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(506) 2223-1327                        Published Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, in Vol. 15, No. 9                                 Email us
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Solís seeks to expedite passage of animal cruelty bill
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Ever since 2002 when the Sala IV found an animal protection law unconstitutional for technical reasons, Costa Rica has not had strong regulations against cruelty.

A measure introduced Nov. 1, 2011, has had a rocky time in the legislature.

President Luis Guillermo Solís called Tuesday for passage.

He asked the various political parties to work together to do this.

The bill, No. 18.298, is one of those that the president listed in his call for a special legislative session. There may be some political advantage in getting the various parties to work together, and lawmakers are in favor of the bill in theory.

The bill consolidates penalties and illegal actions that may exist elsewhere. For example, a 2008 law already covers forest animals, illegal hunting and trafficking in wild species. There also is a specific law against cock fights.

Under the current laws, the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal has its hands tied because it does not have the legal instruments against mistreatment of animals, said an extensive summary of the bill.

There are 17 specific actions that are made illegal, including practicing religious rituals that involve animal sacrifice and conducting animal surgery without anesthetic.

The bill's philosophy is that animals are sentient creatures that must be protected by the state. The summary said that 300 animal cruelty or mistreatment complaints are received every week by various authorities.

Maltreatment is defined as actions that cause unnecessary pain, suffering or stress in animals as well as negligence in care or malicious or intentional killing.

The bill prohibits all sorts of animal fights and forbids breeding animals for their

decapitation tools
Ministerio de Seguridad photo
Last May police detained a man in Pérez Zeledón who used this chain saw and weed wacker to decapitate three dogs belonging to a family with whom he had disagreements.

ferocity. Also penalized is working an animal too hard.

Penalties would be from four to eight base salaries, about $3,200 to $6,400 at this writing. Sanctions that are now in the law are minimal.

The lengthy summary reads like a sociological text and says that a relationship exists between violence as an adult and mistreatment of animals as a child. The summary also links cruelty to animals with domestic violence and general criminality.

Solís said he welcomed comments from lawmakers as well as citizens concerned about animal welfare.

Several topics not touched by the proposed law are spaying animals and the number of street dogs and cats that inhabit metro areas.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 9

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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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Police recover
U.S. visitor's goods

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A teen and an adult companion have been detained on allegations that they held up a U.S. woman tourist in Playa Hermosa, Jacó, about 8 p.m. Monday.

The woman told police that two men pulled a knife on her and took $300 and a cell phone, the Fuerza Pública said. The woman told police that the pair fled on a scooter, which police were able to spot a few minutes later.

The teen is 17, officers said.

The pair were remanded to the flagrancy prosecutor.

Ministerio de Seguridad photo
Suspect is in cuffs while loot is displayed.

Coffee fair begins Friday in Frailes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Coffee lovers will be in their element from Friday through Sunday when the  XI Feria del Café is held in Frailes de Desamparados. Some 15,000 visitors are expected.

Coffee is being collected now in Costa Rica and in Frailes. So visitors will have a close-up look at the harvest.

Also a number of traditional dishes are promised. There also is a facility for children.  The event is supported by the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

The Instituto del Café de Costa Rica also is participating with the replication of a coffee farm or cafetal, said an announcement.

Our readers' opinion
Monopoly sought for grain imports

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

You might mention that Costa Rican rice growers would be at a serious disadvantage competing against U.S. government subsidizing U.S. rice growers, while trade treaty prohibits Costa Rica from doing same for its producers!

'The disadvantage is worsened by Costa Rican business-political interests seeking to corner importation of cheap international excesses thereby doing in local producers. Destroying the local farmer and producer would leave them in permanent control of the market.
Sharon Smith, M.D.

Costa Rica could play China against U.S.

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Well done for your alertness to the march of Chinese interests into Costa Rica. The alliance of such a small militarily impotent country with a global behemoth is interesting.

Apart from Taiwan, which China continues to isolate, China is likely interested in a buffer zone between its new canal in Nicaragua and its U.S. backed competitor in Panama. Additionally, using the moral and green image of Costa Rica to gain support among Latin American countries against its global rival the U.S. is also important.

