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Cocal for Jan. 20
    Playa Vista
(506) 2223-1327                         Published Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Vol. 14, No. 60                         Email us
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Rock Constructors

Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados photo
Workmen are dwarfed by the gigantic concrete tanks at the Los Tajos treatment plant.
First sewer line contract goes to Spanish firm
By Michael Krumholtz
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A Spanish construction firm has been selected to install the first three kilometers of sewer line for the valley project.

The firm is a familiar one, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, S.A., known by its initials FCC. The company said that it will have 10 months to build the line which will connect to the Los Tajos treatment plant, which also is under construction.

The new sewer will be on the north bank of the Río Torres and will be the main line for future sewerage in that watershed.

In all there are watersheds of five rivers that will be drained into the new sewer plant as part of the $344 million project.

The plant is expected to serve the cantons of  San José, Tibás, Moravia, Vásquez de Coronado, Goicoechea, Montes de Oca, Curridabat, Desamparados, Escazú, Alajuelita and La Unión. Users are estimated to be some 65 percent of the population of the Central Valley.

The sewer plant project is not without criticism. Residents nearby in the la Carpio section of  La Uruca are not happy with the location.

Environmentalists also have voiced their concern because the $45 million plant will only provide primary treatment for sewage at first. The partly treated water would be dumped into the nearby  Río Tiribí, one environmentalist said in an internet mailing. He urged the construction of smaller packaged treatment plants at locations around the Central Valley instead of one big plant. He claimed the plant would be overwhelmed at times by sewage.

Juan Manuel Sánchez, a civil engineer with the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, said the sewer system should be completed by May 2019. The complicated installation calls for 350 kilometers of sewers in San José as well as a tunnel.

The treatment plant is set to become the biggest of its kind in Central America with a capacity of 12 cubic meters per second. Government officials are optimistic that it will clear waterways and basins and provide immediate ecological benefits.

For a country that prides itself on maintaining a level of environmental purity, its polluted waterways run like scars over the idealized public image. Sánchez said that many rivers flowing through the Central Valley are badly contaminated and in need of a massive cleaning.
“At this moment the rivers are considered to be the most polluted in all of Central America,” he said via phone interview. “The idea is to stop the waste waters flowing to the rivers, like they are today without any treatment.”

The entire treatment plan includes two removal phases. The first phase will clean up to 80 percent of the pollution in the waste water coming from 1.1 million residents. The next step will remove nearly 95 percent of all remaining contaminants and should bring the source number up to 1.6 million people, Sánchez said.

Acueductos y Alcantarillados estimates that right now only 4 percent of San José's waste water is properly treated. But following the second phase of operations, the majority of the population's waste water is expected to go through the treatment process, Sánchez said.

“It's definitely going to improve the environment immediately,” he said. “There are four main rivers near San José and all of them are polluted. Right now there's no biodiversity in any of the rivers.”

One of the major waterways is the Río Grande de Tárcoles, which begins in the Cordillera Central and empties west into the Gulf of Nicoya. Though it is near a substantial part of the population and houses a lot of iconic Costa Rican wildlife like crocodiles, it is considered the region's most polluted river. All of the Central Valley's rivers drain into it.

Spanish firm also gets
hydro plant contract

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, S.A., also said Tuesday that it has been selected to build a hydroelectric plant for Enel Green Power SpA, an Italian firm.

The 50 megawatt hydroelectric plant will be built in the town of Chucás, around 50 kilometers west of San José. It includes the construction of a dam more than 50 meters high and 230 meters long, to create a reservoir with a capacity of 190,000 cubic meters of water, equivalent to the water consumed by a town of 3,000, the Spanish firms said.

The company said it will also build a spillway, access roads to the new plant and a new bridge over the reservoir as part of this project, which is expected to be completed in May 2015.

Enel said it already has a 24 megawatt wind power plant in Costa Rica

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The new Nicoya library

Nicoya gets new library
with a municipal boost

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Municipalidad de Nicoya will inaugurate a new 1,100-square meter public library. The 235 million-colon ($435,000) project includes 35 million of municipal money for equipment such as computers.

The facility is part of the Sistema Nacional de Bibliotecas of the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud.

Marco Antonio Jiménez, the municipal mayor, said that inauguration will be Thursday at 2 p.m.

Arrest made in robbery cases
of drugged cargo haulers

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Judicial agents detained a 40-year-old man Tuesday on suspicion that he used knockout drops to rob truckers. The man faces allegations of attempted murder in perhaps as many as 18 cases, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

Agents said that a robber contacted cargo haulers by telephone and promised them a job moving some merchandise. The agreed meeting place was a remote location. When the truckers arrived, the robber first offered them a drink that he had laced with some type of sleeping medicine, agents said.

When the trucker passed out, the robber checked out their cargo and possessions for valuables and money, said agents.

Some of the truckers ended up in the hospital where blood tests revealed what had happened, said agents.

Agents said they followed the man and saw him meet a trucker in Paseo Colón and accompanied him to a remote location in Heredia where the trucker took a drink.  Agents said the man took the trucker's cell telephone and 5,000 colons in cash.

Agents said that there were seven cases in San José where the suspect had been identified. There are 11 more cases with the same method elsewhere in the country, so the victim will be asked to make an identification, agents said.

Lawmakers and Limón group
press for two Chinese loans

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Some lawmakers really are pushing for approval of twin loans that will provide the funds for a Chinese company to begin widening Ruta 32 more than 100 kilometers from Limón to Río Frio.

Meanwhile some residents of Limón engaged in a march to the capital to press the case for the $465 million job.

Elibeth Venegas of Partido Liberación Nacional and other lawmakers held a press conference Tuesday to characterize the project as a necessity. She was accompanied by members of what is called the  Fuerza Caribe, an organization from the Caribbean coast.

The measure, which is approval for two loans, has been reported out of committee and now is in the hands of the full legislature.

The principal opponent is Manrique Oviedo Guzmán, a legislator of the Partido Acción Ciudadana. He has said that the price the country was ready to pay for the highway job was $165 million too high. He based his comments on a Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo estimate provided by a private firm. The lawmaker has raised the issue repeatedly.

The deal is unusual because there has been no engineering work. The job consists of making the two-lane highway four lanes and also building a number of overpasses.

China Harbour Engineering Co. Group and China Road and Bridge Corp. already have been picked for the job, but the legislature must approve the loans.

