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(506) 2223-1327                             Published, Monday, March 7, 2016, in Vol. 17, No. 46                             Email us
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Officials plan to spend mornings considering 2050
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Government officials, international bankers and representatives of private enterprise will meet five mornings this week to consider the state of production in 2050. The seminar is called the week of economic reflection.

The presenters are heavy with vice ministers from various agencies, and President Luis Guillermo Solís is scheduled to give a 10-minute talk Thursday.

Sponsors are the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio, the German agency for development, the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica and the Colegio de Profesionales en Ciencias Económicas,

The stated purpose is to sensitize the public about the importance of constructing policy for developing production in an integrated humane way, said an announcement.

Expats may be surprised to learn that Costa Rica does have a planning agency. It is the

Ministerio de Planificación Nacional y Política Económica, which each year, emits complex and detailed projections for government activity. For example, the agency just reported that the government completed 213 goals for programs and projects for 2015 of the 293 contained in the national development plan.

The session this morning will be in the auditorium of the Colegio de Profesionales en Ciencias Económicas in Zapote. For the other four days this week the sessions will be in the Museo de Jade.

Among the topics to be treated Tuesday is climate change, said a draft agenda.

Representatives from the Cámara de Industrias, one from the Cámara de Comercio, another from the Cámera Nacional de Turismo and one from the Unión Costarricense de Cámaras y Asociados del Sector Empresarial Privado are scheduled to give brief presentations Thursday. Otherwise, the draft agenda is almost exclusively officials, academics and  international bankers.

Lights around international airport getting beefed up
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Five teams from the state power company are changing the lights in the vicinity of Juan Santamaría airport. They are putting in 400 LED lamps, light-emitting diodes, in place of the existing, older lighting.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad  said the work should be done by the beginning of next month. The teams have been at work since February.

The new lights are being placed from the toll station in the Autopista General Cañas not far from the airport to the Hospital San Rafael de Alajuela. That includes the entrances and exits from the airport as well as the entrance to Alajuela Centro, said the power company.

LED lamps are more efficient and last longer

Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad photos
Fixture are supposed to give more visibility.

than incandescent and fluorescent fixtures. In addition, the company said that the new fixtures will increase the visibility for drivers.

The company said that traffic is not being affected by the work. Utility customers pay for public lighting on their monthly bills.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, March 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 46
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Fine art restoration and conservation

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your legal adviser for criminal, civil,
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Cell study links zika with birth defects

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The evidence gets stronger every day that the zika virus causes microcephaly. Now, a study has found a likely biological link between the mosquito-borne virus and the rare birth defect.

Since the zika outbreak that started in Brazil last May, more than 5,000 babies have been born with abnormally small heads and the possibility of severe developmental delays.

Public health experts have been baffled by this outcome. The only known factor these babies have in common is that at some time during pregnancy, the mothers had the zika virus. Research is underway to find other causes, but the World Health Organization said in February that zika is guilty until proven innocent.

Since then, scientists have been trying to find out why and how the zika virus affects the developing brain and when the fetus is most vulnerable.

At Johns Hopkins' Institute for Cell Engineering, part of Johns Hopkins Medicine, neuroscientists Hongjun Song and Guo-li Ming collaborated with virologist Hengli Tang at Florida State University and colleagues in a laboratory study to see if they could make the connection between the virus and the birth defect.

"In this study, we just asked a very simple question: What are the cells that preferentially vulnerable for the zika virus?" said Ming, one of the lead researchers.

The scientists took lab-grown neural stem cells and neural progenitor cells, the building blocks of the brain, and infected them with the zika virus in culture dishes. Three days after the virus was applied, 85 percent of the cells were infected.

"What we found is there are two things the zika virus can do: First, it will kill some of the neural stem cells that are responsible for forming part of the brain and, also, it will slow down the growth of the neural progenitor cells if they're not bad yet," Ming said.

Progenitor cells are like stem cells, only more specialized. A major difference between the two is that stem cells can reproduce indefinitely, while progenitor cells can divide only a limited number of times. That means a damaged progenitor cell might not be able to produce enough copies of itself to fix a problem.

Zhexing Wen, one of the researchers at Johns Hopkins, said the virus has an affinity for attacking neural progenitor cells as opposed to other cells. The researchers noted that the virus used the cell's ability to reproduce itself to make copies of the virus, which helped it spread to healthy cells.

Song's team also reported that the infected cells grew more slowly than healthy cells, and their division cycles were interrupted, factors that could also contribute to microcephaly.

