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A.M. Costa Rica
Your daily English-language news source Monday through Friday
Hotel and Casino    Amigo Realty
Eco Realty
(506) 2223-1327                     Published Friday, March 22, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 58                Email us
Real Estate
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Jo Stuart

                Rica real estate

Seasonal transition beginning at start of April
By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican summer is coming to an end, as indicated by the first big storm of the season Thursday afternoon in the Central Valley.  Residents can expect the rainy season to officially begin next month in the Pacific regions.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional is predicting that the rainy season will come to south Pacifico Sur during the first week of April.  Next it will come to the central Pacifico between April 21 to 25.  The Central Valley will see the start of the rainy season May 1 to 5 and the north Pacifico will start getting rain May 6 to 10.  All the areas are expected to have rain 20 percent above average.

The Caribbean coast and the northern zone are always out of step with the rest of the country and generally have rain when the rest of Costa Rica experiences a dry season.

The weather institute is predicting rains through June from 5 to 15 percent below average.

This 2013 prediction is more positive than what happened last year, said Juan Carlos Fallas, general director of the weather institute.  2012 had a rain deficit that ranged from 31 to 70 percent, the highest being in the north Pacific where there was drought.

There is also a high probability that there will be
Estimated start
of 2013 rainy season*

South Pacific
April 1 to 5
Central Pacific
April 21 to 25
Central Valley
May 1 to 5
North Pacific
May 6 to 10
*Source: Instituto Meteorológico Nacional

no El Niño or La Niña phenomenon, but a neutral climate, said Fallas. In the Atlantic Ocean, temperatures will be slightly warmer, but normal, he added.

Also, when compared to the last 10 years, the number of cyclones is also predicted to be normal. For the Caribbean, the prognosis is around 4 tropical cyclones, Carlos said.

Next week, the country will celebrate Semana Santa or Holy Week.  It will be a time of religious celebrations and vacations.  The weather prediction is that most of the country will be warm and clear and cloud cover at the beaches.

There is a likelihood of showers around the mountains. Towards the end of the week there is a probability of more downpours, said the institute.

Nation's World Cup soccer hopes on line in Denver
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
with wire service reports

The eyes and hopes of Costa Rica are focused on a soccer stadium in Commerce City, Colorado, tonight where the national team takes on the U.S. selection.

This is a qualifying match for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Soccer-crazy Costa Rica will be getting a double dose because the national team plays Jamaica Tuesday.

The U.S. team played one game and lost to Honduras, which now is in first place in the North, Central America and Caribbean region.

Although the game is on national television here tonight, some Costa Ricans have booked flights and
 will be at the game in person.  For one taxi driver, the trip, hotel room and game tickets represent income for a couple of months.

U.S. forward and new captain Clint Dempsey, a star for England's Tottenham Hotspur, says he and his American teammates know what's at stake.

"We have to score goals, so it's always good playing back in the States and having that home field advantage.  But it's definitely about winning at home, because it's crucial if you're not winning at home, well, then your chances of qualifying for the World Cup don't look good," Dempsey said.

Soccer is big news here, and the local television stations had crews in Denver interviewing Costa Rican players as they got off an airplane Wednesday night.

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 22, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 58
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Our readers opinions
Scientific consensus exists
on humans, global warming

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

In his March 21 opinion piece, Mr. Albert Lusk of San Isidro, Heredia, maintains "there is no scientific consensus that humans aid [global] warming."  This is unequivocally not true.

In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported there is a greater than 90 percent certainty that humans are causing climate change through activities that increase concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  No scientific body of national or international standing maintains a formal opinion contradicting this view.  At least 50  national science academies and other scientific organizations have made formal declarations supporting the conclusion of human-induced global warming while calling for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.  They range from the American Association for the Advancement of Science to the World Health Organization and from the United States National Research Council to the World Meteorological Organization.

Prior to 2007, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists was the only major scientific organization that rejected the finding of significant human influence on recent climate change.   However, that year they revealed their official position was not supported by a significant number of their current and prospective members.

According to Wikipedia, "As of 2007, when the American Association of Petroleum Geologists released a revised statement, no scientific body of national or international standing rejected the findings of human-induced effects on climate change."

