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(506) 2223-1327                     Published Thursday, April 11, 2013, in Vol. 13, No. 71                Email us
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hospital
Sketch of what the finished Torre de Esperanza may look like
Plan for children's hospital expansion moves forward
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Health officials took another step Wednesday to build an $80 million critical care facility for sick children.

The project will be between the existing Hospital de Niños and Paseo Colón in San José. Hospital officials have been trying to get the project going since at least 2006.  The site now contains lawn, bushes and the famous hospital Christmas tree.

What happened Wednesday was the creation of a mechanism that will handle the money for design and construction. Banco Nacional replaces the Banco de Costa Rica, which had assumed the job earlier.

The money for the trust will come from the Asociación pro Hospital Nacional de Niños, which has been seeking donations for the project.

Now the association will be the recipient of government money from the Fondo de Bienestar Social y Asignaciones Familiares.

The Fondo gets its money from the monthly contributions of workers and employers that are paid to the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social.  A law passed at the end of 2009 designated a 0.78 percent of the money from the fund for the use of the
association and ultimately for construction.

The $80 million figure includes design, construction and equipping the facility, which is under the jurisdiction of the Caja. Hospital officials have complained of waiting lists for elective surgery and other procedures.

The Hospital de Niños is considered among the best pediatric institutions in the Americas. The building is being called the Torre de la Esperanza, the "tower of hope."

The agreement approved Wednesday creates what is known as a fideicomiso, basically a trust, whereby Banco Nacional will handle the money given it by the association for the benefit of the hospital.

The Hospital de Niños went into operation in 1964. Donations in the United States can be made to the Children’s Hospital Costa Rica Foundation.

Plans are still not fixed for the new hospital tower, but previous proposals included a helicopter landing pad. Now children brought in by aircraft are transported by ambulance from one of the two Central Valley airfields. Transporting critically injured or seriously ill youngsters and adults frequently falls to the security ministry air wing.


Caja ordered to reduce the wait times for patients
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The nation's public medical system, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, is well known for its slow attendance of patients' needs.

Wednesday the Sala IV Constitutional court stepped into the situation and ordered the Caja to come up and execute a plan to cut down the wait time within a year.

Many expats now belong to the Caja because this is a requirement of residency.

The Poder Judicial announced the Sala IV decision, but it did not outline the particular appeal on which the Caja acted. The suggestion was that the Caja issued the order to correct the general situation and that the decision was far broader than the individual case required.

The Sala IV ordered the Caja to reduce waiting
 times to reasonable periods. That includes work by specialists and pathologists, the Poder Judicial said.

There was a recent scandal in which material submitted for analysis to pathologists had been stored for months in plastic bags. These are samples and physicians need to know the results of tests that may show patients have, for example, cancer.

At the Caja most patients have to wait in line to obtain an appointment and then wait at another time to be attended for the appointment. There have been a number of surprising revelations from the Caja over the years, such as the pregnant woman who was given an appointment for an ultrasound a year later.

Contrary to what many expats think, the Caja is not universal health care.  An individual becomes affiliated with the Caja as an employee of a company or by making individual payments. However, emergency cases, including those of tourists, and those of children always get attention.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 11, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 71
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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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Government purchasing systems
are being unified by decree


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Laura Chinchilla has designed Mer-link as the preferred online purchasing system for government agencies. The existing Compra Red will be merged, said Casa Presidencial.

Mer-link has been touted as a highly transparent system for making purchases. All the requests for bids and the specifications are placed online. Those who have businesses may receive an email that an offer for bids exists.

Once the contract is awarded, the results also are displayed online.

Vendors who seek to become part of the system have to submit documents showing that they have no hidden owners or links to government officials.

Casa Presidencial said that Mer-link already has made 2,000 transactions for a $76.3 million.

Any other purchasing systems that exist in the governmental bureaucracy also will be merged, said the announcement. The president took the action by decree. The decree said that only Mer-link will exist by the second half of the year. The Ministerio de Hacienda supervises Mer-link.


Finger pointing rules
in reports over Ruta 1856


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Wednesday was finger-pointing day at the legislature.