The Export–Import Bank of China would make two loans, one for $100 million and one for $296 million. Costa Rica is putting up $90 million, including an extra $20 million for expropriating property and relocating public services.

The larger loan would be at 4 percent interest, and the smaller one at 2 percent.

Other lawmakers object because the ruling contract is in Chinese and the project is covered by Chinese law even though the job is in Costa Rica. The loans are denominated in Chinese currency, which may face exchange rate problems in the future.

Impact of downtown quake
considered over three days

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The four downtown districts of the San Jose's central canton are 12.5 kilometers square and during the day contain the greater part of the professional population of the country.

How will this area and occupants be affected by a major earthquake? That is the question experts have been considering for three days through today in a detailed study of the possibilities and impact of a quake.

The session was set up by the Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias and the World Bank.

Those at the session in the Hotel Wyndham San José Herradura are considering the impact of various models with different parameters and vulnerabilities of the area, the commission said.

Food industry joins fight
against too much sodium

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The country's food industry is embarking on a project to educate consumers over the human body's requirements for sodium. The principal way sodium is ingested is with salt.

The Cámara Costarricense de la Industria Alimentaria said its members would be active in trying to reduce the consumption of sodium.  Sodium is linked to heart disease and strokes.

The chamber said it would urge a balanced diet, nutritional education and fight against a sedentary lifestyle. It also said that the greater percentage of the ingestion of sodium comes from food prepared in the home.

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Third News Page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 60
Real Estate
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A.M. Costa Rica/Michael Krumholtz

Another casino
for downtown

That steel taking shape north of the Aurola Holiday Inn is the site of a new downtown casino. Hostel workers said they expected the casino to be built and open in two to three months. There are already seven casinos in the downtown area, but one, the Horseshoe, is closed for remodeling, according to workers there.

Sala IV says the salaries of public employees are an open record
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The constitutional court ruled that the right of the public to know the salaries of public employees transcends the individual right of privacy.

The case stemmed from a request by a man, identified in a brief Poder Judicial summary as Alejandro Fernández Sanabria, sought salary information from the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. He wanted data from 1990 to 2013. The Caja is financially troubled and the topic of much political discussion.

His request was denied. The Caja does not seem to be behaving arbitrarily but, instead, relying on the new Ley de Protección de la Persona frente al Tratamiento de sus Datos Personales. The Caja also seems to have said finding the data would take too much time.

However, the Sala IV constitutional court said that when information
is public a citizen is not required to justify a request for information by saying why it is needed. Instead, the state has the responsibility to make the information accessible by means of the technological methods at its disposal.

The court did agree that some information about public employees is personal and should not be divulged.

In the case of the Caja the court said the agency must respond to the citizen in a month and tell him how long it would take to put the information sought together and how much the effort will cost him.

The privacy law is being observed by others in the Poder Judicial. Court workers have begun purging the names of individuals involved in cases from records that are released to the pubic.

That has brought an outcry from private investigators and others who require the names to check credit and employment records.

Road agency promises two lanes for Interamericana by Thursday
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's road agency said that the Interamericana highway will be restored to two lanes Thursday at a place where a slide took away much of the road base.

The roadway collapsed Saturday at a place called El Vivero between Esparza and San Ramón. For a time traffic was rerouted.  Then a single lane was opened.

This is the major highway that has linked the Central Valley with the Pacific coast. The new San José-Caldera highway is taking some of the traffic.
The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad said that it was workmen putting in a draining system under the road that caused the slide. It said that the Laboratorio Nacional de Materiales y Modelos Estructurales at the Universidad de Costa Rica was being asked to investigate to determine why the collapse happened.

The agency said that eight other concrete drains under the roadway have been installed along the same route.

The agency said that there are 86 drains under the Interamericana Norte that are being replaced slowly. It added that the national road network is very vulnerable to these types of slides, washouts and collapses.

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Mild electrical current shown to make people smarter, less prone to errors
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Teachers often urge their students to put on their thinking caps as a way of encouraging serious reflection. However, a real thinking cap could someday become a reality. New research shows it’s possible to control the ability to learn by applying mild electrical current to the brain.

Writing in the Journal of Neuroscience, the Vanderbilt University researchers say the results of their studies could eventually provide help to those wanting to improve their learning abilities and could also be used to treat various conditions such as schizophrenia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The researchers made their findings after being intrigued by past studies that show a spike in negative voltage within the medial-frontal cortex of the brain milliseconds after a person makes an error. This area of the brain is thought to be responsible for the oops reaction whenever an error is made.

The previous research did not explain why this brain reaction occurs, so the Vanderbilt duo decided to find out by testing several theories.  They also wanted to see if that activity in the medial-frontal cortex would influence the ability to learn since the brain allows humans to learn from our mistakes.

“And that’s what we set out to test: What is the actual function of these brainwaves?” said researcher Robert Reinhart, a doctoral candidate. “We wanted to reach into your brain and causally control your inner critic.”

The theories Reinhart and research partner Geoffrey Woodman, an assistant professor of psychology, wanted to test was to see if it was possible to control the brain’s electrophysiological – electrical properties of a living cell – response to mistakes, and if the effect could be purposely controlled either up or down depending on which direction an electrical current is applied to it. They also wanted to see how long the effect of the electrical application would last and whether the same methods could be used to control other tasks.

To conduct their tests, Reinhart and Woodman took an elastic cap with two electrodes fastened to saline-soaked sponges; the sponges were applied to the cheek and crown of the head of the research subjects.

The researchers then applied 20 minutes of very mild direct current stimulation across or through the skull to each of their subjects.

During this process, the current traveled from one electrode, called the anodal electrode, which was attached to the crown of the head, through the skin, muscle, bones and brain, and out through the other electrode, or cathodal electrode, attached to the cheek in order to complete the circuit.

“It’s one of the safest ways to non-invasively stimulate the brain,” Reinhart said. “The current is so gentle that subjects reported only a few seconds of tingling or itching at the beginning of each stimulation session.”

The researchers conducted three of these transcranial stimulation sessions. Their subjects were randomly given either an anodal – current sent from the crown of the head to the cheek, cathodal – current sent from cheek electrode to crown – or a fake jolt that merely produced a tingling effect without actually affecting the brain.

