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(506) 2223-1327                          Published Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014,  in Vol. 14, No. 21                          Email us
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Spanish debates can be challenging
Not all expats are plugged into the election process

By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Debates between five candidates in rapidly spoken Spanish and mounting talk of a second round of voting leave the expat community trying to make sense of the Costa Rican presidential race. Facing some disorienting election laws plus a lack of voting rights for most, Gringos often dedicate their attention on the first Sunday in February to the Super Bowl over election results.

But in a country that has one of the highest budget deficits of any in Latin America and continues raising taxes in every direction, many foreign transplants have said they will be anxious to see if the next president can produce any meaningful legislative changes. Some are voicing their displeasure against the Partido Liberación Nacional in particular, hoping to see a shift in Costa Rica's political paradigm. The party that has had control of Casa Presidencial since 2006 is now being lead by supposed race frontrunner Johnny Araya. But the historic unpopularity of the current president, Laura Chinchilla, could prevent her fellow party member from succeeding her.

“We've seen enough from the Arias and Chinchilla regimes,” said dual citizen Jim Twomey, also alluding to former president and Liberación member Óscar Arias.

Twomey, the longtime Santo Domingo de Heredia resident, has the right to vote on Feb 2 and said he is not likely to select Araya, citing the reoccurring problems and need for some substantial change in office. He admitted that it is hard to stay informed with the elections because of the television news and candidate debates being in Spanish, but that he still feels he has an obligation to vote.

Twomey also said his wife, who is a Costa Rican native, has not voted in many years and probably will not vote again for this election. According to data from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the country has the lowest levels of support for their government of any Latin American nation and voter participation has dropped in recent elections.

Another resident, Bertram Heyd of Germany, said his stance leans more towards being anti-Araya than favoring any other candidates. “Anyone but Araya,” he said. “I'm hoping it goes to a second round.”

If one of the candidates does not receive 40 percent of the popular vote or more, the election will proceed to a runoff in which votes for the two leaders are cast again April 6. This route looks increasingly probable as recent polling has suggested varying results that all hint to a close finish between at least three of the five still hopeful candidates.

Chris Howard is another transplant with citizenship who has written four guide books that deal with living in and transitioning to Costa Rica. A resident for over 30 years, Howard said most of his local friends and longtime contacts have also said they are looking for drastic reform from the next president, favoring a candidate like Luis Guillermo Solís of the Partido Acción Ciudadana over Araya.

"The consensus from most of my Tico friends is that they don't want Araya either," he said. "I think Solís is the one gaining momentum."

Given Costa Rica's notable history of political corruption, Howard even suggested that he would suspect some foul play if Liberácion continues with their dynasty. Candidates like Sólis or José María Villalta of Frente Ampio offer alternatives for a public that has voiced its distrust for government officials.

In the expat realm, another major interest lies in the murky law of border passage for perpetual tourists. The law stating that any non-resident must leave the country every 90 days, and this pushes many towards spending a few days in Nicaragua or
election material
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía
y Seguridad Pública/Alonso Alvarez
Bag of ballots and other election material awaits Wednesday at the Golfito docks for transportation by the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas.  Ballots are for the 28 voters on the distant Isla de Coco.


Panamá. Those who have yet to establish residency wish there was more continuity in the border process.

"The biggest thing from an expat standpoint is that the rules and regulations aren't very clear," said Jeff Tucker, who identifies himself as a perpetual tourist. "Sometimes people go across to Nicaragua and on the way back in the customs officials ask for a plane ticket leaving Costa Rica."

And for those who are residents, the required payment to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social has always been a major political issue. Since many Americans possess health care insurance from back home, they don't see why they must pay hundreds of dollars a month for medical insurance that provides less than their preferred insurer.

Pastor Stacey Steck of the Escazu Christian Fellowship is an eight-year resident who said he wishes that the next president would make the Caja payments a choice and not an obligation. Steck, who has been keeping up with the debates, said he is not confident that any significant changes will be made by whoever prevails.

"There's so many candidates so it is different from the U.S.," he said. "But Costa Rican democracy is strong enough to remain the same and I feel comfortable with any of the five who have been in the debates."

As the candidates have made their rounds in the debate circuit and continue to echo similar proclamations that oppose corruption and promise reduced costs of living, many of those who paid attention to the 2010 election remember then-candidate Luis Fishman, who ran on the slogan: El menos malo es el mejor, which translates to the "the least worst is the best."

Now the population awaits the final lap for the landslide winner of that election: President Chinchilla, the most unpopular president of the last 20 years. Residents and natives, like Elizabeth Morales Coto, are reminded of how promising the former minister of public security and vice-president seemed.

"Chinchilla used to be a good ministra and she did a lot of good things in government before she became president," she said. "Now basically she is a muppet."

This not-so-subtle disdain for current officials is shared by both Ticos and Gringos alike. And they await Sunday as a day that may hopefully install some sweeping changes. Or as Ms. Morales described it when vocally weighing the candidates' pros and cons: “I just want the person who is going to embarrass Costa Rica the least."

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 21

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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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Translators

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Legal services

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U.S. dollar becomes stronger
as Fed reduces bond purchases


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats can expect another bump in the colon-dollar exchange rate because the U.S. Federal Reserve decided Wednesday to reduce by $10 billion its monthly bond purchases.

This is the second time that the Fed reduced the amount of bonds it would buy. The central bank had been purchasing $85 billion a month. In February the central bank will buy $65 million. The reductions will take place each month until in December the Fed will purchase the last $15 billion.

The bond purchases were designed to bolster the sagging U.S. economy and keep interest rates low.