From the Costa Rican point of view, an influx of Chinese investment in infrastructure could bring major benefits:

Firstly, Chinese investment funds could postpone or even end the need for Costa Rica to keep on borrowing to fund its grossly inefficient public sector. This would prevent a currency collapse and default.

Secondly, this country is bad at infrastructure and the U.S. is not much better. Visits to the Maglev railway in Shanghai and to the airports, ports and cities of China reveals that they can and do build infrastructure well and quickly. New York looks like a 1930s theme park in comparison.

As to issues such as Chinese human rights, etc, Costa Rica can have no influence on those, just as it has little on global U.S. military intervention and internal politics. If clever, Costa Rican leaders will play off Chinese and U.S. interests to their advantage. If true to form, Chinese infrastructure investment will be channeled through ineffective and corrupt local operations and there will be little benefit.

A pact with the Chinese devil could have major benefits and little downside risk. Let us hope for the best.
Chris Clarke

9/11 reaction was disproportionate

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
Monday's guest editorial on the Paris attack struck a chord with me. Most particularly, I quote: "The lessons of our American cousins and the post 9/11 Patriot Act as a response to terror should remind us that threats to our freedoms can come from many directions."

The hugely disproportionate reaction to the 9/11 attacks have given us the world's largest bureaucracy (the Department of Homeland Security) and the masher of the Constitution, the Patriot Act.

If there is an afterlife, I bet that Osama bin Laden and his cronies are rolling on the floor as they watch the citizens of the "free" world deal with the TSA checkpoints and the news of NSA wiretapping. The results of their actions exceeded their wildest dreams of what they would accomplish with a few bombings.

On another note, I first started reading AM Costa Rica in 2003; when you always had two pages and occasionally three. Look at you now! Congratulations!
Pete Todd
Fort Collins, Colorado

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 9
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First U.S. spring break vacationers are less than six weeks away
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tourism operators are struggling to keep up with the influx of tourists for the high season, so they might be shocked to know that the first wave of U.S. college students on spring break will begin in less than six weeks.

Most of the spring break weeks are in March, but some schools have scheduled the start of the traditional vacation as early as Feb. 23. The wave of young tourists ends sometime in mid-April.

St. John's University in Queens has spring break set for Feb. 23 to 28. Valparaiso University in Indiana has a two-week break scheduled starting Feb. 28.

Typical student tourists are seeking sun, waves and alcohol. However, some schools use the break time for short courses, and many of these are overseas.

Students study the environment, archaeology and other specialties under the guidance of a teacher.

Usually the U.S. State Department issues an advisory for students who may travel outside the United States. "Don't let your escape from dorm life and research papers turn into a Spring Break horror story," the department warns.

The advisory urges students to avoid having drugs in their possession.

Costa Rican tourism operators, because of air fares and location, find that attracting spring breakers is highly competitive. Tamarindo, Montezuma and Manual Antonio are the favored spots in Costa Rica. But students also can go skiing or find warmer weather along the U.S. gulf coast or in Florida.

The 1960 movie "Where the Boys Are" enshrined Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as the place to be.

where the o=boys areMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer  poster
This 1960 movie with Paula Prentiss, Connie Francis and  Yvette Mimieux, among others, solidified the spring break tradition.

For marijuana, they have the several U.S. states where personal use is legal.

Although Costa Rica does not seem to be promoting itself strongly yet as a spring break destination, México, the Bahamas and other Caribbean hot spots are, as well as U.S. locations, including California.

Vacation relief for parents: 'Summer' workshops for children
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Public school does not start until Feb. 9, and kids are getting bored and parents are worn out from the holidays.

That is one reason many private clubs, organizations and government agencies plan summer vacation classes for kids.

The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud said that various activities for youngsters are scheduled at the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, the Museo Histórico Cultural Juan Santamaría and the Museo de Arte Costarricense.

These workshops are all free.

Most of the programs include various forms of artistic efforts.

Alianza Francesa started a program for youngsters 6 to 10 this week and there is a fee. One of the three courses is cooking.

The Museo de los Niños started a program this week, but it will be repeated starting Jan. 21.

