poker was unsolved,” says Michael Bowling, lead author and professor in the Faculty of Science, whose findings were published in the journal Science.

For more than a half-century, games have been test beds for new ideas in artificial intelligence. The resulting successes have marked significant milestones, from IBM’s Deep Blue defeating world champion Garry Kasparov in chess and Watson beating top-earning Jeopardy! champs Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

But as Bowling points out, defeating top human players is not the same as actually solving a game, especially a game like poker.

In poker, players have imperfect information. They don't have full knowledge of past events, and they can't see their opponents' hands. The most popular variant of poker today is Texas hold ‘em. When it is played with just two players and with fixed bet sizes and a limited number of raises allowed, it is called heads-up limit hold ‘em.

The possible situations in this poker version are fewer than in checkers, which computing science researchers solved in 2007, led by now dean of science Jonathan Schaeffer. But the imperfect-information nature of heads-up limit hold ‘em makes it a far more challenging game for computers to play or solve.

Cepheus, created by Bowling, doctoral students Neil Burch and Michael Johanson and Finnish software developer Oskari Tammelin, is the first computer program to play an essentially perfect game of poker. Cepheus accomplished this goal with no human expert help, only being given the rules of the game.

“It was trained against itself, playing the equivalent of more than a billion billion hands of poker,” says Bowling. “With each hand it improved its play, refining itself closer and closer to the perfect solution. The program was trained for
two months using more than 4,000 CPUs each considering over six billion hands every second. This is more poker than has been played by the entire human race."
poker man
University of Alberta/John Ulan
Michael Bowling and his colleagues play heads-up limit Texas hold 'em poker.

Cepheus marks a milestone for artificial intelligence and game theory. Though many perfect-information games (in which all players are aware of everything that has occurred in the game before they make a decision) have been solved, no nontrivial imperfect-information game played competitively by humans has previously been solved.

And although perfect information may be a common property of parlor games, it is far less common in real-world decision-making situations.

“The breakthroughs behind this result are general algorithmic advances that make game-theoretic reasoning in large-scale models of any sort more tractable,” says Bowling.

Fun and games aside, Bowling notes that game theory has always been envisioned to have serious implications, including a surge in game-theoretic applications involving security, such as systems for airport checkpoints, air marshall scheduling and coast guard patrolling.

“With real-life decision-making settings almost always involving uncertainty and missing information, algorithmic advances, such as those needed to solve poker, are needed to drive future applications.”

Readers can query the program’s strategy or play against it online at

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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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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Paris scene
Voice of America photo
Journalists hold placards that read 'I am Charlie' and their press cards during a minute of silence in front of the Paris offices of weekly satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris Thursday.

Massive numbers of police
seeking Paris shooting duo

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The search for two brothers suspected of being behind the Paris shootings at a satirical newspaper narrowed Thursday to a zone near the capital as France held a day of mourning for the victims.

Police focused the search for Said Kouachi, 34, and Cherif Kouachi, 32, on a region northeast of Paris after an unconfirmed report that the pair had robbed a service station in the area. An investigation was underway near Villers-Cotterêts, about 80 kilometers west of the city of Reims. More than 88,000 members of security forces were involved in the manhunt.

The Kouachis, both French citizens of Algerian origin, were the top suspects in Wednesday's shootings at Charlie Hebdo, a weekly known for cartoons that occasionally mock Muslim extremism. In all, 12 people were killed and 11 were wounded.

A third suspect, Hamyd Mourad, 18, turned himself in to authorities, but it appeared uncertain whether he was involved.

Police identified the suspects after one of them left his identity card in the getaway car after Wednesday's attack.

A police woman was killed in a shootout early Thursday and two people were being held for questioning, but Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said there was no confirmed link between the two incidents.

The woman was gunned down while responding to a traffic accident in the Montrouge area just outside the capital. The suspect remained at large.

Police were also investigating an explosion at a kebab shop near a mosque in Villefranche-sur-Saone, in eastern France, early Thursday. No one was injured. The incident was being treated as a criminal act.

At a news conference Thursday, Cazeneuve described the massive search for the Kouachi brothers, helped by dozens of witnesses and information from videos and mobile phones. He said nine people had been detained for questioning.

