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(506) 2223-1327                        San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 12                                Email us
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By Garland M. Baker
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Anyone living in Costa Rica who moves money in and out of the country needs to know about wire transfers and the terms that surround them. Those that do not will end up waiting for their money because it will get lost or returned. Usually this is because incorrect information is on a wire transfer form.

Recently, an expat had money he was waiting for returned to the United States because it did not have an IBAN number. Because he is North American, he did not have a clue what an IBAN number was or where to get it for his bank in Costa Rica. He only knew about ABA and SWIFT codes.

An ABA is an American Bankers’ Association number. It is a unique 9 digit identifying transit number assigned to each bank in the United States for interbank transfers.

SWIFT stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. BIC for Bank Identifier Code. Sometimes they are referred to together as SWIFTBIC. Outside the U.S., these numbers are the codes of preference to route money around.

The BIC is an 8-character code known as the SWIFT address. All banks have unique numbers assigned to them. Adding a branch code to a BIC further designates which branch of a bank should receive a SWIFT message to transfer money.

IBAN is short for International Bank Account Number. It is very common in Europe. An IBAN uniquely identifies an account held at a bank. Costa Rica is now using this system, too.

Nowadays, IBAN numbers are a must. They complement SWIFTBIC addresses and expedite wires transfers. Using both of them together can reduce the transit time for money by days.

Money from the United States to Costa Rica usually arrives the same day, or the next day if the sender uses them properly.

Countries have internal routing numbers too. Mexico has CLABE. This stands for Clave Bancaria Estandarizada. In English this means a standard banking code.

In Costa Rica, SINPE is used. The Central Bank of Costa Rica moved its inter-bank payments and transaction system called the Sistema Interbancario de Negociación y Pagos Electrónicos to Microsoft’s .NET technologies at the end of 2002. 

Too many acronyms. However, they are important to know to make an error free money transfer from anywhere to Costa Rica.

Here is the meat and potatoes on how to make a wire of money to an account in this country.

All bank accounts in Costa Rica have a SINPE client number. Referred to as a “cuenta cliente” in Spanish. It has 17 digits. By going to the Banco Central’s Web site's IBAN number generation page and inputting a SINPE number, it will produce the account’s IBAN number.

A wire transfer form to receive money should have all this information. Remember, detailed data like addresses and telephone numbers are very important. Banco Nacional de Costa Rica is
used as an example. It can be replaced by any banks information in Costa Rica.

BENEFICIARY BANK: Banco Nacional de Costa Rica

BENEFICIARY BANK ADDRESS: Avenue 1 & 3 Street 4, San Jose, Costa Rica, +506 2212-2000

BENEFICIARY NAME, IDENTIFICATION NUMBER AND ADDRESS: Full name of beneficiary of the funds along with the owner of the accounts identification number. If the account is in a company name, use that number. Use the same information as was recorded when the account was opened. Include telephone numbers.

BENEFICIARY ACCOUNT NUMBER: Add the account number of the account.

IBAN NUMBER: Use for wires from Europe and now for transfers from the United States and other countries. It looks something like this number: CR2115100012345678901.

The Banco Central has a detailed FAQ on its Web site.

Some expats are reporting their credit unions in the U.S. have stopped the service of sending international wire transfers. They were told they were just too much of a hassle. Others report slow transfers. They swear the bank plays with their money to earn interest on the float.

A bank officer at Banco Nacional in the client service department vehemently denies the accusations. She said most people do not know how to send money correctly and that is why some transfers are lost or returned.

The bank officer may be correct. One wire sent to Costa Rica without an IBAN number from the U.S. took 10 days to show up in an account. One with all properly formatted numbers and beneficiary information was sent from the same place at 10 o’clock in the morning arrived at 3 in the afternoon.

Here is a great tip for realtors and those purchasing property in Costa Rica. MoneyCorp provides comprehensive foreign exchange and money transfer services. One foreigner could have saved over 50,000 U.S. dollars if he had used the service. He did not know about it until it was too late, and the Euro weakened against the dollar. MoneyCorp guarantees exchange rates up to two years. They can take the effort and risk out of some international financial transactions.

