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(506) 2223-1327                   Published Tuesday, March 26, 2013,  in Vol. 13, No. 60                Email us
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Tourism officials await design of convention center
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Within a month the preliminary design for the nation's public convention center should be presented.  The central government and its Instituto Costarricense de Turismo are betting on the 15,000-square meter (161,459-square foot) project to move the country firmly into the international convention business. The proposed project on 10 hectares of land in Barreal de Heredia along the General Cañas autopista would be three times as large as any facility available now.

The tourism institute entered into an agreement with a consortium of architects for the design last November. At that time the consortium was given 129 days to come up with the design.

"With the construction of the first great Centro Nacional de Congresos y Convenciones de Costa Rica we are betting on the diversification of the tourist offers in our country to consolidate our competitivity at the world level and assume the challenge of entering a profitable niche of congresses, conventions and world fairs," said  Allan Flores at the time. He is the tourism minister.

The idea of a convention center has been kicked around for years. And the tourism institute said that there exists a feasibility study, a soil study and a topographical study. There also has been an environmental impact study.

Flores did not spell out the challenges, but the construction of the center comes at a time when the number of convention goers in the United States has dropped significantly. At the same time the number of convention centers have mushroomed.

Cities and states see convention centers as a way to tap income from visitors with a lot of disposable
income who require no long-term public services.

The tourism institute says that it is looking at events from Latin American and cites statistics from the Confederación de Entidades Organizadoras de Congresos & Afines de América Latina. That organization said that the average attendance at such events is about 3,000 persons.

Elsewhere, mainly in the United States, municipalities found that a single-use facility like a convention center requires  successful marketing. Municipalities that cannot market well eventually turn to public financing, like higher hotel taxes, and also financial aid from the state.

The tourism institute already manages taxes and has a significant cash flow. But much of that money is supposed to go for international marketing. Flores is the tourism minister now, but the convention center got its biggest push from Carlos Ricardo Benavides, who preceded Flores in the job. Benavides now is the minister to the Presidencia.

The cost of the convention center is not fully established. That will come when bids are let for the actual construction. But the architects doing the design are believed to be charging 1 billion colons or about $2 million.  That sum may also include supervision of the actual job. Typically such public projects end up costing much more than the original estimate.

Tourism organizations are squarely behind the project. A major convention that most certainly will make use of the new center when it is built is Expotur, a marketplace for Costa Rican tourism. The concept of a face-to-face market has to compete now with the Internet, Web pages and online chats. This may be one reason why convention attendance is down in the United States.


Vacationers urged to insist on fair treatment on buses
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Vacationers might become victims of money hungry bus operators and others who jack up their prices at this time of year.

That is the word from the price regulating agency. The agency has no control over a supermarket operator who puts a 75 percent holiday surcharge on sardines, a traditional Semana Santa dish.

But bus fares are controlled by the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Públicos, and charging extra or changing the terms of service is a violation, the agency said Monday.
Even if a bus company wants to run extra buses, reduce the passenger load or change the schedule, approval is needed from the agency, it said.

The same is true with taxis, said the agency. The fare is the same day or night, although a new regulation requires that passengers be charged for tolls. However, fares for urban and rural taxies are slightly different.

Anyone who thinks he or she has been shortchanged by a taxi or a bus driver can make a complaint by telephone. The number is 8000-273737, and the Autoridad said that the lines will be open through Semana Santa.

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shampoo
Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía  
y Segruidad Pública photo  
Shampoo bottles with coke are weighed.

Anti-drug agents at airport
find coke in shampoo bottles

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Drug control agents from the security ministry detained a man this weekend who was suspected of transporting 1417 grams of liquid cocaine hydrochloride in his suitcase through Juan Santamaría airport.

The man was identified by the ministry as a 45-year-old American with the last name Kiathlee.

According to the ministry, Kiathlee's final destination was Zurich, Switzerland, with a layover in Madrid, Spain.  The drugs were hidden in several shampoo bottles in his bag.  Police conducted a field test to confirm the narcotic.

The investigation was prompted when the man began acting suspiciously in the airport, anti-drug agents said.  In the inspection room, he began sweating, said reports.

Along with the cocaine, agents also seized $340.

Kiathlee was referred to the prosecutors of Alajuela.  If convicted of the crime, he could receive a maximum of 20 years in prison.


Our readers' opinions
Arguing over warming
treads on religious beliefs

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Conservative Christians will never believe that humans contribute to global warming, and it is useless to try and convince them. They believe that humans are above all other species, that God’s will has been predetermined, that the answer to everything has already been revealed, and that selected science (because it challenges some of their core beliefs with facts while not accepting the existence of God because of the lack of “facts”) is the work of the Devil.