After undergoing 20 minutes of transcranial stimulation, the test subjects were given a learning task that involved determining, through trial and error, which buttons on a game controller matched specific colors displayed on a monitor. The researchers would occasionally complicate the tests by showing the subjects a signal that told them not to respond. The subjects had less than a second to respond to each signal correctly, which made it easier for them to  make mistakes, providing a number of opportunities for the medial-frontal cortex to fire.
thinking cap
Vanderbilt University/John Russell
Robert Reinhart applies the electrical stimulus to subject Laura McClenahan.

The researchers measured the electrical brain activity of each subject as they made their way through the exercises. The measurements provided the researchers with a way to monitor how the brain changed at the very moment the subjects made an error and how the electrical stimulation influenced changes in brain activity.

Shortly after the researchers sent the current from the crown of the subject’s head to their cheek – an anodal current – they noticed that the spike in negative voltage was almost twice as large on average as without stimulation.

As a result of the anodal stimulation, the researchers found the subjects made fewer mistakes and that they actually learned from their errors faster than they did after a phony jolt was applied.

When they sent the current in the opposite direction, from the cheek to the crown of the head – cathodal current – the Vanderbilt duo saw the opposite of the anodal result take place.  They noticed that the spike in negative voltage was actually much smaller; the subjects wound up making many more errors and they took longer to learn each task.

The researchers noted that while the positive or negative effects generated by each of the stimulation patterns weren’t detected by the test subjects themselves, the results of each test displayed very clearly on their monitoring devices.

“This success rate is far better than that observed in studies of pharmaceuticals or other types of psychological therapy,” said Woodman.

The researchers said that their tests also revealed that the sessions of electrical stimulation did transfer to other tasks and the effects lasted for about five hours.

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The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

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Santa Ana

100 houses

CARIARI AND LINDORA areas, nice garden apartments, furnished or not, ideal for small family, couple/singles. US $1,000 and up. Email   Tel. 8383-6388.

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  See virtual tour of accommodations HERE!
Get to know the real Costa Rica – you may want to live here someday.

Los Arcos gated community 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment $500 monthly. aAso efficiency apartment $300 month. 8841-1606

Beautiful 2-bedroom 2-bathroom American-style apartments with an elevator to your front door in a secure building located in Gringo Gulch the American Section of downtown San José. Costa Rica. Located between the Hotel Del Rey, the Hotel Mona Lisa and the Sportsman's Lodge and The Zona Blue (AKA) Little Habana across the street from Harry's Poas Bar, and next to the Holiday Inn.
apartment view
 There are 15 restaurants and American- style bars on this block and four supermarkets within a few blocks. There are 5 casinos within 2 blocks and dozens of hotels around this apartment. Included in your rental price, fast Internet, the best they have in Costa Rica, cable TV with 80 stations, water, washer
 and dryer. All you pay extra for is electricity. You have your own meter and receive a bill from the electric company every month.  This apartment has a American-style hot water system, hot water in both bathrooms and the kitchen. There is a 25-foot balcony to sit on and watch the people in San José walk by. The neighborhood Barrio Amón is the safest in San José For photos and more information contact:

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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 60
Real Estate
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IRS prodded by Congress
on overseas bank accounts

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States is one of the few countries that demands that its citizens pay income taxes regardless of the country in which that money was earned.

And, in recent years, Washington has become increasingly aggressive about hunting down undeclared American individual and corporate bank accounts held overseas.

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin states “Experts estimate that Americans now have more than $1 trillion in assets offshore, and illegally evade between $40 and $70 billion in U.S. taxes each year through the use of offshore tax schemes.

U.S. corporations,” he says “are estimated to illegally evade another $30 billion each year through offshore tax dodges.”

Over the past five years, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service has offered voluntary disclosure programs in which American individuals and corporations with undeclared overseas accounts can admit to their existence and pay penalties, while avoiding criminal prosecution.

The IRS says that by mid-2012, this program raked in some $5 billion from those admitting to offshore banking.

Americans’ hidden loot is held in various tax havens such as Caribbean islands and Switzerland, a country that established strong banking secrecy laws in 1934. But in the last decade, Switzerland has been pressured to open its ledgers to international scrutiny.

U.S. efforts to pierce through Swiss secrecy moved forward recently with the guilty plea of a former Credit Suisse banking official. Andreas Bachmann admitted March 12 to federal charges that he and six other officials at that bank helped U.S. citizens evade taxes by hiding a reported $4 billion of their assets.

The Swiss national admitted to violations including carrying cash for American customers so the account holders would not be in excess of legal limits.

Also, Bachmann says he personally met with clients in restaurants and other locales to avoid the paper trails of account statements. Bachman is reportedly cooperating with federal authorities as six other Credit Suisse bankers still face their day in court.

Watching and questioning the effort to get U.S. account information from Swiss banks is the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

Headed by Levin, the subcommittee just issued a report titled “Offshore Tax Evasion: The Effort to Collect Unpaid Taxes on Billions in Hidden Offshore Accounts.”

The 181-page report says Credit Suisse held more than 22,000 accounts for Americans collectively worth $10 to 12 billion.

Credit Suisse is one of 14 Swiss banks that have been under U.S. Justice Department investigation since the 2008 crackdown on Swiss bank UBS.

That led to a 2009 agreement in which UBS paid a $780 million dollar fine and revealed some 4,700 concealed U.S. accounts.

The Senate subcommittee says Credit Suisse not only secretly held American cash, but also came up with an ingenious way to enable Americans to tap into their Swiss loot.

“Another service offered by Credit Suisse,” the report states, “was to employ third party service providers to supply its U.S. customers with credit cards and travel cash cards that enabled them to secretly draw upon the cash in their Swiss accounts.”

The report was critical of the Justice Department, stating that it only pried loose 258 American account names from the 22,000 at Credit Suisse.  Levin accused the department of a lack of determination to pursue these cases.

The Senate panel hearing may give new energy to Justice’s quest for account names, and resolution of Credit Suisse’s case.

There are multiple reports that the bank may seek a deferred prosecution agreement with the federal government as did UBS, with a large fine – perhaps in the $800 million range - and account identities revealed.

“Criminal cases are all about momentum,” former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Neiman, said. “These hearings are going to give some sort of momentum to the Justice Department.”

All of this comes under the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

On July 1, non-U.S. banks and financial institutions will be required to report the presence of accounts held by Americans that, collectively at each institution, are over $50,000.