The worldwide financial system tracks money. Transparency is rapidly creeping into everyone’s lives. Thanks to transparency, individual and corporate bank accounts are becoming open books for tax investigators from all over the world. Sharing information is now commonplace among governments.  All these codes and numbers are the key to compliance with the system. Knowing how to use them can expedite working with money internationally.

Garland M. Baker, a certified international property specialist, is a 45-year resident and naturalized citizen of Costa Rica. His firm’s team provides multidisciplinary professional services to the country’s international community.  Reach him at  Baker has undertaken the research leading to these series of articles in conjunction with A.M. Costa Rica.  Find the collection at, a free reprint is available at the end of each article.  Copyright 2015, use without permission prohibited.

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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.

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Wind to continue with teen temperatures

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats can tell their friends and family in the Great White North that the temperatures here are in the teens, too.

Never mind that there is a slight difference between the Celsius and Fahrenheit scales. Early today the temperature in Cartago was 15.4 C (59.7 F), and the automatic weather station in San José reported a temperature of 17.4 C (63.3 F).

The chilly weather has been amplified by winds of from 10 to 20 kph, which are not as strong as last week.

The Institution Meteorológico Nacional said that windy weather will continue through the first few days of the week due to high pressure in the Caribbean. Gusts of up to 85 kph (about 53 mph) are expected in the mountains and in areas of the Central Valley and the north Pacific, said the weather service.

Other areas of the Pacific will see clear skies, said the forecast.

The Caribbean and the northern zone will see partly cloudy conditions and perhaps some rain

Tax agency to resume credit card bites

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A court has allowed the tax agency to resume collecting 2 percent of credit card transactions that pass through local banks.

The Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo lifted the freeze it had imposed in November, according to the Ministerio de Hacienda, which said it would begin collecting the money immediately.

The ministry said that the 2 percent would be applied to income taxes. Just about any use of credit cards is subject to the bite. The amount actually is closer to 1.78 percent of any transaction that is covered by sales tax because the ministry has agreed to not take a bite of sales tax.

Consumers will not see anything different when they pay with a credit card. The deductions take place at the bank level.

Commercial groups have protested loudly, which is why the ministry found itself in court. Most businesses already have to report their income periodically and make advanced payments on income tax.

The ministry said what officials call a retention will not involve those businesses that are on a simplified sales tax plan. That includes a lot of bars who pay taxes when they purchase their products. The retention also will not be made for payments for public transportation or of those taxpayers who do not have to report periodically.

Crooks now offer cell phone rescue

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Crooks have applied their successful extortion racket involving stolen cars to stolen cell phones.

For years owners of cars that have been stolen have been given the chance to buy back the vehicle when crooks call them. Sometimes the deal is legitimate. But frequently the crooks just want to get the owner alone somewhere when he or she is carrying money.

Considering the number of holdups and thefts, the illicit market for hot cell telephones probably is glutted. That may be why a woman who was a robbery victim Jan. 11 got the chance to buy back her cell telephone. A caller invited her to pay 50,000 colons, nearly $100 to do so.

In this case the crook had the cell telephone and surrendered it upon payment of the money at a restaurant in the center of San José.

The woman had contacted the Judicial Investigating Organization, and agents witnessed the exchange and then made an arrest for extortion and possession of stolen property.

Our reader's opinion
Prostitution is not thriving in Cuba

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Your article might put some tourists to Cuba in jeopardy. Based on my visits to Habana, and my professional interest in prostitution and illicit drug use (I conducted street ethnographic research on both for many years in the U.S.), I can tell you that unless there has been a major policy switch in Cuba since my last visit three years ago, street prostitution, robberies, and drug use are very infrequent. I would not call any of them "thriving."

Cuba is a dictatorship, and like some others, it has less street crime than do many democracies. Both victimless crimes -- prostitution and illicit drug consumption -- are punished severely. An example on the drug side is that until only a few years ago, Cuba would not allow meetings of Narcotics Anonymous. The police shut down the first meeting held in La Habana, telling the participants to go home since there was no drug use in Cuba. In contrast, there are well over a hundred AA groups, each meeting several times a week. Today, there is one N.A. group in La Habana, and the members have been told they can meet only as long as they do not put a sign outside the meeting place.

