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Published Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in Vol. 17, No. 52
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Blizzard in northeast U.S. could mean more expats
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A fast-moving winter storm is expected to pummel the northeastern United States today prompting several major airports to cancel or delay numerous flights. The cancellations and delays could have an impact on tourists wanting to visit or return from Costa Rica.

The U.S. National Weather Service said Monday afternoon that a low pressure system moving northeast from the Ohio Valley is expected to merge with another system coming from the southeast.

The expected result: a late season snowstorm stretching from the central Appalachians to New England, the report said. This storm is now being called Winter Storm Stella by several media publications.

The weather service reported that many cities in the Northeastern section of the United States have issued winter storm warnings ahead of the oncoming snow.

Some areas are likely to receive a foot of snow at the very least, the weather service said.

Meanwhile, from the Mid-Atlantic region of New Jersey and Pennsylvania on down to the Carolinas, rain is expected in excess of an inch.

In anticipation of these blizzard-like conditions, many airports are canceling or delaying flights in and out of its terminals.

Part of the reason are the wind gusts expected to reach at least 60 miles an hour in some areas of the Northeast. As of Monday evening, the online airport and flight tracker Flight Stats reported that almost 1,000 flights in and out of Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey were canceled.

Additionally, New York City’s LaGuardia and
U.S. National Weather Service photo
Snow isn't always a winter wonderland.

John F. Kennedy airports canceled over 1,500 flights.

American Airlines announced Monday morning that it would be canceling all of its New York City-area flights for today due to Winter Storm Stella.

The airliner also said that flights after 8 a.m. today would be grounded until Wednesday morning in Boston. Southwest Airlines also announced that it is also canceling 1,300 flights.

These cancellations and delays will have an effect on tourism as those airports receive a lot of connecting flights to airports around the world.

On the flip side, the harsh winter weather may create some new wannabe expats seeking relief from the ice and cold.

Many retirees and expats list the weather in their home state or province as a reason why they came to a milder, warmer country like Costa Rica.

Snow is definitely hard to come by in Central America unless bought as a flavored treat in a store or from a vendor on the street.

GMO opponents call Solís to uphold label promise
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Opponents of genetically modified food products have seized upon March 15, World Consumer Rights Day, to renew their campaign. The opponents want every human and animal food product that contains modified products to be so labeled.

The campaign started in 2015, and the opponents say they remember a promise by President Luis Guillermo Solís on May 9, 2014, that he would issue a regulation requiring labeling.

A number of countries have passed such regulations. Food processing companies generally oppose such measures because they reason there is no difference between modified products and those that are not and that keeping track is difficult.

There also is a campaign and a legislative proposal to ban the growing of modified crops in Costa Rica. A number of cantons have passed regulations against this, but the legality of such measures is questionable. Costa Rican producers now grow modified cotton, soy beans, corn, rice and a few other crops, mostly for seed and for export.

Nearly all the snack food imported into Costa Rica contains modified products, mostly corn.

Opponents of modified food products, identified as the Red de Coordinación de Biodiversidad, say they have collected about 25,000 signatures. The organization says that the government is ignoring human rights for consumers to receive information over what they eat.

Various agricultural products are modified to resist certain types of herbicide, to grow taller, to resist drought, to change their color and to produce their own defenses against insect pest.

The modified product called golden rice, which still is in testing, produces beta-carotene, the source of vitamin A. The idea is to provide vitamins to poor farmers and their families who now have deficiencies.

Some opponents, including a Universidad de Costa Rica professor, base their arguments on a French study published back in 2012 that said genetically modified corn produced tumors in rats.

The study was retracted by the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology after a post-publication review.

Among other problems, the rat variety used are bred to produce tumors and the methodology was flawed.

The World Health Organization says that: “GM foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health. In addition, no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved.”

However, the Internet is full of claims to the contrary.

In Costa Rica much of the opposition was against Monsanto Corp., which sought to grow modified corn here, rather than the product itself.

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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 14, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 52
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A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.

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Presidency takes a risk with Facebook page

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Expats do not need to write a letter to the president to complain or praise. The Casa Presidencial Facebook page is active, and the presidential staff even allows critical comments.

