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(506) 2223-1327                        Published Jan. 30, 2015, in Vol. 15, No. 21                           Email us
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Name change would make entire canton Quepos
By the A.M. Costa Rica

Lawmakers acted Thursday to rename the canton of  Aguirre and to have it called the canton of Quepos, the name of the major community there.

The stated reason for the change is to honor the native inhabitants who were called  Quepos. A second practical reason is that the word Quepos is a tourism draw because, as lawmakers pointed out, no one ever says they went visiting the canton of  Aguirre.

The canton includes such tourism destinations as Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. The bill, No. 19.236, needs one more vote in the legislature before it is passed on to the president for a possible signature. But that seems to be likely because the measure got 43 votes Thursday.

The canton is the sixth in the province of Puntarenas, which runs long the central and south Pacific coast.

The current name is that of a soldier, Rolando Aguirre Lobo,  a casualty of the Legión Caribe in the 1948 civil war.  The Heredia native had lived in Quepos since 1938 and died at the battle of Limón.

A.M. Costa Ricas graphic
The current canton of Aguirre is highlighted in red within the lighter province of Puntarenas.

Lawmakers said that his memory would continue to be respected even if it were not associated with a canton.

Lawmakers learned that not much is known about the former native inhabitants except that they vanished. They may have been called  quepoi or quepoa, a summary of legislative action said.

In addition to the city, the canton contains the districts of Savegre and Naranjito. There are about 27,000 residents.

Strong wind expected to continue through Saturday
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The wind has been gusting so strong in Tilarán de Guanacaste that the power company's wind generators shut down.

At the generating facility in Tejona, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad said wind speeds of 140 to 150 kph have been detected. That's about 87 to 93 mph.

The utility company said that the wind generators, which are big propellors, automatically shut down when wind speeds reach 90 kph, about 56 mph.

Despite the wind and the damage it has caused in some areas, the company known as ICE said that electrical service and telephone operations have been near normal throughout the country. Many crews have been battling a number of temporary outages, ICE said.

One exception is at  Sepeque de Talamanca where crews were trying to restore service to 20 or 30 customers Thursday afternoon.

There was a problem at Tejona Tuesday when the wind knocked down a cell tower.

That cut voice and data service although simple cell calls were picked up by adjacent towers automatically, the state firm said.

Most of the problems are from falling branches and trees that damage lines and utility poles.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that a reduction in wind is expected this afternoon on the Caribbean coast.

But strong winds are expected to continue at least through Saturday in the north Pacific, the gulf of Nicoya and the Central Valley, said the agency.

There has been rain in the northern zone, the Talamanca mountains and on the Caribbean coast, the institute said. The amount has been as high as 154 millimeters or about six inches during the 24 hours ending at 7 p.m. Thursday, the institute said.

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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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Summit declarations back member states

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States approved perhaps as many as 27 declarations before delegations headed home Thursday.

Most catered to the individual issues facings countries that attended.

For example, the summit assembly rejected the use of what it called coercive methods against Venezuela. In December U.S. President Barack Obama signed sanctions against Venezuelan government officials who violated the right of protesters. The action, which was approved by the U.S. Congress, denies U.S. visas and freezes assets held in the United States.

The summit also backed Argentina in its effort to restructure its debt without having to pay the full amount to primarily hedge fund operators who demand full payment of $1.33 billion. The hedge fund claims have been upheld in the U.S. judicial system. The declaration denounced speculators.

The summit also invited member states to create a registry of cultural goods that had been taken and are now in other countries. The goal would be to get back the cultural items, which mainly are archaeological pieces.

The summit countries also expressed their solidarity with the Latin American and Caribbean states regarding the disputes with some transnational enterprises that the declaration said have polluted their territories, ecosystems and communities.

The summit also declared its opposition to slavery and said that the transatlantic shipment of humans should never again take place. There was support for a monument to slaves at the United Nations for which states were asked to contribute. There was no mention of slavery elsewhere in the world, principally Africa.

There also were declarations on issues that the countries that sent delegates have little power to make changes. These included nuclear weapons, although some nations would like to have them.

The summit also demanded the restructuring of the world's financial system toward a new world order for living well. That would include donations from the developed countries.

The organization of states also said it wanted to have a formal affiliation with the United Nations.

Many of the other declarations have not yet been published.

Costa Rica said that it had obtained pledges of votes for other nations for the election of Elizabeth Odio Benito, a Costa Rican, to the Interamerican Court of Human Rights.

President Luis Guillermo Solís cut short the final session by some 90 minutes when he realized that Daniel Ortega, president of Nicaragua, had installed Rubén Berríos of the Partido Independentista de Puerto Rico as head of his delegation. Ortega clashed with Solís the day before over letting Berríos address the meeting with the status of a head of state. Ortega left Costa Rica Wednesday night.

The tone of the session was maintained by Evo Morales of Bolivia who railed against capitalism.