Based on my experience, the Cuban government is likely to make a few test cases of tourists who engage in visible crime, to maintain their existing puritanical standards. This does not mean prostitution doesn't exist there. It means only that it is certainly not a thriving industry, and carries high risks for arrest and incarceration.

There is a general practice of the media (including your source for this article) to glamorize prostitution tourism by claiming it is more prevalent, including here in Costa Rica. Yes, prostitution tourism exists here, but in a more orderly and less dangerous fashion than it does in a few dozen U.S. cities. (Compare, if you will, the area around Parque Morazán to Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street in New York City, as only one example).

John French

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 12
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Summit of 33 heads of state will cost about $4.3 million, Solís reports
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A meeting of 33 heads of state, including President Luis Guillermo Solís at the end of the month will cost about $4.3 million, the president said Sunday.

However, Solís said that about 90 percent of this tab will be picked up by private industry and international firms.

This is the summit of the Community of Latin America and Caribbean State, which styles itself as a competitor to the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. The organization was founded for that purpose by Hugo Chávez, the late Venezuelan president.

Government agencies are pulling all the stops to support the event, which will be centered around Pedregal Centro de Eventos in Belén, Heredia.

The Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud has issued a long list of musical events that will entertain visitors. For example the  Banda de Conciertos de San José and the marimba of the Escuela Monseñor Luis Leipold in Cañas will perform at the inauguration at 10 a.m. Jan. 28.

This is the third summit of the group, and Costa Rica, as

Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud photo
Musicians from the famous marimba group at Escuela Monseñor Luis Leipold practice daily for the inauguration performance.

president for one year, is the host.

Participating agencies include the Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, the Instituto Nacional de Música, the Sistema Nacional de Radio y Televisión, the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo al Aire Libre de Punta Islita.


This project on Ruta 239 is designed to bring mud and water under the right-a-way instead of having heavy rains wash away the road.

Workmen are supposed to finish up today after having worked the weekend at Alto de Quitirrisí on the route to Pursical.

The site has been the location of a number of landslides, too.

road work
Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo

Lawmakers set in motion the great cat hunt at the legislative complex
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An army of cats has taken over the legislative complex, and some lawmakers set up a system to capture and castrate them over the weekend.

There has been no report on the success of the mission yet, but the cats are known to be clever.

Marcela Guerrero Campos, the lawmaker who has presented an animal welfare bill, is the person who brought the cat situation to light last week.

She said that some street cats found their way into the
 legislative buildings some years ago and have thrived on garbage and food provided by workers there.

Their numbers have multiplied.

The cats also have access to the vast numbers of rodents that also make the legislative buildings their home.

Some animal welfare organizations were going to organize a capture over the weekend to catch, evaluate and castrate the legislative cats.

The plan also is to set up an area inside the legislature where the cats could live safely.

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 12
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Furor over vice minister will result in a hearing in the legislature
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Despite the resignation of a vice minister, lawmakers will consider their investigation of any offer made to Ana Lorena Brenes Esquivel.

She is the nation's lawyer and has issued several opinions that directly contradict the aims of the Luis Guillermo Solís administration.

The former vice minister is Daniel Soley Gutiérrez. He resigned his post as vice minister of the Presidencia Saturday.

Last week the Spanish-language La Nación revealed that Soley had met with Ms. Brenes. She is the procuraduría general de la República. The newspaper reported that Soley offered the woman an ambassadorship if she would quit her job. She has more than a year to go in the legal position, basically that of the government's lawyer.

The implication was that the president wanted to appoint someone who would issue legal opinions the way he wanted.

The revelation caused an uproar among lawmakers.

Sunday the minister of the Presidencia, Melvin Jiménez, said he would be happy to appear before lawmakers to answer questions.
Jiménez told Henry Mora, the president of the legislature in a letter that the public had an absolute right to know the details of the encounter between Soley and Ms. Brenes.

