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A.M. Costa Rica

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Amigo Realty
(506) 2223-1327                     Published Friday, March 15, 2013,  in Vol. 13, No. 53                Email us
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Jo Stuart

                Rica real estate

Heredia resident Michael Connolly points to the name of the Pura Vida Coffee House and Bakery that he came upon in downtown Galway, Ireland, in February.

Pura Vida
Photo by Mary Devin Mitchell
There's some Costa Rica influence in the Auld Sod
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Every March as St. Patrick's Day approaches columnists dwell on the Irish contribution to the world. There even is a 1995 book titled "How the Irish Saved Civilization," recounting the works of the Eighth century monks who kept and made copies of crucial literary works.

Then there is the great exodus from Ireland mainly to the United States in the 1840s that brought waves of creative and hard-working immigrants and uncountable numbers of politicians.
But now here comes Michael Connolly of Santa Cecilia de San Isidro de Heredia who can show that there has been some influence from Costa Rica that showed up in Ireland. He found the Pura Vida Coffee House and Bakery on Quay Street in Galway last February.

The coffee house is in the city's Latin Quarter, so there is no certainty that the management is Costa Rican. However, Connolly said in an email that workers there said that the owner was from here. Online sources identify the owner by the first name of Rob, but there is no history.

Country will get $3 million to create carbon credits
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country will get $3 million from a World Bank agency to set up a domestic carbon trading market.

The World bank through its Partnership for Market Readiness is defining the structure for a carbon trading scheme to offset emissions of so-called greenhouse gases.

Offsetting carbon emissions with trade credits is being called voluntary now, but part of the money from the partnership will be used to outline a legal framework.

The project and the entire system of carbon credits is based on the assumption that the release of carbon dioxide by humans and their modern machinery is central to the increase in global temperatures. That is what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said, and the Kyoto Protocol, which is expiring, seeks to provide a framework for control.

Costa Rican officials have established a goal of making the country carbon neutral by 2021. Although the current project is described as only for domestic use, the country's officials have long  dreamed of being able to market carbon credits to
 the industrialized world on the assumption that the carbon sequestered by the country's trees and other vegetation can be measured accurately and sold.

As the partnership notes, carbon markets require monitoring, reporting, verification, data collection and management within a regulatory framework. Firms can generate carbon credits by installing efficient machinery that produces less carbon dioxide than the equipment that they had. Credits also can be generated by reforestation, forest protection and similar activities.

In the short run, those businesses that seek to declare themselves to be carbon neutral could purchase carbon credits to offset the emissions that they cannot prevent. A number of firms promote carbon neutrality in their marketing.

René Castro was quoted in a release from the  Ministerio de Ambiente y Energía that he heads saying that the carbon credits are an instrument for voluntary goals. They also are seen as a way to stimulate action to decrease emissions.

There already are several locations in the world where carbon credits can be traded. Each credit represents a ton of carbon dioxide.

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A.M. Costa Rica's  Second news page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 53
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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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Nick Hawkins photo via Programa   
de Restauración de Tortugas Marinas   

Some of the sharks that were killed and wasted.

Slaughter of blacktip sharks
found at Nicoya peninsula

 By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Canadian photographer found dozens of dead and butchered blacktip sharks on the Nicoya peninsula.

The photographer, who also is a biologist is Nick Hawkins. He estimated that there were 80 carcasses.

The site was on an island at Cabuya on the southern tip of the Nicoya peninsula. The location was on a small island just offshore near the Cabo Blanco reserve, according to the Programa de Restauración de Tortugas Marinas, an environmental group that brought the find to the notice of reporters.

The case is not one of simply shark finning. According to  Hawkins, there were some sharks dressed out as if they would be used for food.

He said in an email:  "Many were just heads, some were entire bodies, just killed and discarded, and some of the full bodies had been cleaned, with all organs removed but discarded intact. There were a number of full bodies that looked like they had fins removed.

"It is really hard to say what the motive was. I would say they were after both meat and fins but that doesn't explain why some were discarded whole. All were certainly killed by fisherman."

The majority of the sharks were small in size, which could indicate that this site is an important breeding area for this species, where juveniles feed before they move to the high seas, said the Programa in its report.

Hawkins said there were other dead sharks scattered in the area. He made the discovery March 3, said the Programa.

"Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.  There are almost 30 commercial shark species in the Pacific of Costa Rica and these are caught for the high value of their fins but also for national meat consumption, especially the young individuals that haven't reproduced yet, as in this case," said Randall Arauz of the Programa.  "One more time, this encounter shows the great fishing pressures on sharks and the urgent need to expand and create marine protected areas in coastal zones where the shark feed during juvenile stages", concluded Arauz.

Four detained in fraud case
that involved $50 million

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents detained four persons Thursday in a $50 million case of property fraud.

All four of those detained are either active or inactive lawyers, said agents.

The case involves what is called fraudulent administration. The victim is an elderly German woman who appears to have lost ownership of her properties in southern Costa Rica due to inappropriate paperwork.

The individuals have not yet been identified formally. But agents detained a 61-year-old woman and a 65-year-old man in Alajuelita. Also detained was a 37-year-old woman in Cartago and a 60-year-old man in Coronado.