While the researchers said their work does not prove conclusively that zika causes microcephaly, they said it is an important step toward that goal.

And, although it might be logical to conclude from the study that the zika virus attacks, damages and kills important cells that build the brain, Ming said they now have to "determine whether the zika virus infection can lead to microcephaly in a different cultural model system, a three-dimensional model." That would be a more realistic experiment that would allow scientists to mimic the developing brain.

The scientists from both universities are collaborating on another study.

"We would like to see whether we can find ways to block the zika entry or the action of the zika virus on the cells," Ming said.

Blocking the virus, or preventing it from damaging the brain cells, would make the virus far less threatening than it is now.

Their work on the biological link between zika and microcephaly has been published in Cell Stem Cell. The study was funded by Florida State University, the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund, and the National Institutes of Health.

Health minister says zika fight is for all

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The health minister took to television Sunday night to tell Costa Ricans that each resident needs to fight against the zika virus.

The minister, Fernando Llorca Castro, outlined the extensive steps that the government has taken and will take to eliminate mosquitoes and their breeding places. But he said that every Costa Rican has to act because the responsibility begins in the home, in the school, and in the workplace.

“Everyone of us, you, your neighbors, the community and including me are in the first front in this fight for our health and our country,” said the minister.

Llorca noted that the incidence of the disease is negligible in Costa Rica when compared to the hundreds and thousands infected in other countries. However, with the exception of Chile and Canada, countries at the extremes of the hemisphere, no country will avoid the virus, he said.

He noted that the same mosquitoes that carry zika also carry dengue and chykungunya.

His television talk was accompanied with a video of workers spraying for mosquitoes. He noted that a sanitary emergency has been declared in 31 cantons over the virus. The confirmed cases are on the Nicoya peninsula, mainly in the beach town of Sámara.

Among other actions, the video suggested cleaning roof gutters where water accumulates when drainage is blocked. It also warned against having open water in receptacles for plants.

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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, March 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 46
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Latin America seems to be less than a priority with GOP candidates
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Donald Trump probably would not get many votes in Costa Rica now. Residents here generally consider that the Republican front runner’s opinions on illegal Mexican immigrants refer to all Latin Americans.

Some in Costa Rica might change their mind because Trump  is a strong opponent of the North American Free Trade Agreement. He has not singled out the Central American Free Trade Agreement, but a president Trump certainly would want to renegotiate that controversial document too.

Primary results in U.S. HERE!

After so-called SuperSaturday over the weekend, Trump and Rafael Cruz, the Texas senator, have consolidated their positions as front runners, even though Marco Rubio won the Puerto Rican primary Sunday.

The Trump candidacy has certainly caused many to express their opinion. Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, said last week that a Trump victory would give a boost to the left wing in Latin America. This may have just been an anti-endorsement but the idea probably is true.

The Brookings Institution, a liberal think tank in Washington, D.C., suggested over the weekend that a Marco Rubio-John Kasich ticket might be a strategy to advance the Florida senator. The think tank said that Kasich could drop out of the race and direct his supporters to Rubio. Trump wants Rubio to drop out, too.

The Brookings Institution said that Trump is known for his

positions on  Mexico, Muslims, immigration, refugees, trade, and U.S. allies like Japan and South Korea.

An opinion piece produced by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs said that Trump’s  “domestic and foreign policy would largely affect the Latin American population in the U.S. — and U.S. relations with Latin America as a whole. Although Trump has not specifically delineated his policy regarding most Latin American countries, his generalizations about Mexico can readily be extrapolated toward his opinions of the region as a whole. His foreign policy stresses the need to construct a wall at the southern border of the United States. His domestic platform, in turn, emphasizes Second Amendment rights, major tax reforms and hostile immigration policies.”

The piece was written by Esther Fuentes, Mercedes Garcia and Henderson Roman, research associates at the left-leaning council.

Most Costa Ricans are simply confused by the U.S. primary system in which national candidates compete endlessly at the state level. Their opinion of Trump basically stems from his comments on México.

There really have not been any clear statements on Latin foreign policy issues, as the Council on Hemispheric Affairs points out.

So if Trump becomes the Republican nominee, Costa Rican officials and citizens here would expect him to issue more specific policies.

Meanwhile, as one educated Costa Rican said, “Watching the U.S. political process is like trying to figure out what is happening at a cricket game.”

Bandits conduct a confusing invasion of an expat enclave in Pozos
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Armed men, and perhaps a women, rampaged in a section of Pozos de Santa Ana Saturday night.