Authorities believe the attack at the newspaper was inspired by radical Islam. Cherif Kouachi was sentenced to 18 months in prison after being convicted of terrorism charges in 2008, for his involvement in a network sending fighters to Iraq.

Investigators also said that Said Kouachi spent several months in Yemen in 2011, receiving terrorist training from al-Qaida's affiliate there. But there was no firm evidence that the brothers were under orders from any terror group.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls said both suspects were known to intelligence services. They were in a U.S. central database of known terror suspects and were also on the U.S. no-fly list.

Valls also said preventing a second attack was the government's main concern.

Cazeneuve said he had invited European interior ministers and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to talks Sunday in Paris to discuss their common terrorist challenge. 

Flags flew at half-staff, schools closed and security was stepped up during a day of mourning around the Paris area following the country's deadliest terrorist attack in decades.

President Francois Hollande convened an emergency cabinet meeting, before a moment of silence was held at midday. As a sign of national unity, Hollande invited arch-rival and opposition leader Nicolas Sarkozy to the Elysee Palace, his first visit since losing power in 2012.

Tens of thousands of people poured into the streets of cities across France to show support for the victims. The lights on the Eiffel Tower dimmed late Thursday in tribute to the victims, and Parisians stood in silence in a chilly rain, holding up pens and pencils as a sign of the right to free speech.

People set up makeshift memorials around the capital and observed vigils for the victims. Paris resident Mariama Bongoura was among the many at the Place de la Republique, where bouquets were piled up at the foot of a giant statue of Marianne, the symbol of French liberty.

Ms. Boungoura described the killings as inhumane. She said it was up to God, not man, to render justice. Muslims like herself are angry at what has happened, she said, because it is against the Koran.

Bouquets were also piled up near the office of Charlie Hebdo, about a mile away.  Police cordoned off the site, but a small crowd gathered nearby to pay respects. One man placed a bottle of wine alongside the flowers, in tribute to the magazine's bon-vivant spirit.

Denis Drigeard Desgarnier arrived in tears. As a youth, he participated in the May 1968 social uprising in France. At the time, he said, Charlie Hebdo's journalists used their pens to defend their cause and free expression. He said the reaction by many French to the shootings was a comfort, especially because they were not blaming the Muslim community for the deaths.

The government called for large demonstrations to show solidarity across the country Sunday.

Even before the attack, France, home to Europe's biggest Muslim population, was on high alert, like many other countries that have seen citizens leave to fight alongside the radical Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

France has a long history in dealing with terrorism, stretching to the 1990s when Algerian terrorists staged bombing attacks on Paris subways. More recently, more than 1,000 French nationals have headed to Iraq and Syria to join jihadist movements. 

The gunmen burst into the Charlie Hebdo offices Wednesday during an editorial meeting. Witnesses reported hearing the masked gunmen shouting "God is great!" in Arabic as they entered the newsroom, but said they also spoke fluent French.

They were also heard shouting that they had avenged the Prophet Muhammed.

Ten journalists were killed, including editor Stéphane Charbonnier and well-known cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut and Bernard Verlhac, who went by the pen name Tignous. Two police officers also were killed.

Phillipe Brisolaro, twin brother of one of the police officers killed, said the attack was against more than just the victims.

"The whole of France is mobilizing against this," he said. "You cannot insult freedom of speech, insult the authority of the state."

Patrick Pelloux, a columnist at the paper and medical doctor, was called to the newsroom by a colleague immediately after the shooting. He described the scene in an emotional interview with French television channel iTele.

"It was horrible. Many were already gone because they were shot down in execution style, and we managed to save the others, who this morning are doing well," he said.

"I have come here to tell you that the newspaper will continue because they have not won and Charb, Cabu, Wolinski, Bernard Maris, Honore, Elsa, Tignous, Mustapha and the guard who was killed and was tasked with protecting us have not died in vain," Pelloux said.

Wednesday's shooting was not the first time Charlie Hebdo has been the target of violence. Its office was firebombed in 2011 after it published a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammed on its cover.

President Barack Obama made an unannounced visit to the French Embassy in Washington on Thursday, shortly after returning from a trip to Phoenix, to sign a condolences book and express solidarity with the French people. He was joined there by the French ambassador, Gerard Araud.