So far Soley has not said if he was acting on behalf of Jiménez or the president when he met with Ms. Brenes. The issue is important because it goes to the core of the promise by the administration to act with total transparency.

Ms. Brenes issued an opinion that the Costa Rican Constitution prevents the naming of  Jiménez as minister of the Presidencia. He is a Lutheran bishop, and the Constitution forbids the appointment of clergy.  In a politically motivated decision, the Sala IV constitutional court sided with the president, but one magistrate said that Jiménez was barred from holding the job.

Ms. Brenes also did not agree that the president had the power to lift a veto that had been imposed years earlier by then-president Óscar Arias Sánchez. That involved the occupation of a street at the Plaza de la Democracia by the artisans market. That lifting of the veto is being appealed to the Sala IV by the municipality.

Solis later lifted a veto by former president Laura Chinchilla that allowed a proposed revision of the labor code to go into effect. Then he issued a decree freezing some aspects that were considered politically controversial until the legislature studied the matter. That action also is being challenged in court.

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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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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.


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

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

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
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 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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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 12
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Europeans seeking leader
of foiled terrorist attack

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Much of Europe was tense and on high alert Sunday as Belgium's justice minister says the alleged mastermind in last week's foiled terror attack remains at large.

Koen Geens told Belgian television that the suspect was not among four people arrested in Greece, where he was believed to have fled.

But Belgian prosecutors still plan to ask Greece to extradite one of those arrested in connection to the thwarted terror strike.

Belgian media have named the wanted mastermind of the plot as Abdelhamid Abaaoud. The 27-year-old Belgian of Moroccan descent is suspected of leading an Islamic extremist cell in the eastern town of Verviers.

Authorities say the cell was about to launch a major terrorist attack on police targets before officers raided their hideout Thursday and killed two in a fierce gun battle.

Belgium sent military troops into its streets Saturday for the first time in 35 years, in a push to tighten security.

Meanwhile, the two brothers who gunned down 12 people in the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris have been buried in secret, unmarked graves in France.

French authorities said that Cherif Kouachi was buried just before midnight Saturday in a cemetery in the Paris suburb of Gennevilliers, even as his family was kept away. The gravesite was not marked so that it does not become a pilgrimage site for Islamists.

His older brother, Said, was secretly buried a day earlier in the northeastern city of Reims.

Obama to deliver speech
amid backdrop of terrorism

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

President Barack Obama is preparing to deliver his annual State of the Union address at a time of heightened vigilance in Washington and beyond following terrorist attacks in France.

The ceremonial pageantry of Tuesday’s presidential speech before a joint session of Congress comes against a backdrop of ramped-up security on both sides of the Atlantic. 

In recent days, there have been a shoot-out in Belgium, police raids in Germany, arrests in Greece, and stepped-up security across Europe, all following the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Security efforts must adapt to an evolving threat, said Rob Wainwright, who heads the European Union law enforcement agency Europol.

“We are seeing a very determined response by our national governments, national police authorities, and at institutions like Europol urgently reviewing ways that we can better support counter-terrorist services everywhere, and the better exchange of intelligence, in the tracking of terrorist financing, and illicit firearms, and in particular monitoring terrorist activities online," Wainwright said.

For Obama, who hopes to work with a new Republican-controlled Congress on an agenda that includes domestic priorities, the fast-paced international developments are forcing greater attention to security matters at home and abroad.

“This phenomenon of violent extremism, the ideology, the networks, the capacity to recruit young people, has metastasized and it is widespread, and it has penetrated communities around the world," the president said.

"This is a problem that causes great heartache and tragedy and destruction, but it is one that ultimately we are going to defeat," he added.

With terrorist sleeper cells believed to exist in numerous countries and the possibility of the Charlie Hebdo incident rallying extremists across the globe, the Obama administration and other governments are asking not whether another attack will be attempted, but when and where.

More taxes on wealthy
proposed by U.S. president

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and the largest financial firms, which he says will strengthen the middle class.

