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(506) 2223-1327                    Published Wednesday, April 3, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 65                Email us
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Tico diplomats call U.N. arms treaty OK a triumph
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
with wire service input

The foreign minister Tuesday called U.N. approval of an international arms treaty a triumph of Costa Rican diplomacy and an example of how a small country can have universal reach.

The minister, Enrique Castillo, issued this statement after the U.N. General Assembly approved the arms treaty with 154 favorable votes against three negative votes and with 23 abstentions.

He said that the vote was a triumphant achievement to stop the devastating impact of the irresponsible and illicit transfers of conventional arms in the lives and well being of persons.

Costa Rica has been promoting the treaty for seven years.

U.S. President Barack Obama quickly said in a statement that "the treaty is the product of a long, intensive negotiation, and I know that no nation, including my own, got everything it may have sought in the final text. The result, however, is an instrument that succeeds in raising the bar on common standards for regulating international trade in conventional arms while helping to ensure that legitimate trade in such arms will not be unduly hindered."

The treaty sets international standards to regulate the import, export and transfer of conventional weapons from battle tanks, warships and attack helicopters to small arms and light weapons and ammunition for same.

The United States has said that its procedures for arms sales already conforms to what the treaty requires and that nothing in the document infringes on the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment establishing the citizen's right to bear arms.

Martin Butcher, arms policy adviser with the international humanitarian organization Oxfam, said the treaty also establishes key human rights criteria.

“It’s really important that this treaty puts human rights and humanitarian law in control of the arms trade," said Butcher. "The states will now have obligations not to transfer weapons to countries where human rights are being abused, where for example civilians are being killed by a government. That’s a strong obligation.”
However, the last word on the issue has not been written.

The United States, the world's largest producer of conventional weapons, voted for the measure, but most observers believe that there is little chance for the U.S. Senate confirming it by the needed two-thirds votes. In addition, the National Rifle Association, which considers the treaty an end run around Congress and the states, plans to continue an aggressive campaign against ratification.

Other observers point out that the treaty has no enforcement except moral pressure.

The treaty does not cover weapons sold or transferred by a national government or transactions involving private organizations like terrorists.

The treaty does not cover nuclear or biological weapons.

And the treaty is open to amendments in the future.

However, the document does create a U.N. bureaucracy to oversee the treaty and Article 5(4) requires annual reports by nations to the United Nations of arms deals, and these reports will be available for other U.N. members.

The countries that voted no are North Korea, Iran and Syria. They derided the treaty for its blatant political hypocrisy, said the U.N. in a summary of debate.  Iran’s delegate said he had voted no mainly because the treaty failed to ban the transfer of conventional arms to foreign occupiers.  The representative of North Korea took issue with the idea of exporters judging the human rights record of importing countries.  Syria’s delegate said the text did not prohibit arms supply to unauthorized, non-State terrorist elements.

Some countries, like Venezuela, could not vote because the nations were behind in the U.N. dues.

In a February interview David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association, described the treaty as a ploy by President Obama to circumnavigate Congress, federal courts and state legislatures in an effort to enforce his firearm agenda, potentially violating the Second Amendment rights of U.S. citizens. State Department officials have denied this and said that the treaty would not affect the Second Amendment.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 3, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 65
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Professional Directory
A.M. Costa Rica's professional directory is where business people who wish to reach the English-speaking community may invite responses. If you are interested in being represented here, please contact the editor.


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Taxi drivers and government
agree on some changes

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As has usually been the case after taxi drivers blocked key highways and caused a morning of commuter nightmares, government officials agreed to their demands.

The minister of Obras Públicas y Transportes, Pedro Castro Fernández, announced in the late afternoon that the number of police assigned to catch illegal taxi drivers would be increased from eight to 40.

In addition, the ministry would take steps to finish by the end of the month the allocation of permissions for former contract drivers who are being assumed into a new category of transport providers.

Operators of bus routes also were involved in the protest that climaxed at Casa Presidencial in Zapote.

The dispute revolves around the former porteadores or contract drivers who are receiving official status under the law.

Expats from all over the country reported road blockades and inconveniences as a result of the protest.


U.S. Congress tax study group
welcomes overseas comments

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The expat group American Citizens Abroad is encouraging comments by individuals to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, which it said is actively developing a comprehensive tax reform proposal.

The comments can be delivered by email until April 15.

The expat group said that there are 11 working groups considering various aspects of U.S. tax law.

American Citizens Abroad favors a residency based tax law that would eliminate much of the overseas reporting by U.S. citizens now.

The proposal would eliminate the serious difficulties that Americans overseas face due to the toxic combination of citizenship-based taxation, foreign bank account report filing requirements and the foreign account tax compliance act. Americans abroad would be taxed by the U.S. the same way they tax non-resident aliens – essentially through withholding taxes on U.S. source income revenue such as dividends, rents, royalties, etc., said the organization. Americans abroad would once again have access to foreign financial institutions and would not be subject to filing extensive tax paperwork, it added.