For joint personal accounts, it’s $100,000. For legal entities such as corporations, the trigger point is $250,000.

The law, known by its acronym “FATCA,” is both praised and criticized by watchdog groups.

While saying the act is an improvement over the status-quo, observers point out that by keeping the total balance of all accounts held at each overseas bank below those thresholds, IRS reporting would not be triggered.

Joshua Simmons, with the Washington-based transparency group Global Financial Integrity, points out another way around the law he says is sure to be exploited.

“The biggest loophole by far,” he said, “is that foreign banks aren't required to look through offshore companies or other entities to determine whether an American actually controls an account."

He added it's "something that should be a common-sense, standard practice regardless of FATCA. There's no excuse for banks not to know with whom they are doing business.”

Indeed, U.S. corporate registration laws are lax regarding full disclosure of the identities of parties to the incorporation. Some American states, especially Delaware, rake in a considerable sum from corporate formations and have been reluctant to toughen regulations that may cut down that revenue.

Transparency and accountability advocates say what is ultimately needed is global cross reporting of both individual and corporate accounts.

The G20 group of nations has stated that the automatic exchange of bank account information for taxation purposes is desired as the new global standard.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development recently put forth a template legal structure for countries that want to emulate information sharing set forth in FATCA.

Jeffrey Owens, a tax expert at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, said catching tax evaders was a concern that many member countries share.

If countries could agree to new global reporting standards for exchanging information, he said, then maybe there’s a way forward.

Meanwhile, the IRS has extended its come clean program without setting an end date for it in hopes of getting more individuals and corporations to come forward.

And, it continues to tell Americans that it is better to own up to their foreign bank accounts now than to continue to hide them and suffer criminal penalties when they eventually get caught.

Obama and congressmen
propose steps against NSA

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Both U.S. President Barack Obama and key committee leaders in Congress are proposing legislation that would end the National Security Agency's collection and storage of massive amounts of Americans' phone records.  The proposed changes come in response to a wave of privacy concerns at home and abroad triggered by revelations last year from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Tuesday brought two major announcements on proposed changes to surveillance operations of the National Security Agency, or NSA.  Speaking at a nuclear summit in The Hague, President Obama said that revelations about U.S. surveillance have made it necessary to win back the trust of governments, and more importantly, of ordinary citizens.

"And so it's going to be necessary for us - the step we took that was announced today I think is an example of us slowly, systematically putting in more checks, balances, legal processes.  The good news is that I'm very confident that it can be achieved," said Obama.

Under the president’s proposal, which has not been formally released, the government would have to obtain permission from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain data from phone companies on calls connected to suspected terrorists.  The phone companies would be required to provide the NSA with updated information if any new phone calls are made to or from that number.
Phone companies would not be required to maintain the phone call records for any longer than they do now.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, House Intelligence Committee leaders introduced similar legislation, crafted by the committee's Republican chairman and its ranking Democrat.  That bill also bars the NSA from the bulk collection of phone records, but does not require the government to obtain a court order before it asks phone companies for the data.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers: 
“We think that we have found a way to end the government’s bulk collection of telephone metadata, and still provide a mechanism to protect the United States," said Rogers.

The ranking Democratic member on the committee, Dutch Ruppersberger, said he believes the House proposal is not that different from the White House proposal, and that agreement can be reached.

“I believe we are very, very close.  The White House understands that we need to do something to deal with the issue of holding bulk collection because of the perception of our constituents.  That is number one," said Ruppersberger.

The congressmen did not specify a timeline for possible action on the NSA reforms on the House floor, and the Senate would also have to act before legislation could be sent to the president for his signature.  The House proposal is already drawing criticism from some members of Congress and civil rights activists who are calling for more stringent controls on government surveillance to protect citizens’ privacy.

SAT test changes seen
hurting foreign applicants

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The company that administers one of the two most widely-used U.S. college admissions tests recently announced its first major revisions to its test since 2005.  The College Boards' changes to the SAT exam drops infrequently used vocabulary words and the mandatory essay, and add passages referencing U.S. historical documents.

When Howard University students from Nigeria and Jamaica were applying to college, they were among the approximately 100,000 foreign students each year who took the SAT.

Now, some have mixed emotions on whether the newly announced changes will help or hurt international students interested in U.S. schools.
“First of all, they are dropping the vocabulary words, which is,  I think, the biggest challenge for most international students,” said Howard University student Peace Umoru.

But Shanique Campbell, also a Jamaican student at Howard, has concerns about adding questions about U.S. historical documents.

"That I believe will be very scary for international students," said Campell. "We are already faced with knowing that we are taking an American-based exam, and so there are a lot of things that we are not prepared for in terms of what to expect on that exam —  cultural references that we will not be able to identify with."

Some 800 of the approximately 3,000 four-year colleges in the U.S. do not use the SAT or its rival test, the ACT, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing.

But, the group's Bob Schaeffer says those that do could put foreign students at a disadvantage.

"Students from other countries, particularly those who did not grow up learning English, are at a double disadvantage," he said. "The test is in a foreign language and they did not get test prep. So, it is harder."

The revisions begin in 2016 for the 1.5 million students who take the SAT each year.

Overall, the revisions appear to be positive, says Eddie West of the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

"I feel like the changes are moving the test in a more positive direction insofar as they link up with skills and abilities that students will need to succeed, not just in getting into a college or university, but succeeding once there," said West.

But he agrees that references to U.S. historical documents could put foreign students at a disadvantage.

"It is going to be relatively uncommon for an international student to be really conversant with the Declaration of Independence or Martin Luther King Jr.’s work, or anything else along those lines that might be cited in the test," he said.

West says U.S. colleges need to engage with overseas high schools to learn more about their coursework and make better decisions about admissions criteria.

More than 800,000 international students are in the United States, about 4 percent of the college population.

High Court hears arguments
on Obamacare and religion

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether the owners of private companies should be allowed to use deeply held religious beliefs against abortion to avoid a government mandate to provide health insurance for their workers that includes contraceptives at no extra cost.

The country's highest court took up the issue Tuesday. It is a case where the owners of two companies -- a chain of hobby stores and a furniture maker -- claim the government's edict that the workers' insurance include some types of birth control would violate their religious views.
In the U.S., the freedom to practice one's religion is guaranteed by the country's constitution. But the question in dispute is whether that guarantee extends to corporations, not just individuals.