Science is not anti-religion, it merely awaits proof according to its own set of rules and laws. Both are powerful, both are meaningful, and, in my opinion, both are important. One explains what we can, one explains what we can’t. One is faith-based, the other is proof-based, and the two cannot dialogue in a meaningful way because of that. This is neither good nor bad…. It just is. Other species adapt to their environment to survive, man adapts the environment to them. Other species use what is available to live. Man creates new materials to meet “needs” previously unimaginable. If there is a species responsible for taking the Earth from its natural order, it can only be one. That is neither science nor faith, just my conclusion.

Max Jackson
Venice, Florida,
Tres Rios de Coronado, Osa


Super gasoline can help
motorists pass emissions test

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

I took my Isuzu Trooper into RTV and failed the emissions test.  I took my car to the garage, and they wanted to charge me thousands of colons to diagnose and fix the problem.  Then I remembered reading about how the regular gas refined at RECOPE was determined to be of very low quality.  My car also had a tendency to stall sometimes when in idle.  I talked to an American friend who was a mechanic and he told me to tank up with super.  I did, and my car was running great after that, no more stalls and much, much better gas mileage.  When you consider the much better mileage, I think super ends up being cheaper than regular here in Costa Rica.

This got me to thinking, why not just bring it in again to RTV after a few tanks of super.  It worked, passed with no problem.

My advice before going to RTV

1. Let your tank go to near empty and fill up with super.  Run through two or more tanks of super before going into RTV.

2. Check all of your auto lights before going into RTV.  Especially your license plate light.  One year I failed the test because that bulb burned out.

Hope this helps your readers avoid the problems I had.

Edward Bridges
Desamparados for 20 years


 
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
 HERE!
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 26, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 60
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An A.M. Costa Rica guest essay
A do-it-yourself guide for prosecuting economic crimes

By Mario Valverde Brenes*
Special to A.M. Costa Rica

I have heard some entrepreneurs in Costa Rica complaining about the long time it takes to make it to a public trial when they or their companies find themselves victim of fraud, embezzlement or any other type of financial scam.

You’d normally hire a penal lawyer to present the complaint on your behalf, or you could even present yourself at the Judicial Investigating Organization and make the complaint orally with as many details as you may recall at the moment.

This is just the notitia criminis that would get the system started to investigate your case and that would eventually end up in a formal accusation request from the fiscal in charge… five or six years later. 

As opposed to common crime, financial crime is a very specialized matter, and it requires the intervention of the equally specialized economic crime section of the judicial police. This is a department composed mainly of financial experts, CPA’s and accountants who have the responsibility to make a detailed audit-like investigation in order to render an expert opinion on the how, who, when and what of the crime, which will in turn be used by the prosecuting fiscal to decide whether to accuse or to dismiss the case.

It is at this stage where most of the investigation time is consumed, as this is a very busy section with hundreds of investigations going on simultaneously with the aggravation that more often than not the insufficient human resources of the economics unit are kept on the high profile cases. The average time for the completion of this financial investigation is about 18 months, if the case is not too complicated. By then two years have probably already gone by since you went to place your complaint.

Next, the fiscal has to find time to sit with the report, finish interviewing the remaining witnesses who have to be duly subpoenaed and finally, some six months later at best, present a formal accusation before a judge.

The next step will be the preliminary hearing where a judge will decide the merit of the accusation and listen to both parties, rule on the objections, and, if no conciliation is reached, appoint a date and time for the public trial, which will depend on the agenda of the particular court where it will be held.

Nowadays public trials are being set for no less than two years after the preliminary hearing. Common crime trials tend to be held sooner due to its own non-specialized nature.
However, there is a faster alternate way provided by the law itself. Article 20 of the Penal Procedures Code states that when dealing with patrimonial content crime where no violence against persons have been exerted, there is no public interest gravely compromised and with the approval of the Ministerio Público, the public action can be converted into private action.

That is, you, the victim, can ask to be allowed to act as prosecutor. You will need to hire a forensic accounting expert to put together the investigation that will serve as the technical proof in court (the job that the judicial police would otherwise do) and, once this is done, you just file your querella privada or private accusation directly to the criminal tribunal, which will, in turn, serve it to the defendants and grant them five days (yes, just five) to reply and offer any counter proof for the public trial which date will be immediately set. 

By this process you skip the fiscal’s investigation stage and, most important of all, the preliminary hearing and go directly to public trial by the fast lane, thus being able to make it to court in less than a couple of years or even sooner depending on the court’s agenda.

