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(506) 2223-1327                     Published Thursday, March 28, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 62                Email us
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Costa
                Rica real estate


Obama to meet heads of state here in May visit
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

U. S. President Barack Obama will visit Costa Rica as part of a three-day, two-nation trip May 2 to 4, the White House said Wednesday.

Obama will meet with Latin American leaders in San José in an encounter arranged by President Laura Chinchilla and also visit Mexico during the trip, the White House said.

“This trip is an important opportunity to reinforce the deep cultural, familial, and economic ties that so many Americans share with Mexico and Central America,” a release said.

According to the 2010 census report, more than half of the growth in the total population of the United States between 2000 and 2010 was due to the increase in the Hispanic population. Approximately 50 million persons identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino.  They voted heavily for Obama in the last presidential election.

More than 50 percent of 50 million were persons of Mexican origins and 126,418 were Costa Rican, the census said.

In Mexico, Obama plans to discuss with President Enrique Peña Nieto opportunities for economic and commercial partnership as well as issues that the two countries share, said the White House.

In Costa Rica, the theme will be growth of the Central American economy and improved safety precautions in the nations.

“In Costa Rica, the president looks forward to the opportunity to meet with President Chinchilla as well as heads of state of the other Central American countries and the Dominican Republic, whom President Chinchilla has graciously offered to host,” said the release.  “The trip will be an important chance to discuss our collective efforts to promote economic growth and development in Central America and our ongoing collaboration on citizen security.”

The last United States president to visit Costa Rica was Bill Clinton in 1997. He came for the Central
Obama
U.S. Embassy photo
 The U.S. Embassy in San José was quick to
 announce the trip and post a photo of Obama to
 its Facebook page.


America presidential summit meeting. Just 50 years ago this month, then-president John F. Kennedy visited the country for a heads of state meeting.

Costa Rica hopes that the visit serves to reaffirm the bonds of friendship and cooperation with this nation and its government as well as to review the most important aspects of the regional agenda of the United States, said the foreign ministry.

The foreign ministry said that nations that are members of the Sistema de Integración Centroamericana were told of the meeting last week and invited to attend.

Obama faces a difficult effort in an attempt to update the U.S. laws regarding illegal immigrants. There are about 11 million illegals in the United States now, and the Obama administration is trying to find a way to put these individuals on a path to legal residency and eventually citizenship.

Drug smuggling is another major issue that involves Central American states.


U.S. Embassy issues warning on Caribbean crime
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The U.S. Embassy has published a notice on its Web site warning its nationals of an increase in armed robberies in the Puerto Viejo area.

"Within the last few weeks, the Embassy has received increased reports of armed robberies of tourists in the Puerto Viejo area," said the message, adding:

"In light of this situation, the U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens living in or visiting the Puerto Viejo area to remain cautious and vigilant with regard to their personal safety and security.

"In the past four weeks, three armed robberies of  U.S. citizens have occurred in the Puerto Viejo area, in addition to armed invasions of two hotels and one residence.  Police in Puerto Viejo have informed the embassy that they are undertaking active preventative measures to avoid further incidents of this type.  Armed robbery continues to be the primary criminal threat facing tourists in the Southern Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica."

A.M. Costa Rica has reported on the invasion of the Hotel Samasití in Hone Creek early Feb. 28 and that 19 tourists, mostly from the United States and Canada, were held hostage while crooks ransacked their rooms. This newspaper also has reported on the invasion of a rental home in Manzanillo less than 24 hours later.

Also reported was the invasion of the Hotel Colon Caribe, some 20 kilometers south of Limón Centro
 and 10 kilometers from the airport. That took place late March 20, but did not involve U.S. citizens. The tourists involved were Swedish and Swiss.

Consequently, the U.S. Embassy staff is aware of at least three more armed robberies of U.S. citizens that have not been reported to the public by police agencies and have not been the subject of news stories.

In a release, Eric Nelson, chargé d'affaires at the embassy, said that consular officials have visited the Caribbean coast multiple times to offer assistance to those affected by crimes and U.S. citizens there concerned about crimes. He also said that embassy diplomats have urged the Costa Rican government to confront the problem.

