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Cocal for Jan. 20
    Playa Vista
Amigo Realty
(506) 2223-1327                          Published Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014,  Vol. 14, No. 20                          Email us
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Jo Stuart
Anti aging

Uncertainty is putting everything into low gear
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country not only is approaching a quiet time for electioneering, but the prospect of a change in presidents has employees and officials sitting tight.

If an expected runoff is required because no presidential candidate received 40 percent of the popular vote Sunday, the uncertainty will linger until the totals are announced late April 6.

For many, the election is a question of a job. Of course all the members of the Asamblea Legislativa leave that job May 1. But there is no need to cry for them. Many will be back in four years. Meanwhile, they will find jobs within the bureaucracy of the legislature or in government offices. That is if their candidate wins.

A curiosity of Costa Rican election law is that the president cannot campaign. She, in this case, is supposed to remain impartial and aloof because the president usually carries a lot of weight.

This year the last thing candidates would want is a presidential endorsement because Laura Chinchilla is low in public opinion ratings.

So for the next four months, Ms. Chinchilla will be cutting a lot of ribbons and inaugurating a lot of public works. Her predecessor, Óscar Arias Sánchez did that, and he even cut ribbons on projects that were nowhere near finished. An example is the Caldera highway that was the scene of multiple landslides long after Arias left office.

The lethargy extends to civil service workers. The tendency to avoid sticking out one's neck becomes even more typical during the election uncertainty.

In some cases, appointed officials complain that workers pay no attention because the appointee

soon will be gone. Consequently, neither Ms. Chinchilla nor any officials below her in the central government structure are likely to complete any projects or initiatives between now and May 8 when the new president takes over.

A runoff also means that presidential candidates are hamstrung. Being elected in February gives sufficient time to assemble a cabinet and fill the many appointments that depend on the chief executive. Such actions can only be tentative between now and April 6 if a runoff is required, as the polls suggest, and the winner will have just a month to form a staff before the May 8 inauguration.

That also means that the next president will have trouble luring competent candidates if the job offer can only be tentative. The leading candidates have made promises and have a general idea of who will fill the important spots, but appointments for the second and third tiers, such as vice ministers, still are undecided.

Gas station quantity and quality problems reported
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The nation's regulating agency said that 18 percent of all service stations showed deficiencies in quality and quantity during the last year.

The agency, the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos, has a special section that checks up on gas stations. There are 346 such establishments in the country, and the Intendencia de Energía conducted 1,471 inspections, said the Autoridad. They found 45 problems with quality and 40 with quantity.

In 2012 there were only 47 inspection problems uncovered, said the agency.

All the deficiencies were confined to just 65 stations, including some of the better known ones. The agency said that many of the problems stemmed from lack of maintenance on pumps.

A quantity problem would be in delivering an amount of gasoline below the accepted variation, which is 100 milliliters, about 3.4 ounces, for 20 liters of fuel pumped.

Quality problems included water or sediment in the gasoline or lower octane than specified on the tank. Such variations also were attributed in some cases to lack of maintenance of the tank or filters.

Three beachtown service stations pumped gasoline of an incorrect color. Fishing captains can obtain fuel at discount prices, but the liquid is colored purple and diesel is colored green. Regular gasoline is supposed to be colored orange and diesel is supposed to be yellow, said the agency.

Stations that put fishing fleet fuel in the tanks can

lose their license to sell gasoline and diesel.

 There were only two problems encountered at service stations in Guanacaste and just one in Limón.

Service station San Luis in Alajuelita racked up nine separate violations, said the Authoridad. The service station Finca Los Rosales del Divino Niño in Grecia had three violations, said the agency.

A report on the inspections is available on the agency Web page.

Repairs made during dry season less expensive, construction firm says
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The dry season not only is a good time to make home repairs, the lack of rain may also means repairs will be cheaper.

The insulation firm Prodex said Tuesday that a cubic meter of insulation installed in the dry season
costs about $3. To do so in the rainy season might run the cost as high as $8 a cubic meter because of additional time and preparation and damage to materials, it said.

The firm also noted that a national survey of homes showed that some 42 percent of the dwellings in Costa Rica need some type of repair.

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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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Voice of America photo                       
Vice President Joe Biden  and House Speaker John
Boehner watch Barack Obama deliver his speech.

Obama calls for a year of action
and stresses national economy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to make 2014 a year of action.

Speaking at the U.S. Capitol Tuesday night, President Obama told a joint session of Congress and millions of Americans watching him on television that this can be a breakthrough year for the United States.

Noting economic progress, including a rebounding housing market and the U.S. surpassing China as the number one place to invest, Obama said the U.S. is better positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth, five years after the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression. But, he said the question is whether U.S. officials are going to help or hinder this progress.

He criticized what he described as years of rancorous argument between Republicans and Democrats over the proper size of the federal government, saying that when the debate prevents the government from carrying out even the most basic functions, then officials are not doing right for the American people.

Obama praised the budget compromise reached in Congress last month, but he said it should leave the government "freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crises."

He called on lawmakers to work with him to see in the coming months where else they can make progress together. And he called for a focus on opportunity for all Americans, "the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead."

President Obama said he will not wait for congressional legislation to speed up growth and expand opportunities for American families. He said he will act alone by executive order whenever he can.

Obama said that while corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, average wages have barely budged, inequality has deepened, and too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by.

The president also called for changes in the tax code to reward companies that create jobs at home and eliminate what he called incentives to ship jobs overseas.

Obama urged Congress to support American innovation, saying the nation that goes "all-in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow."