The organization gives instructions for submitted written suggestions to Congress via email HERE.


New hydro plant to join
others online Thursday

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's electrical generating firm will be inaugurating yet another hydro plant Thursday.

The facility is the Planta Hidroeléctrica Toro 3 located on the Río Toro near Marsella de Venecia, San Carlos.

The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad already has two other plants in service at the river. The new plant can provide power for up to 60,000 homes, said the electrical and telecom firm.

The facility includes a well some 37 meters deep, a 4,744-meter tunnel and a pipe to feed the generators some 2,113 meters long. The location is west of Cariblanco and north of the Poås volcano.


Our reader's opinion
U.S. role in Latin America
far worse than that of Iran


Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Your article on the claimed fusion of "terrorists" and drugs portrays the U.S. government as the protector of Latin America. There are many here who would point to the past century and more of U.S. involvement in terrorist regimes that slaughtered thousands of innocent people throughout the entire hemisphere.

There are those, too, who see the current massive and lethal drug industry in Latin America as being a direct result of draconian U.S. drug policies. Do not forget that the population of U.S. citizens incarcerated in its own jails and prisons numbers in the millions -- more than in any other country in the world, both in sheer numbers and relative to population size. And consider the secondary gain the drug industry brings to the U.S. The military-industrial-correctional industries are fueled by monies dedicated to fighting this war of its own making.

Do not forget that U.S. prison populations are overwhelmingly minorities -- blacks and Latinos -- and that many are imprisoned today for decades for crimes as minor as stealing a pair of socks, or a pizza. Remember how many graduates from the School of the Americas, the U.S.-run training ground for oppressive regimes, have imposed authoritarian will on the people here in Latin America. Look at how the U.S.-inspired drug war is filling Latin American prisons.

The Bible talks about casting the beam from one's own eyes before talking about the splinter in the neighbor's. Compare the harm the U.S. has wrought on Latin America to the supposed harm Iran is causing. Count how many Iranian warships are poised off our shores. Count how many Latinos have been slaughtered by terrorist Latin military under Iranian domination.

John French
Heredia

 
Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

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

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

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

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him
 HERE!
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 3, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 65
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Coffee growers seeking more financial aid to offset plague
By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As the rust plague that is harming many coffee plants in the region continues to spread, many farmers in the coffee sector are asking the legislature for help.

This help would come in the form of a 20 billion colon or $40 million trust that would be available to 42,000 coffee producers in Costa Rica. 

"This money is an instrument of assistance for the care of their needs because the amount of coffee they produce has been reduced,” said Guido Vargas, representative of coffee producers, in a release.

According to spokespersons, crop owners lost 94 million pounds of coffee between 2012  and the beginning of 2013.  A report released by the Instituto del Café de Costa Rica last month showed that $16 million of the harvest was lost to this disease.

President Laura Chinchilla and Gloria Abraham, agriculture minister, signed a bill in March to set up the trust to provide support for non-reimbursable seed capital, social programs for families, help for coffee plantations in the first stages of the disease, the renewal of plantations with coffee plants that have developed tolerance for the disease and a line of credit with favorable interest rates for the renewed plantations, said the coffee institute.  The money would be distributed by the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería.

Persons who would benefit from the money would have to have produced equal to or less than about 2,300 kilos of coffee to apply.  More than 80 percent of the coffee-growing population meets this requirement, the coffee institute reported. 

The bill is now in the legislative assembly awaiting adoption.

The rust epidemic is not something new to Costa Rica but dates back to 1983, said a detailed article by engineer Miguel Barquero Miranda from the investigation unit of the coffee institute.  The disease, which attacks the leaves of the coffee plant and turns them yellow, arrived on the American continent in 1970 and spread throughout Central and South America.

In Costa Rica, it first attacked north of the Central Valley in San Carlos de Venice.  In a year, it was detected all over the nation.
rust
University of Michigan file photo
 Rust shows up as spots and dead areas on a leaf.

The agriculture ministry and coffee institute conducted researched and formed training sessions on how to combat the disease including proper planting and appropriate fertilizer and fungicide usage to prevent and cure the disease.

Over the years, Costa Ricans learned to adapt and live with the disease, said Barquero.  The latest emergence of problems comes from the gradual change in the attention given to coffee plantations as well as the variations in temperatures especially from the La Niña effect that changed the frequency of rain and increased cloud coverage in 2011.

The solution, Barquero described, is for cultivators to start a proper cultural management of their plantations and to make sure to apply fertilizers and fungicides at the appropriate times.

In the mean time, the research to find plants with a long-lasting resistance to coffee rust will continue.