The dispute over the birth control provision is the latest in a series of contentious debates in the U.S. over national health care reforms. The overall law, President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement, has been upheld by the court, but many Republicans oppose it and numerous court suits have been filed contesting specific provisions.

The court is not expected to rule on the birth control insurance provision until June.

Search for aircraft on again
as weather becomes better

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Aircraft from Australia, the United States, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea have resumed the search for wreckage from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in remote waters of the Indian Ocean.

Gale-force winds that caused a delay Tuesday have died down, allowing 12 planes and two ships to scour the seas about 2,500 kilometers southwest of Perth in the hunt for potential debris.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which coordinates the search on Malaysia's behalf, said today's search will focus on 80,000 square kilometers.

Meanwhile, China has demanded that Malaysia turn over the satellite data used to conclude that the jetliner had crashed, killing all 239 on board.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Monday that an analysis of satellite data received after the flight left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on March 8 indicated the plane had gone down in the Indian Ocean.

But that did not satisfy China, home to 153 of the passengers. China's Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng told Malaysia's ambassador that China wanted to know exactly what led Razak to announce that the plane had been lost.

Tuesday, angry relatives of the passengers on board the missing Malaysian jetliner protested in front of the Malaysian embassy in Beijing.

Around 100 Chinese family members held signs and demanded to know the truth about the plane even as Malaysia Airlines began making initial $5,000 payments to relatives of those aboard.

New 3-D technique lets
scientists see fast motion

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A ground-breaking new scanning technique has allowed scientists to film the insides of a live, flying insect, capturing the first-ever high-speed 3D images of the flight muscles of flies. 

Researchers from Oxford University, Imperial College and the Paul Scherrer Institute used a particle accelerator to capture the images, which could one day lead to the development of micro medical devices.

The scientists developed the technique in order to study the blowfly’s complicated joint system.

"The insect is very fast and very small, with wings that beat 150 times a second," said Oxford University Professor Graham Taylor, a member of the research team. "Each one of those wing beats is controlled by some tiny muscles, some of which are as thin as a human hair. So this is really an enormous technical challenge to understand this, and a particularly challenging target for understanding biological systems.” 

Writing in PLOS Biology, Taylor says he and his colleagues detail the fly’s mechanics, particularly its steering muscles, that make up just 3 percent of its total flight muscles yet control the output of the much larger power muscles.

“And so the flies overcome this problem by way of a very complex system which is all based inside the fly. The problem with looking inside something is that visible light doesn’t penetrate into it. And, so what we need to use is x-rays, just as you would use to look at a bone fracture.” 

But because the fly's wings beat so rapidly, the team turned to very fast imaging, which began, Taylor says, in a particle accelerator called a cyclotron.

"And we put the flies into a powerful beam of x-rays and we spin them around very rapidly. As the flies are spinning around you are able to capture radiographs from different viewing angles and by putting those together, as it's beating its wings, you can reconstruct in three dimensions how the flight motor looks at all of the different stages of the wing beat.”

Taylor says they saw in vivid detail, the fly's mechanics.

“The power muscles, rather than driving the wings directly, what they do is actually vibrate up and down the body, and those vibrations are communicated through a complicated hinge into the wings themselves. What the muscles that control the wing beat are doing, and this is what we’ve been looking at, is to just tweak the output at the wing hinge to which they are attached directly, and thereby change the shape of the wing beat that results.”

That hinge action, Taylor says, compares to what happens to the human calf muscles when someone walks down a steep hill.

"That pull in your calf muscles is because they’re taking up the energy that you are gaining, the kinetic energy as you descend down the slope. The fly is doing something very similar, absorbing that energy and diverting it into a different muscle.”

Taylor expects the technique devised for these observations will be used to track other small living organisms while also making its way into new micro-medical devices.

Russian-U.S. crew blasts off
for six months in space

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The United States and Russia may be at odds over Ukraine, but they are still cooperating in space.

A Russian Soyuz rocket took off from Kazakhstan Tuesday to fly two cosmonauts and a U.S. astronaut to the International Space Station.

Oleg Artemyev, Alexander Skvortsov, and Steve Swanson will spend the next six months aboard the station carrying out a series of scientific experiments.

The current space station crew,  a Russian, an American, and a Japanese astronaut, will return home in May.

Travelers to the orbiting outpost rely on the Russian Soyuz to take them to and from Earth since the United States retired the space shuttle fleet in 2011.

U.N. agency calls pollution
world's worse health risk

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The World Health Organization reports air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. A new report finds seven million people died from exposure to air pollution in 2012, more than double the number previously estimated in 2008.

The World Health Organization reports one in eight people around the world die from air pollution.

It says new data show people exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution die prematurely from cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and heart disease, as well as chronic pulmonary diseases and cancer.

The World Health Organization reports most deaths from air pollution occur in low-and middle-income countries in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific, where about half the world’s population cook and heat their homes using open fires and simple stoves.

Health officials say the use of coal and biomass fuels, such as wood, animal dung and crop waste is responsible for 4.2 million people dying prematurely in 2012.  They link an additional 3.7 million deaths in urban and rural areas to outdoor air pollution.

Carlos Dora, the agency's public health, environmental and social determinants of health coordinator, said clean air cannot be bought in a bottle.

“To resolve this issue, it is quite important that countries, nations take action, which is more or less coordinated and the reason for that is the air shared-small particles travel thousands of kilometers, normally around the hemisphere traveling east. So pollution in one country will affect a number of other countries downwind," said Dora.

Dora said air pollution used to be worse in developed than in developing countries. But he says developed countries, notably the United Kingdom, and United States have taken action, which has dramatically reduced air pollution during the past decade.

“We know those interventions work on energy especially. On transportation, better engines, cleaner fuels, more efficient energy technologies, reduction in the need for the use of energy, insulation of houses, etc. Clean energy, solar, wind, energy that does not use combustion is better than those that do use combustion," he said.

Dora said in most cases healthier air pollution strategies will be more economical in the long run because health care costs will go down.

