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(506) 2223-1327                          San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014,  Vol. 14, No. 29                          Email us
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Stand by for some anonymous election commentary
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The campaign up to the runoff election April 6 promises to be one filled with lies and misrepresentations.

The blame can be leveled at the Internet and email.

Last century there were advertising directors who screened political ads in print and on the electronic spectrum. There still were untruths but not in wholesale numbers. And political ads usually were required to contain the name of the sponsor. There was no way to directly reach the voting public except with cheesy flyers. Today anyone can easily distribute truths or lies with the click of a button. Email and Web sites have more credibility than some piece of paper stuck under the door.

A case in point is an email with a slick graphic of Óscar Arias Sánchez controlling the presidential and vice presidential candidates and the founder of Partido Acción Ciudadana. "If they won't let me play with the others, then I will play with these," chuckles an Arias character.

The idea is to link Luis Guillermo Solís, the presidential candidate, to the Arias faction, which is not held in high regard in some quarters.

The email comes from a Gmail account with the name el verdadero pac cr, " the true PAC," using the initial of Acción Ciudadana.

The mailing must be effective because Solís issued a statement Monday denying that he has made any overtures to the former president, Arias. It is true that Arias does not appear to be supporting strongly the candidate of his party, Johnny Araya Monge of Partido Liberación Nacional. Researchers agree that the best propaganda must contain a grain of truth.
hilos
The email graphic is titled 'The strings of PAC'

Solís also said that he has been critical of the Liberación governments over the last eight years and that he is not anticipating any discussions with those leaders, meaning Arias.

A safe bet is that both runoff candidates, Solís and Araya, will be the targets of all sorts of anonymous political smears until election day. The Internet makes this easy.


water bottle
Firm to sell Costa Rica water in post-paid bottles
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Anybody who has walked the Costa Rican beaches knows about plastic bottles. They are everywhere. Volunteers repeatedly pick up hundreds of pounds of plastic during periodic beach cleanups.

A company that has ties to Costa Rica plans to launch a campaign today in the United States with a bottle made of plant material that has a post-paid return envelope attached.

Once the bottle is empty, "you smash the bottle to flatten it, peel back the label to reveal the U.S. postage paid sticker and drop it in a mail box," said the company.

Carlton Solle, the company founder, said on a Web site that he became aware of the plastic bottle problem while walking on a beach here with his daughter. He is married to a Costa Rican.

The company is hitting about every green button possible. An announcement said:

• For each bottle sold up to 100 million, the company will plant a tree.

• The bottle itself has the cross section of a leaf.
• The water comes from a spring in Parque Nacional Braulio Carillo north of San José.

• The cap is being patented, too, because it will carry seeds so that by planting the cap, a tree will grow.

• The bottle material is toxin free, plant-based materials, is 100 percent sustainable, certified free of genetically modified products and biodegradable.

A spokesman for the firm declined to say how the bottle is made because the design and construction is a proprietary secret.

The company is not coincidentally called Treeson, and its theme is  "The Bottled Water from Costa Rica That Can Help Save the World."

Said the spokesman: "Eco-friendly, socially responsible, sustainable, clean and green! It's a Win/Win scenario for every organism on the planet. And it starts and ends here in Costa Rica. Refresh, return, renew, recharge."

The kickoff today is for a Kickstarter.com site where the firm hopes to raise $95,000 in capital to begin production. The firm has an elaborate description of its goals on the site.


Expats should watch their body language at airports
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats should avoid shaky legs, sweaty hands or stuttering when they go to the airport.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have told their Costa Rican counterparts that these are the signs of a possibly suspicious person. The Canadians have just given training to 22 officers who are with the  Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea and the Policía de Control de Drogas.
Police officers here have been discovering drug mules for years. But now money laundering and air passengers carrying large amounts of money hidden on their bodies have become a priority. The crooks have a tendency to become nervous when passing through immigration and customs or when boarding a flight.

The officers at the airport continually use the type of observation techniques that the Canadians have enhanced.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
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Professional Directory
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.


Dentistry

Marco Cavallini & Associates
Dental Implants and Crowns

Dr. Marco A. Muñoz Cavallini has placed and restored
DR. Cavallini
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Psychotherapy

Lucinda Gray, Ph.D.
California Licensed Psychologist
International Practice via the Web
Dr. KLycinda
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8221-7/17/14

Architects

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Architecture-Real Estate-Development

At Architect Orange we are inspired by the visions of each of our clients, and have worked diligently to embody those visions in our work.

We have locations in Atenas (servicing Central Valley/Beach areas)
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Arenal office located at Agua Inn Spa

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Quickbooks consulting

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Kathy Rothschild
QuickBooks Consultant
Santo Domingo de Heredia
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8192-4/2/15

Fine art restoration and conservation


Gilbert Carmichael
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European and U.S. standards. USPAP.
Carmichael
For more information please contact Claudia Villegas at 8996-5581 or email HERE!
 
