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A.M. Costa Rica
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(506) 2223-1327                     Published Friday, April 5, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 67                Email us
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Jo Stuart

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Crucitas gold mine firms take a step to arbitration
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The operators of the  Las Crucitas mining concession served notice to Costa Rica Thursday that the country is in violation of its investment treaty with Canada and invited the country to resolve the conflict.  The alternative would be arbitration at a World Bank agency, it said.

Infinito Gold Ltd., the Canadian parent firm, and Industrias Infinito S.A., the Costa Rica subsidiary, each issued similar statements. But the Costa Rican document monetized the gold operation's investment in Costa Rica at $92 million and said the total loss in not developing the mine was $1 billion.

The action has been long expected because the Canadian firm, which has spent 20 years trying to get the las Crucitas Project working has been hamstrung by recent court actions. One decision ordered that the concession be revoked.

Industrias Infinito said that a formal notice of the company's position was presented to Anabel González Campabadal, the minister of Comercio Exteriores.

Infinito is no stranger to arbitration at the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes. Earlier this year it lost a case against Venezuela, which had taken over its Las Cristinas gold project.

The arbitration panel ruled that Venezuela did not violate the terms of the Canada-Venezuela Bilateral Investment Treaty and dismissed all of the claims brought against Venezuela including recovery of costs and lost profits relating to Infinito Gold's investment in Las Cristinas, the company said at the time. The company began this arbitration in 2004.

In a summary posted to the Canadian firm's Web site, John Morgan, company president, noted that Infinito is facing two conflicting court rulings. The Sala IV constitutional court ruled April 16, 2010, that all legal objections raised against the project were without merit. But the lower Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo that November ordered that the concession be annulled, and this was upheld by the Sala I Nov. 30, 2011.

Industrias Infinito formally requested that the Sala IV enforce its decision in order to prevent any conflict between the Sala IV's decision affirming the validity the mine permits and approvals and any inconsistent decision from the tribunal or the Sala I, said Morgan. To date, the Sala IV has taken no action to respond to this request, he added.

As a result, Infinito and Industrias Infinito find themselves in a legal vacuum, subject to two
contradictory decisions with no basis under the Costa Rican legal system for resolving this conflict, he said.

Specifically, the companies are maintaining that Costa Rica violated a section of the investment treaty because the firms have not been treated justly and in accord with international principles as the treaty specifies, according to Industrias Infinito's statement.

The Las Crucitas mine site is in Cutris de San Carlos not far from the northern border with Nicaragua.

Industrias Infinito in |Costa Rica noted in its statement that in October 2008 then-president Óscar Arias Sánchez issued a decree saying that the mine project was in the national interest, and this allowed the firm to obtain a change in the land use.

His successor, Laura Chinchilla, came out against the mine operation mainly on environmental grounds. She also orchestrated a new law outlawing large-scale gold mining operations.

The Las Crucitas operation was to be an open pit mine in which the gold-bearing rock was carried to the surface, crushed and treated with chemicals to extract the valuable metal.That raised concerns on two fronts. First, the company had to cut protected almendro or mountain almond tree that the protected great green macaw favors.

The Arias decree allowed the gold mining company to remove trees from some 260 hectares or about 650 acres. However, the work was stopped long before all the trees were felled. Infinito had promised to plant 50 trees for each one cut and has filed an environmental impact study promising rehabilitation of the land.

Environmentalists also expressed concern that the open pit mining process would put cyanide into the environment. There even was a series of objections for nearby Nicaragua, which expressed concern about runoff into the Río San Juan.

For these reasons the mine project became a major cause for protesting university students.

And prosecutors still are investigating Arias over the legality of his decree.

Industrias Infinito warned Thursday that Costa Rica has six months to settle this case in a friendly way or the matter will go to the arbitration center.

The price of gold skyrocketed while Industrias Infinito was trying to get the mine into operation. There are an estimated 800,000 ounces that can be mined. Gold was $1,551 an ounce on world markets Thursday, giving the recoverable gold at the mine a value of a bit more than $1,2 billion.