Obama wrote that "as allies across the centuries, we stand united with our French brothers to ensure that justice is done and our way of life is defended. We go forward together knowing that terror is no match for freedom and ideals we stand for — ideals that light the world.''

European Union governments and officials are discussing responses to the killing of the French journalists and could propose new policies in the coming weeks, officials said Thursday.

"We must, in the days to come, make sure that this pain transforms itself into concrete actions," the bloc's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, told a news conference in Riga. "With the pain, we have already begun to work on the response."

Muslim leaders in France also have denounced the shooting.

The British government said Thursday that it had increased security at its borders, including at ports and at checkpoints it operates on French soil, in response to the Paris attack.

Interior Minister Theresa May said the extra security was not based on specific intelligence and that the country's threat alert, which was already at its second-highest level, had not been changed.

Meanwhile, cartoonists reacted as they know best, composing biting satirical drawings against what editorialists said was an attack on the foundations of democracy.

Among the cartoons that went viral online was one by Australia's David Pope: a picture of a gunman with a smoking rifle standing over a body, bearing the caption "He drew first."

Christophe Deloire, head of Reporters Without Borders, called Wednesday a black day for the French press.

"How can we imagine a worse attack when this editorial team, Charlie Hebdo, has already been threatened in the past? They've had very serious threats, but nothing ... there was never anything of this proportion. This attack against Charlie Hebdo is maddening," Deloire said.

Employees of Charlie Hebdo told French news agency AFP it would print 1 million copies of its next issue, a special edition due out Jan. 14.

The provocative, colorful publication has replaced its Web site with a black screen and the message "Je suis Charlie," French for "I am Charlie." The phrase has become a rallying cry in support of the victims online and at vigils around the world since the shooting.

U.S. plans to close bases
in Europe to save money

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States says it will close more than a dozen bases in Europe in a move the Defense Department expects to save $500 million per year when fully implemented with no impact on the military’s ability to respond across Europe.

The list of European base closures announced Thursday includes operations at Royal Air Force base Mildenhall northeast of London. The base closure is among the largest since the end of the Cold War.

The base is home to tanker, reconnaissance and special operations aircraft, and 3,200 U.S. military personnel and their families.

The U.S. also will end operations at 14 other bases in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Many of the bases have been in use since about the time of World War II.

Analysts tell The Wall Street Journal the European base closings should help smooth the way for more base closings in the United States.

Adoption agency head
admits Ethiopian scheme

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The former head of a U.S. adoption agency pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to charges of arranging phony adoptions from Ethiopia with the aim of defrauding the U.S. government.

The man, James Harding, who was an official with International Adoption Guides, admitted defrauding the U.S. State Department by submitting false adoption papers for Ethiopian children along with their visa applications.

The papers included contracts signed by orphanages for children who never lived at the facilities.

Harding also admitted paying bribes to two Ethiopian officials for their help with the scheme.

Boston is U.S. candidate
for 2024 Olympic Games

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The northeastern city of Boston has been selected as the U.S. candidate city that will bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

At a meeting in Denver, Colorado, Thursday, a 15-member U.S. Olympic Committee panel chose Boston over two-time Olympics host Los Angeles, as well as San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Boston has never hosted an Olympics.

“We're excited about our plans to submit a bid for the 2024 Games and feel we have an incredibly strong partner in Boston that will work with us to present a compelling bid,” committee Chairman Larry Probst said in a statement.

The U.S. itself has not hosted a Summer Olympics for almost 20 years. The last was Atlanta in 1996. Boston will face stiff competition from abroad, including Rome and perhaps Berlin and Paris, as well as a city yet to be determined from Africa.

Cities have until September to officially put in a bid. A decision on the 2024 host is expected to be made by the International Olympic Committee in mid-2017.

There is opposition in Boston to the city's bid to host the 2024 Olympics. Opponents say the city cannot afford to divert resources and attention from other needs, like adding affordable housing and fixing its transportation infrastructure.

U.S. protests Saudi sentence
of 1,000 lashes for blogger

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States is asking Saudi Arabia to drop its sentence of 1,000 lashes for a liberal Saudi blogger, calling the punishment brutal and inhumane.