The summit was at the Pedregal Centro de Eventos, and the hosting of the two-day meeting of some 17 heads of state is being considered a successful diplomatic event. Costa Rican officials were able to hold many two-party talks with delegates from other countries.

Wave dumps fire fighters into gulf

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A wave is being blamed for overturning a boat and dumping seven persons aboard into the Gulf of Nicoya about noon Thursday.

The Cuerpo de Bomberos de Costa Rica said the boat was owned by Reyner Sandoval, a firefighter. Those aboard also were off-duty firemen.

The mishap took place about 80 meters off the Isla San Lucia, and four persons were able to swim to shore, the agency said. All wore life jackets.

One person in the water suffered some form of nervous attack, said the Cuerpo de Bomberos, so two other persons stayed there until a rescue boat arrived.

Responding were the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas and CR-02 a vessel of the Cuerpo de Bomberos, the fire agency said.

Pet adoption fair will be Saturday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Animales de Asís plans an adoption fair at the Walmart in Excazú Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dogs, puppies, cats and kittens will be available. They are vaccinated and castrated, the organization said. A donation is requested for each animal.

U.S. tourist is victim of rafting mishap

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A U.S. tourist died Thursday in a rafting accident in the Río Sarapiquí. The Judicial Investigating Organization will issue a report later today.

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Finance ministry warns of impact caused by end of corporate tax
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The finance ministry bemoaned the action of the Sala IV constitutional court in voiding a tax on corporations, but a statement did not say an effort would be made to pass the tax again.

The Ministerio de Hacienda said that the constitutional court decision creates a difficult situation for the country and the effect will be felt next year. The court voided the tax on corporations as unconstitutional but said that the decision would not take effect until 2016.

The ministry said that the taxes would continue to be collected for this year and that interest and fines would be assessed for late payment. The deadline to pay the tax is Saturday, which means payment can be made without penalty Monday, the next business day.

The ministry statement noted that 95 percent of the money collected via this tax goes to support the Ministerio de
 Seguridad Pública. It said that the ministry wold continue to be supported despite the demise of the tax.

But the ministry warned of an increase in the fiscal deficit for 2016.

The tax is based on the salary of a specific judicial employee. For 2015 the tax for an active corporation is 201,700 colons. That's about $382. Owners of inactive corporations pay half that.

The Sala IV said that a substitute bill that contained significant changes and subsequently was passed had not been advertised as the law required.

Three magistrates said the tax itself was unjust because it charges big and little corporations the same amount.

In order to make up for the loss of income, the minister, Helio Fallas, urged lawmakers to pass two pieces of pending legislation.  One is designed to improve prosecution of tax fraud and the other attacks smuggling.

Telecom regulator promises new rules to improve quality for customers
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The telecom regulator said Thursday that new regulations are forthcoming to improve the quality of service. The decision came after a survey from August to October of telephone users conducted by the firm Demoscopía S.A.

The Superintendencia said that proposed drafts of new regulations would be available in a few months.

The survey asked respondants to evaluate their own telephone service. There are 10 fixed, mobil or Internet telephone providers in the country that are subject to the regulator, the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones.

In most cases there were no dramatic differences in the evaluation of different firms, but nearly 50 percent of Claro users reported losing mobil Internet at least once a week.

Neither the press release nor the lengthy online report said how many interviews were conducted to obtain the data. The press release said that there was a 2.5 percent error margin at the 95 percent confidence level. However, with persons responding about 10 different companies and at least five different forms of telephone service, specific evaluations of individual companies probably are not valid.

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Health officials issue warning after measles turn up in United States
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

There has not been a recorded case of measles in Costa Rica for 17 years, and health officials would like to keep it that way. Thursday they issued an advisory in the wake of a measles epidemic in California. Most of the 95 persons infected has some contact with Disneyland, according to the Ministerio de Salud.

California officials said that they suspected the virus came to Disneyland with a foreign visitor because the United States had been measles-free for years.

The disease is called sarampión in Spanish. Those who get it develop a high fever and later a red rash, basically red dots, in three to seven days.  Before vaccinations were developed, the disease was a common one for school children along with mumps. There is a single shot vaccination now for those two diseases as well as rubella, which also is known as German measles.

Hilda Salazar, a physician at the health ministry, urged parents to check the vaccination records of their children. Travelers should be extra vigilant as well as tourism workers, said the ministry.

Children here usually receive vaccinations as infants and they get a booster right before starting school, said the ministry.

The disease can be life-threatening, particularly for adults who have not been vaccinated. After the arrival of the Spanish in the Americas, measles ravaged the native populations and may have killed as many as half.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control/Barbara Rice
This child in a file photo has typical four-day measles rash.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

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Comfort of your home in the campo, 5 minutes from Fortuna Centro of San Carlos, in the shadow of Volcano Arenal, Flat screen TV, AC, refrigerator, free coffee. Local area activities like four-wheeling, horse riding, zip lining, hot springs, jungle walking tours. Bring your camera for great photos of nature, fishing and swimming, canyoning and wireless internet. Harry Hart, proprietor.  Call for reservations  (506) 2479-8670   and (506) 8682-9219  Email:

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When you visit Costa Rica, you'll want to discover what you need to know to  make the right choice about moving to this tropical paradise.  Our familiarization tours have won hard-earned credentials that prove general excellence and the right focus.  These are the only retirement tours that are licensed and approved by the Costa Rican government and tourism institute  (ICT). In 2006 we were featured on the NBC Today Show and World News.  In 2010, we won the  prestigious Latin America-Asia Travel Excellence Award for the Best and Most Unique Tour in Latin America.