Obama called on lawmakers to undo the damage done by last year's cuts to basic research, saying the innovation edge is an edge the U.S. cannot surrender.

Promoting domestic energy production as a way to bring back jobs,  Obama said the U.S. is closer to energy independence than it has been in decades, as a result of the energy strategy he announced a few years ago.

He said lawmakers can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas.

President Obama said the U.S. also is becoming a global leader in solar energy. He called for a smarter tax policy that "stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don't need it," so the U.S. can invest more in fuels of the future that do.

He also highlighted partnerships the government has formed with businesses and communities to reduce energy consumption. He said the U.S. has reduced its total carbon pollution more than any other nation, but called for acting with more urgency, noting the damage climate change is already doing to communities.

Obama also pressed for the passage of comprehensive immigration reform this year, saying if the nation is serious about economic growth, it is time to fix the broken U.S. immigration system.

President Obama asked Congress to restore unemployment insurance for more than 1.6 million people looking for work. Congress let the funds run out late last year. Obama said he is convinced that reforming the unemployment insurance program can help Americans return to the work force faster.

Obama said he has asked Vice President Joe Biden to lead a reform of job training programs to make sure Americans have the skill employers need, and to match workers to good jobs that need to be filled immediately.

He also called on the heads of large corporations to give long-term unemployed Americans what he called a fair shot at a new job. 

The president again called on Congress to make high-quality pre-school education available to young children and ease the burden on those who he said feel trapped by student loan debt.

President Obama called for better opportunities for women, saying he believes that "when women succeed, America succeeds." He noted that women make up half the nation's work force but still make only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. He called that inequality wrong and an embarrassment, saying women deserve equal pay for equal work.

But the president said women are not the only ones who face stagnant wages and life in poverty. He announced an executive order that he will issue in the coming weeks that will require federal contractors to raise the minimum wage for federally funded employees to $10.10 an hour.

He called on Congress to do the same for all Americans, saying a nationwide raise will help families and give businesses customers with more money to spend. But he said business leaders, mayors, governors and state legislators do not have to wait for Congress to raise wages.

President Obama also urged lawmakers to strengthen an income tax credit program that he said already helps about half of American parents at some point.

And he called on Congress to help more Americans save for retirement. He said he is directing the Treasury Wednesday to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings with no risk of losing what they put in. The savings bond program will be known as "MyRA."

And he called for legislation that will protect U.S. taxpayers from ever having to foot the bill for a housing crisis again.

President Obama touted his health care program and appealed to Republicans not to vote again to overturn the law creating it.

The president said that because of the new law, no American can be turned down for health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, such as asthma or cancer. And he said a woman will no longer be charged more for health care just because she is a woman.

Obama said the health care law gives people the peace of mind that they do not have to lose everything if misfortune strikes.

He appealed to opponents of the law to come up with specific plans that can cut costs and cover more people, but to stop voting to repeal it.

President Obama said he will not send U.S. troops into war unless it is truly necessary, calling for the U.S. to move off what he called a permanent war footing.

Obama hailed the end of the U.S. wars in Iraq and soon in Afghanistan. He noted that all U.S. troops are out of Iraq and that troops will complete their mission in Afghanistan by the end of this year.

The president said that after 2014, a small force of Americans could remain in Afghanistan along with NATO allies to train and assist Afghan forces and continue counterterrorism operations.

He said the danger of terrorism remains and is evolving, and he mentioned extremist networks in Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and Mali. He said the U.S. has to remain vigilant, but that the nation's leadership and security cannot depend on the military alone.

And that is why, President Obama said, he has imposed limits on drone use and why he will reform the nation's surveillance programs, which came under intense scrutiny last year after leaks by former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

President Obama also repeated his goal of closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Obama said he wants to be clear to Congress that he will veto any new sanctions bill against Iran that threatens to derail the talks, but that he will be the first to call for more sanctions if Iran does not comply.

The president said the United States forges alliances with Europe, Asia and Africa because it promotes long-term security and also because of the belief in the inherent dignity of every human being, regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation.

President Obama ended his State of the Union speech Tuesday with a tribute to U.S. troops and veterans of war, and a pledge to ensure they receive the benefits they deserve.

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Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 20
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Ctro and mrs. Chinchilla
                                Community of Latin American and Caribbean States photo                                                                             Casa Presidencial photo
Raúl Castro and Laura Chinchilla address the conference in Havana
33 nations prefer to meet without United States or Canada
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States was set up to free much of the hemisphere from the influence of the United States and Canada.

The organization is a direct competitor to the Organization of American States.

Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president, was a founder. Evo Morales of Bolivia and Rafael Correa of Ecuador are strong supporters. Now Costa Rica's president, Laura Chinchilla, will serve a term as president.

The organization of 33 countries is meeting in Havana, and already Cuban leader Rail Castro has sided with Argentina in its effort to take over the British-held Falkland Islands. Argentina calls the islands the Malvinas. He called on Great Britain to negotiate the status of the islands.

Ostensibly the theme of the conference is to develop approaches against poverty and inequality. The conference is expected to approve tens of documents and issue a closing declaration. There most certainly will be a call to the United States to end its economic embargo of Cuba. There also is likely a call by the conference to change the direction of the U.S. war on drugs. Some are even talking about more liberalization of drug use.

José Miguel Insuza, the secretary general of the Organization of American States is at the conference, perhaps in an effort to bring Cuba back into the hemispheric organization. Also there is Ban Ki-Moon, the secretary general of the United Nations.
The visit by the heads of state and the world leaders comes at a time when Cuban officials are enforcing arbitrary detentions of potential troublemakers and democracy advocates.