Real estate-related services (paid category)

Interior Design & Custom Furniture Manufacturing
“We regularly exceed client expectations.
We guarantee it.”
Customizing for your vision, lifestyle and budget.
A turnkey home and project completion agency devoted to creative vision and flawless execution. We provide a single, solid and dedicated point of contact for the duration of your real estate project, specializing in:

• Interior Design
• Custom Furniture Manufacturing
• Building Completion Services
Our primary goal is to assist our clients with a smooth transition to occupancy while providing highly personalized and distinctive services. We have refined the process to be a hassle free experience, especially valuable for clients who live abroad.
Our custom furniture designs & manufacturing can be contracted independently.
“Serving the Region for 11 years”

Cell phone: (506) - 8707-8008
Office phone: (506) - 2288-5644

Real estate brokers and agents (paid category)

Swimming pool at night
A Buyer’s Broker offering the best
of Costa Rica Real Estate.

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.

Re/Max, the Pacific coast expert
Re/Max offers comprehensive Costa Rica Real Estate, vacation rental and relocation services. Our award-winning team is the largest in the country, and can show you the best lifestyle and financial investment properties in the most desirable locations including prime real estate in Tamarindo, Langosta, Conchal, Flamingo, Pinilla, Coco, Hermosa and Playa Panama.  Give us a call in Costa Rica at 506-2653-0073, or toll free from the U.S. and Canada 1-800-385-5930. Re/Max, the name you trust for the finest real estate services in Costa Rica.

Moran Arenal
Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
The undiscovered jewel of Central America, 35 square miles of blue, pristine, clear water ideal for fishing, swimming, boating, Real estate values still low.
Great lake front, river front land, farms, homes, condos and commercial property. Some with owner financing
This is far and away the most beautiful place in all Central America — cool climate. Try our two-day, all-inclusive discovery tour for $299.

Check with our Web site at
Contact us at the office: (506) 2694-0088
Cell (506) 8880-8888
Phone number from the U.S. (305) 307-0088
Moran logo

Costa Rica,

Central America
Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
western Central Valley.
Great climate
and safe communities.

Visit our Web Site:

English: (Cristian Arce)
(506) 8309-0173  
English:  (Luis Arce)
(506) 7100-8489  
 Español: (Luis G. Jiménez)
  (506) 8707-4016  
Grecia 794
This is the BIGGEST DEAL of the month now at $850.000: HERE!
30,000 square meters of land and 750 square-meters of construction.
Grecia home
1,000 square meters of land, 350 square meters of construction.  CLICK HERE
Grecia 807
  18,000 square meters of land and 300 square meters of construction. HERE!
  Send us your request to our email:

Real estate for sale (paid category)

Atenas mansion
In 2006, the developer of a popular subdivision in Atenas chose a large 7,000 m2 corner view lot for his first spec home. Now, eight years later that home is once again for sale with first class tropical landscaping that much more mature. With 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2-car carport, laundry room, and more than 300 m2 under roof next to a pristine pool, this home is located in a gated community with its own water sources. And the location, just 1 1/4 km from town, is convenient to shopping and services, too. The views are of  Candelaria and the central valley. No wonder this community is so popular! $495,000. More photos HERE. And then contact

Med house
Mediterranean inspired home overlooking the Bay of Nicoya and Pacific Ocean. This design allows for barrier free living, yet maximizes views from every room in the house . Vaulted ceiling over the living area and kitchen give the great room it’s spacious, open feeling with a natural stone fireplace and imported Spanish tile floors. $365,000.   Property: 22,000 m2 or 5.5 acres. Construction: 4,500 sq. ft. including porches and garage. 3 nedrooms, 2 baths, full dining room, separate office. Custom wrought iron gates, custom exotic wood cabinets, high-end stainless steel appliances, Granite countertops.    Slide show at   
For more information contact:

Belen home
Comfortable in Costa Rica
Asuncion de Belen. Home in exclusive Residencial La Jolla.  Gated community with controlled access,  security 24/7. Resort swimming pool and gym. Spacious and elegant finishes, private jacuzzi and social areas. 3 bedrooms. 2.5 baths.  Private gardens. Conveniently located close to airport, shopping, bilingual schools, Intel and Duty Free Zones. 322m2 on 249m2 corner lot. Lease with purchase option  $3,400/ $428,000 USD. Contact owner at 8309-2000 for details or email

beachfront home
Beautiful Palo Seco Beach home priced to sell!
Also looking for full-time housekeeper!
Gorgeous beachfront two-story home, of roughly 2,000 square feet, set on a half acre oceanfront lot that is full of beautiful fruit and shade trees in Playa Palo Seco. This home features two bedrooms, three full baths, high quality A/C units in all rooms, huge front and back yards, and of course, a fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean just feet away from the front door! Playa Palo Seco is perfectly situated between Jacó and Quepos and is only minutes away from five-star dining such as El Clandestino.  We have reduced the price from $150,000 to $125,000 firm for a fast sale in the new year! This is a must see property! Owner financing is available. This truly is a once in a lifetime offer and it will go fast! Please call 8816-2478 or email for more information!

We are also currently looking for an English-speaking, full-time housekeeper. The housekeeper will be required to pay utilities but not rent. We are offering the chance to live rent free in this beautiful beach home at the small cost of keeping the property in good shape and keeping it safe while we are looking for a new owner! If you are interested, please e-mail for more information!!


Beach Front Home - Central Pacific Coast
Pristine condition, recently renovated. The best surfing and boogie boarding in the country. The most magnificent ocean and sunset view. New 20-year, fully registered concession on one of the most beautiful beaches in Costa Rica. Easy access from San José (1 hour 25 minutes) located between Jacó and Manuel Antonio, in Esterillos Oeste.  2 or 3 bedrooms. Center room can be living room. House with 2 1/2 baths. Separated rancho with kitchen and large entertainment patio. Landscaped garden with no water shortage. Has both municipal and well water with automatic watering system. Direct access to the beach as no road is in front of property. Protected land on one side of the property for additional privacy.  Alarm system and complete shutters for security while away.  Lot approximately 1,725 square meters, Asking price: $385.000.  Contact to Paul at local phone 506- 2637-8858  Cell phone 506- 8823-8550 .  US Mobile 908-400-9772  Emails: and

Five bedrooms
Puntarenas City, Puntarenas
Beach home central Pacific Ocean
Five bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths plus guest house
Features include out door BBQ, swimming pool, plus on the beach.  The home is completely furnished including all linens, kitchen cook ware, pots, pans, all dishes and much much more. Each room is individually air conditioned.  Office with all connections for WiFi,  Hot water in bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.  Fully furnished. Includes all linens, TV’s, refrigerator/freezer, dish washer, microwave, electric stove/oven, washer & dryer and many “as seen on TV” appliances   Will consider trade for U.S. Property.  Asking  $250,000. 
Call Gary 8784-2945  English only, or email