The proposals, outlined in a White House press release, will likely not pass in the Republican-controlled Congress, but sets the stage to highlight the differences in the Democratic and Republican parties as the campaigning begins to rev up for next year's presidential election.

The president will announce the proposals Tuesday in his annual State of the Union address on Capitol Hill.

Obama says he wants to make sure the rich pay their fair share of taxes by closing the capital gains loophole on trust funds, which he says allows hundreds of billions of dollars to escape taxation each year.

In fact, the top 40 percent of incomes pays about 85 percent of the U.S. taxes now under the progressive Internal Revenue Service schedule.

Obama also is proposing to raise the top capital gains rate to 28 percent, which he notes was the rate decades ago under a conservative Republican president, Ronald Reagan.

The president also wants the biggest financial firms to pay what he says is their fair share of taxes by proposing a fee on those firms, making it more costly for them to borrow heavily.

While Republican leaders have said they share the president's desire to reform the nation's complicated tax code, they have long been opposed to many of the proposals the president will outline Tuesday. For example, most Republicans want to lower or eliminate the capital gains tax and similarly want to end taxes on estates not expand them.

Obama wants the money from the wealthy citizens and financial firms to be placed into a series of measures aimed at helping middle-class Americans, including tripling the child care tax credit that would help 5.1 million families cover child care costs for 6.7 million children, and a new $500 second earner credit to help cover the additional costs faced by families where both spouses work, benefiting 24 million couples.

The president also wants to provide free tuition to students for two years of community college.

It's Seahawks vs. Patriots
in Feb. 1 Super Bowl

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots have claimed their spots for the National Football League's Super Bowl.

The Seahawks advanced Sunday in a dramatic 28-22 overtime victory over the Green Bay Packers. They rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit, scoring twice in the final two minutes and nine seconds to get to overtime where quarterback Russell Wilson connected with Jermaine Kearse for the winning 35-yard touchdown.

New England had an easier path Sunday, dominating the Indianapolis Colts 45-7.  Quarterback Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes, setting a new record for passing yards in postseason play, while running back LeGarrette Blount added three touchdowns to New England's total.

The Super Bowl Feb. 1 in Glendale, Arizona, will be watched by millions of people around the world as the Seahawks try to win their second consecutive championship.

Brady will be playing in his sixth career Super Bowl, tying the record for most by a single player. He led the Patriots to championships in 2002, 2004 and 2005, and was twice named the game's most valuable player.

Members of Congress
make quick trip to Cuba

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. congressional delegation is in Cuba in the first such visit since President Barack Obama announced last month that Washington would normalize relations with the island nation.

The six-member group of Democrats, led by Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, arrived Saturday in Havana.

Leahy said the group wanted to explore opportunities for greater cooperation and encourage Cuban officials to address issues of real concern to the American people and their representatives in Congress.

"We've all been here before," Leahy said. "We're all very interested in what happens next, and so I hope we're going to find out."

Sens. Richard Durbin of Illinois, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island are on the trip, as are Reps. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Peter Welch of Vermont.  They return to Washington today.

Meanwhile, the office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has confirmed that he plans to lead a trade mission to Cuba in the coming term.

Cuomo spokeswoman Melissa DeRosa said the visit would be one of several such trips promoting New York. Details of the trip will be announced later, she said.

The Obama administration Friday began to implement rule changes aimed at loosening travel and trade restrictions. However, an end to the decades-old U.S. embargo against Cuba would require an act of Congress.

Long-missing Mars probe
found in satellite image

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The European Space Agency says a British-built space probe that disappeared more than a decade ago on Mars has been found.

The British space agency said in a statement Friday that the Beagle 2 spacecraft "has been found partially deployed on the surface of the planet, ending the mystery of what happened to the mission."

The agency said the partial deployment would explain why no signal or data was received from the Beagle because full deployment of all the solar panels was needed to transmit data and receive commands from Earth.

The agency said there was clear evidence of the lost lander in satellite images taken by the U.S. space agency NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Officials said the find showed that the entry, descent and landing sequence for Beagle 2 worked and the lander did successfully touch down on Mars on Christmas Day 2003.

