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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Friday, Jan. 17, 2014,  in Vol. 14, No. 12                          Email us
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First act
A.M. Costa Rica/Michael Krumholtz

And they

are off!

Nicki Bluhm, lead singer of Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, is the first of many at Jungle Jam, the Jacó International musical tourism attraction

Our story is



South America, Europe led 2013 tourism increase
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tourism officials were congratulating themselves Thursday as they reported a 3.6 percent increase in international arrivals over the number in 2012.

A look at the statistics in detail, however, reveals less than a 1 percent increase from the United States with 8,305 more visitors.

Canada was up nearly 5 percent at 160,398 visitors, some 8,830 more than in 2012. Europe also was up nearly 6 percent with an increase of 15,946 visitors for a total of 300,942.

Central America was up 2.1 percent, but because there were 736,161 recorded persons from there, that percentage represents 15,112 persons. Some 802,040 persons entered at one of the ground border crossings either from Nicaragua or Panamá.

The big jump was 20.3 percent more visitors from South America. That brought an additional 27,738 persons into the country. Arrivals from that continent were 164,224.

Canada and the United States jointly contributed 1,089,800 arrivals, 1.6 percent more than in 2012. Canada, the United States and Europe jointly contributed 1,389,742 visitors, an increase over 2012 of 33,081 or about 2.4 percent

All of the arrivals do not mean traditional tourists. One troubling aspect was a decrease of 807 arrivals at the Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia. This is the airport that feeds the Guanacaste beach resorts. Still, 330,309 persons arrived there in 2013, said the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo.

The tourism institute used statistics from the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería. The numbers did not include Costa Ricans or individuals arriving here on temporary work permits, said the institute. In the past, the statistics included cruise ship passengers who participate in land visits at Puntarenas or Limón, 

Allan Flores, the tourism minister, said in a news release that his agency has worked intensely to strengthen the country's presence in the principal tourism markets such as the United States, Canada and Europe with aggressive strategies of promotion and publicity as well as entering the new market in South America, China and Russia."

The Cámera Nacional de Turismo was quick to respond to the statistics. The 2010-2016 national
International arrivals 2012-2013

 
2012

 
2013

 
Chang
e

Per
cent

United States

921,097

929,402

+8,305

.9%
Canada
151,568
160,398
+8,830
5.8%
Central America

721,049

736,161

+15,112

2.1%
Europe
284,996
300,942
+15,946
5.6%
South
America

136,486

164,224

+27,738

20.3%
Rest of
world

128,017

136,814

+8,797

6.9%
 
Total
2,343,213
2,427,941
+84,726
3.6%
Source:  Intituto Costarricense de Turismo

tourism plan calls for annual increases of 5 percent, said the chamber.

Isabel Vargas, president of the chamber, was quoted in another press release saying that the country had a lot to offer, and although the increase in the number of visitors is positive, those in the industry cannot be satisfied because the percentage is not sufficient. The country can attract more tourists than it has, she said.

Costa Rica's tourism institute has engaged in experimental promotions. The institute backed the creation of murals in European railway stations. In the United States it promoted the country with a talking sloth and more recently with advertisements at movie houses.

The tourism institute placed a major bet on the 2011 $6.4 million talking sloth campaign engineered by an Atlanta, Georgia, firm, 22Squared, which is a fan of the social media. The institute gave away about 80 trips to Costa Rica. The latest campaign presents a slick video to U.S. movie audiences.

The tourism announcement also praised the institute's Web site, www.visitcostarica.com.

Although there is a lot of information on the Web site, the Amazon.com Web monitoring subsidiary Alexa says that 54.6 percent of the visits never go further than the first page. The Web site has a global readership rank of 156,999 and a rank in the United States of 65,745, said Alexa. By contrast, A.M. Costa Rica has a global rank of 65,894 and a U.S. rank of 62,170.


5.2 quake takes place at mouth of gulf of Nicoya
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A seaquake estimated at a magnitude of 5.2 took place at 3:04 p.m. today, Friday, at the mouth of the gulf of Nicoya.

The quake was felt strongly in Jacó and adjacent communities and across the gulf in Paquera, said the Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmicaat the Universidad de Costa Rica.
The impact was less outside the areas not adjacent to the gulf, according to a summary provided by the Laboratorio.

The quake was felt by some in the Central Valley as a slight trembling.

The entrance to the gulf is highly active and has been the location of stronger quakes. The location is  on a fault that runs far north.


U.S. professor to keynote English teacher gathering
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Liz England, a professor at Shenandoah University in the U.S. state of Virginia, will be the special presenter when teachers of English gather Wednesday for the 30th such annual conference.

The program is sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, the Ministerio de Educación Pública and Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano in Los Yoses, where it will be held.

The U.S. Embassy said Thursday that Professor
 England would spend two week here and visit universities and high schools in Orosi, Liberia, Puntarenas, Sarapiquí, San Carlos and Alajuela.

The professor is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has worked overseas. She is an expert on teaching English as a foreign language.

Being honored at the conference will be Leonardo Garnier, the long-time minister of Educación Pública, said the embassy announcement. The conference begins at 8 a.m.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 12

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Colleagues and others to march
to honor two slain youngsters


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Friends and fellow students of two slain young musicians will honor them Sunday in a way that they would have approved.

Other young musicians and others connected with the government's music program will march from Parque Central to the Centro Nacional de la Cultura giving concerts along the way.

The two young musicians, Valeria Cortés, 15, and her boyfriend,  Sebastián Condorí, 16, were shot to death in Paraíso de Cartago in what investigators are calling a botched robbery.