The reasoning behind this system is, on the one hand, to lessen the burden on the prosecutors at the Ministerio Público by allowing the victims of financial crime in those cases that meet the criteria, to take personal charge of them, giving them in turn the opportunity to have their day in court a lot sooner than going through the long regular process.

This can be done either at the very beginning when placing the complaint (remember that the Ministerio Público must agree) or at any stage of the process prior to the appointment of the public trial date.

In my personal experience, if your case is solid and you have or can get by yourself the required paper track, this is the way to go. Many criminal lawyers fail to mention this alternative to their clients simply because it represents a lot more responsibility for them (actually, all of it as opposed to going with the Ministerio Público where all of the responsibility for the investigation and the accusation itself falls on the fiscal’s shoulders). Also you have to have a strong financial background to effectively litigate on this matter.

But the possibility is there to be taken advantage of by anyone who wishes to. This is a sort of “private justice” that allows individuals to take to court financial criminals in almost no time when compared to a regular process. But again, it only works when the case is solid as it could otherwise backfire.

*Mr.  Valverde is a lawyer, notary and CPA in Guachipelín, Escazú.


Pacific coast residents ready to set up blockade over road dust
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As the dry season approaches its end, the roads have more dust and the smoke from the sugar cane fires lingers in the air and reddens the eyes and throats.

Out in Tamarindo, the dust is about the last straw after the Municipalidad de Santa Cruz has promised for years to put asphalt on the 28 de abril road, according to residents.

That is why they are planning a blockade for 7 a.m. Thursday.

Email messages said that the residents are trying to apply
pressure on municipal officials in Santa Cruz. The blockade will be at the Villareal intersection, a resident said. The protest will be multi-national, they added.

"The municipality of Santa Cruz has been promising for years to asphalt the road," said another resident. "Not only do they not asphalt it. But, the grading of the road is so sporadic, we are constantly having to repair our vehicles, the dust is doing great damage to our cars, and the residence and homeowners along the road are constantly sick."

This is not the only spot in Costa Rica where residents are irked by the dusty condition of the roads.

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, Tuesday, March 26, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 60
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Cross-cultural study shows different responses to customers abuse
By the University of British Columbia news service

A new study reveals that North American service workers are more likely to sabotage rude customers, while Chinese react by disengaging from customer service altogether.

“Our research shows that culture plays a significant role in how frontline workers deal with customer abuse,” says Daniel Skarlicki, a co-author of the study. He is a Sauder School of Business professor at the University of British Columbia.

“In North America, employees tend to retaliate against offensive customers – doing things like giving bad directions or serving cold food. In China, workers are more likely to reduce the general quality of service they provide to all customers – nasty or nice.”

In a paper to be published in the journal Personnel Psychology, Skarlicki and former Sauder doctoral student Ruodan Shao studied how frontline employees at a luxury hotel with locations in Vancouver and Beijing reacted to customer mistreatment.

Although the level of abuse was consistent in both locations, North Americans resorted 20 per cent more often to sabotage to get revenge. Abused Chinese workers were 19 per cent more likely to feel a lack of enthusiasm in their jobs, responding negatively to statements like, “I voluntarily assist guests even if it means going beyond job requirements.”

“North Americans take a surgical approach to abuse, zeroing in on
 individuals who mistreated them,” says Skarlicki, noting that managers must be mindful of these cultural differences when expanding operations across the Pacific. “Chinese don’t blame the transgressor. They blame the system – the company or customers they serve.”

Skarlicki says the implications are clear: “When service-oriented companies go global, they need to heighten their sensitivity to how culture in a new market can influence the performance of frontline staff and tailor their customer service operations accordingly.”

For the study, the researchers held focus groups with hotel employees in Beijing and Vancouver to identify a set of common abusive situations and methods workers used to sabotage ill-mannered guests.

Using this information, they conducted a series of surveys with more than 200 employees – 132 in Beijing and 82 in Vancouver. Participants reported the frequency they experienced abuse, the frequency of customer-directed sabotage as a result of customer abuse, and the level to which people felt an affinity toward their jobs.

Skarlicki notes that the study is responding to the ongoing trend of North American service industries expanding operations to China and increasingly Chinese companies doing likewise in North America.

He says the differing cultural responses observed in the study are in line with established traits of the two cultures, with North Americans tending to be more individualistic and Chinese more collectivistic.