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

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Real estate rentals
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Real estate wanted

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

Real estate for rent (paid category)
Two houses for rent inside Sarchí working coffee farm. We will be renting out only one of them, so choose which suits you best.

Casita - Roomy, fully furnished 1 bedroom/1 bath/ 1 guest room, office or storage room. Hi-speed     WiFi, private phone line, hot water, balcony with lovely view across the Central Valley. Includes
linens, dishes, etc and washing machine. Rent is $500 per month plus utilities for 6 months or longer, $625 all inclusive for less than 6 months. Sorry, no pets.

Main house - Spacious 2 bedrooms/1 bath/ and an office w/Wifi. Fully furnished 
(except for TV), Sky satellite, private phone line, washer and dryer, alarm system.  There are lovely verandas with views of Poás and Central Valley, raised beds for gardening and lots of fruit trees. A well-behaved pet MAY be negotiable. Rent is $750 plus utilities for long term tenant.

Our farm is in a small, quiet and very safe neighborhood in Sarchí Sur and is gated and guarded 24/7 and we live on-site. It's totally private and quiet, but less than a 5-minute drive to Sarchí central and 15 minutes to Grecia.  There are great places to walk as well. More info and photos at

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

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

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part of Costa Rica.
We are offering homes for every budget and every need.
Please visit our Web page at or contact us at
or call at (506) 2654-5442.

MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200

Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

HP Cattle rentals
Mountain homes or farm for rent
Barva volcano, Heredia province
We offer for rent a gorgeous two-bedroom mountain chalet and a one-bedroom mountain home located on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes are situated at 7,300 feet altitude and within a working horse ranch just three kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo National Park entrance. From our homes one can hike to the Barva volcano crater-lake.  Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and breathtaking views of the Irazú volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of cloud forest bird species to include the resplendent quetzal.  The homes are incomparable in beauty and attention to detail within the Barva highland area.  We are only 35-55 minutes from Costa Rica’s three principal cities (Heredia, Alajuela, and San José), less than two hours from the central Pacific beaches, and three hours from the Caribbean beaches. Enjoy the tranquility of the mountains while maintaining quick access to the conveniences of the city and rapid access to other eco-tourist destinations in Costa Rica. Additionally, we can board your horses at a reasonable fee.  We can also offer our clients rental of a small and fully functional farm complete with stables, pasture, and office space.
Mountain chalet: $750.  Basic mountain home: $400.
Boutique mountain home: One-bedroom $850. Two-bedroom $1,000.
Small Farm that includes a chalet, basic mountain home, stables, and 8,000m2 of pasture/green areas: $1,500.

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hospital rubble
Voice of America photo
Rescue workers comb through the rubble of the children's hospital.

Rubble of Mexican hospital
searched for any survivors

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Rescue teams searched for possible victims amid the rubble of a mostly collapsed maternity hospital near Mexico City Thursday afternoon, hours after a gas explosion rocked the building, killing at least one woman and child.

At least 56 others were injured in the early morning blast, including more than 20 children, when a gas truck exploded at the city-run Maternity and Children's Hospital of Cuajimalpa, a borough on the city's western edge.

Officials said about 100 people were in the hospital at the time of the explosion, and about 60 have been accounted for.

Initial reports had suggested four to seven people had died in the early morning blast.

Most of the injuries were relatively minor, many caused by flying glass, officials said. But Rafael Gonzalez of the Red Cross said a 27-year-old man had arrived at the agency's hospital with burns over 90 percent of his body and was being treated at another hospital.

The disaster happened when a gas tanker truck blew up outside the hospital. Officials said a hose leak from the truck fueling the hospital's tanks was believed to have triggered the explosion, officials said.

Police lines were set up to keep bystanders away from the chaotic scene as people seeking information on family members gathered.

Monserrat Garduno, a 32-year-old nurse, said "I am so worried about my sister. She's supposed to have given birth. We brought her in yesterday. They won't let us pass. I want to know how she is."

Felicitas Hernández, 35, cried as she waited outside the mostly collapsed building hoping for word of her month-old baby, who had been hospitalized since birth with respiratory problems.

"They wouldn't let me sleep with him,'' Ms. Hernández told reporters. She said she had come to the city-run maternity and children's hospital because she had no money.

As the day wore on, people arrived to donate blood, infant formula or diapers.