The embassy release makes no mention of the murder of a 17 year old in a botched stickup just across the border in Panamá, although it does note that some robbery suspects have been detained.

The embassy urged its citizens to stay up to date on travel bulletins and to register with the embassy when they visit the country.

No paper Friday
As is our tradition, A.M. Costa Rica will not be published Good Friday of Semana Santa. However, news developments are being
 followed, and readers will be informed of major events, if any.


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Jews share religious week
with their Christian brethren


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Although the majority of Costa Ricans are nominally Catholic, Jews here are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their people's exodus from Egyptian slavery.

Passover is mentioned in the New Testament as a reason why Jesús Christ, had to be taken down from the cross and entombed quickly. Passover then and now starts at sunset.

This year, passover began at sundown Monday. The seven-day festival ends Monday.

Still the week is decidedly Christian in the country as churches large and small hold processions to reinforce the beliefs of their parishioners.

Tonight at the Catedral Metroplitana the procession will commemorate the suffering of Jesus at the hands of Romans. The 7:30 procession through town is called Silencio con Jesús atado a la columna, meaning silence with Jesús tied to the column.

The procession to the execution of Jesús on the cross begins at 10 a.m. from the downtown Iglesia El Carmen to 10 a.m. Friday. The procession carrying Jesus to the tomb begins at 6 p.m. Friday at the cathedral. All these events are highly photogenic.

Tonight the Escazú Christian Fellowship is holding a 7 p.m.  Communion and Tenebrae service. During this service of shadows," the lights are gradually extinguished as the story of Jesus' arrest, trial, and crucifixion is read, Pastor Stacey Steck explained in a release. Music from the Taizé tradition is used, he said. The monastery is in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy, France, and it is known as a point of pilgrimage for youngsters.

On Good Friday at noon, the church members will gather to hear the Passion narrative from the Gospel of John, to sing the familiar hymns of the season, and to reflect on our own role in Jesus' death.

Easter Sunday the church offers two services to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. At 7 a.m. in La Sabana Park, at the Obelisk on the east side of the park, the church meets for a sunrise service. Worshipers are encouraged to bring a lawn chair, said Steck.

At 5 p.m., the church has its regular worship service.

All events except the sunrise service take place at International Baptist Church in Guachipelín.

The Episcopal/Anglican Parish of The Good Shepherd in the downtown has services at noon and 6 p.m. today. The church is on the Avenida 4 pedestrian mall between calles 3 and 5.

Friday from noon until 3 p.m. the congregation will hear the Good Friday l including the liturgy including the Passion according to John as well as a Way of the Cross service. There is a service Saturday at 6 p.m. called lighting the new fire and a 9 a.m. Easter Sunday service.

Meanwhile, San José officials said that it will be one of about a dozen municipalities that will not enforce the Thursday and Friday dry law this year. So alcohol will be sold. That does not mean the favorite bar will be open. Some bar operators are closing out of respect for Semana Santa and because they have to pay employees double time today and Friday, both legal holidays.

For those who are running short, Mas x Menos said Wednesday that its stores will open until 7 p.m. both today and Friday. Many other stores are closed.


Vacation period moving
into high gear today


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As the Semana Santa holiday swings into high gear, the Cruz Roja reports 17 violent deaths already, with vehicle accidents and aggression with firearms or knives competing for the top category.

The counting of the week's injuries and deaths began last Sunday, although not everyone was on vacation then.

Ocean and river mishaps usually claim many lives over holidays, but so far the Cruz Roja reports just one death, and that was in the Río Andes in La Cruz de Guanacaste.

The rescue agency will be putting more workers into the field today and staffing all of the 160 aid stations that are set up around the country.


Learning nouns is universal,
but verbs vary, study says

By the Northwestern University news staff

Researchers are digging deeper into whether infants’ ability to learn new words is shaped by the particular language being acquired.

A new Northwestern University study cites a promising new research agenda aimed at bringing researchers closer to discovering the impact of different languages on early language and cognitive development.

For decades, researchers have asked why infants learn new nouns more rapidly and more easily than new verbs. Many researchers have asserted that the early advantage for learning nouns over verbs is a universal feature of human language.