Costa Ricans call this period, the dry season, summer, although the season is winter in the north.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

Del Rey nightlife

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 9
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Bilingualism changes way youngsters think about the world, study says
By the Concordia University news staff

Most young children are essentialists: They believe that human and animal characteristics are innate.

That kind of reasoning can lead them to think that traits like native language and clothing preference are intrinsic rather than acquired.

But a new study from Concordia University in Montreal suggests that certain bilingual kids are more likely to understand that it’s what one learns, rather than what one is born with, that makes up a person’s psychological attributes.

The study, forthcoming in Developmental Science, suggests that bilingualism in the preschool years can alter children's beliefs about the world around them. Contrary to their unilingual peers, many kids who have been exposed to a second language after age 3 believe that an individual’s traits arise from experience.

For the study, a psychology professor, Krista Byers-Heinlein, and her co-author, Concordia undergraduate student Bianca Garcia, tested a total of 48 monolingual, simultaneous bilingual (learned two languages at once) and sequential bilingual (learned one language and then another) 5- and 6-year-olds.

The kids were told stories about babies born to English parents but adopted by Italians, and about ducks raised by dogs. They were then asked if those children would speak English or Italian when they grew up, and whether the babies born to duck parents would quack or bark. The kids were also quizzed on whether the baby born to duck parents would be feathered or furred.
“We predicted that sequential bilinguals’ own experience of learning language would help them understand that human language is actually learned, but that all children would expect other traits such as animal vocalizations and physical characteristics to be innate,” says Ms. Byers-Heinlein.

She was surprised by the results. Sequential bilinguals did, in fact, show reduced essentialist beliefs about language. They knew that a baby raised by Italians would speak Italian. But they were also significantly more likely to believe that an animal’s physical traits and vocalizations are learned through experience: That a duck raised by dogs would bark and run rather than quack and fly.

“Both monolinguals and second language learners showed some errors in their thinking, but each group made different kinds of mistakes. Monolinguals were more likely to think that everything is innate, while bilinguals were more likely to think that everything is learned,” said the professor.

“Children’s systematic errors are really interesting to psychologists, because they help us understand the process of development. Our results provide a striking demonstration that everyday experience in one domain, language learning, can alter children’s beliefs about a wide range of domains, reducing children’s essentialist biases.”

The study has important social implications because adults who hold stronger essentialist beliefs are more likely to endorse stereotypes and prejudiced attitudes.

“Our finding that bilingualism reduces essentialist beliefs raises the possibility that early second language education could be used to promote the acceptance of human social and physical diversity,” said Ms. Byers-Heinlein.

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
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   * Tours led by Christopher Howard, 34-year resident, citizen,
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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
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Call 1-888.456.3212 or 2479-8811 locally.

Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
Drop in to see some of Costa Rica's finest art
at the largest gallery in Guanacaste.

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.
Every Saturday - Vendor Fair!

Click photo for another video

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.

Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.


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

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

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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:

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
Family home

cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 9
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Anti-blasphemy cases aided
by postings on the Internet

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Dozens of governments around the world, most notably in majority-Muslim nations, are turning to anti-blasphemy laws to aggressively punish alleged transgressions, especially against Islam.

And while in the past blasphemy charges were most often brought against people for something they said in public, these days governments are turning their attention to what people say and do while online, analysts say.

According to Peter Henne, an analyst with the Pew Research Center, 22 percent of governments have some form of anti-blasphemy law on the books. No region is immune: anti-blasphemy laws can be found in at least one nation on every continent, he said.

“Seventy percent of the nations that have anti-blasphemy laws are located in the Middle East or North Africa,” he said. “Fourteen of the 20 nations in that region criminalize blasphemy, but again it’s not unique to this area.”

Among the nations that most aggressively pursue blasphemy cases, he said, are Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Indonesia.

While the Pew study didn’t specifically track the punishments imposed in each nation, in general the sentences vary widely, from forms of house arrest to life in prison or death.

Recently, a 30-year-old blogger and Saudi citizen, Raif Badawi, founded the Free Saudi Liberals Web site to foster discussion about religion and Saudi religious figures.

In 2012, he was arrested for insulting Islam on his blog and committing apostasy, a charge that was later dropped. He was convicted on the first charge and lost his appeal and is now serving a sentence of 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes, to be meted out 50 each week for 20 weeks.