In addition, the International Energy Agency has published data for over 140 countries comparing annual carbon dioxide emissions with GDP.  The effect of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide on global warming is well-documented.  GDP is the standard measure of economic activity, clearly a human endeavor.  The relationship between the two is highly linear with a correlation coefficient of 0.80 (where perfect correlation affords a coefficient of exactly 1.00).  If you limit the data to those countries which account for over 50 percent of world-wide GDP (the European Union countries, the U.S. and Japan) the correlation coefficient rises to 0.86.  And although "correlation does not imply causation," correlation remains a basic component of scientific method.  It simply requires a connection between the cause and the effect through an impact mechanism in accordance with known laws of nature.  In this case the impact mechanism is the trapping of heat within the atmosphere by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases produced from enhanced economic activity.

It is true that there are a relatively small number of individual scientists who disagree with some conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, although many agree there is at least some component of human involvement in the ongoing climate change.  Some argue the changes are entirely natural.  And still others do research funded in part by the fossil fuel industry, suggesting the potential for conflict of interest.

In the end, the overwhelming view of scientists world-wide is that climate change is largely the result of human activity.  It is hard to understand Mr. Lusk's definition of "scientific consensus," unless it must require the inclusion of FOX News and the Wall Street Journal.
Steven A. Roman
San Antonio de Belén, Heredia

Global warming is occurring
and cause is human activity

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

It ISN'T just the end of an ice age and all part of a long cycle.

Some comments need to be addressed to what was mentioned about the idea that global warming is not caused by human activity and just a normal cycle. It is funny how the blame for the global warming term is now being blamed on politicians.

In reality more politicians don't want to touch the issue cause many get reelected with the campaign contributions from the huge oil and gas corporations. Many are afraid to speak out about the crisis we are experiencing because being reelected is more important then what happens down the road to our environment.

It was mentioned that, "the extinction of large animals in North America 10,000 years ago happened as a result of warming climate that no longer provided the habitat needed for the great mammoths, saber tooth tigers, and other large beasts."

There happens to be even more evidence that part of the extinctions of these large mammals was brought on by over hunting and possible introduced viruses or diseases by man. These large mammals had survived for a couple million years with ice ages and warming trends coming and going. Even the wild horse became extinct after the last ice age, when man was present in their habitat. There are no wild horses in existence from the last ice age. Present day horses all come from domesticated versions of the wild horse.

Another comment was, "Changes in climate happen in cycles regardless of man’s intervention." That is very true, but they haven't happened at the accelerated rate that is occurring in the past 200 years. The extinction rate is much higher then in other equal previous periods of time.
Out of 13,950 scientific papers published between 1 January 1991 and 9 November 2012, it was found 24, or 0.17 percent, or 1 in 581, that clearly reject global warming or endorse a cause other than CO2 emissions for observed warming.
There is overwhelming scientific evidence among climatologists and other scientists that global warming is occurring and much is due to human activity.

Here are just some reputable organizations that back the scientific evidence that greenhouse gases emitted by human activity are the primary driver of global warming.

American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Meteorological Society, American Society of Agronomy, American Society of Plant Biologists, American Statistical Association, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, Botanical Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Ecological Society of America, Natural Science Collections Alliance, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Society of Systematic Biologists, Soil Science Society of America, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.
Show me a reputable scientific organization that denies that greenhouse gases, emitted by human activity, is not a primary driver of global warming.

Much climate change denial and funding for it has been associated with the energy lobby industry advocates and free market think tanks, most often in the United States. Also one of the main outspoken groups denying global warming is from conservative politicians as well. I wonder who is financing their reelections.

Henry Kantrowitz
Punta Leona

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

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 22, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 58
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International Baptist Church

San José will not enforce alcohol dry law for Semana Santa
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Municipalidad de San José said Thursday that the so-called dry law will not be enforced in the central canton for Semana Santa.

That does not mean expats will have an easy time getting a cold beer next Thursday or Friday.

Several operators of watering holes frequented by expats are undecided as to what they will do. They had planned to close because the municipality had not announced its intentions. A new alcohol law gives the local governments the right to determine if the dry period will be enforced.

Cartago already said there will be no alcohol in that central canton Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The Municipalidad de Nicoya said it would not enforce the law.

San José quoted Marcelo Solano Ortiz, head of the Policía Municipal, saying that other laws would be enforced. These include a prohibition of drinking on the public street or in religious processions. The penalty is a fine of 157,000 colons, slightly more than $300.

The municipality also encouraged drinkers to do so in
 moderation in order to preserve the public order.