Three separate reports came from a commission that investigated the troubled Ruta 1856 along the Río San Juan in northern Costa Rica.

The road was put in to provide transport for police to counter any effort by Nicaragua soldiers to further invade the country. But the job is a mess and there are complaints that the work only served to provide tons of silt into the adjacent river.

The road was built under a decree of emergency. Contractors subsequently have been removed from the site and the work progresses under government employees.

The Comisión de Ingreso y Gasto Público studied the case and it is from this body that three reports came forth Wednesday. Opposition party members called for the firing of top government officials. The ruling Partido Liberación Nacional put the blame on the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, the road agency, as did most every other player.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias issued another statement saying it had nothing to do with the job.

Various low-level rod inspectors have been identified as targets of investigation. And it will be prosecutors and not lawmakers who have the final say on who did what and when.


Chemical in coffee cited
as way to control diabetes


By the American Chemical Society news service

Scientists have described evidence that natural substances extracted from unroasted coffee beans can help control the elevated blood sugar levels and body weight that underpin type 2 diabetes. Their presentation on chlorogenic acids ― widely available as a dietary supplement ― was part of the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans.

Joe Vinson, who led the research, pointed out that type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, is an increasing global health problem. In the United States alone, almost 26 million have the disease, in which the pancreas does not produce enough of the insulin that enables the body to use sugar, or cells resist the effects of that insulin. Blood sugar levels rise, increasing the risk of heart attacks, stroke and other health problems. Current treatments focus on oral medications that stimulate insulin secretions and/or reduce insulin resistance, dietary changes that control blood sugar levels and weight loss that reduces insulin resistance.

“A simple natural pill or capsule that would both help control blood sugar and foster weight loss at the same time would be a major advance in the treatment of type 2 diabetes,” Vinson said. “Our own research and studies published by other scientists suggest that such a treatment may, indeed, exist. There is significant epidemiological and other evidence that coffee consumption reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.

“One large study indicated a 50 percent risk reduction for people who drank seven cups of coffee a day compared to those who drank only two cups a day. I am trying to make the coffee and diabetes story as clear as possible for the public. The evidence points to chlorogenic acids as the active ingredients in coffee that both prevent diabetes and improve glucose control in normal, pre-diabetic and diabetic people.”

Chlorogenic acids are a family of substances that occur naturally in apples, cherries, plums, dried plums and other fruits and vegetables. Vinson, who is with the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, pointed out that coffee ― due to its popularity as a beverage ― is a major dietary source of these substances. Large amounts of chlorogenic acids exist in green, or unroasted, coffee beans. However, the high temperatures used to roast coffee beans to make them suitable for use in coffee breaks down much of the chlorogenic acids. Thus, the focus has been on using concentrated extracts of green coffee beans, which contain higher amounts of chlorogenic acids.

In a previous study, Vinson found that overweight or obese people who took such an extract lost about 10 percent of their body weight in 22 weeks. The new study sought to document the effects of various doses of a commercial green coffee extract on the blood sugar levels of 56 men and women with normal blood sugar levels. They got a glucose tolerance test to see how their bodies responded to the sugar. Then over a period of time, they took 100, 200, 300 or 400 milligrams (mg) of the extract in a capsule with water. Follow-up glucose tolerance tests showed how the green coffee extract affected their responses.

“There was a significant dose-response effect of the green coffee extract and no apparent gastrointestinal side effects,” Vinson said. “All doses of green coffee extract produced a significant reduction in blood sugar relative to the original blank glucose challenge. The maximum blood glucose occurred at 30 minutes and was 24 percent lower than the original with the 400 mgs of green coffee extract and the blood glucose at 120 minutes was 31 percent lower.”


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 Monday. Classified advertising rates will remain unchanged.

The increases are made necessary by increases in costs that the newspaper must pay. This includes 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 Monday.

 
Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish


By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

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

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

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

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














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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 11, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 71
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President going to Alajuela bearing news of rail line link
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

President Laura Chinchilla will be going to Alajuela this morning for the annual Juan Santamaría day speech. She is almost certain to make mention of plans to bring passenger rail service back to the community in another expansion of the service.