Britain's Beagle 2 was carried to the red planet on ESA's Mars Express. The Beagle was to report back from Mars using instruments designed to help search for signs of life, but nothing was heard after it was dropped off to make its landing.

British planetary scientist Colin Pillinger, who was the driving force behind the mission, died last year at the age of 70.

Beagle 2 was named after the ship Charles Darwin sailed when he formulated his theory of evolution.

Swiss financial executive
defends move to float franc

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The director of the Swiss National Bank has defended a decision to allow the value of the Swiss currency to float freely against the euro.

Thomas Jordan said in an interview published Friday in Le Temps and Neue Zurcher Zeitung that bank officials knew ending the fixed exchange rate might affect financial markets but that the change was necessary to keep control of the country's long-term monetary policy.

He said the cap price was designed as a temporary measure when it was implemented in September 2011.

The surprise move Thursday sent the value of the Swiss franc up 30 percent against the euro.

Some financial institutions experienced large trading losses as a result of the Swiss bank's decision.

The Wall Street Journal reported Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG each suffered losses of $150 million.

Analysts said the largest victim appeared to be a major U.S. retail foreign exchange broker, FXCM Inc. The company lost $225 million.

Jordan said telegraphing the Swiss bank's intention was impossible because it would have opened the door for speculators.

Ethnic differences said
to affect breast cancer

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The chances of surviving breast cancer may depend on whether someone is black or white, Asian or Hispanic. A new study finds that survival is not entirely dependent on diagnosing the disease at an early stage or on access to quality care.

Steven Narod and his team at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto analyzed the medical records of 452,000 women in the U.S. who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 2004 and 2011. They found that black women have a higher risk of death seven years after being diagnosed with stage one breast cancer when the tumor is small and most likely to be successfully treated, compared to non-Hispanic white women and other racial and ethnic groups, including women from South Asia.

"For women with breast cancers of the same size, black women are more likely to experience spread of the cancer to the lymph nodes or other organs than white women," Narod said, adding that the data showed "Japanese women experienced much better survival than white women."

"Cancers are not more common in young, black women," he said, "but those that do get breast cancer are more likely to have an aggressive course than white women and much more likely than a Chinese or Japanese woman."

The results also showed that black women were less likely to be diagnosed when the cancer is in an early stage, and that they are more likely to have small tumors that spread throughout the body. More than 90 percent of the women who were diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer survived seven years, but Narod says the proportion who died was about 9 percent higher for black women than for white women.

The researchers noted that other factors play a role in surviving breast cancer: wealth, lifestyle and diet, access to health care and following doctors' orders. These factors may also help explain the differences in survival, but Narod said this study proves race and ethnic background are also important.

Breast cancer, the most common cancer in women worldwide, killed an estimated half million women in 2011, according to the World Health Organization.

While Narod's study tracked African American women in the U.S., he said it's likely that women in sub-Saharan Africa are also at risk for an aggressive type of breast cancer, although no study has been done that includes that group.

Narod said he would like to compare data from both those populations, along with black women elsewhere, such as in the Caribbean. He said such a study would help researchers learn what is influencing the outcome, genetics or different environments and lifestyles.

Narod holds a research chair in breast cancer and is also a professor of public health at the University of Toronto. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

Tunnel train service back
to normal under Channel

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Train services have resumed through the Channel Tunnel, after a smokey truck fire forced its closure.

Services resumed early Sunday but tunnel operator Eurotunnel has warned of delays of between 30 and 60 minutes because only one tunnel will be open.

Police say a truck fire at the French end of the tunnel was the source of the smoke Saturday. No injuries were reported.

Eurostar, which runs the trains that go through the passage under the English Channel, said the smoke was detected in the north tunnel.

European nations have been on high alert since last week's terrorist attacks in Paris.

Mali reports no new cases
of ebola for 42 days

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Mali has declared itself ebola-free.

Health Minister Ousmane Kone made the announcement Sunday, saying there have been no new cases in 42 days, the World Health Organization's timeframe for declaring the end of an epidemic.