A suspect is in custody, and a prosecutor has asked a judge to order the man held for six months preventative detention while the investigation continues. The suspect, who surrendered himself, has the last name of Ramírez, said the Poder Judicial. He is an agricultural worker who lived not far from where the bodies of the couple were found in separate makeshift graves.


The Sistema Nacional de Educación Musical and the Centro Nacional de la Música will head up the Sunday march. Organizers said that the theme will be against violence.

Condorí played the flute and Miss Cortés played the violin in a youth orchestra associated with the music system. They also were students at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

Teachers as well as other workers in the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud will participate, said an announcement. The march is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

The murders have had a strong impact on the Costa Rican population. That may have been because the music system released a photo of the two together and because they are described as respectful and upright teens. The photo is HERE!


Grecia hospital will be getting
a makeover and new computers


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Hospital San Francisco de Asís, the public facility in Grecia, is undergoing remodeling and some 50 million colons in computer systems have been purchased to digitize patient information, according to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social.

The project is designed to provide better service to patients, said an announcement. The remodeling also is expected to bring the facility in line with requirements for handicap access.

There also will be some changes made to windows to improve security, said the announcement.

The hospital already has taken delivery of six new high-tech hospital beds and 40 more are awaiting. There also is on order two maternity beds, the Caja said.

The $100,000 in computer systems will be shared among the hospital departments, including the pharmacy, the announcement said. Officials said that they hoped this would reduce waiting.


Tax on luxury homes brings
in $11 million, tax agency says


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Owners of some 3,785 properties have paid their luxury home tax, the Dirección General de Tributación said Thursday. Some 5.5 billion colons have been collected, said the agency.

The amount is about $11 million. The deadline was Jan. 15, and those who pay late face a fine of 199.700 colons, a little more than $400.

The tax this year is on homes and land that are estimated to be valued at 121 million colons or more. That is about $244,000. The tax is on a sliding scale with owners of more expensive properties paying a higher percentage.

The money is supposed to go toward building housing for the poor. Also this week La Nación revealed a scandal in which individuals in the nation's housing authority seem to have awarded homes to relatives who are not poor.


Indiscriminate flyer postings
are illegal, election agency says


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

With general elections just two weeks away, the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones has issued a reminder that seems to be a no-brainer.

Campaign ads and posters should not be placed on utility poles, trees, traffic light poles and pedestrian bridges, the tribunal said.

There is a fine for those who do, said the tribunal.


Hijackers dressed as police
to halt truck on Ruta 27


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Bandits dressed as if they were police officer set up a roadblock on Ruta 27, the Caldera highway, Wednesday night and then hijacked a truck when the driver stopped.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the bandits set up traffic cones to simulate a police operation. The truck contained musical instruments and was found abandoned and empty some hours later.


Smoking means not just cancer,
the U.S. surgeon general warns


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A new report by the U.S. surgeon general warns that smoking cigarettes causes more health problems than previously thought. The study follows the 50th anniversary of the surgeon general's landmark report that first confirmed smoking causes lung cancer.

The latest report said smoking can also cause conditions such as liver and colorectal cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and even erectile dysfunction.

Since the 1964 announcement, which led to the start of the anti-smoking movement, U.S. smoking rates have gone from 42 percent to their current level of 18 percent.

Acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak said the government may not reach its goal of reducing that rate to 12 percent by 2020, warning there is still a major catastrophe going on.

The report found that smoking has killed more than 20 million Americans in the past 50 years, and another 5.6 million of today's children will die prematurely because of smoking, if current trends hold.

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. The report said the U.S. spends more than $289 billion ever year on medical care and other economic factors linked to smoking.

Second-hand smoking was also identified in the report as increasing the risk of stroke by 20 to 30 percent.

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Jacó, Pacific and a long-running party big draws for music fans
By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Nicki Bluhm, the lead singer of Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, was talking after their set with a few of her band members under palm tree shade. As the sun hides itself beyond the incoming tides off Jaco's coast, the introductory act of Jungle Jam 2014 finally has a chance to take in the stellar view.

“I can't imagine any better setting to play music,” Mrs. Bluhm said from the beach-side Copacabana Desire Hotel.

Playing for a tranquil and Gringo-heavy crowd outside the hotel, Mrs. Bluhm and company ushered in the fourth version of Jacó's camp-out music festival with some calm and folksy tunes. And the party is not about to stop, as music rolls on until late Sunday evening while the campground remains open through Tuesday. Over the next few days highly anticipated acts like Slightly Stoopid, G. Love, and Don Carlos will take stage throughout Jacó, although the meat of the schedule is taking place in the fields of Hotel Docelunas with the beginning and tail end of each night happening on the beach town's main strip.

“Docelunas is paradise inside of paradise,” said festival producer Eric Freitas before the weekend began. “Nights turn into days, days turn into nights, and the music never stops.”

With the drifting remnants of the setting sun coloring the sky orange, it becomes easy to see why so many able American tourists have descended upon Jacó for these concerts that take place in a postcard. Though Freitas couldn't release any ticketing numbers, he did expect this year's outing to double last year's. Still, he insists that no matter how many end up coming to the festival, he and his crew are working to make sure it's a memorable trip.

“Honestly we aren't putting as much emphasis on worrying about the turnout as we are on improving year to year in all aspects of the event, including customer experience and production,” Feitas said.

From California to Florida, Texas to Colorado, a wide range of the United States was represented on the festival's opening day. Some have come to volunteer and work setting up the productions and assisting the artists. Others had been planning on vacationing here and knew the festival  was a good excuse for spending a week in Costa Rica.