The crimes alleged happened from 2010 to 2012, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The two persons detained in Alajuelita are also notaries but are not active now. The pair were in charge of administering the woman's property in Punta Uva and Bahía Ballena, agents said. They also had access to $5 million in cash.

The individuals detained in Cartago and Coronado are active notaries, and agents said that they assisted in the creation of 19 corporations that play a role in the caper. The agency said that the suspects are accused of tricking the woman into signing papers so that she lost the properties.

Agents also reported that when they searched the offices of the suspects they found two unregistered pistols.

Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
Click a story for the summary

Costa Rican news summaries are disabled
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 53
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International Baptist Church

Arias and others urge Obama to act on U.N. arms treaty
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

U.S. President Barack Obama must take the lead in securing a strong global arms trade treaty, a group of 18 Nobel Peace Prize winners said in an open letter delivered at the White House Thursday.

Amnesty International, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Óscar Arias Sánchez are among the Nobel laureates, who also include leaders on human rights, humanitarian and disarmament issues from Africa, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa.

The letter was delivered ahead of talks starting Monday at the United Nations headquarters in New York to conclude the negotiations on an historic treaty aimed at bringing the poorly regulated global arms trade under control.

“The U.S. and other arms supplier states have both a moral duty and a national security interest to help achieve [a strong] Treaty in order to protect human rights and save the lives of innocent civilians caught in the crosshairs of conflicts fueled by the irresponsible international conventional weapons trade,” the Nobel laureates said in the letter.

“We cannot accept the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are gunned down each year, with millions left maimed and traumatized,” they continued.

“The challenge before us is not just to get a document signed,” said Arias Sánchez, the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize winner. “The challenge before us is to do justice to victims of violence. The challenge before us is to ensure that our goal becomes reality. These men and women and children deserve nothing less than swift and effective action.”
The poorly regulated international trade in conventional arms – worth well more than $70 billion annually – fuels conflict, violence, and serious violations of human rights, with devastating effects on health, security, and sustainable social and economic development.
The current absence of legally binding international rules to strictly regulate the global trade in conventional arms represents a colossal failure of the international community, according to the letter.

“As an African physician, I have seen too much personal human suffering from gun violence. Multiplied worldwide, the unregulated arms trade results in a global public health catastrophe,” said Robert Mtonga, co-president of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize laureate International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

“A strong arms trade treaty will be a huge step forward in preventing further unnecessary injury and death from armed violence. President Obama’s support will enhance the prospects for achieving this urgent humanitarian agreement.”

Amnesty International has repeatedly flagged the need for a rule in the arms trade treaty to require states to stop an international arms transfer that is likely to contribute to war crimes and other serious human rights violations. The human rights movement has been working for almost two decades to secure an arms trade treaty with human rights protections at its core.

As the world's largest arms exporter by far, the U.S.A., under Obama, is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in delivering a strong treaty.

“When the Nobel Committee awarded President Obama the peace prize in 2009, it was to recognize his aspiration for positive change in his country and the world – this treaty is a litmus test for the U.S. President to show that he can deliver a credible global instrument to rein in the irresponsible activities of the international arms trade,” said Brian Wood, head of arms control and human rights at Amnesty International.

“Every capital around the world will be watching and waiting – millions of lives are being ruined every year by the global arms trade fueling atrocities and abuses, and the survivors have had enough. World opinion will not accept a watered-down treaty with loopholes.”

Tourism chamber survey suggests a so-so Semana Santa
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's tourism chamber is predicting a so-so Semana Santa for its members.

The chamber, the Cámara Nacional de Turismo, said Thursday that a survey showed average occupancy at 65.7 percent for the key holiday that begins in a week. These are rooms that already have been reserved.

The chamber survey is more extensive than the one conducted by the Cámera Costarricense de Hotels. The tourism chamber polled 153 hospitality operations. The hotel chamber talked to just 45.
The tourism chamber said that reservations for the northern zone were 68.8 percent of available rooms.

Around Puntarenas the number was 68 percent, and in the central Pacific, the survey reported 67.1 percent.

The south Pacific reported 50.5 percent, and the Central Valley and the Caribbean coast are about 34.8 percent.

Although many Costa Ricans enjoy a week of vacation during Semana Santa, many stay with family or friends and are not traditional hotel guests.

In fact, many just pitch a tent and stay on a beach.

Two favorite places even though chance of winning is slim
Probably as soon as humans realized there was a tomorrow, that a future existed, someone decided to try to predict it.  Not long after that, others began to argue over the prediction; and soon they began to wager on the outcome.  Thus, gambling came into being.  Gambling is risk taking, and social scientists have different explanations for why we gamble. Probably it is related to the pleasure principle, which is involved in most of our basic drives.  And like most of our other drives, gambling can lead to an addiction.

Gambling exists today in almost every society in the world.  There are many types of gambling from the kind that occurs on the Wall Streets of the world to the back alley dice game to lotteries to throwing sticks.  Religions are too busy curtailing our sexual proclivities to be concerned about gambling.