The explosion sent a column of smoke billowing over the area on the western edge of Mexico's capital and television images showed much of the hospital collapsed, with firefighters trying to extinguish fires.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera said the heaviest damage was near the hospital's loading dock. A hospital worker said the most affected parts of the hospital were the neonatology, reception and emergency reception units.

Anesthesiologist Agustin Herrera, 66, said he'd seen injured mothers carrying out babies. He said that before the explosion, the 35-bed nursery had held nine babies, including one in very serious condition.

"We avoided a much bigger tragedy because the oxygen tanks are right beside and they didn't explode," Herrera said.

Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto expressed his sadness and solidarity with the victims and their families and said soldiers were deployed to help the search for survivors.

Insider blamed for killing
U.S. defense contractors

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Three U.S. defense contractors helping train Afghan air force personnel were gunned down at the Kabul airport Thursday in what military sources say was an insider attack.

Details on the killings are scarce.

A rise in so-called insider attacks in Afghanistan has eroded trust between Afghan and international troops in the final years of the combat mission that ended in 2014, prompting foreign forces to scale back interaction with their allies.

Despite the introduction of new measures, including a requirement that coalition forces be armed at all times and stricter vetting procedures for Afghan security members, incidents continue to occur sporadically.

One of the worst attacks took place last August, killing U.S. Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, who became the most senior American military official to die in action overseas since the war in Vietnam.

The new international Resolute Support mission involving a small contingent of around 12,000 mostly U.S. troops started Jan. 1 and is to focus on training Afghanistan's national security force.

Also Thursday, a suicide bomber attacked a funeral in eastern Afghanistan. Sixteen people were killed and dozens wounded.

A local official said the attack took place in Mehtarlam in Laghman province during the funeral for a police commander and three others killed in a roadside bombing earlier Thursday.

No one claimed responsibility for either attack.

Senate approves building
controversial oil pipeline

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Despite a global oil glut, the U.S. Senate has voted 62 to 36 to approve construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian crude to U.S. Gulf states.

President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the project, which pits powerful business interests against environmentalists at a time when American motorists are celebrating a steep drop in gasoline prices. Those costs have fallen by almost half over the last six months, making fill-ups less painful and leaving more cash in people’s wallets.

The Keystone XL pipeline project that the Senate approved would boost the flow of Canadian oil to U.S. refineries and is an economic and energy winner, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican.

“Constructing this infrastructure project would pump literally billions of dollars into our economy," he said.

A fellow Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, sees the issue in geopolitical terms.

“Is it not better to be receiving oil from our friend and ally, Canada, than it is from Venezuela?” she asked.

Opponents say Keystone will generate only a handful of permanent jobs and that the oil, once refined, would be exported, not kept in the United States. And Canadian tar sands crude is among the most pollutant-laden oil in the world, according to Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat.

“So we know there are dangerous air pollutants and carcinogens that have been documented from tar sands refining, and all this to help a Canadian private company make a whole bunch of money, and we cannot even keep the oil in this country? Are you kidding?” she asked.

The Senate vote followed nearly three weeks of debate.  The bill’s approval in the House of Representatives is all but assured, as is a presidential veto.

“Let's set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline," Obama has said. "If we do not act forcefully, we'll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods."

Few U.S. motorists have even heard of Keystone. “I really do not know" what the project is, a Washington motorist said. "I just hope the prices stay low.”

Lower gas prices have not eroded the public's majority backing for oil projects, according to opinion analyst Carroll Doherty.

“The public’s views on energy and environment are a little more kind of simplistic, in the sense that you ask people if they want alternative energy, yes," Doherty said. "And when you ask about some traditional sources of energy, people want that, too.  Many Americans don’t see it as a kind of choice that they have to make." Instead, "they would want more energy from a variety of sources.”

Kerry is fined for failing
to removed snow at home

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been ticketed $50 for failing to clear the sidewalk outside his Boston home after a snow storm pummeled the northeastern United States this week.

After a blizzard dumped 60 centimeters of snow on his city, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh vowed to crack down on anyone who left the sidewalks around their homes and businesses buried in snow.

Officials tagged Kerry with a $50 fine Thursday morning for failing to clear the snow from the side of his Beacon Hill mansion.

Kerry was in Saudi Arabia attending the funeral of King Abdullah with President Barack Obama.

A spokesman for Kerry said the country's top diplomat will promptly pay the fine.

Snow shovelers hired by Kerry finished clearing the sidewalk late Thursday morning.

Rights report targeting
Turkish online suppression

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S.-based rights group is expressing concern over Turkish government pressure on social media users.  Human Rights Watch released its annual report on Thursday as Turkish Twitter users who are criticizing the government face threats and jail.

Professor Hassan Herekan's humorous tweet, making fun of a historically-dressed guard of honor for the Turkish president, resulted in a tirade of attacks, including death threats, against him and his family. 

"Oh, what swearing; so many threats against my mother, and the rest of my family," he said, adding that he believes that the perpetrators "are being directed by some other people."

Herekan eventually quit his prestigious university job. The scale and ferocity of the attacks have resulted in accusations that the ruling AK Party is behind them, a charge it denies.