Road safety officials to unveil video game for kids
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Teaching the young about road safety and courtesy is so important that traffic officials are bringing in the video gamers. 

The character Danny Moreno is the star of a computer video game that will be unveiled today in La Sabana. The game has 11 scenarios now and is designed to accept many more. There are 18 skill levels. Although Danny has the nickname of El Geko, it's still unclear if he really is a lizard.

Even though children are the main target of the educational game, anyone can play, said the Consejo  de Seguridad Vial.

The game is the product of the Costa Rican video
Danny drives

game firm of CanNu Arts, which promised to provide a download for desktop computers running Windows on its Facebook page.

The 3-D game is free and puts youngsters in the driver's seat and presents them with real traffic situations

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 5, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 67
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Weather experts disagree
on forecast for this afternoon

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Parts of the Central Valley experienced the season's first good gully washer Thursday afternoon, but experts disagree if there will be a similar rainy episode today.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said in a forecast that the the south and central Pacific would see the most instability today with a high chance of electrical storms. For the Central Valley the institute said the chance of rain was much lower.

The Weather Underground, A.M. Costa Rica's service, estimated the chances of rain today in San Jose at 80 percent. But then the forecast becomes better for the weekend. The weather institute here noted that wind are increasing, and winds usually move the humidity away.

The Weather Underground said that there is a 20 percent chance of rain in San José Saturday and that Sunday might not see any rain. That should be good news for picnickers.
The western part of San José registered 49.4 millimeters, nearly one and a half inches, between 2 and 3 p.m. The downpour was so heavy that flight operations were hampered at Tobias Bolaños airport in Pavas. There also was lightning and thunder. and a few tree branches were knocked down.

As the weather institute noted in the forecast, the weather is in a state of change from the dry to the rainy season.

Proposed gun law seen
encouraging the black market

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Lawmakers heard Thursday that a proposed strict firearms licensing law would only encourage the existing black market in guns.

That was the opinion of Ramón Lamboglia Castillo, president of the  Asociación de Reservistas, an organization of the volunteer branch of the Fuerza Pública.

In addition, a spokesman for the security industry urged the proposals to restrict the types of weapons that would be owned be loosened.

Both men were talking to the Comisión Permanente Especial de Seguridad y Narcotráfico, which is considering bill No. 18050  that has been put forth by the administration.

Lamboglia said that the current draft would create a difficult path for those who wish to acquire a permit to carry a firearm and encourage activities in a black market. The current procedure is time consuming.

He assured lawmakers that there exists in Costa Rica a great number of places where someone would acquire firearms without official permits and that the proposed law would only provide an incentive for this parallel market.

Allan García, vice president of the Asociación de Empresas de Seguridad, said he believed that the county would have a modern firearms law but that what is passed should not restrict the types of weapons available. He also said that the restrictions would create a black market.

Scouts want to protect
their dedicated payments

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

As with most nations, citizens pay a number of hidden taxes and never give them a second thought.

Such is the case in Costa Rica where there are a number of dedicated taxes that do not go into the general fund but go to a specific agency or organization.

That is why representatives of the Asociación de Guías y Scout  were at the legislature Thursday to complain that the new traffic law reduced the amount that the organization received from the annual road tax.

Hardly any expat realizes that he or she was supporting the scouts each year with a marchamo payment. But it is not only the scouts. Lawmakers have dedicated part of the road tax payment to senior citizen groups and even wildlife.

The representatives of the scouts explained to the  Comisión Permanente de Asuntos Sociales that half the young membership comes from the middle and lower classes in the Central Valley and that the organization gives a full accounting of its expenditures each year to the Contraloría General de la República.

Carlos Jiménez Sandi, representing the scouts, said the organization would like the percentage allocated to it restored. The Scouts used to get about 1,700 colons from each road tax payment. Now the organization gets just 1,000, about $2.