Sometimes it is legal, sometimes it is not.  Casino gambling is legal in Costa Rica.  There are several casinos in and around San Jose.  I prefer two of them – The Colonial downtown on Avenida Primera between calles 9 and 11 and the Crowne Plaza in Sabana Norte, on the highway.

Both have one armed bandits (aptly named), although they no longer have even one arm but are electronically controlled.  I know nothing about how they work. My game is roulette when I go, either at the mechanical (electronic) table, which has a wheel, or human controlled.

Most casinos have the canasta roulette, a basket of numbered ping pong balls, instead of the wheel, although the Colonial does have a wheel.

Most people realize that the odds are against their winning (unless you are an insider trader on Wall Street), so there are usually other attractions.  The Colonial has great free bocas, especially their chicharrones.  The Crowne Plaza offers small sandwiches or a sweet during the week and, my favorite, a plate of fresh fruit.  Both casinos have free dinners on Saturday nights. Non-alcoholic drinks are free, those with liquor are usually 500 colons ($1).

And there are the other players.  Even though you don’t really know them, you recognize them, have become familiar with their playing habits, and it is nice to have company.

Finally there are the croupiers.  Here I have to say I prefer those in the Crowne Plaza.  Although the dealers in both casinos are pleasant, the dealers at the Crowne Plaza will play at my rhythm, not rush me, which they tend to do at the Colonial (although they will slow down, if I ask.).  The other advantage of the casinos here, or the ones I patronize, is that you can buy chips for just 100 colons each.  The minimum to 
Butterfly in the City
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart

Jo Stuart


play is 20 chips distributed among the numbers, or in a stack on the outside bets.

The main problem I have with the Crowne Plaza is they seem to keep their air conditioning at about 68 degrees or less, not a comfortable temperature for me, at least, if I am sitting down.  I bundle up when I go there.  The Colonial is more temperate.

Both casinos have restaurants.  I have not tried the one at the Crowne Plaza, which is poolside, but I do enjoy lunch at the Magnolia, in front of, and separated from, the casino area.  Most of the hotel casinos open around 11 a.m.

The other nice aspect, at least for a woman, who is not looking for a date but just wants to enjoy a safe night out, is a chance to meet some visitors from a variety of countries. It gives you the opportunity to help by explaining the game, or translating for them.  It is nice to be helpful.

Metered taxis are available in front of both casinos. At the Colonial you just have to stand out front and wave one down.  They are parked along the highway at the Crowne Plaza.  If it is night time, it is a good idea to take one, whether you have won or lost.

Del Rey Hotel

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 53
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U.N. development agency
lauds advances in the South

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

Countries across Latin America and elsewhere in the developing world have achieved impressive human development gains in recent decades, lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty and propelling billions more into the ranks of a new global middle class, says the 2013 Human Development Report.

The document was presented Thursday in Mexico City by United Nations Development Programme. 

The 2013 Human Development Report, titled "The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World," analyzes more than 40 developing countries—referred to as “the South”—that have made rapid human development gains in recent years. The report lauds innovative social programs in the Latin American region, in particular those that aim at reducing poverty and historic social inequalities, such as Mexico’s Oportunidades program and Brazil’s Bolsa Familia.

“Economic growth alone does not automatically translate into human development progress,” writes program Administrator Helen Clark in the report’s foreword. “Pro-poor policies and significant investments in people’s capabilities — through a focus on education, nutrition and health, and employment skills — can expand access to decent work and provide for sustained progress.”

“The rise of the South is one of the most remarkable phenomenon in the new global arena,” said Heraldo Muñoz, program director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Among 40 countries in various regions worldwide, the report highlights Latin America, especially Brazil, Chile and Mexico, considered pioneers in the three main development drivers: more proactive states in development policies, greater integration with global markets and, altogether, exemplary innovation in social policy."

In Brazil, for example, the percentage of the population living on less than US$1.25 a day dropped from 17.2 percent to 6.1 percent between 1990 and 2009. The country has achieved four of its eight millennium development goals in advance of the 2015 deadline, and is on track to achieve the other four on time.

By 2030, Latin America and the Caribbean will be home to one in 10 members of an emerging global middle class. Billions of people across the world are becoming increasingly educated, socially engaged and internationally interconnected. Four of the five countries with the largest number of Facebook users are in the South: Brazil, India, Indonesia and Mexico, the report said.

Latin American growth has been led by strong states that experienced a gradual and sequenced integration with the world economy, the report notes. While Brazil experimented with inward-oriented economic strategies, national companies were still encouraged to export and compete globally. Brazil’s Embraer, for example, is now the world’s leading producer of mid-sized jet aircraft. Chile encouraged investment in sectors where the country had a comparative advantage, such as wine, wood products and fish farming, which would also boost employment in the country’s rural south.

Innovation in social programs is another hallmark of successful states, the Human Development Report concludes.

“The rising South is developing a broader social and poverty reduction agenda in which policies to address inequalities, institutional failures, social barriers and personal vulnerabilities are as central as promoting economic growth,” the report says.