The first effects of the announcement were felt on Wall Street where the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed nearly 200 points lower.

Earlier today in Asia stocks were down. As the program tapers and interests rates edge higher, analysts worry investors will pull their money from emerging economies and seek higher returns in the U.S., according to wire service reports.

The value of the dollar jumped eight colons to 516 on the MONEX market during the day. The Banco Central was quoting the dollar at 518.14 colons to purchase at the end of the day. Selling a dollar would bring 505.13 colons.

In prices posted for this morning, Banco Nacional was quoting the price to buy a dollar at 523 colons. Those selling dollars would get 509 colons for each one.

The increase  is about 15 colons from the currency prices for months, about 3 percent.

Bankers are reasoning that with fewer dollars being pumped into the U.S. economy, the value of the greenback will rise. In addition, there is far more effort being expended now to halt money laundering, something that has been depressing the value of the dollar here for years.


crackers
Judicial Investigating Organization photo          
Boxes and boxes of crackers are stored by police after
they managed to recover them.


Cracker bandits take trucks,
and four suspects detained

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some food stores can undercut their rivals because they are buying stolen property.

But they will not get their hands on 811 boxes of crackers that judicial investigators managed to locate .

The crackers are part of some 3,000 boxes that bandits stole Saturday night and early Sunday. Two men arrived at San Rafael de Alajuela property, pulled a gun on a guard and tied him up. Then they stole one tractor trailer loaded with a container holding about 1,500 boxes of crackers. Later they returned with the empty truck and took another with about the same size load, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Finally the guard managed to free himself and alert police.

Four men who are suspects of at least receiving stolen property were detained in Concepción de Atenas, after someone phoned in a tip to police.  That is how agents managed to recover 811 boxes.

Judicial police said they would love to receive a call from someone who knows where the location of the other boxes are.


U.S. South continues to get
a taste of icy winter weather


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Icy chaos gripped the U.S. South Wednesday as an unusual snow and ice storm forced thousands of children to shelter in schools overnight and left thousands of motorists stranded.

The storm, which has killed at least seven people, Tuesday swept over a region of about 60 million largely unaccustomed to ice and snow. The area stretched from Texas through Georgia and into the Carolinas.

In Atlanta, motorists remained trapped in their cars on icy interstates Wednesday, some of them having spent as long as 18 hours on the road. About 800 traffic accidents were reported in the city, but there were no serious injuries.

At least five deaths in Alabama and two in Georgia were blamed on the weather.

Airlines canceled thousands of flights, with nearly 1,000 of them canceled by Wednesday afternoon at the world's busiest airport -- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International.

Just north of Atlanta, a woman and her husband had to deliver their baby girl alongside Interstate 285 with help from a police officer who arrived just in time. The parents and infant were reported to be fine.

Forecasters predicted little relief, with temperatures unlikely to rise much above freezing, before dipping below freezing again across the Southeast early Thursday.


Two robbery suspects caught
at Guachipelin roadblock

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fuerza Pública officers captured two robbery suspects in  Guachipelin, Escazú, Wednesday afternoon at a check point they had erected about 500 meters north of the Caldera highway.

Police had been alerted to robberies of pedestrians in the area. Two men, one 18 and the other 23, were detained and two .22-caliber pistols were confiscated, said the Fuerza Pública.

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Appeals court upholds Florida jurisdiction over law firm here
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Florida appeals panel has upheld a lower court order that says a civil case against Costa Rican lawyers will be heard in that state.

The case is of interest to expats because the decision shows that there are options to becoming involved in the complexities and delays of the Costa Rica court system.

The plaintiff, a Florida resident and attorney who had a business here, claims that two San José lawyers and some Florida investors entered into a conspiracy to extort money from him and caused his business to fail. He also alleged that they filed a frivolous complaint against his Florida law license and also with the U. S. Department of Homeland Security.

The key point for expats is that the appeals court decision said that jurisdiction in the Florida courts is possible even if individuals outside the state and country only send emails or make telephone calls into the state.  In this case, some of the defendants live in Florida, too.

The trial judge has issued an injunction against some of the defendants prohibiting them from participating in or continuing their extortionate actions undertaken in support of their attempted theft from the plaintiff. 

However, the case has not yet been judged on its merits.

Another aspect of the case is that it involves one of Costa Rica's leading law firms, Facio & Cañas, and names individually all of its partners, including Enrique Castillo, the current minister of foreign relations.

The law firm and partners are named because they hired Federico Torrealba Navas and Gianna Cersosimo, two Costa Rican lawyers accused of setting up a conspiracy earlier.

The decision filed Wednesday by the Third District Court of Appeals in Miami also gives the defendants the opportunity to file for a rehearing. The appeals court of three judges was unanimous in upholding the lengthy lower court decision of Circuit Judge John W. Thornton. In fact, the decision by J.  Suarez even praised him, saying the trial court judge was exceedingly thorough in his analysis.

The decision said that Facio & Cañas argues it has no direct connection with Florida. However, it is unlawful for anyone
employed by an enterprise to directly or indirectly, participate in criminal activity – including extortion, which is sufficiently alleged in Brand’s complaint, it said.

The plaintiff, Craig A. Brand, said in an email that the trial court will allow him to ask for punitive damages. These are damages as a form of punishment that are in addition to any actual losses.

Brand ran a pharmacy business here with investors from Florida. According to the decision filed Wednesday:

Defendants in Florida "alleged that Brand coerced them to invest, either directly or indirectly, in his Costa Rican businesses, and then defrauded them. Brand alleges that the Florida defendants, in an attempt to recoup their investments, hired the Costa Rican lawyers Torrealba and Cersosimo to file a 'public' criminal investigation against Brand and others for theft and fraud in his dealings with the Florida defendants and other non-parties. Brand alleges that the Florida defendants, through Torrealba and Cersosimo, successfully obtained a Costa Rican immigration stay order that prevented him from leaving Costa Rica.