His first flogging on Friday reportedly lasted approximately 15 minutes.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Badawi’s punishment is inhumane and has called on Riyadh to cancel his punishment.

So far the Saudi government, which has denounced the attack on the staffers of the French publication Charlie Hebdo over the issue of blasphemy, has shown no signs of changing course on Badawi.

Increasingly, Badawi’s story is becoming more common across large portions of the Middle East and North Africa.

In 2013 Kuwaiti blogger Hamad al-Naqi was found guilty of insulting the Prophet Muhammad while making comments on Twitter, and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

In Mauritania, a blogger named Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mohamed was sentenced to death after being found guilty of insulting Islam and apostasy, or renouncing Islam, relating to an article he published in 2013.

In Pakistan alone, more than 30 people have been sentenced to death or life in prison for allegedly committing blasphemy, either online or in person.

Around the world it’s estimated that at least 50 people are currently in prison or facing death sentences for violating these laws. And just this week, India's solicitor general, Tushar Mehta, argued before that nation's Supreme Court that outrageous and offensive material targeting religion online should be blocked.

And as Internet use spreads, so too do prosecutions based on people’s online activities.

“It’s easier to scrutinize what people are doing online,” said Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Amnesty International. The Web has made it easier for governments to prosecute people, in part, he says, because online comments and social media posts live on forever.

Amnesty International has called Badawi’s conviction and sentence in Saudi Arabia a vicious act of cruelty and, like the United States, is urging the government there to stop his punishment.

“Our position is quite clear; we consider him to be a prisoner of conscience,” Luther said. “He’s done nothing more than express his views peacefully, and it’s unquestionable he should be released immediately and his sentence quashed.”

Luther points to several nations as leading offenders, including Egypt, Pakistan, Iran and Indonesia.

“Indonesia is an interesting case,” he said. “Over the past decade there’s been a real increase in the use of a range of blasphemy laws there.

"We’ve documented more than 100 individuals who served in prison during the administration of former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, compared to just a handful in the preceding decade, so there’s clearly been a surge in prosecutions there,” he said.

In a challenge to the law, Indonesia’s Constitutional Court in 2010 ruled 8-to-1 that the laws would remain, stating in the majority opinion that the blasphemy law “…is still needed to maintain public order among religious groups.”

While only some of those 100 cases in Indonesia stem from Internet use, analyst Luther said there’s a growing trend among prosecutors to use the Web and social media to gather evidence for possible charges.

“An Iranian man was sentenced to death on the thirtieth of August last year for Facebook posts insulting the prophet of Islam,” he said. “In Egypt, both Muslims and Christians have been prosecuted for showing contempt for religion online.

"So the fact that it’s easier to scrutinize what people are doing online has made it easier for governments like these to prosecute people,” he said.

While the United Nations has repeatedly called freedom of expression and religion to be universal rights, the U. N. General Assembly is considering a resolution that some fear might chip away at that.

Pushed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, resolution 16/18 aims to combat “…intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief.”

While on the surface that might sound innocuous, some rights groups see it as giving support to anti-blasphemy laws.

“Blasphemy laws violate both internationally protected rights of freedom and expression, and they should be repealed,” said Elizabeth Cassidy, deputy director for policy research at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent federal government organization.

“They completely turn the human rights regime on its head,” she said. “Human rights are about protecting human beings, not protecting ideas. If you’re protecting ideas, you have to face the question of deciding what ideas are acceptable and what aren’t.”

Ms. Cassidy said the online world over the past few years is proving to be a source for many blasphemy allegations, adding that the trend accelerated following the Arab Spring and the rapid growth of social media use around the world.

“I think we saw people willing to say things online that they weren’t willing to say before, so that’s been a worry,” she said. “And we’re seeing more moves against people who say they are atheist or are questioning the existence of God.”

Many French Muslims blame
government for youth woes

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Most Muslims in France were quick to distance themselves from last week’s attacks on a French satirical magazine and a kosher market. But they tend to blame the French government, saying  the bloodshed is a reminder there is much to do to address the problems of the country’s disaffected minority youths.