In contrast, other researchers have argued that early noun-advantage is not a universal feature of human language but rather a consequence of the particular language being acquired.

Sandra Waxman, lead author of the study and Louis W. Menk professor of psychology at Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois, shows in her research that even before infants begin to produce many verbs in earnest, infants acquiring either noun-friendly or verb-friendly languages already appreciate the concepts underlying both noun and verb meaning.

In all languages examined to date, researchers see a robust ability to map nouns to objects, Ms. Waxman said, but when it comes to mapping verbs to events, infants’ performance is less robust and more variable. Their ability to learn new verbs varied not only as a function of the native language being acquired, but also with the particular linguistic context in which the verb was presented.

Based on new evidence, a shift in the research agenda is necessary, according to Ms. Waxman and her colleagues.

“We now know that by 24 months infants acquiring distinctly different languages can successfully map novel nouns to objects and novel verbs to event categories,” Ms. Waxman said. “It is essential that we shift the research focus to include infants at 24 months and younger, infants who are engaged in the very process of acquiring distinctly different native languages.”

 
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.
Click a story for the summary























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International Baptist Church

Volunteer fire fighter dies when smothered by thick smoke
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A volunteer fire fighter from Atenas has died after being trapped in a wooded area filled with dense smoke.

Death probably was caused by suffocation, said the Cuerpo de Bomberos.

A second fireman has been hospitalized after being overcome by smoke battling the same forest blaze, the fire fighters said. 

The dead man was identified as Andrés Cruz Castro, a music teacher with three children.

At the Clinica de Turrubares was  Martín Ortega Zúñiga, who works out of the Santa Ana fire station.

Fire officials said that five companions tried to get the dying man and his companion out of the smoke-filled area. Topography was a problem.
The blaze has consumed at least 300 hectares in Cerro Tárcoles en Turrubares. That is about 740 acres of trees and underbrush. Fire officials said they believed that the blaze was set by humans, although they did not rule out an accident like a campfire getting out of control.

Fire officials said they believe that Cruz was trapped when a strong wind caused a covering of vegetation to burst into flame and generate thick smoke.

Services for the dead fireman will be at 3 p.m. today in Atenas. Like his 918 fellow fire fighters, both paid and volunteer, Cruz is covered by a death and accident policy donated by the Instituto Nacional de Seguros.

There are brush and forest fires all over dry Costa Rica, and officials have issued a warning to vacationers to avoid outdoor fires because the strong wind can whip a tiny blaze into a major event.


There's the sports model of business, and then there is the bee
This week I watched Jimmy Kimmel’s cousin go out on the streets of Hollywood and ask little kids what Easter was about.  To a child, they responded, “Eggs.”  It makes one wonder about the growing enthusiasm for Christianity that is purported to be happening.  But then, today, Evangelicals and other religious groups are more about the Old Testament and the dire consequences of breaking taboos written several thousand years ago than they are about Christ and his teachings. Or his life.

When I was a kid, I was a sort of intern saint, or more accurately, a wannabe saint.  So Lent and Easter were very meaningful to me. When I was 10 I gave up something I loved — reading the comics — for Lent and never went back to reading them. (A good way to break a habit seems to be to give it up for Lent.)  I have missed some great comic strips.  Or as my son calls them, graphic novels.

On Good Friday, I fasted all day, not quite sure if I should be trying to lug a cross along some empty back street, instead.  For a number of years, our local Catholic Church had a plaque that I and my teammate won in, I think, a statewide catechism contest.  When I was 15, I told the local priest that I was thinking of becoming a nun.  He successfully suppressed what looked like a burst of laughter, and told me to wait a year or two.  He was probably right.

When I was 24, I realized that I was out Catholicking the Catholic Church, and in my own way, excommunicated it.

Today, Easter for me, means peace, a quiet city and respite from the usually constant traffic, and from the usual hustle and bustle, and maybe seeing friends who haven’t gone to the beach or another country.