Eighteen-year-old surfers Xavier Terrell and Josh Servi from San Diego, California, had always wanted to visit another country. When Servi, who receives email newsletters from Slightly Stoopid, first heard the news that his favorite band
stage goes up
A.M. Costa Rica/Michael Krumholtz
Main stage at Hotel Docelunas gets some final touch-ups.

was headlining Jungle Jam, he said there was no doubting where he would be in mid-January.

“I saw the email, turned the computer screen to (Terrell), and we knew we had to make it to Costa Rica,” Servi said.

The pair plans to visit other surfing towns along the Pacific coast before returning to the States, highlighting a trend that most Jungle Jam patrons are following. There's no questioning Jacó's importance for the country's tourism industry.  An event like this that is becoming an international attraction allows for greater revenue numbers in not only Jacó, but also neighboring towns and resorts that tourists freely visit afterwards. For now, they will just have to settle for live music, complimentary yoga lessons, and dusk-to-dawn parties.

Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers will play again on the main stage at Docelunas at 9 o'clock tonight, allowing the San Francisco-based band a unique opportunity to be both Jungle Jam's openers and one of its headliners.

“To come a long way, it is nice to have a prime spot,” Mrs. Bluhm said. “But it was also nice to play today at 3 p.m. here in the shade next to the beach. They've done a great job setting up the schedule.”

During that opening set, a fitting energy occupied that first afternoon, one that was excitable but still unleashed. Mrs. Bluhm tried to tap into the obvious potential of this weekend, urging the crowd to join her in dancing and singing along.

“The fun has just begun,” Mrs. Bluhm said from the small, sandy stage. “Now grab a beer and let the chilling out begin, too.”


In support of civil disobedience and a pox on bad laws
Just because it is a law does not necessarily make it right or just.  Recently in the news has been the tragic story of a young woman, a wife and mother, in Texas who suffered a lung embolism.  As a result of a severe loss of oxygen, she was put on a respirator.  However, she was declared brain dead by the hospital doctors.   It was discovered that she was also in the early stages of pregnancy.  This woman had stated her wishes not to be kept alive with machines, and her husband and family want her taken off the life machines so she can rest in peace.  But Texas law says that a woman’s body must be kept alive if that body is carrying a fetus.

One of the lawyers on TV discussing this case made the comment that “It is the law of Texas, and, therefore, the hospital is right in its decision." I was indignant hearing her say this, but that’s the way it is.

That had me thinking about flawed laws and the need to obey them.  Over the ages there have been many unjust laws, laws influenced by prejudices, discrimination, biases, fear and, especially, big money.                    

Some have since been changed or struck down, usually after a long history of protest, more rarely because the lawmakers have come to realize they are unjust.  Of course, refusing to obey the law means arrest, as Thoreau, one of the earliest well-documented practitioners of civil disobedience learned when he refused to pay taxes because some of the money went to maintain slavery.

Recently there has been much uproar on TV over basketball player Dennis Rodman because he did not petition Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea to free Kenneth Bae, now in prison there.  It seems that Mr. Bae, was acting as a missionary for Christianity.  Proselytizing is not against the law in most countries, but in North Korea it is, especially if one is pushing western religion.   The act is seen as an attempt to overthrow the government.  That is against the law in any country. 

There are people in the Middle East and Asia right now who are marching to protest the corruption they perceive in their government.  In Costa Rica, protest marching seems to be the third most popular group activity next to soccer and making fun of the government. In the U.S.  Occupy Wall Street was a long protest; all of them limited civil disobedience.  Marching and protesting is a mild form of civil disobedience, but it can get you arrested.

I used to think that the best way to protest leadership is to simply turn your back on the leader, that is, everyone gather in their capitols in front of the government building and
Butterfly in the City
 
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart
jostuart@amcostarica.com

Jo Stuart


simply, quietly turn their backs and walk away.  It’s more insulting than throwing a shoe.  However, now I think it would be as futile as any march or sleep-in or what have you.

Like many things that are amiss, when bad laws are passed, we should look for the money.  And also re-educate people.  The laws that have existed since the 1930s proclaiming marijuana a dangerous and addictive drug with no medical uses is an example.  I think the U.S, was the first to declare it illegal, not because it was any of the above, but because blacks and Latinos were using it (before that only proper ladies, et al., were prescribed it for a number of ailments).  Outlawing hemp came immediately afterwards – or maybe it is the other way around.  First hemp, then pot. Some historians say that it was the development of nylon by the DuPont Co. that was the cause for the laws in the United States forbidding the growing of hemp.

What a shame, too.  Hemp was one of the earliest, if not the first crop to be domesticated and it is more versatile than any crop since.  Its uses range from rope to clothing to building materials to milk and historically was used in many countries on every continent.  It is also one of the easiest crops to grow and naturally resists most destructive insects.  No wonder the modern world of manufacturing wanted it done away with.

With the growing acceptance of marijuana in the United States (no pun intended), perhaps hemp once again will be cultivated.  And that is where I think, the changes in laws must come.  First the protests, then education of the people who have been misinformed, then the polls that show the change, and then the signatures in each state or country to change the law, or in some cases, the constitution.  This process has worked in some U.S. states perhaps now in Florida, (for medical marijuana).  That might enable other countries to change their laws, as has Uruguay.  

Perhaps this process:  protests; education; polls; and signatures will result in more equality for people of color or the LGBT people, and eventually for women – their right to rule over their own bodies, in short, to be treated primarily as human individuals, not as incubators.