Tiliran property
Turnkey commercial/apartment building for sale in San Luis, Tilaran, Guanacaste. In a corporation. 100 percent occupancy and all permits in place. Great opportunity to gain investor status residency. New construction - 2012. Consists of three studio apartments upstairs with lake view and 4 storefronts on ground level, including laundry service, soda, consigment store. Comes with purchase or start your own business while you live in one of the apartments. $308,000. Please email

Balcony view
This is a great opportunity
Get your home in one of the best locations. Four-bedroom condo near Universidad de Costa Rica, ULatina & UFidelitas   $170,000. USD.  24/7 gate security with in-home alarm, three levels, parking for two cars and play area for children. First Level: Living room/dining room, kitchen with breakfast bar, laundry room, patio/garden with roof, storage area, & guest bathroom. Second Level: Large master bedroom with full bathroom and walk-in closet, two additional bedrooms, linen closet, full bathroom. Third Level: Large fourth bedroom or TV room, full bath, large storage attic, spacious roofed balcony and breathtaking views of mountains to the east, south, west. Call Bill   (English) C.R. Phone: (506) 6011-6987 / U.S. Phone:  (630) 886-4458 . C.R. Spanish  phone number: (506) 8799-4041  or  (506) 8363-9898.  Email:

Los Reyes home
House for sale in La Guacima, Alajuela
Located on 9th tee of Los Reyes Country Club. Club offers golf, tennis (6 courts), swimming pool, gym and restaurant. Easy access to schools, shopping, hospitals & Caldera highway. One hour to Pacific beaches. House price: US $450,000.00. Contact Bill, Phone 506 -8878-9221  Email: Click on the link below for photos and additional details:

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:

Land near Monte de La Cruz, 27 hectors+, Must sell for best offer due to cancer, 8841-1606

St. Michael
Ocean View estates inside a gated community from $5.94 M2.  Properties start at 39K. NO HOA FEES.  Community salt water modern waterfall swimming pools, organic vegetable gardens, exotic flower gardens, food forest, mature orchards, fresh fish from aquaponics, stables, community center, and much more.  Each lot comes with an edible landscaping including pineapples, plantains, papayas, guanabanas, bananas, and more.  Most lots already have mature mango, lemon, orange, or caimito trees.  This is the most secure community in CR with multiple sources of water, electric, and high speed internet.

Located in Jacó at Barrio Ricos y Famosos
in Calle Europa, Casa Shangri La.
Main house: 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 270 square meters, 2 condominiums 2 bedrooms, one bath, 110 square meters, plus one small apartment: One bedroom, one bath. Huge pool, carport for five cars. plus double garage, rancho with pool bathroom, gymnasium, laundry room, pool plumbing room, huge dog house in separate 500-square-meter garden with aviary for guacamayas (we have three birds) 60 meters of river front of Río Copey with a 4-meter-high protective and retention stone wall. Eight surveillance camera CCTV system with Internet access from anywhere. Over 2-meter-high brick wall all around the property with two layers of razor wires on top, the safest place to be! Electronic entrance gate, door phone, five telephone lines, high-speed Internet wireless access everywhere. Beautiful gardens with many fruit trees. Built to highest standard by German owner in 2005,  room for two more apartments, plans approved. Less then a 10 minutes walk to the beach and or center of Jaco. Price $ 1,350.000 negotiable. All fittings and furniture. German-built, excellent quality and well maintained. 70% owner financing available. More photos on request HERE!  Email:  cell 8838-2081 or home 2643-2979.

Rich Coast montage
Real Estate, Central Pacific Region

Central Pacific between Jacó and Quepos-Manuel Antonio
Lots in gated community near the beach  from $17,999! Only 3 left
2-bedroom house in gated community was $120k now $99,900
3-bedroom house with 2 additional residential lots, walk to the beach $160k
Turnkey coffee shop/ bakery, corner location, great ROI! $65k
2-bedroom panoramic oceanview house, guesthouse on 2.5 acres $269k
Panoramic oceanview  property, 3 houses, on-ground pool $375k
And much more!!!
   USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
   CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Gulf road

Beachfront pristine five-hectare (13-acre) property

includes a common open air lodge with kitchen, three cabins, a caretaker's house, a garage and a secure storeroom. The property is maritime and has a current and valid maritime user's permit, all up to date and clear. In addition to the immaculately landscaped portion of the property that is already developed with bungalows, there are an additional three hectares that are ready for expansion and are cleared and planted in grass. The sales offer includes furnishings, appliances, catamaran, kayaks, and a whole series of extras. This property has about 300 meters of beach front in a docile portion of the gulf about 15 minutes north of Puerto Jimeenez, ideal for mooring boats just off the property shoreline. Has municipal water and power. Offered at $970,000. All reasonable offers will be considered. See photos and maps and more at Contact us at: or +1-866-514-7435.

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.

Becker montage
Beach property on the Pacific Ocean in Guanacaste.

House and guest house on adjacent half acre lots. Each with separate electric,  private septic and well. Each can be sold stand alone or packaged. Modern kitchen, granite counters, Viking stove, large separate frig and freezer. Private commercial grade septic and well. No water shortages even in dry season. High speed internet and U.S. standard electric. Center of the beach -- NEVER floods. Estuary at each end of the beach with excellent kayaking and bird watching through the mangroves. Excellent fishing right off the shore. Great surfing, horseback riding, bicycling or Turtle watching. Groceries three miles away. Mentioned in "The Lonely Planet" Page 301. "Two of the most beautiful and least visited beaches in Costa Rica. Wilderness beaches of fine silver-grey sand." Despite opportunities for great surfing, kayaking and just about anything else you want to do on a sandy strip of paradise, the beaches are nearly always abandoned. $500K Will finance.  More pictures available at:  Contact information:,  US: 001-612-599-0205 or Costa Rica 011-506-2655-1202.