At the Grand Mosque of Paris, midday prayers drew a small, and somewhat nervous congregation Monday. Worshipers knew public attention was focused on France’s large Muslim community, and not in a good way.
“It is a little difficult to bear because we feel solidarity with the French and all the communities that live here in France," said a cashier named Mohamed. "There are a lot of Muslims here. It is the second largest religion in France. We lived in peace and suddenly something happened. Muslims feel a bit afraid.”
France is largely a Catholic country. The landmark Notre Dame Cathedral is guarded by a statue of Charlemagne, the 9th Century emperor who forced people he conquered to convert to Catholicism. But the French Revolution, nearly 1,000 years later, cemented a different set of values.
Liberty, equality and brotherhood were on display during Sunday’s unity march.
France’s relatively new Muslim community has become one of the biggest challenges to that concept, and the government has a lot of work to do to address the problems of poor, disaffected young men like last week’s attackers, according to Susan Perry of the American University in Paris.
“They have lived on the margins of society, and there were no mechanisms to bring them in before it was too late. And so it is a government problem, but it is also a local community problem,” said Perry.
Parisians agree both the government and the Muslim community have to address the problem of Islamist militancy, particularly in neighborhoods with large, poor Muslim populations.
“The problem in France is the suburbs, they are like powder kegs. We really have to fix this problem,” said a retired secretary named Betty.

“The Muslim community has work to do in order to be better regarded by people in France and throughout the world. They can not stay like they are. They have to rectify some things,” said a retired taxicab driver named Armando.

At the mosque, though, people put most of the responsibility on the government.
“Actually, I do not think that it is only an Islamic problem," said a student named Saqina. "But maybe it is more deep, the problem is more deep, and maybe it is a social problem.”
“I think it is not only the problem of Muslims. It is everyone’s problem. In my opinion, it is a problem of politics, of economic, of global politics, in fact,” said Osman, an information systems engineer.
Osman was among a few who said French Muslims also could do more. “I think they could, in fact, work on education, really on the basics of what Islam is, that Islam truly teaches tolerance above everything.”

High altitude stall considered
as factor in AirAsia crash

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Now that the data and voice recorders from AirAsia Flight 8501 have been found, investigators are closer to finding out what caused the plane to crash Dec. 28.  Some are suggesting a high altitude stall in bad weather.

The flight data recorder from AirAsia flight 8501 is drying out before it can be examined.  It and the cockpit voice recorder were retrieved from the bottom of the Java Sea.  Data recorders can indicate what happened.  The two hours of talk between the pilots and air traffic control could tell why the plane crashed.

Given the circumstances, however, experts have an idea.

Pilots aboard the Airbus A320 asked to climb to a higher altitude to avoid heavy monsoons, but air traffic control denied their request. It’s thought the plane may have been cruising below its normal speed in the thin air at a high attitude and lost lift, causing it to stall.  Pilots are taught an easy fix to a stall: They are to point the nose down to gain airspeed and increase lift.

It’s not the first time a stall has caused a crash. 

National Transportation Safety Board Acting Chairman Christopher Hart:

“It would come under the topic that we have procedural compliance.  We saw, Asiana, Asiana for example, where they almost stalled. We saw in Colgan where it stalled, so it’s an issue in all airplanes with the focus on that issue for general aviation."

Hart is talking about the procedures pilots are supposed to follow in a stall.

Asiana Flight 214 came in too low and too slowly to San Francisco in July 2013.  Facing an impending stall, pilots tried to abort the landing but were too late and the plane crashed into a seawall.  The same with Colgan Flight 3407, when pilots did not react to stall warnings quickly enough, and the plane crashed into a house on approach to Buffalo, New York, in February 2009.

The safety board has not yet been asked by the Indonesian government to assist in the investigation of AirAsia Flight 8501. 

The plane was flying from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore late last month when it crashed into the Java Sea. One hundred-sixty-two people were killed.

The commander of the Western Fleet of the Indonesian Navy, Rear Admiral Widodo, says Indonesian forces will keep looking for the plane's main cabin in search of bodies."

More than 100 bodies are thought to still be in the fuselage,  which is somewhere on the bottom of the Java Sea.