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 12
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Costa Rican welcome the new year with a special ceremony for the Niño
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

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

Plaza Real Cariari is having a traditional rezo del Niño for the public Sunday at 3 p.m. Expats could see one up close.

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.

Plaza Real Cariari also promises 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.
rezo
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. Plaza Real Cariari did not promise this. But the commercial center did say that a rezo de Niño was a good way to thank God for the blessing of the past year and pray for the same in 2014.

Vacation, travel and hospitality


Hidden
                        Garden
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
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Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
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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
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Real estate rentals
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Real estate for rent
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wanted
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Real estate rental services (paid category)

See our listing of real estate brokers on the for-sale page.

Real estate for rent (paid category)
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
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Lovely cottage on private coffee farm. One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed WiFi internet, fully equipped kitchen, phone  line, balcony with beautiful view, especially at  night with
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We are renting our two-story townhouse in San Rafael, Escazú, near the Paco Center. Three bedrooms with a large TV area, 2.5 baths. Bathtub in the master.  Well furnished even down to the computer desks and flat screen TVs. Fully equipped kitchen, including pots and pans,  plus laundry room with washer and dryer. Parking for two vehicles. Basic cable included. Guarded entrance and 24-hour security. Call from the U.S.: 954-716-5219 English or Spanish. Local in Costa Rica call: 8638-7440 but Spanish only or email tlyn2003@yahoo.com for questions/more information. Photos can be seen HERE!
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Belen
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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part 
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 12
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Cafetales



cubesat
One of first cubesats circles the earth


Mini-satellites will survey
solar rays coming and going

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The difference between the amount of energy the Earth receives from the sun and the energy it radiates back to space affects whether our planet's climate warms or cools. For now, nobody can measure that temperature difference precisely, but scientists at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, in Maryland, plan to change that, using an array of small, inexpensive satellites called cubesats.

A cubesat is not much larger than a loaf of bread, but provides a compact orbiting home for a host of sensors and instruments.

Scientific breakthroughs over the past decade have made it possible to build cheaper and lighter satellites that can still hold all of the equipment of much larger spacecraft: Communications, navigation and power generators, along with the payload for their assigned task.

The Applied Physics Lab has sent two cubesats into orbit, and they are proving to be so versatile that more launches are already planned.

Bill Swartz is the leading scientist of a project called RAVAN that will use cubesats to better predict the Earth’s changing climate. “This would be used to measure what scientists believe to be a small imbalance between the incoming solar and outgoing, reflected and emitted radiation from the Earth that will drive future climate,” he said.

Swartz said the main sensor, called the radiometer, will be built from one of the blackest materials known, carbon nanotubes.

“One of the nice things about this technology is: It’s very black, and if we’re trying to measure the radiation being emitted or reflected from the earth we want a very, very black substance,” he said.

The first RAVAN cubesat will be launched next year to see how the nanotube device works.

“So, hopefully, within the next couple of years we will have raised the so-called technical readiness level of the carbon nanotube absorber that’s used in the spacecraft and some other key elements of that technology. And that would then be available for a future mission,” said Swartz.

The first satellite will be positioned between 550 and 750 kilometers above the Earth, allowing it to monitor the entire planet.

Later, a whole constellation of 30 to 40 cubesats will simultaneously register the radiation from all points on Earth, day side and night side, helping to answer the question what is the long-term future of our planet’s climate?


Obama expected to announce
his NSA spying decision today

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama today will announce decisions about intelligence surveillance methods used by the U.S. National Security Agency.

In the speech at the Department of Justice, the president will address 46 recommendations of a special review panel, including those aimed at imposing more accountability and transparency.  

Obama announced the comprehensive review in August, in the wake of revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The president stressed his responsibility as commander-in-chief to safeguard the security of Americans, but recognized escalating public concerns about how the government goes about using signals intelligence.

Obama also said he was mindful of how the issue is viewed overseas.

"Because what makes us different from other countries is not simply our ability to secure our nation, it’s the way we do it - with open debate and democratic process," he said. "In other words, it’s not enough for me, as president, to have confidence in these programs.  The American people need to have confidence in them as well."

Obama has met with technology industry CEOs, civil liberties experts and government officials and consulted with Congress.  Reforms would require congressional action.

There have been court rulings with judges issuing opposing statements on NSA activities, including the collection of phone records.  Experts predict the issue is certain to reach the Supreme Court.

A member of the review panel, Cass Sunstein, told Congress that the group aimed to ensure that the U.S. intelligence community can continue to do what it needs to do to protect national security.

"Not one of the 46 recommendations in our report, in our view, compromise or jeopardize that ability in any way," said Sunstein.

White House press secretary Jay Carney cautioned the media against making any presumptions about what Obama may say.

The New York Times quoted unidentified sources as saying he is likely to strike a balance between imposing additional oversight, and endorsing more far-reaching recommendations.

Among other points, the newspaper said the president would limit the number of people whose phone records can be examined through an NSA bulk data collection program, and reduce the time such information can be retained.

The newspaper also said he will increase limits on access to bulk telephone data, but not endorse having bulk data reside with telecommunications companies rather than the government. 

Carney said the president has always recognized the validity of the debate sparked by the revelation of U.S. surveillance activities.

"The debates that those disclosures sparked were legitimate," said Carney.

Matthew Aid, intelligence historian and author of a book about the National Security Agency, says indications are not everyone will be happy with what Obama lays out.

"There is a lot of concern that he is going to try to straddle the wall, try to please the critics of the National Security Agency and at the same time make nice with the U.S. intelligence community, and I don't think you can do it," said Aid.