The consensus of residents is that the bandits had been misinformed and became confused.

Informal sources said the bandits first invaded Condos Via Nova on Calle Miramontess.

Then three persons with ski masks and gloves invaded the Residencias los Jardines, said owner Brian Timmons. The property includes some 24 homes set on 2.5 acres.

Residents in one home were approached by the trio, and one of the bandits located a safe that the occupant would not open.

At some point the bandits realized that they were in the wrong location. They seemed to be in contact with someone on a radio. While they pondered their next move, one or more of the crooks

managed to take car keys from a resident. But he could not open
the compound fence, so he jumped over the fence and briefly stole a car on the street, said the informal sources. Another intruder tried to steal a motorcycle, said Timmons.

The intruders did not appear to have managed to take any items during the invasion about 9 p.m..

The Judicial Investigating Organization confirmed the crime but said that the report of the agents who responded was not yet available.

At some point after leaving the residential properties someone fired off four or five rounds, perhaps into the air, said several witnesses.

Los Pozos has a high percentage of expat residents, and it is considered generally secure.

Witnesses reported a massive response by the Fuerza Pública within five minutes.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, March 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 46
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Early inhabitants seem to have hunted Panama's dwarf deer to extinction
By the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute news staff

As polar ice caps melted at the end of the last Ice Age about 8,500 years ago, the global sea level rose and Panama’s Pearl Islands were isolated from the mainland. A new archaeological study by a team including a Smithsonian scientist shows that several thousand years later pre-Columbian colonists hunted a dwarf deer to extinction on an island called Pedro González.

The settlers arrived on the 14-hectare island by sea 6,200 years ago and stayed for a maximum of eight centuries, farming maize and roots, fishing, gathering palm fruits and shellfish and hunting deer, opossums, agoutis, iguanas and large snakes, the major predators.

“When I was washing the animal bones from the first test cut in 2008, out fell a deer ankle bone called a calcaneum,” said Richard Cooke, archaeologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and co-author of the study. “It was so tiny that I realized we had come across a population that had probably dwarfed through isolation.”

The Pearl Archipelago, named for rich pearl beds encountered by early Spanish explorers, lies about 16 miles off Panama’s Pacific coast. The islands are perhaps best known as the location of several seasons of the TV series “Survivor.” As Darwin discovered in the Galapagos, islands are hotbeds of evolution. Through time, animals isolated from mainland populations commonly undergo a reduction in size compared to their mainland relatives due to competition for limited food resources. In the case of the dwarf deer, this must have occurred between the time when the island was isolated from the mainland and the time when the settlers arrived.

Adult deer living on Pedro González island 6,000 years ago weighed less than 22 pounds, about as much as a beagle. Collagen fingerprint studies by Manchester University biochemist Mike Buckley infer that deer bones on the island were not from the tiny red brocket deer, corzo in Spanish, found in Panamá today. Deer bones on the island represent a 

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute photo
María Fernández-Polanco, lead author, studies some of the bones found on Las Perlas Archipelago.

different group of deer, which includes white-tailed deer and some gray brocket populations found in South America. Only DNA studies will confirm to which deer species the island deer belong. Buckley found that the 6,000-year-old deer bones belong to the same lineage as a larger deer still found on San José island, five miles to the south in the Pearl Archipelago. Why it survived there is an unresolved mystery.

About 2,500 fragments of deer bones corresponding to 22 individuals were found in the 4-meter-deep trash heap or midden that built up in a large hollow near the coast. Some deer bones had cuts indicating butchering, such as disarticulation and slicing meat from the bone, or had the marks of human teeth. Others had been burned or smashed to get at the marrow. Antlers and long bones were often cut for making everyday tools and ornaments. Hunting appears to have been indiscriminate, including adults as well as juveniles.

The number of deer bones decreased in the youngest layer of the midden, and those of older adults were absent, suggesting that the species was becoming scarcer and life expectancies lower. No deer bones were found in later layers left by pottery-using people after 2,300 years ago, indicating that the species had become extinct on Pedro González by then.

Vacation, travel and hospitality

                        Garden 2016
Largest art gallery in Guanacaste
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
or contact us by email:   
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.