Until two years ago, municipal police and Fuerza Pública officers would show up at supermarkets, bars and restaurants the Wednesday night of Holy Week, Semana Santa. At supermarkets they would make sure the alcohol displays were covered, usually with a heavy, black plastic. They would apply municipal seals. At bars, they would put seals on the door to show no one could enter until Saturday morning. At restaurants that did a significant business in food, they would put seals on the refrigerators and cabinets that held alcohol.

Expat drinkers knew enough in those days to stock up on alcohol before the two-day dry law went into effect. Tourists, on the other hand, sometimes were surprised that alcohol only was available under the table. Tourism operators and bar owners had been complaining about the loss in income.

Economics figures in to the decision by bar owners who may or may not stay open those two days this year. Both Thursday and Friday are legal holidays, so employees will collect double pay if they work those days. If they do not, alcoholic beverages presumably will be available at supermarket outlets.

The law originated in an effort to respect the religious sensibilities during the week before Easter.

Another Caribbean hotel and guests targeted by bandits
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Another Caribbean coast hotel became the target of bandits late Wednesday. The incident was a replay of similar stickups that have plagued the coast.

According to the Judicial  Investigating Organization, two bandits entered Colon Caribe, a hotel located 20 kilometers south of Limón Centro and 10 kilometers from the airport, at 11:45 p.m.  The bandits gagged two security guards. Then three more bandits entered and demanded keys to the guest rooms.

The crooks then raided the rooms of three foreigners, two women from Sweden and one from Switzerland. Two Costa Rican hotel guests also were victims, the judicial agency said.

During this time, a third guard, unknown to the bandits, was
 able to slip away and notify the administrator of the hotel and the police.

The bandits were able to escape out the back of the property into a mangrove swamp.  They left with minicomputers, suitcases with clothes, cell phones and cash that amounts to almost $875.

The crime was nearly identical to that which took place at the Hotel Samasití in Hone Creek Feb. 28. Investigators rounded up six suspects in that case and said they were part of a robbery gang. At the  Samasití 18 tourists were ordered from their rooms,which were then sacked.

Agents poured into the area after a 17-year-old girl, the daughter of a store owner, was shot fatally just cross the border in Panamá.

Change turns parts of the metro area into just a generic space
Not long ago I went to lunch with three good friends.  Since they all live in Escazú, we decided to find a restaurant there.  And since there is always something new going up in Escazú, they decided to try a restaurant in a new business complex.  It is somewhere between Hospital CIMA and I think, Avenida Escazú.  We arrived at a completely paved enclave with parking spaces and a huge glass business building that did not seem occupied as yet. In front of that building was a string of businesses not quite ready to serve the public. There were a number of restaurants. Some did not seem to be fully open yet. Others didn’t strike our fancy or were too pricey for us.  We all agreed upon a comfortable looking place with tables outside that served pizza, and we settled for that.

It was not really a sidewalk café because there was no sidewalk in front of the tables, just the paved parking area.

What struck me as I looked around us was that we could have been in any modern city in any modern country in the world and I would need a map or a local person to tell me I was in Costa Rica.

Thinking about that, some days later I suggested to my friend, Doug that we head downtown, where as much as things change, San José is still idiosyncratically Costa Rica.  With that in mind, and also because we had recently enjoyed the food of Chef Tony in his new digs, we decided to revisit his old digs, Il Ritorno.

Il Ritorno is still in Casa Italia on Avenida Ocho, 200 meters south of Kentucky Fried Chicken.  Chef Marco Caldi, who took over after Tony, is still preparing the meals on the original menu and doing a great job of it.  Antonio, who, I think is the head waiter, is still greeting people and serving plates of steaming Italian food to a room filled almost to capacity.  It is amazing how two waiters can so efficiently see to everyone’s need.

Much to our surprise, Antonio not only remembered us, but asked me if I was going to have my favorite entrée.

It was like coming home to see all of the charming and comical porcelain and glass figurines on the window sills, side by side with slim bottles of liqueur.  And windows that revealed the traffic moving from the busy intersection.
Butterfly in the City
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart

Jo Stuart

We settled into our tapestry covered chairs, and I marveled again that such a variety of patterns and colors at the different tables seemed to blend very nicely, and more importantly, were comfortable. Il Ritorno has retained its personality.