The Facebook page mirrors all the press releases issued by government agencies, at least if they are very positive. And each posting leaves room for a viewer response.

The responder does not have to confine the comments to the topic. So there are occasional political harangues as well as ridicule of government actions.

Most of the citizen postings are positive, but one recent message called Luis Gullermo Solís the worse president ever.

Another demanded that the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo separate out real tourists from others who enter the country on a tourism visa. The posting said that separate counts should be made for potential refugees, workers or those posing social risk.

Some, of course, address the crime situation. One called the country a disaster. Another said that the country needs a president with authority and determination that acts right away because each day homes wake up with one member murdered and children raped.

One fan of the president said he should seek four more years in office. Other posting were full of praise.

Then there are comments out of the blue with no relationship to what has been posted on the page. One apparent North American posted in English: “I thought that I might vacation in Costa Rica but I won't because of the illegal shark fin market supported by the government that is paid off by the shark fin trade and the slaughter of millions of sharks every year.”

Like this one, many of the public comments are not based in full facts, and there is no one at Casa Presidential who seems to be editing the postings. Occasionally there is a response. But it appears that the central government is more than willing to let the public have a say.

City council reporting misuse of funds

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A group of city council members from the Municipalidad de San José affirmed that public funds were used to throw a private party at a vice mayor property last December.

The city council members who've made these claims belong to varying political parties such as the Frente Amplio, Acción Ciudadana and Alianza for San José.

According to them, an undisclosed amount of money was approved by the Oficina de Protocolo to host an event at the municipal council. That event apparently never took place. However, the president of the council, Luis Murillo, and its secretary would have tried to collect the money anyway.

They allegedly did so by submitting a list of participants from another event that did happen.

“We received the information that they were trying to collect the money by using the names of attendees of another event. Our names were included in those lists and that's why we decided to study the case into further detail and filed the complaint,” said Diego Miranda, council member for Frente Amplio.

A.M Costa Rica tried to get a quote from Mario Vargas, the current vice mayor, but he declined to respond to the allegations.

Man killed after sustaining blow to neck

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A blow to the throat with a pipe caused the death of a 24-year old man Monday in San Rafael de Alajuela.

The attack is alleged to have occurred after a heated discussion between the victim and his uncle, who allegedly was forcing the man to find a job, according to officials. At some point, the uncle is alleged to have taken a pipe and hit the victim right in the throat.

The man was taken to a local Ebais, a small clinic with basic services, and died just minutes after arrival, according to a report.

Both the suspect and victim were agricultural workers, according to the Judicial Investigating Organization. The victim’s uncle was arrested at his workplace by judicial agents and taken into custody to the local prosecutors office in Alajuela. He is suspected of committing the murder by judicial officials.

The corpse was taken to the Morgue Judicial for further analysis. Morgue authorities declined to talk about this case.

Templo de la Música receives facelift
templo de
A.M. Costa Rica photo/Conor Golden

Introducing the newly renovated Templo de la Música at Parque Morazán. Work crews had been giving this bandstand extensive renovations as Costa Rica moves into the high season for tourism.

The renovating included a new paint job and repairs on the dome, among other things.

News from the Spanish-language press
Translated into English

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Music of movies comes to Teatro Nacional from piano performance
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The music behind many good films often includes the bombastic sounds of a full orchestra performing pieces by the likes of Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, or John Williams. This time, however, the soundtrack will be played on a piano. 

As part of Teatro Nacional’s ongoing midday performances within its main stage, Costa Rican pianist Manuel Matarrita will bring to life a series of cinematographic sound.

The concert, titled “Piano cinematográfico,” will include pieces heard in movies like the 2005 version of “Pride and Prejudice,” “The Artist,” and “Up” among others. 

The pieces being presented for this installment of “Teatro al mediodía” will include the melodies of movie soundtracks of the 21st and 20th centuries, according to organizers.

The show begins today at 12:10 p.m.

“It is very common to make movie music with a symphony orchestra, but not so much on piano,” explained Matarrita, “I took two criteria for the selection: it had to be classical music that was the work of a famous composer adapted to movies and piano music that was specifically composed for the films.”