Thailand reports progress
in human trafficking

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Thailand is reporting progress in efforts to curb human trafficking and abusive labor practices for migrant workers. The government is taking steps, including tougher regulations and new anti-trafficking measures, after coming under criticism from rights groups and the United States.

In 2014 the United States lowered Thailand’s rating in its Trafficking in Person’s report in an assessment that the country showed few signs of improving its record on human tracking and illegal labor.

In a wide range of Thai industries, from fishing vessels, factories, and farms, rights groups have complained that many foreign workers are exploited, paid very little, and expected to work long hours under threats of violence.

The U.S. downgrade placed Thailand on the lowest ranking, Tier 3, leaving the country open to non-trade and non-humanitarian sanctions, as well as the withholding of assistance from international financial institutions such as the World Bank.

Thailand has a migrant worker population estimated at up to three million people, mostly undocumented workers from Burma, as well as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The U.S. report said victims of human trafficking often subject to forced labor and the sex trade also included people from China, Russia, Uzbekistan, India and Fiji.

Last year Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha called for the creation of special committees to oversee the creation of new policies to crack down on trafficking and improve worker rights in a range of industries.

This week, the Thai Foreign Ministry released an interim report on the government’s tougher legislation and new anti-trafficking measures.

Thai Deputy Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai told a news conference he believed the initiatives marked progress in addressing the issues of human trafficking.

Measures include tougher regulations to protect labor in the fishing industry, including raising the minimum age for workers to 18 years and ensuring each has a labor contract. In the agriculture sector the age has been increased to 15.

The government says it reached out to civil society and non-government organizations to implement and monitor the policies.

The fault, dear readers, was
not in his stars, but in himself

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In Sri Lanka, it was not just the country’s powerful president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who suffered a debacle when he was unexpectedly trounced in last week’s elections. His astrologer, who had confidently forecast a certain win for him, has also quietly stepped away from the limelight in a country where faith in star power is high.

When former president Rajapaksa called elections two years ahead of schedule, it was not just on the basis of political calculations. He was also given the go-ahead by his trusted astrologer of over 30 years, Sumandasa Abeygunawardena. Calling Rajapaksa an “invincible personality and a blessed man,” the astrologer forecast that the president would win a great victory.

In the days preceding the Thursday vote, Abeygunawardena maintained that the election date was immensely fortunate for Rajapaksa. And in the run up to the election, astrologers confidently predicted on state run television that nothing would stop a Rajapaksa victory.

Rajapaksa is a firm believer in astrology. While most politicians in the country share that belief, many observers noted that the former president had an excessive dependence on astrology.

“It became talked about quite openly and a matter of public discussion. Apparently the astrologer had said it was a good period for him and he should not delay it, the date was set according to some astrologer’s prediction, his time of handing over the nomination paper, everything was determined by an astrologer,” said Harini Amarasuriya, who teaches at the social sciences faculty at Sri Lanka’s Open University.

But all calculations, planetary and political,  were thrown into disarray when Maithripala Sirisena defected from Rajapaksa’s party, and cruised to victory after bringing together a disparate opposition.

The turn of events was unexpected. When Rajapaksa had called the election, there was no credible opposition to a leader once known as the strongman of Sri Lanka.

Now, Rajapaksa’s shock defeat has put the man who was called the royal astrologer in the line of fire. Abeygunawardena has given up his official car and resigned from the directorship of a state-run bank, which were just some of the privileges bestowed on him. His credibility has taken a huge hit.

The astrologer said that he knew Rajapaksa was doomed to lose, but did not have the heart to tell him. Defending himself, he said that even the French seer Nostradamus had some incorrect forecasts.

Millions of people in South Asia believe that the movement of planets has a deep influence on their lives. Marriage dates and auspicious events are decided as per the calculations of horoscopes, which are made on the basis of the time, place and date of birth.  

However, the high profile astrological error made in Sri Lanka’s election has triggered a debate on star power.