"Brand alleges that, as a result of the fraudulent criminal investigation, suppliers refused to offer credit and his pharmaceutical business was forced to close.

"In 2009, the Costa Rican prosecutor’s office advised Torrealba and Cersosimo that there was no evidence with which to proceed criminally against Brand, and it would dismiss the criminal investigation and drop the immigration hold against him. Brand immediately moved to Florida. The record indicates that Torrealba traveled to Florida to meet with the Florida defendants. Shortly thereafter, Torrealba and Cersosimo, through the Costa Rican law firm of F&C, and the Florida defendants converted the criminal case into a private civil case against Brand, which they filed in Costa Rica and which remains pending there."

The decision also noted that the Facio & Cañas law firm has about 50 clients in the State of Florida. That was another argument for jurisdiction.

In a separate order earlier this month, the current trial judge, José M. Rodriquez ordered defendants in Florida to dismiss any court actions against Brand in Costa Rica.

Last month, all the defendants, including the partners in the Facio & Cañas law firm, were ordered to submit summaries of their financial worth.

Barrio Otoya, the city's smallest, is next stop on walking tour
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Barrio Otoya, the former home of the rich and famous, is the subject of another Alianza Francesa tour.

The capital's smallest barrio is just east of Parque Bolívar and contains some of the city's finest residential architecture.

It is bordered by the Río Torres in the north and Avenida 7 to the south. The eastern border is the rail line to Heredia.

The best-known building there is Casa Amarilla, the foreign ministry.

Architect and historian Andrés Fernández is leading the tour Feb. 15 as he has done in other sections of the city and Central Valley. The walking tour includes a brunch at the nearby Le Café of Alianza Francesa.

Fernández said the barrio began undergoing development in 1907. It is adjacent to Barrio Amón which was another location for the wealthy in those days. The elevation is a little higher than the center of the city, and residents say they hear .
Barrio Otoya
Alianza Francesa photo
One of the stately homes in Barrio Otoya

the roar of the Bolívar zoo lions in the morning

There is an admission of 18,000 colons, about $36 to the tour. More information is available from Alianza Francesa at  2222-2283

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 21
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Rutgers University study links DDT exposure to Alzheimer's disease
By the Rutgers University news service

Scientists have known for more than 40 years that the synthetic pesticide DDT is harmful to bird habitats and a threat to the environment.

The pesticide DDT was banned in the United States in 1972 but is still being used in other countries throughout the world.

Now researchers at Rutgers University say exposure to DDT, banned in the United States since 1972 but still used as a pesticide in other countries, may also increase the risk and severity of Alzheimer’s disease in some people, particularly those over the age of 60.

In a study published online today in JAMA Neurology, Rutgers scientists discuss their findings in which levels of DDE, the chemical compound left when DDT breaks down, were higher in the blood of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease patients compared to those without the disease.

DDT, used in the United States for insect control in crops and livestock and to combat insect-borne diseases like malaria, was introduced as a pesticide during World War II. Rutgers scientists, the first to link a specific chemical compound to Alzheimer's disease, said they believe that research into how DDT and DDE may trigger neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer's, is crucial.

“I think these results demonstrate that more attention should be focused on potential environmental contributors and their interaction with genetic susceptibility,” says Jason R. Richardson, associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and a member of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute. ”Our data may help identify those that are at risk for Alzheimer’s disease and could potentially lead to earlier diagnosis and an improved outcome.”

Although the levels of DDT and DDE have decreased significantly in the
United States over the last three decades, the toxic pesticide is still found in
75 to 80 percent of the blood samples collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a national health and nutrition survey.  This occurs, scientists say, because the chemical can take decades to breakdown in the environment.  In addition, people may be exposed to the pesticide by consuming imported fruits, vegetables and grains where DDT is still being used and eating fish from contaminated waterways.

In the Rutgers study, conducted in coordination with Emory University Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center, 74 out of the 86 Alzheimer’s patients involved whose average age was 74 had DDE blood levels almost four times higher than the 79 people in the control group who did not have Alzheimer’s disease.

Patients with a version of a gene which greatly increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and high blood levels of DDE exhibited even more severe cognitive impairment than the patients without the risk gene. Brain cell studies also found that DDT and DDE increased the amount of a protein associated with plaques believed to be a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

These sticky amyloid proteins, which may form in regions of the brain involved in memory, learning and thinking, break off and clump together in the brain and increase as the disease progresses. This new research is important, Richardson says, because it suggests that DDT and DDE may directly contribute to the process of plaque development.

Although the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not known, scientists believe that late-onset Alzheimer’s may be linked to a combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. Much of the research into Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases has mostly been centered on finding genetic connections, Richardson says. Five million Americans suffer now for the disease and millions more expected to fall prey with the graying of the Baby Boom Generation.