The pianist is a graduate of Universidad de Costa Rica who
Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud
Pianist Manuel Matarrita chooses soundtracks to play.

earned his doctorate of music at Louisiana State University in the United States. He is now a professor of music at Universidad de Costa Rica and two-time winner of the national music award, according to the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

Teatro Nacional’s “Teatro al mediodía” is being held every Tuesday at midday until Nov. 21. Reservations are not necessary for the event series. General admittance is 3000 colons, while students and gold card registrants can get in for 1500 colons. Tickets can be purchased at the theater.

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Salaries based on degree rather than performance causes distortion
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Part of the distortion of the Costa Rican employment market stems from salaries based on educational accomplishment instead of performance.

A current dispute in the central government points this out. Numbers of political appointees received salaries that critics say were too high considering the employee’s educational achievement and professional association membership.

In the minimum salary scale set every six months by the Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social, educational attainment counts a lot. Anyone with a bachelor’s degree must be paid a minimum of 462,406 colons ($833.92) a month. Anyone with a licenciado, a type of  degree with more education than a bachelor’s, must be paid 629,395 colons ($1,135.07).
The salary has nothing to do with the job assigned. By contrast, both electricians and plumbers at 10,877.41 ($19.62) a day earn the same as a photocopy operator.

And those who have the degrees demand the salary. Many of those standing in long lines at job fairs are degree holders, and many would not consider a job where performance counts.

Performance also is not considered in the annual Christmas bonus, the aguinaldo, although some employers who pay more than the minimum wage can use evaluations to set pay raises.

There is another requirement for a lot of industry and government jobs. That is membership in the appropriate colegio, a professional organization. There are colegios for all sorts of occupations, not just physicians, surgeons and lawyers.

The government has set up these organizations in lieu of creating licensing standards.
In the United States a lawyer does not have to belong to a bar association. Here a lawyer must belong to the legal colegio and pay monthly dues.

There are at least 28 professional colegios in Costa Rica, including ones for social workers, biologists, economists, informational technology workers and nutritionists.

Theoretically the colegios are supposed to defend the standards of the profession, but they have been accused of just being clubs to keep out competition.

Expats run into the colegios when they move to Costa Rica and try to obtain the right to work in their profession.

They also run into the problem when they try to hire someone who is not in the required colegio. There may be complaints.

The problem with the government now is that many high-level jobs that are beyond the minimum wage scale require both a certain degree and membership in the appropriate colegio.

And many appointees over the last three decades did not meet the standards. They were paid anyway.

Government employment has a special bonus for professionals who receive much more money in exchange for agreeing not to practice their profession while working for the state.

That bonus can be as much as 65 percent of the specified salary.

Recent revelations show that these requirements have been disregarded in many cases as presidents and ministers appointed people they thought could do the job regardless of educational attainment and whether or not they had a profession they agreed not to practice.

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 14, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 52
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Immune system treats
zika like dengue, study says

By the La Jolla Institute’s press staff

Although zika and dengue are considered different virus species, they are so closely related that the immune system treats zika just like another version of dengue, report researchers at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology.

The institute’s latest study, published Monday on the online edition of “Nature Microbiology,” shows that pre-existing immunity to dengue virus modulates the magnitude and breadth of the immune system’s T cell response to zika.

Their findings have important implications for zika vaccine development and also suggest that human genetic differences that influence T cell responses might impact how people react to zika infection.

While in recent decades dengue had been steadily expanding around the globe, zika had remained relatively unknown until the 2015 to 2016 outbreaks catapulted the virus into the public’s consciousness. The vast majority of people infected with zika never show any or only mild symptoms, but the virus can cause devastating developmental disorders and brain defects in unborn babies.

It has also been linked to Guillain-Barre Syndrome in adults, a disorder in which the immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system causing muscle weakness, pain, balance issues and even paralysis.

“It may have disappeared from the headlines, but zika is here to stay,” Ms. Shresta said. “Before with dengue we only had to worry about virus-carrying mosquitos, but the challenge with zika is that it can be transmitted sexually and therefore can travel anywhere. Plus 80 percent of infected people are asymptomatic and the virus can persist in semen for many months. We have to learn how to live with zika and co-circulation of both dengue and zika in many countries.”