But Professor Yaman Akdeniz of Istanbul’s Bilgi University, an expert on cyber freedom, said suspicion of a government-linked, so-called troll army is growing.

"There are allegations that the AKP has its own army of trolls, employed by them," said Akdeniz. "I have seen some studies to suggest that there are connections to the government. Yes, it may be government sponsored."

But it is not only the wrath of trolls that tweeters face. There is also the risk of jail. 

Well-known TV presenter Sedef Kadas tweeted pictures of judges and prosecutors with the message "remember these people," after they controversially ended an inquiry into high-level government corruption. The response, as she explained, was a knock on the door.

She said three police came to her home in the morning, searched it and confiscated her cell phone, laptop even her son’s iPad. And she was taken to the prosecutor's office.

Kadas said she was charged with "targeting the people who carry out a fight against terrorism."

She called the charge ridiculous. She said she always applauded people who fight against terror, but her criticism was "about the lack of investigation into people involved in corruption, theft and bribery," a reference to police probes into high-level government graft in December 2013.

The probes ended with the investigators either fired or reassigned, and the government insisting the allegations were part of plot to overthrow it.

In its report, Human Rights Watch strongly criticized Turkey for its crackdown on social media.

Senior Turkey researcher, Emma Sinclair Webb, said with social media playing a key role in keeping graft allegations alive, prosecution of people like Kadas is part of a government campaign to silence debate. 

Webb said Kadas basically "faces up to five years in prison."

"But the government seems intent in using this as a way of muzzling speech and spent the whole year on going after people over reports on the corruption, discussions on social media about corruption," Webb added. "This has had a very chilling effect. Now the government wants to change the Internet law, to basically be able to close a Web site within four hours, without court or judicial oversight."

Last year saw protests against Turkey's government when it tried to impose similar controls on the Internet. That law was eventually overturned by the constitutional court. But with a general election scheduled for June, observers say the government could well be calculating the new law would not be annulled until after the polls, giving the ruling party an advantage by silencing opposition.

Missing airliner declared
an accident in Malaysia

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Malaysia has formally declared the disappearance of MH370 to be an accident and that all who were on board are presumed dead. The Beijing-bound flight disappeared shortly after take off almost one year ago and has become one of world’s biggest airline mysteries.  Although the announcement may seem unsurprising, it has practical implications for the families of those who were on the flight.
Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the director-general of Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation, says that after 327 days and based on all available data, survivability in the defined area is highly unlikely.
"With the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident in accordance with the standards of Annexes 12 and 13 to the Chicago Convention and that all 239 of the passengers and crew on board MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives," said Azharuddin.  
He says the search for the missing plane, which covered over 18,600 square kilometers, will continue.  The process of granting the next-of-kin of those on board with compensation would begin immediately, he adds.
“The government of Malaysia assures that Malaysia Airlines will undertake their responsibilities in relation to the legitimate rights and interests of the next-of-kin as provided under the relevant international instruments and relevant domestic laws, with due consideration to international practice," said Azharuddin. "This includes the fulfillment of the compensation process, whether it is pursued through consultation or through litigation."
The majority of the passengers on board flight MH370 were Chinese nationals traveling home to Beijing. 

In comments to the media Thursday, following a meeting with his French counterpart, China’s Premier Li Keqiang expressed his deepest sympathy for the families of all of those on board the flight.

Li says China hopes Malaysia will keep its promise to conduct a thorough investigation, compensate and provide care for the families. He also urged them to make every effort to find the plane and its passengers. 
In China, some of the family members of those on board watched the announcement together.   Dai Shuqin’s sister and four other relatives were on the plane.
Dai says family members feel very upset and are in disbelief.  She says they do not believe one bit of what the officials are saying.  
Malaysian civil aviation chief Azharuddin says an interim investigative report will be released March 7, one day before the anniversary of the flight’s disappearance.
"Both investigations are limited by the lack of physical evidence at this time, particularly the flight recorders," said Azharuddin. "Therefore at this juncture there is no evidence to substantiate any speculations as to the cause of the accident.” 
Investigators are still trying to understand why the plane veered thousands of kilometers off course and presumably ended up in the southern Indian Ocean.

U.S. citizen added to list
of most-wanted terrorists

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The FBI on Thursday added a U.S. citizen born in Somalia to its list of most-wanted terrorists, saying he might have knowledge of U.S. government buildings, Washington airports and the area's subway system.

The wanted man is Liban Haji Mohamed. Officials said he might be using several aliases.

Mohamed lived in a northern Virginia suburb of Washington and worked as taxi driver, according to an FBI statement.

The FBI said that while he was in the Washington area, Mohamed was a recruiter and radicalizer for the Somali-based terrorist group al-Shabab and provided material support and resources to al-Qaida and al-Shabab.

The FBI said it believed Mohamed left the United States in July 2012 and is now in east Africa working for al-Shabab. The agency is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to Mohamed's arrest and conviction.