The president said Tuesday that the government would spend 3 billion colons, about $600,000 to clear the 11 kilometers of rail right-of-way that separates Alajuela from the existing Heredia train line.

The work will be done by the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles and comes on the heels of the announced expansion of passenger service into Cartago.

Among the sites that will be served by the Alajuela line will be
 the Coyol de Alajuela area where there are free trade zones and industries.

There was no timetable given for the expansion. In the past, these jobs ended up costing much more and taking much more time than expected. The Alajuela line has been encroached by dwellings and other structures and has even been asphalted over by road crews.

Railroad supervisors said they think that all of the right-of-way will have to be graded and all new track put down.The central government is trying to entice commuters to use the rails to cut down on vehicle pollution and congestion.

Ms. Chinchilla is expected to participate in a Juan Santamaría day ceremony at 7:30 a.m. and then enjoy a parade made up mostly of school children. Today is a legal holiday in Costa Rica.


Country honors its overseas citizens with a special day
By Kayla Pearson
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería, the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, and the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones celebrated national day abroad Wednesday. The purpose is to recognize Costa Rican citizens who live outside the country.

Sindy Chaves, winner of the Jorge Manuel Dengo 2012 Award, and scientist and former U.S. astronaut Franklin Chang Diaz were special guests at the event.

The celebration corresponded with the commemoration of the historic battle against William Walker.  Soldier Juan Santamaría was seen as an iconic figure during this fight, and today is a national holiday in his honor.

Vice Chancellor Carlos Roverssi highlighted the achievements of Santamaría and connected the day to the fact that the country stands for both those who live inside and outside the country. 

"Today we are very clear that Costa Rica is not only a host country for migrants, but also a country that has a strong representation of Costa Rican citizens living abroad," he said.

According to the foreign ministry, Costa Rica has 52 consulates, and is working to improve foreign assistance.
"The Convención de Vienna sobre Relaciones Consulares provides a clear mandate for the states to protect the interests of their nationals abroad," said Roverssi. 

Immigration data shows that 250,000 Costa Ricans live in different parts of the world with a high concentration in the United States.

Around 56 percent of these persons, mainly those who have lived overseas for five or more years, send money to Costa Rica.  In 2010, they sent $526 million.  In contrast, foreigners here sent $227 million to their  homelands, according to Banco Central.

"The contribution of this emigration reflects not only in the countries in which our fellow citizens reside, but also in our own national soil, making this an important support for many families in Costa Rica", said Freddy Montero, interim immigration director.

With so many living abroad, concern was expressed over the tensions in Korea.  Roverssi expressed a commitment to assist citizens in that region should anything happen following the government emergency protocol.

"We should already start thinking about a sort of solidarity fund for direct actions, and it is not possible for us to be so limited," he said.

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San José, Costa Rica, Thursday, April 11, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 71
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Research in Belize showed how Mayan villagers managed to save water
By the University of Cincinnati news service

Research at the ancient Maya site of Medicinal Trail in northwestern Belize is revealing how populations in more remote areas built reservoirs to conserve water and turned to nature to purify their water supply. Jeffrey Brewer, a doctoral student in the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Geography, will present his findings today at the Association of American Geographers’ annual meeting in Los Angeles.

Brewer’s research continues a University of Cincinnati exploration of the ancient Maya civilization that has spanned decades. The site for Brewer’s research, which was primarily occupied during the Classic Period (AD 250-900), functioned as a rural architectural community on the periphery of the major ancient Maya site of La Milpa.

Brewer says this smaller, remote settlement lacks the monumental architecture and population density typically associated with the major Maya sites but shows similar, smaller-scale slopes, artificial terraces and water reservoirs that would have been utilized for farming and water management.

Brewer discovered artificial reservoirs, depressions in the ground that were lined with clay to make a water-tight basin.  These showed how the Maya conserved water from the heavy rainfall from December to spring, which got them through the region’s extreme dry spells. “They also controlled the vegetation directly around these reservoirs at this hinterland settlement,” said Brewer. “The types of lily pads and water-borne plants found within these basins helped naturally purify the water. They knew this, and they managed the vegetation by these water sources that were used for six months when there was virtually no rainfall.”