Obama, and the intelligence community itself, also face pressure from lawmakers to ensure accountability.

Here are a few of the recommendations made by an outside review panel for wide-ranging changes to the U.S. government's surveillance programs:

1.    The government now stores bulk telephony metadata, understood as information that includes the telephone numbers that both originate and receive calls, time of call and date of call. We recommend that Congress should end such storage and transition to a system in which such metadata is held privately for the government to query when necessary for national security purposes.

2.    Restrictions on the ability of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to compel third parties (such as telephone service providers) to disclose private information to the government.

3.    Legislation should be enacted requiring information about surveillance programs to be made available to the Congress and to the American people to the greatest extent possible.

4.    Significant steps should be taken to protect the privacy of non-U.S. persons.

5.    The president should create a new process, requiring highest-level approval of all sensitive intelligence requirements and the methods that the intelligence community will use to meet them.

6.    We believe that the director should be a Senate-confirmed position, with civilians eligible to hold that position; the president should give serious consideration to making the next director of NSA a civilian.

7.    We recommend that Congress should create the position of public interest advocate to represent the interests of privacy and civil liberties before the Surveillance Court.

Debate continues over the extent to which NSA surveillance methods have actually prevented terrorist attacks. The presidential panel said it was not essential to preventing attacks, a finding supported by a separate study by the New America Foundation.

Former CIA deputy director Mike Morell said the bulk data program, known as Section 215 in U.S. law, was not as useful as one aimed at foreigners, but still had value.

"It is absolutely true that the 215 program has not played a significant role in disrupting any attacks to this point.  That is a different statement than saying the program is not important," said Morell.

Polls in recent months have shown a majority of Americans believe existing laws are inadequate when it comes to oversight of NSA methods.

"The latest polling that I have seen indicates that the public continues to lose confidence, especially for those who fear or are concerned about their privacy," analyst Aid said.

Globally, Obama's remarks will be carefully assessed because of the controversy over NSA eavesdropping, revealed by Snowden leaks, on phone calls of key leaders, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Among 46 recommendations, the review panel called for high-level approval of sensitive intelligence requirements, including identifying "uses and limits" of surveillance of foreign leaders.


Some Democrats, Republicans
seek limits on NSA spying

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

As President Barack Obama prepares to unveil reforms to the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies, some lawmakers are already calling on Congress to act to protect the privacy and civil liberties of those whose phone and e-mail records are being collected.  The president is expected to turn to Congress to help establish limits on government surveillance. 

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed the sweeping nature of U.S. programs to collect billions of phone records of Americans and to spy on some U.S. allies overseas, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

An unusual coalition of liberal Democrats and libertarian Republican lawmakers are demanding policy changes to restore confidence at home and abroad.

“I do think it has done damage to the United States abroad," said Rep. Cynthia Lummis. "I would like to see a more rational basis for collecting that kind of data."
 
Rep. Lummis is co-sponsor of a House bill that would require U.S. intelligence agencies to notify Congress of their total budgets for intelligence gathering each year.  She says more transparency is needed.

“Not to their methods, and not to details, but rather why Americans’ personal information is being retained for five years, why it is necessary that every American have that information trapped in a database," she said.

Some lawmakers have concluded that the massive phone records program is not valuable enough to national security to justify the intrusion on American’s privacy.
 
“We are really having a debate about Americans’ fundamental relationship with their own government," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat. "The government exists for Americans, not the other way around."

Other lawmakers defend the programs and reject calls for major changes by a panel of experts.

“Some of the recommendations in the report appear to make it more difficult to investigate a terrorist than a common criminal," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican

Other lawmakers expressed concern that some terrorist attacks have suceeded, including the Boston marathon bombing last year, despite the massive surveillance.

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican, said he thinks many Americans would prefer more scrutiny on what he called bad guys.

“People that we have reason to suspect may be planning a terrorist attack, and far more protection for law-abiding citizens who have committed no transgressions," he said.

Privacy advocates say Congress needs to take responsibility for reining in surveillance.

“Congress is the place that we have democratic debates about what the right balance ought to be between security and liberty," said Leslie Harris, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology.  "And to be honest, since 9/11, it has been very difficult to have those debates."

Analysts say President Obama will turn to Congress to help craft reforms that will satisfy the demands of privacy advocates, U.S. allies and national security concerns.


Marine Corps probes photos
showing treatment of bodies


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Defense Department says photos that purportedly show Marines burning bodies of what appear to be dead Iraqi insurgents are disturbing.

A Pentagon spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said Thursday that officials must let a Marine-led probe into the photos take its course before determining their authenticity.

"I can’t sit here today and tell you with great certainty, or confirm the veracity of the images, in other words the authenticity of them.  But certainly they’re disturbing images.  They’re not indicative regardless of the kind of conduct and professionalism that the men and women of this department espouse and live every day.  And if they're proven to be accurate and authentic, we’ll then march down the road of what needs to be done from an accountability perspective," said Kirby.

The U.S. Marine Corps launched its investigation on Wednesday, several days after the photos were turned over to the Pentagon by the entertainment Web site TMZ.com.

TMZ, which posted eight of the photos, says it was told they were taken in the western Iraqi city of Fallujah, the scene of fierce fighting between U.S. forces and insurgents 10 years ago.

In the photos, a person in what looks like a Marine uniform appears to be pouring a flammable liquid on dead insurgents.  Other photos show the bodies on fire.  Another image shows a Marine kneeling near a corpse and looking into the camera.