Indeed, for clues on how to tame zika, Ms. Shresta and her team looked to dengue virus. In most cases, infection with dengue virus causes a mild, flu-like illness, but for reasons not yet fully understood, in a small number of cases, the disease turns into the life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever, characterized by bleeding and dangerously low blood pressure, which can send the victim into shock.

Dengue comes in four flavors or serotypes and infection with one serotype does not lead to lifelong immunity to the other three. In fact, the main risk factor for severe disease is a secondary infection with a different serotype. The culprit is thought to be “antibody-dependent enhancement”: antibodies developed against one serotype that are unable to prevent infection with another serotype, but instead exacerbate the second infection by helping the virus slip into immune cells.

Since recent studies had shown that antibodies isolated from dengue-infected donor could have both potent neutralizing activities against another serotype and induce this phenomena, Ms. Shresta explored whether similar cross-reactivity exists on the T cell level. “As zika and dengue co-circulate in many regions of the world, it is critical to start exploring the protective versus potentially pathogenic influence of T cells induced by prior dengue exposure on zika infection,” she says.

For their study, postdoctoral researcher and first author Jinshen Wen, Ph.D., analyzed the CD8+ T cell response to Zika virus in mice that had been either pre-exposed to dengue or had seen neither virus before. CD8+ or killer T cells recognized virus fragments or epitopes, that are displayed on the surface of infected cells to signal the immune system that the cell is infected and needs to be destroyed.

Wen found that prior infection with dengue shaped the subsequent CD8+ T cell response to Zika. The pool of cross-reactive memory CD8+ T cells—T cells that were able to recognize both dengue and Zika epitopes. “The implication is that in people with prior dengue infections the T cell response to Zika will be different,” explains Ms. Shresta.

Immunization with Zika-specific or Zika-dengue cross-reactive peptides protected mice against subsequent infection with Zika. Further experiments revealed that the protection was dependent on T cells. “This suggests that vaccine development should focus on eliciting a strong T cell response and not just a strong antibody response,” says Ms. Shresta.

The work was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology.

14 million to lose insurance with healthcare replacement

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Congressional Budget Office says 14 million people will lose their health insurance coverage next year if Congress approves the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

The nonpartisan group released on Monday its long-awaited report on the cost of carrying out one of President Donald Trump's favorite campaign promises: repealing and replacing Obamacare. The report says if the Republican plan is adopted, 14 million people will be uninsured in 2018, with that number ballooning to 52 million by 2026. That is almost twice as many people who would not have insurance if Obamacare remained intact.

But the office said a new health care plan would cut the federal deficit by $337 billion between now and 2026. The new plan also would eliminate the tax penalty for anyone who decides not to buy insurance, which is a provision that will please many conservatives who call it an example of big government interfering in people's private choices.

In what will be a highly troubling provision for most Democrats and some moderate Republicans, the new Trump plan would end federal funds for at least one year for Planned Parenthood and affiliates that provide birth control, family planning and abortions. It said those most likely to feel the effects would "probably reside in areas without health care, clinics, or medical practitioners who serve low-income populations."

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price criticized the report, telling reporters outside the White House that the entity only looked at part of the new Republican health care plan. He said it is impossible for the plan to leave 14 million people with no health coverage, because premiums will actually go down and people can pick their own insurance, instead of a plan that suits the government.

Price also said the office did not take into consideration all of the pieces that would be part of  a plan, including pending legislation to reform the insurance market.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi urged Republicans to pull the bill, saying it is the only decent thing to do. The leader of Senate Democrats, Chuck Schumer, said: "Trumpcare would be a nightmare for the American people." He said it benefits the rich while giving everyone else the cold shoulder.

The Affordable Care Act is one of former President Barack Obama's proudest achievements. 20 million people who previously could not afford health insurance are now covered, and do not face bankruptcy and poverty in case of a devastating illness.