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Real estate agents and services

Colinas
Jim Day, representing Colinas del Sol
del Pacifico, S.A.

Colinas del Sol is a fenced and gated project  in a quiet area. There are 88 clear titled lots, some in mountain areas with great views and the rest on gently sloping level areas ideal for hobby farms, gardening, fruit tree orchards, or just a quiet place to get away from the busy city and beach crowds.  All lots have gravel roads to them, water and electricity at each lot, and all lots are 5,000 sq. meters or larger, starting at only $35,000, and many can be combined for those wanting a larger area for their chosen passion be it a hobby horse farm or retirement haven.
You can see more on our Web site: www.colinasdelsolcr.com
 Libertad, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, 15 minutes to Playa del Coco or Playa Hermosa
and 20 minutes to Liberia airport.
Please contact Jim Day at JimDay50@aol.com   or    Phone:  001 517 484-3675.
8251-8/27/14

CR Beach

Jaco Real Estate
CR Beach Investment Real Estate reminds you that Costa Rica’s #1 beachtown,“the new Jacó,” invites you to see the recent changes:  clean paved roads; more bilingual police; more trendy & tipico restaurants; new a/c movie 4plex & new theatrical-conference center; new central park with activities; more bargain priced properties for sale, and lower priced rentals…
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Let CR Beach show you why we know this is the best area for you to  invest-retire-enjoy!
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Toll Free: 1-888-782-1119 OR  2643-4334, 2643-3672
Office: IL Galeone Center, Jacó Beach, Costa Rica
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Residency experts

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A full service immigration agency
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Translators

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Jorge Desanti is fluent in English and Spanish. 3-way phone conversation. You call him first. He does the rest. Or he will translate English text for you.
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Translations and legal Services
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Legal services

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Lic.Gregory Kearney Lawson.
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Accountants

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E-mail jrtb_1999@yahoo.com
7410-4/1/13

Infinito reduces its demand
to just the $94 million it lost

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Infinito Gold Ltd. has backed off its demand for $1 billion from Costa Rica. Now the Calgary-based firm only seeks $94 million, about what it invested in the ill-fated Las Crucitas open pit gold mine since 1993.

The company said Monday that it has filed an arbitration request with the World Bank's arbitration organization and seeks $94 million from Costa Rica. The information came from the firm's local subsidiary. The arbitration demand was expected.

Editors posted a news story about the demand Monday afternoon.

The Las Crucitas mine was in Cutris de San Carlos. The initial amount does not include interest and legal costs which the company seeks, too, the firm said.

The case is being filed under the Costa Rica-Canadian trade treaty, which includes protection for investors, said the local subsidiary, Industrias Infinito S.A., which had been trying to open a pit mine since 1993.

The mining concession was supported by the Óscar Arias Sánchez administration, but a panel of the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo annulled the concession after a hearing, the last in a lengthy legal process.  Environmentalists opposed the project.

The company said the action was taken because the government declined to negotiate. The local spokesperson, Yokebec Soto, said the company still hoped for a friendly resolution.

The vast reduction in the amount demanded appears to stem from the company's decision to seek compensation for actual expenses and not the estimated value of the gold that would have been extracted.  The company earlier had placed its lost investment in Costa Rica at $92 million.

The project site holds an estimated 800,000 ounces of recoverable gold, the company has estimated. The case is in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.


More wind expected today
with some possible showers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Today is expected to be another windy one with gusts up to 85 kph or a  bit more than 50 mph.

The high pressure is causing the winds. There is expected to be cloudy skies today in the Caribbean, the northern zone and the Central Valley. The clouds are expected to bring isolated showers.

The Caribbean and the northern zone should expect 50 to 80 millimeters of rain through nightfall, about two to a bit more than three inches, said the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional.

The weather institute said that Guanacaste would be cloudy with winds but that the rest of the Pacific coast would be clear except for some possible showers in the afternoon.

As usual, rain is more likely in the mountains.

The weather institute issued a caution about objects falling due to the winds.


Identity theft suspect held
case involving fake loans


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Agents have detained a man who is suspected of using a stolen identity to obtain mortgages on property he did not own.

The man was detained in Santa Ana. The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the amount of money involved is about 200 million colons or about $400,000.


Restrictions on foreign money
approved by lawmakers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The legislature Monday approved on first reading a proposed law that would give the Banco Central the power to penalize depositors of money from outside the country.

The measure, No. 18.685 was sought because higher interest rates in Costa Rica were attracting money from outside the country. At its discretion, the board of directors of the central bank can impose restrictions for up to six months.

Bankers claim such inflows of money put the economy out of balance. The penalty would be a stiff tax on money deposited by entities not from Costa Rica.

The measure requires one more positive vote.