“In Costa Rica we must return to our looking toward this disease, not because of these recent severe problems, but to prevent that may affect us in the near future,” he said.

Barquero's research as well as other information on the disease can be downloaded HERE!


Three electronic stations are in service checking truck weights
By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The nation's road agency has installed three electronic weigh stations to catch drivers operating overweight trucks.

Two are set up at Búfalo de Limón on Ruta 32, and one is at Cañas on the Interamericana Norte.

The system weighs trucks as they drive onto a short detour, takes a photo of the license plate, measures the width and height of the truck and diverts it if the system senses the vehicle
is over weight.   Radiográfica Costarricense, the Internet company, is participating in the project.

The fine for an overweight vehicle is 94,000 colons, and the truck is detained until some of its cargo can be unloaded. That is about $190.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad  said that overweight vehicles are a principal reason why the roads are beat up.

Eventually similar stations will be set up at Ochomogo between San José and Cartago and at Esparza, said the Consejo.


Costa Rica expresses its support for threatened South Korea
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
and wire service reports

The foreign minister expressed the country's solidarity with South Korea Tuesday during what he called difficult moments with its relations with the north.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said last week that developing atomic weapons is one of the country's top priorities.

The foreign minister, Enrique Castillo, said his country's support for south Korea would be political and moral.

"Your country deserves it," the foreign minister told Chun Hong-Jo, South Korea's ambassador here. "It is a country that is a good friend."

The exchange came at the donation of three vehicles to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto by South Korea.
In the United States, Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that the United States will defend itself and its ally South Korea against military threats from North Korea, and says Washington will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state.

Kerry, speaking in Washington alongside South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, called Pyongyang's recent threats of military action against South Korea and the United States "provocative, dangerous and reckless."  He said the United States is fully prepared and capable of defending its interests, and said he believes North Korea knows that.

Kerry's comments came hours after North Korea said it would quickly begin to restart its idled nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, with the aim of building more nuclear weapons and addressing the impoverished country's electricity shortage. 

Official North Korean radio said the restart will include a uranium enrichment plant and a five-megawatt reactor that can produce weapons-grade plutonium.

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A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 3, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 65
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New book delves into the local  culture and the Tamarindo drug trade
By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Thousands of people come to Costa Rica every year for reasons that range from partying and beach life to volunteering for projects and a quest for a new life.

Writer, speaker and activist Norm Shriever saw his escape to the country as a way to break away from the traditional lifestyle and rekindle his passion of writing.

Before the move, Shriever was living in California.

“I had the big house, nice cars, the business.“ he said.  “It just wasn’t fulfilling.  I wasn’t happy.”

In 2011, the former businessman donated all his possessions and moved to the northern Pacific coast to Playa Tamarindo in Guanacaste province.  His mission was to write his first novel about the year he spent backpacking around the world in 1999.

During his time in Tamarindo, Shriever not only finished his book, “Pushups in the Prayer Room,” but found inspiration for his next book,  “South of Normal,” which will be released in three weeks.

“South of Normal” chronicles what the author calls his “year in paradise.”  His book describes the true Costa Rica from the point of view of a Gringo who doesn’t come to party but to assimilate into the culture, he said.

The book is one of a natural and a spiritual journey, he said.  It tells of Shriever’s personal struggles of trying to fit into the cultures. 

He jokes about his attempts to learn Spanish as well as pachuco, or slang. 

“I make fun of others, but I make fun of myself a lot too,” he said.  “It is a comedy of errors.”

However, through his quest of knowledge of local customs he also unearths the hidden lifestyles of locals in the area.  With this revelation, he unveils some of the stories of those who must survive in a world that revolves around tourism and the drug trade.

“It’s definitely not PG13,” said Shriever.  “It’s real life.” 

 
auhor Shriever
Author Shriever

Although the book takes place in Costa Rica, the story is one of people and existence.  It is designed to make the readers think and feel something, he said.

In terms of Shreiver’s own life, the experience was one that changed him completely.

“I don’t even know who that person who first came down there is anymore,” he described. 

This is something he won’t forget.  Even though the author is no longer drinking Baileys in his morning coffee at the beach, he says he still carries a piece of the Pura Vida he found in Costa Rica with him.