Without that system, Brewer says the smaller, more remote settlement would have been more dependent on the larger Maya sites that ran a larger water conservation system.
screen work
University of Cincinnati/Jason Whitaker 
Jeffrey Brewer screens soil for stone, ceramics or bone.

Brewer has conducted research at the site since 2006, including spending two years of intensive surveying and mapping of the region. Future research on the project will involve the completion of computerized mapping of up to 2,000 points of topography – distances and elevations of the region in relation to water sources, population and structures.

Brewer said he also wants to continue exploring the construction and management of these hinterland water systems and, if possible, gain a better understanding of what knowledge about them might have passed back and forth between settlements.


 
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Real estate for rent (paid category)
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We have furnished one-bedroom apartments in Sabanilla, Montes de Oca, for rent short or long term. Sabanilla is 10 minutes by bus from the University of Costa Rica with direct service downtown. The apartments have bedroom and bath upstairs and kitchen and living-dining areas downstairs. Grounds enclosed by a security wall have many trees and flower beds. Parking, laundry area with machines. Cable TV, Internet and maid service available. Monthly rents are from $425 to $500.
Call 2273-3173, 2273-3837 or 8663-0354.
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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
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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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Anywhere Costa Rica educates visitors about the numerous 

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We believe the best way to enjoy
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Call 1-888-456-3212 or local 2479-8811 to get started.

Mountain cabin for rent
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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.
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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 
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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.
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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.
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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,
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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

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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White House budget has
Social Security COLA cuts


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The White House released a new budget plan Wednesday that would reduce entitlement benefits for retired Americans.  The budget proposal seeks to limit cost of living adjustments known as COLA to Social Security by using a less generous formula to measure inflation for computing future benefit increases.  Called "Chained CPI," some conservatives say the plan would save the government billions of dollars. But others say the proposed changes also place an unfair burden on people who can least afford it.

About 58 million Americans receive social security benefits.  Many live day-to-day on fixed incomes.

Kay Dennison works part time at a retirement center in Maryland. She worries she could lose everything if her monthly checks don't keep up with inflation.

"Probably my home, because everything is so tight and so high, and the mortgage rates.  We've been in our home 40 years and we still owe," Dennison said.

The proposed changes to annual cost-of-living adjustments would save the government an estimated $130 billion over 10 years.  But a seniors' advocacy group, says under the new formula the average retiree would get $220 less a year after five years and $862 less annually after 20 years.

Economist Monique Morrissey at the Economic Policy Institute says reducing already meager benefits on average about $1,200 a month, unfairly targets the most vulnerable Americans.

"Poverty rates for the oldest are higher, incomes are lower. They've often used up other resources. They have more out of pocket expenses for health care. They're the last group you would ever want to target to take the brunt of these cuts," Ms. Morrissey said.

With the U.S. population aging, Social Security now takes in less revenue than it spends.  Conservative economists say more cuts may be necessary to keep the program solvent.

Charles Konigsberg at the Federal Budget Group says Americans have a choice: Increase their contributions or face reduced benefits. 

"The good news is that these problems can be solved if they're addressed now.  The longer we wait, the more difficult it is to fix the problem because the growth in spending accumulates over time," Konigsberg said.
 
Retired educator Virginia Levy is more fortunate.  Her monthly social security checks help supplement her teacher's pension.

"I'm worried more about future generations, what it's going to do to them.  My children are 40 and what's going to happen to them when they are retiring?  Their Social Security is going to be a fraction of what ours is," Ms. Levy said.

Indeed, Monique Morrissey says the proposed changes will affect all Americans.

"People think Social Security is for old people. They don't realize that the benefits that are being cut are really for young people who will be old at that point.  This one form of cut, by cutting the COLA, doing it immediately, affects both young and old people," Ms. Morrissey said.

The president's proposed budget includes additional cuts to Medicare, and eliminates loopholes for wealthier Americans.  But with a mid-term election next year, analysts say it's unlikely Congress will approve the budget without making changes.