 
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Christ Howard with Max
retiring in Costa Rica,  and who has personally helped over 10,000 people with ALL BUDGETS relocate SUCCESSFULLY over the last 35 years. CUSTOM TAILOR-MADE TOURS are also available for people with special needs or who can’t take one of our fixed-date tours. ALL tours include EXTENSIVE touring and a highly informative SEMINAR by the country’s most renowned EXPERTS in their respective fields. Also visit: Live in Costa Rica to check out our NEW tour prices and specials.  Customer satisfaction 100% guaranteed! MY REFERENCES.

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Costa Rica Vacations
Customized, all inclusive Costa Rica vacations planned by our team of in-country travel experts. Call us Toll Free: 1-800-606-1860 or locally in San Jose: 2296-7715. Sit back and relax while we plan your trip or dream Costa Rica Honeymoon.
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Panama Vacations
Custom, all-inclusive vacations to Panama by 100% locally based experts in Panama.  See "the new Costa Rica" before the secret gets out!  We offer customized trips to the best all inclusive Panama hotels and Panama resorts. Call 1-866-393-4192 if from the U.S. or 00 (507)-264-1279 from Costa Rica.
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Costa Rica's world class medical specialists are at your command. Get the top care for much less than U.S. prices. It is really a great way to spend a vacation. See our list of recommended professionals HERE!amcr-prom


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A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
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wanted
Real estate wanted

Real estate rental services (paid category)

See our listing of real estate brokers on the for-sale page.

Real estate for rent (paid category)
Perez  Zeledon:   Large studio home overlooking river with deck.  Elegant, ceramic floors, nice cabinets, walk-in closet.  Beautiful gardens and grounds.  Secure. Private. Only  10 minutes
River view home
to San Isidro de El General. Mountain town with everything!  Then, 40 minutes to Playa Dominical, 40 minutes to Chirripó National Park, and also near many other attractions, yet very private and secluded.  Listen to river sounds and sleep like a baby.   
Rare birds in abundance. Includes,  One  double bed and refrigerator, stove, juicer, sofa, tables,  dishes, pans, etc.  Plus, electric, (hot) water   Phone, TV connected, Internet cable connected, garbage and gardener. All included for $425. /month.  Looking for one good person, reliable, long-term.    Non-smoker. jjpepman@hotmail.com
7902-4/25/13

Manuel Antonio long term apartment for rent
This modern two-bedroom apartment with a breathtaking view of the Quepos town and the Pacific Ocean is situated near Manuel Antonio National Park and beaches. The location offers a unique experience in the edge of the jungle, where you can observe wildlife. The apartment has two separate bedrooms and sleeps three guests maximum. The bathroom has a walk-in shower and a toilette. The living room is furnished with very comfortable furniture. The kitchen is fully equipped. Public transports like taxis, bus station, port as well as shops, groceries, restaurants, cafes, bars, and nightlife are within a very short distance. Fully furnished, all bills included (water, electricity, cable tv, wireless internet), $575 per month, 6-month minimum. Contact us now!!! 8853-8245. or see our
Web page:  www.brunxu.com  
7901-4/25/13

COMPLETELY and nicely furnished apartments
apartment view
in San José, and one condo in Escazú. Fast Internet, cable TV, hot water. Large American appliances including washer and dryer. Both convenient locations. No pets. $600 per month. Contact: rentnowcr@gmail.com or call 8555-9819.
7881-4/13/13

Anywhere Costa Rica educates visitors about the numerous 

Anywhere
in-country travel experiences available to them and creates a personalized  travel plan.

We believe the best way to enjoy
Costa Rica's beautiful environment
and people is to have a personalized trip plan.

Call 1-888-456-3212 or local 2479-8811 to get started.

Mountain cabin for rent
Sacramento, Barva de Heredia
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 HPCattleCR@aol.com, or or for more information HERE! $850 USD/month. We can also offer a weekend or short-stay package.
7875-4/11/13

Tropical Homes of Costa Rica is offering the best selection of vacation homes, condos and long-term rental homes in Playa Flamingo, Playa Potrero and Playa Brasilito on  the Pacific Gold Coast of Guanacaste. A wide selection of private residencies is providing an excellent choice for your stay in this beautiful part 
tropical
                                    homes
of Costa Rica. We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at www.tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or contact us at rentals@tropicalhomesofcostarica.com or call at (506) 2654-5442.
7833-8/15/13

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.
7695-1/19/14

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 jogya345@yahoo.com or 8308-7732.
7840-3/11/13

Palmares
                                    rental properties
Homes for rent
in Palmares, Alajuela

Visit our Web page for more information.
www.palmarescostarica.us
7819-4/29/13

prime
                                    properties
ATTENTION EXPATS:
 
We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Rohrmoser
Escazú
Santa Ana
 

  rentals.sanjose@gmail.com
7894-4/13/13

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 berosyyourlife@hotmail.com for more details. Thank you.
7800-2/22/13