This year it is also a chance to “tidy up” my office.  Tidy up is a euphemism for "get rid of all that paper." This is easier said than done when most of the paper you are trying to get rid of is stuff you wrote.  I came across a paper of a guest lecture that I gave for a visiting professor’s business class in April of 1986 in California.  I read all 19 pages of it.  (There went any hope of finishing the tidying up.) The paper was about changing paradigms, the assumptions by which we live and act, and how often it is people outside a discipline or profession who seem to come up with new ideas in those professions.  My rationale was that they were not confined by the assumptions of the discipline and asked dumb questions.
Butterfly in the City
 
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart
jostuart@amcostarica.com

Jo Stuart


Then I asked my own dumb question, “Why do businesses call work groups teams?”  The answer was apparent:  We fashioned our work groups on sports, especially football.  The language of football has crept into the world of business and government.  Employees tackle jobs, run interference, and make goals.   They compete, run with the ball and reach the goals set (by the CEO/quarterback)  and are victorious. How exhausting, I thought.  But football teams don’t make products.

I suggested that another model alongside the team, should be a quilting bee.  Historically, a quilting bee was made up of a group of women who had come together to sew a quilt, the design of which one of them had created.  They sat around a frame and together would make a useful product that often turned out to be a work of art.  And while they created it, they talked, got to know one another, discussed the problems of the world and their families.  They talked of other quilts they had made, shared ideas for future quilts, and took time to teach the little girls who hung around but hadn’t learned how to sew yet.

The highlight of the gathering came when the hostess served them her best refreshments on her best dishes – something more delicious than Gatorade.

Of course, I realized without having to be told that we don’t call a group of people who work together for a company a working bee because the model is too feminine.  It doesn’t have the ring of action, of competition, of victory.

Cooperation and sharing are the traits of a quilting bee.

Some countries, I realize, are modeled on the team concept. Others on the quilting bee.  There probably are other models, but this is Easter week and during Easter Week there is something else I do, which is, not much.

Del Rey Hotel

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, March 28, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 62
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Palmares
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Homes for rent
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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.
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Palacio condo
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(Only 6 years old).
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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, Thursday, March 28, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 62
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big egg
Voice of America photo
Christie's specialist James Hyslop is about to hold a pre-17th century, sub-fossilized elephant bird egg in London.

Giant bird's giant egg goes
on the auction block April 24

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Just in time for the Christian Easter season, Christie's auction house in London has put on display what is thought to be one of the largest eggs ever seen: A rare, fossilized egg from the extinct Elephant Bird.

The egg measures 30 centimeters high and 21 centimeters wide, and is expected to fetch up more than $45,000 when it is auctioned at the end of the month.

Experts with Christie's say elephant bird eggs are the largest the world has ever seen, even larger than those laid by dinosaurs. The enormous egg is about 120 times the size of an ordinary chicken egg.

The giant birds lived in Madagascar and became extinct sometime between the 13th and 17th centuries. It is thought that this rare egg would have been discovered in the late 19th or early 20th century.

The egg will be auctioned off in London April 24.

The elephant bird was the largest bird ever to have lived. It resembled a heavily-built ostrich and would have stood up to 3.4 meters high. It is thought to have been hunted to extinction.


For some, same sex marriage
is non-issue outside court


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The issue of same-sex marriage has been front and center in Washington this week.  The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases that could have a profound impact on the legal and political acceptability of gay marriage around the country.

The two Supreme Court cases on gay marriage drew thousands of peaceful demonstrators, many of whom seemed to be aware that history could be in the making.

Dominic Parisi and his husband, Dan Zimmerman, stood on the court steps to show their support for gay marriage. Parisi says the show of support in front of the court sends a message to government leaders in Washington.

“I see the country going much faster than the court.  But then you can see our sign.  We have been together for 29 years," he said. "Actually, I’ve been going faster than the court for many years, so I think it’s time for the court to catch up.”

Zimmerman says the push for gay rights in the United States has been a grassroots effort.

“I think basically that the people are going to have to drag the politicians after them.  I am surprised that the country has reached this point, but proud that we have,” he said.

Recent public opinion polls show a dramatic shift on gay marriage over the past several years.  Some recent surveys show support for gay marriage at well beyond 50 percent.

Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown sees parallels with the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

“We are in the midst of a change in attitudes towards gay rights in this country not dissimilar to the change that occurred in the 1960s toward African Americans,” he said.