Ad rates to be increased

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A.M. Costa Rica will be instituting a small display advertising rate increase April 15. Classified advertising rates will remain unchanged.

The increases are made necessary by increasing in costs that the newspaper must pay. This include higher utility costs, mandatory increases in employee salaries, higher rents and higher costs for editorial and professional services.

Existing advertising agreements will not be affected, and the advertising staff will continue to accept business at the old rate until April 15.

Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

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

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

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

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him
From the Costa Rican press
News items posted Monday through Friday by 8 a.m.
Click a story for the summary

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San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 5, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 67
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Oscar Carmona's 'Frenesí, ilusión y sueños' and Carlos Rodó's "El débil es más que el fuerte.'
World Art day show will honor the tradition of Da Vinci
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rica will participate for the first time in World Art Day April 15.  The date corresponds with the birthday of Italian Renaissance man of the 15th and 16th centuries, Leonardo Da Vinci.
“The purpose of the day is to celebrate not only the birth of a great artist who has influenced hundreds of artists, but also to underline the importance and the value of art for world peace, fraternity, freedom of expression and multicultural and multidisciplinary dialogue,” said members of the International Association of Art in a statement from 2011.

It was at a meeting in April 2011 when the General Assembly of the association decided to commemorate Da Vinci this year.
Asociación Costarricense de Artistas Visuales with the sponsorship of Boutique Faber-Castell in Multiplaza Escazú is preparing an exhibit in honor of Da Vinci's legacy that will be featured in the Museo de Arte Costarricense from April 16 to May 27.

It will showcase 16 works from  12 artists.  Etching, painting, drawing and sculpture techniques will be on display.

“The exhibition allows you to investigate the structures and the scaffolding on which the pillars of our society are built,” said  Xiomara Zúñiga, the exhibit's curator.

The participating artists are all members of the visual arts association.  Some 47 artists submitted work to a panel for review and seven women and five men were chosen.

There are a lot of benefits in being senior citizen in Costa Rica
An email from Sandra asking about bus passes for residents 65 and over had me thinking that perhaps it would be a good idea to once again share some of the things I have learned since becoming a resident and a ciudadano de oro, the Costa Rican phrase for senior citizen.  In some ways, it is a golden age because there are ways to save money.

If you are a frequent bus rider, you really get a deal.  Just show your resident cédula to the bus driver and within the city limits you get a free ride. And it saves you from searching for change.  A bus driver may have to enter your cédula number if he cannot make your card ding in the machine or the route is such that he has no machine.  From time to time you may get a grumpy driver who will mutter something under his breath.  Don’t take it personally, although it probably will be.  Just think of it as the price of freedom.

There are stores, especially farmacias that will give you a 10 percent discount when you show your gold card.  But very often you will get a discount if you are paying cash and announce that you are.  Sometimes you will be asked if you are paying with efectivo or tarjeta de credito.  Or you can ask if a discount comes with cash.

Of course, most of us know by now that in most banks seniors get special attention and quicker service.  The national banks, especially, are conscientious about this.  The Banco de Costa Rica, has a machine where you can get a special ticket that will get you quick service.  There usually is a guard who will help you.  (And a word of advice, always ask for help, not service.  This especially true if you are frustrated with the seemingly slow progress of transactions.)  Years ago when I was standing in a long line at the bank – a common activity back then – I turned to a woman behind me and asked in Spanish, “Don’t you ever get angry and complain about the lines here?”  She responded, “No, but you can because you are an American.” Lesson learned.

This is a country where relationships are high on the list of what is important.  I have often heard drivers honk their horns immediately after the light has changed in case the driver in front has not moved quickly enough.  I have never heard a driver of a car honk because the driver in front has stopped in the middle of the lane to chat with a friend who is leaning nonchalantly against the car head in the window, oblivious of those of us behind. (A friend told me that in the first case they
Butterfly in the City
. . .  Musings from San José

By Jo Stuart

Jo Stuart

are just signaling the first driver, who is under the light and can’t see it. He may be right.)