Towns along River Thames face
more days of serious flooding


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Waterlogged British towns on the River Thames prepared Monday for days of new flooding, with officials issuing 14 more warnings as the fabled river burst its banks about 30 kilometers upstream of London.

The new alerts were issued as Prime Minister David Cameron toured parts of the devastated region for a second time in three days. Forecasters say new rains this week are expected to put thousands more homes at risk with water levels surpassing record flooding in 2003 in much of the region.

Storms and tidal surges have battered Britain since December, inundating entire communities, destroying roads and infrastructure, and cutting rail connections between the southwestern city of Plymouth and the rest of England. Forecasters are calling the British winter the wettest in nearly 250 years.

Television footage Monday showed British troops and civilians piling sandbags to protect real estate in the village of Datchet, before the river breached its banks and left much of the community submerged.

There are no flood alerts in London itself, where river banks are protected by a series of giant metal gates known as the Thames Barrier. The gates can be closed against tidal surges, creating more space for excess water to pool upriver.

The flooding has sparked a political firestorm, with locals accusing Cameron's government of failing to dredge rivers and implement other flood prevention measures. The prime minister told reporters Monday his only interest is ensuring maximum government efforts to curb the impact of the disaster.

Sunday Communities Minister Eric Pickles acknowledged that the government made a mistake in not dredging area rivers. But he said the decision was based on the advice of the Environment Agency, a government body.

Pickles, a member of Prime Minister Cameron's Conservative Party, apologized for taking the advice, telling the BBC "we made a mistake."

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 29
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Five detained in suspected case of faking property documents
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators broke up a real estate closing Monday and detained five men on suspicion that they were involved in a property fraud. The arrests took place at a lawyer's office in  Guadalupe.

Agents described an elaborate effort in which a lot was secretly segregated from a larger piece of land and the appropriate maps and documents were prepared. The Judicial Investigating Organization said that the lot was put up for sale and that at the closing agents confiscated two checks of $25,000 each.

The unusual aspect is that agents were able to move in at the
 closing. They said they received a tip last week and managed to contact the real owner of the property who said that his land was not for sale.

One of the suspects is 82, and the others range from 35 to 52, said the agency.

The land involved is in Tres Ríos in Cartago province.

No names were given by the agency, but the speed with which agents acted also is unusual.

Typically property fraud cases have low priority and there are thousands of them under investigation.


Agents seeking motive in murder of U.S. expat in San Ramón
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators are seeking a motive other than robbery for the killing of a U.S. expat Sunday night in San Isidro de Peñas Blancas de San Ramón.

The man, identified as Kurt Hergis, was ambushed by his killers between 7:30 and 8 p.m. They placed a vehicle that blocked the road under a bridge. The Judicial Investigating Organization said that when the man got out of his own car perhaps to offer aid, he was set upon by his killers.

Men jumped from the car and surrounded him. They took the
victim to the banks of a river located 25 meters from the parked car, said agents. There they stabbed him twice, once on the head and once on the throat. The killers fled the scene, and the female was able to escape without any harm.

There were other witnesses that police interviewed.

In the car with Hergis was a woman agents identified as a girl friend. She was reported to be unharmed.

Unofficial sources said that the man was carrying as much as $4,000 in colons, and that was not taken. He lived in Barrio Los Angeles near La Fortuna.


Non-profit says it is seeking reports of sex abuse against kids
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A non-profit organization wants tipsters to call them to report cases of sexual abuse against children.

The organization is Alianza por Tus Derechos, which says it is investigating networks that are exploiting children on the coast and at the borders but that workers there do not have enough information yet to go to police.

The organization also said that in the metro area there are apartments and houses where contact between clients and children are being arranged.

Rocío Rodríguez, executive director of the organization, said in a release that many children are being victims of pimps and 
are being exploited in bars, massage parlors, cantinas and when cruise ships arrive.

The organization also seeks tips about children who are being abused in their homes. The complaints are confidential and can be anonymous, said the release.

The organization also is involved in what it says is the increase in the use of youngsters for the making of pornographic materials. Also of concern is violence in general, said the organization. It said that an average of seven cases each day of suspected beatings come to the Hospital Nacional de Niños.

The organization said that it will receive complaints by telephone at 2524-1329 at this email address:  denuncia@aliadere.org

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 29
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Crocodile may be awaiting dinner in the tree tops, research study concludes
By the University of Tennessee news staff

When most people envision crocodiles, they think of them waddling on the ground or wading in water not climbing trees. However, a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, study has found that the reptiles can climb trees as far as the crowns.

Vladimir Dinets, a research assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, is the first to thoroughly study the tree-climbing and -basking behavior. The research is published in the journal Herpetology Notes.

Dinets and his colleagues observed crocodile species on three continents, Australia, Africa and North America, and examined previous studies and anecdotal observations. They found that four species climbed trees usually above water, but how far they ventured upward and outward varied by their sizes. The smaller crocodiles were able to climb higher and further than the larger ones. Some species were observed climbing as far as four meters high in a tree and five meters down a branch.