But even with the shift in public opinion, significant numbers of Americans remain resistant to the idea of same-sex marriage.

That reluctance was on display during the recent Supreme Court arguments over California’s ban on gay marriage, known as Proposition 8.

Several conservative members of the high court approached the issue with caution, including Justice Samuel Alito.

“You want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution, which is newer than cellphones or the Internet,” Alito said.

Even as the court heard arguments inside, hundreds of gay marriage opponents marched outside the court, determined to present their view that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

“We are trying to communicate the message that the issue here is not about the desires of adults but it should be about the needs of children," said Peter Sprigg, who is with the Family Research Council, a conservative activist group in Washington. "Marriage exists for the benefit of children, not to satisfy the desires of adults.”

But younger Americans in particular seem to be accepting gay marriage and that could have an impact on society far more sweeping than anything the Supreme Court might decide on the current cases.

Rachel, a college student in Washington, joined gay marriage supporters in front of the Supreme Court.

“Even conservative friends my age are still, for the most part, for gay marriage and it is just such a non-issue for people of my generation,” she said.

​​The nine-member high court is generally split between a conservative bloc and a more liberal bloc, with Justice Anthony Kennedy often the deciding vote in 5-4 rulings.

Legal experts say several of the justices seemed reluctant to issue a sweeping ruling in the case of California’s gay marriage ban, which has been struck down by a lower court.

The second case before the court involves a 1996 law known as the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman.  The law also prevents gay couples from receiving a range of federal benefits that go to married heterosexuals.

The plaintiff in that case is 83-year-old Edie Windsor.  She was forced to pay federal taxes on the estate she inherited from her wife, Thea.  But it is a tax that heterosexual spouses never have to pay.

Windsor spoke to reporters after the hearing about the changes she has seen as a gay American. 

“And I think it just grew to where we were human beings like anybody else," she said. "I mean you guys, I’m talking to you freely.  I’d have been hiding in a closet 10 years ago!”

Supreme Court rulings in both gay marriage cases are expected before the end of June.  But no matter the outcome, same-sex marriage supporters who demonstrated at the court said this week will be remembered as a landmark moment in the struggle for equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans.


Five-nation summit fails
to start development bank


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The leaders of the five BRICS nations stopped short of establishing a highly-touted development bank at this week’s summit in South Africa, instead saying they would enter formal negotiations on the issue.  But the summit did yield some agreements, including big-money bilateral trade deals.

The main objective of this year’s BRICS summit was to be the establishment of a development bank.  South Africa’s finance minister said the negotiations were done the night before the summit -- but that was clearly not the case.

South African President Jacob Zuma said Wednesday morning that the five nations -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- would enter formal negotiations to establish the bank. 

That moves the issue slightly forward, but still does not address where the bank will be, or how much money each nation will contribute.  Several experts and officials have said the bank will start with $50 billion, divided equally.

“Following the report from our finance ministers, we are satisfied that the establishment of a new development bank is feasible and viable.  We have agreed to establish the new development bank," said Zuma. "The initial capital contribution to the bank should be substantial and sufficient for the bank to be effective in financing infrastructure.”

South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told journalists that the lack of agreement on details was not a failure. “The fact that in one year, you can initiate an idea and bring it to the point where you have five different countries saying, ‘we agree, let’s establish it,” and having established its feasibility and viability, I think is phenomenal progress," he stated. "Which you rarely see around the world moving at that kind of pace.”

He acknowledged, however, that the leaders have not agreed where the bank will be.  His choice?  South Africa, of course, he said with a smile.

The summit also yielded some more concrete deals, including a sheaf of agreements between South Africa and Russia and a multibillion dollar bilateral deal between South Africa and China to build ships in the port city of Durban.

The nations will hold their next summit in Brazil.


New pope is an expert
in business management


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Francis of Assisi began his saintly career following what he said was God's command: "Rebuild my Church." The new pope who took his name heard the same message from the cardinals who elected him.

The 13th-century Francis toured the Italian countryside repairing dilapidated chapels before realizing his mission was to change the whole Roman Catholic Church.

At 76, Pope Francis does not have as much time to get to work.