Vacation, travel and hospitality


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

The Hidden Garden Art Gallery near the Liberia airport is a great place to find quality remembrances of Costa Rica to take home or to decorate your home or office in Costa Rica.  We also offer commissioned pieces so you can create your own unique masterpiece to cherish forever.  With more than 60 artists on exhibit and fine art in 15 rooms full of paintings, prints, sculptures, and diverse artistic expressions, we are easy to locate just 5 kms west of the Daniel Oduber International Airport. Visit our Web site at
or contact us by email:
HiddenGarden@TheVanStoneGroup.com.   
Gallery hours: Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tel. 2667-0592 / 8386-6872; U.S. telephone 702-953-7073. International shipping available.
8199-4/6/14

Costa Rica’s #1 Time –Tested Relocation/Retirement Tours
Christopher Howard's Award-winning Combination Relocation/Retirement Tour. NO other retirement tour offers MORE options...MORE areas visited, MORE information, MORE people just like you who have made the move and a LONGER
fact-filled tour for your money. Winner of the 2010 Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the most UNIQUE and OUTSTANDING tour in Latin America. This  is the ONLY relocation/retirement tour really APPROVED with a LEGAL tour guide to operate in Costa Rica by the government’s Institute of Tourism ICT (license number DL-658-2004) in 2004. ALL tours are personally led by Christopher Howard, the author of the perennial best-selling ”New Golden Door to
Christ Howard with Max
Retirement and Living in Costa Rica,” the MOST read authority on living and retiring in Costa Rica,  and who has personally helped over 10,000 people with ALL BUDGETS relocate SUCCESSFULLY over the last 35 years. CUSTOM TAILOR-MADE TOURS are also available for people with special needs or who can’t take one of our fixed-date tours. ALL tours include EXTENSIVE touring and a highly informative SEMINAR by the country’s most renowned EXPERTS in their respective fields. Also visit: Live in Costa Rica to check out our NEW tour prices and specials.  Customer satisfaction 100% guaranteed! MY REFERENCES.

* Recommended by the Association of Residents of Costa Rica ARCR as part of the new Costa Rica Alliance (made up of the most renowned experts in their respective fields).

* FREE 50% DISCOUNT on the first year's MEMBERSHIP for the Association of Residents of Costa Rica ARCR with these tours
        
*FREE BONUS all people who sign up for the tour receive a FREE copy of the 16th edition of  the bestseller “New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica. At the conclusion of the tour they also receive FREE eBook copies of Christopher Howard’s other one-of-a-kind  bestsellers “Official Guide to Costa Rican Spanish,” “The Official Guide to Real Estate In Costa Rica” and “The Official Guide to Costa Rica’s Legal System for Tontos (dumbells).” Almost 2,000 pages of INVALUABLE material in all!
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Experience You Can Trust
TravelerFriendlyInsurance.com is an authorized representative of IMG insurance. For more than 20 years, IMG has dedicated its efforts to providing international medical insurance, travel insurance and impeccable service to the international community. It's our specialty. We realize that traveling abroad can be an exciting experience. We also know that anything can happen while you're away from home - whether visiting short-term or living abroad indefinitely. It's important to be prepared for any unexpected illness, injury or medical emergency. Many traditional medical plans simply are not designed for international travel. We offer: Indivudual/Family, Group, Students/Faculty Trip Interruption, Mission Medical, Specialty Coverage. Contact us at and get a FREE quote today:
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Anywhere
Anywhere Costa Rica plans custom vacations, and has the most comprehensive travel services in the country including travel guides, resorts and vacation homes,
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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

 (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.
Lundquist
                        patio
Exotic gardens next to one
of our patios



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!
http://www.vimeo.com/5656822

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. lundquistgeorge@gmail.com
8158-3/1/13

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



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ALAJUELA – SERENE LIVING
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 gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.
9229-3/3/14

Los Arcos gated community 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment $500 monthly. aAso efficiency apartment $300 month. dogfood@carolina.rr.com 8841-1606
8222-2/21/14

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80
stations, water, washer and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:  rentnowcr@gmail.com.
8220-4/10/14

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
coffee retreat
 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 jogya345@yahoo.com
8214-2/11/14

Belen
                                                home
Test Drive Costa Rica
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: rafa@rafacr.com.
8198-2/9/14

prime properties
ATTENTION EXPATS:
 
We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Rohrmoser
Escazú
Santa Ana
 

  rentals.sanjose@gmail.com
8203-1/23/14

ALAJUELA – SERENE LIVING
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 gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.
8161-1/11/13

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 
tropical
of Costa Rica. We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442.
8054-2/16/14






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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 21
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Cafetales



Online educational classes
blocked in sanctioned lands

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. education company Coursera, which offers free Internet-based classes in subjects ranging from medicine and mathematics to business and social sciences, says it had to make changes to its accessibility in some countries.

Writing on its online blog, Coursera says that under certain U.S. export control regulations, it is prohibited from offering services to students in countries such as Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria, because of U.S. sanctions. It explains that as of this week, students from those countries will have restricted access to course pages.

Coursera’s classes are prepared in partnership with many of the world’s top universities and organizations and include lectures by renowned scholars.

In an e-mail, a U.S. Treasury Department spokeswoman says the agency’s Office of Foreign Assets Control requires Coursera and any U.S. entity involved in certain exchange programs to seek a license in order to provide programs that benefit people in sanctioned countries.

In its blog, Coursera says it is working very closely with the State Department and the Office of Foreign Assets Control to reinstate access for students in countries under sanctions.


Intelligence officials claim
Snowden helped terrorists

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

National Intelligence Director James Clapper says terrorists have gone to school on U.S. surveillance efforts following Edward Snowden's information leaks.
 
Clapper told a U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee because of the former National Security Agency contractor's leaks terrorists have changed their communication methods, making the intelligence community's work more difficult.
 
During testimony Wednesday, Clapper called the leaks the most massive and damaging theft of intelligence information in American history, begging Snowden to return unreleased documents.
 
“Terrorists and other advisories of this country are going to school on U.S. intelligence sources, methods, and tradecraft, and the insights they are gaining are making our job much, much harder,” he said.
 