Castro opened the first session by asking for a minute of silence for Hugo Chávez. He said that the 10 percent of the richest individuals in Latin America and the Caribbean receive 32 percent of the total income while 30 percent, the poor, receive just 15 percent.

He said the people of Latin American and the Caribbean demand and require a better distribution of the richest and the income, universal and free access to a quality education, full employment, better salaries, the elimination of illiteracy, the establishment of secure food distribution, health services for the entire population, the right to housing, to drinking water and to sanitation systems.

Castro also criticized the United States for its long history of military interventions in the region and the more recent disclosures of extensive spying and wiretapping.

During her speech, President Chinchilla cited climate change and its devastating impact as a matter of survival for some of the smaller Caribbean island states and their populations.

She also put in a plug for the adoption last April of a U.N. arms control treaty that Costa Rica promoted. Security, she said, demands an international order more efficient in controlling the weapons market that nourishes criminals and terrorists. The treaty calls for counties to keep track of weapons exports.

Ms. Chinchilla asked to intervene to disarm Venezuelan groups
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Young Venezuelans are on a vigil at the Costa Rican Embassy in Caracas and at the Interamerican Court of Human Rights in San José to alert President Laura Chinchilla to the problem of armed groups.

Ms. Chinchilla is being approached because she is taking over the leadership of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
The organization, Operación Libertad, said that the armed groups in Venezuela are financed by the government. The goal of the armed groups, called the Colectivos Armados para la Defensa de la Revolución Bolivariana, is to defend the government and its ideology, the organization said.

The organization asked Ms. Chinchilla to seek immediate disarmament of the groups and a return of Venezuela to the Interamerican System of Human Rights and to create a commission to monitor human rights in Venezuela.


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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 20
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Child study suggests that belief in immortality is deeply rooted in brain
By the Boston University news staff

Most people, regardless of race, religion or culture, believe they are immortal. That is, people believe that part of themselves — some indelible core, soul or essence — will transcend the body’s death and live forever.  But what is this essence?  Why do we believe it survives?  And why is this belief so unshakable?

A new Boston University study sheds light on these profound questions by examining children’s ideas about prelife, the time before conception.  By interviewing 283 children from two distinct cultures in Ecuador, Natalie Emmons’s research suggests that the bias toward immortality is a part of human intuition that naturally emerges early in life.  And the part that is eternal is not skills or ability to reason, but rather hopes, desires and emotions. 

Ms. Emmons’ study fits into a growing body of work examining the cognitive roots of religion.  Although religion is a dominant force across cultures, science has made little headway in examining whether religious belief, such as the human tendency to believe in a creator, may actually be hard-wired into brains.

“This work shows that it’s possible for science to study religious belief,” said Deborah Kelemen, an associate professor of psychology at Boston University and co-author of the paper.  “At the same time, it helps us understand some universal aspects of human cognition and the structure of the mind.”

The study was published in the Jan. 16, online edition of Child Development.

Most studies on immortality have focused on people’s views of the afterlife.  Studies have found that both children and adults believe that bodily needs, such as hunger and thirst, end when people die, but mental capacities, such as thinking or feeling sad, continue in some form.  But these afterlife studies leave one critical question unanswered: where do these beliefs come from?   Researchers have long suspected that people develop ideas about the afterlife through cultural exposure, like television or movies, or through religious instruction.  But perhaps, thought Ms. Emmons, these ideas of immortality actually emerge from intuition.  Just as children learn to talk without formal instruction, maybe they also intuit that part of their mind could exist apart from their body.
Ms. Emmons tackled this question by focusing on prelife, the period before conception, since few cultures have beliefs or views on the subject.   “By focusing on prelife, we could see if culture causes these beliefs to appear, or if they appear spontaneously,” said Ms. Emmons.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” said Paul Bloom, a professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale who was not involved with the study.  “One persistent belief is that children learn these ideas through school or church.  That’s what makes the prelife research so cool.  It’s a very clever way to get at children’s beliefs on a topic where they aren’t given answers ahead of time.”

Ms. Emmons interviewed children from a Shuar village in the Amazon Basin of Ecuador.  She chose the group because they have no cultural prelife beliefs, and she suspected that these children, who have regular exposure to birth and death through hunting and farming, would have a more rational, biologically-based view of the time before they were conceived.  For comparison, she also interviewed children from an urban area near Quito, Ecuador.  Most of the urban children were Roman Catholic, a religion that teaches that life begins only at conception.  If cultural influences were paramount, reasoned Ms. Emmons, both urban and indigenous children should reject the idea of life before birth.

Ms. Emmons showed the children drawings of a baby, a young woman, and the same woman while pregnant, then asked a series of questions about the child’s abilities, thoughts and emotions during each period: as babies, in the womb, and before conception.

The results were surprising.  Both groups gave remarkably similar answers, despite their radically different cultures.  The children reasoned that their bodies didn’t exist before birth, and that they didn’t have the ability to think or remember. However, both groups also said that their emotions and desires existed before they were born. For example, while children generally reported that they didn’t have eyes and couldn’t see things before birth, they often reported being happy that they would soon meet their mother, or sad that they were apart from their family.

“They didn’t even realize they were contradicting themselves,” said Emmons. “Even kids who had biological knowledge about reproduction still seemed to think that they had existed in some sort of eternal form.  And that form really seemed to be about emotions and desires.”