Well-known Latin American conditional cash transfer programs like Brazil’s Bolsa Familia, Mexico’s Oportunidades and Chile’s Chile Solidario, for example, have helped foster a more equal distribution of economic and social opportunities. Conditional cash transfer programs are designed to increase people’s incomes and their access to health and education by making transfers conditional on requirements such as visits to health clinics and school attendance. These programs cost less than traditional in-kind social assistance; for example, Bolsa Familia and Oportunidades cost less than 1 percent of gross domestic product.

The social policy successes of Latin America are increasingly being emulated elsewhere. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg traveled to Mexico to study its Oportunidades program before launching Opportunity NYC: Family Rewards, the first conditional cash transfer programme in the United States.

“In designing Family Rewards, we drew on lessons from Brazil, Mexico and dozens of other countries,” Mayor Bloomberg writes in the 2013 Human Development Report. “No one has a monopoly on good ideas.”

Brazil, for example, has worked with African governments to adapt its home-grown school grant programs, literacy campaigns and public health projects to local needs and circumstances. As of 2011, it had 53 health agreements with 22 African countries.

Much more can — and should — be done, the report argues. “Over the next few years, policymakers in developing countries will need to follow an ambitious agenda that responds to difficult global conditions, notably the economic slowdown, which has decreased demand from the North. At the same time, they will need to address their own urgent policy priorities.”

Latin America has seen income inequality fall in most countries since 2000, in large part due to national antipoverty initiatives, but it still has the most unequal distribution of wealth of any region in the world. “In Brazil, at least a quarter of inequality in earnings is associated with household circumstances, such as parents’ educational attainment, race or ethnicity, or place of birth. Such persistence of income distribution patterns across generations is also evident in Chile and Mexico, although Mexico has seen increased intergenerational mobility in recent years,” the report says.

Another challenge analysed by the U.N. agency is that of sustainability. The report shows that environmental challenges pose a real threat to development: some 3.1 billion more people would live in extreme income poverty globally in 2050 under the environmental disaster scenario examined by the agency, 155 million of them in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Governments and companies in Latin America are cooperating to develop and share new climate-friendly technologies, with Latin America taking a lead. Brazil is investing billions in public funds in renewable energy technologies, and Mexico recently enacted the world’s first comprehensive national climate change law, with targets for reducing carbon emissions and dependence on oil for electricity and transportation. Increasingly active civil society organizations are bridging the gap between citizens and government in Latin America, as in other regions.

These organizations range from broad social movements and single-issue advocacy groups to labor unions and community groups, the Report notes. In Brazil, the Sanitarista movement of health care professionals played a central role in developing the country’s public health care system and expanding services to the poor, for example.

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We offer for rent three furnished, 2-bedroom mountain homes located on the slopes of Barva Volcano, Sacramento, Heredia. The cabin-style homes are adjacent to the Braulio Carillo National Park and walking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and garage. Take in breathtaking views of the Irazú Volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of bird species, to include the occasional Resplendent Quetzal, and a pristine cloud forest. We can also offer you an occasional ride on one of our beautiful mares. Contact Allan or Cristina at, or or for more information HERE! $850 USD/month. We can also offer a weekend or short-stay package.

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

Looking 4 Costa Rica Villas?
Rent our all-inclusive, 7 bedroom rental home in Guanacaste.  Just 20 minutes from the Liberia airport, this deluxe ocean view mansion sleeps 6-22 guests.  Ideal for company events & Costa Rica weddings. With 3 meals served daily and a full-time staff to pamper guests, it's more than a Costa Rica vacation rental ...It's your own Private Resort!  Call toll free: 1-800-606-1860.

Lovely cottage on private coffee farm
One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed DSL internet, fully equipped kitchen, phone line,
Sarchi cottage
balcony with beautiful view, especially at night with the far off lights of San José. Farm is gated and guarded, private and peaceful, owner on-site. Sarchi is a quiet small town about 30-40 min from the airport, a perfect base to explore from and also get a
feel for normal, day-to-day Tico life. Rental is $575 per month, 3 months minimum. All utilities included. Shorter stays at $45 per night, 2 nights minimum. $225 per week, and $30 per additional night. Sorry, no pets.  Contact or 8308-7732.

                                    rental properties
Homes for rent
in Palmares, Alajuela

Visit our Web page for more information.

We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Santa Ana

Beautiful Golfito house for rent
in Costa Rica: $300/month

Available now and please see the video!
New construction includes some wooden stairs to the main gate and a small pavilion above the house overlooking the village. The distance to Golfito harbor/downtown is 7 kms and you can get there by car, taxi or bus. The rent is $300/month, which is very reasonable for those who want to live near sea and Panamá in an inexpensive lifestyle. It was so nice to live near Panamá where people can shop for much lower prices including for groceries. Please contact me at for more details. Thank you.

Palacio condo
Beautiful 2-bedroom, 2-bath modern condo for rent.
(Only 6 years old).
Great Secure Area, Next to 5-Star Hotel Palacio (La Uruca). Gated community, 24-hour security, 5 minutes to San José. Swimming Pool, washer/dryer, covered parking, high-speed Internet, cable TV, home phone! $900 per month, fully furnished, 6-Month minimum! Please Call: 001-954-782-0200 or email

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


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About us
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A.M. Costa Rica's
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 53
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U.S. economy improves,
and stocks continue upwards

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. economy continued to show improvement Thursday, with claims for jobless benefits declining and the key Dow Jones stock index closing on its longest winning streak in more than 15 years.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose for a 10th straight day, gaining nearly 84 points to close at 14,539. The last time the Dow made 10 straight days of gains was back in November 1996.