“Snowden claims he has won, and his mission is accomplished," Clapper added. "If that is so, I call on him and his accomplices to facilitate the return of the remaining stolen documents that have not yet been exposed to prevent even more damage to U.S. security.”
 
National Counterterrorism Director Matthew Olsen also told the committee there has been an uptick in terrorist threat reports before the Winter Olympics next week in Sochi, Russia.
 
“This is what we expected, given where the Olympics are located," he said. "There are a number of extremists in that area; in particular, a group, Imirat Kavkaz, which is probably the most prominent terrorist group in Russia.”
 
Olsen said the greatest threat is not to the athletes or spectators within the venues at the Olympic Games.
 
“There is extensive security at those locations, the sites of the events. The greater threat is to softer targets in the greater Sochi area and the outskirts, beyond Sochi, where there is a substantial potential for a terrorist attack," he said.
 
During the annual hearing on current and projected U.S. national security threats at home and abroad, Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said Syria is a growing concern for terrorists.
 
"I think the most notable development since last year’s hearing is actually in Syria, which has become a magnet for foreign fighters and for terrorist activities," said Sen. Feinstein, a California Democrat. "The situation has become so dire that even al Qaida’s central leader, Ayman al Zawahiri, has renounced the activities of one group as being too extreme.”
 
The committee also expressed concern about Afghanistan, saying it cannot lose a must-win war in the country.


Norwegian politicians back
Snowden for Peace Prize


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

NSA leaker Edward Snowden has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The nomination was made Wednesday by two Norwegian politicians, Snorre Valen and Bård Vegar Solhjell, who say Snowden made the world more safe by revealing the scope of U.S. data monitoring. Solhjell is Norway’s former environment and education minister from the Socialist Left Party, and Valen is a fellow member of parliament.

“There is no doubt that the actions of Edward Snowden may have damaged the security interests of several nations in the short term,” the two wrote in a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee. “We are, however, convinced that the public debate and change in policy that have followed in the wake of Snowden’s whistleblowing has contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order.”

The two added that the “level of sophistication and depth of surveillance that citizens all over the world are subject to have stunned us, and stirred debate," adding that revelations of widespread surveillance  "led to the reintroduction of trust and transparency as a leading principle in global security policies."

Last year, a Swedish professor named Stefan Svallfors nominated Snowden for the prize.

Nominations for the prestigious award can be made by government officials, previous winners, university professors and members of international organizations.

Last year, the Nobel committee received 259 nominations, a record number. The winner was the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The deadline for 2014 nominations is Saturday, and this year’s winner will be announced Oct. 10.

 
House OKs new farm bills
with $23 billion in reductions

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a farm bill, bringing changes in farm subsidy programs and reforms to international food aid one step closer to passage.

The 10-year, $1 trillion bill includes $23 billion in cuts in conservation measures, nutrition programs and crop subsidies.

It ends a politically unpopular $5 billion subsidy that paid farmers regardless of need.  In its place, lawmakers added subsidized insurance programs that compensate farmers for crop losses or price declines.

Backers say it will provide support only when farmers need it.

But opponents see it as providing the bulk of the benefits to the wealthiest farmers, and they expect large payouts as prices for major crops decline from recent record highs.

“Almost surely, farmers are going to get a lot more money out of these programs than they got out of the direct payments program,” said Montana State University agricultural economist Vincent Smith.

Critics also say the subsidy changes may trigger an international trade dispute.  Smith said by cushioning U.S. farmers against price declines in global markets, these programs interfere with international trade more than the programs they replace.

“Expenditures are all going to be viewed as distortionary programs.  They are all going to be grist for the mill for trade disputes, and the U.S. is going to be in the wrong,” Smith said.

American Farm Bureau Federation chief economist Bob Young said he expects a case to go to the World Trade Organization, but says the programs are sound.

“Somebody is going to be very hard-pressed, I think, to challenge us on this front,” he said.

The U.S. has already lost a trade case to Brazil on cotton subsidies. It is unclear if the new farm bill will resolve the dispute.

The farm bill also increases funding to purchase international food aid closer to where it is needed.

Advocates say local and regional purchase is faster, less costly and helps more of the needy than the current model of U.S. food aid, which involves shipping U.S.-produced crops on U.S. flagged ships.

Former agriculture secretary Dan Glickman says the $80 million measure is a small improvement in the $1.5 billion annual food aid budget.

“It doesn’t go all the way.  It will still largely be commodity-based.  But it still moves in that direction,” he said.

Funding for domestic food aid programs has been among the most contentious parts of the bill. Negotiators compromised on $8.6 billion in cuts, mostly to stiffer eligibility requirements.

Conservatives wanted more cuts and tighter enrollment for a safety net program that has continued to grow as the economy has improved.

But liberals fought against a bill that they see as cutting protection for the hungry while increasing it for farmers.

The farm bill went through three years of difficult negotiations through partisan divisions and fights within the Republican Party. It now goes to the Senate for a vote expected later this week.

  
Obama walks a narrow path
with his go-it-alone strategy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Call it a reset, reboot or Obama 3.0.  Whatever it is, entering the sixth year of his presidency, President Barack Obama has decided he will go it alone if he has to.  After five years of fits and starts in trying to work with Republicans in Congress on divisive issues like health care reform and cutting the debt, Obama set a new course in his State of the Union address.

“America does not stand still and neither will I,” he said.

His declaration drew a pop-up ovation from Democrats in the House of Representatives chamber.  Republicans sat on their hands staring straight ahead.
 
Obama did renew an appeal to Congress to work together if possible and seemed to indicate that immigration reform represents the best potential for success, adding that it was time to “fix our broken immigration system”.