Adults called less healthy
than previous generations

 
By the European Society of Cardiology news staff

Despite their greater life expectancy, the adults of today are less metabolically healthy than their counterparts of previous generations. That's the conclusion of a large cohort study from the Netherlands which compared generational shifts in a range of well established metabolic risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Assessing the trends, the investigators concluded that "the more recently born generations are doing worse" and warn "that the prevalence of metabolic risk factors and the lifelong exposure to them have increased and probably will continue to increase".

The study, reported in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, analyzed data on more than 6,000 individuals in the Doetinchem Cohort Study, which began in 1987 with follow-up examinations after six, 11, and 16 years. The principal risk factors measured were body weight, blood pressure, total cholesterol levels and levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is considered "protective".

The subjects were stratified by sex and generation at baseline into 10-year age groups. The follow-up analyzes aimed to determine whether one generation had a different risk profile from a generation born 10 years earlier, what the investigators called a "generation shift".

Results showed that the prevalence of overweight, obesity, and hypertension increased with age in all generations, but in general the more recently born generations had a higher prevalence of these risk factors than generations born 10 years earlier.

For example, 40 percent of the males who were in their 30s at baseline were classified as overweight. 11 years later the prevalence of overweight among the second generation of men in their 30s had increased to 52 percent (a statistically significant generational shift). In women these unfavorable changes in weight were only evident between the most recently born generations, in which the prevalence of obesity doubled in just 10 years.

Other findings from the study included:

* Unfavorable (and statistically significant) generation shifts in hypertension in both sexes between every consecutive generation (except for the two most recently born generations of men).

* Unfavorable generation shifts in diabetes between three of the four generations of men, but not of women.

* No generation shifts for hypercholesterolaemia, although favorable shifts in HDL cholesterol were only observed between the oldest two generations.

As for the overall picture and based on the evidence of a clear shift in the prevalence of overweight and hypertension, the investigators emphasize that "the more recently born adult generations are doing worse than their predecessors." Evidence to explain the changes is not clear, they add, but note studies reporting an increase in physical inactivity.

What do the findings mean for public health? First author Gerben Hulsegge from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment emphasizes the impact of obesity at a younger age.

"For example," he explained, "the prevalence of obesity in our youngest generation of men and women at the mean age of 40 is similar to that of our oldest generation at the mean age of 55. This means that this younger generation is 15 years ahead of the older generation and will be exposed to their obesity for a longer time. So our study firstly highlights the need for a healthy body weight by encouraging increased physical activity and balanced diet, particularly among the younger generations.

"The findings also mean that, because the prevalence of smoking in high-income countries is decreasing, we are likely to see a shift in non-communicable disease from smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer to obesity-related diseases such as diabetes. This decrease in smoking prevalence and improved quality of health care are now important driving forces behind the greater life expectancy of younger generations, and it's likely that in the near future life expectancy will continue to rise - but it's also possible that in the more distant future, as a result of our current trends in obesity, the rate of increase in life expectancy may well slow down, although it's difficult to speculate about that."


Thousands rally in D.C.
seeking immigrant rights


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Thousands of people rallied outside the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, pushing Congress to help legalize the millions of foreigners living in the country illegally, while lawmakers inside reportedly neared a consensus on an immigration reform bill.
 
Concerned U.S. citizens, illegal immigrants and their children spent hours traveling across the country on hundreds of buses for the “All in for Citizenship” rally. Under a sweltering sun, they chanted “Now is the time,” while waving American flags and holding signs demanding equal rights for equal work.

The decades-long push to overhaul the U.S. immigration system appears closer than it’s ever been to seeing actual success in Congress. Despite that, the legislative process could still be thwarted by differences of opinion on how to secure the borders while also addressing the illegal migrants.

The bipartisan group of eight senators working on a reform bill has largely agreed on its shape, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Several people familiar with the legislation told the newspaper the bill would give $3 billion to the Department of Homeland Security to implement a five-year plan to boost border security. No illegal immigrants could begin the legalization process until the plan is in place, the sources said.