The stock news came as new claims for jobless benefits fell again last week to the lowest level in five years. The U.S. Labor Department said 332,000 unemployed workers made initial claims for assistance last week, down 10,000 from the week before. That pushed the four-week average below 347,000 — the lowest level since the early stages of the 2008 meltdown - the country's worst economic downturn since the 1930s.

Economists say that declining jobless claims are a reflection of fewer worker layoffs, which are down 13 percent since November.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has ordered banking giants JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs to submit new plans that will address what regulators say are weaknesses in their planning for severe recessions.

The Fed gave the banks until September to redraw plans for future dividend increases -- the quarterly payout banks give to shareholders. It also asked the banks for new plans for setting rates for buying back their own shares.

European leaders meeting
with austerity the concern

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

European leaders are gathered in Brussels for another summit, facing new concerns that their austerity policies are adding to the continent's unemployment problem and weakening the chances for an economic recovery.

Thousands of workers gathered outside the summit meeting place Thursday to protest the austerity policies that European governments have embarked on to cut their deficits and long-term debts. The European Union leaders were faced with a new report that the number of people working in the 17-nation euro currency bloc in the final months of 2012 fell to its lowest point in nearly seven years.

One Belgian union activist, Claude Rolin, says austerity measures hurt workers and damage economies.

"Austerity does not work. In short, austerity is socially unfair because it hurts those who are victims of the crisis, it is economically stupid because it does not work," he said. "We have seen it in Greece and everywhere in Europe: austerity is counter-productive. It kicks companies out of business. It puts people in misery. What we want is another policy that is intelligent and creates sustainable growth.''

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who advocates budget restraints, said the heads of state will "discuss growth and employment and how to fight the present economic deterioration in Europe."

EU President Herman Von Rompuy said the leaders "cannot turn a blind eye to the social emergency in some of our countries." The eurozone unemployment rate reached a record 11.9 percent in January, and nearly one of every four youths is out of work.

The European leaders are facing conflicting demands to continue to rein in deficit spending that forced them to bail out Greece, Ireland, Portugal and the Spanish banking system and at the same time advance a stagnant continental economy. In one sign of the discontent over austerity, an anti-austerity party won 25 percent of the vote in last month's Italian elections, leaving its government in turmoil.

The eurozone leaders could ease the borrowing terms for financially troubled countries, but the eurozone's economic leader, Germany, remains opposed to weakening its austerity stance.

In first full day, pope
wins praise for humility

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Pope Francis has spent his first full day as leader of the Roman Catholic Church, showing the same humility that has been winning praise from believers the world over. 

The pontiff celebrated Mass at the Sistine Chapel, with the cardinals who elected him.

"Walk, our life is a journey, and when we stop the thing doesn't work. Let's walk, always, in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, trying to live with the same irreproachable attitude that God asks Abraham in his promise," he said.

In Vatican City, there was also less glamorous business to take care of.

"He asked the guards to take him back to the hotel where he had been staying because he had all his luggage there, and he wanted to pay the bill," Mendoza said.

Through it all, Pope Francis was dressed simply - by design.

"His vestments were very simple, without the famous mozzetta, the red cape. The cross he is wearing is the same he had before as a bishop, very simple, and then the things he said and did do not need to be repeated. We were impressed by this pastoral approach," said the Rev. Frederico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman.

Also on his schedule, a visit with his predecessor, Benedict. "I think it is extremely significant that he is visiting Pope Emeritus Benedict because it shows his great humility.  It shows the respect and esteem with which we all hold Benedict," said Kim Daniels, director of Catholic Voices.

In Argentina, where Pope Francis served as archbishop, many Catholics awoke with high hopes."I think he is going to be more open and very close to those in need, to the poor. And I hope he has the necessary strength because it's very important," said Andrea Giudici.

In Nigeria, Hannatu Uche said she couldn't be happier. "We are all happy, right from last night that the announcement was made, we are very grateful to God that there was no crisis, no problem and the election was made.  To God be the glory," she said.

Physicists are colliding
on fully identifying Higgs

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Physicists who last summer triumphantly announced the discovery of a new particle but held back from saying what it was, declared on Thursday there was now little doubt it was the long-sought Higgs boson.
Latest analysis of data from the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator, where the boson was spotted as a bump on a graph early in 2012, strongly indicates it is the Higgs, said CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva.
Physicists believe the boson and its linked energy field were vital in the formation of the universe after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago by bringing flying particles together to make stars, planets and eventually humans — giving mass to matter, in the scientific jargon.
​​The particle and the field, named for British physicist Peter Higgs, who predicted their existence 50 years ago, are also the last major missing elements in what scientists call the standard model of how the cosmos works at the very basic level.
But the CERN statement stopped short of claiming a discovery — which would clear the way to Nobel prizes for scientists linked to the project — and floated the idea that this might be an exotic "super-Higgs" offering a key to new worlds of physics.
"It remains an open question whether this is the Higgs boson of the standard model ... or possibly the lightest of several bosons predicted in some theories that go beyond the standard model," said CERN.
Although some CERN physicists privately expressed irritation at the continuing refusal to, as one said, "call a Higgs a Higgs," others argued that this could only come when the evidence was all totally irrefutable.
If it is not what one CERN-watching blogger has dubbed a "common or garden Higgs" but something more complex, vistas into worlds of supersymmetry, string theory, multiple dimensions and even parallel universes could begin to unfold.