Unlike past years, he did not hammer Republicans for blocking a path to citizenship.  Several Republican lawmakers seemed to appreciate the soft-sell approach and there are indications that leaders like House Speaker John Boehner and others may be open to a compromise that eventually might offer a path to legal status to the millions of residents who entered the country illegally.
 
Republicans have an incentive to defuse immigration as a political issue.  A kinder, gentler approach to the growing Hispanic population would help blunt Democratic attacks in this year’s congressional midterm campaign that Republicans are anti-immigration.  It’s also another sign that mainstream Republicans believe the Tea Party is in retreat after last October’s politically disastrous government shutdown that hurt the Republican Party across the board.
 
One of the first actions the president announced was increasing the minimum wage for new federal contract workers from $7.25 an hour to $10.10.  But this action also points up the limits of executive power.  The wage increase only applies to future contracts and will impact very few workers initially.
 
Most of the other actions announced by the president are small-bore steps and programs designed to buttress his fundamental goal — to make the middle class more secure and to try and narrow the growing income gap between the wealthiest 1 percent in the U.S. and everyone else.
 
That’s not to say executive orders and presidential proclamations can’t have a major impact.  Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 freeing slaves in the southern states.  President Harry Truman issued the order to desegregate the military in 1948, and President Bill Clinton unilaterally declared millions of acres of federal land as protected national monuments in the 1990s.
 
But the Constitution sets limits on unilateral presidential action and executive orders are not immune from court challenges that occasionally wind up being decided in the Supreme Court.  Given the conservative slant to the current high court, the president may wish to avoid that if possible.
 
The Republican reaction to the president’s go it alone strategy has been predictable.  Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a possible presidential contender in 2016, described the approach as borderline unconstitutional.  Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Texas senator and Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz decried the president’s persistent pattern of lawlessness.
 
Since the earliest days of his presidency, many Republicans, especially those aligned with the Tea Party, have promoted the narrative that Obama is bent on pursuing an imperial presidency.  They point to the enactment of the health care law as the prime example of the president running roughshod over the objections of the tens of millions of Americans represented by Republicans in Congress.  No Republicans supported the law when it passed Congress in 2010.
 
The Republicans will try to turn the executive order strategy against the president and Democrats in the November elections.  And they will continue to focus on what they contend is the failure of Obamacare in this year’s campaign, even though the president made it clear in his State of the Union that he believes voters are not interested in refighting old battles over health care again in 2014 and he will resist any effort to kill the law.
  
In any election year, the president’s State of the Union serves as a blueprint for his party’s campaign strategy.  For Democrats in 2014, the emphasis will be on bolstering the middle class with practical government assistance that includes raising the minimum wage across the board, extending unemployment benefits for the jobless, greater access to college and funding pre-school programs.  Polls show these types of initiatives are popular not only with Democrats but with independent voters, a group that has vacillated in its support of the president in the past.

Obama and the Democrats are trying to tap into a growing sense of middle class angst that is leftover from the last recession, the fear that the American Dream is in decline and that children will not have it as good.  It’s the same fear that underlines poll numbers that show for the past 10 years, Americans have generally felt the country is headed in the wrong direction.  It’s also partly why Obama’s approval rating is mired down in the low to mid-40s even though there are numerous signs of an improving national economy in terms of job growth and a strengthening housing market.
 
Republicans are trying to tap into the same fears.  Their pitch will be to limit the government’s involvement in the lives of Americans and rely more on individual initiative and the power of the free market.  They will point over and over again to the flaws of the president’s health care law as the best example of government overreach.
 
And so the midterm battle begins with significant political stakes for the president and for both political parties.  If the Republicans can hold or increase their majority in the House of Representatives and also gain the six seats they need to take control of the Senate, they will be able to block anything the president wants to do in his final two years, rendering him a true lame duck.
 
Democrats are panicked at the thought of losing the Senate and will pour all the resources they have into holding enough seats to keep their majority.  Their problem is that many of the key Senate races this year are in Republican-leaning states that have soured on Obama.  If the president’s poll ratings stay low, history says that Democrats could have a long and difficult night when the elections are held on Nov. 4.

 
Opinions differ on reasons
for U.S. economic divide


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Many analysts agree there is a wide economic divide in the United States between the destitute and the wealthy.  And they say it's not getting any better.  But there are differing opinions about what led the country to this divide, and whether President Barack Obama can do anything to close the gap, as he suggested in his State of the Union address Tuesday.

Tiffany Beroid can think of little else except bills as she struggles to make ends meet. She works part-time, making minimum wage at Walmart.  If she takes a full-time job, she won’t be able to afford child care for her two daughters.

Ms. Beroid calls herself the working poor.  And she recently added the label of sole breadwinner, because her husband just got laid off.  

“It makes it very very tough for us now, so now we have to really buckle down and there’s nothing extra that we can afford," she said.  "After we buy diapers and things for the girls, that’s just it.”

Ms. Beroid works at her neighborhood Walmart in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  Here, there are no boutiques and no places to stroll.

But 29 kilometers away, life is far different in upscale Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Locals refer to an area in the center of the suburban city as the Rodeo Drive of Maryland, named after the famous celebrity shopping district in Beverly Hills, California.  The main shopping district is lined with high-end stores for people who can afford them.

People in this neighborhood live in houses that doubled their median value in the past decade to nearly $1 million.

A University of California Berkeley study says the salaries of America's top 1 percent wage earners soared by 30 percent over three years.  While everyone else's salary grew less than half a percent.

Peter Cappelli, who is with the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, blames the outsourcing of union jobs as paychecks ballooned in the financial sector.