But back to buses.  Once the front seats were marked as reserved for older people and disabled, but not so often now. However, bus riders are usually very nice and considerate.  (I always try to look my neatest and best when I ride the bus. It seems to attract help if I need it.)  Once it was men, young or old, who would give me their seats, now it is young women, and sometimes not so young women.  But I have never been without a seat for long, even in the most crowded of buses.

All foreign residents, by law, must be members of the national health plan here, known as the Caja. That is when you do go to the building on Avenida Segunda just below the Teatro Nacional on the south side of the street.  It is a tall building, and there are people inside who will tell you what and where you do and go.  You can also apply for a tarjeta de oro at that time.

If you live outside the city, there may be a Caja building in your town.

When you sign up, you will be instructed to register at the ebais or clinic near you.  You will be told which one you belong to depending upon your address.  The cost for health insurance used to be based upon the basic $600 income expected of a pensionado, but today is calculated according to your retirement income.  It is far cheaper than anything you can get in most countries and is worth the price just for the emergency help you may need.  The private hospitals have become very expensive when it comes to emergency services and often demand a show of a credit card or money before they will attend to you.  Not so at the Caja hospitals. Even the Cruz Roja ambulance you call will be free. And almost invariably they are very nice people.  I seem to say that often about Costa Ricans.

Del Rey Hotel

You need to see Costa Rican tourism information HERE!

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Fish Fabulous Costa Rica

A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 5, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 67
Real Estate
About us

fishing catches
University of British Columbia  Sea Around Us Project graphic 
Map illustrates estimates of where and how much Chinese vessels caught beyond their own waters.
Canadian study says that China grossly understates its fishing harvests
By the University of British Columbia news staff

Chinese fishing boats catch about $11.5 billion worth of fish from beyond their country’s own waters each year – and most of it goes unreported, according to a new study led by fisheries scientists at the University of British Columbia.

The paper, recently published in the journal Fish and Fisheries, estimates that China’s foreign catch is 12 times larger than what it reports to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, an international agency that keeps track of global fisheries catches.

Using a new method that analyzes the type of fishing vessels used by Chinese operators around the world and their catch capacity, the research team estimates Chinese foreign fishing at 4.6 million tons per year, taken from the waters of at least 90 countries – including 3.1 million tons from African waters, mainly West Africa.

The study estimated that Chinese fishing boats toke 182,000 tons from Central and South American waters every year from 2000 to 2011. The catch is worth about $44 million a year, said the study.
“China hasn’t been forthcoming about its fisheries catches,” says Dirk Zeller, senior research fellow with the university's Sea Around Us Project and the study’s co-author. “While not reporting catches doesn’t necessarily mean the fishing is illegal – there could be agreements between these countries and China that allow fishing – we simply don’t know for sure as this information just isn’t available.”

“We need to know how many fish have been taken from the ocean in order to figure out what we can catch in the future,” says Daniel Pauly, principal investigator of the Sea Around Us Project and the study’s lead author.

“Countries need to realize the importance of accurately recording and reporting their catches and step up to the plate, or there will be no fish left for our children.”

 To calculate a value of the Chinese foreign catches, the team of 20 researchers used a new method consisting of analyzing scholarly articles, news reports and expert knowledge to estimate the number and types of Chinese vessels fishing in other countries’ waters. This information is then combined with published data on the amount of catch per vessel type.

Vacation, travel and hospitality
The Relocation/Retirement tour with the

 (as reported by the moving companies)
Visit many rental options to actually experience the price/amenity options available in more of the areas chosen by Expats for security, comfort, and quality of life.
Geroge's view
An evening View
from George’s Puriscal home
Meet many Expats who are willing to share their experiences and how the tour has value long after the “lust” wears off.
See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money.  Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk
Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder.

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A.M. Costa Rica
Real estate rentals
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Real estate for rent
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.

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
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COMPLETELY and nicely furnished apartments
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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: or call 8555-9819.