"To me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson, though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is," said Joe Incandela, spokesman for CMS, one of the two independent CERN LHC monitoring teams.
"There is every possibility that it is a Higgs boson from a more complex model, such as supersymmetry," another CMS researcher, John Conway, citing a theory that says every elementary particle has a so-far unseen heavier partner.
In recent months, rumors have flown that the particle might be some sort of super-Higgs, "the link between our world and most of the matter in the universe" as predicted by U.S. physicist Sean Carroll in a new book.
But David Charlton, who speaks for the ATLAS team, said the latest analysis, presented on Thursday to a conference in the Italian Alps, pointed to the particle fitting the standard model — which would exclude exotica.
However, CERN scientists agree nothing startlingly new could be expected until much later in the decade, well after the collider — shut down last month for two years to allow its power and reach to be doubled — resumes operations in early 2015.
In the giant subterranean collider, which started up in March 2010, particles are smashed together hundreds of times a second at near the speed of light to simulate the Big Bang. The debris is then tracked on huge detectors.
But the new particle turns up only once in every trillion collisions — leaving the thousands of physicists and analysts at CERN, and in laboratories around the world, the massive task of deciding what data to discard.

U.N. agency to use surveys
to track food consumption

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Measuring the scope of world hunger is a long and complicated process. Often officials and policymakers don’t have the most up-to-date information. Now, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the FAO, hopes to change that with a new project called Voices of the Hungry.

The U.N. agency wants to hear from the people themselves and not just evaluate various data, studies and reports. Senior statistician Carlo Cafiero said that the current system of measuring food supplies and hunger, while important, is subject to long delays.

“From the moment in which this data is collected to the moment in which it’s cleared, processed, sent to us, there may be two or three years delay. And this is if we have current information because consumption surveys are not regular features done annually – not even in the developed countries,” he said.

Food consumption surveys are generally conducted every five years.

“We don’t have a pulse of the current situation. And this became very apparent during the food price crisis,” he said.

In 2007 many predicted a global economic recession and food prices began to rise. Cafiero says that led to – what he calls – a very pessimistic scenario about food consumption.

“Only a few years later, we have discovered, for example, that China and India and many other developing countries did not slow down in their economic growth. The pessimistic scenario did not really materialize in each and every country. And that is where the model based prediction to make an estimate of the current situation proved mistaken.”

The new Voices of the Hungry project is described as fast and more precise. It will use surveys of individuals to gather information on the extent and severity of hunger. The surveys will be done annually in collaboration with survey giant Gallup.

The project will be tested in the coming months in Angola, Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger.

“These are individual surveys in which people are contacted either by phone or in person. So, there will be a national representative sample of individuals, who are asked questions about their experiences. And from the answers to these questions, we can estimate the severity of food insecurity that has affected them and their families,” said Cafiero.

The survey asks individuals about their experiences over the past 12 months, such as were they worried they would run out of food? Or, did they skip meals or go without eating for an entire day? There are eight questions in all.

The statistician said that the survey is not subjective and the information will be evaluated by experts. It takes only three months from the time a survey is taken to the time Food and Agriculture officials receive the information.

Voices of the Hungry surveys will eventually be expanded to 160,000 respondents in 150 countries. The five-year project will lead to a new FAO standard for food security.