Super Bowl advertisers await
airing of expensive messages

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Super Bowl Sunday is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz.

With an estimated 113 million domestic viewers, the Super Bowl is the biggest day in American advertising.

Increasingly, it’s also one of the busiest days online, with social media exploding over ads that flopped or scored big.

“I don’t think Budweiser can tell you that the puppy ad sells more beers the day after the Super Bowl, but what they will tell you is it makes a deep emotional connection,” said Peter Land, a sports marketing consultant.

A 30-second ad in this year’s Super Bowl costs a whopping $4.5 million, making 2015 the most expensive year for advertising in Super Bowl history. That level of investment demands social media returns, said James Cooper of Adweek.

“If you can tease the release of your spot on YouTube, you can get a lot of social media chatter even before the game kicks off. Some of these pre-released ads and teasers on YouTube get millions of hits and get a lot of buzz, and that is a way for them to justify the cost,” said Cooper.

Bud Light’s pre-released Real Life PacMan spot already has millions of views. Lexus is touting its new hybrid, and Victoria’s Secret is showcasing its world famous angels. Both companies released their ads in advance of the big game. Both are hoping for social media traction.

In addition to Super Bowl regulars like Doritos, Sunday’s ads will feature some online upstarts. Wix, a free online Web site builder, is betting big, as is Internet news site and social media darling, BuzzFeed. 

“Native and social is part of BuzzFeed’s DNA. They’re very, very good at it. That’s where they were born but they also want to expand themselves into a larger media context, and obviously the best way to do that is be part of the Super Bowl,” said Cooper.

The Super Bowl is a global sporting event broadcast to more than 225 countries and streaming on devices worldwide. That means the splashy ads, and the attention they garner online, will ripple far beyond U.S. shores.
Real estate-related services (paid category)

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Think of it this way: cash in a CD paying 7% and get 15% to 25% from the Sun!  What better way to lower your electric bill than with a Quality Solar System from CR Solar?    Ask about our BEST HI END Solar Hot Water Heaters. 
2446-0543           8898-9398                8314-8090

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)


CoopeAgri Real Estate

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

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

Remax logo
Re/Max Ocean Surf and Sun:

The experts in buying property in Costa Rica, with more than 20 years experience and the largest networked team of agents in the country.  We can help you learn if investing in Costa Rica is right for you with our low-key, educational approach to sales. Our professional agents can tell you more about Costa Rica properties, including condos, homes, lots and commercial real estate.  Call us: Ocean Surf and Sun Int. Realty Ldta at 011 (506) 2653-0073 or send us an email at:

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

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

Costa Rica,

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

Visit our Web Site:

English calls: (Cristian Arce) Phone: 
(506) 2494-0016 
(506) 8309-0173
English calls :  (Luis David) Phone: 
(506) 6154-1940

Español calls: (Luis G. Jiménez)  Phone:   
(506) 8707-4016
Grecia 884
Beautiful large house in Grecia, Costa Rica, with the best fresh natural weather. The property includes 9 challets and 12.000 m2 of land,  1,000 m2 of construction. Price $498,000. Click HERE!
Grecia 881
Beautiful house in Grecia, Costa Rica,  2 kilometers from the city.   340 m2 of land.
Price $135,000. Click
Grecia 898
Beautiful house in Grecia downtown. Full security cameras. Land 250 m2.  Price $400,000.  Click HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Shangra la
Located in Jacó in the best and safest location possible, 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 birds and other animals. 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, Beautiful gardens with many fruit trees. Built in year 2005 to highest standard by German owner now 69 years old, who wants to downgrade. Room for two more apartments, plans approved. Only 6 minutes walk to the beach and or center of Jacó.  Price reduced for quick sale to $1,150.000 and still negotiable. All fittings and furniture included. Excellent quality and well maintained. Just upgraded and remodeled for $ 30,000. Owner financing available.  More photos on request HERE! Email:  Cell 8838-2081 or home 2643-2979.

Fortuna view
Sometimes “distress sale” is a come-on.  Sadly, for this bruised North American ex-wife it is not.  She has a very nice modern- construction 2-br home on 1129 m2 intended for up to a couple dozen apartments with superb volcano view, short walk to downtown, all the amenities.  The existing 1st loan can be assumed but the 2nd has to be paid off, as do her other debts here, so that’s the distress part.  The irony is that their business plan was perfect, the place rents extremely well today, but she can’t manage it from a distance and doesn’t plan on returning to Costa Rica.  Asking $140k but her Costa Rica dream property is going to go to the first best offer with enough cash to clear her debts as well as clear her mind.  Her own personal bad experience provides an unusual opportunity at this time.  For interior pix: phone 506-8377-8402 or E-mail

1-acre beautiful beachfront lot
Power and water on the property A very nice tropical setting in Puerto Viejo, Limón. Choice location. 9 beautiful lots for sale. Each lot is $69,000 or offer. Please call Peter: 7122-3754 or e mail:

Jaco hotel

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

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

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

Ringle resort
on one big lot in Esterillos Oeste, (Central Pacific)
Located on a breezy hill just 4 minutes walk to the beach, surf and tide-pools, only 20 minutes drive north to Jacó nightlife and shopping or south to the rural town of Parrita.