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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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.
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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
Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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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!
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Los Arcos gated community 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment $500 monthly. aAso efficiency apartment $300 month. 8841-1606

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
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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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 the far off lights of San José. Farm is gated and guarded, private and peaceful. Owner on-site. Sarchi is a quiet and safe small town about 30-40 min from the airport, a perfect base to explore from and also get a feel for normal, day-to-day Tico life. Rental is $575 per month, (Longer term rent is negotiable) All utilities included. Sorry, NO PETS. Contact

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Asuncion de Belen. Home in exclusive Residencial La Jolla.  Gated community with controlled access,  security 24/7. Resort swimming pool and gym. Spacious and elegant finishes, private jacuzzi and social areas. 3 bedrooms. 2.5 baths.  Private gardens. Conveniently located close to airport, shopping, bilingual schools, Intel and Duty Free Zones. 322m2 on 249m2 corner lot. Lease with purchase option  $3,400/ $428,000 USD Contact owner for details:

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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!
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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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U.S. South in deep freeze
with snow and severe winds

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A rare blast of snow, sleet and ice hit the U.S. South Tuesday, prompting three states to declare a state of emergency, closing the New Orleans airport and causing chaos on roads for drivers unaccustomed to the dangerously slick conditions.
The southern cold snap is part of an arctic front that has put much of the Northeast and northern Plains under warnings and advisories for severe wind chills. Temperatures in parts of those regions could feel as cold as minus 30 F (minus 34 C) Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.
Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina each declared a state of emergency, telling motorists to stay off the roads.
“Residents should not overreact but should make plans now to ensure they are prepared for prolonged freezing conditions and icy roadways,” Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said.
The last flight left New Orleans at about 11 a.m. local time (1700 GMT) Tuesday and its Louis Armstrong International Airport was then closed to commercial traffic ahead of the predicted ice storm. Authorities also shut the 24-mile (39-km) Causeway Bridge, which spans Lake Pontchartrain, because of icy conditions.
Residents and tourists excited by the novelty of the conditions took photos of icicles hanging from the wrought-iron balconies of the city's historic French Quarter.
Temperatures were forecast to hit a low of 23 degrees F (-5 Cs) in New Orleans Tuesday night and the city could see its first snowfall in years.
“This is pretty rare in New Orleans,” Mike Efferson of the National Weather Service Office in Slidell, Louisiana, said of the conditions. “This only happens about every 10 years.”

Schools and government offices across a wide swath of the country were closed. Airlines canceled or delayed thousands of flights, and officials closed roads as conditions worsened.
North Carolina and South Carolina were expected to get the most snow, while the heaviest ice accumulation was forecast from Louisiana to the Carolinas, the weather service said.
Temperatures 10 to 20 degrees colder than normal were expected to continue for much of the eastern United States. In Washington, the National Gallery's skating rink was closed, with officials saying it was too cold for skaters to be out on the ice.
Jury selection in the corruption trial of a former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin was suspended because of the weather.
“We're getting a bit of everything,” said Jody White, a police sergeant in Opelousas, Louisiana. “It's cold. The sleet is coming down in patches.”
In Alabama, two people died and five others were hospitalized after a seven-car pileup on an ice-covered bridge near Montgomery, said Robyn Litchfield, an Alabama Department of Public Safety spokeswoman.
Lawmakers in South Carolina canceled this week's session of the state legislature, citing weather concerns.
The storm took a toll on air travel across the region, with more than 3,000 U.S. flights canceled and hundreds of others delayed, according to flight tracking website
The manager of a popular Louisiana grocery store said it was packed with shoppers stocking up on food and supplies before it also closed.
“They were buying hurricane stuff, including a lot of spirits, of course,” said Edwin Moreno, manager at Dorignac's Food Center in suburban New Orleans.
The bad weather prompted a federal judge in Knoxville, Tennessee, to postpone court proceedings part way through a sentencing hearing for three peace activists, including an elderly nun.
Winter weather advisories were also issued for a wide swath of eastern and central Texas for Tuesday, with predictions of up to one inch (2.5 cm) of snow near the state's border with northern Louisiana.
Rain and freezing temperatures combined to snarl the morning commute through large parts of central Texas and Louisiana, where roads and bridges were iced over. Police in Austin, Texas, reported more than 150 crashes caused by icy roads but said there had been no fatalities.

Concern continues to grow
of Winter Games security 

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Olympic Games in Sochi are just weeks away, but the terror threats keep coming. The biggest concern: The Northern Caucasus, Sochi’s neighbors to the East. The region is home to separatists who for years have waged a war of independence against Russia. Recent bombings in Volgograd, north of Sochi, have experts on high alert. Some question holding the Winter Games in close proximity to those who have vowed to fight Russia to the death.

One month ago, despite promises of heightened security at the Olympic Games, two suicide attacks killed 34 people in Volgograd, some 700 kilometers north of Sochi. A militant Islamist group in Russia's North Caucasus claimed responsibility in a video posted on an Islamist website.

Ian von Gordon, who is director of operations at the Diplomatic Protection Training Institute in Youngstown, Ohio, said, “Chechen rebels have already shown that they’re targeting trains, airplanes, transport, highways.” The institute provides security to civilians in high threat environments. He's an expert on terror groups in the Northern Caucasus. 

“Since Sochi was announced as a venue, there’s no doubt that they sent cells in immediately to embed themselves and, to that end, it’s very likely that there’s people on the staff at the Winter Olympics who are possibly part of a cell,” said von Gordon.

Including those who have been building the games' venues, said Glen Howard at the Jamestown Foundation, a research institute in Washington, D.C. “You’ve had over 100,000 laborers come from all over Russia to work there, and Central Asia. It is impossible to verify whether all these people that have worked in Sochi as laborers… whether they were a security risk.”