What the first Jesuit pope has is management experience in his native Argentina as head of the Jesuit province and chairman of the national bishops conference. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he dealt with everything from poverty to national politics.

"He's been at the top of the organization, but he's not been tamed by that," said the Rev. James Hanvey, a Jesuit theologian. "In management speak, he's held to the core values. He wants us all to refocus on the core values."

Jorge Bergoglio's record shows he has strong convictions and is not afraid to take unpopular decisions. José María Poirier, editor of the lay Catholic monthly Criterio in Buenos Aires, said church staff there described him as an "attentive, human and considerate" boss who also is demanding, has little patience for bureaucracy and appoints talented assistants.

His predecessor Benedict's failure in this regard was partly to blame for the infighting that crippled the Curia bureaucracy and came to light in leaked Vatican documents last year.

The first hint Francis gave of plans to change the Curia came three days after his election when he reappointed its top bureaucrats temporarily rather than permanently, as Benedict did after being elected in 2005.

With his humble style, the pope has begun deflating the imperial side of the Vatican, which resembles a Renaissance monarchy with an absolute sovereign, a coterie of close advisers and Curia departments that answer to the pope but often don't talk to each other.

Francis's references to himself simply as the bishop of Rome, the position from which his papal authority flows, hints at a willingness to involve the hierarchy around the globe in running the world's largest church.

Hanvey said a first step would be to call heads of national bishops conferences around the world to meet regularly in Rome as advisers. This was proposed by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), but Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI used it so rarely that some bishops complained they were being treated like altar boys rather than senior colleagues.

The Curia needs regular cabinet meetings, more international staffers to overcome its domination by Italian clerics and a full work day rather than schedules that end in early afternoon, U.S. theologian George Weigel said.

It has only two women in senior posts, another aspect of the Curia that critics say needs to be changed.

One overlooked fact is that the Curia, with slightly more than 2,000 employees, is actually understaffed. "They're overwhelmed," said one senior figure from another religion in contact with the Curia, who asked not to be named.

The opaque operations at the Vatican bank, known as the Institute for Works of Religion, were widely discussed among cardinals ahead of the conclave. Francis has criticized globalization and unfettered capitalism in the past, so he may take a critical look at the bank, but he has not indicated his plans.

The book "His Holiness," which published the leaked Vatican documents last year, detailed alleged corruption, inflated prices for work in the Vatican, and clashes over the management at the bank.

The Council of Europe and the Bank of Italy have criticized the Vatican bank for lax anti-money-laundering controls and oversight, two areas where the Vatican says it is improving.
      
Critics also say the church has not compensated victims of sexual abuse enough or held bishops sufficiently responsible for covering up cases. Francis would quickly tarnish his compassionate image if he did not go beyond the apologies and meetings with victims that Benedict pioneered.

Reputed to be a theological conservative, Francis has criticized Argentina's government for legalizing same-sex marriage, opposes abortion and women priests, and defends the celibacy rule for male clergy. But he has also upbraided priests who refused to baptize babies of unmarried mothers. He has admitted to being dazzled by a young lady while in the seminary, and said he helps priests who struggle with their vow of celibacy.

All this suggests a softer edge to some of his positions.


State Department unveils
video game for foreign kids


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The U.S. State Department is using a new kind of public diplomacy to counter extremism.

Trace Effects is an online game geared toward children and young teens far from U.S. shores.  It takes the main character on a virtual adventure across the United States, from the Grand Canyon to New York City and beyond.  But what is the State Department doing with a video game?

"We want to go where young people are, more and more young people are online," said Tara Sonenshine, under secretary of State for public diplomacy.

Online and ready to engage, she hopes.  Sandra Calvert, director of the Children's Digital Media Center at Georgetown University took a look at the game. She studies the impact of video games on children.

"The plan is a marvelous idea. I think that trying to engage children in the kinds of activities that they do is just the way to approach them,"Ms. Calvert said.

Ms. Calvert likes how the game has girl and boy characters to broaden the appeal while the players are learning English.

But she says kids are used to action-oriented games, and this one is chock full of verbal activities that can slow the gamer.