I did order my favorite entrée, salmon with mushrooms and a cream sauce with a mélange of baby vegetables that included squash, zucchini, carrots and broccoli prepared just the way Chef Tony taught Marco and I wish I could learn.  The salmon was cooked to perfection, and so generous a serving that I made another meal and a snack out of what I took home.

After lunch we walked a short way up the street and hailed a taxi and had the pleasure of driving through San José on Avenida Ocho, which has been paved with cement and makes a comfortable ride all the way to Paseo Colón.

One thing that we can count on is change.  We change, and the world around us changes.  As we get older, we change in ways we may not always be happy to recognize:  Like not always finding what is new to be better, to be progress or an improvement.  My mother, who lived to be 99, managed change by living in the small city she had lived in for 50 years.  Jamestown didn’t change much either in all those years.

Having moved so often and lived in so many different places, change became a part of my life, and I enjoyed it.  But now I have been in Costa Rica long enough and find I like it the way it was and figure if I want change, I will move to another country or part of the country where I can expect things to be different.  That is not going to happen, but it does have me thinking about the nature and sameness of change, the inevitability of it in this electronically connected world, except for a few self-isolated societies

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 22, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 58
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Cruz Roja says it will have 800 aid workers in the field for Semana Santa
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Cruz Roja said Thursday it will have 800 rescue workers in the field for Semana Santa. The Holy Week vacation begins unofficially today. The police agencies also are beefing up the presence in vacation areas.

The Cruz Roja said that it would have 190 ambulances and 10 launches in service to aid and protect vacationers.

In addition there will be 169 aid stations placed strategically. The aid stations will provide humanitarian as well a medical services, said the rescue agency.

The Cruz Roja will be assisted by 120 local committees, it said.

The deployment will continue through March 31, Easter Sunday that is the last day of the Semana Santa vacation.

The Servicio Nacional de Guardacoastas also will have boats off key swimming beaches.

Although only next Thursday and Friday are legal holidays, most non-essential government workers, students and many private employees have the entire week off.

A.M. Costa Rica will publish through Thursday. Good Friday is one of the
Cruz Roja
Cruz Roja photo
This is a typical aid station that was erected last Semana Santa.

three week days of the year in which the daily newspaper is not published. Newspapers offices will be open through Wednesday at 5 p.m.

The Policía de Tránsito said that restrictions on vehicles based on the last digit of the license plate will not be enforced over Semana Santa.

Vacation, travel and hospitality
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Geroge's view
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Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
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Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
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Manuel Antonio long term apartment for rent
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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!
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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, March 22, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 58
Real Estate
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Mrs. Holly
Voice of America photo
Maria Elena Holly performs at the festival.

Widow of singer Buddy Holly
seeks to help young musicians

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Thousands of singer-songwriters and musicians were in Austin, Texas, last week for the South by Southwest Festival. Many of them were hoping to advance their careers by finding an agent, a recording contract or at least getting some exposure. Also on hand was the widow of one of the pioneers of rock and roll, Buddy Holly, whose influence continues both in music and through a foundation that helps aspiring young musicians avoid the pitfalls he encountered in the 1950s.
Many parties and concerts at festival feature new music. One of them honored Holly, the great singer-songwriter who died in 1959. He was only 22 when he died in a plane crash while on tour.

One event was organized by the Buddy Holly Educational Foundation and its principal mover, Holly's widow, Maria Elena Holly. The foundation's aim, among others, is to help aspiring artists survive success.

Mrs. Holly said her husband had lost the rights to some of his own songs because he was new at the music business.

“At that time they put names in Buddy's compositions that they really did not write,” she explained.

Maria Elena said the idea for the foundation came from Buddy himself. “He always said, 'when I get some money we are going to start this to help the young people so that they will know, and not go through what I did.'”

Austin entertainment attorney Stephen Easley said the foundation tries to help aspiring musicians learn the business.

“To teach them the pitfalls of recording contracts, to teach them the pitfalls of licensing deals,” he said.

Easley said the Buddy Holly Educational Foundation will give an award beginning next year. It will include $10,000 and free management services, and is named for Holly's song, "Learning the Game."

“You can draw a direct line from Buddy down to every musician who plays a guitar today,” he said.

A group called The Wagoneers plays many Buddy Holly songs. Monty Warden sings some of them and said they still work magic.

“He and Chuck Berry were rock's first great songwriters and those songs just stand up,” said Warden. "That's why they continue to be recorded and continue to be influential to generations to come.”