Von Gordon said terrorists may not match the typical pictures. “We’re looking for the tall, blond-haired, blue-eyed woman. Traditionally, Chechen rebels have used young women, usually widows of soldiers, but that’s not necessarily always the case.”

He’s referring to the so-called “black widows," widows of slain rebel fighters. 

Militants also carry out more conventional attacks, however, like the 2004 takeover of a school in Beslan, where 334 hostages died, more than half of them children.

“Putin has strategically located the Games very close to the Caucasus, where he’s basically daring those people," said von Gordon. "That creates a very dangerous situation, because now you have opportunity. You have motive. You have an unprecedented situation where you have people from all over the world - civilians - participating in a highly publicized event.”

Juan Zarate, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said he expected to see cooperation with the international community. But the opposite is happening.

“The Russians have grown more and more concerned over the threat, and are concerned over the perception of insecurity, and therefore have not wanted to allow the United States and other, security services on the ground to assist,” said Zarate.

Pete Seeger is remembered
as man who changed folk music

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Pete Seeger, the legendary folk singer-songwriter who fought for social change and played a major role in the American folk revival, died Monday.

For many, Seeger. 94, will be remembered as America’s most-famous, and infamous, folk singer.

Banjo player Tony Trischka first heard Seeger’s banjo-playing and singing as a child and later became his friend. When he was 14 years old, Trischka wrote Seeger a fan letter. He didn’t have an address, so he just addressed it to Pete Seeger, Beacon New York and hoped that it would reach his hero.

“I wrote something to the effect ‘Dear Pete, I think you’re the greatest banjo player who ever lived.’ Two weeks later, I received a postcard back from Pete Seeger saying ‘Dear Tony, music’s not like a horse race, there’s no such thing as best, but I’m glad you like my music.’ And he signed it Pete Seeger, as you would, and he drew a little banjo. And that just became a relic, this iconic thing that helped inspire me,” he said.

Born in New York City in 1919, Seeger grew up believing that song has the power to change the world.  Seeger dropped out of Harvard College in 1938, and began working with music archivist Alan Lomax, assisting him on song-collecting trips through the American south.  In the early-1940s, he formed The Almanac Singers, a highly-politicized singing group known for recording union songs and anti-war anthems.

While the start of World War II meant the end of The Almanac Singers, a stint in the Army didn’t mean the end of Seeger’s singing career.  In 1948, he formed The Weavers, who soon became one of America’s favorite singing groups.  Poet Carl Sandberg wrote, “The Weavers are out of the grassroots of America.  When I hear America singing, The Weavers are there.”
One of the most-famous songs by The Weavers, “Tzena, Tzena, Tzena,” makes an appearance on “Pete Seeger at 89,” albeit in a slightly different version.  The 21st Century version includes not only an English translation of the Israeli song, but also a translation in Arabic.  And as Seeger describes it, all the parts harmonize with each other. 

​As popular as it was, “Tzena Tzena Tzena” and his other hit songs couldn’t rescue Seeger from the “Red Scare” of the early 1950s.  Three members of The Weavers were named as members of the Communist Party.  The group was soon ostracized.  Despite selling millions of records, The Weavers couldn’t get hired for concerts, and were dropped by their record label.

In 1955, Seeger was called to Washington to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Un-American Activities Committee, where he was questioned about his political associations. He told the committee, “I am not going to answer any questions as to my associations, my philosophical or my religious beliefs, or how I voted in any election or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked.”

Because of that, on July 26, 1956, the House of Representatives voted 373 to 9 to cite Pete Seeger, and seven others, for contempt. Five years later, Seeger’s case finally came to trial.  He was found guilty and sentenced to a year in prison, resulting in worldwide protests.  Although the verdict was overturned, that didn’t mean a return to business as usual for Seeger. He didn’t return to U.S. radio and television until the late 1960s.

Which makes it all the more remarkable that in 1994, Seeger returned to Washington to receive the Presidential Medal of the Arts, the nation’s highest artistic honor.  Two years later he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And in 2009, he performed at the Lincoln Memorial in a concert to celebrate the presidency of Barack Obama.

Andrew Revkin writes the “Dot-Earth” blog for the New York Times, and is also a professional musician who played with Seeger many times over the past 20 years. He says that while there are still many people who think of Seeger in only political terms, his songs will live on.

“I think he’ll always be there in the sense that so many musicians have been influenced by him, even if the next generations coming forward may not know his name," he said. "Some of the best known renditions of his songs were by the Byrds. And more recently, Bruce Springsteen did an album “The Seeger Sessions,” they weren’t Pete Seeger songs, but they were songs Bruce learned through Pete. You know the great old hymn and folk song ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken?’ The circle created through his music is unbroken.”

“I did not want to be a professional musician.  I liked to sing, but I thought the music business was full of hypocrisy," Seeger said. "I did, though, go sing in the schools and in summer camps.  And then some of the kids grew up and went to college.  And I, during the ‘frightened ‘50s’ when the blacklist was in the popular music business, I just went from college to college to college to college to college to college to college.  The most important job I ever did. I could have kicked the bucket in 1960.  My job was done!  After me, a whole bunch of young people came along:  Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and a whole lot of others.  And now, it’s out of control.”

It was Pete Seeger who changed the words of an old spiritual from “We Will Overcome” to “We Shall Overcome”, and then sang it to American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., who went on to make it an anthem of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. 