Click photo for another video

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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Real estate rental services (paid category)

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Will be Available March 15, 2-bedroom, 2-bath fully-furnished house inside gated property, Internet, Wifi, cable TV. $700 + utilities. Located in Santa Barbara de Heredia. More information to my email:

Spectacular rentals are available for low weekly prices on at resorts such as Bahia Turquesa Residences and Villas Sol Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. We have 
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Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for  your stay in this beautiful part
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Real estate for rent (paid category)

Two bedrooms plus additional on loft, furnished condo with garage, half block walking distance to Costa Rica international Academy. Gated compound on Country Club grounds across Fairway Five. USD $850 plus utilities. Info: US 925 755-4645 or  Note:

 CR house telephone number 2654- 4145  We will be in our house in Flamingo,  March 11 thru April 30.

                                              Valley view

Boutique quality mountain homes for rent located on a small horse ranch on the slopes of the Barva Volcano, Heredia Province. The homes have stunning views of Costa Rica's Central Valley. Located at 7,300-foot altitude, our ranch borders the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the homes are hiking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. We offer various rental options for our 1- and 2-bedroom homes. Contact us at Ajsanch783@AOL.COM for more details.

Fully Furnished American style Apartments for Rent
2-bedroom, 2- bathroom, fully furnished American-style apartments with elevator in a secure building in Barrio Amó. Cable, Internet, water included. Shared laundry. Convenient to Parque Morazán,
hotels, restaurants, casinos, city government, national registry. $650 per month plus electricity. ½ month security deposit. No lease.  The larger apartments are $650 per month. They have larger bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens. It would be best for the prospective tenants to visit
Barrio Amon
the building to see the apartments.   For more information contact:  or call Hilda at 2221-7161.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  
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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, March 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 46
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GOP nominating battle
becoming two-man race

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Republican nominating contest for president could be consolidating into a two-man race between businessman Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.  By gobbling up the lion’s share of delegates awarded state-by-state, Trump and Cruz are eclipsing two other rivals: Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Rubio did pick up a victory Sunday in Puerto Rico's primary, only his second win of the 2016 cycle. For now he appears to pose no threat to Cruz or Trump.

Cruz beat expectations by winning nominating contests Saturday in Maine and Kansas, and finishing a close second to front-runner Donald Trump in Louisiana and Kentucky.

“I am very encouraged because if we continue to unite we are going to win this nomination,” said a jubilant Cruz.

Trump expressed no disappointment with the results.

“I am very, very happy about it.  Thank you, Louisiana, and thank you, Kentucky,” he said.

While Trump retains a lead in the delegates needed to win the Republican nomination, Cruz narrowed the gap by winning five states last week.

Thursday, Trump and Rubio squabbled endlessly at the last Republican debate, often eliciting groans and boos from the audience.  Cruz alternated between attacking Trump and attempting to stand above the fray.

“Nominating Donald would be a disaster,” Cruz said at the debate, which was televised on Fox News.  “If you don’t want him as the nominee, then I ask you to stand with us as a broad coalition of people who believe in the Constitution, believe in freedom, and want to turn this country around.”

Trump acknowledged Cruz's rise late Saturday and urged Rubio to drop out of the race.

"I would love to take on Ted one-on-one.  That would be so much fun," he said.

If Cruz is emerging as the main alternative to Trump among Republicans, the Democratic front-runner, former secretary of State Hillary Clinton, continued marching toward her party's nomination.

Mrs. Clinton is outpacing her lone remaining challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and increasingly gearing her remarks to a general election audience.

“Let us join hands, let us lift ourselves up, let us get going together.  Let us make a difference, let us build tomorrow,” Clinton said at a recent campaign stop.

Mrs. Clinton has won most primaries to date in larger, delegate-rich states.  But Bernie Sanders insists the race is not over.

“We have come a very, very long way, closing the gap nationally with secretary Clinton,” Sanders said on ABC’s “This Week” television program.

But it is the Republican contest that is generating more headlines.  Some party elders, like 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, have pleaded with voters against backing Trump.

“Here is what I know.  Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud,” Romney said last week.

Trump, meanwhile, continues to amass delegates while thumbing his nose at the Republican establishment and straying from traditional presidential themes.

Tuesday, Michigan and Mississippi are holding both Republican and Democratic presidential primary elections, while Republicans are holding a primary in Idaho and caucuses in Hawaii.

New film is critical of law
restricting abortion clinics

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Wednesday, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments over a law that critics say places unreasonable restrictions on abortion, filmmaker Dawn Porter premiered her new documentary, "Trapped."

The film is Porter's argument that laws like HB2, the Texas law before the Supreme Court,  have little to do with women's health and are instead designed to make it harder for women to get an abortion.

Since 2011, hundreds of laws regulating abortion clinics have been passed by conservative state legislatures, particularly in the South.  Supporters say the laws are designed to make abortion safer.