Europe and Russia plan
joint mission to Mars

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Europe and Russia signed a deal on Thursday for a joint Mars mission to sample dirt from the Red Planet that they hope will answer the mystery of whether there is life beyond Earth.
Europe had hoped to work with NASA on the two-spacecraft mission but turned to the Russians after the U.S. agency pulled out due to budget shortfalls and a change in direction.
The announcement comes amid heightened excitement over the search for life on the planet most like Earth after scientists said analysis from NASA's own mission rover, Curiosity, showed Mars had the right ingredients for life.
NASA wants to follow up with a duplicate rover in 2020 and bring samples home for study, but the Russian and European team hope to launch its probes in 2016 and 2018 — setting up the makings of a new post-Cold War space race for one of science's biggest prizes.
"Establishing whether life ever existed on Mars is one of the outstanding scientific questions of our time and the highest scientific priority of the ExoMars program," the European Space Agency (ESA) said in a statement.
Moscow will provide the rockets to launch the Exobiology on Mars, or ExoMars, mission. Russian Space Agency Roskosmos will also design the descent module and surface platform for the second leg of the venture.
Despite describing the ExoMars project as the "Holy Grail of Mars exploration," NASA left the $1.3 billion project in February 2012, citing a budget crunch and a change in focus.
Europe then turned to Russia for the launch vehicle. The two space agencies agreed to cooperate together last April, but talks to work out the details dragged out for nearly a year.
"This event was a long time in the making and took a great deal of collaboration," Roskosmos head Vladimir Popovkin said after signing the deal with ESA Director Jean-Jacques Dordain in Paris.
Russia's involvement in the ambitious mission could boost the status of its once-pioneering space agency after a litany of costly and embarrassing failures.
The delays in agreeing on mission details hinged on the extent of Russia's participation, according to Russian space experts who said Moscow had seemed to have achieved its goal of full partnership.
"The agreement implies that Russian scientists and engineers will become full-fledged participants in all the international scientific and technical groups established by the parties to the project," Roskosmos said in a statement.
What was to be Russia's first deep space mission in more than two decades — the Phobos-Grunt mission to scoop up soil samples from Mars — was among five botched launches that hurt Moscow's reputation as a reliable launch partner.
European governments have so far committed 850 million euros for the mission.
The cap for the project had been set at 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), but delays and changes to the scientific aspects of the mission are expected to drive up the price tag.
Although NASA pulled out, the U.S. space agency will still contribute radio equipment and telecom support.
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Since 1996, CRREC has been providing the most valuable resource for discovering real estate in Costa Rica. Our Costa Rica properties database contains some of the most exclusive and hard to find properties in the country. Not to mention how affordable some of our Costa Rica homes for sale are. So if you're in the market for Costa Rica real estate then we encourage you to
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Grecia new
This is a property with real character offered at $1.2 million. Click HERE!
San Lis home
Incredible view of the Central Valley from San Luis $282,000 Click HERE!
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  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Nicoya views
Property with ocean and gulf view for sale
Tranquil million dollar view, 5,000-sq.meter property with 3/2 home built to American standards, artistically designed and decorated, 16-foot ceilings of mango and tamarindo, appliances, plunge pool, rancho, caretaker apartment, workshop, covered parking, views of Gulf of Nicoya and ocean, in countryside near San José to Caldera highway. Near the lovely town of Esparza. Can provide extra income from bed and breakfast room rental and stellar Tripadvisor reviews. $180,000 506-8869-9274.

View from Orosi home

Majestically situated overlooking the Orosi Valley and the tropical rain forest, this 2-bedroom, 2½-bath home with a separate office is offered at $550,000.  From the extensive use of glass windows visitors are easily captivated by the unbelievably 7 acres of pure, natural Costa Rican landscape.   The property is located 15 minutes from the Cartago metropolitan area, an hour from San José, 1¼ hours to the Juan Santamaria International Airport, 2 hours to the beaches of the Pacific West Coast, or 3 ½  hours to the beaches of the southern Caribbean coast.
USA 678-799-8803
CR Cell 011-506-8-910-2904

You can purchase property in Costa Rica legally without paying Land Transfer Tax; this plus the usual real estate commission of 5% will reduce your purchase price by approximately 11%. Save over $50,000.00 on the purchase of this $465,000.00 property. Large 5000+ sq.ft. House. Ideal for business executive, B & B or large family. E-mail for photos and more information to

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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

Morazan building for sale
Building for sale by owner
near Parque Morazán San José center on the street running down
the west side of the Hotel Holiday Inn. Perfect for club, bar etc,
Larger than it appears from outside. Call. (506) 8847-1822
or email:

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.

Montemar montage
Gated community near the beach
SALE on our last 4 lots! Starting at just $20k with financing available.
Deep discounts for cash sales!
Reserve today with just $5,000 down
Great retirement, vacation, or investment option!
Lots of wildlife on the property. Gated front entrance, caretakers house.
Water and power on site.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Rich Coast Montage
Central Pacific Coast Real Estate
- 2-bedroom house in gated community, $92,500.
- Lots in gated community from $20k w/financing available.
- 3-bedroom house in gated community, furnished, walk to the beach, $125k
- 3-bedroom oceanview house on 5 acres subdividable, $270k
- 58-acre oceanview property subdividable, $169k
Oceanfront residential Lot $58k
and much more....
USA Toll Free 1 866 833 4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718 9891

Ocean view home
Georgeous House For Sale In Costa Rica
Gorgeous house built 5 years ago to U.S. standards on 37,000 sq. ft TITLED property. This is a very special and rare property because of the INCREDIBLE OCEAN VIEW and excellent location. This one of a kind home and property is truly a must see. Ocean view Only $345 000.00 US More details:
Jack 506-2778-8172    Email:

Luxurious new beach home for sale
Top of the line construction!
This titled property is located on a dead end road only 300 meters from the beach at Esterillos Este. It's a ''one of a kind'' construction with natural diamond Brite pool!
Top of Line construction
1st master bedroom with full bath and loft area. 2nd master bedroom with full bath and outdoor shower. Sells completely furnished with front-loading washer-dryer, commercial refri/freezer and deluxe furniture. Storage area and carport. $289,000.00 USD Call 2778-8408 or 8707-1037 or email

just reduced
Just Reduced to $169,000!!!
58-acre oceanview and mountainview property