It is seen as a compromise between Republican lawmakers focused on tightening the borders and Democrats dedicated to a pathway to citizenship. Both political parties, courting the powerful Hispanic vote, are pushing for a deal to happen before the next round of elections.
 
The activists outside the Capitol building said they’re tired of waiting. Hispanics made up most of the crowd, but Asians, Arabs, Africans and countless others joined in the chants for change and sharing stories, food and water bottles.

Bangladesh-born Farzana Morshed, a U.S. citizen and community organizer, traveled to Washington from New York out of respect for the Bangladeshis she’s seen deported from the United States.
 
“When I read the newspaper, I see a lot of people who are being deported. They’re scared all the time. It hurts me,” she said, adding that the people able to stay in the U.S. often face abuses at work because they have no rights.

Sigifredo Pizaña’s family has experienced both plights, deportation and exploitation. The 21-year-old was brought to the U.S. from Mexico a decade ago. He said his parents were seeking a better life. It didn’t work out.

“My dad was deported two years ago. My older brother was deported last year. My mom went back to Mexico. I’m here by myself,” he said. “I wasn’t prepared for this. I had to drop out of college.”

Pizaña, a resident of Grand Rapids, Michigan, qualified for deferred action, an Obama administration initiative that postpones deportation for undocumented immigrants who are younger than 30, and who came to the U.S. before they were 16. Under the program Pizaña can get a driver’s license and a work permit. He’s relieved.

“Before, I had a job working at a horse farm, seven days a week. I had to walk two hours to get there,” he said, adding that he wants to pay taxes and get the same benefits as full-fledged citizens.

The story of Pizaña’s family being forced out of the U.S. is appealing to opponents of the pro-reform movement.

Jim Macdonald of the New Yorkers for Immigration Control and Enforcement group said he’s seething over the issue.

“I think they should go back to their own country. They can be sent back in as humane a way as possible, but the first thing is they should be sent back,” he said.

Macdonald stood across from the pro-immigration rally holding a sign that said, “Secure Our Borders.” Beside him, Thomas Bowie of Maryland clung to a poster that said, “No Amnesty for Illegals.” He lamented that the pro-reform group “understands practical politics better than most Americans.”

“If we had the percentage of Americans who were against granting anything like amnesty come out that our opponents have had come out, Congress would sit up and take notice,” he said. “But at the moment, they’re just noticing our opponents.”

It wasn’t always that way. Congress rejected another comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2007 that would have addressed illegal immigrants. It failed after a successful push by the conservative movement.

Times have changed, though. The Hispanic vote punished conservatives in last year’s elections, and the pro-reform movement is more organized than ever before.

Labor unions have worked for months organizing the bus loads of people who rallied at the Capitol. Lena Bembery, a representative of the United Auto Workers’ Union from Detroit, Michigan, said she came to Washington because “workers’ rights and immigration rights are inseparable.”
 
“When workers are treated impeccable in terms of immigrant rights, then it translates to all the struggles we’ve had and fights for equality and justice for working people, for people of color, for women,” she said.
 
Bembery, who is not an immigrant, said she’s ecstatic that many members of the movement are so young.
 
“When young people take on that battle, it shifts it to a place where it becomes a way that we live, and not a way that we imagine,” she said.
 
A 20-year-old Maryland resident born in Guatemala said he’s grateful Ms. Bembery and others like her are standing behind undocumented immigrants like him.
 
“We feel like we’re not alone over here. We’re all fighting for the same cause.  So let’s hope it works,” he said.
 
Speaking behind mirrored sunglasses, he asked to remain anonymous because he said he doesn’t quite feel safe telling the world he’s in the United States illegally.


Monetary Fund chief sees
three levels of economies


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

The head of the International Monetary Fund says financial conditions are improving in much of the world, but that differences are starker than ever between prospering and struggling economies.

Christine Lagarde, speaking Wednesday in New York, said improvements in financial markets have not translated in some regions "into improvements in the real economy and in the lives of people."

In her speech at the Economic Club of New York, Ms. Lagarde described the emergence of a three-speed global economy in which some countries, particularly in East Asia, are doing well. She referred to the United States, Sweden and Switzerland as economies on the mend, and said Europe and Japan belong to a third group that still has some distance to travel before recovering from the global economic crisis.