But critics call these restrictions targeted regulation of abortion providers, or TRAP laws.  They argue lawmakers are trying to restrict or eliminate access to safe abortions.

Porter and other critics also contend these laws disproportionately affect poor women and women of color, who face the closure of local clinics and don't have the means to travel and pay for a procedure.

"Trapped" follows a small number of abortion clinics in the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Texas as they deal with the challenge of staying open while complying with new regulations imposed by their state.

June Ayers, the owner of one of the Alabama clinics, says conservative politicians are behind Texas' HB2 law, and many of the state's clinics find it nearly impossible to comply with its mandates.

“That was the function of the bill. The function is a trap,” she said.

One HB2 regulation requires abortion clinics to be ambulatory surgical centers.

In a court brief, opposition groups argued those upgrades are often prohibitively expensive. They also point out that the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say the regulations are unnecessary, and actually put women's health at risk by restricting access to abortion providers.

According to the documentary, the bill also requires many facilities to widen corridors to allow gurneys to pass through and include surgical equipment not used in abortion procedures.

These restrictions, says Dalton Johnson, owner of an abortion clinic in Huntsville, Alabama, are intended to chip away piecemeal at women’s reproductive rights.

“I’ve spent close to a million dollars to meet all of their requirements and you think you are done and what are they trying to do? They are trying to pass another bill that is saying I cannot be within 2,000 feet of a school. They are treating me, the patients, the physicians, as sex offenders,” he says in the film.

Nancy Reagan to be buried
next to husband in California

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Former first lady Nancy Reagan, 94, the steadfast partner of the 40th U.S. president, Ronald Reagan, died Sunday of congestive heart failure, the Reagan library announced.

She will be buried beside her husband at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

Touching tributes have been pouring in for the former first lady, renowned for her devotion to her husband, whom she called "Ronnie."

“Nancy is where she has always wanted to be: with her Ronnie,” Michael Reagan, president of the Reagan Legacy Foundation, wrote on Twitter. “Now she is at peace.”

President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle said in a joint statement that Nancy Reagan redefined the role of first lady during her tenure. “Nancy Reagan once wrote that nothing could prepare you for living in the White House. She was right, of course. But we had a head start, because we were fortunate to benefit from her proud example, and her warm and generous advice,” their statement said.

“We remain grateful for Nancy Reagan’s life, thankful for her guidance, and prayerful that she and her beloved husband are together again.”

Former first lady Barbara Bush said in a statement: “Nancy Reagan was totally devoted to President Reagan, and we take comfort that they will be reunited once more.”

Born Anne Frances Robbins, she was given the name Nancy by her mother. Having caught the acting bug from her mother, young Nancy pursued the profession in New York and Hollywood, where she met fellow actor Ronald Reagan. The couple married in 1952. She was his second wife.

The former Nancy Davis made 11 films in all, her last one coming in 1956: “Hellcats of the Navy,” co-starring her husband.

Ronald Reagan was governor of California from 1967 to 1975. Following a failed presidential bid in 1976, he subsequently won back-to-back elections in the 1980s.

As first lady, Nancy Reagan spearheaded the "Just Say No to Drugs" campaign against substance abuse, carving a space for herself in the national movement to combat recreational drugs.

A regular presence by her husband's side, Nancy Reagan also was sharply criticized for extravagant spending at the White House at a time of high unemployment in the U.S.

By all accounts, the couple remained close until the former president died in 2004 after a decade of living with Alzheimer's disease.

They are survived by two children, Patti Davis and Ron Reagan.

National Guard cyberteam
considered for offensive

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. National Guard's cyber unit may join the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq and Syria, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said.

"Units like this can also participate in offensive cyber operations of the kind that I have stressed we are conducting, and actually accelerating, in Iraq and Syria, to secure the prompt defeat of ISIL, which we need to do and will do," Carter said, using an acronym for the group.

"We're looking for ways to accelerate that, and cyber is one of them," he added.

Carter visited the National Guard Cyber Unit at its base Friday in the northwestern U.S. state of Washington. He noted the squadron was not currently engaging in offensive cybermissions.

But the defense secretary said in the ongoing campaign against the Islamic State group, there is a need to “make it clear that there is no such thing as a state that is based on that ideology.”

As part of that effort, Carter said he would not rule out cyber operations to work on an offensive strategy to try to disrupt the Internet outreach operations of the militant group.

Since it was formed back in the late 1990s, the cyber unit has focused solely on defensive cybersecurity efforts, National Guard officials told the Seattle Times newspaper.