Persons who wish to read more about Shriever’s year in paradise can order a presale copy of “South of Normal” on his Web site www.normschriever.com


 
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Our Vision at Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat is to create the perfect blend of Adventure, Discovery and Tranquility for each guest.  Plan an Adventure zooming along a zip line high in the canopy or horseback riding though forests, farms and rivers. Discover the magical wonders of the flora and fauna of Costa Rica. Experience Tranquility in one of our cabins tucked in our 26 acres. Located in Monterrey, San Carlos, in the mountains above Fortuna, we enjoy spectacular, panoramic views of the Arenal Volcano and its lava flow. Please see our Web site for more information. www.leavesandlizards.com or e-mail us at leavesandlizards@gmail.com.
7862-8/1/13

Mead Brown
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Costa Rica’s #1 Time –Tested Relocation/Retirement Tours
Christopher Howard's Award-winning Combination Relocation/Retirement Tour. NO other retirement tour offers MORE options...MORE areas visited, MORE information and a LONGER fact-filled tour for your money. Winner of the 2010
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Christ Howard with Max
retiring in Costa Rica,  and who has personally helped over 10,000 people with ALL BUDGETS relocate SUCCESSFULLY over the last 35 years. CUSTOM TAILOR-MADE TOURS are also available for people with special needs or who can’t take one of our fixed-date tours. ALL tours include EXTENSIVE touring and a highly informative SEMINAR by the country’s most renowned EXPERTS in their respective fields. Also visit: Live in Costa Rica to check out our NEW tour prices and specials.  Customer satisfaction 100% guaranteed! MY REFERENCES.

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Howard Spanish cover

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Ready For a Vacation to Costa Rica?
Customized vacation packages to Costa Rica planned by our team of in-country travel experts. Call us Toll Free: 1-800-606-1860 or locally in San Jose: 2296-7715. You can sit back and relax while we plan your dream Costa Rica Vacation.
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A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
Real estate rental agents
Real estate for rent
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wanted
Real estate wanted

Real estate rental services (paid category)

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

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

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

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

Anywhere Costa Rica educates visitors about the numerous 

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

We believe the best way to enjoy
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and people is to have a personalized trip plan.

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

Mountain cabin for rent
Sacramento, Barva de Heredia
We offer for rent three furnished, 2-bedroom mountain homes located on the slopes of Barva Volcano, Sacramento, Heredia. The cabin-style homes are adjacent to the Braulio Carillo National Park and walking distance to the Barva Volcano crater lake. Enjoy a spacious living room, kitchen, fireplace and garage. Take in breathtaking views of the Irazú Volcano and the Central Valley. Observe dozens of bird species, to include the occasional Resplendent Quetzal, and a pristine cloud forest. We can also offer you an occasional ride on one of our beautiful mares. Contact Allan or Cristina at HPCattleCR@aol.com, or or for more information HERE! $850 USD/month. We can also offer a weekend or short-stay package.
7875-4/11/13

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

Looking 4 Costa Rica Villas?
Rent our all-inclusive, 7 bedroom rental home in Guanacaste.  Just 20 minutes from the Liberia airport, this deluxe ocean view mansion sleeps 6-22 guests.  Ideal for company events & Costa Rica weddings. With 3 meals served daily and a full-time staff to pamper guests, it's more than a Costa Rica vacation rental ...It's your own Private Resort!  Call toll free: 1-800-606-1860.
7695-1/19/14

Lovely cottage on private coffee farm
One spacious bedroom, one bath, office room/spare room with high speed DSL internet, fully equipped kitchen, phone line,
Sarchi cottage
balcony with beautiful view, especially at night with the far off lights of San José. Farm is gated and guarded, private and peaceful, owner on-site. Sarchi is a quiet small town about 30-40 min from the airport, a perfect base to explore from and also get a
feel for normal, day-to-day Tico life. Rental is $575 per month, 3 months minimum. All utilities included. Shorter stays at $45 per night, 2 nights minimum. $225 per week, and $30 per additional night. Sorry, no pets.  Contact jogya345@yahoo.com or 8308-7732.
7907-4/12/13

Palmares
                                    rental properties
Homes for rent
in Palmares, Alajuela

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

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

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

Palacio condo
Beautiful 2-bedroom, 2-bath modern condo for rent.
(Only 6 years old).
Great Secure Area, Next to 5-Star Hotel Palacio (La Uruca). Gated community, 24-hour security, 5 minutes to San José. Swimming Pool, washer/dryer, covered parking, high-speed Internet, cable TV, home phone! $900 per month, fully furnished, 6-Month minimum! Please Call: 001-954-782-0200 or email jas21358@comcast.net
7780-2/21/13

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

7857-5/4/13





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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, April 3, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 65
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Gecko
University of Akron /Alyssa Stark
Gecko keeps a firm grip in wet natural habitat

Water-repellent surfaces give
geckos a leg up in the wilds

By the University of Akron news service

The ability of geckos to stick to trees and leaves during rainforest downpours has fascinated scientists for decades, leading a group of University of Akron researchers to solve the mystery.

They discovered that wet, water-repellent surfaces like those of leaves and tree trunks secure a gecko's grip similar to the way dry surfaces do. The finding brings bioscience doctoral candidate Alyssa Stark and her research colleagues closer to developing a synthetic adhesive that sticks when wet.