U.S. defense officials say the images do not appear to constitute war crimes.  But they say the Marines possibly violated military rules that prohibit the mishandling of remains and inappropriate photos on the battlefield.

Kirby said U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wants the investigation into the images taken seriously, but that he is unaware if TMZ is cooperating with the probe.

"But he’s been very clear with the Navy department.  He wants this taken seriously, he believes they are taking it seriously, and he expects them to keep him updated.”

TMZ says it has another 33 photos from the 2004 battle in Fallujah that are too graphic to show.

Fallujah was the target of two major assaults in which U.S. forces saw some of their heaviest fighting since the Vietnam War.  The city, which lies in western Sunni-dominated Anbar province, was overrun recently by al-Qaida-linked militants.


Retailing is evolving quickly
with new ways to sell product

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The definition of modern retailing is evolving as retailers look at using new technology to help lure more customers. New York’s Convention center was the site of the 103rd National Retail Federation expo, where some of the latest innovations were center stage.
 
It’s called the Big Show for a reason. Thousands of companies and hundreds of thousands of prospective customers came, all seeking that one thing that will give them an edge.
 
With new technology, every screen and surface becomes an opportunity to engage with customers. Images can be shared so friends and family can weigh in. Even the dressing room mirror becomes a vehicle for sales. Intel's Tyler Hoffman discussed one of his company’s displayed products: the "Memory Mirror."
 
“It is designed for trying on clothes, shopping for apparel in store, make that experience digital, social and interactive,” said Hoffman.
 
The mirror captures a 10-second clip of a customer trying something on; when they try on a second outfit, the mirror recognizes them and captures that as well. Afterwards, customers are able to review their previous try-ons in front of the mirror.
 
The images can also be shared via text, email or social media.
 
A motion-activated screen by Scala lets prospective customers swipe through watches with a wave of a hand, using technology to get closer to the product.
 
Peter Cheran, the chief technical officer of Scala, said the product offers something new.
 
"It’s novel, it’s fresh, it’s engaging, it’s easy to use. It’s what people are expecting out of technologies from their video games, from their smartphone. It creates a novel experience,” said Cheran.
 
Jerrard Shiffman, the inventor of the Perch interactive system, pointed out that every surface in a shop offers the owner a chance to display information.
 
“Over the entire store, every surface can become a platform for media display.  Because the way that people consume media now, it’s on their iPhone, they’re sort of surrounded by it, it’s sort of strange in retail stores that hasn’t happened yet. It’s not a media experience,” said Shiffman.
 
Ryan, the owner of a surf shop, likes the concept.
 
"I can see a customer coming up. It’s definitely engaging, you… see the imagery and all that… It feels like you are working with a 3D smartphone almost," said Ryan.
 
Even the old-fashioned scale’s surface has changed. The Tellermate counts a stack of money by its weight. In tests, it was never incorrect and took only a second or two to do its job. It saves time, which equals money.
 
The international retail landscape is expected to change more in the next 10 years then it has in the past 50 years, due largely to new technologies and the Internet.


Canadian foreign minister says
it's time to act on oil pipeline

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Canada bluntly told the United States Thursday to settle the fate of TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL pipeline, saying the drawn-out process on whether to approve the northern leg of the project was taking too long.
 
The hard-line comments by Foreign Minister John Baird were the clearest sign yet that Canada's Conservative government has lost patience over what it sees as U.S. foot-dragging.
 
Baird also conceded that Washington might veto the project, the first admission of its kind by a Canadian government minister.
 
The 1,200-mile (1,930-km) pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels a day from the Alberta tar sands in western Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Ottawa strongly backs Keystone XL, which it says would create jobs and provide a secure supply of oil to Canada's closest ally and trading partner.
 
“The time for Keystone is now. I'll go further. The time for a decision on Keystone is now, even if it's not the right one. We can't continue in this state of limbo,” Baird said in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
 
Although the State Department is responsible for ruling whether the pipeline meets the national interest, President Barack Obama has made clear he will make the final decision.
 
Obama is under heavy pressure from environmental activists to veto the northern leg, and Washington seems in no hurry, despite the growing irritation in Ottawa. Canada is the largest single supplier of energy to the United States.
 
The State Department issued a largely favorable initial environmental impact assessment in March 2013, which was followed by a public comment period. On paper, at least, the department should have issued an updated impact assessment and then a final recommendation by the end of 2013.
 
But the timetable has slipped badly, and political observers expect Obama will act later this year, possibly after midterm congressional elections Nov. 4.
 
White House spokesman Jay Carney referred questions about Baird's comments to the State Department, citing the current review. When a decision is made, it will be announced, he told reporters.
 
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said earlier this month that Obama had “punted” the decision but expressed confidence that the United States would eventually approve the pipeline.
 
Last September, he told a New York audience that the logic behind the pipeline was simply overwhelming and said “you don't take 'no' for an answer.”
 
Green groups say building the pipeline will speed up extraction of oil from the tar sands, a process that consumes more energy than regular drilling.
 
Canada has long promised to unveil rules on curbing greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands. Obama said last July that Canada could be doing more to curb emissions, which some Canadian politicians took as a hint that he wanted to see the new rules before making a decision on Keystone XL.
 
Baird's comments made it clear this would not be the case.  Harper told the Global News television network last month that he was prepared to work with the United States on a joint regulatory regime to cut emissions and hoped this could be done over the next couple of years.
 
A poll by Nanos Research this week said support for the pipeline in Canada had slipped. It said 47.5 percent of Canadians had a positive or somewhat positive impression of the project, compared with 60.1 percent in April 2013.
 