Ray Garcia came from New Mexico with a group of young singer-songwriters and was intrigued by Holly's music.

“I like it. I think I could cover some songs, make it happen, put a little twist in it,” he said.

For many young performers, born long after Buddy Holly's death, the songs seem fresh.

The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation and Maria Elena Holly are encouraging musicians, young and old, to make sure that Holly's music does not “fade away.”

Some U.S. lawmakers want
harder line on cybercrime

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Members of a U.S. congressional panel have expressed concern about the threat cyber attacks from other nations pose to U.S. national security.  Some lawmakers are calling on the Obama administration to make sure governments which might be encouraging or tolerating cyber attacks know that these incidents will have serious consequences. 

The Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats has called on the Obama administration to do more than just issue stern warning statements to China and other nations.

Subcommittee Chairman Dana Rohrabacher was among the lawmakers who said that what is being seen now is more than just individual acts of corporate espionage.

"China, Iran, North Korea and Russia have all used cyber attacks aimed at strategic infrastructure targets," said Rohrabacher. "Targets that would be attacked in another way if there was a war."

Rohrabacher, a Republican from California, said President Barack Obama needs to do more than just raise the issue with Chinese leaders.  He says the president needs to spell out what consequences cyber attacks will have.  Ranking member William Keating, a Democrat from Massachusetts, believes an international cyber security framework is needed.

"Further, the Internet is an open international domain, and cyber crimes clearly go beyond traditional law enforcement models," said Keating. "For this reason, national policies are incomplete without firm, international, cyber security standards and norms between like-minded allies."

Several of the lawmakers and witnesses said they feel the Chinese government, in particular, is getting away with the large-scale theft of U.S. intellectual property and other cyber attacks without facing any consequences.

"The Chinese government cannot think of enough things to do with the money that they have been earning from the economic warfare that they have been executing against the United States," said Greg Autry, senior economist with the Coalition for a Prosperous America.

Senior Obama administration officials said they have made it clear to China and other countries that cyber attacks must end.  The Chinese government has said that it is a victim, and not a perpetrator, of cyber attacks.

U.S. backs off last stage
of European missile shield

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Obama administration recently announced plans to deploy ballistic-missile defenses in the state of Alaska. At the same time, though, it canceled a key component of its European-based missile-defense system.

The Obama plan calls for stationing 14 missile interceptors in Alaska to protect the U.S. West Coast from North Korea, which is seen as a threat due to its advances in nuclear and missile technology. It also calls for the deployment of a radar system in Japan. 

On the European side, the U.S. administration has been involved since 2009 in a four-stage program that uses sea-based, as well as land-based, ballistic-missile interceptors.  Experts said it is a much more flexible plan than the one advocated by former President George W. Bush.

Now the U.S. government has decided to forgo the last stage of the European missile defense project, known as “phase four.”

Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, an organization specializing in nuclear weapons policy, said “the controversial part of the program was the plan to put more advanced interceptors in phases three and four - this started to worry the Russians. They thought that the ‘phase four’ interceptor - a very large, very fast interceptor - might be able, if it worked at all, to intercept Russian long-range missiles. That’s what they objected to.”

For many years, a U.S.-led ballistic-missile defense system based in Europe has been a contentious issue between the United States and Russia.

Sean Kay, an arms control expert at Ohio Wesleyan University, said Moscow believes the U.S. plan is ultimately aimed at Russia — a view rejected by the United States and other Western nations.

“The Russians rely much more heavily today on their nuclear deterrence because their conventional capabilities are so dramatically downgraded since the end of the Cold War,” said Kay. “Countries that have nuclear weapons are concerned about other countries’ ability to sort of neutralize their offensive or defensive nuclear capacity because it would leave them vulnerable to surprise attack.”

In announcing the cancellation of phase four of the European missile defense system, the Obama administration cited budgetary constraints.

Kay said the underlying “reason why they are able to scrap that technology right now - or at least that part of the plan - is because the technology for it does not exist. It did not exist under the Bush plan, it did not exist under the Obama plan. It is sort of an assumed capacity that would be deployed in the future. So we are really giving up nothing to say we will scrap this for the time being.”

Cirincione said the system simply did not work.

“I have talked to a number of officials in town to see whether this was driven by diplomacy or program, and it was clearly program. The missile could not do what they wanted it to do," he said. "It was still just a paper concept. But as they started to look at the requirements for the missile, they realized they could not get a missile as fast as they wanted in the size that they needed.”