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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, or or for more information HERE! $850 USD/month. We can also offer a weekend or short-stay package.

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 
of Costa Rica. We are offering homes for every budget and every need. Please visit our Web page at or contact us at or call at (506) 2654-5442.

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.

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 or 8308-7732.

rental properties
Homes for rent
in Palmares, Alajuela

Visit our Web page for more information.

We have many prime properties available for long-term rentals.
Santa Ana

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

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


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A.M. Costa Rica's
Fifth news page
Cat trees
San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 5, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 67
Real Estate
About us

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Rover parachute
NASA photo
Parachute still is attached to part of the spacecraft.

Martian rover's parachute
still flapping in the wind

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The parachute that helped the Curiosity rover land safely on Mars Aug. 5 has been spotted flapping in the Martian winds.

The U.S. space agency, NASA, released a series of seven images taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter that show how the parachute has shifted positions on the ground over several months. The images were taken between Aug. 12, and Jan. 13.

The parachute is the largest ever used for a Mars landing with a diameter of 15 meters when fully open.

NASA scientists believe the movement of the parachute in the wind may knock off any dust that may have accumulated on it, keeping the parachute bright and visible. For example, the parachute that helped safely land Viking 1, which landed on Mars in 1976, still is visible.

According to NASA, the Viking probes clocked the Martian winds at up to 30 meters per second, strong enough to create massive dust storms that can cover much of the planet. However, more recent observations indicate fewer dust storms, which may show the winds on Mars are slowing. The planet is believed to be getting colder.

Curiosity landed on Mars on a mission to investigate whether the planet ever offered an environment that could have supported microbial life.

Health experts mull strategy
after new flu strain emerges

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Experts from around the world are in daily talks about the threat posed by a deadly new strain of bird flu in China, including discussions on if and when to start making a vaccine.

Any decision to mass-produce vaccines against H7N9 flu will not be taken lightly, since it will mean sacrificing production of seasonal shots. And scientists warn it will take months to get any finished bird flu vaccine to the market.

But the groundwork is being laid.

The virus has been shared with World Health Organization collaborating centres in Atlanta, Beijing, London, Melbourne and Tokyo, and these groups are analyzing samples to identify the best candidate to be used for the manufacture of vaccine, if it becomes necessary.

It is still a big if, even assuming the continued spread of the new disease, which has killed five of the 14 people that it has infected in China.

"It is an incredibly difficult decision because once you make it you have to change from making seasonal flu vaccines and go to making a vaccine for this virus," said Jeremy Farrar, a leading expert on infectious diseases and director of Oxford University's research unit in Vietnam.

That could mean shortages of vaccine against the normal seasonal flu which, while not serious for most people, still costs thousands of lives.

Sanofi Pasteur, the world's largest flu vaccine manufacturer, said it was in continuous contact with World Health through the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, but it was too soon to know the significance of the Chinese cases.

Other leading flu vaccine makers include GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis.

There is no evidence yet of person-to-person transmission of H7N9 flu, and scientists do not yet know how what the strain's potential is to develop into a human pandemic.

Wendy Barclay, a flu virologist at Imperial College London, said one major argument against moving too soon would be financial.

"There is a possibility now that flu researchers will all rush to work on H7N9 and grants will be awarded for intensive research to develop vaccines . . .  and that could be pouring money down a drain because it could be that the barriers for this virus are high enough that we don't need to worry about it," she said.

She said scientists should first be focused on getting the practical biology and the sequence analysis before they decide to move on.

Since the H1N1 swine flu pandemic of 2009, in which drugmakers took six months to develop and distribute effective vaccines, manufacturers have been stepping up efforts to produce shots faster to deal with the rapid spread of disease.

It remains a lengthy process, however.

"There is presently no technology that can quickly and cost-effectively mass-manufacture vaccine," said Anton Middelberg, a flu vaccine researcher at the University of Queensland.  "Although the WHO is sending materials for vaccine development to China, it is unlikely that vaccine will be produced quickly enough to impact this outbreak."