Blood of Pope John Paul
stolen from remote church

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Thieves broke into a small church in the mountains east of Rome over the weekend and stole a reliquary with the blood of the late Pope John Paul II, a custodian said Monday.
Dozens of police with sniffer dogs scoured the remote area for clues to what the Italian Catholic magazine Famiglia Cristiana called “a sacrilegious theft that was probably commissioned by someone”.
Franca Corrieri said she had discovered a broken window early on Sunday morning and had called the police. When they entered the small stone church they found the gold reliquary and a crucifix missing.
John Paul, who died in 2005, loved the mountains in the Abruzzo region. He would sometimes slip away from the Vatican secretly to hike or ski there and pray in the church.
Polish-born John Paul, who reigned for 27 years, is due to be made a saint of the Roman Catholic Church in May, meaning the relic will become more noteworthy and valuable.
In 2011, John Paul's former private secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, now archbishop of Krakow in Poland, gave the local Abruzzo community some of the late pontiff's blood as a token of the love he had felt for the mountainous area.
It was put in a gold and glass circular case and kept in a niche of the small mountain church of San Pietro della Ienca, near the city of L'Aquila.
Corrieri, who is part of an association that looks after the small church, said the incident felt more like a kidnapping than a theft. “In a sense, a person has been stolen,” she said by telephone.
She said she could not say if the intention of the thieves may have been to seek a ransom for the blood.
Apart from the reliquary and a crucifix, nothing else was stolen from the isolated church, even though Corrieri said the thieves would probably have had time to take other objects during the nighttime theft.
Some of John Paul's blood was saved after an assassination attempt that nearly killed him in St. Peter's Square on May 13, 1981.

Chinese New Year promoting
concern over bird flu spread

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In January, China saw a rise in the number of people diagnosed with bird flu.  As the Chinese New Year approaches, millions of people will begin their annual journey home for the holiday, increasing the opportunity for the virus to spread.
A recent outbreak of the H7N9 virus has already killed 19 people in China this year.
Bernhard Schwartlander, the World Health Organization's representative in China, says crowded train stations and airports typify the annual migration home for the holiday.
“If there are mass movements many people are traveling.  The trains are crammed with people.  The planes are full.  People are running around everywhere.  That always bears the risk of transmission of infections,” the doctor explained.
​Aside from the risks of contracting the illness while traveling, traditional New Year celebrations in some parts of China include killing live chickens.
To help prevent the spread, live poultry sales have been barred in Shanghai and eastern Zhejiang Province.  Officials in Zhejiang have also launched emergency surveillance of farms and stopped the flying of domestic pigeons.
Hong Kong’s health officials are also shutting poultry markets for disinfection and plan to cull 20,000 birds.
In one of the largest annual mass migrations in the world, the Chinese government estimates more than 3.6 billion trips will be taken over the 40-day travel period this year. More than 50 percent of China’s population now lives in cities, but many return to their childhood homes in the countryside for the new year holiday.
In Heifei in eastern China, 17-year-old Fu Anqi says her mother worries about the potential spread of avian flu during the holiday season.
“She kind of had a struggle between protecting ourselves from the flu and seeing our relatives in Beijing,” Fu said.
So far, bird flu has only been transmitted among birds and from birds to humans.  Schwartlander says the virus has not mutated yet to a form where it can spread easily between humans.
“So far there is no evidence of person to person transmission," the doctor noted.

U.S. nominee as ambassador
to China urged to be tough

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. lawmakers expressed concern about China's territorial ambitions at a confirmation hearing on Tuesday for the next American ambassador to China, and they urged him to take a tough line with Beijing.
Sen. Max Baucus, President Barack Obama's nominee for the ambassador's post, told a Senate hearing he would do all he could to reduce tensions between China and its neighbors and said he would follow a cautious approach with Beijing.
Baucus said he agreed with an assessment of Sen. John McCain that China was trying to reassert its historical position as the dominant power in Asia.
McCain said China's construction and acquisition of an aircraft carrier was a statement of a desire to project power that should worry the United States. He said tensions in the region had implications that could lead to another "Guns of August,” a reference to the start of World War I in 1914.
Beijing's declaration of an air defense identification zone in an area that includes disputed islands triggered protests last month from Japan, South Korea and the United States, which said China was trying to change the status quo in the East China Sea.
“The role that China is playing in Asia today should be of great concern to all of us,” McCain said.
“I don't disagree with you,” Baucus replied, adding that the United States should “hope for the best and assume the worst.”
“I am a realist, believe me, and I understand the version of Chinese history that you have just espoused; there is a hard ring of truth to it,” Baucus said in response to McCain, who advocates an assertive U.S. foreign policy.
Baucus said setting up the East China Sea zone was unfortunate and expressed concern about the delicate relationship between China and Japan, in which miscalculation could easily result in a major problem.
Although the Senate hearing was not always smooth, with Baucus at one point acknowledging he is no real expert on China, his nomination is widely expected to be approved.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is likely to vote on Baucus' confirmation as early as next Tuesday. If he is approved as expected, his nomination will then be sent to the full Senate.
Asked about his response to McCain, Baucus told reporters after the hearing that what was most important in the U.S.-China relationship was results and how to manage the relationship in a positive and constructive way.
“So I try not to get too involved in the motives and try to focus more on reactions and finding common ground as best we can,” he said.
Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the committee, said the U.S. relationship with China was probably the most important with any nation over the next decade, yet it was not well defined by the Obama administration.
“Many Americans wonder today whether China is friend or foe,” he said, adding that the United States should shape the relationship so that Western values were upheld.

Two devastating plagues
may return, experts report

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An international team of scientists tracing the origins of two of the world’s most devastating plagues says strains of the same plague caused the pandemics hundreds of years ago. They warn that new strains could trigger future outbreaks. 