Ms. Stark and her fellow University of Akron researchers study the adhesive qualities of gecko pads, which have tiny, clingy hairs that stick like Velcro to dry surfaces. In a 2012 study, the team discovered that geckos lose their grip on wet glass. This finding led the scientists to explore how the lizards function in their natural environments.

The scientists studied the clinging power of six geckos which they outfitted with harnesses and tugged upon gently as the lizards clung to surfaces in wet and dry conditions.

The researchers found that the effect of water on adhesive strength correlates with wettability, or the ability of a liquid to maintain contact with a solid surface. On glass, which has high wettability, a film of water forms between the surface and the gecko’s foot, decreasing adhesion.

Conversely, on surfaces with low wettability, such as waxy leaves on tropical plants, the areas in contact with the gecko’s toes remain dry and adhesion firm.

“The geckos stuck just as well under water as they did on a dry surface, as long as the surface was hydrophobic,” Ms. Stark explained, using the technical term for water-repellent. “We believe this is how geckos stick to wet leaves and tree trunks in their natural environment.”

The discovery, “Surface Wettability Plays a Significant Role in Gecko Adhesion Underwater,” was published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study has implications for the design of a synthetic gecko-inspired adhesive.


Eurozone unemployment set
at 12 percent for two months

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Unemployment across the 17-nation euro currency bloc has hit 12 percent for the first time.

The European Union's statistics office, Eurostat, said Tuesday that this was the jobless rate in both January and February. In all, it estimated that more than 19 million people are unemployed in the eurozone.

A separate survey said the pace of manufacturing is continuing to decline in Europe, with jobs in that sector lost for 14 straight months.

The latest labor market report continued to show a wide disparity in the jobless rates throughout the eurozone. More than a quarter of the workforce is unemployed in both Spain and Greece, while in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, only 5.4 percent are out of work.

​​The eurozone continues to struggle to recover from its three-year government debt crisis. Just last week, the eurozone nations, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund approved a $13 billion bailout for Cyprus, the fifth country needing billions of dollars in rescue funds.

Cyprus is one of the smallest eurozone nations. But the bailout is expected to take a heavy toll on its economy, especially its status as a banking center that sought to attract vast sums from offshore investors looking for high interest rates and lax regulation. Some workers like George Polydorou quickly lost their jobs.

"To be honest, I lost my job a few hours ago, and unfortunately there is nothing I can do about it. No notice, no nothing. I got sacked right on the spot," said Polydorou.

Political scientist Antonis Elinas predicts the Cypriot economy will only worsen.

"The social impact is likely to be huge," said Elinas. "Unemployment is now 15 percent and it is already one of the highest in the eurozone countries, it's the fourth highest and it is probably going to go though the roof in the next few years. This is going to have a huge social impact, people, people will be left not just without jobs but without any prospects of having an income."


Film seems to suggest trio
to be innocent of murders

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

In 1993, three young boys were killed and mutilated in West Memphis, Arkansas. Three troubled teenagers were convicted for the crime and put behind bars for 18 years. It turns out, though, that their prosecution was tainted. Although the Arkansas prosecutor declined to comment, Amy Berg says her recent documentary, "West of Memphis," points to a flawed justice system and presents fresh evidence about new suspects.

Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Charles Jason Baldwin were accused of the crime. Their conviction, it turned out, was based on questionable evidence and false testimonies.

The widely publicized trials attracted the attention of filmmakers. In 1996, "Paradise Lost" was the first documentary to question whether justice had been served.

“There were 15 years of evidence and new information," said Ms. Berg, whose 2012 documentary "West of Memphis" not only follows the case since then, but presents new evidence that focuses on Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the three slain children.  Berg says he has been identified through a DNA match and interviews with family members. She argues that the three convicted men should be pronounced innocent.

“I think the documentary stands alone as a reason to exonerate them and to prosecute the real killer. So we hope that the film can stand as the testament,” Ms. Berg said.

While Hobbs denies any involvement, in 2011, the state of Arkansas agreed to release but not exonerate them.

Damien Echols, who had been sentenced to death by lethal injection, said to get out of jail, the three had to take what is called the Alford Plea.

“Most Americans haven’t even heard of it. What it means is you’re still maintaining your innocence. You’re saying ‘I did not commit this crime,’ but you are accepting their guilty plea. And a lot of the reason for it is so that the state cannot be held accountable for what they’ve done,” Echols said.

As a result, says Echols, he and the other two still bear the stigma of murder.

“I have three counts of murder on my record.  The guy who went to trial with me, Jason Baldwin, he’s currently in school. He wants to get his law degree and help people with the same situation we were in. But he can’t practice law with a criminal record,” Echols said.
 
Maryland Defense attorney Rene Sandler says, often, in high profile cases such as the murder of children, the prosecution feels pressured to convict someone, anyone.