"Climbing a steep hill or steep branch is mechanically similar, assuming the branch is wide enough to walk on," the authors wrote. "Still, the ability to climb vertically is a measure of crocodiles' spectacular agility on land."

The crocodiles seen climbing trees, whether at night or during the day, were skittish of being approached, jumping or falling into the water when an approaching observer was as far as 10 meters away. This response led the researchers to believe that the tree climbing and basking are driven by two conditions: thermoregulation and surveillance of habitat.

"The most frequent observations of tree-basking were in areas where there were few places to bask on the ground, implying that the individuals needed alternatives for regulating their body temperature," the authors wrote. "Likewise, their wary nature suggests that climbing leads to improved site surveillance of potential threats and prey."

The data suggests that at least some crocodile species are able to climb trees despite lacking any obvious morphological adaptations to do so.

Research by Dinets published in 2013 found another surprising crocodile characteristic, the use of lures such as sticks to hunt prey. More of his crocodile research can be found in his book "Dragon Songs."
climbing crocs
University of Tennessee/ Kristine Gingras
American alligator perches on branch in Pearl River Delta, Mississippi.


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

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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.

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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.

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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                                                in Heredia
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 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80
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Belen
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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 
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8054-2/16/14






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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 29
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Cafetales



European Union seeking
closer relations with Cuba


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The European Union has agreed to launch talks with Cuba aimed at forging closer political and economic ties, with human rights central to any discussions.  The decision could mark a turning point in EU-Cuban relations. 

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement Monday she hoped Cuba would take up the EU offer to launch negations and the two sides could begin working soon on building a closer relationship.

The announcement was made during an EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.  The 28-member bloc wants to forge a new bilateral agreement with Havana, underscoring the warming relations between the European Union and Cuba in recent years.

In 2008, Brussels lifted economic sanctions it had imposed on Cuba more than a decade ago, following a crackdown there against dissidents.  The United States also lifted travel restrictions against Cuba in 2011, and there are other signs relations are thawing.

During a visit to Cuba last month, Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans urged the European Union to reconsider its relationship with Cuba, saying the country's economic reforms are encouraging. 

Monday Timmermans expressed satisfaction with the EU decision to reach out to Havana.

"I am very happy that we now have a different position on Cuba," he said.  "That does not mean we have a different judgement on the situation in Cuba, but we have a different approach to engage Cuba in a dialogue, to try and bring about political change, to stimulate economic reform and political change.  I mean to have a more inclusive dialogue in Cuba and with Cuba."

EU officials say human rights issues must be central to the talks.  The European Union remains a major foreign investor in Cuba and has given the country about $110 million in development aid since 2008.  Havana is also a popular destination for EU tourists.

EU officials downplay chances that EU-Cuban relations will change dramatically in the short term.  Some member states, including Poland and the Czech Republic, remain skeptical about Havana, but officials say the talks are symbolically important.


Military scandals raising
questions of accountability

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Pentagon is embroiled in a series of corruption scandals that span the globe and have rocked the Navy, Air Force, and Army National Guard.  Both sides of Congress are holding hearings into the matters.  But the number of scandals is raising questions about a lack of accountability across the U.S. military that many say is unprecedented.
 
The Navy is dealing with a bribery scandal involving a Singapore-based company that investigators say bought the illicit help of a group of naval officers with cash, lavish trips, and prostitutes. In another investigation, Air Force and Navy officers allegedly cheated on proficiency exams that dealt with nuclear missile launch codes and nuclear propulsion systems.  The Army’s National Guard is also dealing with an alleged scam involving cash improperly taken for getting people to enlist.
 
“You start to wonder if we need to get a little more discipline here, if nothing else than to send a clear message that this kind of stuff needs to be rooted out – and whatever oversight laxity might be happening is not tolerable or sustainable,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution in Washington.
 
The situation has prompted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to announce last Friday that he will appoint a senior general to review the Pentagon’s ethics standards and implement changes meant to ensure proper behavior.  “Competence and character…are woven together. They must be.” Hagel said.  ”And, an uncompromising culture of accountability must exist at every level of command.”
 
The U.S. House of Representatives in Congress announced that a key committee on government oversight, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa will hold hearings into the alleged scandal involving Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia, a contractor with the U.S. Navy. The head of that company, Malaysian national Leonard Glenn Francis, has been arrested on bribery related charges. So have several Navy officers.
 
One of them is Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz.  Born in Cambodia, he came to the United States as a child refugee, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy. He was given command of a guided missile destroyer, the USS Mustin, which he sailed in December 2010 to Sihanoukville, Cambodia in a triumphant return to his native land.  Later, he became a logistics officer for the Navy’s 7th Fleet, which covers the Pacific.
 