First, a 2-storey, 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1½-bathroom house with big kitchen and living room.  Full-width verandah with eating and sitting areas, overlooking lawn, pool and gazebo. Sitting balcony at upper, bedroom level.  Carport. and laundry. 

Second, a completely private single-storey. 2-bedroom (sleeps 4), 1-bathroom home with big back yard at a lower level on the same, big fully titled 1,100M2 lot.. Full security bars at all doors and windows, plus locking vehicle access and pedestrian gates at the street. In a very safe neighborhood, with private and natural surroundings

Well maintained, fully and tastefully furnished and equipped, hot water, local phone, cable TV/DVD and high speed wireless internet   The houses have been rented for both long-term and vacation for $100/$80 per day and $1,500/$1,200 per month respectively. See this place, you will love it! Then make an offer. E-mail or call (506) 8386-8825.  Rodney, asking $350,000.

Condo montage
Cariari luxury condo for sale
 PRICE REDUCED FROM $235,000 to $195,000
This is not an ordinary condo. Completed one year ago, a $45,000 renovating made it an exquisite dwelling. As soon as you walk in you know it is a special home. No detail has been overlooked, even minuscule ones. The owner has a need to move on, and someone lucky will be the beneficiary of the fine detailed work. The home itself has three bedrooms, two and half bathrooms plus a maid’s quarters with its own bathroom. Also, it has a living room, dining room and a gorgeous kitchen with a kitchenette. There’s also a small outdoor patio. Being the end unit of this four-home condo complex, there’s parking space for three vehicles.  Approximately 240 sq. meters. All this near the Cariari Golf and Country Club and its renowned Tom Facio golf course. The club also has amenities such as a fitness centre, exercise room, Olympic swimming pool, sauna, 12 tennis courts and many other benefits. Tel:  8384-9608 or 2293-9054  Price $195,000.

Atenas home
This developer's prime lot with super house is being offered in Roca Verde, 7,006 M2 of gentle grade, all landscaped for tropical effect, 3 bedrooms 2 baths with tile floors and hardwood kitchen, near the entrance of the neighborhood. Great floor plan on this one! There is a double carport, and a large patio and pool, wheelhouse style living room and many other features. View, large usable lot, close to town, nice, oh yeah. $495,000.

More photos HERE!
Another 'live in the view' home in Puriscal
$179,900 includes:
Lot on river, concrete road, custom kitchen & bath with granite counter tops, PEX plumbing, 2” Styrofoam, sandwiched in steel roof, 4” concrete/recycled Styrofoam & steel walls, laminated, bronzed windows, custom wood doors, appliances and all transfer taxes, and fees.

2, 900 sq feet under roof, 1,250 sq feet inside walls, 2 bedroom, 2 ½ baths, laundry room, three separate patio areas, covered carport, shade trees, in upscale, secure project.  This project has river with protected areas & walkways. It is only 10 minutes on all paved roads to Santiago de Puriscal, 45 minutes to La Plaza Mall/Hospital CIMA and SJO airport, and 1 ½ hours to Pacific Beaches. It has recently upgraded public water supply and dependable ICE electric and high-speed internet.
Please come visit our projects and meet four new homeowners who have recently moved into their new “live in the view” homes to verify how happy they are and that they all came in under budget. CONTACT: George Lundquist  Home phone: 2417-1041 Cell phone: 8888 4543 Skype glundquist.
To see more Photos of this house, click HERE!

Maneul Antonio
Manuel Antonio Estates focuses on building vacation homes for clients within Manuel Antonio Estates and Palmas Pacifica. We take care of the details from permits and design to supervision of construction and management of the rentals, if needed. We provide privacy and security, and our gated community offers shared common recreational facilities, beautiful landscaping and parking areas. Our homes and lots are located just minutes from the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. If you've ever considered buying a second home, just minutes from the beach, do not hesitate, if you have any questions or would like to request more information please take full advantage of our Costa Rica real estate services and contact us today!
Manuel Antonio Estates    1 800 346-9724  (506) 8815-9606.

Ciudad Colon
Great Deal!! Apartment in condo with pool and extensive green areas:
Ciudad Colón, San José $112,000
The apartment has a master bedroom with a large ensuite bathroom with bath tub, and a smaller second bedroom/office with air conditioning. It has a second full bathroom, living/dining room, laundry room with hot water tank and storage area. The kitchen comes with granite countertops, a breakfast bar and new dishwasher. It has 82 m2 of construction. 2 balconies with beautiful views of the river and mountains. Private parking for one car. Elevator and a well presented reception area. Located in a very quiet and private neighborhood just 400 meters from the centre of Ciudad Colón. Within minutes to all major amenities in Santa Ana and Escazú. Easy access to the beach (less than 1.5 hrs).  24-hour security, visitor parking, pool, extensive and lush green areas, BBQ area, children’s playground and its own water treatment plant. Contact (506) 6022-9294 or 6022-9967, for further info or to arrange a viewing.