"The big question is are things going on that have kind of changed the rules and stacked the deck further in favor of people who are already pretty wealthy," he said.

Back in Chevy Chase, another explanation.

“In the last few years because of the economic crisis I would think a lot of people lost jobs,” one woman said.

“Because of greed in the world,” a man added.

Ms. Beroid is fighting Walmart to raise its minimum wage. Walmart says its wages are higher than average.  As a private employer, the store would not be affected by the president's expected order to raise wages for federal contractors.

Obama had pushed to raise the minimum for all workers, but Congress argued that higher wages would lead to more layoffs.

Cappelli says raising wages is only a short-term fix.

“I don’t think anybody would choose this as the best way to help the working poor, but it’s in place," he said. "We can increase the minimum wage more easily than we could put in place an entirely new program.”

Capelli says the country should focus on future generations and preserving America's middle ground, because that's what it's losing.


Fed again reduces amount
of monthly boost for economy

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Policy makers at the U.S. central bank are again trimming their direct support of the world's largest economy.

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it will buy $65 billion worth of securities in February to pump more money into the economy, boost job growth and keep interest rates low. But that asset purchase would be $10 billion less than this month, and would keep the central bank on course to wind down the program altogether by the end of the year, if the U.S. economy continues to advance.

In a statement after a two-day meeting in Washington, the Fed said it sees economic activity picking up, with growing underlying strength in the broader economy.

The bank said it is keeping its benchmark interest rate near zero, and likely will continue to keep it that low well past the time that the country's unemployment rate reaches 6.5 percent. The jobless rate now is at 6.7 percent, a five-year low.

The central bank cut the asset purchases at the last policy meeting headed by outgoing chairman Ben Bernanke, as his eight-year tenure expires. Fed vice chairwoman Janet Yellen will become the first woman to head the century-old agency Saturday.

For more than a year, the central bank bought $85 billion worth of securities every month to pump money into the American economy as it steadily, but unevenly, recovered from the 2008 recession.

The Fed's cutback in its direct support for the U.S. economy has roiled markets and currencies in emerging economies throughout January. Growth had advanced in the emerging economies during the depths of the world downturn.

But now, investors fear that as the Fed eases off its securities purchases, and long-term interest rates edge higher in the U.S., billions of dollars of investment money will be pulled from the emerging economies. Instead, the money could be invested in the U.S. and other advanced economies for bigger returns.

One barometer Fed policy makers watch is the U.S. jobless rate. Even though the figure has fallen over the last year, the Fed noted that "labor market indicators were mixed in recent months, even as they generally improved.

Much of the decline in the unemployment rate has been the result of discouraged long-term unemployed workers ending their search for new jobs, and thus not counted in the jobless figure. U.S. employers had been adding about 200,000 new jobs a month through the latter half of 2013, but just 74,000 in December.


Kerry honors three companies
for good citizenship overseas

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has honored three U.S. companies for their favorable treatment of workers and advanced use of renewable resources at their operations in Cameroon, Honduras and Mexico.

Kerry gave Awards for Corporate Excellence Wednesday in Washington to Taylor Guitars for its work in Cameroon, the Fruit of the Loom textile company in Honduras and the electronic products company Plantronics in Mexico.

The top U.S. diplomat said the actions of the three companies represented the best of American values.

"Every single one of the winners today have set a high standard and they've all done really remarkable work in communities around the world as a result of the choices that they have made in the corporate boardroom."

He cited Taylor Guitars for buying an ebony mill in Cameroon and using all shades of ebony in manufacturing its guitars, not just black ebony once used exclusively, so that the country's forests are not depleted.

Kerry honored Fruit of the Loom for its ground-breaking labor agreement with workers that boosted wages, and provided free transportation for workers to their jobs and free lunches. The company partly powers its operations with biomass electricity generation using seaweed.

He said 70 percent of the power needs at Plantronics' operation in Tijuana, Mexico is provided by rooftop solar panels.

 
Modern humans acquired traits
in some cases from Neanderthals

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

According to new research, ancient human ancestors acquired some skin genes that helped them survive outside Africa by mating with Neanderthals.

When humans wandered out of Africa and into Europe and Asia around a hundred thousand years ago, their closest hominid relatives, the Neanderthals, had already been there.

“So, of course, there’s always been the possibility that they would have met and that they would have interbred,” said genetics graduate student Benjamin Vernot at the University of Washington. “But there hasn’t been evidence for that. And we finally got evidence in 2010.”

That 2010 discovery found that non-Africans inherit about 1 to 3 percent of their DNA from Neanderthals.

The next question was, which 1 to 3 percent?

Vernot and his colleagues went looking through the genomes of 665 people for statistical patterns that would identify Neanderthal genes.

They published their findings in two scientific journals, Science and Nature.

The scientists found several genes dealing with a protein called keratin, found in skin, hair and fingernails, that trace back to Neanderthals in more than 60 percent of those studied.

Vernot says those genes must have helped human ancestors adapt to the environment outside Africa. But he said they don’t know exactly how.

“We know that two of the genes are associated with pigmentation. So, it could be that we inherited lighter skin from Neanderthals,” he said. “But it’s really difficult to pin that down.”

“These two papers provide the first evidence that genes from Neanderthals affected modern humans in an important way: they were favored by natural selection,” said University of California at Berkeley geneticist Montgomery Slatkin, who was one of the scientists who sequenced the Neanderthal genome but was not involved in this research.

The scientists also were struck by how unevenly Neanderthal genes are spread throughout the human genome.