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 jas21358@comcast.net
7780-2/21/13

ALAJUELA – SERENE LIVING – MONTHLY $800 TO $1,200
Villas Casa Loma has everything you are looking for.  Best vistas, climate, value.  Four unique homes in a secure private compound on a ridge near Alajuela overlooking the entire Central Valley.  Two are available fully furnished and equipped, each a complete home accommodating 4 persons in two bedrooms with ensuite baths.  Pool, rancho, mirador, other features.  Ask about part-month rates.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

7857-5/4/13





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San José, Costa Rica, Tuesday, March 26, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 60
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bull shark
Photo by Patrick Rice, Shark Defense/
Florida Keys Community College.

This is the two-headed bull shark

Researchers confirm that shark
had two heads on one body


By the Michigan State University news staff

Scientists have confirmed the discovery of the first-ever, two-headed bull shark.

The study, led by Michigan State University and appearing in the Journal of Fish Biology, confirmed the specimen, found in the Gulf of Mexico April 7, 2011, was a single shark with two heads, rather than conjoined twins.

There have been other species of sharks, such as blue sharks and tope sharks, born with two heads. This is the first record of this condition in a bull shark, said Michael Wagner, Michigan State assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife, who confirmed the discovery with colleagues at the Florida Keys Community College.

“This is certainly one of those interesting and rarely detected phenomena,” Wagner said. “It’s good that we have this documented as part of the world’s natural history, but we’d certainly have to find many more before we could draw any conclusions about what caused this.”

The difficulty of finding such oddities is due, in part, to creatures with abnormalities dying shortly after birth. In this instance, a fisherman found the two-headed shark when he opened the uterus of an adult shark. The two-headed shark died shortly thereafter and had little, if any, chance to survive in the wild, Wagner added.

“You’ll see many more cases of two-headed lizards and snakes,” he said. “That’s because those organisms are often bred in captivity, and the breeders are more likely to observe the anomalies.”

The shark was brought to the marine science department at Florida Keys Community College. From there, it was transported to Michigan State’s campus for further examination.

Wagner and his team were able to detail the discovery with magnetic resonance imaging. Without damaging the unique specimen, the MRIs revealed two distinct heads, hearts and stomachs with the remainder of the body joining together in the back half of the animal to form a single tail.

As part of the published brief, Wagner noted that some may want to attribute the deformed shark to exposure to pollutants.

“Given the timing of the shark’s discovery with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, I could see how some people may want to jump to conclusions,” Wagner said. “Making that leap is unwarranted. We simply have no evidence to support that cause or any other.”


Chemicals could halt viruses
by stopping reproduction


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. researchers have discovered a class of potent chemical compounds that could stop a host of viruses in their tracks, including the deadly Marburg and Ebola viruses and pathogens that cause rabies, mumps and measles. Drugs made from the compounds would stop infection by interfering with a virus’ ability to reproduce itself inside human cells.

Viruses are strange things.  Though there is some scientific question about whether viruses are alive or not, they do have a basic genetic structure that allows them to be biologically active.  But they don't have the built-in reproductive capacity of bacteria -- tiny, living organisms which, once they have infected a human host, can make copies of themselves using their own DNA.

John Connor, a virologist at Boston University in Massachusetts, explains that in order for viruses to reproduce and become a disease threat, they must first hijack the genetic machinery of a living cell:

“They’re parasites," said Connor. "They get inside our cells and use a lot of our machinery in order to make extra copies of themselves.  And so that poses a really delicate question of how do you destroy the virus without getting yourself.”

Connor and his colleagues screened thousands of chemical compounds, looking for ones that showed strong antiviral activity. 

They identified several small molecules that interfere with the replication of a class of pathogens known as NNS viruses, which cause the deadly Marburg and Ebola infections, as well as measles and mumps.

Once they have invaded a host cell, NNS viruses use their own genetic molecule -- known as RNA -- to hijack the host cell's DNA and force it to make copies of the virus.

The most effective compounds discovered by the Boston researchers shut down that replication process -- at least in cell-culture experiments -- by limiting the viruses' RNA production.

The compounds do not thwart all viruses -- they have no effect, for example, on HIV, the virus that causes AIDS -- because of differences in the way viral pathogens enter and commandeer cells.

Just as antibiotics are effective against many bacterial illnesses, Connor says he hopes this discovery leads to the development of broad-spectrum antiviral drugs to treat a variety of currently incurable viral infections.