A new World Health report says Mali moved quickly to contain an outbreak when the first case was reported in October in a 2-year-old girl from Guinea. It said, in all, six people in Mali died from the disease.

World Health reported last week that the ebola outbreak in three other West African countries, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, is starting to wane.

But it warns that the epidemic is still not over and that there are places where the virus is spreading.

More than 8,400 people worldwide, most of them in West Africa, have died as a result of the current outbreak, the largest on record.

Pope leaves Philippines
after Mass for six million

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Pope Francis has ended his tour of Asia after a week-long trip that included a visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

The pope flew back to Rome today, a day after delivering a Mass to around six million people in Manila's Rizal Park and surrounding streets, surpassing the five million record set by Pope John Paul II at the same park in 1995. 

Millions of Filipinos gathered under a steady rain in Manila's Rizal Park and surrounding areas on Sunday to hear the Mass.

During his homily, Francis urged Filipinos to reject social structures which perpetuate poverty, ignorance and corruption, a theme he stressed when he spoke to President Benigno Aquino and other officials Friday.

"So He reminds us of the importance of protecting our families and those larger families, we are the church, God's family and the world of human family. Sadly in our day the family although often needs to be protected against insidious attacks and programs contrary to all that we hold true and sacred, all that is most beautiful and noble in our culture,'' he said.

The pontiff’s visit to the Philippines, home to 80 million Roman Catholics, is the first since the 1995 trip by John Paul. The Philippines has the largest Catholic population of any country in Asia.

Philippine authorities assembled a security force of nearly 50,000 soldiers and police to protect Pope Francis. The two other popes to visit the Philippines were both targets of assassination attempts.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


CoopeAgri Real Estate

The best option in real estate services in southern Costa Rica and the South Pacific coast. We are professionals promoting properties such as farms, lots, ranches, commercial premises, homes and apartments, through our advertising and marketing services.
Are you buying a property? Our experienced team is ready to help you to find the right place. Are you selling? We are experts selling properties.  Keep it simple. Don't waste your time. We are  the best local and international listing.  Contact us, and we will be glad to assist you!
Local CR Phones: (506) 2785-0282 or  (506) 2785-0278

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

Remax logo
Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert

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

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

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

Jaco hotel

Beautiful beach hotel for sale.
Located at Jacó Beach, Costa Rica, Pacific Ocean.
Apartotel Costa Arenas is located just 5 minutes from the beach and 10 minutes from Jacó Downtown. The perfect place to rest in a cozy and familiar environment; surrounded by beautiful gardens. We have 11 fully equipped apartments. Also has swimming pool for adults and children and private parking 24 hours.  Retail value US$700,000.00   Contact:   Carlos Díaz  Local CR Phone: (506) 2643-2085   Email:   Web:

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:

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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Jaco hotel

Beautiful beach hotel for sale.
Located at Jacó Beach, Costa Rica, Pacific Ocean.
Apartotel Costa Arenas is located just 5 minutes from the beach and 10 minutes from Jacó Downtown. The perfect place to rest in a cozy and familiar environment; surrounded by beautiful gardens. We have 11 fully equipped apartments. Also has swimming pool for adults and children and private parking 24 hours.  Retail value US$700,000.00   Contact:   Carlos Díaz  Local CR Phone: (506) 2643-2085   Email:   Web:

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

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 19, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 12
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disalbed on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Whoops! Caution: Slippery when wet

“Caution, slippery when wet” could be plastered on signs all over my yard (and probably should be), and I would probably still end up where I was an hour ago – flat on my bum, soaking wet, with grass
Victoria torley
stains on everything, and one boot off somewhere in the mud.  That’s just how it goes around here.

I get distracted, you see, and this morning I was distracted by my own plans for planting my watermelon seeds.  Watermelon is such a great fruit.  We love it, the chickens love it, even my dogs like to drink the juice. And that rind is 
great for watermelon pickle. Plus, it’s so easy to grow: you just put the seeds in a nice raised bed in the rainy weather and watch it sprout.  I like to let it curl its way along the tops of the beds and even up the fence, although you do need to have a strong fence and put the fruit in a sling if you do that.  Since my fence is flimsy - just enough to keep out marauding chickens - letting it curl in the beds is best.  The same is true for my other types of melon and probably for the squash, but I am pretty sure the fence is strong enough for the cucumbers.