"So one of the things that can happen is that the overall plot line can get lost," Ms. Calvert said.

Ms. Calvert says with a little tweak and feedback from young gamers, this new wave of public diplomacy can become an inviting way to share American culture with the world.


Defense lawyer offers a deal
in Colorado theater shootings


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Attorneys for Colorado movie theater shooting suspect James Holmes have offered to have him plead guilty and accept a sentence of life in prison to avoid the death penalty.

Holmes' lawyers made their offer Wednesday. It must still be accepted by prosecutors, who have not yet decided whether to pursue the death penalty.

Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 when he threw a gas canister and opened fire in a theater during a midnight screening of the Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises," last July.

The motive is still a mystery. But prosecutors say Holmes carefully planned his attack for months. Authorities say he also booby-trapped his apartment with explosives in case police stormed the place.

Holmes' lawyers have still not said if they would pursue an insanity defense if the case goes to trial.








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Casa de Eden is an ocean view three-bedroom, 2.5-bath, with outdoor shower, private pool located only minutes from Playa Conchal.  The home is in a private, secure community surrounded by nature but still only 20 minutes to the resort towns of Flamingo & Tamarindo and less than an hour from the Liberia airport. There is 2,600 square feet under the roof, which includes a large outdoor terrace and has phone, Internet & satellite TV. The home boasts luxury finishings: AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire professional series stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, ceramic tile.  Contact desmondproperties@gmail.com  U.S. 1-800-939-2617 or CR (506) 8349-2025.
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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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Scientists find many genes
to suggest a risk of cancer


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

New research has nearly doubled the number of genetic variations implicated in breast, prostate and ovarian cancer, offering fresh avenues for screening at-risk patients and, potentially, developing better drugs.
      
The bumper haul of 74 gene changes that can increase risks for the three hormone-related cancers, announced by scientists Wednesday, is the result of the largest ever study of its kind.
      
It follows an international project to analyze the DNA of more than 200,000 people, half of them with cancer and half from the general population, to find alterations that are more common in individuals with the disease.
      
Although each gene variation increases cancer risk by only a small amount, scientists calculate that the 1 percent of men carrying lots of the alterations could have a 50 percent increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
      
Women with multiple variants could see their risk of breast cancer increase by 30 percent.
      
Doug Easton of the University of Cambridge, one of the cancer researchers who led the work, said the batch of new genetic discoveries meant medical experts would be able to develop new cancer screening programs.
      
This will take time, since more research is needed to develop diagnostic tools.
      
"I would think that within five to 10 years this might be being used commonly, if not in a very widespread population base,'' said Paul Pharoah, also of the University of Cambridge.
      
Initially, the additional screening is likely to be targeted at patients with established cancer risk factors, such as carriers of BRCA gene faults. Women with BRCA faults are known to be at greater risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

Ros Eeles of Britain's Institute of Cancer Research, an expert in prostate cancer, said the new findings were the biggest leap forward yet in understanding the genetic basis of the disease.
      
"They allow us, for the first time, to identify men who have a very high risk of developing prostate cancer during their lifetime through inheritance of multiple risk genetic variants,'' she said.
      
In the case of prostate cancer, scientists found 23 new genetic variations, known as single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, taking the total to 78. Significantly, 16 were linked with the more aggressive forms of the disease.
      
For breast cancer the researchers found 49 new SNPs, more than doubling the number previously identified, and in ovarian cancer the tally was 11.
      
A few of the variations were common to more than one cancer type, suggesting there may be common mechanisms of action that could be targeted by new drugs.
      
Developing medicines using the insight gained by the latest research will take many years, even assuming that drugmakers can produce compounds that work effectively. Encouragingly, though, companies such as Roche, the market leader in cancer, are getting better at making drugs that apply biochemical brakes'' to tumor cells.
      
The scientists stressed that genes, while important, were just one side of a complex mix of factors leading to cancer.
      
"Lifestyle and environmental risks act in concert with the genetics. It is not one or the other - it is always both together,'' Pharoah told reporters.
      
The new research was published in a series of papers in Nature Genetics, Nature Communications, PLOS Genetics, the American Journal of Human Genetics and Human Molecular Genetics.




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