“Basically, one of the things my lab is interested in is trying to find monkey wrenches to throw into viral replication machinery so it doesn’t work anymore," said Connor. "And the idea there is, if we find good ways of keeping viruses from doing their basic replication, we can ideally develop a new drug to treat these viruses.”


Malaria parasite targeted
by drug that blocks DNA

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. researchers have developed a new fast-acting drug against malaria that appears to avoid the problem with current medicines, which often lose their effectiveness against increasingly drug-resistant strains of malaria parasites, called Plasmodium.
 
Scientists say the new malaria medicine may have a decisive edge against this persistent tropical-world killer.
 
Michael Riscoe of Oregon Health and Science University, in the U.S. Northwest, says the new drug, known as ELQ-300, targets the mitochondria -- energy-producing structures in the parasite’s cells -- and the DNA building blocks they produce.
 
​​“So the Plasmodium mitochondrion serves as a factory to make these DNA building blocks, but this is completely blocked by ELQ-300," explains Riscoe. "Studies show that the drug acts very quickly to shut down this process. In fact, only about 10 minutes.”
 
Perhaps the biggest obstacle in the fight against malaria, Riscoe adds, is the Plasmodium parasite’s ability to mutate and develop resistance to each new drug used against the disease. In tests using laboratory animals, he notes, the parasite did not develop resistant to ELQ-300.  “These findings suggest that if the drug is eventually developed for human use, then it could enjoy a long, useful clinical life before resistance emerges in the field.” 
 
That would be good news, because Riscoe says the new drug seems to be much more effective than current anti-malaria medicines.  “ELQ-300 is about 30 times more effective at curing malaria in mice as compared to atovaquone, a drug that’s in clinical use today.”
 
Riscoe and his colleagues cite other advantages to ELQ-300: it may be cheaper to make than existing drugs, and it may be effective at lower doses. They suggest it could be used in combination with another drug to cure malaria with just one dose of medicine.
 
After successful tests on laboratory mice, ELQ-300 is heading for human trials, starting with tests for safety.
 
 
Facebook foulup costing
exchange $62 million


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. stock exchange is paying $62 million to brokers for its mishandling of the first day of share trading last year in the popular Facebook social networking web site.

U.S. securities regulators approved the payment by the Nasdaq exchange on Monday. The stock exchange was overwhelmed with orders to buy and sell the Facebook stock on May 18. It said technical malfunctions in its trading system delayed the start of trading and then left brokers unsure of how many shares they owned.

The debut of the Facebook stock was widely anticipated, but many investors have been disappointed. It traded as high as $45 a share on the opening day but has languished since then, most recently trading at about $25.


Domestic workers lose
residency Hong Kong bid


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

After three years of legal argument, the highest court in Hong Kong has upheld a government appeal that denies overseas domestic workers the right to residency in the semi-autonomous Chinese city. The case has implications for Hong Kong’s judicial independence from Beijing, and the rights of poor migrant workers across Asia.  
                                           
The unanimous decision Monday by five judges in the Court of Final Appeal ended a constitutional challenge by domestic workers Evangeline Banao Vallejos and Daniel Domingo.

The Philippine appellants argued that, like white collar expats, foreign domestic workers should be entitled to permanent Hong Kong residency after working seven years in the city.

Eman Villanueva of the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body labeled the verdict discriminatory.   

“There are more than 300,000 foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong and the message is very unfair: the court’s ruling gives the judicial seal … to the social exclusion of foreign domestic workers," said Villanueva.

Government figures indicate that around 100,000 maids and their dependents, mainly from developing Asian nations, were eligible to apply for abode after Vallejos and Domingo won their initial case in 2011. Security Secretary Lai Tung-kwok noted that more than 1,000 residency applications already had been received.

“The government welcomes the verdict [and] will proceed to process new and pending applications submitted by foreign helpers according to the law as affirmed by the court," said Lai.

Migrant women in low paid domestic jobs across Asia and the Middle East - working to support families back home - saw the 2011 decision as a sign of hope, says Holly Allen of the NGO Helpers for Domestic Helpers. Now, she says, other states might not seek to improve migrant worker rights, spurred on by Hong Kong’s lead.

“They work long hours; some up to 20 hours a day with very little rest," said Allen. "Canada, maybe some other western countries allow foreign domestic workers to apply for residency, but no other countries in Asia.”

The Hong Kong public is divided on the decision, despite almost universal fears that schools, hospitals and public housing in the territory - with a population of 7 million - risks being overwhelmed by tens of thousands of migrant workers simultaneously claiming abode.

The case also has escalated concern about the erosion of judicial autonomy in Hong Kong. This occurs at a time the Communist Party in Beijing is increasingly aware of anti-China sentiment in the city, and the waning popularity of a local leadership it helped put into office.