But Trump calls Obamacare a disaster, and says it is collapsing because of rising premiums, the cost to small businesses, and lack of choice for consumers. Obamacare also became infamous for its difficult introduction in 2013 that included computer failures and a confusing bureaucracy.

Trump has promised that his health plan will cover everybody and offer cheaper policies for individuals and small groups of people who buy insurance for themselves rather than getting coverage through their jobs.

Republican lawmakers want to retain two of the most popular features of Obamacare: banning insurers from dropping coverage for anyone because of a pre-existing medical condition, and allowing young people to stay on their parents' policies until they turn 26.

Trump’s budget plan intends
to slash federal programs

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Donald Trump this week will unveil a budget expected to massively increase military spending while slashing other federal programs.

The proposal, set to be released Thursday, will offer the most detailed look yet at how Trump intends to move ahead with his so-called "America First" policy.

The budget will likely face significant opposition in Congress, where lawmakers are already bickering over a plan to overhaul the nation's health care program.

Many of Trump's fellow Republicans support his plan for a larger military; but, unlike Trump, some want to pay for it by cutting Social Security and Medicare, which are the two largest federal programs.

Democrats are alarmed about the entire proposal, particularly his plan to cut domestic government programs aimed at protecting the environment and helping the poor.

Lawmakers in both parties have also expressed concerns about Trump's steep proposed cuts to the State Department and foreign aid budgets, a move they say will reduce U.S. influence abroad.

White House officials point out the president's proposals are only a blueprint and that ultimately Congress must agree on a final budget, but they insist difficult decisions must be made.

In a blueprint released last month, White House officials said Trump intends to boost the military budget by $54 billion representing one of the largest ever increases in national defense spending. This week's proposal will outline how the president intends to pay for it.

According to budget documents leaked to the media, Trump will offset the military costs with far-reaching reductions in discretionary spending, which is the part of the budget that pays for various federal government agencies.

Trump is reportedly considering slashing up to 25 percent of the Environmental Protection Agency budget, 30 percent of the Energy Department budget, and 37 percent of the State Department and foreign aid budget.

If passed, those cuts would result in a massive reduction of the federal government workforce, which Trump and his fellow Republicans have long said is bloated and inefficient. It is not clear, however, whether Trump's plans would actually fulfill his campaign promise to reduce the national debt.

That won't be clear until May, when the White House releases its plans to reform the tax code and its proposals for mandatory spending, which covers existing programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Trump has said it is not politically possible to reduce spending on Medicare and Social Security - which together account for nearly 40 percent of the federal budget. He is also considering a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to upgrade the country's roads, airports and rail lines.

According to most analysts, that means Trump will likely continue to run a budget deficit.

The federal debt is expected to grow by nearly $10 trillion over the next decade, according to a recent projection by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Aerobics is key to reverse
aging effects, research says

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The good news is that researchers say they have found a way that may reverse aging for older people. The bad news is you are going to have to hit the gym for some high-intensity aerobic training to do it.

For the study, researchers from the Mayo Clinic compared three types of exercise: high-intensity interval training, resistance training and a combination of the two. They found that only high-intensity interval training and combined training improved aerobic capacity and mitochondrial function for skeletal muscle, with mitochondrial function being a common problem for older adults.

The report added that high-intensity training appears to reverse some aspects of aging and warned that resistance training is also important for increasing muscle strength, suggesting hitting the weights a couple of days a week.

Specifically, researchers found that high-intensity interval training reversed aging by improving muscle protein content, which improved energetic functions and caused muscle enlargement in older adults.

It also improved cells’ ability to make new proteins, which reverses a major adverse effect of aging.

The study monitored older and younger adults who were divided into groups to do each of the three types of exercise over 12 weeks. Researchers then gathered health information 72 hours after participants completed a type of exercise.

The findings were published in the journal “Cell Metabolism.”

Scotland moves closer
towards new referendum

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Scotland’s first minister took a step closer Monday to breaking up the United Kingdom by announcing she intends to begin the legal process of holding a new independence referendum for Scots.

At a news conference in Edinburgh, Nicola Sturgeon said it is the right thing to give Scots an opportunity to express their opinion following Brexit, last year’s vote by Britain to leave the European Union. In her speech, Ms. Sturgeon, whose Scottish National Party is the largest party north of the English border, said she wasn't prepared to do nothing while Brexit threatened Scotland’s economy and its links with Europe.