The National Guard's cyber unit is a 101-person team of part-time soldiers, most of whom have full-time jobs in the tech industry at companies such as Microsoft and Google.

“Using National Guard units for such work made sense because it allowed the military to benefit from private sector cyber experts,” Carter said.

"It brings in the high-tech sector in a very direct way to the mission of protecting the country," he added, "And we're absolutely going to do more of it."

The U.S. National Guard is a reserve military force, composed of military units of each state, the District of Columbia and the territories of Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

The majority of its soldiers and airmen hold civilian jobs full time while serving part time as National Guard members.

Manning announces end
to his NFL football career

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

It comes as no surprise to fans of American football that Super Bowl champion quarterback Peyton Manning has decided he has played his last National Football League game.

With his 40th birthday arriving March 24, and fresh off leading the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl championship last month over the Carolina Panthers, Manning confirmed in a statement on the Broncos' Web site Sunday that he will retire.

In his 18 seasons, Manning set all-time NFL records for most touchdown passes with 539 and most passing yardage with 71,940, and he shares the league record for most wins by any quarterback at 186 with Brett Favre, who retired five years ago. Manning is the only player in the NFL to have won five most valuable player awards.

Manning compiled most of his statistics with the Indianapolis Colts from 1998 to 2011. After neck surgery threatened his career and kept him sidelined for the entire 2011 season, the Colts released him. But less than two weeks later, he agreed to a five-year deal for $96 million to play for the Denver Broncos.

While many thought he would never be the same quarterback he was with Indianapolis, Manning led the Broncos to two Super Bowls in four seasons, winning one and losing one, just as he had done in Indianapolis in his 14 seasons with the Colts. Feb. 7 he became the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, in a 24-10 upset victory over Carolina.

"It was a blessing to coach Peyton Manning," said Denver head coach Gary Kubiak. "Nobody worked harder at the game and nobody prepared harder than Peyton."

Broncos General Manager John Elway, who had quarterbacked Denver to two Super Bowl titles in the late 1990s and took a chance on Manning after his neck surgery, paid tribute to the quarterback on the team's Web site.

Voice of America photo    
Red Cross volunteers deliver bottled water.

Volunteers visit Flint homes
to provide water to drink

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

"It’s a basic human need. You can’t survive without water," says Virginia Bielasco, one of an army of volunteers who have descended here to perform one basic mission: get safe, clean water to those who need it, which is just about everybody who lives here.

As word of the water crisis spread, thousands of volunteers from around the country descended to offer help to residents of this struggling city in the Midwestern state's southeast. The American Red Cross is one of many organizations working to provide safe drinking water in a crisis with no immediate end in sight.

Ms. Bielasco’s home is in Byron, Illinois, about a seven-hour drive from the middle-class residential neighborhood where she is delivering cases of bottled water.

"The most eye-opening experience for me is just to think that we’re in the United States," she said, "and here we have a city where the people cannot just turn on their tap and have reliable water."

Keith Alvey is the American Red Cross division disaster executive managing the agency’s relief efforts in Flint, where the crisis isn’t the usual sort of thing the aid organization responds to. 

"It’s just the water supply," he said. "It’s not as if we’re faced with a tornado where you can see where the damage is or a hurricane where the winds have taken out multiple parts of the infrastructure. It’s all concentrated in the water."

But being a different sort of crisis does not make this less critical. Alvey said the Red Cross has mobilized more than 2,000 volunteers to respond.

Water here now comes in bottles instead of flowing from taps or shower heads. And the Red Cross, which is working with several different agencies in Flint to provide relief, says the biggest need isn’t more bottled water.

"There’s a need for people to go to all these different centers to help distribute water," said Linda Cieciek, a volunteer services specialist with the Red Cross.

"They are absolutely essential," echoed Alvey. "It’s one thing to have a warehouse full of water. It’s another to actually get it into the hands of people who actually need it."

Terence Johnson is one of those people. He has been dealing with the water crisis since December, and while he is grateful for the volunteers, he is growing weary of the wait for long-term fixes.

"Passing out water isn’t going to solve this problem. Fixing the pipelines will solve the problem," he said.

The toxicity came from lead leaching from old pipes.