While the court confirmed Hong Kong’s constitutional authority in immigration matters, Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen says that would not preclude asking Beijing to settle a years-old case relating to the rights of children born locally to mainland fathers.

“Our position has been very clear; that we are trying our very best to resolve all the legal issues concerning [these] babies by avenues available in the local legal system," said Yuen. "We will exhaust our means before we do anything [else].”

Any deferral to Beijing promises to cause further tension in Hong Kong, where a civil disobedience movement driven by an increasingly disenfranchised middle class is gathering momentum - its aim to strengthen democracy, not weaken it by relinquishing autonomy.


Chinese national given
five years for data transfer


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A U.S. judge has sentenced a Chinese national to more than five years in prison for illegally exporting sensitive defense-related information to China.

Liu Sixing was convicted in a federal court last year on charges including exporting technical military data without a license and lying to authorities.

The 49-year-old, also known as Steve Liu, was a senior staff engineer for a division of the New Jersey-based L-3 Communications, which was working on guidance systems for missiles, rockets and drones.

Prosecutors say he stole thousands of restricted military files and shared them during several presentations in China in 2009 and 2010, including one at a Chinese government-organized technology conference.

Liu says he was only trying to use the presentations to get a job in China. He argued that the case against him was politically motivated.

The presiding judge disagreed. In addition to the jail sentence, Liu was ordered to pay a $15,000 fine.


Washington's famous blossoms
stay in hiding due to snow


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A spring snowstorm has blanketed the Washington region, complicating life for some commuters and disappointing tourists who were expecting springtime temperatures and cherry blossoms. Some visitors Monday ventured outdoors despite the weather.

Snow mixed with rain greeted visitors to the Jefferson Memorial and the adjacent Tidal Basin. Photographer Judy Young was hoping to snap shots of the city's famous cherry blossoms, covered with snow.

"I came down here to find snow on these beautiful cherry blossoms, or even the buds. Did I find snow? No. It's raining this morning," she said.

School groups visiting on spring break were also disappointed. Some arrived unaware that cooler-than-expected weather delayed the blossoms on the cherry trees, given to the United States by Japan more than 100 years ago. 

Marshall True, a student from California, hoped to take home a special souvenir for his Japanese language instructor.

"I go to a Japanese class, and she was hoping to see pictures of cherry blossoms, so I have to disappoint her," said True.

"It's lucky for us we brought these clothes because it's winter here, not spring," said Sonia Bastidas, a tourist from Switzerland. She and her traveling companion, Mark Shmid, hoped to see Washington's spring spectacular while in town.

"We were hoping to see it, but it's a bit early, I guess. So maybe during the end of the trip, we'll get to see some," he said.

The National Park Service updated its prediction of peak bloom time for the District of Columbia’s cherry trees because of the cold weather. It now says the cherry blossoms will be in full bloom in early April.
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Real estate bro
kers and agents
(paid category)

If your looking for the best, then this is the home for you
Miramar villa
Miramar Mediterranean style villa for sale owner motivated Call Andy Tel: +(506) 8336 3002 mail: info@costaricaeye.com

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The #1 Authority in Costa Rica Real Estate

Costa Rica real estate
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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For those looking for quality properties and service at quality prices. Central Valley Rentals. Offering honesty, experience and knowledge. Your Villa Real Expert. Call us now  Toll Free (877) 845-4533. In Costa Rica 2228-5961 or 8339-2112. www.costaricarealtyone.com
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Costa Rica,

Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
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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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SEE OUR OFFERS HERE
Visit our Web Site:
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 English: (Cristian Arce)
English:  (Luis Arce)
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)

   (506) 8538-6186
   (506) 7100-8489
   (506) 8707-4016

  Send us your request to our email: info@greciarealestate.com
7685-2/7/12

Real estate for sale (paid category)


Condo
FIRE SALE ON THIS SPACIOUS CONDO
WITH GREAT OCEAN VIEWS $205,000 USD
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 marietta234@yahoo.es or www.beachfrontcentralpacific.com
7900-4/22/13
Las Escadas
Welcome to our Paradise
Las Escadas – Condomimium & Club
San Juan del Sur – Nicaragua

1 and 2 bedroom condos from $ 39,900.
Las Escadas Condominiums & Club is the best Investment opportunity for those who want to live surrounded on all sides with nature and very closes to many beautiful beaches, amazing places with rich history and culture.
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
Contact: info@lasescadas.com    www.lasescadas.com
Cell English +505 8588-9827 – Cell Spanish/English 8551-4391
7895-4/20/13
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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. www.oasisbytheseabandb.com $180,000 506-8869-9274.
7882-4/15/13