Still, the flu vaccine community is not starting completely from scratch.

A degree of preparedness already exists because the last World Health vaccine strain selection meeting in February had already decided to consider the broad H7 virus category as a pandemic candidate.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said vaccine candidate strains had also been developed as a response to previous H7 human cases in Europe and North America.

"These candidate strains may not efficiently cross protect against the novel A [H7N9] strain, but the fact that they are moving towards development does indicate a degree of preparedness globally," the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said.

Starbucks in India moving
slowly but confidently

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Despite a slow start in India, the world's largest coffee chain, Starbucks, says it will continue to expand in the South Asian country. That is good news for the Indian government, which is counting on continued foreign investment to help the country boost economic growth.

The Starbucks outlet in New Delhi’s Connaught Place has been open for more than a month and still draws long lines and interest from young people like Vikram Maour, who until now had only seen the coffee chain on television.

“I think it’s great to have Starbucks in India," said Maour. "We just heard about Starbucks in foreign countries, but to have Starbucks in India, it’s a really good thing.”

Starbucks opened its first store in India in October through a joint venture with India’s Tata Global Beverages. The U.S.-based coffee chain had planned to open 50 outlets in the country by the end of last year, but so far has a total of nine stores in the cities of Mumbai and New Delhi.

Starbucks officials say despite the delay, the coffee giant wants to eventually make India one of its top five global markets.

Tata Starbucks CEO Avani Davda says India is a complex market for foreign investors, both socially and economically, but that it carries tremendous potential.

“It comes with it’s own set of issues, in terms of how fast the government can move on the reform side," said Davda. "But, I think still, the fundamental business potential is there and if you are a group like Tata or Starbucks, who conducts business in a certain way and understands the potential of the market, I think there is huge opportunity over here.”

That potential can be seen in India’s 300 million-strong rising middle class and a younger population that is increasingly espousing Western tastes. Starbucks has deliberately kept prices lower compared to its pricing in neighboring China, in an effort to make the brand more accessible.

But the brand still must convince customers in the traditionally tea-drinking country to spend $2 on a cappuccino  instead of 20 cents on a hot chai.

“Younger people, they are open to experimentation," she said. "They are not just hung up on or tea or a particular beverage.  Yes, it has been a dairy and a tea market for a long time, but I think people want new experiences and their out-of-home consumption habits are different.”

With India’s coffee consumption increasing 80 percent in the last decade and India's coffee market expected to top $500 million in the next few years, Starbucks officials say they are confident the company’s investment will pay off.

New unemployment claims
higher than expected in U.S.

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The number of people signing up for unemployment assistance in the United States rose 28,000 last week to a total of 385,000.

Thursday's report from the Labor Department is the worst since November, and is higher than most economists predicted.

Initial claims for unemployment benefits are a way of tracking how many workers have been laid off recently.  The latest report runs counter to a trend of improving readings since jobless claims hit a peak in 2009 during the financial crisis.

Friday, government experts will take a more detailed look at the U.S. job market when they publish the unemployment rate for March.  Economists surveyed by the Bloomberg financial news service predict the unemployment rate will stay at a relatively high 7.7 percent.

They also predict that the U.S. economy gained 195,000 more jobs than it lost, as some companies falter and other firms take their places.  The gain in February had been higher at 236,000 jobs.

Famed movie critic Roger Ebert
dies after a 50-year career

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Roger Ebert, one of the United States' most popular and influential film critics for nearly 50 years, has died after a long fight against cancer.  He was 70 years old.

Ebert died just two days after he wrote on Twitter that he would take time off from writing because of his recurring cancer.

Ebert joined the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper as its film critic in 1967, becoming the first journalist ever to win a Pulitzer Prize for criticism.

He became a national celebrity when he teamed up with fellow Chicago critic Gene Siskel as host of the television series "Sneak Previews."

Along with their frequent disagreements and caustic insults, Siskel and Ebert became famous for their thumbs up or thumbs down film reviews.