Misiewicz and another logistics officer, Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, are accused of providing internal information to Leonard Francis and Glenn Defense on ship movements and port calls.  Prosecutors say they steered ships to ports where Glenn Defense  had facilities so that the company could grossly overcharge the Navy for fuel and other services. In return, Francis rewarded them with money, trips, and the services of prostitutes.
 
Also snared by the Navy’s probe into Glenn Defense was one of its own investigators, Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent John Beliveau II.  He has already entered a guilty plea of providing Francis with internal NCIS documents ostensibly to help Francis stay one step ahead of investigators.  Commanders Misiewicz and Sanchez have entered not guilty pleas and are awaiting further court action.
 
The Navy is also embroiled in an alleged scandal involving its famed SEAL Team Six.
 
Acting Navy Undersecretary Robert Martinage was asked to resign in mid-January after investigators found that the brother of a senior Navy intelligence official had manufactured weapons silencers for the SEALS at a cost of $8,000 for which the military was billed $1.6 million.
 
The Congress too has been holding hearings into an alleged scheme in which people improperly collected money, possibly up to $66 million, for getting young men and women to sign up for the National Guard.  Investigators say that recruiters and others not eligible to receive the bonuses used proxies and other schemes to collect the cash and share it with them.
 
“It is disappointing that people who wore the uniform saw a way to get one over on the government, and they did,” said U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, who is leading hearings into the matter.
 
Brookings analyst O’Hanlon said the Congressional hearings can serve as a prod to get the Pentagon back on the right track.
 
“You know, they can scare people into better behavior – they can put some pressure on the Pentagon to do more than just discipline the ten or twenty bad apples that were specifically involved, “ he said. “But, if there is a more general problem of organizational rot or decline of standards, they can hold people accountable, and force the broader military services or the Department of Defense to relieve people at a higher level of command, potentially, if that seems appropriate.”
 
O’Hanlon said there are broader concerns about the proficiency exam cheating scandals that have implicated at least 92 Air Force nuclear ICBM launch control officers and more than 30 Navy personnel connected to nuclear propulsion systems.
 
Those entrusted with America’s nuclear arsenal and its nuclear systems are held to extremely high standards with periodic exams to prove that they know precisely what they are trained to do.  And the pressures to pass those tests allegedly prompted those accused to share questions and answers.
 
“You can’t be lax with nuclear weapons,” said O’Hanlon. These things erode the nation’s safety and security, and over time, can damage that very fabric of the armed forces.” He added “You’ve got to stop them now, before it gets worse.”


District of Columbia planning
to decriminalize marijuana


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

After Colorado and Washington State legalized marijuana for recreational use, other states and cities around the country began taking a fresh look at their own marijuana laws. Some are bowing to political pressure to fully legalize marijuana, which recent polls indicate a majority of Americans support.

Others, like Washington, D.C., are leaning more toward only decriminalizing the drug. If it does, the city would join 17 states with similar laws.

The Washington, D.C. city council is moving forward with a bill to decriminalize marijuana. The bill would change the penalty for possession from a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail to a simple $25 fine. But it would leave criminal penalties for smoking in public.

Council member David Grosso, a supporter of the bill, said, “Putting people in jail is no longer the solution to this problem. I think the war on drugs has really failed. And what we need to do is to find a way to heal our communities from that and to make sure that people are no longer being thrown in jail for non-violent offenses.”

Council member Yvette Alexander was the lone dissenter in a preliminary vote. She is concerned the bill would make Washington a top drug market.

“It will increase more attraction to this area for the sale of drugs. Because the purchase of drugs has little to no repercussion,” she said.

Supporters argue decriminalization will cut law enforcement costs and address racial disparities recently outlined in a report by the American Civil Liberties Union, which advocates for American civil rights. 

The report found people of color are eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Washington, even though usage rates are often higher in certain white communities.

Washington attorney Paul Zuckerberg has represented marijuana defendants for 28 years.

“We are arresting 6,000 people a year for simple marijuana possession," he said. "D.C. leads the nation in marijuana arrests per capita. And we also lead the nation in racially-biased arrests.”

Decriminalization advocates say racial disparities in arrests are a nationwide problem and threaten a generation of black Americans with the stigma of criminal records. 

“Besides the arrests there is the fact that they have the scarlet letter," said Bill Piper, who is with the Drug Policy Alliance which calls for drug policy reform.  "And it is with them for the rest of their lives, which makes it hard for them to get jobs, makes it hard for them to get housing.”

City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson voted for the decriminalization bill, but he said he thinks the racial disparities argument is the wrong reason to change the law.

“I think that is a false argument. To be sure, if there are discriminatory practices in policing, we should vigorously investigate and put an end to that," he said. "But that is not the basis of whether something should be a crime or not. And, in fact, most members of the council don’t support criminalizing drug use.”

The bill faces another city council vote before it goes before Mayor Vincent Gray.  Then, it must be approved by the U.S. Congress which oversees laws in Washington, D.C.