The so-called Plague of Justinian, the first one known to historians, struck in the sixth century.  The pandemic originated in China and killed between 30 and 50 million people as it spread across Asia, northern Africa, Arabia and Europe between 541 and 542.  Experts believe that plague, caused by a bacterium carried by rodents, contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire.
Eight hundred years later, according to researchers, the Black Death killed an estimated 75 million to 200 million people in Europe and North Africa.  Expert say this plague, which also originated in Asia, was hardier, resurfacing in the 1800s.  The Black Death was caused by a different strain of the same bacterium that caused the Justinian Plague.

Experts stitched together the genetic findings of the two pandemics by unearthing and analyzing DNA from the remains of individuals who died during the Justinian and Black plagues.

Hendrik Poinar, an expert on ancient DNA at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, says the bacteria that causes the plague are carried by rodents.  Poinar said that pockets of the Black Death remain in both Madagascar and the American Southwest, a sign of the bacterium’s resilience.

“The plague we have today in squirrels or prairie dogs in the American Southwest, those are all descendants of the Black Death," he said. "So, the Black Death is much more successful, if you will, in disseminating out across the globe whereas Justinian came and basically burned itself out.”

As with any other infectious disease, Poinar says it is important to keep an eye on plague outbreaks to make sure they do not become pandemics.  Poinar notes, however, that cities today are much cleaner than they were centuries ago, something he says would reduce the likelihood of a reemergence of a plague pandemic.

"Thirteen-forty-eight London was probably not a very clean place," he said. "And so in today's day and age, we have antibiotics which would be successful against these epidemics.  And certainly our cities are in much better states and can handle these sorts of onslaughts."

Poinar says it is important to watch areas where there are pockets of plague, especially since global warming can draw rodents looking for food and water to population centers.

An article by Canadian, Australian and U.S. researchers on plague origins is published in the journal The Lancet Infectious Disease.

Google displays new eyewear
for its Glass Internet system

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Google, Inc., has unveiled a set of fashionable prescription frames and shades for its Glass Internet-connected eyewear in an image makeover to give it broader appeal before a mass launch in the United States later this year.
Google also announced a deal with Vision Service Plan, the largest U.S. optical health insurance provider, that will allow consumers to get prescription lenses specially fitted to the device.
A stamp-sized electronic screen mounted on the side of a pair of eyeglass frames, Google Glass can record video, access email, provide turn-by-turn driving directions and retrieve info from the Web by connecting wirelessly to a user's cell phone.
The version of Glass available until now was mounted on a titanium band that rested on the bridge of the wearer's nose, resembling a pair of glasses without lenses and inspiring a bit of ridicule from a parody on “Saturday Night Live” to a popular blog poking fun at its users.
Google's Web site Monday showed off a new selection of four different frames, in styles including Bold and Curve, available for $225 each, and a couple of different sunglass shades for $150 each.
“This new collection marks a step into an entirely new category of smart eyewear,” Google said in a statement.
Google said it has been training an unspecified number of VSP eye care specialists in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles to combine the device and special Glass frames with prescription lenses.
Consumers who have VSP's insurance, VSP Vision Care, will be able to receive a reimbursement on the special Glass frames up to the allowance provided with their current vision benefit, Google said.
A Google spokeswoman said there were financial terms to the partnership with VSP, but declined to provide any details.
Glass is currently available only to a limited number of early users in the U.S. for $1,500, a price that Google says will be lower when the consumer version of Glass goes on sale to the general public towards the end of 2014.
Many believe wearable computers such as Google Glass represent the next big shift in technology, just as smartphones evolved from personal computers. Glass has also unnerved everyone from lawmakers to casino operators worried about the potential for hitherto unimagined privacy and policy violations.

NASA seeks private firms
to build its lunar landers

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Under a new program called Lunar Catalyst, U.S. space agency NASA will provide free technical expertise, equipment, facilities and software to help selected companies develop lunar landers, officials said Monday.

"The intent of this initiative is to stimulate and help commercialization," Jason Crusan, who oversees NASA's advanced exploration programs, said during a conference call with prospective bidders Monday.

Development of commercial lunar landers would join a growing list of space transportation services that have attracted interest from U.S. companies, including Boeing Co. and Alliant Techsystems, Inc.

NASA already has turned over cargo deliveries to the International Space Station to privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, and Orbital Sciences Corp. The companies hold NASA flight services contracts worth a combined $3.5 billion.

NASA wants a balanced approach in which its contributions will help accelerate the development of industry projects, Crusan said during a follow-on conference call with reporters.

"If a team came in and wanted everything from NASA and us to build the landing service for them, that's not really much of a partnership."

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration also is looking to buy rides commercially for its astronauts. At least three firms, SpaceX, Boeing and privately owned Sierra Nevada Corp, are in the running for NASA funding to help get their spaceships ready for test flights before the end of 2017.

Companies interested in Lunar Catalyst have until March 17 to submit business plans and proposals to NASA, which could decide to purchase hardware or services at a future date, Crusan said.

The agency, for example, is developing a mission to mine water on the moon and intends to partner with Canada and other countries to develop a rover and a lander. If those plans fall through, however, NASA could look to buy the equipment from, or partner with, U.S. companies, Crusan said.

NASA already has contracts to buy lunar science and technical data from several teams competing in the $30 million Google X Prize competition to land and operate a privately-owned vehicle on the moon before the end of 2015.

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Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644

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.

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: (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:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

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:

Land near Monte de La Cruz, 27 hectors+, Must sell for best offer due to cancer, 8841-1606

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 for more information!

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.

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: Email for more photos.
Phone 2755-0014 or cell phone 8610-0490.

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:
Sale for $239.000 Contact:

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:  for more photos/information or go here:

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:  cell 8838-2081 or home 2643-2979.