Ebert carried on with the series after Siskel's death in 1999, and continued to write even after cancer cost him part of his lower jaw in 2006, along with the ability to eat and speak.

President Barack Obama called Ebert an honest and effusive critic and says the movies will not be the same without him.

Connecticul governor signs
tough weapons law quickly

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The governor of Connecticut has signed into law some of the strongest restrictions on gun ownership in the United States, less than four months after children were slaughtered by a gunman in an Connecticut elementary school.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a Democrat, signed the bill into law just hours after lawmakers approved it Thursday.

The law adds more than 100 firearms to Connecticut's list of banned assault weapons, limits the capacity of ammunition magazines to just 10 rounds, and mandates background checks for all gun sales, including at gun shows. The measure also addresses mental health and school safety issues.

The new law was drafted in response to last December's massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were killed by a single gunman with an assault-style weapon. The tragedy was the latest in a rash of deadly mass shootings across the U.S. in recent years, reviving a long-simmering national debate on gun control. Two other states, New York and Colorado, have passed strong gun control measures since the Newtown tragedy.

But efforts to pass gun control legislation in the U.S. Congress has run into strong opposition from the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun rights lobbying group.  The NRA says such measures infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed right to own guns.

Meanwhile, a new poll said nearly half of American voters believe the government could use information from universal background checks to confiscate legally-owned guns from citizens.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday showed 48 percent of those surveyed said the government could use background check data to confiscate legally-owned guns, while 38 percent said that could not happen.

However, the vast majority of voters polled still supported universal background checks, with 91 percent for and only 8 percent against.

Peter Brown, the polling institute's assistant director, said in a press release Thursday that every Quinnipiac poll since the Connecticut elementary school massacre last year has shown overwhelming support for universal background checks, even among gun owners.

Dec. 14, gunman Adam Lanza killed his mother and went to Newtown's Sandy Hook elementary school, and shot dead 20 students and six adults before taking his own life.

Asian-American students
shine in math and science

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Asian-American students outperform other racial or ethnic groups in math and science courses, according to a new study of 367 10th grade students in the Philadelphia area.

The study, published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, claims to be “the first study to examine math and science attitudes and achievement at the intersection of gender and ethnicity across four major ethnic groups,” including whites, Asian-Americans, Latinos and African-Americans.

“Asian-American male adolescents consistently demonstrated the highest achievement compared to other adolescents, mirroring the model minority stereotype,” the researchers wrote. “In contrast, the underachievement of Latino and African-American males is a persistent and troubling trend.”

Despite surveys indicating that Asian-Americans perform better in math and science, Professor Nicole Else-Quest of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the lead author of the study, doesn’t want the data to further the model minority perception about Asian-Americans.

“I think that stereotype is harmful for everyone, whether benevolent or not,” she said. “They put us in boxes or restrict us in some way. When we talk about Asian-Americans, we have to recognize it’s a tremendously diverse population with a variety of cultures and varying levels of status and language proficiency.”

Even though women continue to be under-represented in math and science related careers, the study found that male and female students earned similar grades in math and science.

The study also found that male students of all ethnicities reported a greater perception of their abilities in math, while female students associated greater value to science-related courses.

"Despite gender similarities in math and science achievement, female adolescents tend to believe their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics abilities are just not as strong as those of their male classmates," said Ms. Else-Quest.

Ms. Else-Quest said the next goal of the three-year study is to figure out the role of the parents in forming perceptions about math and science.
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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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Houses, lots and farms in Grecia,
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Great climate
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Grecia new
This is a property with real character offered at $1.2 million. Click HERE!
San Lis home
Incredible view of the Central Valley from San Luis $282,000 Click HERE!
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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  U.S. 1-800-939-2617 or CR (506) 8349-2025.

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  U.S. 1-800-939-2617 or CR (506) 8349-2025.