   
AOL exec issues an apology
for criticizing sick babies

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An American corporate executive is apologizing after he cited the high cost of the birth of two distressed babies as a reason to trim the retirement benefits of his employees.

The chief executive of Internet company AOL, Tim Armstrong, last week told workers that he was changing the timing of company contributions to their retirement accounts.  The change would save the company money and likely cost employees thousands of dollars.

Armstrong cited AOL's rising health care costs, noting the company's health insurance plan had paid $1 million in benefits for two women who had given birth to distressed babies.

One of the new mothers, Deanna Fei, wrote an essay criticizing Armstrong's "absurd justification for corporate cost-cutting."

With the outcry, Armstrong abandoned changes in the retirement plan and said he made a mistake in linking them to the cost of the birth of the babies.

Ms. Fei said in the NBC's Today show Monday that she accepted Armstrong's heartfelt apology he made to her in a phone call.

Ms. Fei, the wife of an AOL editor, said her baby was born unexpectedly and prematurely in late 2012.  She said the baby spent three months in intensive care, but now is more than a year old and healthy.


Turkey's controversial law
on Internet may be vetoed

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Opposition parties in Turkey have called on President Abdullah Gul to veto controversial Internet restrictions that were approved last week by the country's parliament  and have increased the international community's concerns over freedoms and rights in the country.
 
Gul is under mounting pressure to veto the legislation, which empowers the government to block Web sites without a court order and gives it access to user information for up to two years. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, called on the president to take a “position on democracy and veto the law.”

"We are calling for the president to veto the new law," said Emma Sinclair Webb, senior Turkey researcher at the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch. "It has passed through parliament very quickly without consultation, without sufficient expert input. And we feel the president now has a chance to really stand up for free speech by vetoing that law, and to uphold citizens' right to access information on the Internet and uphold the right to privacy."

Both the European Union and the Council of Europe have also called for the law to be withdrawn.

Saturday night, police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse thousands of demonstrators protesting the new Internet law.  Turkey’s main business confederation has also called for the law to be withdrawn. 

In comments widely seen as signaling unease over the restrictions, Gul last month stressed the importance of freedom of the Internet, and especially social media. But the Turkish president is also a founding member of the ruling AK Party.

Kadri Gursel, diplomatic columnist for the Turkish newspaper Milliyet and Al-Monitor Web site, says the president is performing a delicate political balancing act.

"Mr. Gul has cleverly positioned himself as the natural alternative to Erdogan from within the Islamist conservative political movement. And Mr. Gul cleverly does not do that by challenging Erdogan’s government. He is very government-friendly in signing government draft laws. He is not creating problems in terms of limiting or balancing the government’s power," said Gursel, referring to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
 
Adding to the pressure on the president, Erdogan, addressing a rally in Istanbul on Sunday, resolutely defended the new Internet law and slammed its critics.

"These regulations do not impose any censorship on the Internet. On the contrary, they make it safer and freer," he said. "Those protesting against the law are part of what he called a pornography lobby."
 
Erdogan also repeated a warning to the country’s business leaders, saying they will all face auditing by the tax authorities. Political scientist Cengiz Aktar of the Istanbul Policy Forum says that with the political temperature rising, Gul faces a critical choice.

"This will be a real yardstick of his intentions, whether he will challenge now the prime minister, Erdogan, or not," said Aktar.
 
Even if the president were to veto the Internet legislation, he would be obliged to sign it into law if the government passed it a second time unamended.  But observers argue such a veto would be politically damaging to Erdogan and likely intensify the growing opposition to the controversial legislation.

The issue could also have consequences for this year’s presidential election, which neither the prime minister nor the president have ruled out running in.


currency
Voice of America/J. Taboh  
A worker at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing examines sheets of U.S. currency before they are made into wallet-ready bills.

Plenty of hard work goes
into securing U.S. currency

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

American dollars are a popular currency both in the United States and around the world. Ensuring that the bills are distinctive and trustworthy is the job of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, a government entity that's been printing American bank notes for more than 150 years.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing, within the U.S. Department of the Treasury, designs and produces millions of U.S. banknotes each day at its facilities in Texas and in Washington, making it one of the largest currency printing operations in the world.

The agency was established in 1862 under President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War.

Creating a United States banknote from start to finish is a complex process, according to Bureau Director Larry Felix.

“It looks like ink on paper, and it is ink on paper, but there are an extraordinary amount of systems that are on that bank note,” he said.

During the first stage of printing, the background color is applied. On a $20 bill for example, the blue eagle in the background and the subtle orange and green coloring, are put on by the bureau’s offset printing.

​Next, the notes are pressed onto inked, engraved plates. Intaglio printing where the ink is etched into the bill is used for the portraits, vignettes, scrollwork, numerals and lettering that is unique to each denomination.