“There are places where lots of us share genes with Neanderthals, and there are places where nobody does,” said Harvard University geneticist Sriram Sankararaman.

The researchers found almost no Neanderthal versions of genes, called alleles, in parts of the genome dealing with fertility, for example.

And that makes sense, he added. “What we are seeing is the action of alleles that are causing incompatibilities being driven out of the population.”

Humans and Neanderthals were different species, and offspring of these kinds of mixed marriages “tend to be less fit or less fertile, or sometimes sterile,” said Sankararaman.

For example, horses and donkeys can mate, and they are more distantly related than humans and Neanderthals were. But they produce mules, which are sterile. So, genes that cause infertility would not survive.

Researchers also found Neanderthal genes in parts of the genome linked with a number of ailments, including diabetes, lupus, Crohn’s disease and smoking behavior.

“There, the interpretation is not very clear at all,” Sankararaman said. Researchers don’t know if those genes raise or lower the risk of disease.

“It doesn’t mean that the Neanderthal allele is causing a certain disease,” he added. “It’s just associated with that.”





Real estate-related services (paid category)

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

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

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


Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


Swimming pool at night
A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.

For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 2228-5961 or 8339-2112. www.costaricarealtyone.com
8179-3/11/14

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

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

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



Costa Rica,

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





Visit our Web Site:
 www.greciarealestate.com




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

Real estate for sale (paid category)


NOW REDUCED TO $595,000
ALAJUELA – PRIVATE COMPOUND OF 4 HOMES - $850,000 TURNKEY
Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:
8230-3/13/14

Land near Monte de La Cruz, 27 hectors+, Must sell for best offer due to cancer, dogfood@carolina.rr.com 8841-1606
8223-2/21/14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Gulf road

Beachfront pristine five-hectare (13-acre) property

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

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



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

Becker montage
Beach property on the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste.

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

condors

HIGH SECURITY Condo
ULatina, UCR, & U Fidelitas San Pedro, San Jose. $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: sjogringo@yahoo.com
6141-2/11/14

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

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

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

humming bird nest

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

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 galanses@hotmail.com for an appointment. For a preview www.facebook.com/FantasiaTropicalCR
8232-2/24/14

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

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

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

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

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page


San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 21
Sports
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News from the BBC up to the minute











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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
International audience to see
a chilly Super Bowl this year

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

America’s biggest sporting event, the Super Bowl, has a major global following. Viewers around the world will tune in to American football’s championship game this Sunday to watch the Denver Broncos face the Seattle Seahawks.

It’s the first outdoor, cold weather Super Bowl in NFL history. This year it is being held at MetLife stadium in New Jersey, just outside New York City. There was quite a frenzy Wednesday at Media Day in Newark, New Jersey.
   
The Super Bowl is the biggest media event in all of American sports, but it's not only domestic fans who clamor for coverage of the big game.

"Super Bowl is a great event for us internationally, something that is known around the world. Even if people aren’t NFL fans, they know about Super Bowl," said David Tossell of NFL International. "Super Bowl is a great chance for us to, it’s really the showpiece for what the NFL is and gives us a chance to reach a whole new audience around the world."

The New Jersey stadium has been packed with media from around the world leading up to the game, which will be broadcast to more than 200 countries. More than 500 international broadcasters are registered to cover the event. Several said that the Super Bowl attracts big audiences in their countries.

“We have good ratings and in Moscow the sports bars, all sports bars are full,” said Dmitri Khaitovsky, a Russian sports commentator.

“In England and all over Europe the game of American football, which is what they call it, has been played for decades. It’s just now there’s more of an attention and emphasis by the NFL in doing games in Wembley Stadium," said Cecil Martin, of Sky TV in England.

"In Mexico, the Steelers, the Cowboys, also the Denver Broncos, the 49ers-San Francisco, now the four or five teams have very much popularity in our country," said Luis Garcia of Mexican TV.

It’s not just teams that are well-known. Many NFL superstars are well-known in other countries. Peyton Manning, quarterback of the Denver Broncos, has many fans in Japan.

"He’s pretty big. He’s pretty famous. We are pretty interested in how he does against the Seahawks,” said Yuki Makino of NHK Television in Japan.

With an estimated one billion fans worldwide watching the Super Bowl, the NFL just might be poised to expand its franchise to other parts of the globe. 

“There’s obviously a lot of discussion whether we would have a franchise in London," said Tossell. "The commissioner himself has spoken about that and said that if we continue to do well in the U.K. it is something to be looked at."

 
Twin quakes rattle coast
and are felt in Central Valley

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Twin earthquakes took place Wednesday at a point about 6 kilometers north of Quepos on the central Pacific coast.

The first was at 7:41 p.m., and it was felt lightly in the Central Valley even though the magnitude was reported at 4.5. The second came at 9:21 p.m. and was felt more strongly even though the reported magnitude was 4.2

The reports are from the Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

Early today at 16 minutes after midnight a 4.4 quake took place just south of Costa Rica in the Pacific near Panamá.






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From Page 7:

Caja says hotels and restaurants owe $11 million

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social said Wednesday that 2,587 hotels and restaurants are behind on their monthly payments. The total is an astounding 5.5 billion colons or about $11 million.

The nation's health provider said that it is conducting 862 procedures for closing establishments and that there are more than 4,500 court actions.

Employers have to pay the Caja a percentage based on employee salaries each month. Employees contribute to the payment, too, so when an employer fails to remit money to the Caja some of the cash belongs to the employees.

The Caja said that 10 companies represent 15 percent of the total debt. Among the top 10 are two Arenal area hotels. However, the Caja did not fully identify the bulk of the 10 firms, and some have names shared by several companies.