This is a well distributed condo, very spacious and meticulously maintained. It sells furnished with quality furnishings and appliances. 3 bedrooms, 3 baths and lots of storage place. It's a 2,200-sq. foot condo with double garage. Ideally located 20 minutes south of Jacó. It comes with a free beach club membership at Monterey Hotel in Esterillos. Call 2778-8408 or 8707-1037. Email or
Las Escadas
Welcome to our Paradise
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
Cell English +505 8588-9827 – Cell Spanish/English 8551-4391

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. $180,000 506-8869-9274.

View from Orosi home

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

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

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

See virtual tour of accommodations here:

For more details go to:

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

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.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718-9891

Rich Coast Montage
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....
USA Toll Free 1 866 833 4005
CR Cell 011 506 8718 9891

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:
Jack 506-2778-8172    Email:

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.
USA Toll Free 1 866 833-4005  CR Cell 8718-9891

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
USA Toll Free 1 866 833 4005
CR Cell 011 (506) 8718-9891

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

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Businesses for sale

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

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

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

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A.M. Costa Rica's
sixth news page

San José, Costa Rica, Friday, April 5, 2013,  Vol. 13, No. 67
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News from the BBC up to the minute

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Latin news from the BBC up to the minute

Capriles tweaks opponents
as skin-deep socialists

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Venezuela's opposition presidential candidate tore into government leaders on Wednesday as false revolutionaries lining their pockets while professing faith to the late Hugo Chavez's radical socialism.
Trailing in opinion polls ahead of the April 14 vote, the candidate, Henrique Capriles, is attacking acting President Nicolas Maduro and other senior officials as a corrupt and incompetent coterie unable to solve Venezuelans' basic problems.
“They talk of socialism, but it's on the surface only. Look how those well-connected ones live, what they wear, what cars they go round in, how many bodyguards they have,” Capriles said.
“They are skin-deep socialists only. Their behavior, I'd say, is savage capitalism. They love traveling. During Easter, they were all off to La Orchila,” he added, referring to a military-run island in the Caribbean off Venezuela.
The 40-year-old state governor is trying to persuade voters that rival candidate Maduro is a far cry from Chávez, who died of cancer a month ago.
But passions are still running high over Chavez's death, Maduro is presenting himself as the president's son and apostle and Chavista supporters are largely expected to obey their beloved leader's dying wish to support Maduro.
Nevertheless, Capriles' attack on Wednesday went to the heart of a common complaint from rank-and-file Chavistas that senior officials are out of touch with the people's problems, and too concerned with feathering their own nests.
“My fight is against the corrupt ones,” Capriles added, in an unusual meeting with leftists who support him.
Perpetuating the class rhetoric common during Chavez's 14-year rule, Maduro and his supporters attack Capriles daily as a little bourgeois who is a puppet of Venezuela's wealthy elite and their friends in the United States.
Maduro, 50, is a former bus driver who rose to become Chavez's vice president, while Capriles, 40, comes from a wealthy family with extensive business interests.
The opposition candidate, who has governed populous Miranda state since 2008, said his record on building schools and anti-poverty measures spoke for itself.

Rain triggers deadly floods
in low-lying part of Argentina

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Flash floods killed at least 46 people and forced about 1,500 residents to evacuate the Argentine city of La Plata, capital of Buenos Aires province, government officials said.

Some people drowned after being trapped in their cars or while walking along city streets when the water rose suddenly Tuesday night, while others were electrocuted, the provincial governor, Daniel Scioli, told reporters.

The same storm killed at least five people in Buenos Aires, which lies about 60 km (36 miles) northwest of La Plata.

"Families and small children spent the night on their roofs, getting wet. People in wheelchairs were up to their waists in water all night. It was a disaster," Bruno Zorzit, a resident of La Plata, said.

Local media said between 300 and 400 millimeters (12 to 16 inches) of rain fell in just two hours, flooding low-lying neighborhoods in La Plata and surrounding areas.

President Cristina Fernandez, who grew up near La Plata, visited the flood zone and promised to send more police to calm people's fears that evacuated homes could be looted.

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