“Just about anyone who produces a banknote wants to put intaglio on that note. It gives banknotes that distinctive touch, that feel,” said Felix. "The United States puts more intaglio than almost any other country because we put intaglio in the front and on the back.”

The next stage involves the letter press printing process where the serial numbers and seals are added.

“So we put these features in these notes to assist people, to make sure that they can tell if the note is real,” said Felix. “And every step of the way it also helps machines to identify if that note is real or not.”

Regarding the issue of counterfeiting, Felix said the bureau is always evaluating the threats against bank notes in terms of digital and other evolving technologies “that would have an impact on the future of the integrity of a banknote. We’ve anticipated those threats and designed those features into the banknotes.” 

While there’s no such thing as a counterfeit-proof note, Felix says counterfeit notes in circulation is less than 1/100th of 1 percent.

“That means,” he said, “that the designs are effective and the United States Secret Service and our partners at the Federal Reserve are very effective in ensuring that U.S. currency rates remains strong and used worldwide and widely accepted.”

​Rosie Rios is the treasurer of the United States and has direct oversight over both the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the U.S. Mint, which produces coins. They are separate bureaus within the Treasury.

Ms. Rios' signature along with that of the secretary of the Treasury are stamped on all U.S. banknotes during their time in office.

While the percentage of counterfeit notes in circulation remains very small, she says the government continues to redesign American currency to stay ahead of advancing technologies and tech-savvy counterfeiters.

She pointed to the newly designed $100 note as an example.

“So on the overt features, the features you can see, one of the first things you notice about this new $100 bill which was issued in October 2013, is that it has this blue, 3-D security ribbon.”

The ribbon, along with other new security features, makes it easier for the public to authenticate and more difficult for counterfeiters to replicate.

“U.S. currency is trusted worldwide. People recognize it,” said Ms. Rios. “So we want to make sure that we produce something that’s trusted, that’s secure, that’s safe and people can continue to use in the future.”

And if anyone is wondering whether cash transactions are becoming a thing of the past, Ms. Rios says there’s no need for concern.

“Even though there’s been this enormous amount of electronic transactions over the last few years, the amount of currency that we’re producing in absolute numbers has been increasing,” she said. “So we’re still producing on average seven billion notes per year."

Sixty percent of those notes are in circulation outside the United States, currency, said Ms. Rios, that will be in demand for many years to come.


Ex-Guatemalan commander
sentenced in massacre spinoff

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

An ex-Guatemalan army commander was sentenced Monday in a U.S. court to a 10-year prison term for covering up his role in a 1982 massacre during his country's bloody civil war, in order to gain U.S. citizenship.

Prosecutors say Jorge Sosa lied to U.S. immigration officials about his involvement in the mass killings of 250 men, women and children, in what is believed to be one of the worst atrocities in 36 years of war.

A U.S. jury last year found Sosa willfully omitted both his military affiliation and his role in the killings, when he applied for permanent U.S. residence in 1997 and for naturalized citizenship 10 years later.

He was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2009 in connection with the false statements and subsequently fled to Canada. He was arrested there and later returned to the United States for trial.

At the October 2013 trial, U.S. prosecutors presented evidence that Sosa and other members of an elite army unit known as the Kaibiles entered the village of Dos Erres in December 1982 seeking stolen weapons. When none were found, the unit removed villagers from their homes and separated the men from the women and children.

A U.S. statement Monday said analysis showed some of the young girls had been raped, before the unit systematically began killing the villagers with sledgehammers and guns, and then throwing the bodies into a well.

Testimony from two Kaibiles who participated in the massacre showed that Sosa supervised the unit as its members filled the well with the mortally wounded villagers. The testimony also showed that Sosa at one point threw a hand grenade into the mass of bodies in the well.

Argentine forensic specialists exhumed the 12-meter-deep well in the mid-1990s, and one of the Argentineans testified in 2009 that his team found 162 skeletons. Of those, he testified that 67 appeared to be children under age 12.


Sea Shepherd will patrol
Pacific waters off Guatemala


Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Sea Shepherd Global and Sea Shepherd USA have entered into an agreement met with Guatemalan officials. Based on these talks, Sea Shepherd has been asked to assist the Guatemalan department of fisheries by operating anti-poaching enforcement patrols in the Pacific Ocean.

Guatemalan law protects marlin and other billfish species from commercial exploitation, but such fish are lucrative targets for poachers in Guatemalan waters. Sea Shepherd’s assistance is timely, as the crew will be able to help with patrols during prime poaching season for marlin, February and March.

The Sea Shepherd vessel "Brigitte Bardot" arrived in Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, on Jan. 24. Sea Shepherd will provide the "Bardot" and her crew as assistance in anti-poaching patrols beginning in the coming days and will operate for the next several weeks. The crew is joining investigators from the Guatemalan department of fisheries, police officers, and naval officers on their patrols.