“Political careers were made, reputations were made, the prosecutor dug in to whatever theory he believed at the time. And the police and the judge and everyone really were invested in the prosecution and the convictions of these three people without ever looking anywhere else,” Sandler said.

The state of Arkansas has refused to reopen the case.

"I believe it would be practically impossible after 18 years to put on a proper case against the defendants," said Akansas prosecuting attorney Scott Ellington, in the documentary.  He did not respond to a request for further comment.

But "West of Memphis," the documentary, has opened cracks in the prosecution's argument. Recent hearings could point to a new trial for the three.


AP rejects illegal immigrant
as term for illegal immigrant


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The Associated Press Stylebook is officially changing the way it calls people living in a country illegally, an amendment celebrated by pro-immigration activists.

The guide used by media outlets around the world no longer sanctions the term illegal immigrant or use of illegal to describe a person, according to a blog post published on the AP’s Web site Tuesday.

It instead recommends editorial staff use the word illegal to describe an unlawful action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.

Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explained the decision evolved from wide-ranging discussions that included ardent supporters of the phrase illegal immigrant.

Ultimately, she said, the Stylebook removed the phrase illegal immigrant as part of a larger effort to describe people specifically by their actions, rather than with labels.

“And that discussion about labeling people, instead of behavior, led us back to illegal immigrant again,” Ms. Caroll wrote on the AP’s blog. “We concluded that to be consistent, we needed to change our guidance. So we have.”

She acknowledged language and phrasing likely will evolve in the future, and that this will frustrate some journalists. But for now, she said, the AP believes “this is the best way to describe someone in a country without permission.”

“Will the new guidance make it harder for writers? Perhaps just a bit at first. But while labels may be more facile, they are not accurate,” she said.

Jose Antonio Vargas, a Philippine-born journalist living in the United States without the proper legal documentation, celebrated the change.

"Long overdue but welcome nonetheless," he wrote on his Facebook page. “No human being is illegal.”

Vargas is a former Washington Post reporter who now runs the immigrant advocacy group Define America. His Facebook post received hundreds of endorsements.

“The point is, illegal behavior doesn't make a person illegal,” wrote immigration lawyer Jessica Jenkins. “We don't call people illegal when they rob banks or fail to pay taxes, why should we here? It doesn't even make sense grammatically.”

The language used to describe the 11 million people living without legal permission in the U.S. has long stirred controversy. Last week, Don Young, a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, apologized for describing Latino workers as wetbacks, a derogatory term once commonly used to describe Mexicans who entered the U.S. by wading across the Rio Grande River.

Foreigners living illegally in the U.S. also are often referred to as aliens, a word Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies tweeted is apt.

The AP Styleguide is considered the ultimate reference book for journalists and, as a result, influences the language read and often used by millions of people.

Other major news outlets, including the Voice of America, are now deliberating whether they should follow the AP’s lead and stop calling people illegal.


Financially strapped U.S. plans
to spend  $100 million on brain


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

U.S. President Barack Obama has launched a scientific research initiative aimed at demystifying the workings of the human brain.

The president described the human brain as one of the great frontiers of human discovery.

“As humans, we can identify galaxies light years away, study particles smaller than an atom, but we still have not unlocked the mystery of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears,” he said.

Speaking at the White House, Obama said he will propose $100 million for research to unlock the mystery. The funds are to go to the nation’s leading research institutions for collaboration with private companies and charitable foundations.

The project aims to understand how the interactions among the billions of neurons in the human brain form our thoughts, memories and movements. The benefits could reach billions of people worldwide.

“Imagine if no family had to feel helpless watching a loved one disappear behind the mask of Parkinson’s, or struggle in the grip of epilepsy. Imagine if we could reverse traumatic brain injury or PTSD for our veterans who are coming home. What if computers could respond to our thoughts, or language barriers could come tumbling down?” said Obama.

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins said a dream team of top minds in brain research will lay out the project’s priorities.

Unraveling the hugely complex network of billions of neural connections and their function will require tools and technology that do not yet exist. But Collins said their development may itself produce benefits.

“People are quite excited about what we can learn about how the brain does what it does, which may teach us new kinds of architectures that can be the next design principle for the computers of the future. So, the computers are going to serve us by analyzing and storing the data, but we may also maybe make them obsolete by figuring out new ways to design better ones,” said Collins.

The opportunity for innovation is at the heart of the brain-mapping initiative. With budget-slashing the order of the day in Washington, the president says the program is a wise investment in America’s future. He said each dollar spent on sequencing the human genome returned $140 to the economy, and he expects this project will have similar benefit.

“We cannot afford to miss these opportunities while the rest of the world races ahead," said Obama. "We have to seize them. I do not want the next job-creating discoveries to happen in China or India or Germany. I want them to happen right here. And that is part of what this BRAIN Initiative is about.”