Suenos montage
Outrageous blowout prices on oceanfront condos in Los Sueños!

Located in the private Bay Residence enclave overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Los Sueños Resort and Marina, there are three gorgeous units available at unbelievable bargain pricing from $589,000.  All of these beautiful units are three bedrooms and two baths, 2,200 square feet, fully furnished and ready to move in.  Development includes a gym, access to 3 pools, jacuzzis, BBQ areas and the Beach Club.  If you’ve always wanted to own in Los Sueños, now is the time!  Contact  or call 8702-0778.  From U.S. call 209-482-1788.

Top floor unit: $649,000   Second floor unit: $675,000  Garden unit: $589,000

Newly available in Roca Verde
Well-built home of 215 m2, 3 bedrooms, two bath on 1,150 m2 of lot, with attractive rock retaining wall, carport, and a pool. Indoors there are high, vaulted hardwood ceiling, bright rooms, a laundry room.  The floor is ceramic tile in pastel shades. $247,000. Photos: 2446-5587.

San Ramon
Mountain home w/million dollar view near San Ramón
Beautiful home in the mountains near San Ramón with 180-degree view of the gulf of Nicoya.7 miles from San Ramón, 1 mile from Interamericana highway. 3,200 ft. elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 baths, appliances included. High-speed internet installed, Direct TV via sling box on Internet. $199,000 Contact   Check out slide show HERE!


Beach Front Home - Central Pacific Coast
Pristine condition, recently renovated. The best surfing and boogie boarding in the country. The most magnificent ocean and sunset view. New 20-year, fully registered concession on one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Easy access from San José (1 hour 25 minutes) located between Jacó and Manuel Antonio, in Esterillos Oeste.  2 or 3 bedrooms. Center room can be living room. House with 2 1/2 baths. Separated rancho with kitchen and large entertainment patio. Landscaped garden with no water shortage. Has both municipal and well water with automatic watering system. Direct access to the beach as no road is in front of property. Protected land on one side of the property for additional privacy.  Alarm system and complete shutters for security while away. Lot approximately 1,725 square meters, Asking price: $385.000.  Contact to Paul at local phone 506- 2637-8858  Cell phone 506- 8823-8550 .  US Mobile 908-400-9772  Emails:  and


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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

ARenal property
Location: Near Arenal        Price: $2.7 million
Size: 113 acres
Web site:

The farm is at the highest point on a stunning ridge bordered by pristine Costa Rican primary forest on all sides of the property, with active wildlife all throughout the area. On each of its gently rolling terraced lomas you get a glimpse of Volcán Arenal from a distance. This property has four different lagunas, a working organic farm and nursery, mature fruit trees, sheep corral, ideal for grazing horses with stunning views from all the hillsides. The Northern Zone of Costa Rica is the country's best kept secret, providing a perfect home base location to travel the country's many destinations while still maintaining the best climate at 400 meters above sea level.

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

Business for sale or lease (paid category)
Jaco hotel

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

Live the dream!
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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, Vol. 15, No. 21
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News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disalbed on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo     
  The Fuerza Pública confiscated these watches, eyeglasses and
   eyeglass cases at a checkpoint on the Interamericana Sur near the
   border with Panamá. The merchandise was valued at about
   $18,000, police said.

Senators introduce bill to OK Cuba travel

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A bipartisan group of eight U.S. senators has introduced legislation to lift all restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba. While some Cuban American lawmakers strongly oppose the Obama administration’s sudden shift in U.S. policy towards Cuba, others say it is past time to end the more than five-decade-old U.S. embargo against the island country.

Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican of Arizona, is one of the sponsors of a bill that would end the ban on Americans traveling to Cuba.  Flake said some critics will say the United States should have tried to get some concessions from the Communist government in Havana before lifting the ban, but he sees it differently.

“We all need to remember that this is a sanction or prohibition on Americans, not Cubans," he said.

Flake said Americans should be able to travel anywhere in the world they please unless there are compelling national security reasons not to do so.

Lawmakers from farming states often support moves that would open up their products to Cuban markets.

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From Page 7:

Fitch downgrades rating outlooks for banks here

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Fitch financial rating service has downgraded four Costa Rican banks from stable to negative. Also downgraded was the financial outlook for the Banco Internacional de Costa Rica in Panamá, which is operated by Banco de Costa Rica and Banco Nacional.

The rating service said that the action was normal considering that the outlook for Costa Rica has been downgraded to negative. Three of the banks, Banco de Costa Rica, Banco Nacional and Banco Popular, are state entities, and the fourth bank, Banco BAC San Jose, S.A., is private but its outlook is subject to the government's high level of influence over the financial sector and the broader operating environment, Fitch said.

The bank ratings most likely would be upgraded if the country's rating was improved, said Fitch.