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Cell phone: 506-8898-9398
or 506-8314-8090


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Real estate for sale (paid category)

Ocean View Property for Sale in Jacó
1.5-acre lot with spectacular ocean views. Ready to build. Mild climate year round with an average temperature a cool 74 degrees. Spectacular panoramic views of the ocean and port of Puntarenas during the day, breathtaking views of Esparza at night. Fully titled and owned under a Costa Rican corporation. $50,000. Short-term owner financing available. For more info: Contact: Frank

Jacó beach unique home. First time offered
This house has never been listed.  It is a 3-bedroom, 1-bath home approx. 100 feet above sea level on the only hill in Jacó one mile to the beach.  Totally remodeled to a Gringo house.Has great fenced yard for dogs and a huge screened porch with  great views all around, including a small ocean view.  New in the last two years includes: new kitchen with granite counter, cedar cabinets, all new windows, tile, water system, updated electric & plumbing, superb new AC units (low electric bill), This is half of a duplex with a platted yard.  Other side is the chief of police.  Secure & private.  $169.900. Call Glenn at 506-6214-0056 or

La Uruca condo
Situated three miles west of the capital, eight miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, six restaurants,  next to two bus line stops. Car ownership is not needed. January-March air temperatures are 72 to 80 degrees F. Apartment 1,200 sq. ft (100 sq. meters), on ground floor, indoor  patio. Large windows without bars, parquet floors. Spacious living room-dining area, two bedrooms, maid's room, two bathrooms, four closets  (including walk-in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine, small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools).  Many amenities, (pictures, indoor plants, sewing machine, books, keyboard, dishes, glassware, silverware). Annual cost of maintenance about $1,350 includes water, landscaping service, garbage disposal, 24-7 security and property taxes. Price $120,000. Available for viewing:  Mid-January to beginning of April. Contact:  USA :  585 544-4296. Costa Rica : 506 2231-0410

For sale 5,200 m2 Escazú
Fantastic location for condo, hotel, restaurant.
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Goetl in Palo Seco

Charming small oceanfront hotel for sale in Playa Palo Seco
Ideal oceanfront location with back up to a mangrove estuary. The
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Blakesmore one

Blakemoret two

Costa Rica tropical paradise beach house for sale

Tropical five-acre forested beachfront property with custom house and guest casita on the Osa Península, south Pacific Coast. Abundant wildlife, exotic plants and fruits, secluded beach.  Located 8 kms. south of Puerto Jiménez on the way to Matapalo and Corcovado National Park. Great Price $750,000. Contact Roger. Phone number  (506) 6142-7228   Email: Watch this video for full details.

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 foot elevation so temp is 65 to 75 year around. Electric gate, private drive. house built in 2010. 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, appliances included. High-speed internet installed,  Price for sale $179,000    Contact Mike: 
Check out slide show HERE!

A beautiful American style suburban home just reduced.

A beautiful American style suburban home, 2,700 sq ft of living space with 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, front and rear living rooms, laundry area, kitchen and small attached library nook, arched windows and doors and connected hallways, exotic wood interior ceilings and trim, tile floors thru-out.  The lot is 835 m2 with mature landscape and orchid nurseries surrounding the house. There is an enclosed workshop and BBQ area in the back yard with lots of storage under roof, plus a nursery for an herb/vegetable garden.  This is a very well-kept property with many upgrades, a private feel but yet only 5 minutes from the center of town.  Pérez Zeledón is the commercial hub of the southern zone and considered to be one of the best places to live in all of Costa Rica, the perfect size town, not too big and not too small.  The beach is 45 minutes to the west and a short drive to the cool mountains is to the east. In between, this large valley has a moderate climate.  Pérez has plenty of modern goods and services, an excellent farmers market, private schools, private doctors and clinics, all you need without having to go to the crazy madness of San José.    Just reduced to $199,000.  Call  Jeff:  8725-8176.  Email:

Grecia casa
Mountain home for sale
in Grecia.
Less than a year old. Owners are motivated.  All information regarding the home as well as many photos can be found at Mountain view home for sale Grecia, Costa Rica.   Contact email:

puriscal photo
Costa Rica home for sale $163,500 / 2bedroom - 1,984 ft2

Central Valley view home: 10 minutes from Santiago de Puriscal and shopping, hospital services, and soon Maxi Pali. Only one hour to San José or Pacific beaches.
- On .55-acre lot with river on one boundary
- Area under roof, 1,984 sq. ft., Area inside walls, 925 sq. ft. Steel, recycled
      Styrofoam, and concrete construction.
- 2 ½ years old with central living room and kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths,
       ceramic tile throughout.
- Central Valley volcano and SJO airport views from every room.
- Vaulted ceilings give bright open feeling.
- Entrance from concrete road to large graveled parking area
- VERY energy efficient with VERY low property taxes.
- Covered attached carport with entrance to front door or laundry-guest bath
- 2 carport storage bodegas.
- 12 foot x 14 foot storage bodega
- Security lights, And Amcrest day & night video recorder system.
- Producing banana trees, and mango, bread fruit, and guanabana trees