Support for the initiative is not unanimous among researchers. Some skeptics say rather than focusing on a core set of issues, scientists should pursue a broad research agenda and follow where it leads.

Collins said it is the right idea, though, to think big.

“There is nothing like a project of this sort to inspire people to go to that next level. And we hope that we will recruit into this effort some of the best and brightest, all kinds of bright brains that might otherwise have done something else, to come and solve those problems,” he said.

Researchers say the initiative is not likely to produce immediate cures for diseases. Much of the research likely will focus first on animal studies, before moving on to humans.

  

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Real estate bro
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(paid category)

The #1 Authority in Costa Rica Real Estate

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Since 1996, CRREC has been providing the most valuable resource for discovering real estate in Costa Rica. Our Costa Rica properties database contains some of the most exclusive and hard to find properties in the country. Not to mention how affordable some of our Costa Rica homes for sale are. So if you're in the market for Costa Rica real estate then we encourage you to
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   (506) 8538-6186
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  Send us your request to our email: info@greciarealestate.com
7685-2/7/12

Real estate for sale (paid category)


Casa de Eden
For sale by owner Playa Conchal home. Reduced $329,000

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.
7905-4/27/13

Pirate beach
For sale by owner: Ocean view condominium. Reduced $175,000

Gorgeous two- bedroom, two-bath with private terrace offering spectacular ocean views and built-in energy efficiently. This condo is located in a gated community with low HOA dues and offers amenities including a pool & rancho.  It is located close to a beautiful white sandy Pirates Beach. Only 20 minutes to the resort towns of Flamingo & Tamarindo and less than an hour from the Liberia airport.  Luxury finishings: Pella double panel windows, AC & ceiling fans, Frigidaire stainless steel appliances, granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom vanities, custom wood cabinetry, porcelain tile. Contact desmondproperties@gmail.com  U.S. 1-800-939-2617 or CR (506) 8349-2025.
7904-4/27/13

Condo
FIRE SALE ON THIS SPACIOUS CONDO
WITH GREAT OCEAN VIEWS $205,000 USD
This is a well distributed condo, very spacious and meticulously maintained. It sells furnished with quality furnishings and appliances. 3 bedrooms, 3 baths and lots of storage place. It's a 2,200-sq. foot condo with double garage. Ideally located 20 minutes south of Jacó. It comes with a free beach club membership at Monterey Hotel in Esterillos. Call 2778-8408 or 8707-1037. Email marietta234@yahoo.es or www.beachfrontcentralpacific.com
7900-4/22/13
Las Escadas
Welcome to our Paradise
Las Escadas – Condomimium & Club
San Juan del Sur – Nicaragua

1 and 2 bedroom condos from $ 39,900.
Las Escadas Condominiums & Club is the best Investment opportunity for those who want to live surrounded on all sides with nature and very closes to many beautiful beaches, amazing places with rich history and culture.
Security entrance – Administrative office – Swimming pool – Children's playground – Reserved parking available – Basketball court – pathways – Underground utilities.
Only $ 99 to reserve your Unit. Limited time offer
Contact: info@lasescadas.com    www.lasescadas.com
Cell English +505 8588-9827 – Cell Spanish/English 8551-4391
7895-4/20/13
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Nicoya views
Property with ocean and gulf view for sale
Tranquil million dollar view, 5,000-sq.meter property with 3/2 home built to American standards, artistically designed and decorated, 16-foot ceilings of mango and tamarindo, appliances, plunge pool, rancho, caretaker apartment, workshop, covered parking, views of Gulf of Nicoya and ocean, in countryside near San José to Caldera highway. Near the lovely town of Esparza. Can provide extra income from bed and breakfast room rental and stellar Tripadvisor reviews. www.oasisbytheseabandb.com $180,000 506-8869-9274.
7882-4/15/13

View from Orosi home

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


FOR SALE BY OWNER
You can purchase property in Costa Rica legally without paying Land Transfer Tax; this plus the usual real estate commission of 5% will reduce your purchase price by approximately 11%. Save over $50,000.00 on the purchase of this $465,000.00 property. Large 5000+ sq.ft. House. Ideal for business executive, B & B or large family. E-mail for photos and more information to landofpalms@hotmail.com.
7869-4/6/13

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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

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

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

Montemar montage
Gated community near the beach
SALE on our last 4 lots! Starting at just $20k with financing available.
Deep discounts for cash sales!
Reserve today with just $5,000 down
Great retirement, vacation, or investment option!
Lots of wildlife on the property. Gated front entrance, caretakers house.
Water and power on site.
http://www.haciendamontemar.com/
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891
7830-5/8/13