Obama’s critics would argue that cancellation of phase four is linked to the flexibility the president promised in arms control issues to then Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in off-microphone remarks last year.

But Cirincione said, “If the president is going to be more flexible, it is going to be in a comprehensive package he is going to propose to the Russians, and we have not seen that yet.”

As for Moscow’s initial reaction to the U.S. move, several Russian government officials have said Russia’s position on missile defense remains unchanged.

Roosters appear to have
an internal crowing clock

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Japanese researchers say they have proof that an internal biological clock -- the so-called Circadian rhythm -- plays a role in letting roosters know when it's time for their morning crow.

The sound of a rooster's familiar morning greeting -- known to many as "cock-a-doodle-doo!" -- often occurs like clockwork as the rising sun lights up the eastern horizon at the start of a new day.

But how do roosters know when it's time to perform? Do they have an internal sense of the time of day, functioning like nature's alarm clocks, as some experts believe? Or are they just reacting to what's going on around them, prompted to crow by the sunlight or other environmental cues?

"'Cock-a-doodle-doo' symbolizes the break of dawn in many countries," says Takashi Yoshimura of Nagoya University. Writing in the journal Current Biology, Yoshimura added it's not clear whether crowing is under the control of a biological clock or is simply a response to external stimuli.

Yoshimura notes that roosters don't only crow at dawn, but also at other times of the day, which suggests that external factors, such as the stray glare of a car's headlights, or the sound of another rooster crowing nearby, can motivate the bird's vocalizations.

To find out the degree to which internal and external factors prompt the morning crowing, Yoshimura and his colleague Tsuyoshi Shimmura exposed a group of roosters to constant dawn light and then turned on their recorders so that they could watch and listen to them.

Kept under this steady simulated twilight, the roosters initially maintained their schedule of crowing just before dawn each morning, suggesting that the behavior is linked to a Circadian rhythm, a natural synchronization many plants and animals -- including humans -- have with the Earth's 24-hour day-night cycle.

The researchers noticed that while the roosters could be spurred to crow throughout the day by external factors, the intensity of their crowing was greatest at the dawn hour.

Over time, however, the daily crowing became more scattered, suggesting that the birds' Circadian rhythm was weakened by their regimen of perpetual twilight.

The researchers believe these behaviors indicate that the roosters' internal Circadian clock not only governs their morning crowing, but also moderates their response to external stimulation.

Yoshimura and Shimmura say that this study is just the beginning of their efforts to learn more about roosters' natural vocalizations, which they say are not learned like most other bird songs or human speech.

"We still do not know why a dog says bow-wow and a cat says meow," Yoshimura says. But there is interest in the mechanism of genetically controlled behavior and they believe that chickens provide an excellent model.

Five-nation partnership
tries to use local currency

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa formed their economic partnership as part of a drive to counter traditional western economic and political supremacy. The group, known as BRICS, plans to form its own development bank at this year’s summit in South Africa. But can they afford to turn their backs on the West’s most powerful ambassador - the dollar? Experts don’t think so.

The U.S. dollar drives development around the world, as the currency of choice of major lending institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
BRICS says it wants its development bank to fill the gaps left by those major banks and reach out to the developing world. BRICS representatives have said their funds will be loaned out for infrastructure projects in developing nations. Preliminary reports suggest each of the five nations will put $10 billion into the bank.
But what currency will this new bank use? That, experts say, is the $50 billion  question.
Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s ambassador to BRICS, said details are still being finalized. But he noted that the bloc had previously agreed to trade, when possible, in local currencies. the real, the ruble, the rupee, the renminbi and the rand.
“Well, as you know, last year at the summit in Delhi, we signed an agreement, an interbank agreement, on trading in local currencies among BRICS countries," he said. "So you already have an agreement on trading in local currencies. But in terms of the currency to be used by the BRICS bank, that is also an issue that will be put to the finance ministers to take a decision on.”
But none of those currencies are considered international reserve currencies. Those include the U.S. dollar, the British pound and the euro, which are often held in reserve by governments and major financial institutions.
Nigeria, the continent’s second-largest economy after South Africa, gave China’s currency a vote of confidence last year by becoming the first African nation to invest significantly in the renminbi, by adding $500 million worth, or more than 3.1 billion renminbi, to its reserves.