Includes: Refrigerator, gas stove & oven with electric grill element, microwave, electric washer-gas dryer stacked style, gas on demand whole house water heater. Other furnishings are negotiable. ICE electric service and land line phone. Bajo Burgos Water district. Metro-wireless WiFi is available. Tigo Star Satellite T.V. House is in a Costa Rican corporation, will transfer shares. Contract or call 506 2416-9324.  Additional photos are available on Flickr album

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

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news page

San José, Costa Rica, Monday, March 7, 2016, Vol. 17, No. 46
Real Estate
About us

News from the BBC up to the minute

BBC news feeds are disabled on archived pages.

Latin news from the BBC up to the minute
Hillside gardeners make the sign of the Z

It seems there are a lot of hills in Costa Rica. There are certainly a lot on
Victoria Torley
our property. Nice gentle rolling hills are one thing but 45-degree slopes are a lot harder to cope with. Fortunately, one of my local friends had the answer: a zig zag garden.

Sounds easy. A ZZ garden is a horizontal path, turn the corner, a few steps down and back in the other direction, and do it over and
over until you get to the bottom of the hill. In between the paths, you put lots of plants.

A ZZ garden, though, turns out to be a lot of work. That 45-degree slope means that even the horizontal parts aren’t really horizontal; they slope a bit, and they are covered with nasty weeds that aren’t helpful if you are making a path or five. And you have to dig out a bit more than expected, which means you have to shore up the edge of the paths with something. Medium sized river rocks are good, but if you don’t have a river, they are expensive. If you do have a river, then you have to carry them (always uphill) to where you want them. It’s all a bit painful.

Our solution was to use recycled materials, mostly roofing, cut to size. We also planted maní and vetiver to hold the soil. At some point, we have to mix very small stones into the mulch on the paths or they will be very slippery (add small stones to shopping list and better make it a truckload).

Get to the end of one path and turn the corner, make some steps down, and put in stepping stones – slippery again. The nice thing about making a ZZ garden is that you can put in plants while the lower paths are being constructed and you won’t disturb anything.

But the best thing about a ZZ garden? Where you once had an unsightly sunny and hot hillside that you occasionally slipped down, you now have quiet pathways that meander through plantings of all heights, understory plants, flowers, and tall plantings that have you shaded from the sun. A ZZ garden can be 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding landscape.

Make the planting area wide enough and you won’t even know if you are sharing the garden with someone else. Street noise disappears and you can hardly hear the neighbor’s barking dog. Tuck a little bench in here and there so you can rest in the shade. And don’t forget to put an arch for your climbers.

Flowers, shade, arching vines, and solitude, the ZZ garden is worth the trouble.

mini prchid

Plant of the Week

Thanks to a friend, I can actually tell you that this is the Epidendrum barbeyanum orchid, a lover of wet shady woodlands. The pale green bloom is only 3.5x2 centimeters and stands out nicely against the leaves. No fragrance but a lovely mini orchid, it is currently blooming at 650 meters.

If you would like to suggest a topic for this column, simply send a letter to the editor.  And, for more garden tips, visit Arenal-Gardeners/413220712106845.
Costa Rican News
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Fine Dining in Costa Rica
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From Page 7:

Chinese official sets ambitious growth goal

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

China has announced a wide range of measures that it believes will help keep the world’s second-largest economy growing by at least 6.5 percent this year, even as slowing global growth and massive job layoffs loom for some industries.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang opted to announce the economic growth objective as a range of 6.5 to 7 percent of gross domestic product while presenting a key government report Saturday. China achieved 6.9 percent growth last year, against the target of 7 percent as the economy grew at its slowest pace in a quarter century.

"I think the aim is to lower the expectations and make it more flexible," said Zhang Yunling, member of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.. "There are difficulties in economic restructuring and the global economic situation is worse than expected."
Analysts said Li appeared to be discouraging high expectations, given the risk of a political backlash from the ongoing economic slowdown.
"China will face more and tougher problems and challenges in its development this year, so we must be fully prepared to fight a difficult battle,” Li said, in remarks to the country’s largely rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress.
Earlier this week, one official said China’s coal and steel industries expect to layoff 1.8 million workers as enterprises deal with overcapacity. The official did not give a timeline for the layoffs.