Raif Badawi, who was charged with offenses including insulting Islam, is scheduled to receive the first 50 lashes in a public flogging after Friday prayers in the Red Sea coastal city of Jiddah. The blogger, who has been in custody since his 2012 arrest, was sentenced in May to the flogging and 10 years in jail. The Jiddah Criminal Court also ordered him to pay a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals, about $266,000.

In Washington, the State Department on Thursday asked Saudi authorities to cancel the sentence of 1,000 lashes. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki urged Saudi officials to review Badawi's case and punishment.

"We are greatly concerned by reports that human rights activist Raif Badawi will start facing the inhumane punishment of 1,000 lashes, in addition to serving a 10-year sentence in prison for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and religion,” Psaki said. "… The United States strongly opposes laws, including apostasy laws, that restrict the exercise of these freedoms, and urges all countries to uphold these rights in practice."

Badawi also had been charged with cyber crime and disobeying his father and his faith. He had run the Free Saudi Liberals Web site, which included articles critical of Saudi religious leaders and historical Muslim figures. The site has been shut down.

A representative for Amnesty International said the organization was aware of Badawi’s expected flogging. The human rights group said flogging "violates the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment in international law."

Badawi is scheduled to receive 50 lashes a week for 20 weeks, Amnesty International has reported.
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, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 6
Real Estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are diabled on archvied pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Chinese leader promises more Latin aid

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to increase cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean as he opened a forum in Beijing with leaders from the region.

The meeting between Xi and leaders of some 30 Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños comes as China pushes for more influence in what has traditionally been Washington's backyard.

Xi said two-way trade between China and Latin America was expected to rise to $500 billion in 10 years.

China has particularly strong ties with several Latin American nations that have clashed diplomatically with the U.S., especially Venezuela.

Wednesday, Xi met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who said he received pledges of $20 billion in Chinese investment in his country's beleaguered economy.

Costa Rica holds the Presidencia Pro Témpore of the organization.

Pings detected from AirAsian aircraft

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Indonesian authorities say searchers have detected ping signals from the black boxes of AirAsia Flight 8501, which crashed in the Java Sea on Dec. 28.

An official said Friday the pings appeared to be coming from an area on the sea floor separate from the tail section where the voice and data recorders were located. The recorders may offer essential information about the doomed flight.

The tail section of the plane was located Wednesday on the sea bed about 30 kilometers from the plane's last known location at a depth of around 30 meters.

The Airbus 320 vanished from radar screens over the northern Java Sea less than halfway into a two-hour flight from Indonesia's second-biggest city of Surabaya to Singapore.

There were no survivors among the 162 people on board. Only 46 bodies have been recovered so far.

Authorities hope most of the rest of the victims can be recovered from the several large pieces of wreckage on the ocean floor.

Before takeoff and during the last moments of the flight, the pilots requested to fly at a higher altitude to avoid a storm. The request was not approved because other planes were in the area.

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From Page 7:

U.S. unemployment claims decline

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Fewer Americans applied for unemployment assistance last week, the latest favorable sign from the growing U.S. economy.

The government says as the calendar turned into the new year, 294,000 workers made first-time claims for jobless benefits, 4,000 fewer than the week before.

The applications for unemployment compensation have stayed steady at below 300,000 a week since September, an indication employers are laying off fewer workers and hiring more.

After uneven U.S. economic advances during much of his six years in office, President Barack Obama has been touting the recent robust growth of the world's largest economy.

Wednesday, he told a group of auto workers in the country's industrial heartland that he wants workers throughout the country to personally sense that better fortunes are in the offing.

"One of my New Year's resolutions is to make sure that more Americans, in Wayne, more Americans in Michigan, more Americans all across this great country, that everybody feels like they're coming back."

The U.S. economy advanced by 5 percent in the July-to-September period, a marked contrast to slowing growth in China, a recession in Japan, and a near stagnant economy in Europe's 18-nation euro currency bloc.

Friday, the U.S. government is set to release employment numbers for December. Economists are projecting that businesses added about 240,000 more jobs last month, pushing the total for all of last year to nearly three million. That would be the most since 1999.

At the same time, analysts say the unemployment rate could drop another notch, from 5.8 percent to 5.7 percent, which would be the lowest since June 2008.