But I was talking about the wet-slipperies.  We live on a hillside, so when I head to the garden, I head downhill.  Not that I can’t slip while going back uphill, and I have, but it’s more likely to happen when going down. 

Understand, I do have steps on the slope, but they don’t seem to help much.  Sometimes I blame my tripping feet on the dogs, especially Bravo, a particularly large and rambunctious German shepherd.  He is particularly fond of bumbling around and giving me a push from behind, or getting ahead of me and then stopping suddenly so that I run into him.  Either way, he has more fun from the game than I do, but today, it was all me.  So, here is “all me,” not gardening, but lying on the bed with a heating pad wondering if I should exchange it for an ice pack.   

All this while my husband, Metric Man, sighs and offers me scant comfort.  He has that “I told you to be careful” look on his face.   The truth is, I am careful.  Stuff just seems to happen.  All it takes is putting your foot down a bit wrong or finding something in your path, like a dog or a chicken.  Sometimes, it just happens.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to wash the mud off my gardening clothes.

 Plant of the Day

The ornamental banana is an upright plant growing to about 2 meters (6 feet or so), with small red bananas on a central stalk.  The plant works well as an accent but the fruit attracts insects, so planting it away from the outdoor seating area is a good idea.  Plant in the sun in rich soil and it will self-seed and grow a larger clump of plants.  So far, no attacks by leaf-cutters.
A.M. Costa Rica/Victoria Torley

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit the Arenal Gardeners
Facebook page.

Costa Rican News
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From Pge 7:

Oil glut seen as way to curtail shale production

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Since 2007, U.S. crude oil production in the United States has nearly doubled, thanks mainly to new technologies used in the extraction of shale oil.
The recent rapid fall in the price of oil is a result of simple supply and demand, said market analyst Dominic Haywood of Energy Aspects, a research consultancy in London.
“Production grew by about 1 million barrels per day year on year” because of rising U.S. output, especially in 2014, from shale producers, he said.
A plunging price would normally prompt the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to slash production in order to boost the price. Instead, the cartel chose in November to keep its daily production quota at 30 million barrels per day. The aim is to flush out high-cost oil producers who rely on a soaring oil price to fund their operations, Haywood said.
“OPEC are a low-cost producer," he said. "And as a low-cost producer in a falling price environment, you should not be the one that cuts production — it should be the high-cost producers. And there are various high-cost producers out there. The U.S. shale producers are one contingent of that group.”
Speaking Tuesday, the United Arab Emirates’ energy minister, Suhail Al-Mazrouei, said rising North American shale oil output was unsustainable and needed to be curbed.

"We are telling the market and other producers to be rational, to be like OPEC and look at growth in the international market," he said.

With more oil producers entering the industry in recent years, OPEC is battling to retain control of the market, said analyst Abhishek Deshpande of investment bank Natixis.

“They really are trying to test the mettle of the other non-OPEC producers such as the U.S. and Russia, which are producing almost the same amount of oil as Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Oil giant BP announced 300 job cuts in its North Sea operations Thursday.

In the United States, the number of new shale-drilling projects has declined. Analysts say extraction projects in Canada’s tar sands are particularly vulnerable to the falling oil price.
“Lots of these projects were modeled and sanctioned on an oil price of between $90 and $110 per barrel," Haywood said. "So the economics are no longer what they were.”
Major oil producer Iran based its government budget on oil prices of $100 a barrel. President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that Iran would withstand the economic pain of falling prices — and he appeared to accuse longtime rival Saudi Arabia of plotting against Tehran.

“Those who have planned the oil price reduction against some countries should know that they will regret it,” Rouhani said.
Analysts predict oil prices are unlikely to rise over the coming year, creating a financial headache for some producers but relief for many consumers.