In recent days, there also have been many jokes and humor on social media targeting astrologers who had forecast Rajapaksa’s victory.
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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

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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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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
Moran logo

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)

Photo one
photo two
Tambor three for jan. 15
Total area of the property is 23 hectares at $425,000. There's an option to buy 2 sub lots, the first one is land with no construction of 890 sqm at $19,900. The second, 1,700 sqm including a small house, for the price of $65,000
Located 300 meters from the south Jacó . First house is 110 sqm with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom,  private pool, A/C, kitchen and separate laundry. Second is a 120m, two-story house with 2 bedrooms, There's a small lot has its own entrance and is perfect for building  $280,000.
This 115 sqm condo is located four blocks from the heart of Santa Ana. It is a corner unit with a view of the green area from your living room. Two bedrooms, a master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom. Kitchen is clean and modern. Home is in good condition, and ready to move into. $132.000.
Contact Jo-Anne  Cell phone number: 506 8310-2915
or through email:

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   
For more information contact:

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 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.

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 9
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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
bridge work
Municipalidad de Palmares photo     
  A worker for Puente Prefa Ltda. is preparing a skeleton of steel for
  a concrete pour at the site of a new bridge between Santiago and
  Rincón de Zaragoza in Palmares.

Study says feeling cold is contagious

By the University of Sussex news service

Just looking at somebody shivering is enough to make others feel cold, new University of Sussex research has found.

Volunteers who watched videos of people putting their hands in cold water found their own body temperature drop significantly.

The research by scientists in the Brighton and Sussex Medical School shows that humans are susceptible to temperature contagion.

Neuropsychiatrist Neil Harrison, who led the research, suggests that such unconscious physiological changes may help individuals empathize with one another and live in communities.

He said: “Mimicking another person is believed to help us create an internal model of their physiological state which we can use to better understand their motivations and how they are feeling.”

“Humans are profoundly social creatures and much of humans' success results from our ability to work together in complex communities - this would be hard to do if we were not able to rapidly empathize with each other and predict one another's thoughts, feelings and motivations.”

For the research, which was published in the journal PLOS ONE, 36 participants each watched eight videos of actors putting their hands in either visibly warm or cold water. At the same time, the temperature of their own hands was measured. Their hands were significantly colder when watching the ‘cold’ videos. However, the ‘warm’ videos did not cause a change.

Harrison explains: “We think that this is probably because the warm videos were less potent. The only cues that the water was warm was steam at the beginning of the videos and the pink color of the actor's hand whereas blocks of ice were clearly visible throughout the duration of the cold video.

“There is also some evidence to suggest that people may be more sensitive to others appearing cold than hot.”

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From Page 7:

Global economy characterized as uncertain

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

World Bank experts on Tuesday predicted an uptick in global economic growth in 2015, but they cut the prediction they made in June and said much of the economy was still fragile.

The organization's twice-yearly Global Economic Prospects report predicted an increase in growth of 3 percent, down from the previous forecast of 3.4 percent. The annual figure will reach 3.3 percent in 2016, as opposed to a June forecast of 3.5 percent, before dipping to 3.2 percent in 2017, it said.

The changes for the 2015 forecast were the result of disappointing economic prospects in the eurozone, Japan and some major emerging economies, which offset the benefit of lower oil prices. Strong growth prospects in the United States and Britain separated them from other wealthy nations which continue to face anemic economies and deflation fears, the report said.

Other threats to global growth include weak trade, rising interest rates and possible volatility in financial markets, it said.

"The global economy is running on a single engine ... the American one," World Bank chief economist Kaushik Basu told reporters. "This does not make for a rosy outlook for the world."

Among emerging markets, Brazil and Russia in particular weighed on the bank's global growth predictions, along with China, which is in a managed slowdown as it transitions away from an investment-led growth model.

Basu said India's economic growth should finally catch up to China's next year and in 2017, at a clip of about 7 percent.

Like other forecasters, the World Bank predicted the roughly 60 percent drop in global oil prices since June should be a net positive for the world economy, boosting oil-importing countries. But while the bank expected oil prices to stay low this year, it said the positive price shock could take several years to feed into its growth outlook, while increasing short-term market volatility and reducing investments in unconventional oil such as shale and deep sea oil.

The immediate impact of lower crude prices was limited to a 0.1 percentage-point boost to the global outlook this year, the World Bank said.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the uncertain economic outlook makes it vital for developing nations to expand programs that help the poor and to remove obstacles to the private investment that is a key source of new jobs.