Coming in the wake of last week’s electoral surge by Sinn Fein nationalists in Northern Ireland assembly elections, Ms. Sturgeon’s announcement, although not a surprise, adds to the ramifications of the Brexit vote, which Britain’s Conservative government is struggling to contain.

Moments after Ms. Sturgeon's speech, Faisal Islam, political editor of Britain’s Sky News, spoke for many British political reporters when he said, “Who knows where all of this will end.”

Scotland’s first minister, who heads a minority government, said she wants the vote to take place between autumn 2018 and spring 2019, arguing the British parliament in Westminster had become more assertive since the Brexit vote.

She said Britain’s Conservative prime minister, Theresa May, had failed to consult Scotland before deciding on a hard break with the European Union, which will see Britain not only end its political membership in the European bloc but will also see it exit Europe’s single market with major economic consequences.

In last year’s Brexit vote, Scots voted by a 62-38 percent margin to remain in the European Union. After the vote, Ms. Sturgeon said Brexit constituted a significant and a material change of the circumstances, thereby justifying a second independence referendum. Scotland elected to remain a part of the United Kingdom in a September 2014 referendum.

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Puriscal home
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This is a gorgeous, new, 3-bedroom luxury home on 2.2 flat acres in a secure, gated community, high in the hills of Puriscal, with stunning, 180-degree views of the ocean, city and mountains of the Central Valley in Costa Rica. Centrally located in the heart of Costa Rica, you are never more than an hour from the Pacific beaches while being much less than that to the culture, shopping, services and night life of the San José, Escazú, Santa Ana and the whole Central Valley. The Altos de Antigua gated community sits at an altitude of 2,800 feet with mild temperatures year round. Features wide paved roads and cement culverts throughout, a large community pool & spa with changing rooms & showers. The community association fees are $42 a month ($500 annually).
This property is currently being offered for $355,000.00 U.S.
Purchase adjoining 2.2 acre investment lot with the home sale for $35,000.00 U.S. or separately for $55,000.00 U.S.
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Beautiful farm in excellent location
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Spectacular Horse Ranch and Spiritual/Yoga
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We invite you to a horseback tour of 187 acres of pristine farm land with breathtaking vistas, including the islands of the Gulf of Nicoya. There are multiple springs and streams, wooded areas, hard-wood and fruit trees, rolling hills with a geat variety of birds and wildlife. This property boasts the privilege of being bordered by thousands of acres of forest preserve down a steep canyon, offering its own spectacular views, which will never be developed. The many hills provide a builder an endless array of possibilities for nestling buildings in where they will have both views and privacy. The elevation of the property at 1,200 to1600 feet above sea level ensures fresh breezes and ideal year-round temperatures with a day-time average in the low 80's for open-air living. There is a ranch-style house with guest house with 8 total bedrooms, 5 modern baths, huge eat-in kitchen, landmark palm-thatched giant rancho, stable, and storage buildings. The home will come partially furnished, including beds, ample dishware for large groups, housewares, linens, washer/dryer, and fine hard-wood hand-built cabinetry. The remaining horses, 4 to 6 of them, will also convey if one wishes. We are also including a LARGE BEACH LOT in nearby Playa Bejuco. San Rafael de Nandayure is a tiny rural village nestled into the mountainside above Carmona with all the charms of the simple good life of a BLUE ZONE. Carmona is a thriving town with a clinic, restaurfants, shopping, and everything else one may need. The price of our listing Rancho Ricco is $799,000. More information
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Situated 3 miles west of the capital, 8 miles from the airport. Quiet, secluded area within walking distance to a commercial center including a hotel, 6 restaurants,  next to 2 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, 2 bedrooms, maid's room, 2 bathrooms, 4 closets  (including walk in), fully equipped kitchen (refrigerator, washing machine,small appliances, all necessary utensils, work tools). Close covered parking space in guarded area.  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.
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Owner Financing in San Ramon
New Construction, and Ocean View 
Brand new home with 4-plus bedrooms and 3 baths all overlooking an incredible 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean and mountains. Located only 45 minutes from the San Jose airport and about the same to the Pacific Ocean.  The lower level could be used as a separate apartment or mother-in-law setup. Home includes HUGE master  suite, CLOSETS, custom cabinets, granite counter tops, high wood ceilings, and all in an area that is 70-80 degrees year round. Priced at $199,000. Completion date is January.  See the Virtual Tour CLICK HERE or see our site here If you would like to take a look at this amazing house, please give me a call at  Costa Rica # 506-8755-6743 or if from the States call # 509-570-1928 or email 