Ms. Lagarde noted rapid and substantial progress by U.S. policy makers in repairing the world's largest economy, pointing to steady growth supported by solid financial demand. But she also warned of growing U.S. government debt, and called for a medium-term road map to reduce it.

Ms. Lagarde said many banks in the 17-member eurozone were still operating with "not enough capital and too many bad loans on the books." Consequently, she said lower regional interest rates were not benefiting the wider economy.

She also urged European authorities to close some banks, if necessary, as part of a push to step up banking reforms.


Japanese car manufacturers
issue recall over airbags


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Four major Japanese automakers are recalling about 3.4 million cars worldwide because of possible airbag problems.

Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mazda said separately today that abnormal inflation of passenger-side airbags was the reason for the recall.

The companies said the defective airbags, which were made by Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp, could burst or cause a fire. No injuries or deaths have been reported.

Honda is recalling 1.1 million vehicles, including the Civic and Odyssey models. Toyota is recalling 1.7 million vehicles, including the Tundra and the Corolla. Nissan says the defective airbags were found in 480,000 cars made in Japan between 2000 and 2004. Mazda is recalling 45,000 units worldwide.

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  Send us your request to our email: info@greciarealestate.com
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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 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

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

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


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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Some see Venezuelan vote
as capitalism vs. socialism


By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Many Venezuelan voters see the coming presidential election that will replace the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez as a sharp choice between socialism and capitalism that will affect their lives in very real ways.

Business has not been good for Rotzen Villabon, who owns a gift shop called Viqiu. He needs dollars to import products made in China but he can't find any at the official exchange rate of 6.5 bolivares per U.S. dollar.  He says the supply is even limited on the black market at a much higher exchange rate.

“It has been really hard to find dollars, and we can find some at an exchange rate of 25 per dollar but not the amount that we want.  So that is the reason that business is down,” said Villabon.

The strict controls on foreign currency are fueling the country's soaring inflation and causing scarcity of needed items from food to beauty products.

Villabon said he will vote for Henrique Capriles, who has promised to open up the economy to foreign investment and make Venezuela more business friendly.

“I think if Capriles wins there will be change.  Not overnight. We have to be clear, because the conditions are really complicated.  We don't have liquidity in this country and, whoever wins the election, it's going to be a hard time,” he said.

For many supporters of interim President Nicolas Maduro, the election is about preserving social programs like free housing, education and health care put in place by Chávez, who died last month after a long battle with cancer.

Jose Antonio Silva and his brother just received free treatment at a local health clinic.

“And if Maduro, God willing, wins the election, this will continue because this is a project the president wanted for the poor people,” he said.

The candidates agree that Venezuela needs to curb double-digit inflation and both support social programs for the poor.  But many voters see stark ideological differences in the candidates and President Maduro currently holds a significant lead over Capriles in the polls.

The election takes place this coming Sunday.

Elsewhere in the capital  a group of students has gone on a hunger strike to protest what they say is an unfair election process.

About 25 university students have set up camp in downtown Caracas and have have vowed not to eat until the election. Tugomir Yepez says they are there to protest what they say is the ruling socialist party's unfair advantages over the opposition Unity party in the campaign and election.

“To be triumphant, different parameters for the Unity candidate should exist and for this reason we are protesting and fighting for the enforcement of these just conditions,” Yepez said.

In recent polls, Maduro is leading Capriles by a significant margin.

But the students say the process is not fair because Maduro has unlimited access to state media while Capriles is limited to three minutes per day of paid campaign advertising. Venezuela also is not accepting election monitors from the Organization of American States.

President Maduro, like his predecessor Chávez, they say, also uses government resources and workers for campaign purposes.

They see officials at the national electoral council, who were selected by the Chavista-dominated National Assembly, as biased.

Some international election monitoring groups like the Carter Center have voiced concerns in the past about some of these issues such as unequal media access for candidates but have also praised the work of the national electoral council and have called the actual voting system in place free and fair.



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