Rich Coast montage
Real Estate, Central Pacific Region

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!!!
   USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
   CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

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:

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

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 Contact us at: or +1-866-514-7435.

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.

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

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:  Contact information:,  US: 001-612-599-0205 or Costa Rica 011-506-2655-1202.


ULatina, UCR, & U Fidelitas San Pedro, San Jose. $175,000.
QQuietly 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. 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:

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:

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,, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603

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 for more information ¡y se habla español!

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:  Make your dream come true with a slice of paradise in a quiet, private setting. Call Ellen Neely at  8835-8711.  Email:

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)
Tanning montage
This is your chance to acquire a totally equipped tanning salon with five machines.  Fantasia Tropical has been open 14 years but the founder needs to retire and return to the U.S. for medical reasons.  You can assume the lease in Sabana West buying the S.A. or buy the assets and move them to a location you prefer. Taxes, permits, bank accounts all in order. Excellent opportunity for an energetic, creative hands-on owner or couple. Long-time manager available to stay on if desired. With an asking price of $30,000 this won't
last long.  Some owner financing may be available.  Contact for an appointment. For a preview

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

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: Asking price  $3.9 million. Email or call: 8899-9870.

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,, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603

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:

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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A.M. Panama
A.M. Colombia
A.M. Guatemala
A.M. Honduras
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A.M. Nicaragua
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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by A.M. Costa Ltda. 2014 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 20
Real Estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC neews feeds are disabled on archvied pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Nicaraguan legislature gives
Ortega chance to run again

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Nicaragua's national assembly Tuesday voted to scrap presidential term limits, which could allow socialist President Daniel Ortega to remain in power indefinitely and has stoked concerns about democracy in the Central American country.

The largely Sandinista national assembly easily passed the amendments a second time Tuesday, 64 to 25, as required to become law.

The move makes the impoverished country the latest in a string of Latin American nations from Bolivia to Ecuador to give presidents power extending beyond their traditional limits.
It would allow 68-year-old Ortega, a prominent Cold War antagonist of the United States, to seek a fourth term. He has yet to say publicly whether he wants to run again for the presidency in 2016, but is widely expected to do so.
Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla and ally of the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez, has been president since 2007. He first took power after Nicaragua's 1979 revolution and was formally elected president for a single term in 1984.
The country's divided opposition has accused him of man-handling the constitution to keep his grip on power and maintains that the reform will increase presidential power at the expense of checks and balances.
Ortega's ruling Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional has a majority of seats in the assembly, making final voting on the reform largely a formality. Opposition lawmakers walked out of the chamber in protest after Tuesday's resounding general vote.
“These reforms are not necessary,” said Eduardo Montealegre, leader of the opposition Partido Liberal Independiente. “Perhaps they're important for the president because they give him absolute power.”
Under the new voting rules, candidates can be elected with a simple majority in the first round of voting, avoiding a run-off.
Ortega's government in the 1980s was convulsed by a civil war that pitted his Sandinistas against right-wing Contra rebels backed by the administration of U.S. president Ronald Reagan.

Costa Rican News
Retire NOW in Costa Rica

Real Estate
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From Page 7:

Mediation is legally accepted for conflict resolution

By Elizabeth Morales Coto*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

It may be very interesting to find out that Costa Rica did not have any conflict mediation centers until 2013, except for the one at the Colegio de Ingenieros which is only a service for resolving conflicts regarding engineering issues. And as 2014 starts, CEDAD Asesores opens the door to conflict mediation
 Ms. Morales
Elizabeth Morales Coto
by providing conflict resolution by the means of its mediation center services.

However, the real question would be: what is mediation?  There is no way to know you need something until you know what it is and how it can help you.

There are three kinds of conflict mediation:

• Transformative mediation where the mediator has little intervention and the main idea is to analyze emotions and make proper adjustments to confront and solve the problem;

• Narrative mediation which focuses exclusively into finding a unified version of the problem so that both parties can decide about a proper solution, and

• Rational mediation which is often confused with transformative. This is also called conflict resolution mediation and uses the scientific method adapted into nine steps to find the quasi optimal solution for both parties.

Rational mediation is the most modern method of them all. It takes less time, less money and heals human relationships in the process. It is very evolved, however, and needs to have parties with a real and realistic intention to solve the conflict. This said, it also needs a way to ensure that it will be taken all the way to the end of the process.

There are other (also legally accepted) conflict resolution methods such as negotiation, conciliation and arbitration processes. All are accepted by Ley 7727 or Ley de Resolucion Alterna de Conflictos de Costa Rica.

Mediation can be applied to conflicts such as divorce processes, situations related to the reglamento interno of a company, labor issues between coworkers or companies, property problems in sales or rent or construction and others.

Mediation can cost anywhere from $50 to $100 an hour. However the acceptable approach would be to have a first meeting with the assigned mediator for $80, to make a decision on whether this is the person you want to handle the process, Then once you start, never be held against a time frame, never allow meetings to go above three hours and never keep a process going more than three months. After three months, starting anew might be the best approach.

These are just a few things to know about mediation: Consider it as a viable option and include it in your labor and business contracts and even prenuptial agreements. It may save you a lot of money and time since court cases are never under thousands of dollars, not to mention emotional frustration.

Never hesitate to ask a professional for help or guidance, and better yet, before big fires need to be put out. Remember that problems exist to be solved, and always be a part of the solution. Stay dynamic and flexible to change and adapt positively.

* Ms. Morales is an engineer with a master's of business administration specializing in business strategy and development. She is a principle in CEDAD Asesores and can be reached at