Segregated into 9 lots, Excellent Development Potential!
20 minutes from the beach Central Pacific Coast, between Jacó and Quepos.
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montage ofr photos
ALAZAN Eco-Friendly Community

- Ocean, mountain, and river views, built in harmony with nature
- 70% sold out, 1.25 acre + lots available from $75,000
- All lots held in separate corporations
- Functioning HOA with 24-hour security and gated front entrance
- 100% custom homes, turnkey construction
- Community homes have been featured in Su Casa Architectural Magazine
- Abundant wildlife on the property, access to 45-acre nature preserve
- Organic Permaculture farm coming soon
- Build your custom dream home and join our community of friends in paradise!
Brokers Welcome
USA Toll Free 1 866 833 4005
CR Cell 011 (506) 8718-9891

Retirement/vacation/hobby farm lots for sale
Libertad, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, 15 minutes to Playa del Coco or Playa Hermosa,
20 minutes to Liberia airport. Project is Colinas del Sol del Pacifico, S. A. 125-acre project with beautiful mountain and valley views. 70 clear-titled lots remaining for sale with water and electric to each lot. Lots are 5,000 sq. meters and larger. Fenced and gated project. Ready to build. Lots start at $30,000.    Guanacaste tree
See Prices listed have been reduced from those shown on the Web site.  For all general inquiries please contact Jim Day at or 001 517 484-3675.

beachfront one
beachfront three
Price slashed for quick sale.
Beautiful, completely remodeled beachfront home for sale.

Great location in between Quepos and Parrita. Please visit this Web site for complete details: Price recently reduced for quick sale. Email or call 713-775-9283.

Costa Azul view
costa azul ocean
Properties in Osa near the ocean.
50% discount from the valuation price, starting at $30.000.
Financing available. Contact us at +506 2233-7778 or +506 8815-6476.
Grupo Costa Azul – A property waiting for you!

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Business for sale or lease (paid category)7115-12/16/11

Would you like to start a chain of pizzerias  in Costa Rica?
If you have the money,   I have the ideas and the basis to start. Buy the place,
and I'll work for you! Only serious inquiries. Money or property in C.R.
Call  Mike  (506) 8375 4287 or after 1 p.m. Call to  (506) 2241 1068.

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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The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2013 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details

A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 15, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 53
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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

Auto show is on again
after false start, closure

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The on again, off again auto exposition is on again.

This is Expomóvil where many of the country's new car dealers participate. 

Organizers were blindsided two weeks ago when the Municipalidad de Belén closed the Centro de Eventos Pedregal on technical issues.

Thursday organizations like the Cámara Costarricense de la Construcción praised notice that the events center would reopen because fairs and expos there contribute to the national economy, said the chamber.

The chamber usually puts on its Expoconstrucción y Vivienda at the same place.

Florida  saber-toothed cat
probably is a new species

By the University of Florida news service

A University of Florida researcher has described a new genus and species of extinct saber-toothed cat from Polk County, Florida, based on additional fossil acquisitions of the animal over the last 25 years.

The 5-million-year-old fossils belong to the same lineage as the famous Smilodon fatalis from the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, a large, carnivorous apex predator with elongated upper canine teeth. Previous research suggested the group of saber-toothed cats known as Smilodontini originated in the Old World and then migrated to North America, but the age of the new species indicates the group likely originated in North America. The study appeared online in the journal PLOS One Wednesday.

“Smilodon first shows up on the fossil record around 2.5 million years ago, but there haven’t been a lot of good intermediate forms for understanding where it came from,” said study co-author Richard Hulbert Jr., vertebrate paleontology collections manager at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus. “The new species shows that the most famous saber-toothed cat, Smilodon, had a New World origin and it and its ancestors lived in the southeastern U.S. for at least 5 million years before their extinction about 11,000 years ago. Compared to what we knew about these earlier saber-toothed cats 20 or 30 years ago, we now have a much better understanding of this group.”

Hulbert helped uncover fossils of the new genus and species, Rhizosmilodon fiteae, from a phosphate mine during excavations in 1990. The species was named after Barbara Fite of Lutz, Fla., who in 2011 donated one of the critical specimens used for the new description and allowed UF scientists to make casts of two other partial jaws in her collection.

The donation was a major contribution to the research because the remarkably well-preserved lower jaw contains almost pristine examples of all three chewing teeth, Hulbert said. The genus name Rhizosmilodon, meaning “root of Smilodon,” implies the animal could be a missing link and direct ancestor of Smilodon, which became extinct about 11,000 years ago.

The study’s lead author, Steven Wallace, an associate professor at East Tennessee State University, used comparative analysis of saber-toothed cat anatomy to help determine the animal’s taxonomy. The analysis was primarily based on structure of the animal’s lower jaw and teeth, smaller than the Smilodon and about the size of a modern Florida panther.

“When people think of saber-toothed cats, they think of it as just one thing, as if the famous tar pit saber-toothed cat was the only species, when in fact, it was an almost worldwide radiation of cats that lasted over 10 million years and probably had a total of about 20 valid species,” Hulbert said. “Counting the newly described animal, there are now six different species of saber-toothed cats known just from Florida.”

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