Canadian-born rock star Neil Young this week played a series of concerts to raise money for an aboriginal group which is trying to prevent the expansion of the oil sands.
 
Baird, who is due to meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Friday, said that if Keystone XL were approved, less oil would have to be shipped by rail.
 
A train carrying crude derailed in eastern Canada earlier this week. On Dec. 30, an oil train hit a derailed car from a grain train in a fiery crash in North Dakota. Earlier in the year, 47 people died in Quebec when a train pulling oil tanker cars derailed and exploded in the small town of Lac-Megantic.

 
U.S. will reach its limit on debt
in late February, official says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. government says it will run out of money to pay its bills in late February, a bit sooner than first thought.

In December, Treasury chief Jacob Lew wrote to congressional leaders that the borrowing limit would be reached in late February or early March. But on Thursday, he urged Congress to raise the country's borrowing limit again by the end of February, to make sure the country does not default on its debts.

The U.S. has accumulated $17.3 trillion in debt over the years and the figure grows by the day. The government suspended limits on the debt ceiling in October, but is reinstating it on Feb. 7. At that point, Treasury officials can use what they call extraordinary measures to keep paying the country's bills even as it edges closer to running out of cash.

In recent years, raising the country's borrowing limit has led to contentious political debates in Washington. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, is seeking an increase in the ceiling without conditions, saying that new borrowing authority is needed to pay debts that have already been incurred by the country. His Republican opponents in Congress want more spending cuts before approving another increase in the borrowing limit.

The leader of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Speaker John Boehner, said he does not know how any negotiations over the debt limit will play out, but that under no circumstances should the U.S. default.

"All I know is that we should not default on our debt. We shouldn't even get close to it," he said.

U.S. spending and debt issues have proved contentious during Obama's five years in the White House, but Congress is on the verge of approving a compromise $1.1 trillion government spending plan for 2014 that he supports.

 New appointee is promising
fast action in Michoacan


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Mexico will deliver immediate change to a troubled state in the west of the country that has been shaken by conflict between a powerful drug gang and heavily armed vigilantes, a newly named government official said Thursday.
 
The government this week stepped up efforts to restore order in the impoverished, agricultural state of Michoacan, where violence has stained the security record of President Enrique Peña Nieto, who took office at the end of 2012.
 
Large swaths of the state have been under the control of the Knights Templar drug cartel, but earlier this month, local vigilante groups began occupying much of the gang's heartland.
 
Monday, Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong intervened, ordering the vigilantes to stand down, and on Wednesday he named Alfredo Castillo, a close ally of Peña Nieto, as federal government commissioner for Michoacan.
 
“The changes are going to be visible immediately,” Castillo told Mexican radio when asked how quickly the government would restore order in Michoacan. “But to get to the ultimate objective ... that will happen as fast as is humanly possible.”
 
The fighting in Michoacan this week converged on the city of Apatzingan, a stronghold of the Knights Templar drug gang where hundreds of federal police and soldiers moved in Tuesday.
 
Late Wednesday night, gunmen strafed the premises of the federal attorney general in Apatzingan, not far from where security forces were protecting the mayor's office.
 
The appointment of Castillo, who will have sweeping powers, brings the unrest in Michoacan a step closer to Peña Nieto.
 
The president has so far kept his distance from Mexico's security problems, preferring to focus on a series of reforms he hopes will revitalize the economy.
 
Peña Nieto's predecessor, Felipe Calderón, spent much of his administration bogged down in a fight to root out the gangs.
 
Though Calderon's government captured or killed many of the capos, murders increased. More than 80,000 people have died in gang-related violence since Calderón began his military offensive against the cartels in Michoacan seven years ago.
 
Homicides have dipped overall in Mexico under Peña Nieto, but murders in Michoacan hit a 15-year high last year and in October a local bishop likened it to a failed state.
 
Peña Nieto won office pledging to restore order in Mexico, but Michoacan has raised doubts about his security strategy and risks miring him in a messy conflict with no easy way out.
 
Although the government has ordered the vigilantes to stand down, the self-styled defense groups have refused, and security forces turned a blind eye to them around Apatzingan.
 
The arrival of Castillo strengthens the hand of the federal government in Michoacan, with Mexican newspaper Reforma running a headline on its front page on Thursday saying he had effectively erased the state's governor, Fausto Vallejo.





Real estate-related services (paid category)

Project completion specialists
Casa del pacifico logo
Pacifica living
A turnkey home and project completion agency devoted to creative vision and flawless execution. We provide a single, solid and dedicated point of contact for the duration of your real estate project, specializing in:

                      • Building completion services
                      • Interior design & decoration
                      • Custom furniture design & manufacturing.

Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad. We customize to suit each client’s personal taste, lifestyle and budget.
Serving region for 10 years.
We regularly exceed client expectations. We guarantee it.
Email: info@casadelpacifico.com
Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644
Web: www.casadelpacifico.com
8070-2/14/13


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 2228-5961 or 8339-2112. www.costaricarealtyone.com
8179-3/11/14

Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert
Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.
8206-5/18/14

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

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



Costa Rica,

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





Visit our Web Site:
 www.greciarealestate.com




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

Real estate for sale (paid category)


beachfront home
Beautiful Palo Seco Beach home priced to sell!
Gorgeous beachfront two-story home, of roughly 2,000 square feet, set on a half acre oceanfront lot that is full of beautiful fruit and shade trees in Playa Palo Seco. This home features two bedrooms, three full baths, high quality A/C units in all rooms, huge front and backyard, and of course, a fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean just feet away from the front door! Playa Palo Seco is perfectly situated between Jacó and Quepos and is only minutes away from five-star dining such as El Clandestino.  We have reduced the price from $150,000 to $125,000 firm for a fast sale in the new year! This is a must see property! Owner financing is available. This truly is a once in a lifetime offer and it will go fast! Please call 8816-2478 or email bmcart3@gmail.com for more information!
8218-2/17/14

St. Michael
Ocean View estates inside a gated community from $5.94 M2.  Properties start at 39K. NO HOA FEES.  Community salt water modern waterfall swimming pools, organic vegetable gardens, exotic flower gardens, food forest, mature orchards, fresh fish from aquaponics, stables, community center, and much more.  Each lot comes with an edible landscaping including pineapples, plantains, papayas, guanabanas, bananas, and more.  Most lots already have mature mango, lemon, orange, or caimito trees.  This is the most secure community in CR with multiple sources of water, electric, and high \[speed internet.      www.saintmichaelscostarica.com
8215-7/14/14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Gulf road

Beachfront pristine five-hectare (13-acre) property

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

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

NOW REDUCED TO $680,000
ALAJUELA – PRIVATE COMPOUND OF 4 HOMES - $850,000 TURNKEY
Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

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

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

Becker montage
Beach property on the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste.

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

condors

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

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

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

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

humming bird nest

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

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)
A successful, local, long-running business for sale.
In the nine years of operation, this company has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San José, Manuel Antonio and Osa Peninsula areas. And it is the only one of its kind with no comparable competition. With the extensive groundwork that has already been achieved, the business is now poised to expand into a new level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner is retiring to another Latin American country. It is now time to turn the business over to a new owner who could expand it to even greater success. Details on the business, its history, a strategic analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a pro-forma income statement from 2008 through to 2013 are available upon request to aha_jm@yahoo.com.
8213-2/13/14

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

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

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 12
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News from the BBC up to the minute













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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Any alcohol impairs driving,
extensive study concludes


By the University of California, San Diego news service

Even minimally buzzed drivers are more often to blame for fatal car crashes than the sober drivers they collide with, reports a University of California, San Diego study of accidents in the United States.

Led by university sociologist David Phillips and published in the British Medical Journal group’s Injury Prevention, the study examined 570,731 fatal collisions, from 1994 to 2011.

The researchers used the official U.S. Fatality Analysis Reporting System database for the study, because it is nationally comprehensive and because it reports on blood alcohol content (BAC) in increments of 0.01 percent. They focus particularly on buzzed drivers with BAC of 0.01 to 0.07 percent, and, within this group, the minimally buzzed (or BAC 0.01 percent).

Phillips and his co-authors find that drivers with BAC 0.01 percent – well below the U.S. legal limit of 0.08 – are 46 percent more likely to be officially and solely blamed by accident investigators than are the sober drivers they collide with.

The authors also find no threshold effect – no sudden transition from blameless to blamed at the legal limit for drunk driving. Instead, blame increases steadily and smoothly from BAC 0.01to 0.24 percent.

Despite this evidence, buzzed drivers are often not punished more severely than their sober counterparts. In practice, Phillips said, police, judges and the public at large treat BAC 0.08 percent as “a sharp, definitive, meaningful boundary,” and do not impose severe penalties on those below the legal limit. That needs to change, Phillips said. “The law should reflect what official accident investigators are seeing.”

The researchers measured blame by looking at more than 50 driver factors coded in the database, including such unambiguous factors as driving through a red light or driving on the wrong side of the road.

Many of the study’s analyses take advantage of what the authors call a natural experiment: two-vehicle collisions between a sober and a drinking driver. “Because the two drivers collide in exactly the same circumstances and at exactly the same time,” they write, “this natural experiment automatically standardizes many potentially confounding variables,” including weather and roadway conditions.

The findings are unequivocal, Phillips said. “We find no safe combination of drinking and driving – no point at which it is harmless to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car,” Phillips said. “Our data support both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s campaign that ‘Buzzed driving is drunk driving’ and the recommendation made by the National Transportation Safety Board, to reduce the legal limit to BAC 0.05 percent. In fact, our data provide support for yet greater reductions in the legal BAC.”

Phillips noted that, although federal agencies recommend reducing the legal BAC limit below 0.08 percent, there has been very little research on the dangers of driving at very low levels of BAC. “We appear to be the first researchers to have provided nationwide evidence on traffic accidents caused by minimally buzzed drivers,” he said.

More than 100 countries around the world have limits set at BAC 0.05 percent or below.

In calling on all 50 U.S. states to follow suit, Transportation Board Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a statement last spring: “Alcohol-impaired crashes are not accidents. They are crimes. They can – and should – be prevented. The tools exist. What is needed is the will.”

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From Page 7:

Science ministry offers grants to outside experts

 By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The science ministry is announcing a program to attract and support what officials call highly qualified persons to come to Costa Rica for six months to a year. Applications are being taken until March 14.

The project is being supported by a fund operated by the Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología y Telecomunicaciones and the Consejo Nacional para Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas.

The persons who are invited will collaborate in the development of research projects that are connected to the productive sector, said the announcement.

The ministry mentioned earth and space science, research into new materials, biotechnology, health and emerging diseases, alternative energy and digital technology.

The grants will be 12.5 million colons or about $25,000, said the ministry. They will be awarded to persons who come here to work in research projects already approved by the ministry, it said. Such projects usually are done in a university or a research institute, it said.