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.
http://ackermanrealtyinternational.com
USA 678-799-8803
CR Cell 011-506-8-910-2904
Margo@ackermanrealtyinternational.com


FOR SALE BY OWNER
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 landofpalms@hotmail.com.
7869-4/6/13

ALAJUELA – PRIVATE COMPOUND OF 4 HOMES - $850,000 TURNKEY
Spectacular view property on a ridge near Alajuela.  Large home and 3 rental homes totaling 7,300 square feet (678 square meters) live-in construction.  Property area is 3,376 square meters (0.83 acres) including a vacant lot for expansion options.  In total there are 10 bedrooms, each with an ensuite bath.  Property has pool, rancho, mirador, courtyard and covered parking.  Homes have romantic fireplaces, built-ins, storage, other luxury features.  Turnkey sale includes all appliances, furniture, fixtures, equipment.  Call Gerry at (506) 2441-8796 or e-mail at gerrybuilt2000@yahoo.com.  See property video here:

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:
7856-5/4/13

For Sale By Owner
1 lot (1.5 acres)  at SIBU (8 lots total) amongst 50 acres of protected jungle gardens with sunset ocean views of Playa Nosara. Underground electric and water.13 minutes from Playa Guiones. Gated. In house financing available. Home of SIBU Sanctuary. jungalow@gmail.com.
7845-8/18/13

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.
http://www.haciendamontemar.com/
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
7830-5/8/13

Rich Coast Montage
RichCoastRealty.com
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....
http://www.richcoastrealty.com/
USA Toll Free 1 866 833 4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718 9891
Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
7829-5/8/13

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: http://www.monalbum.fr/Album=E3GLBJQX
Jack 506-2778-8172    Email: quadtours@yahoo.ca
7789-2/14/13

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.
http://www.richcoastrealty.com/1060.html
Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005  CR Cell 8718-9891
7766-6/17/13

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
http://www.richcoastrealty.com/1011.html
USA Toll Free 1 866 833 4005
CR Cell 011 (506) 8718-9891
7725-xxxx

beachfront one
beachfronttwo
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: www.tomstewartinsurance.com/CostaRica. Price recently reduced for quick sale. Email  tomstewart0001@gmail.com or call 713-775-9283.
7600-3/7/13

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!
www.grupocostaazulcr.com
7484-9/11/12

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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

Papitos
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.
7868-4/6/13

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

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Tax rebel who used bonds
to pay IRS found guilty

Special to A.M. Costa Rica

A federal jury in Montgomery, Alabama, has found James Timothy Turner, also known as Tim Turner, guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States, attempting to pay taxes with fictitious financial instruments, attempting to obstruct and impede the Internal Revenue Service, failing to file a 2009 federal income tax return and falsely testifying under oath in a bankruptcy proceeding, the Justice Department said.

Based on the evidence introduced at trial and court filings, Turner, the self-proclaimed president of the so-called sovereign citizen group Republic for the United States of America, traveled the country in 2008 and 2009 conducting seminars teaching attendees how to defraud the IRS by preparing and submitting fictitious bonds to the United States government in payment of federal taxes. Although the evidence at trial revealed the bonds are fictitious and worthless, witnesses testified that Turner used special paper, financial terminology and elaborate borders in an effort to make them look real and more likely to succeed in defrauding the recipient. Turner was convicted of sending a $300 million bond in his own name and of aiding and abetting others in sending fifteen other “bonds” to the Treasury Department to pay taxes and other debts.

The evidence at trial also established that Turner taught people how to file retaliatory liens against government officials who interfered with the processing of fictitious bonds. Turner filed a purported $17.6 billion maritime lien in Montgomery County, Alabama, Probate Court against another individual. Finally, evidence presented at trial demonstrated that the FBI began an investigation after Turner and three other individuals sent demands to all 50 governors in the United States in March 2010 ordering each governor to resign within three days or be removed.

“The jury’s verdict in this case sends a message that defrauding the government and others through the use of bogus financial documents will not be tolerated,” said Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally. “Disagreement with the law is no excuse for the real harm caused by these self-interested tax defiers.”

“These sovereign citizen groups use these retaliatory tax liens and fraudulent tax schemes as weapons against the United States and its citizens,” said acting U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Stewart.  “It is only the hard work of law enforcement that can stop these criminals from using these financial weapons."
 
Turner remains in federal custody pending sentencing. Turner faces a potential maximum prison term of 164 years, a maximum potential fine of $2,350,000 and mandatory restitution.


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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