Rich Coast Montage
RichCoastRealty.com
Central Pacific Coast Real Estate
- 2-bedroom house in gated community, $92,500.
- Lots in gated community from $20k w/financing available.
- 3-bedroom house in gated community, furnished, walk to the beach, $125k
- 3-bedroom oceanview house on 5 acres subdividable, $270k
- 58-acre oceanview property subdividable, $169k
Oceanfront residential Lot $58k
and much more....
http://www.richcoastrealty.com/
USA Toll Free 1 866 833 4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718 9891
Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
7829-5/8/13

Ocean view home
Georgeous House For Sale In Costa Rica
Gorgeous house built 5 years ago to U.S. standards on 37,000 sq. ft TITLED property. This is a very special and rare property because of the INCREDIBLE OCEAN VIEW and excellent location. This one of a kind home and property is truly a must see. Ocean view Only $345 000.00 US More details: http://www.monalbum.fr/Album=E3GLBJQX
Jack 506-2778-8172    Email: quadtours@yahoo.ca
7789-2/14/13

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

Segregated into 9 lots, Excellent Development Potential!
20 minutes from the beach Central Pacific Coast, between Jacó and Quepos.
http://www.richcoastrealty.com/1060.html
Brendan@RichCoastRealty.com
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005  CR Cell 8718-9891
7766-6/17/13

montage ofr photos
ALAZAN Eco-Friendly Community

- Ocean, mountain, and river views, built in harmony with nature
- 70% sold out, 1.25 acre + lots available from $75,000
- All lots held in separate corporations
- Functioning HOA with 24-hour security and gated front entrance
- 100% custom homes, turnkey construction
- Community homes have been featured in Su Casa Architectural Magazine
- Abundant wildlife on the property, access to 45-acre nature preserve
- Organic Permaculture farm coming soon
- Build your custom dream home and join our community of friends in paradise!
Brokers Welcome
http://www.richcoastrealty.com/1011.html
USA Toll Free 1 866 833 4005
CR Cell 011 (506) 8718-9891
7725-xxxx

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

Great location in between Quepos and Parrita. Please visit this Web site for complete details: www.tomstewartinsurance.com/CostaRica. Price recently reduced for quick sale. Email  tomstewart0001@gmail.com or call 713-775-9283.
7600-3/7/13

Costa Azul view
costa azul ocean
Properties in Osa near the ocean.
50% discount from the valuation price, starting at $30.000.
Financing available. Contact us at +506 2233-7778 or +506 8815-6476.
Grupo Costa Azul – A property waiting for you!
www.grupocostaazulcr.com
7484-9/11/12

Real estate services
Real estate for sale
Businesses for sale

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

Papitos
Would you like to start a chain of pizzerias  in Costa Rica?
If you have the money,   I have the ideas and the basis to start. Buy the place,
and I'll work for you! Only serious inquiries. Money or property in C.R.
Call  Mike  (506) 8375 4287 or after 1 p.m. Call to  (506) 2241 1068.
7868-4/6/13

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

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Thunderstorms likely today

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The humid weather was just made for thunderstorms, so the prediction for Wednesday is increasing cloudiness in the morning with some isolated showers on the Caribbean coast and in the northern zone. The afternoon with warm temperatures is likely to spawn downpours in the central and south Pacific as well as the Central Valley and the Nicoya Peninsula, said the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional.

With the change in the weather the institute is suggesting caution regarding lightning and flash floods.


Quake was 30 years ago

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Tuesday was the 30th anniversary of the 1983 Golfito earthquake that killed one person and caused moderate damage.

The magnitude was estimated at 7.2.  The 8:50 p.m. quake took place while many residents were in church because the day was Saturday of Semana Santa, said the Laboratorio de Ingeniería Sísmica at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

There was a 5.7 aftershock at 8:46 a.m. the next day, Easter.


Blaze damages warehouse

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A morning blaze in an abandoned dwelling caused damage to the adjacent coffee warehouse and apartments.

The fire, reported at 10:12 a.m. Tuesday was on Calle 24 between Avenidas 3 and 5, said the Cuerpo de Bomberos. The location is adjacent to the El Rey coffee warehouse.

Fire investigators said that an electrical malfunction was not the cause because the power had been turned off.  Instead they are looking at the activities of vagrants, who have been living in the dwelling, they said. Some use candles for illumination, they added.


Fake bills reported

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Police Tuesday detained a Nicaraguan couple they said were in possession of some 95,000 colons in counterfeit money.

The arrests took place on the Paseo de los Turistas in Puntarenas where the pair were seeking to make purchases, said the Fuerza Pública. The bills were 10,000 colons and 5,000 colons, officers said.


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Sports
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What we published this week: Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Earlier
The contents of this page and this Web site are copyrighted by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. 2013 and may not be reproduced anywhere without permission. Abstracts and fair use are permitted.  Check HERE for details