Standard Bank analyst Simon Freemantle said he thinks China will try to use the BRICS bank to push the status of its currency.  “I think very core to the bank from China, at least, has been the desire to use it as a means to continue the internationalization of the renminbi," he said.
"The idea would not be to host it in a single currency. … But there will also be benefits in removing the dollar from bilateral trade between, say, South Africa and Brazil, South Africa and India, if that can happen. But I think principally, it’ll be a push for RMB internationalization," Freemantle added.
But he said it is unlikely that this move will unseat the major reserve currencies. He also said trade within the BRICS group makes up a small portion of international trade, which is mainly in dollars.
“I think it’ll be a very long time before the dollar’s status at the global reserve currency is offset, or diminished," he said. "This would really just be an ambition to lower the costs of trading and investing between BRICS members and between China and Africa … So, it’ll be some time, and I expect that the effect on the dollar will be very minimal, at least for the foreseeable future.”
But the future trends are undeniable. Chinese investment in Africa reached nearly $20 billion last year.
And the renminbi is playing an increasingly larger role here. Freemantle estimates that as much as 40 percent of China-Africa trade could be conducted in renminbi in the next two years, up from about 10 percent now.
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Real estate for sale (paid category)

This is a well distributed condo, very spacious and meticulously maintained. It sells furnished with quality furnishings and appliances. 3 bedrooms, 3 baths and lots of storage place. It's a 2,200-sq. foot condo with double garage. Ideally located 20 minutes south of Jacó. It comes with a free beach club membership at Monterey Hotel in Esterillos. Call 2778-8408 or 8707-1037. Email or
Las Escadas
Welcome to our Paradise
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Security entrance – Administrative office – Swimming pool – Children's playground – Reserved parking available – Basketball court – pathways – Underground utilities.
Only $ 99 to reserve your Unit. Limited time offer
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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
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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:

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.

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Gated community near the beach
SALE on our last 4 lots! Starting at just $20k with financing available.
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USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
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Rich Coast Montage
Central Pacific Coast Real Estate
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Luxurious new beach home for sale
Top of the line construction!
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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!!!
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montage ofr photos
ALAZAN Eco-Friendly Community

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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 22, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 58
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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

Fires at teen shelter
attributed to arsonist

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Someone set fires at the Patronato Nacional de la Infancia shelter in Barrio San José de Alajuela, and fire fighters found out shortly before noon.

The agency, the Cuerpo de Bomberos, said fire investigators found three points of origin of the blaze and there is no indication that the cause was accidental.

The fire was set in mattresses in two bedrooms and also in some clothes in one of the two rooms, they said.

The fire agency said no one was injured and that truck crews were able to save most of the structure.

The shelter housed male teens.

Truck driver who fled trial
returned from United States

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A truck driver who fled Costa Rica to avoid  trial over deaths and injuries his vehicle caused in an accident has returned home.

The Poder Judicial said his last names were Muñoz Solórzano. The man was involved in an accident Dec. 30, 2007.

He was named in two counts of vehicular homicide and seven counts of causing injuries to others. He was on the Interamericana Sur when it appears his truck crossed into the oncoming lane on a curve and collided with a microbus.

He was detained in the United States this week and extradited to Costa Rica Thursday.

Slight reductions approved
for 74% of nation's bus routes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The price regulating agency has reduced bus fares an average of 1.03 percent for 74 percent of the country's routes, it said Thursday.

The slight change is a result of the methodology that is used to compute the cost of operating a bus service. Rates for 26 percent of the routes were unchanged, said the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos.

In terms of cash, the reductions were from 5 to 85 colons with the larger reductions being on long-distance routes with higher fares.

Traffic pollution estimated
as bad as passive smoke

By the European Lung Foundation

New research conducted in 10 European cities has estimated that 14 percent of chronic childhood asthma is due to exposure to traffic pollution near busy roads.

The results are comparable to the burden associated with passive smoking: The World Health Organization estimates that between 4 percent and 18 percent of asthma cases in children are linked to passive smoking.

The findings were published online Thursday ahead of print in the European Respiratory Journal.

Until now, traffic pollution was assumed to only trigger asthma symptoms.

The new research used data from existing epidemiological studies which found that children exposed to higher levels of near-road traffic-related pollution also had higher rates of asthma, even when taking into account a range of other relevant factors such as passive smoking or socioeconomic factors.

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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