In addition, Sea Shepherd said its crew members will assist department of fisheries personnel in providing presentations to schools and universities in Guatemala, helping to educate and spread awareness about the poaching crisis and the critical need for ocean conservation.

It has been a goal of Sea Shepherd Global to boost Sea Shepherd’s outreach in Latin America, the organization said. Following the formation of a Sea Shepherd entity in Costa Rica in 2013, the organization’s reach in Central America continues to expand. Guatemalan Sea Shepherd supporters are currently organizing to create a Sea Shepherd presence in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

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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
8245-5/12/14

Real estate for sale (paid category)


Balcony view
This is a great opportunity
Get your home in one of the best locations. Four-bedroom condo near Universidad de Costa Rica, ULatina & UFidelitas   $170,000. USD.  24/7 gate security with in-home alarm, three levels, parking for two cars and play area for children. First Level: Living room/dining room, kitchen with breakfast bar, laundry room, patio/garden with roof, storage area, & guest bathroom. Second Level: Large master bedroom with full bathroom and walk-in closet, two additonal bedrooms, linen closet, full bathroom. Third Level: Large fourth bedroom or TV room, full bath, large storage attic, spacious roofed balcony   and breathtaking views of mountains to the east, south, west. Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987 / U.S. Phone:  (630) 886-4458 . C.R. Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799-4041  or  (506) 8363-9898.  Email: sjogringo@yahoo.com
8253-5/12/14

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
2852-5/17/14

Los Reyes home
House for sale in La Guacima, Alajuela
Located on 9th tee of Los Reyes Country Club. Club offers golf, tennis (6 courts), swimming pool, gym and restaurant. Easy access to schools, shopping, hospitals & Caldera highway. One hour to Pacific beaches. House price: US $450,000.00. Contact Bill, Phone 506 -8878-9221  Email: losreyes191@gmail.com Click on the link below for photos and additional details:
https://plus.google.com/photos/105244969603261154850/
8240-8/6/14

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

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.

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


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.

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page


San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 29
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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
Computer role-playing said
to have effect afterwards


By the Association for Psychological Science news staff

How you represent yourself in the virtual world of video games may affect how you behave toward others in the real world, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“Our results indicate that just five minutes of role-play in virtual environments as either a hero or villain can easily cause people to reward or punish anonymous strangers,” says lead researcher Gunwoo Yoon of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

As Yoon and co-author Patrick Vargas note, virtual environments afford people the opportunity to take on identities and experience circumstances that they otherwise can’t in real life, providing “a vehicle for observation, imitation, and modeling.”

They wondered whether these virtual experiences — specifically, the experiences of taking on heroic or villainous avatars — might carry over into everyday behavior.

The researchers recruited 194 undergraduates to participate in two supposedly unrelated studies. The participants were randomly assigned to play as Superman (a hero), Voldemort (a villain), or a circle (a neutral individual). They played a game for five minutes in which they were asked to fight enemies. Then, in a presumably unrelated study, they participated in a blind taste test. They were asked to taste and then give either chocolate or chili sauce to a future participant. They were told to pour the chosen food item into a plastic dish and that the future participant would consume all of the food provided.

The results were revealing: Participants who played as Superman poured, on average, nearly twice as much chocolate as chili sauce for the future participant. And they poured significantly more chocolate than those who played either of the other roles.

Participants who played as Voldemort, a Harry Potter villain, on the other hand, poured out nearly twice as much of the spicy chili sauce than they did chocolate, and they poured significantly more chili sauce compared to the other participants.

A second experiment with 125 undergraduates confirmed these findings.

Interestingly, the degree to which participants actually identified with their role didn’t seem to play a part.

“These behaviors occur despite modest, equivalent levels of self-reported identification with heroic and villainous avatars, alike,” Yoon and Vargas note. “People are prone to be unaware of the influence of their virtual representations on their behavioral responses.”

The researchers hypothesize that that arousal, the degree to which participants are keyed into the game, might be an important factor driving the behavioral effects they observed.

The findings, though preliminary, may have implications for social behavior, the researchers argue:

“In virtual environments, people can freely choose avatars that allow them to opt into or opt out of a certain entity, group, or situation,” says Yoon. “Consumers and practitioners should remember that powerful imitative effects can occur when people put on virtual masks.”



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From Page 7:

Digital marketing conference will be Feb. 19

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A conference on the trends of digital marketing will be held at the Hotel Corocibi on Feb. 19. EKA Consultores Internacional hosts the gathering with a schedule that hopes to give patrons a look into the digital industry's future.

Discussion topics include the difference between traditional markets and digital markets and planning ad campaigns over digital media. Presentations will be led by digital marketing expert Esteban Vallejo Ramírez.

Vallejo will also take the group into a discussion regarding advertisements on Google, Facebook, and other social media outlets. He poses the question how they create their advertisements and will offer examples as to how to make effective ads for each platform, according to an announcement.

The event begins at 8 a.m. and lasts until noon. Admission is $185 per participant.