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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: 
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Costa Rica penthouse for sale
 5 -story penthouse for sale.  One of a kind penthouse on top of the Corobici Hotel in Sabana overlooking the Central Park and new Soccer Stadium in San José.  Excellent location provides you easy access to everywhere.  Other benefits include 24-hour security, 2 restaurants inside the hotel providing 1st class room service plus shared common areas in the hotel. Commercial license is in place. Seller will consider owner financing.  Asking $795K U.S.  Also available for monthly rent for $3,400 per month on an annual basis. Go to  Owners U.S. cell phone: 813 310-7402  Email

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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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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 14, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 52
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
Police deny killing and eating monkey

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police forces have denied that two of its members had killed and eaten a monkey, while raiding an illegal marijuana plantation.

The clarification came after a picture of two Fuerza Pública members next to a grilled monkey hit the social networks and went viral, making some people angry as much as disappointed.

According to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública, the marijuana plantation was run by a group of native people who sometimes hunt these primates for food. When the officers arrived at the place they just took the picture and shared it on Whatsapp to show the real conditions in which
native people work and live, the ministry said.

“We're investigating the reasons why the pictures were leaked and the officers where irresponsibly charged with the death of the animal.” said Ministerio Público in a statement.

14-year-old teen sustains shot to head

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A 14-year old teenager was shot in the head Sunday night in the Precario Esperanza, a city located in Fraijanes de Alajuela. The attacker has not yet been identified.

According to the Judicial Investigation Organization, the young man was hanging out with his friends at what they called a natural cave when gunfire was heard. Immediately, the other teenagers ran away from the place and just a couple minutes later they realized that one of them didn't escape. When they returned, they saw the victim bleeding from his head, according to a report.

Monday morning, judicial agents started their investigation in the place of the incident, seeking for some evidence that would lead them to find a perpetrator.

The teenager remains hospitalized at Hospital México and the latest reports show he is in critical condition.

773 kilos of cocaine discovered on boat
drug boat
Ministerio de Seguridad Pública photo
Anti-drug police guard a boat and its load of cocaine. The Policía de Control de Drogas and other agencies captured the boat and its 773 kilos of cocaine in Drake de Sierpe de Osa Sunday. No crew was found but police said they have five suspects.

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Telecom providers warned to improve service

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The three main Costa Rican telecommunication providers have been granted a six months deadline to improve their telephone customer service standards or face a fine.

The measure was taken by the Superintentendencia General de Telecomunicaciones and it states that customers should not wait more than a minute before having a phone call answered.

The order was issued after a study found that 71.4 percent of all people who call to Kölbi, Movistar or Claro have to wait from one to ten minutes to receive a response. 13 percent has to wait somewhere between 11 and 20 minutes and 5.2 percent from 20 minutes up to half an hour.

These results come from the study Encuesta de Percepción y Grado de Satisfacción, carried out by the XLTEC company.

These studies are carried out once a year, said Eduardo Castellón, spokesperson for the Superintendencia General de Telecomunicaciones.

However, non compliance with the order within the time frame may not end up in immediate penalties, explained Castellón.

“If any operator fails to comply with the minimum required standards, then it receives a warning. If the problem continues then an administrative investigation will be opened and at the end of this process, the penalty, which is likely to be a fine, is then determined,” he said.

Another finding of the report is that 53 percent of customers who file a complaint do not get a ticket number for it, making it harder for them to follow up on their case.

A.M Costa Rica tried to contact the telecom companies for further detail, however no spokesperson was available.