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West,, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603

For sale is a beautiful 50-acre property located in Los Alpes, just 15 minutes outside of San Ramon. At about 4,000 feet above sea level, this finca provides gorgeous views of the Central Valley as well as the Pacific Ocean in the distance while also offering a wonderful climate year around. The main house is two stories with three bedrooms and two full baths. High quality construction using exotic hardwoods such as almond, which covers the ceilings throughout the entire house. There are also two corrals and a small casita on the property. This location is perfect for a farm-style home or for beginning an agricultural business. This truly is a rare piece of property and is available for $399,999. Price is somewhat negotiable and we will be happy to work with the buyer to make it work! Please call 8816-2478 or e-mail for more information ¡y se habla español!

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
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Business for sale or lease (paid category)
Gingerbread Boutique Hotel and Fine Restaurant For Sale
botique hotel
A very  famous, highly regarded unique lake view themed boutique hotel consisting of three air conditioned suites with satellite TV and high speed Internet, two themed cottages with garden showers, one large super suite with kitchen and garden shower, managers apartment, restaurant rated one of the best restaurants in Costa Rica {see reviews} and the premier real estate office at Lake Arenal,which puts all its clients in to the hotel, plus room for additional lake view rooms and a pool, all less than a mile from Nuevo Arenal and the public park on the lake.  Go to the Web site for photos and complete information  at  This is the finest boutique hotel in Costa Rica in one of the fastest growing areas of all of Central America.  Sale opportunity $750,000.   Contact to :
Terry Moran, Owner Email: 
Office phone: 506 2694-0088  Cell phone: 506 8880-8888 
USA # rings in Costa Rica:  305 307-0088

Tanning montage
This is your chance to acquire a totally equipped tanning salon with five machines.  Fantasia Tropical has been open 14 years but the founder needs to retire and return to the U.S. for medical reasons.  You can assume the lease in Sabana West buying the S.A. or buy the assets and move them to a location you prefer. Taxes, permits, bank accounts all in order. Excellent opportunity for an energetic, creative hands-on owner or couple. Long-time manager available to stay on if desired. With an asking price of $30,000 this won't
last long.  Some owner financing may be available.  Contact for an appointment. For a preview

A successful, local, long-running business for sale.
In the nine years of operation, this company has grown to cover the entire Southern Pacific Zone, and opened the door to further penetration in San José, Manuel Antonio and Osa Peninsula areas. And it is the only one of its kind with no comparable competition. With the extensive groundwork that has already been achieved, the business is now poised to expand into a new level of success. Operating since 2005, the owner is retiring to another Latin American country. It is now time to turn the business over to a new owner who could expand it to even greater success. Details on the business, its history, a strategic analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as a pro-forma income statement from 2008 through to 2013 are available upon request to

beach scenes
Established Hotel/Resort -Great Business Opportunity:
The owner/manager of a successful hotel on the Gold Coast of Costa Rica has listed their property with us. It is a successful and ongoing concern. The property and buildings are well built and maintained. The property has a history of repeat clients. To protect the business for the current and future owners, detailed information of the listing will only be shared after an expression of interest and a non-disclosure confidentiality agreement is executed. It is located about one hour of Liberia airport and less than 500 meters to beach. The land is over 1 hectare allowing room for expansion. There are 18 bedrooms in a variety of apartments, cabinas and houses, A/C, bar restaurant and shop. Near golf, horses, tennis, world class surf and more. Listing Price of $US2.4 million. Mary or Jerre West,, 8879-0235 or (303) 317-6603

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:

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, Vol. 14, No. 60
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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
El Salvador's gang truce
shows signs of crumbling

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Two years ago, two of the most violent gangs in El Salvador, Mara Salvatrucha 13 and Barrio 18, signed a truce. But as fighting between the two criminal groups has been on the rise in recent months, so has the death toll.  Fears are starting to grow of a renewed gang war in one of Latin America's most dangerous countries.
Majucla is one of the poorest and also one of the most violent communities in El Salvador. Located just north of the capital, San Salvador, Majucla is controlled by the infamous gang known as Mara Salvatrucha, or MS13. Shootings are frequent in the dirt road neighborhood, and no one is safe.
The owner of a local bus line, Rigoberto Hernández, said businesses have to pay to be spared.
“It’s very dangerous because we have to work from 4 a.m, and if somebody doesn’t like you, they can kill you at that time. As we say here, you have to pay to survive,” said Hernández.
During the mid-1990s, fighting between Mara Salvatrucha and the rival Barrio 18 gang often killed up to 16 people a day. Between 2003 and 2009, hardline governments filled El Salvador's prisons with gang members without any impact on violent crime. Then, in March 2012, a left-wing government secretly negotiated a peace deal between the two groups, and the city's murder rate was almost cut in half.
The gangs created violence-free sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers, like bakeries, where former gang members could find jobs.
However, police now say that since January, the murder rate has increased, reaching as many as nine homicides per day.
Police inspector José Pérez-Reyes would not confirm that the government had a role in the truce, but said it appears the gangs are back at war.
“We have nothing to do with the truce. Apparently it’s an agreement between the gangs. But given the rise in homicides, we think the truce is over,” said Pérez-Reyes.
Residents in the capital said that even when the murder rate was down, racketeering and other crimes continued. Bus drivers still have to pay gangs a so-called protection tax, or renta.
Adam Blackwell, security chief for the Organization of American States, said a temporary truce is not enough to permanently rid El Salvador and other Latin American countries of the scourge of gang crime.
“What happened was a truce. A truce is when at a moment in time there is a cease-fire between fighters in a war. What follows is peace, and peace is always more complicated and always takes more time. That’s what we are trying to build,” said Blackwell.
Analysts said gang members need an alternative to street life, and rehabilitation programs can be complex and costly.
Hopes are high that the incoming government of leftist President-elect Salvador Sánchez Ceren will be able to curb gang violence and start building such programs.  He takes office in June.

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From Page 7:

Trade treaty with four European nations OK'd

 By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Asamblea Legislativa has approved on final and second reading a trade treaty between Costa Rica and Panamá and four European states.

The European states are Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The agreement was reached last June, but legislative ratification was needed. The four countries make up a trading bloc, the European Free Trade Association.

The four countries are those whose leaders were reluctant to join the European Economic Community in the 1960s.

Costa Rican trade officials said they expect the exports to these European nations to continue to be mainly agricultural products. Trade with these countries has increased 250 percent in the last decade, officials said.

Under the treaty, nearly 99 percent of Costa Rica products will not be subject to customs duties. About 93 percent of the European exports will enter Costa Rica duty-free, officials said.